So what makes a neighborhood and community great? As I am traveling the country and spending many hours away from my home, I am often struck as to the simplicity of the answers to this question.
For one thing, the residents of a neighborhood must not have to look far for food options, and that includes having many choices available for restaurants as well as grocery stores. Here in Rochester we are extremely lucky to have one of the country’s best and most respected high-end grocery chains—Wegman’s—call home throughout our area. And although Wegman’s has long shutdown its operations in the former Midtown Plaza in center city Rochester, the company currently has major plans to revamp its store in the city’s East Avenue location.
But is it enough? In a bid to get people living back in downtown Rochester, do we have enough options available for our city residents when it comes to grocery stores?
I do a ton of travel on the west coast, and one of the stores that I really enjoy is Trader Joe’s.
This is a chain of small specialty stores that sells many of its own labeled products of organic, frozen, and gourmet foods in an average location setting of about 10,000sq. ft. which is considerably smaller than the average sized Wegman’s in our area.
Is this a viable option for the city in terms of size and offerings for our city residents? I think so. Not that I am against Wegman’s or anything, because that is far from the truth. But the fact is that more options like a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods store would bring about more competition in the area and keep all prices competitive and attractive for residents. Different food options such as gourmet foods and organic options also would give many city residents what they want, especially when you have a good portion of the younger market looking to the city for residences.
Are these options that will be in Rochester’s near future? Right now, the suburbs might have the bid. But the city of Rochester still has more work to do. And only if we can get a critical mass of people back into downtown Rochester I think will these options come available. With that said, I am still hoping that Wegman’s will someday open another location in the downtown Rochester to make up for the closing of its Midtown store.
Jason Schwingle’s passions include travel, art and design, and our City of Rochester. He works for Jetblue Airways and is a Sr. Community Coordinator for Newdigs.com, a local tech start-up here in our very own Rochester, NY. Please comment on the postings or feel free to contact him at Jason@Newdigs.com.
One of the best things about North Winton Village (and the Rochester area in general), is the availability of beautiful county-run parks. I’m lucky to live within walking distance of a few, most notably, Ellison Park.
Ellison is 400+ acres of everything one could want in a public park. It was Monroe County’s first official public park, founded in 1926 with the donation of 200 acres from the Ellison farmstead. It is located very close to the city of Rochester, running between Browncroft Boulevard and Blossom Road. For all you local history buffs out there, Ellison Park is also the site of Indian Landing, an important trading route for the Iroquois. Also taking advantage of that location was the Lost City of Tryon, one of the original settlements of Rochester that died out in the early 1800’s after the Erie Canal replaced Irondequoit Creek Valley as a central trade route.
If you’d like to take a nature walk or take a nice stroll with your dog, there are trails ranging from around a half mile to 1.5 miles, winding through woods and wetland. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re still so close to the city! You can also see the park by horseback: Heberle Stables offers group rides through the trails. Irondequoit creek runs through Ellison, and on nice days, you can watch canoes and kayaks paddling through the park. Fishing is allowed with a license and the park also has its own boat launch. In the winter, the park features an ice skating rink, two sledding hills, and is a great place to snowshoe or cross country ski. For parties or get-togethers, Ellison has closed and open lodges with a variety of amenities. I even had my wedding “reception” at the Pavilion Lodge, which was recently renovated and costs around $350 to rent for the day. (Note – this is one of the most expensive lodges to rent in all of the parks. There are many more inexpensive options in Ellison.)
One of the most popular features of the park is the disc golf course, located directly off North Landing Road in Brighton. The course features 18 holes, and has hosted disc golf championship tournaments. I have never attempted to play, but the course is always populated and it would be great exercise walking up and down those hills!
Ellison has long been a popular place for dog owners too – any nice day, you’re likely to see dogs frolicking off-leash down by the creek. It should be noted that this is illegal (dogs should be leashed at all times in the county parks) and recently police have been ticketing those who have violated this law. I will admit I’ve been guilty of this – my dog is well behaved, enjoys playing with the other dogs, and loves going in the creek! However, the politics of dog parks in Rochester is best saved for another day.
For a map of the park, trail details, and more information, you can visit the county park’s website. Or just take a drive or walk down and check it out. It’s a beautiful destination all four seasons!
George Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum and Science Center, The Strong, and Rochester Contemporary Art Center are just a few of the museums and galleries in Rochester. In any given month there is a new exhibition, opening party, or program for people to enjoy.
The Memorial Art Gallery recently opened, “Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art Since the 1960s,” a nationally touring exhibit which showcases vibrant and “psychedelic” art. In conjunction with their exhibition opening, the Memorial Art Gallery threw a “groovy” party. Guests were encouraged to dress up in 60s outfits, enjoy 60s and 70s music, and of course, view the exhibition.
blab, 2008-2009, by Erik Parker
I attended the opening with a friend. Instead of going all out on an outfit, I decided to make a tie-dye t-shirt to wear that evening. Before this month, I don’t believe I made tie-dye anything since my days at summer camp. Truth be told, it was a just as fun making it now (as a twenty-something) as it was when I was twelve years old!
With my tie-dyed t-shirt on, my friend and I arrived at the Memorial Art Gallery. The first thing we noticed while walking in from the parking lot was the lava lamp-like lights coming from inside the building. As we walked to the front entrance, we passed a vintage Volkswagen mini van and two Volkswagen beetles. Upon entering the gallery, I noticed people of all ages dressed up in 60s-style outfits, and the era’s most recognizable songs being played in the foyer area. There were people everywhere! In one part of the museum, guests were dancing to Beatles music alongside go-go dancers. Near the dance floor, guests were eating food, drinking wine, and looking at jewelry. At the other end of the museum, guests were lined up to see the art exhibition and many people were exploring (and buying!) in the gift shop. Throughout the gallery, Metro Retro, a vintage furniture store in Rochester, displayed 60s-styled furniture (even shag rugs!). All in all, it was a terrific night in Rochester filled with art, music, and interesting people.
Museum and gallery openings are a great way to spend a night out in Rochester and help support the many organizations that have had a meaningful impact on the city. If you’re interested in Rochester’s next exhibition opening, then I encourage you to check out George Eastman House’s new photography exhibit called, “Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock-n-Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash.” Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, curated this exhibit and included photographs ranging from the 1950s-1990s. Every major artist or musical group from those decades is represented, so if music is your thing, or if you simply want to spend a night out with some of Rochester’s art patrons, you might want to attend this exhibition opening party on Friday, October 29th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Did I mention that you get to see the exhibition before it opens to the public?
We don’t wade too deeply into the politics of New York State here at Newdigs, mostly because we want to keep our shoes clean and bullsh*t free. But when we saw Woot’s t-shirt of the day, how could we resist a quick blog post?
If you don’t get it, you didn’t see last week’s NYS gubernatorial debate. So, here’s a little recap:
As wanna-be karate experts, we’re not going to say who’s got our vote. (We’re not giving anyone any kind of endorsement here, just to be clear.) But as Rochester’s newest (and most awesome!) apartment search tool, we can’t help but giggle as we tell you Jimmy McMillon’s political party’s name: “The Rent is Too Damn High Party” (and hum along to its website’s coinciding theme song.) Maybe he hasn’t check out Newdigs.com yet? There are tons of affordable apartments in Rochester, and we’ve got plenty of them on our apartment search map.