From end to end, Park Avenue is packed with things to see and do. That is why, when people call us looking for their new digs, more often than any other answer to the question “Which neighborhood do are you looking to move to?” apartment hunters respond with a definitive “Park Ave, of course.” The “of course” is usually silent, but implied with their tone, so much so that I usually feel silly afterward for even having asked. Now, as a connoisseur of Rochester’s neighborhoods, I know of at least half a dozen that I’d be thrilled to call home, but I cannot deny that Park Avenue is very high on my own list as well. The neighborhood is flanked on either end by Rochester’s only tea house and the city’s only Wegmans, with every inch in between teeming with pedestrians who have come to patronize the clusters of coffee houses, upscale boutiques, beloved eateries, and galleries.
Just North of where Park Avenue starts, at Alexander Street, you’ll find the East End, the centerpiece of Rochester’s nightlife scene. One street south of Park Avenue, Alexander intersects with Monroe Ave, another popular city corridor full of restaurants, shops, and pubs. Being smack dab in the middle of all of this action, its easy to see how Park Avenue became such a focal point for the city. There are so many places on Park Avenue, that we would fill pages and pages with hot spots. Charlie’s Frog Pond and Jines are as much Rochester as apple pie is American. When the long winter finally gives way to the first warm sunny days, people flock to the corner of Berkeley Street and Park Ave to grab a seat at one of these treasured diners. You can grab sushi at Piranha, Thai food at Esan, Mediterranean at Sinbad’s, a glass of wine at Cibon, pizza at Chester Cab, amazing soup at Nathan’s, frozen custard at Abbot’s or gourmet cupcakes at Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe. Needless to say, it may take your entire first year in Rochester to eat your way all the way down Park Ave. All this excitement draws tons of Rochester’s college students, and the streets are filled with moving trucks at the beginning and end of each school year. If you want a chance to meet everyone in Rochester in one day, be sure to check out the Park Ave Fest which routinely draws more than a quarter million visitors every summer.
Like the East Ave neighborhood, Park Ave is blessed with some of the nation’s most beautiful housing inventory. As Rochester’s first well-to-do suburb, this neighborhood has thousands of well built, stately homes from the 1870′s through the 1930s. It’s not at all uncommon to have stained glass or solid mahogany doors in apartments in this area. While it’s easy to be swept up in the charm of some Park Ave apartments, renters should be very aware of the possibility of loud neighbors, or exceedingly drafty apartments. Old homes are beautiful, but if they haven’t been property insulated, utilities can easily exceed $250/mo for a 2 bedroom apartment in the winter. Be sure to ask about the heat source, insulation and condition of the windows.
The Park Ave neighborhood also offers plenty of mid-sized apartment buildings. Most of these were built between 1920 and 1950, range from 16 to 100 units, and vary in price, condition and amenities. The Barrington is close to the center of the action, and The Parkwin is further East at the quieter end of the neighborhood.