From the calendar of the Freedom First Real Estate Investor Association, be sure to check out this laid back summer session. August’s meeting is geared towards a less formal game night and a picnic format. Come and get a chance to meet other Rochester real estate investors and property managers. FFREIA is doing a great job of connecting property owners and providing education about professional management and investment strategies.
Date: Thursday August 11th, 2011
Where: Monroe Voiture, 933 University Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607 (get directions from Google Maps)
Time: Food starts at 6:30pm, Games begin at 7:30pm.
Topic: GAME NIGHT & PICNIC
We want to do something different for our August meeting…
Knowing that it can be too tempting not to take advantage of our summertime, we thought we’d lighten up things this month for our general meeting.
If you are one of the people who has been wanting to play the financial literacy board games Cash Flow and Millionaire Maker, this will be your chance. Each of these is a fun way to learn, or reinforce, business financial basics and get your mind engaged in an entrepreneurial investor mindset.
FFREIA’s Secretary/Treasurer Susan Holman has enough games to accomodate up to 30 players and needs to know how many to plan for.
And if playing games isn’t enough to get you there on a summer’s evening, FFREIA’s President Leon Griggs is cooking up a batch of his special ribs and needs to know how many to cook for.
You need to RSVP to Susan (firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-690-5056) by Sunday, August 7, 5pm.
The Greek Festival kicked off at 11 AM today (June 2, 2011) and will last late into the evening (11 PM) every night through Sunday. Cancel your lunch and dinner plans for the next four days, because you won’t want to miss a single item that the talented Greek chefs are whipping together on East Avenue. Moussaka, souvlaki, patitsio, gyros, spanakopita – how will you even choose where to begin with this menu? Save room for melt in your mouth Baklava, or make room with a little Greek Dancing later in the evening. Stroll around the festival, while sipping your drink, and gnoshing a gyro. Take in the warm floral aromas of East Avenue’s colorful landscaping, while the sounds of Greece, played by a variety of Greek musicians, fills the air. You can even shop for Greek art in the boutique & art tent. Admission is free, making those who work in the southeast city especially prone to slipping out to the Greek Festival for a little lunch break and culture infusion this Friday. You could come every day this weekend to hear the music and dance with friendly festival-goers (or learn to dance traditional Greek dances at one of the dance lessons throughout the day.)
Today through Saturday (NOT Sunday), parking is available at Asbury Methodist Church. Gleason Works has kindly extended parking to the Greek Festival on all four days. Very limited handicap parking is available in the driveway area of the Greek Orthodox church.
As always, the festival is taking place at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, in the East Avenue Neighborhood, at 962 East Avenue. In 1967 this church published a book which I came across at the Rundel Library in downtown Rochester. Within the book is an excellent account of Rochester’s Greek history, and the history of the local Greek Orthodox Church. It is written that the first Greek settlers were George Lamprakes a street vendor from New York City, and James Zutes, a street vendor from Baltimore, who moved to Rochester in 1893 with the hope of improving their lot. At that time, there were no more than 3,000 Greeks registered in the entire United States. James Zutes started a fruit store at the corner of East Main & Front Street. Lamprakes opened the Olympia Candy Store at 10 East Main Street with a business partner, George Katsampes. Slowly, the Greek population climbed, when Zutes’ cousins arrived and opened a second fruit store on East Main Street in 1896, and yet another Greek man, Epaminondas (Peter) Rousos opened a shoe-shine parlor in the Powers Building, and later a food importing firm called “Maggioros and Rousos” at 42 Front Street with Harry Maggioros. More and more Greek immigrants trickled into Rochester, several per year, and finally in 1904 the first local Greek family was started when Nicholas Katsampes was born in Rochester, the first of Rochester’s first-generation Greek children. By around 1910, the community was large enough that they had started an organization called “Ethnike-Aroge,” and had begun talking about forming a local chapter of a Greek Orthodox Church to fulfill the spiritual needs of the community.
The church was not always located where it is presently on East Avenue. The first Greek Orthodox services (between 1910 and 1912) were held once a month in a room that usually served as a coffee house on East Main Street, over what was once Daw’s Drug Store, near the old Reynolds Arcade. The priest would travel from Buffalo to conduct the services. After that, it moved around from location to location in downtown Rochester, and then briefly to the old Cook’s Opera House on South Avenue, until finally settling in on Howell Street, which today runs directly alongside the Inner Loop. The 1912-era congregation was so passionate about setting roots into a permanent location, that one of the congregants, Sotirios (Sam) Lagarias put forth a check for $400 towards the church’s establishment, a remarkable sum at a time when most salaries for immigrant Greeks ranged around $5 per week. This first donation towards the local Greek Orthodox church began a drive that raised about $5000 to complete the remodeling and adornment required for the Howell Street location, and even desks for the church’s Greek school. The Howell St. location opened for use in 1920. It was during this time, from 1912 until 1920 that the Greek immigrants of Rochester really pulled together, and became a community.
Considering what was happening in their homeland, it was perhaps not only necessary for survival in their new home of Rochester that the Greek community pull together, but possibly necessary for their hearts as well. The First Balkan war had broken out in Greece in 1912, and though settled far away, the Greek immigrants of Rochester were, of course, deeply sentimental in support of their homeland. So much so that when a Greek man came the church’s State Street location to raise money for a cannon, the community was said to be so stirred by his speech and poetry, his high silk hat and chest full of medals, that many in the audience wept. The donations came so quickly for the cannon, that they could hardly write the names of donors fast enough, collecting $3000 in one hour. Some even took off their gold watches and gave them on the spot. Even after contributing so generously towards war efforts, and building their own church on Howell Street, the Greek community grew more and more prosperous in difficult times, thriving as entrepreneurs in the heart of downtown Rochester.
The local Greek community, though now dispersed to Rochester’s suburbs, used to be very tight knit in the heart of Downtown Rochester, and the Corn Hill neighborhood. In 1920, the community lived mostly in the First, Third, and Fourth Wards, which are better known as the Corn Hill neighborhood, and the Cascade District, Four Corners District, and East End District of Downtown Rochester. The local Greek Orthodox Church’s records say that “not only were those first families closely knit by national ties but their everyday experiences. It is interesting to note they resided within a small radius of one another in an area of well-trimmed lawns and tree-lined streets in what was then known as Rochester’s Ruffled Shirt Ward – the Third Ward.” Nearly 8% of the residents in the Fourth Ward were of Greek descent, and it was almost 5% in the Third Ward, and 3% in the First Ward (Corn Hill.)*
In 1937, after surviving the economic hardships of the Great Depression, the Howell Street church succumbed to a “mystery blaze,” which raged for two hours, halting all traffic on Monroe Avenue. The beautiful, painstakingly decorated church was completely destroyed, so they moved to a new building at 110 South Fitzhugh street in the Four Corners District, before the purchase of the current East Avenue lot in 1955, for a mere $9,378. Just down the street from the George Eastman House, and surrounded by a variety of Rochester’s most upscale, Tudor and Greek revival mansions, the church is situated beautifully, for what now seems like such a small (and wise!) investment. And luckily for the rest of us Rochesterians of all cultures and backgrounds who come from all over the metro for this once-a-year celebration of Greek culture, we also get to enjoy the conveniently central, ornately beautiful East Ave neighborhood.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, the church is offering “Religious Tours,” which are offered at the Greek Festival Friday through Sunday at various times, noted on the Schedule of Events. I wish the Rundel Library had more on the local Greek history, post 1967, because now that I have a much clearer view of what life was like for the first Greek immigrants in the beginning of the 20th century, I’m curious about how the population has become the large and vibrant community that thrives in Rochester today. Perhaps I’ll have to try one of the church’s “Religious Tours,” which promises to provide insight into the Greek church’s “architecture, history, practices and beliefs.” That way I’ll have something new to say when next year’s Greek Festival rolls around.
If you can’t make the Greek Festival this year, at least you’ll be able to sample some of the amazing Greek cuisine (because that’s the part of the festival you”ll miss the most) that the wonderful Greek community offers at many of Rochester’s excellent dining establishments throughout the year. RocWiki has a running list of restaurants that offer Greek cuisine. (And, since its a wiki that can be edited by anyone who creates a free account, be sure to add any restaurants that haven’t been listed yet!)
* Source: Research by WIlliam Bement, undated, Ethnic Groups documentation (Folder 1/2), Monroe County Library, Rundel Branch
If you’re not already familiar with the Newdigs story, we are a humble local start-up with large aspirations. We want to simultaneously bring you the best apartment search experience you’ll ever have, the easiest way for landlords to market and manage their properties, and a robust blog that will help our users get to know the rental market intimately, so that they’re capable of making very informed decisions. Its a lot on the plate of a budding, incubated, locally boot-strapped start-up… so we’re reaching out to you, the Rochester community, for some help.
We need all hands on deck, and we know you’ve got a story to tell! Whether you’re an active member of your neighborhood, or a passive enjoyer of its restaurants & boutiques, you could probably tell us something about what it is to live where you live. Your stories will help not only fellow Rochestererians get to know the other neighborhoods near them, but they’ll help future residents decide where to live when they get to town. Plus, becoming a community storyteller will give you a creative outlet to share your opinions on the finest and funnest things that Rochester has to offer: events, cafes, restaurants, parks, concerts… the list could go on for miles. Your stories shape our neighborhoods. And, whether you’re doing it just for fun, or because you like to write and need an outlet, or because you’re looking to become better known in your community, becoming a Newdigs storyteller can help open doors of opportunity, sometimes in totally unexpected ways.
If you’re interested, contact the chief storyteller (that’s me) Kristin Munson:
You can reach me by email: email@example.com
On twitter: @mrsmunson OR @newdigsROC OR @newdigs
On Facebook: Newdigs
I can’t wait to hear your stories! Thanks for helping us grow Newdigs into a great company that can make Rochester proud.
We’re excited to participate in Imagine RIT, RIT’s festival of Innovation and Creativity, for the third year in a row! This year, we’ll be in the Gordon Field House with our peers at Venture Creations business incubator.
If you get to our booth quick enough, you’ll be able to get your hands on the first ever Newdigs Rochester Rental Market Guide! This is a very exclusive sneak preview of the guide, which won’t be seen by the rest of the city until Friday, May 13th, when our distributor drops them off to hundreds of area coffee shops, laundromats, and college campuses.
Please be sure to tweet to us (@newdigs) when you stop by our booth, so we can feel the love!
The Newdigs crew will be at the Rochester Housing Council’s Landlord Expo at MCC today!
We’ll be handing out several hundred copies of our new Rochester Rental Market Guide in advance of their distribution next week! Come to MCC between 10am & 4PM to get your hands on a copy!
Guess what! According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Spot Coffee, one of Rochester’s favorite wi-fi hotspots, will reopen sometime around the 3rd week in May!
For anyone who is a newcomer to the area since Spot closed in mid October 2010, you should start looking forward to your first Spot Coffee experience! The first thing you’ll notice as you approach Spot, is that its in a retro Chevrolet dealership, from the days when automobiles weren’t all sold on huge lots of paved farmland in the suburbs. Now, here’s where my description becomes an approximation, because as much as I can tell you about what it was like inside Spot Coffee before the renovation (it was pretty awesome), I am just as in the dark as the rest of you about what will be unveiled after the renovation! I am guessing that Spot Coffee hasn’t strayed too far from their previous concept of a two story floor plan with various areas to choose from that will all have a different sort of vibe, however a comment left on RocWiki, by user ChrisLaRosa leads me to believe that the once massive space has been segmented into two smaller spaces: “As part of the renovation, a wall has been built down the center which divides the former space into two halves. As of 11/27/10, the half on the right (facing the building) has a sign on the outside which says available.”
Pre-renovation you had your choice of window-side tables, a popular location for the students who choose Spot as their study location. There was also a curtained off “fireplace” area with comfy furniture, great for group gatherings, another window-side section with bar-type seating, and a balcony on the second floor, where one could sip coffee as they peered down below at the hustle and bustle. The coffee bar was located in the center of the floorplan, organized with ordering on one side of the center island, and pick-up on the other, creating a nice flow that allowed for plenty of space for the often long lines that come with Spot’s busier days. The original decor was a funky blend of colors and textures, with antique sofas, modern bistro tables, mirrored tiles around the fireplace, and long velvet curtains creating room like areas. Although Spot never lost its groovy charm, over the years the fabric curtains and the antique sofa had become grungier with time and use, making the renovations a welcome catharsis for the space.
According to a quote in the Democrat and Chronicle, Richard Gress, president of Spot’s U.S. operations, says that “the millwork is done, the coffee bar is in place, and they’re doing the flooring now, which is the last piece.” So, it sounds like we should be expecting a total overhaul of the venue, though Gress has stated that the homey feel and wi-fi that Spot was well known for, will remain as features at Spot.
If this is going to be your first visit to Spot, be prepared that your coffee won’t be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had. So, that’s why you’re not even going to order the coffee. No, instead, try Spot’s excellent take on the grilled cheese sandwich, with colby and cheddar cheeses, tomatoes, and creamy dijonnaise sandwiched between grilled focaccia. Pair your sandwich with a refreshing jet tea, a blended iced tea drink with your choice of strawberry, wildberry, strawberry-banana, mango or peach. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A coffee shop where the coffee’s no good, and this girl’s still telling me to check it out?” Yes, this girl, while not being able to bring herself to say that Spot Coffee’s primary focus is the flavor of their coffee, cannot deny that Spot Coffee has always been such an interesting venue that it’s worthy of your patronage despite not being able to make a decent cup of joe. So, menu choices in mind, brace yourself to make a visit to the newly renovated Spot Coffee when it is finally revealed at the end of May.