We are very excited and grateful at Newdigs to have been featured on WXXI’s Innovation Trail, which highlights the budding start up economy in their ‘Company Town’ series. Zack Seward sat down with Ben & Daniel at Newdigs HQ, and talked about Newdigs’ aspirations for the coming months and years. We can’t say enough how jazzed we are to be a part of this movement in our community towards starting businesses and identifying viable products to solve market problems.
We’d really like to hear back from Rochester (and the rest of NY) about your ideas and wishes for apartment search. We’re listening!
This March, Newdigs.com was recognized at Rochester Business Journal’s Best of the Web awards. We were nominated in the Real Estate and Construction category, along side Morgan Communities and PayRentChex, and came away with the win. As excited as we were to win, coming in second place overall, with the Rochester Business Journal Best of the Web Silver Award, to PayChex , an eleven billion dollar company, blew our minds.
Since our public beta launch at the Imagine RIT Festival, in May 2010, we’ve been working to prove our concept locally before taking the site to every corner of the nation. We see these awards as recognition that we’ve built a service Rochester has a real need for, and that the community is truly embracing us as a locally grown technology start-up. We’ve got our foundation built, and we’re ready to take the Newdigs platform national.
This summer, as we shift gears into building a national awareness of our brand, be ready for a new face on Newdigs… We’ll be the same old newdigs deep down, but with new some additional functionality, more updates as we hit other metros, and as always, we’ll be looking for ways to continuously improve the user experience through the site’s look and feel and flow.
Thanks Rochester, for embracing our little technology start-up, and thank you Rochester Business Journal for the two Best of the Web Awards!
Newdigs is a finalist for a Rochester Business Journal (2012) Best of the Web Award! This is our first Best of the Web Award nomination, and we are honored. We are a finalist in the category of “Real Estate.” We’re up against two other fantastic examples of web excellence, Morgan Communities, and PayRentChex, who we’d like to take a moment to congratulate and wish good luck.
We’ve been quiet lately, holed away in our programming dungeon cranking out tons of great new products to be introduced this year… so we were shocked at this sudden, unexpected recognition! The winners will be announced at a ceremony on March 13th. Wish us luck! We won’t be quiet much longer… you’ll be hearing a lot more from us in the weeks to come as we make some big announcements.
I knew I was hungry. I knew that after another long day of helping renters find their perfect new digs, interviewing some excellent candidates for our storyteller internships, and replying to all the great feedback we’ve been receiving by email and on our Facebook and Twitter pages, I could use a beer. I also knew that despite a fridge full of produce from the Public Market and my vegetable garden, I was in no mood to cook. But what I didn’t know when Ben and I stepped out of our little South Wedge duplex was where we would find this much needed sustenance.
We wandered aimlessly towards South Avenue, the main business corridor of the South Wedge, knowing that we were sure to find something to satiate both hunger and thirst. Lux nearly lured us in with their hipstery goodness and the promise of a Wednesday night movie in the bar’s back yard before we decided that their brown-bagged “Luxable” meals weren’t exactly the warm dinner we sought. Maybe a mojito and a po’ boy at Beale Street Cafe? It seemed perhaps one of the gourmet selections and the mile-long beer list at Tap & Mallet was what we needed, until our feet carried us past that, and we reached the Equal Grounds Coffee House, marking the end of the South Wedge’s little shopping district. Would we turn back and choose one of the above, or was there perhaps another choice? Something tucked away in the nearby streets of the Highland neighborhood, where we could eat and drink so cheaply that we might mistake ourselves for thieves? The answer had revealed itself to us. We hadn’t realized it until this moment, but our combined subconscious had known all along that we were headed to Dicky’s.
Its hard to find a more comfortable bar than Dicky’s, which is probably why it has lasted so long. Although it has seen a couple of brief closings, name changes, and of course changes in ownership, Dicky’s has outlived every other bar in Rochester, staking its claim as the city’s oldest bar, having originally opened in 1880. The trough running along the bar below the bar stools was originally running with a stream of water, so that farmers in the adjacent Swillburg neighborhood could rinse the muck from their boots before tromping around the bar. Rumor also has it that the trough served, for gentlemen too befuddled to make it to the restroom, as a back-up option for some of their more urgent needs. (This was a time before ladies would be found in such an establishment.) While everything from the menu to the playlist have been updated of course, the bar still has a charming neighborhood feel that would seem nearly impossible for it to ever lose.
Before finding our seats at the bar, Ben and I took a look at the specials menu. The $6 seasonal Rohrbach looked tasty, but $6 seemed like a lot for one beer. As we discussed, the bartender, overhearing, informed us that that was $6 for an entire pitcher of beer. Wow! Sold. The specials board also suggested a $4 fried fish sandwich, and a $13 NY Strip with potatoes and asparagus. Now, we’re not strangers to Dicky’s, so we know that there’s hardly a better cheeseburger in town, and that no matter what we chose, it would be exactly what we were craving. “Lets just get both the specials.” It was a unanimous decision.
While we waited for our meal, we munched on Dicky’s interesting new bar snack, uncooked linguini that is deep fried, and then coated in an addictive mixture of Parmesan cheese, salt pepper, and something that added a spicy little kick. We made note that the playlist was always just our style, peppered with Bob Marley and Sublime. Our beer was delicious: a dark ale that wasn’t too hoppy. And in no time at all, we were looking at two massive plates of food.
Like most Rochester establishments, Dicky’s is well acquainted with the fish fry. As simple as it was, their fried fish sandwich showed their vast experience in surrounding flaky white fish with a light, crispy layer of breading. It rested between either side of a soft, fresh roll. Topped with a piece of lettuce, and a tomato, and served with tartar sauce on the side, we found the fish sandwich to be classic, unadulterated, and very satisfying. The mound of fat french fries next to it was just an unexpected bonus at this point, because who would imagine such a large meal for $4?
The quality of the NY Strip that we received was tremendous. There wasn’t a single bite too fatty to eat, and we were warriors ready to conquer this challenge. Well seasoned, cooked medium, the steak was juicy and tender, a contender with steaks you’d expect to find at the type of restaurant with white linens and cloth napkins. Overjoyed, we turned our sights on the sides. Our asparagus came roasted to perfection, sprinkled with a little lemon juice. We found the occasional green onion amongst the mountainous heap of slightly garlicky, well-mashed potatoes.
We were already so stuffed, and so happy that we had chosen Dicky’s, that when we received our bill, all $24 of it, we nearly cried tears of joy that we live in such an affordable, walkable, trendy little city. Thank you, Dicky’s. Thank you Rochester.
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.
Whether your a native of the greater Rochester area or you’re moving here from out of state, it doesn’t take long before you start flirting with the idea of renting in the East Avenue Neighborhood. Not only is East Ave a cultural hub of the city, but it’s also where Rochester’s earliest businessmen chose to locate their palatial homes. Eastman Kodak founder, George Eastman‘s mansion is one of the most spectacular and has been preserved as a present day museum. True to Eastman’s passion for photography and film, the Eastman House features film and animation exhibits, and houses the Dryden Theatre where rare movie titles are often screened for the public. As you stroll down East, mansions modeled after Bavarian chateaus and Tudor castles dot the tree lined avenue. While some of these gems remain single family estates, many have been converted into apartments and condos. In years past many fell prey to the wrecking ball, but their land has since been redeveloped with higher density towers and apartment buildings.
The apartment inventory in this part of the city has some of the most breathtaking units in the city. Renowned architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and J. Foster Warner, who designed the Eastman House, spared no expense appointing rooms with hand carved fireplace mantels and inlaid hardwood floors. (J. Foster Warner’s own home was recently listed on Newdigs, but has since been leased.) These details, that were once reserved for the area’s elite, now find themselves in very reasonably priced apartments packed with charm and historic details. Some larger ‘owners units’ may be 2 or 3 bedrooms, and rent for $1500-$3000 per month, but there are plenty of units to be found for $700-$1200 per month. If you prefer ’professionally managed’ properties over architectural details in private homes, you may want to check out some of the apartment buildings like 1600 East Ave managed by Tri-City Rentals, or Regency House managed by The Cabot Group.
Life on East Ave is incredibly convenient. To the north of the East Ave neighborhood, is Neighborhood of the Arts. The neighborhoods blend together seamlessly from the grandeur of the mostly residential East Ave neighborhood, into the artsy hot spots along Art Walk, like the Memorial Art Gallery, Village Gate, and Starry Nights Cafe in the adjacent Neighborhood of the Arts. At the eastern most edge of the East Avenue neighborhood lies the ultimate convenience: the City of Rochester’s only Wegmans. Across from Wegmans lies another rare convenience, a 24-hour gym, World Wide Gym. The East Ave neighborhood is directly adjacent to the shop & restaurant-dense Park Avenue neighborhood, as well as the “East End,” which is known for being the city’s main nightlife hub and overlaps the Western end of East Ave neighborhood, and an Eastern slice of downtown Rochester. On several occasions during the summer, the club district holds the East End Fest where thousands of revelers come out to drink and enjoy live music. Local favorites like The Old Toad, The Blue Room, Mex, Monty’s Corner and Murphy’s Law are all located within a block of East Avenue and Alexander Street.
If nightclubs aren’t your thing, you can always drop by the Rochester Museum and Science Center at 657 East Ave or the adjacent Strasenburgh Planetarium. The planetarium also features a 12.5-inch diameter reflecting telescope, which is available for free public viewing on Saturday evenings, when weather permits.
During the cold winter month’s you’ll love the proximity (and short drives) to all the action downtown. In the Summer, East Ave turns into one of the more popular running/biking corridors, with VIP-like front-lawn access to festivals.