0133 Very Artsy Rochester (USA 065—revisit)

Rochester Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 49 › view all entries

Rochester is a little bit of a detour, but I figure it's a must see since I'm already in the area.

 As I near the city, though, only one thing is on my mind:  find a Chinese Buffet before the 4:00 lunch breakoff time!  So I frantically drive around Strip Mall Hell in the Rochester suburbs until I find the biggest Chinese Buffet I've ever seen... That'll take care of lunch, supper, AND tomorrow's breakfast!

 Rochester brings back memories from long, long ago: August 1988 when I was still a youngster and my family went on a road trip across the USA visiting relatives.  We started in Tucson, Arizona and after a couple of weeks reached our high water mark, Rochester, New York where my maternal aunt and her family lived.  My cousin Kevin treated me well taking my swimming and on bike rides along the Erie canal.

 It was a insightful opportunity to see the life of a “normal” suburban American family (unlike mine) basketball hoop in the driveway and all…

 Now here I am, 20 years later, and I’m excited to rediscover this city.  I head into town up Monroe Blvd I park my car down side street so I can walk into town.  Although the houses in the area quite beautiful, Monroe has a bit of a seedy feel with its adult bookstores and liquor stores and lots and lots of police cars... But as soon as you cross "The Loop" into downtown, everything changes...

 There's the Children's Museum with an unusual glass enclosed little forest... there's a bigass castle (apparently emptly at the moment)... there the East side of town with tree lined boulevards, mansions and museums.

.. conservatories... live music... splendid concert halls... more museums... And then there's this building that from the outside it looks like an old, run-down High School--but inside it's been converted into a really cool mall with all sorts of odd, trendy shops and bizarre Modern Art sculptures...

 I asked a guy as I waited in line to use the restroom at Wendy's (yes, I use restrooms at fast food joints all the time without buying anything...) why Rochester had such a focus on art and music.

 The guy told me, "Rochester is what it is thanks to George Eastman (the inventor of Kodak film).  He also invented the 8 hour work day.  Since his employees had so much time off, he built the Eastman theater and the conservatory to give folks something to do with their free time.  Thus Rochester is the art and music hub that it is."

I don't know that that's all entirely true--all the same, I'm truly inspired by this city.

 Across the river there's another downtown district--I come across a really cool shot of a steel and glass skyscraper, a French Baroque style building and neoclassical Roman building all crammed together!

 Loved Rochester... maybe someday I'll come back here and meet a few more folks...

 Right now, however, I'm on a mission:  CANADA


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photo by: nathanphil