About Rochester New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York State, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. The Rochester metropolitan area is the second largest economy in New York State, behind the New York City metropolitan area. Known as The World’s Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City. It is the county seat for Monroe County.
Rochester’s population is approximately 208,000 making it New York’s third largest city. It is at the center of a larger Metropolitan Area which encompasses and extends past Monroe County and includes Genesee County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Orleans County and Wayne County. This area, which is part of the Western New York region, had a population of 1,037,831 people in the 2000 Census. As of July 1, 2005, this population rose slightly to 1,039,028.
Rochester was ranked #6 among 379 U.S. Metro areas in the 25th edition of the Places Rated Almanac for Most Livable Cities. In 2007, Rochester was ranked as the top city in the country by Expansion Management Magazine for quality of life. Expansion Management rated the region’s public schools sixth best nationwide among metropolitan areas of a million people or more.
The current Mayor of Rochester is Thomas Richards. Previous mayor was Robert Duffy, who was the city’s Police Chief before being elected mayor and presently holds the position of Lieutenant Governor in Albany.
Principal suburbs surrounding the city include Brighton, Chili, East Rochester, Fairport, Gates, Greece, Henrietta, Irondequoit, Penfield, Pittsford, Spencerport, Brockport, Victor, and Webster.
Rochester has a number of neighborhoods, as well as popular communities in the inner ring suburbs, Brighton, Irondequoit and Greece. Dewey, Barnard, Browncroft, Mt. Read, Maplewood, Edgerton, Lyell, Otis, Dutchtown, 19th Ward, Southwest, Corn Hill, Cascade District, High Falls District, Grove Place, East End, South Wedge, Marketview Heights, Swillburg, Upper Monroe, Park Avenue, Beechwood, 14621 Community, German Village, University-Atlantic, Charlotte and Cobbs Hill are all primary neighborhoods.
The area around Park Avenue in southeast Rochester is considered the Greenwich Village of Rochester. It is a popular area, especially for students and young people. Lining the streets are cafes, shops, pubs and restaurants. In a broader view, the total area surrounding University Avenue is one of the most culture and art-rich sections of the city. Located here are the Village Gate, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester Public Market, ArtWalk, George Eastman House and high-end residential streets such as Granger Drive and Oxford Street.
The East End is a residential neighborhood in Downtown Rochester but also the main nightlife district. The Eastman Theater and the Eastman School of Music are in the East End, along with the Little Theatre, an independent film theatre and many clubs, bars and high-end restaurants.
The South Wedge neighborhood dates back to 1827, prior to the incorporation of Rochester Village. The area is bordered by Marshall and Main streets in the north, Goodman St. and the town of Brighton on its east and south sides, and St. Paul St. on the west. This economically distressed neighborhood is one of the few in Rochester undergoing the process of gentrification, partially due to a recent increase in homeownership in the area. The South Wedge has a large concentration of Rochester’s gay population and is home to the only specifically gay-friendly coffee shop in the city.
This pie-shaped piece of the city is bordered by S. Clinton, Field St, and 490. The neighborhood received its moniker when a 19th century Rochester pig farmer utilized the area to collect swill for his swine. The neighborhood association humorously honors its roots by using street signs featuring the Swillburg Pig. The area has one of the highest rates of homeownership in the city.
The Corn Hill neighborhood near downtown is one of the nation’s best preserved Victorian neighborhoods and a center for art. It is undergoing renovation and construction for residential buildings along the Genesee River, and the Corn Hill Art Festival is one of the city’s most popular gatherings for art display.
Charlotte (shar-LOT) is a lake front community in Rochester bordering Lake Ontario. It is home to Ontario Beach Park, commonly known as Charlotte Beach, which is a popular summer destination for Rochesterians.
Colleges and Universities
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity SchoolEducation is one of Rochester’s primary economic areas. The city and its suburbs are home to a number of colleges and universities:
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
Monroe Community College
Roberts Wesleyan College
Rochester Institute of Technology
Saint John Fisher College
St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry
University of Rochester (including the Eastman School of Music)
Together with Alfred University, SUNY Alfred, Empire State College, Finger Lakes Community College, SUNY Geneseo, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, each within an hour of Rochester, these institutions comprise the Rochester Area Colleges consortium.
River Campus of the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester (U of R), consistently ranked among the top 35 universities in the nation and deemed “one of the new Ivies,”has some of the best undergraduate programs in the country when it comes to the arts, sciences, and engineering, and the medical school has top ranked research programs and one of the best primary care curricula in the nation.The business school is also at the top of its class in many categories.
The University of Rochester’s Laboratory For Laser Energetics (LLE) is home to the highest energy laser in the world, the OMEGA laser. OMEGA is capable of emitting light at a power 100 times the electrical power output of the country in less than one billionth of a second. The LLE is currently constructing the OMEGA EP laser, which will be 50 times more powerful than OMEGA and will be the most powerful laser in the world, able to manifest power densities high enough to examine hawking radiation-like phenomena in the laboratory. The U of R’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics is important now, because it serves at the US’s main laser fusion program while the Department of Energy is building the National Ignition Facility. “The Laboratory for Laser Energetics has played a leading, national role in efforts to develop nuclear fusion as a reliable energy source and in the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship program,” says University President Joel Seligman.
The University of Rochester is home to the Eastman School of Music, which in 2010 was ranked the number one music school in America.
Rochester Institute of Technology
The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 1829 and is the tenth largest private university in the country in terms of full-time students. It is internationally known for its science, computer, engineering, and art programs, as well as for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a leading deaf-education institution. RIT has leased 60 acres of the campus to Wilmorite Properties, a real estate company based in Rochester, to build an enterprise called Park Point at RIT. It will be open to not just RIT but the Rochester community as well. The project is scheduled to be complete by August 2008.
Monroe Community College
Monroe Community College (MCC) has highly ranked soccer and basketball teams. MCC is home to the Mercer Gallery where students and artists from all over the country exhibit work, located on MCC’s Brighton Campus.
Roberts Wesleyan College
Roberts Wesleyan was ranked the third-best value private college in the U.S. by the Princeton Review in 2007—the only school in New York State ranked in the top 10. It is also Rochester’s only college affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.
Culture and recreation
Rochester is home to a large number of cultural institutions considering its population. These include the world-renowned Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Strong – National Museum of Play, the A|V Room, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, and numerous arts organizations. Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center is the city’s largest professional theatre.
Rochester has several districts containing bars and nightspots but the primary area is the East End District in the southeast part of downtown. Restaurants, bistros, and nightclubs can also be found in the St. Paul Quarter, Monroe Avenue (and Upper Monroe), as well as Park Avenue. The South Wedge neighborhood boasts a wine bar, a British-style pub, an Irish pub, a honky-tonk cajun bar-b-que joint and numerous other restaurants and bars.
The city’s Victorian era Mt. Hope Cemetery includes the final resting place of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and George Baldwin Selden. Other scenic cemeteries are Holy Sepulchre and its neighbor the Riverside Cemetery. Rochester is also known for its parks, including the Highland Park, Cobb’s Hill Park, Durand-Eastman Park, Genesee Valley Park, Maplewood Park, Edgerton Park, Seneca Park and Ontario Beach Park.
Lamberton Conservatory from 1911 in the Highland ParkThe city has 13 full-time recreation centers, 19 swimming programs, 3 artificial ice rinks, 66 softball/baseball fields, 47 tennis courts, 5 football fields, 7 soccer fields, and 43 outdoor basketball courts. As a legacy of its time as “The Flower City”, Rochester hosts a Lilac Festival for ten days every May, when nearly 400 varieties of lilacs bloom, and 100,000 visitors arrive.
Highland ParkMumford, a hamlet in the town of Wheatland southwest of Rochester, is home to the Genesee Country Village and Museum, a combination of a model village, where examples of local architecture are preserved; sporting art and carriage museums; a nature center; and model gardens.
To Rochester’s south is the scenic Letchworth State Park, the so-called “Grand Canyon of the East”, with its river gorge and waterfalls. Also to the south and southeast is the glacially-formed Finger Lakes Region, with its numerous lakes and waterfalls.
The Lilac FestivalRochester has a number of festivals, many of which occur in late spring and throughout the summer. These include the Rochester International Jazz Festival, established in 2002; the Corn Hill Festival (arts, crafts, and food in this Third Ward neighborhood); the Rochester-High Falls International Film Festival (held at the George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre and the Little Theatre downtown); ImageOut, The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival (also held at the Little Theatre); Clothesline Art Festival (artists from the region display their works on the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery); Park Avenue Merchants Festival; Lilac Festival at Highland Park; St. Patrick’s Day parade (March); Rose Festival at Maplewood Park; Irish festival (September); two Greek festivals – one on East Avenue (in June) and one on South Avenue (in September); Gay Pride Festival (July); Puerto Rican Festival(August); Rochester Music Festival; and the Cold Rush Winter Celebration (celebrating winter sports in the Rochester area).
During the summer, and especially on the Fourth of July, downtown after dark is lit with fireworks and a laser show at the High Falls venue.