Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wedding Stuff, Evaluation of Downtown Rochester, and Other Adventures from the #17 East Avenue Bus.

First off. Just a reminder that wedding information can be found at: www.mywedding.com/bellkraus

ON TO ROCHESTER!!!
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Megan and I are able to legally marry in the State of New York for the next 60 days!!! Amazing what $40 can get you these days...

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Pittsford City Hall to pick up our marriage license.

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Gertie the Ewok dog!

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Sunken Gardens at Highland Park where Megan and I are planning to have our wedding photos taken

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My ancestor Wilhelm Otto von Kraus after his arrest in Texas in 1885

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Downtown branch of the Rochester Public Library

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Atrium of the Bausch and Lomb Building.

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WATCH OUT!

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It looks like a weird statue of bear cubs chasing a sloth. But, I think it's dogs chasing a raccoon. I found it behind the Science Museum where Megan had her bridal shower.

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Let me start by saying the Rochester is a nice puzzle that seems to be missing some pieces. They have lots of great things, some forgotten, other destroyed, and sometimes under utilized. It wouldn't take much for it to be a great city. It has many of the pieces that other similar cities would love to have.

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Nice boulevard on the way toward downtown from East Avenue. Probably Sibley Place.

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beautiful Victorian home

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Bug Jar. A hipster/indie venue

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I believe this is called Wadsworth Square, one of many Frederick Law Olmstead squares and parks in Rochester. Unfortunately, this one is squeezed between two highways (one that seems to be nearly unused), was turned into a parking lot, and recently converted back into a park. The original landscape is obviously not there.

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The Inner Loop. The downtown seems to have a 4+ lane, one way roads all over. Could really benefit from returning them to two-way streets and making two lanes into street parking.  Maybe cover it up and put in parks.  Leave the space underneath available for future mass transit loop or utility needs.

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Strong Museum of Play and National Toy Hall of Fame. Looks like a cool place and I'd love to go there sometime. They really make it difficult to find the entrance though. This is not it.
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I thought this was it, but there's no door either.

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I guess this is the entrance to the Strong Museum. Kind of looks like a Circuit City and not very inviting with the imprisoned cars.

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Manhattan Park. This is what I refer to as "Robocop architecture." Anyone who has seen Robocop knows what I am talking about. This is almost identical to the park the use to be in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan that they tore out and replaced with a at grade Rosa Park Circle. It went from being unused to the most popular spot downtown.

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I've asked several people what this is above Manhattan Park and no one knew. I'm guessing it's a viewing deck.

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Dinosaur BBQ in an old railroad station right above the old Erie Canal/Rochester subway

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Behind Dinosaur BBQ where you can see where the canal and subway bed use to be

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The dam downtown with the Susan B. Anthony/Frederick Douglas Bridge behind it.



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Really cool Broad Street Bridge. The lower half was originally the Erie Canal, which was where barges traveled over the Genesee River. Then, it was converted to be used for the city's subway system. Sometime later, it was topped with a road, which is now in disrepair (the original lower structure is still sound. I guess they are planning to do something new with it. Some info here: http://broadstreetcorridor.com/

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Broad Street Bridge

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Inside the subway portion of the Broad Street Bridge

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It is my understanding that this is the "festival grounds." If so, Rochester is in desperate need of a civic park for festivals, concerts, speeches, etc. like Central Park or Grant Park.

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Court Street Bridge

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Times Square Building. Art Deco building straight out of Superman

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Similar to a statue on top of the Montgomery Wards Warehouse in Chicago

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The top use to have a rotating restaurant.

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The public library. This river could really benefit from a River Walk like Milwaukee or Chicago. This would be a great place to wander, have a cafe, read a book, and just enjoy the city.

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A River Walk here would be great to increase activity, raise the value of these buildings, and connect to the park on the right.

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Main Street Bridge

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River Walk connection between Broad Street and the Convention Center would be great.

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They had these pictures all over downtown. While it's for their celebration, it kind of reads a bit depressing. It seems to just recall the glory days before post WWII suburbanization. It would be nice to counter this with "Downtown: The Way It Will Be"

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Main Street Bridge is really nice. But this made me cringe. You have a beautiful view of the river and the city and look at the benches. These are facing the traffic. Who wants to come to such a great location and look at speeding cars?

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A nice park off of Main Street.

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This area in front of the Pink Hotel could easily be a River Walk with attractions for the public and hotel guests alike.

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A nice piece of Robocop architecture. Nice and low to the river. Somewhat disconnected to the main roads. Probably a great place to take a lunch break.

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Not so nice Robocop architecture nearby. Not very friendly or inviting. Could benefit from removal of the walls and some nice flowing landscaping.

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Pedestrian bridge.
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Too much concrete. And is that a guard tower?

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A sculpture that appears to be a motorcycle "sphere of death"

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flags on pedestrian bridge

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Andrew Street Bridge. Downtown Rochester has excellent bridges that really should be emphasized with lighting and other enhancements.

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This property is ripe for a park. Anything else would be a waste. Maybe the large civic gathering place I suggested earlier. It's between downtown's business district, Main Street shopping district, the baseball and soccer stadiums, and High Falls. Either way, I'm a strong believer that all land on rivers and lakes should be public parks like in Chicago and other great cities.

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Looking toward the Inner Loop Highway, the railroad bridge, and High Falls.

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Needs a river walk again. Trust me!

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Gateway to the High Falls neighborhood with the Kodak Building behind it.

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Frontier Field. Home of the Rochester Red Wings. First thing you see when you enter the High Falls Neighborhood. There are too many parking lots downtown. Right behind me in this photo is another parking garage. This area should be full of bars and other attractions for people and families before and after games.

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Genesee River diverted. Probably for hydroelectric power?

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The diversion ran under the road

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Viewing area at High Falls. It's a converted old factory building.

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Unfortunately, the viewing deck is too low. The best way to see the 100 foot falls from the top is to climb the wall like these guys.

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Exterior of the viewing deck

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A view of the High Falls area looking toward the pedestrian bridge and Genesee Brewery.

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High Falls from the top.

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See the footings? That would be a great viewing area and river walk crossing since it's not very far from the High Falls. Plus, the infrastructure is already there.

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The concrete wall on the right is what makes the viewing deck too low. They should remove it or raise the viewing area. Or build out to the concrete wall and use it as the viewing wall.

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a "door" at the base of the fall. Just thought it was interesting.

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Area around base of the High Falls. I don't think it's a park or anything, which is odd.

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More parking

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Old waterwheel.
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Pedestrian Bridge

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Kodak Building under restoration it seems.

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City Hall also seems to be under restoration.

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A really nice bus shelter on Main Street

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Plymouth and Main appears to be a high traffic intersection. This property should have some retail or high end condos or something. It's all parking lots. This whole part of downtown seems to be parking lots.

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More parking lots

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A nice reuse of an old factory. Not sure if it's condos or offices. Looks great though.

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Nick Tahou's, the home of the Garbage plate. Look it up if you don't know.

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Nice streetwall on Main Street

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Apparently, Rochesterians were big fans of the Detroit Red Wings Hall of Famer as well...

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This building is awesome.

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Main and St. Paul

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This reminds me of Monroe Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I bet if you removed the facades of many of the building around here, there are beautiful Victorian structures under.

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Chase Plaza. If it wasn't inviting enough already, the PUBLIC plaza has a "Private Property" sign to encourage you to stay away.

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I don't know if there are shops down there. I can't imagine anyone wanting to go into this dark tunnel to go shopping.

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Chase Tower is pretty interesting Modern architecture. It's really disconnected from the street, but nice otherwise.

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I wonder what the story is with the building with no windows...



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Old Sibley's Department Store Building. Megan's grandpa use to work there.

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nice building

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Looking toward liberty poll plaza. What is a Liberty Pole, you ask? From what I've been able to figure out, apparently towns that supported the American Revolution erected a large wooden pole in there main squares to show support. This is a contemporary version of the same this out of metal. Locals don't seem to know anything about that, but they do know that lights are strung from it to make a x-mas tree.

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Close up on the Liberty Pole.
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another nice building.

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Nice school

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If they put a "cover" or "top" on the Inner Loop behind the school above, they could have plenty of new land for a playground. Kind of like Boston's Big Dig, but without digging.
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Nice stretch of little businesses and shops.

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The chicken on the BBQ looked really, really, good.

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"For the enrichment of community life," the Eastman Theatre.

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It appears they are expanding the Eastman Theatre.




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Some kind of protest. Not sure what it was really. There were a few college kids with signs that were about bailouts and immigration. This police vehicle seems a bit much for the few kids protesting everything.


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Another nice street wall near Main Street on St. Paul.

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Nice building.

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Part Canadian. Part Mexican. All American...

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St. Joe's Church facade. It appears to have burned down in the 1970s. This could be another good area for my proposed civic park for concerts and festivals and all. Close to the business core, near High Falls, the river, and other attractions. Plus, the church could be a nice and unique focal point.

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The rest of St. Joe's neighbors on the block.

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The old Midtown Mall. It's a super block development of the 1960. Now, they are trying to undo the development and restore the city blocks for reuse. Check it out at: www.midtownrochesterrising.com


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Midtown

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First Universalist Church

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For you Muskegon folk out there, this might look familiar. This reminds me of the Civil War monument in Hackley Park. The one in Rochester is by L. W. Volk. Not sure if the same guy made the one in Muskegon, but I wouldn't be surprised...

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Close up of the first ironclad battle.

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Muskegon might also think this looks like their St. Mary's...

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Geva Theatre.

Enough of the city. I hopped on the #17 bus and rode back to Megan's dad's house. I think that bus route was designed specifically for him. It goes from the heart of downtown to practically his front door 6 miles outside of town for $1. You can't beat that.

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Hotsy Totsy Megan after her bridal shower.

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Rachel, my niece-of-the-future.

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She's evaluating the various photographs and telling me why some are better than others.

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Yep. She's going to fit in with my side of the family REAL easily...

That's more than enough for now. Remember, for wedding information, please go to: www.mywedding.com/bellkraus
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