Like Chef's in Buffalo, Antonetta's has great sauce.
Monday, July 2, 2012 Rochester, NY - Here's the way I see it...
The Good. Rochester International Jazz Festival: While not always so focused on actual jazz music (Jazz to me is the 'cool' jazz movement of the 1950's and 1960's; i.e. Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond; Miles Davis & John Coltrane LIVE in Stockholm, 1963, etc.), but the two nights I attended were quite excellent (especially last Friday night, listening to Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, on Gibbs Street; they were killer good!).
The Good: Pier 45 Restaurant, Charlotte. Had lunch there, first time ever, on Saturday afternoon. Nice breeze, better food (the low-cal Monte Cristo sandwich), with the Nina and Pinta replica ships docked below; and a massive Canadian flagged ship being pushed into the harbor by a tug boat. This scene reminded me why I love Rochester.
The Good: The Sam Patch, departing from Schoen Place, Pittsford Village. Intimate, fun, and relaxing. How many other regions of the U.S. have anything like the Erie Canal? Also, try the Mary Jemison, departing Corn Hill Landing, and the Colonial Belle, out of Fairport.
The Good: Taking the long way to Canada, driving west on the Lake Ontario State Parkway / NY Route 18. Very scenic, and on some stretches, your vehicle will barely traverse dry land, as you drive merely yards away from Lake Ontario. A hidden gem, that beats the hell out of the Thruway, and its sterility and expense.
The Good: Greater Rochester's amazing variety of pizza joints, and great Italian restaurants. Let's see: Pizza. Any Cams; Linda's New York Style Pizzeria, corner of Lyell at Wetmore; Any Salvatore's; Bay & Goodman Pizza, on Titus; Pontillo's, with pepperoni & onions. Italian cuisine: Northside Inn in E.R.; Antonetta's on Jay Street; Roncone's on Lyell; Mario's on Monroe; Pasta Villa on East Ridge; etc., etc., et. al.
The Good: Local Not-for-profits. Like, the Empire Justice Center; Farm Worker Legal Services of N.Y.; The Rochester Area Community Foundation; House of Mercy, on Hudson; Foodlink; AIDS Care; The United Way; etc.
The Bad. The apparent embarrassment this community seems to feel for its places of commerce and retail. For instance, next time you drive to Toronto on the QEW, remember to make note of the large size, color, and frequency of signs on office buildings, corporate headquarters, warehouses, and retail centers along the highway, as well as in Downtown Toronto. Contrast this fact with the small, sometimes poorly placed, and even absent signage in our area. Local examples include the microscopic sign on the La Quinta Inn, at I-390 and East Henrietta Rd. (by MCC); the sign on the Extended Stay America hotel, in Frontier Commons, at Jefferson and I-390 (by the time you realize it's a hotel, you're too far beyond the hotel to exit the expressway even remotely close to your overnight destination). Also, Xerox Tower downtown never had a sign, then wisely installed a giant red "X" at the top of the building in the 1990's, only to take it down a few years later. Finally, where is the "B&L" on the B&L tower downtown?
The Bad: That the so-called 'Airport Marriott' is allowed to be called, the Airport Marriott. Located right at the airport, on West Ridge Road in Greece, this high rise has only one thing in common with the airport: Sometimes patrons can see a commercial jet fly over, at several thousand feet. Okay, it's the closest 'Marriott' to the airport, but out of towners must be amazed at its designation, when they board a shuttle, and find out, first hand, just how 'not-airport' this Marriott is.
The Ugly. The on-going snobbery, crass provincialism, and regional contempt contained in expressions like "3-1-5'er" (negatively referring to anyone with a 315 area code); Westside versus Eastside (stereotypes include derogatory references to the wages and intelligence of those residing west of the Genesee River, versus the alleged snobbery and wealth of those living east of the Genesee). Last but not least, the general contempt too many suburbanites seem to have for poor persons (especially Blacks and Hispanics) living in the City of Rochester. Community wide attitudes are part of the reason the cycle of poverty is nearly impossible to break in Rochester's toughest neighborhoods. Also, I really don't need to ever hear again the expression "White trash."
The UGLY: Our AMTRAK station. Allegedly, the money has now been allocated by Congress to begin demolition/renovations, but those of us who have lived for many years in Greater Rochester will agree, we'll believe we're getting a new train station when we see it. Built in 1978 as a temporary station, 34 years later, this cookie cutter, sterile, nothing of a station seems pretty permanent to many of us. Because of her difficult re-election campaign, and her longtime advocacy of an inter-modal train-bus station, if shovels are in the ground before November, to knock down this eyesore, perhaps Louise Slaughter will have an easier time defeating Republican Maggie Brooks. If not, maybe Louise should take the last train to Clarksville on November 7th?
-Christopher J. Wilmot, Pittsford, NY
What is your Good, Bad, or Ugly?
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