Rochester, New York

This article is about the city of Rochester in Monroe County. For the town in Ulster County, see Rochester, Ulster County, New York. For the metropolitan area, see Rochester, New York metropolitan area.
Rochester, New York

(top to bottom, left to right) the Downtown Rochester Skyline, High Falls (Rochester, New York), Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, Kodak Tower, Times Square Building, Midtown Plaza


Nickname(s): "The Flour City", "The Flower City", "The World's Image Center",
Motto: Rochester: Made for Living

Location in Monroe County and the state of New York.
Rochester, New York

Location in the United States

Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139
Country United States
State New York
County Monroe
Founded 1788
Incorporated as a Village March 21, 1817 (as Rochesterville)[1]
Incorporated as a City April 28, 1834
  Type Mayor-Council
  Mayor Lovely Warren (D)
  City Council
  City 37.1 sq mi (96.1 km2)
  Land 35.8 sq mi (92.8 km2)
  Water 1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)
Elevation 505 ft (154 m)
Population (2012)
  City 210,565 (US: 103rd)
  Density 6,132.9/sq mi (2,368.3/km2)
  Urban 720,572 (US: 60th)
  Metro 1,082,284 (US: 51st)
Demonym(s) Rochesterian
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP code 146xx (14604=downtown)
Area code = 585
FIPS code 36-63000
GNIS feature ID 0962684

Rochester (/ˈrɒstər/ or /ˈrɒˌɛstər/) is a city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in the western portion of the U.S. state of New York, and the seat of Monroe County.

The city's population (210,565) was the state's third largest — after New York City and Buffalo — at the time of the 2010 census. Rochester is the center of a larger metropolitan area that encompasses and extends beyond Monroe County, and comprises 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 1,079,671 at the time of the 2010 Census. A Census estimate of July 1, 2012, raised that number to 1,082,284.[2]

Rochester was one of America's first boomtowns, and rose to prominence as the site of many flour mills along the Genesee River, and then as a major hub of manufacturing. Several of the region's universities (notably the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology) have renowned research programs. In addition, Rochester is the site of many important inventions and innovations in consumer products. The Rochester area has been the birthplace to such corporations as Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, and Xerox that conduct extensive research and manufacturing in the fields of industrial and consumer products. Until 2010, the Rochester metropolitan area was the second-largest regional economy in New York State, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, after the New York City metropolitan area.[3] Rochester's GMP has since ranked just below that of Buffalo, New York, while still exceeding it in per-capita income.[4]

The 25th edition of the Places Rated Almanac rated Rochester as the "most livable city" in 2007, among 379 U.S. metropolitan areas.[5] In 2010 Forbes rated Rochester as the third-best place to raise a family.[6] In 2012 Kiplinger rated Rochester as the fifth-best city for families, citing low cost of living, top public schools, and a low jobless rate.[7]

Of the 19 places in the United States named Rochester at least eight were named directly after Rochester, New York, having been founded or settled by former residents. These include Rochester, Indiana; Rochester, Texas; Rochester, Iowa; Rochester, Kentucky; Rochester, Michigan; Rochester, Minnesota; Rochester, Nevada; and Rochester, Ohio.


An aerial view of downtown Rochester in 1938

The Seneca tribe of Native Americans lived in and around Rochester until they lost their claim to most of this land in the Treaty of Big Tree in 1797.[8] Settlement before the Seneca tribe is unknown.

Development of modern Rochester followed the American Revolution, and forced cession of their territory by the Iroquois after the defeat of Great Britain. Allied with the British, four major Iroquois tribes were essentially forced from New York. As a reward for their loyalty to the British Crown, they were given a large land grant on the Grand River in Canada.

Rochester was founded shortly after the American Revolution by a wave of English-Puritan descended immigrants from New England who were looking for new agricultural land. They would be the dominant cultural group in Rochester for over a century.[9] On November 8, 1803, Col. Nathaniel Rochester (1752–1831), Maj. Charles Carroll, and Col. William Fitzhugh, Jr. (1761–1839), all of Hagerstown, Maryland, purchased a 100-acre (ca. 40 ha) tract from the state in Western New York along the Genesee River. They chose the site because its three cataracts on the Genesee offered great potential for water power. Beginning in 1811, and with a population of 15, the three founders surveyed the land and laid out streets and tracts. In 1817, the Brown brothers and other landowners joined their lands with the Hundred Acre Tract to form the village of Rochesterville.

Bridge originally built as an aqueduct for the Erie Canal in 1842, replacing the original construction from 1823. It was subsequently used for subway trains and, in the 1920s, the Broad Street Bridge was erected on top of it. This photograph shows how it appeared in 2002.

By 1821, Rochesterville was the seat of Monroe County. In 1823, Rochesterville consisted of 1,012 acres (4 km2) and 2,500 residents, and the Village of Rochesterville became known as Rochester. Also in 1823, the Erie Canal aqueduct over the Genesee River was completed, and the Erie Canal east to the Hudson River was opened. (In the early 20th century, after the advent of railroads, the presence of the canal in the center city was an obstacle; it was re-routed south of Rochester.) By 1830, Rochester's population was 9,200 and in 1834, it was re-chartered as a city.

Rochester was first known as "the Young Lion of the West", and then as the "Flour City". By 1838, Rochester was the largest flour-producing city in the United States. Having doubled its population in only ten years, Rochester became America's first "boomtown". Rochester experienced one of the nation's biggest revivalist movements, led by Charles Finney.

By the mid-19th century, as the center of the wheat-processing industry moved west with population and agriculture, the city became home to an expanding nursery business, giving rise to the city's second nickname, the "Flower City." Large and small nurseries ringed the city, the most famous of which was started in 1840 by immigrants Georg Ellwanger from Germany and Patrick Barry from Ireland.[10]

Rochester, NY Broad Street aqueduct interior in 2011.

In 1847, Frederick Douglass founded the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in Rochester. Douglass, a former slave and an antislavery speaker and writer, gained a circulation of over 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. The North Star served as a forum for abolitionist views. The Douglass home burnt down in 1872, but a marker for it can be found in Highland Park off South Avenue.[11]

Susan B. Anthony, a national leader of the women's suffrage movement, was from Rochester. The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote in 1920, was popularly known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment because of her decades of work toward its passage, which she did not live to see.[12] Anthony's home is now a National Historic Landmark known as the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House.[13]

At the end of the 19th century, anarchist Emma Goldman lived and worked in Rochester for several years, where she championed the cause of labor in Rochester sweatshops. Rochester was also home to significant unrest in labor, race, and antiwar protests.

Hundreds of Vietnam demonstrators block traffic on Main Street in May 1971 in Rochester, New York.

After the Civil War, Rochester had an expansion of new industries in the late 19th century, founded by migrants to the city, such as inventor and entrepreneur George Eastman, who founded Eastman Kodak; and German immigrants John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, who combined technical and financial expertise to launch Bausch & Lomb in 1861. Not only did they create new industries and thousands of jobs, but Eastman became a major philanthropist, developing and endowing the University of Rochester, its Eastman School of Music and other local institutions.

In the early 20th century, Rochester became a center of the garment industry, particularly men's fashions. It was the base of enterprises such as Bond Clothing Stores, Fashion Park Clothes, Hickey Freeman, and Stein-Bloch & Co. The carriage maker James Cunningham and Sons founded a pioneer automobile company – Cunningham.[14]

The population reached 62,386 in 1870, 162,608 in 1900 and 295,750 in 1920. By 1950, the population had reached a high of 332,488. In 1950, the Census Bureau reported Rochester's population as 97.6% white and 2.3% black.[15] With industrial restructuring in the later 20th century, and the decline of industry and jobs in the area, by 2010, the city's population had declined to 210,565, although the metropolitan area was considerably larger.

Geography and climate

Urban Rochester as seen from the air

Rochester is at 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139 (43.165496, −77.611504).[16] The city is about 65 miles (100 km) east-northeast of Buffalo and about 75 miles (120 km) west of Syracuse; it sits on Lake Ontario's southern shore. The Genesee River bisects the city. New York City is about 250 miles (400 km) to the southeast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.1 square miles (96 km2), of which 35.8 square miles (93 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (3.42%) is water.

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

Rochester's geography was formed by the ice sheets during the Pleistocene epoch. The retreating ice sheets reached a standstill at what is now the southern border of the city, melting at the same rate as they were advancing, depositing sediment along the southern edge of the ice mass. This created a line of hills, including (from west to east) Mt. Hope, the hills of Highland Park, Pinnacle Hill, and Cobb's Hill. Because the sediment of these hills was deposited into a proglacial lake, they are stratified and classified as a "kame delta". A brief retreat and readvance of the ice sheet onto the delta deposited unstratified material there, creating a rare hybrid structure called a "kame moraine".

The ice sheets also created Lake Ontario (one of the five freshwater Great Lakes), the Genesee River with its waterfalls and gorges, Irondequoit Bay, Sodus Bay, Braddock Bay, Mendon Ponds, numerous local streams and ponds, the Ridge, and the nearby Finger Lakes.

According to the City of Rochester, the city has 537 miles (864 km) of public streets, 585 miles (941 km) of water mains, 44 vehicular and eight pedestrian bridges, 11 public libraries, two police stations (one for the east side, one for the west), and 15 firehouses. The principal source of water is Hemlock Lake, which, with its watershed, is owned by the state of New York. Other water sources include Canadice Lake and Lake Ontario. The 30-year annual average snowfall is just above 100 in (2.5 m).[17] The monthly daily average ranges from 24.7 °F (−4.1 °C) in January to 70.8 °F (21.6 °C) in July. The high amount of snow that Rochester receives can be accounted for by the city's proximity to Lake Ontario (see lake effect).

Rochester lies in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfb)[18] and has four distinct seasons, with cold and snowy winters; temperatures drop to 0 °F (−18 °C) on 4.2 nights annually. Autumn features brilliant foliage colors, and summer sees generally comfortable temperatures that usually stay in the range of 80 to 85 °F (27 to 29 °C) accompanied by moderate to high humidity; there are only 6.9 days annually of highs more than 90 °F (32 °C). Precipitation is plentiful year round.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015209,802[22]−0.4%
Historical Population Figures[23]
U.S. Decennial Census[24]
2012 Estimate[25]
Racial composition 2010[26] 1990[15] 1970[15] 1940[15]
White 43.7% 61.1% 82.4% 97.6%
—Non-Hispanic 37.6% 58.3% 80.2%[27] n/a
Black or African American 41.7% 31.5% 16.8% 2.3%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 16.4% 8.7% 2.8%[27] (X)
Asian 3.1% 1.8% 0.2%

According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 43.7% White or White American, 41.7% Black, 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.1% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 6.6% from some other race and 4.4% from two or more races. 16.4% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race, mostly made up of Puerto Ricans.[28] Non-Hispanic Whites were 37.6% of the population in 2010,[26] compared to 80.2% in 1970.[15]

Over the course of the past 50 years Rochester has become a major center for immigration, particularly for arrivals from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Subsaharan Africa and the Caribbean. Rochester has the highest percentage of Puerto Ricans of any major city in the United States,[25] one of the four largest Turkish American communities,[29] one of the largest Jamaican American communities in any major U.S city[30] and a large concentration of Polish Americans along with nearby Buffalo, New York. In addition, Rochester is ranked number 6 in the nation for the largest Italian population in the United States.

In 1997, Rochester was reported to have the largest per-capita deaf population in the United States.[31] This is attributed to the fact that Rochester is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

There were 88,999 households of which 30.0% had children under 18 living with them, 25.1% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families. Of all households, 37.1% were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone 65 or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.19.

The city population was 28.1% under 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 or older. The median age was 31. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a city household was $27,123, and the median family income was $31,257. Males had a median income of $30,521, versus $25,139 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,588. About 23.4% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.5% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.


By the 1920s and 1930s, Rochester's population was roughly half Protestant and half Catholic.[32] In 1938, there were 214 religious congregations, two thirds of which had been founded after 1880.[32] At that time, the city added, on average, 2.6 new congregations per year, many founded by immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.[32] During peak immigration from 1900–1920 dozens of churches were established, including four Roman Catholic churches with Italian clergy, three Roman Catholic churches with Slavic clergy, Polish Baptist church, 15 Jewish synagogues, and four small Italian Protestant mission churches: Baptist, Evangelical, Methodist, and Presbyterian.[32]


In 2012, Rochester had 2,061 reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared to a national rate of 553.5.[33] That same year, Rochester had 827 personal crime incidents and 11,054 property crime incidents per 100,000 residents. With 100 being the national average, Rochester scores a personal crime rate of 170 and a property crime rate of 134.[34]

In 2012, Rochester reported 36 murders (17.1 per 100,000 people), 95 sexual assaults, 816 robberies, 1,104 aggravated assault, 2,978 burglaries, 7,694 larceny thefts, 111 forcible rape, 622 auto thefts and 152 arson.[35][36]


Rochester is home to a number of Fortune 1000 and international businesses, including Eastman Kodak, as well as several national and regional companies, such as Carestream Health. Xerox was founded in Rochester in 1906 as The Haloid Company,[37] and retains a significant presence in Rochester, although its headquarters are now in Norwalk, Connecticut. Bausch & Lomb moved to Bridgewater, New Jersey in 2014.[38] The Gannett newspaper company and Western Union were founded in Rochester by Frank Gannett and Hiram Sibley respectively but have since moved to other cities. The median single-family house price was $135,000 in the second quarter of 2015 in greater Rochester, an increase of 5.4% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.[39]

High technology

Further information: Tech Valley

Tech Valley, the technologically recognized area of eastern New York State, has spawned a western offshoot into the Rochester and Finger Lakes areas. Since the 2000s, as the more established companies in Rochester downsized, Rochester and Monroe County's economy has been redirected toward high technology, with new, smaller companies providing the seed capital necessary for business foundation. The Rochester area is important in the field of photographic processing and imaging as well as incubating an increasingly diverse high technology sphere encompassing STEM fields, in part the result of private startup enterprises collaborating with major academic institutions, including the University of Rochester and Cornell University.[40] Other organizations such as High Tech Rochester provide local startups with mentorship, office space, and other resources.[41] Given the high prevalence of imaging and optical science among the industry and the universities, Rochester is known as the world capital of imaging. The Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology in nearby Henrietta have imaging programs.[42] In 2006, the University of Rochester became the Rochester area's largest employer, surpassing the Eastman Kodak Company.[43]

Food and beverage

A "white hot Garbage Plate" from Nick Tahou Hots.

One food product that Rochester calls its own is the "white hot", a variant of the hot dog or smoked bratwurst made by the local Zweigle's company and other companies. Another local specialty is the "Garbage Plate", a trademark of Nick Tahou Hots that traditionally includes macaroni salad, home fries, and 2 hot dogs or cheeseburgers topped with mustard, onions, and their famous meat hot sauce. Many area restaurants feature copies or variations with the word "plate" commonly used as a general term. Rochester was home to French's Mustard, whose address was 1 Mustard Street.

Genesee Brewing Company, maker of the Genesee beers, Honey Brown, Dundee Ales & Lagers and Labatt Blue Lime also calls Rochester home.

The Ragú brand of pasta sauce used to be produced in Rochester. Some of the original facility still exists and produces products for other labels (including Newman's Own) as Private Label Foods.

Other local franchises include: Wegmans (a privately held American regional supermarket chain headquartered in Gates, New York, near Rochester), Bill Gray's (a hamburger/hot dog joint that lays claim to having "The World's Greatest Cheeseburger"), DiBella's, Tom Wahl's, American Specialty Manufacturing producers of Boss Sauce, Mark's Pizzeria, Pontillo's Pizzeria, Jeremiah's Tavern and Abbott's Frozen Custard. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which originated in Syracuse, also operates its second franchise downtown in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad station on the Genesee River.

Major shopping centers

For shopping centers in the Greater Rochester Area, see Rochester, New York metropolitan area § Major shopping centers.

Former shopping centers

Tallest buildings

As of June 2016, the top ten tallest buildings in the city are:[44]

Building name Height
ft m
Xerox Tower 443 135
Legacy Tower 401 122
The Metropolitan 392 119
Kodak Tower 360 110
First Federal Plaza 309 94
Five Star Bank Plaza 284 87
Hyatt Regency Hotel 271 83
Times Square Building 260 79
Tower 280 251 77
St. Michael's Church 246 75


For companies operating in the Greater Rochester Area, see Rochester, New York metropolitan area § Top regional employers.
The Bausch & Lomb Tower and the Xerox Tower in downtown Rochester

Numerous companies have corporate headquarters in Rochester.

Locally founded corporations that have since moved their headquarters to other states include Bausch & Lomb, Champion, French's, Gannett, Schlegel, Western Union, and Xerox. Humor website eBaum's World was also started in Rochester. Companies that moved their headquarters from the city of Rochester to the suburbs include Wegmans (Gates, New York) and Paychex (Penfield, New York).[46][47]


Rochester is governed by a "mayor" serving as chief executive of city government and a city council consisting of 4 district members and 5 at-large members.[48] Mayor Lovely A. Warren was first elected mayor in November 2013 defeating incumbent Thomas Richards in both a Democratic primary and General Election. Warren took office in January, 2014 becoming both the youngest and first female mayor in Rochester history. The city's police department is the Rochester Police Department, headed by Chief of Police Michael L. Ciminelli.

Neighborhood Service Centers

Enforcement of property code violations in Rochester had been handled by the Neighborhood Empowerment Team, or NET. Rather than utilizing a centralized code-enforcement office, ten sectors in Rochester were assigned a total of six NET offices by the city government. However, there had been complaints about the lack of consistency in the manner and severity of enforcement between NET offices. On July 16, 2008, the city announced that two of the NET offices would be closed and another relocated, due to what it had found to be the high cost and low value of operating the decentralized network.[49] Following the restructuring, the remaining offices were renamed Neighborhood Service Centers, or NSCs. There is now one office per city quadrant which resolve quality of life issues, work with neighborhood groups, and pave the way for appropriate housing and economic development.[50] The majority of code enforcement processes were consolidated into the Bureau of Inspection and Compliance within the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development located centrally in City Hall.

Representation at other levels of government

Representation at the federal level

The city is represented by Democrat Louise M. Slaughter of Fairport, Monroe County in Congress. She was first elected in 1987. New York's 25th congressional district covers the city.

Representation at the state level

New York State Senate

After redistricting based on the 2010 United States Census, the city was split between three state senate districts:

District Area of the city Senator Party First took office Residence
55 Northeastern[51] Rich Funke Republican 2015 Fairport, Monroe County
56 Northwestern[52] Joseph E. Robach Republican 2003 Greece, Monroe County
61 Southern[53] Michael H. Ranzenhofer Republican 2009 Amherst, Erie County
New York State Assembly

After redistricting based on the 2010 United States Census, Monroe County was split between three state assembly districts:

District Areas of the city Assemblyperson Party First took office Residence
136 Northwest portion and easternmost tip[54] Joseph D. Morelle Democratic 1991 Irondequoit, Monroe County
137 Center and west[55] David F. Gantt Democratic 1983 Rochester, Monroe County
138 A question-mark-shaped region sandwiched between districts 136 and 137[56] Harry B. Bronson Democratic 2011 Rochester, Monroe County

Rochester is part of

Representation at the county level

Rochester is represented districts 3, 4, 14, and 20–29 in the Monroe County legislature.[57]

Fire department

The city of Rochester is protected by approximately 500 professional firefighters in the Rochester Fire Department (RFD). The RFD is the third-largest fire department in the state of New York. It operates from 14 fire stations, located throughout the city, under the command of 2 Battalion Chiefs and a Deputy Chief per shift. The RFD operates 13 engines, six trucks, one heavy rescue, two hazardous material units, and a salvage unit (Rochester Protectives), as well as many other special and support units. There are 87 line division members working each shift, including chief officers & fire investigation (not including staff divisions such as Fire Safety, the Training Academy and Supply Depot). The RFD responds to around 40,000 emergency calls annually. Approximately 90% of RFD personnel are certified NY State EMTs and approximately 50% of the calls each year are for EMS. The RFD also operates its own apparatus repair division located at the Public Safety Training Facility. The current Chief of Department is John P. Schreiber.[58][59][60]


Rochester, New York Cityscape
The view looking east from the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester.

Principal suburbs

Suburbs of the city include: Brighton, Brockport, Chili, Churchville, East Rochester, Fairport, Gates, Greece, Hamlin, Henrietta, Hilton, Honeoye Falls, Irondequoit, Mendon, Ogden, Parma, Penfield, Pittsford, Riga, Rush, Scottsville, Spencerport, Webster, Victor and Wheatland.


Main article: Downtown Rochester

Rochester has a number of neighborhoods, including the 19th Ward, 14621 Community, Beechwood, Browncroft, Cascade District, Cobbs Hill, Charlotte, Corn Hill, Dewey, Dutchtown, Edgerton, Ellwanger-Barry, German Village, Grove Place, High Falls District, Highland Park, Dutchtown, Maplewood (10th Ward), Marketview Heights, Mt. Read, North Winton Village,Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA), Otis-Lyell, Park Avenue, Plymouth-Exchange, Southwest, East End, South Wedge, Swillburg, Susan B. Anthony, University-Atlantic, Upper Monroe, and more are all recognized communities with various neighborhood associations. There are also living spaces in Downtown Rochester.


The Browncroft neighborhood is built on the former nursery grounds of the Brown Brothers nursery. The business district situated on Winton Rd has a mix of restaurants and shops. The neighborhood borders the nearby Tryon and Ellison Parks. The Browncroft Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.[61]

14621 community

Extending across much of the north-central cityscape of Rochester, now including parts of the old Hudson Avenue and North Clinton neighborhoods, is the 14621 community. Today this neighborhood is predominantly Black and Hispanic, this community suffered being the center of the 1964 riots.[62] The riots did produce some benefits in the long run: the north-central area has been the site of ongoing urban renewal projects since the late 1960s, and, as noted by JULY '64 filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher, inspired the development of such important Black organizations such as The Urban League of Rochester as well as Rochester's first anti-poverty organization (Action for a Better Community), and black community activist organization Freedom, Integration, God, Honor, Today (F.I.G.H.T.) founded by Rev. Franklin Florence and Deleon McEwen, the latter was its first president. The establishment of this program came through the assistance of Saul Alinsky. The neighborhood is still considered the most dangerous part of Rochester and is blighted by crime, drugs and gang activity.[63]

Lyell Avenue

Once an Italian-American neighborhood, there have recently been efforts to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood. It is known largely for its crime, especially instances of prostitution and drug sales.

19th Ward

The 19th Ward is a southwest neighborhood bordered by Genesee Street, West Avenue, the Erie Canal, and is across the river from the University of Rochester.[64] Now known by its slogan "Urban by Choice", in the early 19th century the area was known as Castle Town, after Castle Inn, a tavern run by Colonel Isaac Castle. By the early 1820s, however, the area became overshadowed by developments in the north that would later become downtown Rochester. Due to a tumultuous bend in the Genesee river, the area was home to skilled boatsmen that assisted boats traveling north to Rochester and the area was consequently known during this time as "The Rapids". In the 1890s, as Rochester expanded, the area became a prosperous residential area that thrived as the city grew. By 1930 it was a booming residential area for doctors, lawyers, and skilled workers; it includes the still prestigious Sibley Tract development. Homes in the originally upper-class neighborhood typically have gumwood trim, leaded glass, fireplaces, hardwood floors, and open porches. In the 1960s, property values declined as the population of Rochester did, the area experienced white flight accelerated by school busing, blockbusting, and race riots downtown, and crime increased, with violence, drug use, and neglected property further diminishing property values.[65]

To respond to these issues, the 19th Ward has had an active community association since 1965, and is now known for its ethnic, class, and cultural diversity. The current "Brooks Landing" development along the Genesee River at the former "rapids" is successfully bringing new economic development to the community including an 88-room hotel, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) office building, 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of new retail, two restaurants, and Boulder Coffee shop.[66] Residential development is also increasing with completion of a 170-bed University of Rochester student housing tower at Brooks Landing in 2014, and 29 new market-rate homes nearby.

Located in the 19th Ward are the Arvine Heights Historic District, Chili–West Historic District, Inglewood and Thurston Historic District, and Sibley–Elmdorf Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[67][68][69]


Ontario Beach County Park in the Charlotte neighborhood of Rochester.

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. A new terminal was built in 2004 for the Rochester-to-Toronto ferry service and was later sold after the ferry ceased operations in 2005. The Port of Rochester terminal still exists and has since been revamped. It now houses the restaurant California Rollin', a coffee shop named The Nutty Bavarian along with offices for the marina that has been created around it. In summer 2016 a proposed redevelopment project for the Port of Rochester was put on hold due to the developers failing to meet financial obligations as set by the city.[70]

Corn Hill

The Corn Hill neighborhood near downtown is one of the nation's best-preserved Victorian neighborhoods and a center for art. It is also home to Corn Hill Landing, a shopping and housing strip located on the Genesee River. The annual Corn Hill Art Festival, a two-day event held on the weekend after the 4th of July, is one of the city's most popular gatherings for the display of art. Corn Hill is one of Rochester's smaller neighborhoods. The neighborhood name came about because (allegedly) in the early settlement days, those traveling the fast-flowing Genesee River could see a large-sized rolling hill covered with corn which had been planted by the immigrating Scots and English. By the late 1800s and well into the 1920s, Cornhill was home to some of the wealthiest families. Situated on the southern edge of downtown, the neighborhood allowed for a short carriage ride or walk to the banks and businesses of New York's third-largest city.

Upper Monroe

Located less than one and one-half miles from downtown, Upper Monroe encompasses 17 streets with 1,400 households and approximately 3,300 residents. Cobbs Hill Park, with its beautiful reservoir, tennis courts and athletic fields, forms the southeastern boundary of this neighborhood. Highland Park, world-renowned for its annual Lilac Festival, also is within walking distance.[71] The Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association (UMNA) is a not-for-profit advocacy group representing the residents and property owners of the Upper Monroe neighborhood. Its goals are to ascertain the needs and concerns of the neighborhood and take positive action to address those needs and concerns.[72] The neighborhood is also home to a number of small, local businesses including: Hardpact, Huey's Hair Company, Monty's Krown, Jeremiah's Tavern, and Park Ave. Pets.[73]

East End

The East End is a residential neighborhood in Downtown Rochester but also the main nightlife district. The Eastman Theatre, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Eastman School of Music are in the East End, along with the Little Theatre, an independent film theatre, Harts Local Grocers and many clubs, bars and high-end restaurants.


A portion of the skyline of Rochester from a northeast perspective along the Genesee River.

Maplewood is a northwest neighborhood located south of Eastman Business Park and between the Genesee River and Dewey Avenue. Much of the area's charm comes from the use of parkways as well as parks and greenspace bordering the river. These features are the result of plans designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Maplewood Rose Garden is the second-largest rose test garden in the United States. The Maplewood Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.[61]

North Winton Village

The North Winton Neighborhood is made up of spacious and quiet residential streets, small essential businesses and professional services and an 82-acre (33 ha) wilderness. Its neighborhood boundaries extend north to Colebourne Road/Merchants Road, south to Blossom Road, east to North Winton Road and west to Culver Road. There are two neighborhood associations within North Winton Village. The North Winton Village Neighborhood Association, joins businesses and residents together. Its major goals include "neighborhood preservation, beautification, pride in home ownership and patronization of neighborhood businesses." Its motto: "Live, Shop and Beautify North Winton Village." In 2011, residents in an area bounded by Culver Road, East Main Street, Cedarwood Terrace and Jersey Street joined together to create The North East Main Neighbors United (NEMNU).Today, NEMNU's mission is to maintain, improve, and enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood by addressing safety issues, providing social activities, communicating with residents and local government, promoting beautification projects, linking needs with resource opportunities, and developing cooperative efforts with businesses and neighborhood groups.

Park Avenue and the Neighborhood of the Arts

Lining the streets of Park Avenue are cafes, shops, pubs, and restaurants. In a broader view, the total area surrounding University Avenue—known as the Neighborhood of the Arts—is one of the most culture- and art-rich sections of the city. Located here are the Village Gate, Memorial Art Gallery, School of The Arts, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester Public Market, ARTWalk, George Eastman House, and high-end residential streets such as Granger Place, East Boulevard, Douglas Road, Westminster Road, and Berkeley Street.


Also known by the acronym PLEX, the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood provides affordable housing for lower income families. Also home to many University of Rochester students, both grad and undergrad, it has a richly knit community and an active neighborhood association.

South Wedge

The South Wedge neighborhood dates back to 1827, prior to the incorporation of Rochester as a city.[74] The area is bordered by Byron Street in the north, South Clinton Avenue and Interstate 490 on its east, Highland Park on its south, and The Genesee River on the west. Construction of the Erie Canal (the old canal bed which went by the neighborhood is now used by Interstate 490) brought workers to the area, who set up camps for the months that it took to complete this section of the canal.[75] This racially integrated neighborhood is one of the neighborhoods in Rochester currently undergoing the process of gentrification, partially due to a recent increase in homeownership in the area.[76][77] A lot of young people live in this area. The Linden-South Historic District in South Wedge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[78]

Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood

This neighborhood is a Preservation District on the National Register of Historic Places, known as the Madison Square-West Main Street Historic District.[79] It encompasses a three-and-one-half block area within walking distance from downtown Rochester, and comprises residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The center of the residential area is Susan B. Anthony Square, a 0.84-acre (3,400 m2) park shown on city maps from 1839, which was designed by the famous Olmstead Brothers. Also within the neighborhood is the Susan B. Anthony House, which was the suffragist's residence for the last decades of her life, now a museum, as well as the Cunningham Carriage factory built in 1848 on Canal Street. James Cunningham Son & Co. sold more carriages in the United States in the 1880s than all other manufacturers combined. The Canal Street property, which still stands, remained Cunningham's headquarters for more than 100 years.


This wedge-shaped piece of the city is bordered by S. Clinton Avenue on the west, Field St on the south, and Interstate 490 on the east.[80] The neighborhood received its moniker when a 19th-century Rochester pig farmer utilized the area to collect swill for his swine. The area has one of the highest rates of homeownership in the city.

The local elementary school is #35, Field Street, which often sponsors a community garden in its courtyard on Pinnacle Street.

Marketview Heights

Running east from Union Street just north of Main Street, Marketview Heights is best known as the location of the Public Market, which offers a variety of groceries and other goods from marketeers from farms and shops from surrounding areas, primarily on the weekends.

Homestead Heights

Homestead Heights is located in northeast Rochester. It is bordered on the west by Goodman Street, on the north by Clifford Avenue, on the south by Bay Street, and on the east by Culver Road, which is also the border between the city and the town of Irondequoit. The neighborhood is a mix of residential and commercial. Real estate values are higher on the eastern end of the neighborhood near the Irondequoit border. The neighborhood is approximately 2–214 miles west of the Irondequoit Bay.


The City of Rochester is served by the Rochester City School District which encompasses all public primary and secondary education. The district is governed by a popularly elected seven-member Board of Education. There are also parochial and private primary and secondary schools located within the city. Rochester City Schools consistently post below-average results when compared to the rest of New York State, although on-time graduation rates have improved significantly during the past three years. However, the high school graduation rate for African American males is lower in Rochester than in any city in the United States (9%).[81] Charter schools in the city include Rochester Academy Charter School.

Colleges and universities

For colleges and universities in the Greater Rochester Area, see Rochester, New York metropolitan area § Colleges and universities.

Only two institutions of higher learning, the University of Rochester and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, operate primarily within the Rochester city limits.

Additionally, Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport operate campuses in downtown Rochester. These are the Damon City Campus[82] and SUNY MetroCenter,[83] respectively. Rochester Institute of Technology operates a student art gallery on College Avenue as well as a Center for Urban Entrepreneurship on Franklin Street.[84] Ithaca College's Department of Physical Therapy leases part of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School facility for teaching and research.[85] The Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations maintains an office on Highland Avenue as well.[86]

There are four institutions that began operations in the city, but subsequently moved to Rochester's inner-ring suburbs:

Rochester's colleges are all part of the Rochester Area Colleges consortium.

Rochester was host of the Barleywood Female University, a short-lived women's college from 1852 to 1853. The Lutheran seminary that became Wagner College was established in the city in 1883 and remained for some 35 years before moving to Staten Island.[90]

River Campus of the University of Rochester

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester (U of R), was ranked as the 32nd-best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2014[91] and was deemed "one of the new Ivies" by Newsweek.[92] The nursing school has received many awards and honors[93] and the Simon School of Business is also ranked in the top 30 in many categories.[94]

The university is also home to the Eastman School of Music, which was ranked the number one music school in America. It was founded and endowed by George Eastman in his years as a philanthropist.[95] He also contributed greatly to the University of Rochester from wealth based on the success of Eastman Kodak.

Secondary education

The Rochester City School District operates 13 public secondary schools, each serving grades 7–12. In addition, there is one charter secondary school.

Charter schools

Private schools

Former schools

Culture and recreation

The Little Theatre on East Avenue
Rochester Contemporary Art Center

The city of Rochester is home to numerous cultural institutions. These include the Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, George Eastman Museum International Museum of Photography and Film, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, the Rochester Broadway Theater League, Strong National Museum of Play, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, Hochstein School of Music & Dance, the Auditorium Theater, and numerous arts organizations. Geva Theatre Center is the city's largest professional theater.

The East End Theater is located on East Main Street in the theater district. The Rochester Association of Performing Arts is a non-profit organization that provides educational theater classes to the community.


Rochester's East End district, located downtown, is well known as the center of the city's nightlife. It is the stopping point for East Avenue, which along with the surrounding streets is crowded with nightclubs, lounges, coffee shops, bars, and high-end restaurants. The Eastman School of Music, one of the top musical institutes in the nation, and its auditorium are also located within the neighborhood. The Eastman Theatre now plays host to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and other musical/drama events.

There are other, smaller enclaves of after-hours activity scattered across the city. Southeast is the heart of Rochester's thriving arts scene, particularly in and around the Park Avenue neighborhood (which is known for its many coffee shops, cafes, bistros and boutique shops). Nearby on University Avenue can be found several plazas, like the Village Gate, which give space to trendy bars, restaurants and art galleries that stay open late into the night. Monroe Avenue, several streets over, is packed with pubs, small restaurants, smoke shops, theaters and several clubs as well as cigar bars and hookah lounges. All of these neighborhoods are home to many artists, musicians, students and Rochester's large LGBT community.

The South Wedge district, located directly below downtown, has seen significant gentrification in recent years and now is the site of many trendy cafes and bars that serve the student community attending the University of Rochester several blocks away from the heart of the neighborhoods. The "Wedge" is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant areas within the city limits, its numerous nightspots keeping the streets busy with college students and young professionals (many of whom live there due to the abundance of affordable housing, thriving nightlife and proximity to many of the region's major hospitals, parks and colleges)

Park lands

Lamberton Conservatory from 1911 in the Highland Park

Rochester's parks include Highland, Cobb's Hill, Durand Eastman, Genesee Valley, Maplewood, Edgerton, Seneca, and Ontario Beach; four of these were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.[96] The city's Victorian-era Mt. Hope Cemetery includes the final resting places of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, George B. Selden, and many others. Other scenic sites are Holy Sepulchre and neighboring Riverside Cemetery.

Throughout its history, Rochester has acquired several nicknames; it has been known as "the World's Image Center",[97] "the Flour City", "the Flower City". 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.


Rochester hosts a number of cultural festivals every year, including:


The Democrat and Chronicle is Rochester's main daily newspaper. The Daily Record, a legal, real estate, and business daily, has published Monday through Friday since 1908. Insider magazine (owned by the Democrat and Chronicle), City newspaper and the Freetime entertainment magazine are free, weekly publications. Rochester Business Journal is the weekly business paper of record. The Good Life Magazine is a free bi-monthly publication. There is also a grassroots, democratically run, Independent Media Center called Rochester Indymedia. Media addressing the needs of Rochester's large African American population include About... time,[106] and Minority Reporter, which has an associated news journal for the area's Latin American population, La Voz.[107]

Rochester is served by eight broadcast television stations:

Rochester is served by several AM and FM radio stations including:

Time Warner Cable provides Rochester with cable-fed internet service, digital and standard cable television, and Time Warner Cable News Rochester, a 24-hour local news channel.

Defunct newspapers

High Falls during the summer

Rochester was served by the Rochester Post Express published by the Post Express Print Company from 1882 to 1923.[108] In 1923 the paper merged with the Rochester News Corporation's Rochester Evening Journal[109] to become Rochester Evening Journal and The Post Express and served the area from 1923 through 1937.[110] Rochester's evening paper for many years was the Times-Union, which merged operations with the Democrat and Chronicle in 1992, going defunct five years later.

Points of interest

The George Eastman Museum, the World's oldest photography museum
Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Museum & Science Center


Main article: Sports in Rochester

Rochester was named the top minor league sports market in the country by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal in July 2005, the number 10 "best golf city" in America by Golf Magazine in 2007,[112] and the fifth-best "sports town" in the country by Scarborough Research in September 2008.[113]

Professional sports

Rochester has several professional sports teams:[114]

Frontier Field, including the Rochester skyline.
Club Sport Began play League Venue Titles
Rochester Red Wings Baseball 1899 IL Frontier Field 20
Rochester Americans Ice hockey 1956 AHL Blue Cross Arena 6
Rochester Knighthawks Indoor lacrosse 1995 NLL Blue Cross Arena 5
Rochester Rhinos Soccer 1996 USL Rochester Rhinos Stadium 4
Rochester Rattlers Outdoor lacrosse 2001 (2011) MLL Wegmans Stadium at the Aquinas Institute 1
Rochester Razorsharks Basketball 2005 PBL Blue Cross Arena 7
Western New York Flash Soccer 2011 NWSL Rochester Rhinos Stadium 3

The Rochester Red Wings baseball club, the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, are one of the oldest existing franchises in all of professional sports. They play in the International League and won at least one pennant or championship in each decade of the 20th Century. The Rochester Red Wings are one of only six active franchises in the history of North American professional sports have played in the same city and same league continuously and uninterrupted since the 19th century.

The Rochester Rhinos soccer club played for many years in the A-League, which was the second-highest level American soccer league. The Rhinos won the U.S. Open Cup against Major League Soccer competition in 1999. Rochester is the home of the Western New York Flash, 2011 Women's Professional Soccer champions. The Rochester River Dogz FC soccer begin play in the NPSL (2016– ).

The Rochester Americans ice hockey team, the AHL affiliate for the NHL Buffalo Sabres, are known as the "Amerks". Lacrosse has seen some popularity in Rochester. The Rochester Knighthawks play in the National Lacrosse League. The Rochester Rattlers were a charter member of Major League Lacrosse; the franchise was transferred away after winning the championship in 2008, but were re-established in 2011.

The Rochester Razorsharks, in the Premier Basketball League have multiple championships. The Rochester Raiders indoor football team plays in Rochester. The team originally won two championships before folding in 2010. The Raiders return for 2014.

Rochester has fielded three major league sports teams in the past. From 1920 to 1925, Rochester was home to the Rochester Jeffersons, a charter member of the National Football League. From 1948 to 1957, the Rochester Royals played in the National Basketball Association, winning the NBA championship in 1951. In soccer, the Rochester Lancers played from 1970 to 1980 in the top-level North American Soccer League and became NASL champions in the 1970 season. Since 1877, 29 teams in eight professional sports have represented Rochester.


Rochester has a rich history in golf dating back to the 19th Century. Oak Hill Country Club, which is often included in America's Top 100 Courses is in the suburb of Pittsford. Oak Hill has hosted the Ryder Cup, Men's U.S Open, and PGA Championship. Locust Hill Country Club used to host the Wegman's LPGA Championship every year in late June. Numerous golf magazines have praised Rochester for its rich passion for the game and its high level of competition.

College sports

Rochester is the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S. which does not include at least one college or university participating at the NCAA Division I level in all sports. Almost all area college sports are played at the NCAA Division III level. The only exceptions are the RIT men's and women's ice hockey teams, which compete at the Division I level. RIT's other sports, as well as the Institute as a whole, are classified as being part of Division III. The men's team made it to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2010 and the women's team won the Division III national championship in 2012, just before switching over to Division I.

As of the 2014–2015 academic year, the only college in the Rochester area not officially classified at the Division III level is Roberts Wesleyan College, which completed its transition from membership in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA); Roberts Wesleyan was granted full membership in NCAA Division II beginning with the 2014–15 year.[115]


Rochester is home to two men's rugby teams, the Rochester Aardvarks and the Rochester Colonials. Both have long histories, with the Aardvarks celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2006, and the Rochester Colonials celebrating 30 years in 2010. Both rugby clubs are among the few in the country to own their own pitch: Aardvark Park in Henrietta, New York, while the Colonials play their matches at Marianne Cope Parish in Henrietta, New York. The Aardvarks and the Colonials both have hosted local and statewide tournaments and the Rochester Colonials hosted the 2007 USA Rugby National Collegiate All-Star Championships, Rochester's first national tournament, as well as the 2009 NYS Rugby Upstates Tournament and the 2009 New York State High School Rugby Championships. Both teams participate in the annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament in Saranac Lake, New York in early August. Rochester also has a Women's Rugby club, the Rochester Renegades, who celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2008. The Renegades started the New York State Rugby Women's Division.[116]


The 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.


Packet boats on the Genesee River

Maritime transport

There is marine freight service at the Port of Rochester on Lake Ontario, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

A short-lived, high-speed passenger/vehicle ferry Spirit of Ontario I built in Australia, nicknamed The Breeze or The Fast Ferry, linked Rochester to Toronto across Lake Ontario. Canadian American Transportation Systems (CATS) was the company in charge of the Fast Ferry operations. The Spirit of Ontario I had a delayed arrival on April 29, 2004 as a result of hitting a pier in New York City on April 5, 2004 and was finally officially christened on June 16, 2004 at the Port of Rochester. The Fast Ferry was bought by the City of Rochester in an attempt to save the project. The Fast Ferry operated between June 17, 2004, and December 12, 2005, and cost the city $42.5 million. The project was initially well received by inhabitants of Rochester. Considerable effort was spent by inhabitants of Rochester to build up the waterfront to embrace the idea as well as to capitalize on potential tourism which was estimated to be an additional 75,000 tourists per month. In the first three months of operation the fast ferry had carried about 140,000 people between Rochester and Toronto. A second Fast Ferry was proposed by CATS on August 27, 2004 which would have cost an additional $100 Million. Due to a number of problems concerning the ship's engine (June 6, 2004 blown gasket and September 2004 to June 2005) requiring costly repairs, the lack of mutual building up of waterfronts in Toronto and the inability of the city to put pressure on the company responsible for the production of the Fast Ferry yielded in the failure of the project. It was sold to Förde Reederei Seetouristik, a German company, for $30 million. The mayor at the time was William A. Johnson, Jr. and was succeeded by Robert Duffy on January 1, 2006.

Air transport

Rochester is served by the Greater Rochester International Airport (GRIA). Daily scheduled air service is provided by Air Canada, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. Many of these airlines do not operate mainline service to Rochester; rather, they contract regional airlines to operate flights on their own, smaller aircraft.

In 2010, the GRIA was ranked the 14th-least expensive airport in the United States by Cheapflights.[117] This was considered a major achievement for the county and the airport authority; as recently as 2003, Rochester's ticket prices were among the highest in the country, ranking as high as fourth in 1999.[118][119]

FedEx founder Fred Smith has stated in numerous articles that Xerox's development of the copier, and its need to quickly get parts to customers, was one of the economic issues that led him to pioneer the overnight delivery business in 1971. Because Xerox manufactured its copiers in Rochester, the city was one of the original 25 cities that FedEx served on its first night of operations on April 17, 1973.[120]

Rails and mass transit

Prior to the Amtrak Station, Rochester had a smaller version of New York City's "Grand Central Station." It was among Claude Fayette Bragdon's best works in Rochester, New York.

Rochester used to be a major stop on several railroad lines. It was served by the New York Central Railroad which served Chicago and Buffalo to the west and Albany and New York City to the east and southeast. The Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway (absorbed by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad) served Buffalo and Pittsburgh until 1955. A rail route to Salamanca in southern New York State afforded connections in Salamanca to southwestern and southeastern New York State.[121] The last long-distance train in a southern direction was the Northern Express/Southern Express that went to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania via Canandaigua, Elmira and Williamsport; service ended in 1971.[122]

Amtrak (passenger) and freight lines provide rail service to Rochester. Rochester has intercity and transcontinental bus service via Greyhound and Trailways.

Local bus service in Rochester and its county suburbs is provided by the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) via its Regional Transit Service (RTS) subsidiary. RTS also provides suburban service outside the immediate Rochester area and runs smaller transportation systems in outlying counties, such as WATS (Wayne Area Transportation System).

From 1927 to 1957, Rochester had a light rail underground transit system called the Rochester Subway. It was the smallest city in the world to have one. Over the years there have been privately sponsored proposals put forth that encourage the region to support a new system, possibly using some of the old tunnels. One includes converting the Broad Street bridge tunnel—the former canal aqueduct—into an enhanced pedestrian corridor, which would also include a Rochester Transportation Museum, and a tram system.

The Broad Street Aqueduct was used as a subway tunnel

The former canal and subway tunnels have become a frequent source of debate. Several city homeless use the tunnels for shelter, and a few areas near tunnel entrances have gained the reputation as being dangerous. The city has considered multiple solutions for the space including recreating a canal way, putting the subway system back in or filling the tunnels entirely. The plan to fill the tunnels in completely has generated criticism as the cost of filling would not generate nor leverage economic development.

Public support continues to grow for re-watering the original Erie Canal through downtown Rochester. In support of the re-watering efforts, the city released a master plan in 2009 calling for the creation of Rochester's Historic Canal District. A subsequent environmental review document is set to be released in the near future, seeking additional public input. This district includes both private and public investment that builds upon the rich heritage of the district, educational opportunities, historic interpretation, architectural significant building and recreational amenities. The city is currently seeking public funds for implementing the first of three major phases of the Canal District.

Main Street looking east

Major highways and roads

There are three exits off the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) that serve Rochester. Rochester has an extensive system of limited-access highways (called 'freeways' and 'expressways') which connects all parts of the city and the Thruway. During the Thruway's construction, a disagreement between the governor of New York and mayor of Rochester resulted in a bypass of downtown Rochester, leaving the city struggling for growth.

Rochester's expressway system, conceived in the 1950s, was designed as two concentric circles with feeder expressways from the west, south and east. The system allows for quick travel within the metropolitan area and a lack of the traffic gridlock typically found in cities of comparable size; in part this is because the system was designed to accommodate an anticipated year-2000 metro population of 5 million, whereas the present-day population is just over one million.

The Outer Loop circles just outside the city limits while the former Inner Loop once circled around the immediate downtown area within the city (the easternmost third was closed in 2015). From the west are Lake Ontario State Parkway, NY-531 and I-490; Interstate 390 feeds from the south; and NY-104, NY-441, and I-490 approach from the east.

Later expressway proposals

In the early 1970s, the Genesee Expressway Task Force, City leaders, and NYSDOT studied the feasibility of connecting the outer and inner Loops with a new southern expressway. The proposed route extended north from the I-390 and I-590 interchange in Brighton, cutting through Rochester's Swillburg neighborhood. In 1972, consultants Berger Lehman Associates recommended a new 'Busway', an expressway with dedicated bus lanes, similar to Bus Rapid Transit.[123] The expressway extension was never built.

Three Interstate Highways run through the City of Rochester:

Interstate 390 (Genesee Expressway)

Interstate 490 (Western/Eastern Expressway)

Interstate 590

New York State Route Expressways:

New York State Route 104 (Irondequoit-Wayne County Expressway, West Ridge Road)

New York State Route 390

New York State Route 590

Inner Loop

New York State Parkways:

Lake Ontario State Parkway

Notable people

See List of people from Rochester, New York

Notable individuals who were born in and/or lived in Rochester include actress Kristen Wiig, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, and NHL ice hockey players Ryan Callahan and Brian Gionta.

Sister cities

Rochester has twelve sister cities,[124] as designated by Sister Cities International. They are all dedicated by a branched concrete walkway over the Genesee River, dubbed the Sister Cities Bridge (known as the Frank and Janet Lamb Bridge since October 2006):[125]

Country City County / District / Region / State Date
France France Rennes Brittany 1958[124][126]
Germany Germany Würzburg Bavaria 1964[124][127]
Italy Italy Caltanissetta Sicily 1965[124]
Israel Israel Rehovot Center District 1972[124]
Poland Poland Kraków Małopolskie 1973[124][128]
Mali Mali Bamako Capital District 1975[124]

Country City County / District / Region / State Date
Republic of Ireland Ireland Waterford County Waterford 1983[124]
Russia Russia Novgorod Novgorod Oblast 1990[124]
Japan Japan Hamamatsu Shizuoka Prefecture 1996[124][129]
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Puerto Plata Puerto Plata province 1997[124]
China China Xianyang Shaanxi 2007[124]
Lithuania Lithuania Alytus Alytus County 2009[124]


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Further reading

External links

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Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139

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