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Old 08-30-2013, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Upstate NY
35,219 posts, read 10,406,691 times
Reputation: 33163

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What was supposed to happen to the old Midtown Plaza site may have had something to do with wasting taxpayer dollars but its death knell as a shopping mecca didn't.

I was a kid when Midtown opened in the early 60s, and we went to the dedication ceremony with the "Clocks of Nations" taking center stage. Midtown was for many years a busy and safe place to shop. I used to work downtown and, in the 70s, RTS (bus company) had a "free route" that ran from the business/government district to Midtown from 12-2, and it was packed with workers who shopped there on their lunch hours. Unfortunately, Midtown became the place for gangs of kids to "hang out" and harass shoppers, and merchants--big and small--closed up shop and went elsewhere. The few that remained weren't enough to attract shoppers, that free route was ended since the buses were often empty, and the unsafe plaza ultimately closed.

The demise of Midtown Plaza was the direct result of an insidious violent, menacing, urban culture, and authorities who wait until it's too late to address it.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Rochester
845 posts, read 1,631,540 times
Reputation: 1150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delahanty View Post
I was a kid when Midtown opened in the early 60s, and we went to the dedication ceremony with the "Clocks of Nations" taking center stage. Midtown was for many years a busy and safe place to shop. I used to work downtown and, in the 70s, RTS (bus company) had a "free route" that ran from the business/government district to Midtown from 12-2, and it was packed with workers who shopped there on their lunch hours. Unfortunately, Midtown became the place for gangs of kids to "hang out" and harass shoppers, and merchants--big and small--closed up shop and went elsewhere. The few that remained weren't enough to attract shoppers, that free route was ended since the buses were often empty, and the unsafe plaza ultimately closed.

The demise of Midtown Plaza was the direct result of an insidious violent, menacing, urban culture, and authorities who wait until it's too late to address it.
While I wasn't alive to see much of the Midtown demise, I have some serious doubts about these claims. I do recall seeing similar reasons for Midtown's decline cited in an essay I read not too long ago published by the Central Library and the Rochester Historical Society, so no doubt these were real concerns. I just wonder how real they were. Statistically was there an increase in shoplifting, assault and overall crime? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm skeptical.

Might I add that a similar perception of "gang activity" and "dangerous teenagers" led to the demise of Irondequoit Mall, although we now know that these claims were completely unfounded. Irondequoit Mall NEVER experienced ANY sort of increase in crime rate and stories such as gang brawls or a rape in the parking lot were nothing more than urban legends. Of course there was an increase in lower income African American and Latino shoppers at Irondequoit Mall as it was adjacent to many Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Northeast Rochester. Due to our American culture as a whole and media influence, this likely did strike fear in White suburbanites who were used to a more high class, less diverse experience in some of the outer ring suburban shopping centers. That being said, it was nothing more than fear. I used to frequent the mall quite a bit in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I never felt unsafe.

Perhaps Midtown Plaza failed not because of an actual increase in crime, but due to rumors and a perception that people had about its shoppers. Perhaps it has less to do with violent urban culture and more to do with a certain demographic fearing another demographic due to a sheltered upbringing. Ultimately I think this, along with the ease of suburban shopping in our car centric society is what drew people away from Midtown Plaza. It's a shame...
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Upstate NY
35,219 posts, read 10,406,691 times
Reputation: 33163
Quote:
Originally Posted by 585WNY View Post
While I wasn't alive to see much of the Midtown demise, I have some serious doubts about these claims. I do recall seeing similar reasons for Midtown's decline cited in an essay I read not too long ago published by the Central Library and the Rochester Historical Society, so no doubt these were real concerns. I just wonder how real they were. Statistically was there an increase in shoplifting, assault and overall crime? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm skeptical.

Might I add that a similar perception of "gang activity" and "dangerous teenagers" led to the demise of Irondequoit Mall, although we now know that these claims were completely unfounded. Irondequoit Mall NEVER experienced ANY sort of increase in crime rate and stories such as gang brawls or a rape in the parking lot were nothing more than urban legends. Of course there was an increase in lower income African American and Latino shoppers at Irondequoit Mall as it was adjacent to many Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Northeast Rochester. Due to our American culture as a whole and media influence, this likely did strike fear in White suburbanites who were used to a more high class, less diverse experience in some of the outer ring suburban shopping centers. That being said, it was nothing more than fear. I used to frequent the mall quite a bit in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I never felt unsafe.

Perhaps Midtown Plaza failed not because of an actual increase in crime, but due to rumors and a perception that people had about its shoppers. Perhaps it has less to do with violent urban culture and more to do with a certain demographic fearing another demographic due to a sheltered upbringing. Ultimately I think this, along with the ease of suburban shopping in our car centric society is what drew people away from Midtown Plaza. It's a shame...


"Certain demographics" and "sheltered upbringing".....Hmmm....it would be a challenge for the above post to have been more condescending.

It is, however, a perfect example of what we shoppers (something dismissed by the poster) contended with as we witnessed the decline of the mall: The PTB stood around scratching their asinines instead of addressing the problem that was complained about ad nauseum and that they, too, saw right in front of them and chose to ignore.

BTW, increasing crime at the Irondequoit Mall was no "urban legend." All that would take would be checking the "Police Beat" section of the various local weekly Wolfe Publications at the time--they at least publicized the many crimes that the Rochester D&C and the now-defunct Times Union failed to print. Interestingly, too, when Jennifer Koon was kidnapped and raped in the early 90s, it was the news media floating the idea that she was kidnapped from Irondeuqoit Mall when, in fact, it was Pittsford Plaza from which she was kidnapped, but that's another story....

Acknowledging a problem is the first step to offering a solution. Looking the other way will be a big factor in the disappearance of the downtown shopping experience for many. Oh, wait....that's already happened.
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Rochester NY (western NY)
1,021 posts, read 1,612,231 times
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Why are white suburbanites always afraid of minorities? Why can't it just be accepted that we just don't like the way modern day blacks and hispanic youth and young adults act in public? You said it yourself, it comes down to wanting a classier, more socially acceptable experience when we go out in public. Young minorities really couldn't give to $hits about that.

If you really think we're afraid of crime at public shopping centers, you're hugely mistaken. The last thing on my mind is getting robbed or beat up when I go to Greece Ridge, because it really does rarely happen.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:19 PM
 
941 posts, read 1,104,949 times
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Hey I'm kind of new to the Rochester area and thus the Rochester-forums, but I thought that I would start adding to the discussions here.

I read this article a couple months back about the plans at Midtown. The renderings look really great. These are the kind of public spaces that can really turn an area around. I can tell you that when the construction on this is finished, I will certainly be visiting Midtown more and more often.

Tops Looking to Open Downtown | Buffalo Rising

Here is the Midtown Master Plan for the public space improvements (link at found at the bottom of the page):
City of Rochester | Midtown Project Description

Disclaimer: I looked for this information before I posted it and didn't find it, but I would still like to say that I am sorry if I am re-posting old information.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:36 PM
 
303 posts, read 360,645 times
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@PynballWyzyrd

Thanks for the links and welcome!

I'm fairly new here too and I am looking forward to seeing the completion of this project. With this project and the potential remodel of the old Sibley's building across the street, it will really give this area a good boost. As I live nearby, I would visit it too. I take regular walks downtown and love the old buildings and history. Safety has never been a real concern for me when I am downtown and this project will help to further that for others too, hopefully.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:53 PM
 
941 posts, read 1,104,949 times
Reputation: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgbnsf View Post
@PynballWyzyrd

Thanks for the links and welcome!

I'm fairly new here too and I am looking forward to seeing the completion of this project. With this project and the potential remodel of the old Sibley's building across the street, it will really give this area a good boost. As I live nearby, I would visit it too. I take regular walks downtown and love the old buildings and history. Safety has never been a real concern for me when I am downtown and this project will help to further that for others too, hopefully.
The Sibley building will be something unique. Its proposed "green roof," with what appears to be a small urban park atop the structure, will be iconic to the downtown just as the completed midtown project will be. I am just curious at what they will do with it during the winter months. They will have to plow the roof every snowfall lol.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:57 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
1,283 posts, read 2,651,444 times
Reputation: 1166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delahanty View Post
BTW, increasing crime at the Irondequoit Mall was no "urban legend." All that would take would be checking the "Police Beat" section of the various local weekly Wolfe Publications at the time--they at least publicized the many crimes that the Rochester D&C and the now-defunct Times Union failed to print. Interestingly, too, when Jennifer Koon was kidnapped and raped in the early 90s, it was the news media floating the idea that she was kidnapped from Irondeuqoit Mall when, in fact, it was Pittsford Plaza from which she was kidnapped, but that's another story....

Acknowledging a problem is the first step to offering a solution. Looking the other way will be a big factor in the disappearance of the downtown shopping experience for many. Oh, wait....that's already happened.
Yeah, and, uh, what is the real story behind what happened to Koon? Do people in Rochester still believe the yarn spun by the media and the DA's office, not to mention her statist father who ended up in the state legislature?

I never believed it, yeah, carjacked at Pittsford Plaza. Sure thing
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:01 AM
 
1,206 posts, read 906,630 times
Reputation: 2041
Here's an excellent article about the midtown project with interviews with the developers. I'm very happy to see Morgan involved as well. These people are very good. I live in one of their building designs and they know what they are doing. There are a lot of details they put in where you think that is just perfect design. For instance my apartment layout. It's for sure the best layout I've ever seen. I live in a really nice apartment, but it feels just like a house in many ways.

Rise and Shine | Post. This is Rochester.
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