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Old 08-13-2009, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Southeast PA
11 posts, read 38,719 times
Reputation: 22

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First, about me: I'm a 29 yo single gay male looking to move closer to family in Canada. I currently live in Southeast PA, 1 hr north of Philly, and 1 1/2 hrs west of NYC.

Second, my visit: I visited Rochester after hearing some people on this board saying how wonderful it was and based on its proximity to the border. WRONG. I decided to stay overnight on Tues after leaving my family in Ontario. I stayed at the Hyatt in downtown (the hotel was nice, by the way). I decided to go out and see what sort of nightlife there was in the city. There was NONE. Every place I went to was either closed or practically empty. Granted, it was a Tuesday night, but a city of this size should be busy EVERY night of the week. I stayed in Syracuse the following night (Wed) and it was a LOT better.

Downtown is an absolute barren wasteland. Sorry, but that was my impression. At night, it shuts down. NOTHING to do. I thought I would take a walk from my hotel (9:30 PM), which was a very foolish idea. I got half-a-block down the street, in downtown mind you, and a man at the bus stop started threatening me. I practically ran back to the hotel. Horrible.

Not to mention to get anywhere in the city, a car is a must, especially at night. All the places I went to were very spread out and inconvenient. The people weren't all that friendly either. Just a boring and downtrodden place.

The following day, I took a drive through the East End and Corn Hill, both of which were nice, but not THAT nice. Anyway, both spots had more of a suburban feel than a city feel. As far as I'm concerned, the city of Rochester has NOTHING to offer except crime, and what seems like very strained race relations. Cops EVERYWHERE, but still felt unsafe. I've walked the streets of Manhattan and parts of Philly and felt MUCH safer than in Rochester.

So, can anyone please tell me where I went wrong. Is there any hope at all for this city? Is there something major that I missed that might change my mind? And please don't tell me about the stupid grocery store, which we have where I live, or drop me a line like, "You'll love our short commutes." I mean something significant and tangible.

Thanks.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:22 AM
 
3,234 posts, read 7,634,731 times
Reputation: 2708
How would the east end have a suburban feel? Its lined with brick/stone buildings with little surface parking lots. That makes no sense at all. Corn hill also. Older homes that are close together combined with a newer condo development that is right on the street. Not suburban at all. Your mistake was going to the wrong spots. The east end of downtown always has bars and restaurants open at night. Monroe ave always has people out and about at night. South wedge, park ave, etc. All neighborhoods in the city that have people out and about at night. On a Tuesday, people are going to be going to places like Monroe ave and Park ave over the downtown areas. Downtown are where more of the clubs are and on a Tuesday people are going to go to the more relaxed places. You are basing your conclusions hanging out in a city for one night that you know nothing about. You should have done your homework better before coming. You completely missed where to go.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Southeast PA
11 posts, read 38,719 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
How would the east end have a suburban feel? Its lined with brick/stone buildings with little surface parking lots. That makes no sense at all. Corn hill also. Older homes that are close together combined with a newer condo development that is right on the street. Not suburban at all. Your mistake was going to the wrong spots. The east end of downtown always has bars and restaurants open at night. Monroe ave always has people out and about at night. South wedge, park ave, etc. All neighborhoods in the city that have people out and about at night. On a Tuesday, people are going to be going to places like Monroe ave and Park ave over the downtown areas. Downtown are where more of the clubs are and on a Tuesday people are going to go to the more relaxed places. You are basing your conclusions hanging out in a city for one night that you know nothing about. You should have done your homework better before coming. You completely missed where to go.
Have you ever been to the immediate suburbs of a major city? THAT kind of surburbian feel, not the cookie-cutter mass developments and strip malls that you are probably thinking of. See the Main Line outside of Philadelphia for an example (which, is a LOT nicer).

Yeah, I know my mistake was in going to the wrong spots. Silly me, I thought that downtown might actually have a pulse. I like how in your entire post, you cannot make ONE single attempt to defend downtown. You know, in cities and even towns with any sort of reputation, downtown is THE central gathering point. Most cities do everything to maintain its vitality and vibrance. Instead, the immediate reaction is to FLEE downtown and go outward to very non-city like areas (i.e. East End).

Yeah, I did miss South Wedge and Park Ave, but remember I am a gay male looking at gay clubs and bars. All of those were in the central city area, and all sans one were closed. Sure, Rochester may be friendly to gays, but it stifles them with boredom, or mugs them (along with anybody else so brave and foolish) when they venture downtown.

And just how much research must one conduct before travelling to a city? In every city I've been to, small and large, it has been very easy to find out where to go and enjoy oneself on a weeknight. Syracuse, Portland, Burlington, Flagstaff, Ithaca and Bethlehem are all examples. That's right, Syracuse was better. At least they had somewhere to go that was in a compact area downtown. Not hard to find, either.

Rochester is the exception. If I really have to delve that deep and engage in a ludicrous amount of research prior to visiting, that tells me something is wrong. Looking for a safe, fun time in Rochester is like finding a moving needle in a haystack.

But, I digress. Wegmans, anyone?
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:30 AM
 
3,234 posts, read 7,634,731 times
Reputation: 2708
Moderator cut: argumentative I don't think you know what the East End is. The East End is the eastern part of downtown. It starts at east and main, then goes down east ave to Alexander street. This is a very urban environment that is not different from a downtown area of many other cities. I have been to the immediate suburbs of most eastern cities. Places like the east end are nothing like them. The east end is part of downtown. Are you sure you were there? It sounds like you are confusing it with another area. You could have walked to this area from your hotel. East ave, with some side streets have bars, clubs, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. You can find people any night of the week walking around these areas. There is also the St Paul quarter that has decent places to eat and a few good bars(located downtown).
The south wedge is also a typical urban neighborhood with older brick buildings lining the main street that goes through the neighborhood.
And you are wrong about the gay clubs/bars. There is Muthers and Tilt. Muthers is open most weekday nights. Tilt I believe is closed on weekdays. These are the only a handful in the downtown area. Most you will find outside of downtown. There are a number of other gay bars such as Nasty Ds(open every day), the avenue(open nightly), Bachelor forum (open nightly). These are gay bars right outside of downtown just off the top of my head.
Moderator cut: argumentative

Last edited by bellafinzi; 08-14-2009 at 07:31 PM.. Reason: personal
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:12 AM
 
Location: Southeast PA
11 posts, read 38,719 times
Reputation: 22
Ah, your blind allegiance to the city shows. So you say I could've walked to these areas from my hotel? May I point you BACK up to the original post? I was threatened less than a block from my hotel ON Main St. There was NOBODY around to help if I had needed it.

Don't tell me about the gay bars. Muthers, closed. Tilt, closed. Avenue Pub, open but slow and dull... no one my age. Bachelor Forum, not something I'm interested in.

I travelled eastward the following day, starting at East and Main by the Eastman Conservatory. Nice, yes. Vibrant, no. Just how many side streets and detours do I have to make to find places? Once again, very inconvenient downtown and outskirts.

Maybe you should put effort into saving your city, rather than defending it. Rochester has all the negative aspects of a city and none of the good ones. Shameful.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:28 AM
 
3,234 posts, read 7,634,731 times
Reputation: 2708
Blind allegiance? I am constantly bashing the government, local unions, education groups, of the area. Correcting wrong statements does not = blind allegiance.
You made a point about the gay bars being located in the central city. I was correcting you in that most are not located in the central city. I don't care if you aren't interested in them or not. The point is that most gay bars aren't downtown.
If you could not find places along east ave, you must have been blind. Starting at around East and Chestut you will see bars and restaurants. Salingers, Alexandria's, Dim Sum, Matthews, Spot coffee, Temple, Social, Murphys, Monteys, among others. Then there are side streets with coffee shops and restaurants .
You say you were at the Eastman Conservatory? As in the Eastman House? or the music school? The Eastman house is not downtown nor is it in the east end.The school is right in the middle of an area with several restaurants and bars. If you were at the school, I find it hard to believe you did not come across people or places.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Rochester, NY
1,293 posts, read 4,334,159 times
Reputation: 359
I don't know about gay bars, but in my experience if you are around the Hyatt though, most of the bar scene is a good walk from the hotel. We have gone downtown and really didn't find as much as we wanted either. There could be alot done downtown and at high falls, good areas that are under utilized. If I want to go out, I usually goto Monroe ave, Park ave or Alexander that is where the greatest cluster of bars and clubs seem to be.

If I were you I would have a taxi drop me off at Culver and Park ave and work my way back toward downtown, at least if you want to bar hop.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Rochester, NY
466 posts, read 829,692 times
Reputation: 874
This guy seems to have an agenda in my opinion. No one hates a city this much after one night.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:40 AM
 
56,696 posts, read 80,995,527 times
Reputation: 12530
I was wondering why he didn't go to Park Ave., Swillburg, East Ave. and Monroe Ave.? When I was just driving around the city a month or so ago, you can tell what parts of town had some nightlife and things going on. Here's some good websites that show some information on some neighborhoods: Welcome To Monroe Avenue
Welcome to Rochester's East End - Rochester's East End Rocks!
Park Avenue Rochester NY shops cafe restaurants
Welcome to Swillburg!

Nightlife Directory - Rochester City Newspaper
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:26 PM
 
504 posts, read 1,296,602 times
Reputation: 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by pa29 View Post
Have you ever been to the immediate suburbs of a major city? THAT kind of surburbian feel, not the cookie-cutter mass developments and strip malls that you are probably thinking of. See the Main Line outside of Philadelphia for an example (which, is a LOT nicer).
Agreed. As you leave downtown, Rochester's neighborhoods quickly become relatively "suburban," and they do resemble the first-ring suburbs of major cities. This is the case in all cities of this size. If you want a more urban feel, you will need to live near the center of NYC, Philly, Boston or Chicago. I'm sorry that you expected Rochester to be like those places.

Personally, I like Rochester. It is what it is: for a relatively modest sum you can live not far from downtown in a huge, beautiful Victorian home with a decent yard. That's not a bad lifestyle! Though you do have to sacrifice something if you're used to a busier city.

Quote:
You know, in cities and even towns with any sort of reputation, downtown is THE central gathering point.
Incorrect. Chicago, which has just about the most fun gay neighborhood I've been to, has a downtown that shuts down at 7pm. The "loop" is not a good place to party: if you're staying at a hotel in downtown Chicago, you would have to take a train a good 5 miles north in order to reach the gay bars (in Boy's Town; Andersonville is further yet). Even "downtown" NYC (by which I mean the financial district) is not a "vibrant" area after dark.

Some smaller cities, like Cleveland, work hard to create party districts in their downtown area. I guess that's what you'd have wanted Rochester to do. Personally, I don't care; I don't find Cleveland's E 4th or W 6th to be great places to go out. The more far-flung neighborhoods are a lot more fun in my opinion.

Quote:
Sure, Rochester may be friendly to gays, but it stifles them with boredom, or mugs them (along with anybody else so brave and foolish) when they venture downtown.
You were not mugged. You may have had an ugly experience, but it's not like those kind of things don't happen in cities like NYC or Philly. Walk with a friend after dark, or get used to dealing with *******s like the one at the bus stop.

When I lived in Rochester, I frequently walked from Broad/Clinton St downtown to my home off Atlantic Avenue after dark. There are some ugly characters about, but I rarely had any real problems. Philly, which you say you "feel" safer in, has in my opinion much more dangerous neighborhoods than Rochester does. Once you know the city, your chances of being a crime victim in Rochester drop to about nil.

Quote:
Rochester is the exception. If I really have to delve that deep and engage in a ludicrous amount of research prior to visiting, that tells me something is wrong. Looking for a safe, fun time in Rochester is like finding a moving needle in a haystack.
I understand your frustration, but I do think you would eventually be comfortable in Rochester. It takes longer to suss out the entertainment options in a smaller city like Rochester, but I know a lot of people from larger cities (like NYC and Chicago) that are happy in Rochester once they get through the transitional period. Positives and negatives. If you're open-minded you'll make it work.

If you're still considering moving to Western NY, I would also spend a weekend in Buffalo. Even though Allentown is on the way to yuppieville (like many urban gay neighborhoods across the country) it is still pretty cool. Although the population of Buffalo and Rochester is similar, I think some of your concerns about Rochester are less present (or at least less noticeable) in Buffalo.
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