Main Births etc

—  City  —
City of Rochester
(left to right, top to bottom) the Eastman Theater at the Eastman School of Music; First Federal Plaza building; Xerox, Legacy (formerly Bausch & Lomb), and Metropolitan (formerly Chase) towers; Downtown Rochester skyline; Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester; Sacred Heart cathedral; row houses in the Grove Place neighborhood



Nickname(s): "The Flour City", "The Flower City", "The World's Image Center"
Location in Monroe County and the State of New York.

Rochester, New York is located in the USA
Location in the contiguous United States
Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″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 37.14 sq mi (96.19 km2)
 • Land 35.78 sq mi (92.67 km2)
 • Water 1.36 sq mi (3.52 km2)  3.6%
Elevation 505 ft (154 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 210,565
 • Estimate (2018)[3] 206,284
 • Density 5,884.99/sq mi (3,522.91/km2)
 • Urban 720,572 (US: 60th)
 • Metro 1,082,284 (US: 51st)
Demonym Rochesterian
Time zone EST (UTC−05:00)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−04:00)
ZIP Codes 146xx (14604=downtown)
Area code 585
FIPS code 36-63000
GNIS feature ID 0962684

Rochester ( /ˈrɒɛstər,_ʔɪsʔ/) is a city on the southern shore of Lake Ontario in western New York and the seat of Monroe County. With a population of 208,046, Rochester is the third most populous city in New York state, after New York City and Buffalo. The metropolitan area has a population of just over one million people. It is about 73 miles (117 km) east of Buffalo and 87 miles (140 km) west of Syracuse.

Rochester was one of the United States' first boom towns, initially due to the fertile Genesee River Valley, which gave rise to numerous flour mills, and then as a manufacturing hub.[4] Several of the region's universities (notably the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology) have renowned research programs. The area is the birthplace of Kodak, Paychex, Western Union, French's, Bausch & Lomb, Gleason, Ragú and Xerox, which conduct extensive research and manufacturing of industrial and consumer products. Until 2010, the Rochester metropolitan area was the second-largest regional economy in New York State, after the New York City metropolitan area.[5] Rochester's GMP has since ranked just below Buffalo's, while exceeding it in per-capita income.[6]

In 2007, the 25th edition of the Places Rated Almanac rated Rochester the "most livable city" among 379 U.S. metropolitan areas.[7] In 2010 Forbes rated Rochester the third-best place to raise a family in the United States.[8] In 2012 Kiplinger rated Rochester the fifth-best city in the United States for families, citing low cost of living, top public schools, and a low unemployment rate.[9]

Rochester is a global city with sufficiency status.



The Seneca tribe of Native Americans lived in and around Rochester until losing claim to most of this land in the Treaty of Big Tree in 1797.[10] Settlement before the Seneca tribe is unknown.

Rochester's development followed the American Revolution, and forced cession of their territory by the Iroquois after Britain's defeat. Allied with the British, four major Iroquois tribes were forced out of 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 were the dominant cultural group in Rochester for over a century.[11] On November 8, 1803, Colonel Nathaniel Rochester (1752–1831), Major Charles Carroll, and Colonel William Fitzhugh, Jr. (1761–1839), all of Hagerstown, Maryland, purchased a 100-acre (c. 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.

By 1821, Rochesterville was the seat of Monroe County. In 1823, it 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 rerouted south of Rochester. By 1830, Rochester's population was 9,200 and in 1834 it was rechartered as a city.

Rochester was first known as "the Young Lion of the West", and then as the "Flour City". By 1838, it was the largest flour-producing city in the United States. Having doubled its population in only 10 years, Rochester became America's first "boom town".

In 1830–31, Rochester experienced one of the nation's biggest Protestant revivalist movements, led by Charles Grandison Finney. The revival inspired other revivals of the Second Great Awakening. A leading pastor in New York who was converted in the Rochester meetings gave the following account of Finney's meetings there: "The whole community was stirred. Religion was the topic of conversation in the house, in the shop, in the office and on the street. The only theater in the city was converted into a livery stable; the only circus into a soap and candle factory. Grog shops were closed; the Sabbath was honored; the sanctuaries were thronged with happy worshippers; a new impulse was given to every philanthropic enterprise; the fountains of benevolence were opened, and men lived to good."[12]

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. Nurseries ringed the city, the most famous of which was started in 1840 by immigrants Georg Ellwanger from Germany and Patrick Barry from Ireland.[13]

In 1847, Frederick Douglass founded the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in Rochester.[14] A former slave and an antislavery speaker and writer, he 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 is in Highland Park off South Avenue.[15]

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 known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment because of her work toward its passage, which she did not live to see.[16] Anthony's home is a National Historic Landmark known as the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House.[17]

At the end of the 19th century, anarchist Emma Goldman lived and worked in Rochester for several years, championing the cause of labor in Rochester sweatshops. Rochester also saw significant unrest in labor, race, and antiwar protests.

After the Civil War, Rochester had an expansion of new industries in the late 19th century, founded by migrants to the city, including inventor and entrepreneur George Eastman, who founded Eastman Kodak; and German immigrants John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, who launched Bausch & Lomb in 1861. Not only did they create new industries, 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 Bond Clothing Stores, Fashion Park Clothes, Hickey Freeman, and Stein-Bloch & Co. The carriage maker James Cunningham and Sons founded the pioneer automobile company Cunningham.[18]

Rochester's black population tripled to more than 25,000 during the 1950s. Casually employed by the city's iconic industries, most African Americans in the city held low-pay and low-skill jobs and lived in substandard housing. Discontent exploded in the 1964 Rochester race riot. Triggered by the attempted arrest of a 19-year-old intoxicated black male at a street block party, order was restored after three days, and only after Governor Nelson Rockefeller called out the New York National Guard, the first such use of troops in a northern city since the Civil War. By the time the disturbance was over, four were dead (three in a helicopter crash) and 350 injured. Almost a thousand people were arrested and 204 stores were either looted or damaged.[19][20]

In the wake of the riots the Rochester Area Churches, together with black civil rights leaders, invited Saul Alinsky of the Industrial Areas Foundation to help the community organize. With the Reverend Franklin Florence, who had been close to Malcolm X, they established FIGHT (Freedom, Integration, God, Honor, Today), which successfully brought pressure to bear on Eastman Kodak to help open up employment and city governance.[21][22]

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.[23] With industrial restructuring in the later 20th century, and the decline of industry and jobs in the area, by 2018 the city's population had declined to 206,284 (although the metropolitan area was considerably larger) with 46.58% recorded as White and 40.71% as Black or African American.[24][25]


Downtown Rochester as seen from the air in August 2007

High Falls in 2009

Rochester is at 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556, -77.61139 (43.165496, −77.611504).[26] The city is about 73 miles (120 km) east-northeast of Buffalo and about 87 miles (140 km) west of Syracuse. Albany, the state capital, is 226 miles (360 km) to the east; it sits on Lake Ontario's southern shore. The Genesee River bisects the city. Toronto, in Ontario, Canada is northwest 168 miles (270 km) and 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) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) is water (3.42%).

Climate chart for Rochester
temperatures in °Cprecipitation totals in mm

The Genesee River in 2013

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 "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.

Rochester 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).[27] 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 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 Dfa)[28] 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; the city averages only 6.9 days annually of highs more than 90 °F (32 °C). Precipitation is plentiful year round. Template:Rochester, New York weatherbox


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 1,502
1830 9,207 513.0%
1840 20,191 119.3%
1850 36,403 80.3%
1860 48,204 32.4%
1870 62,386 29.4%
1880 89,366 43.2%
1890 133,856 49.8%
1900 162,608 21.5%
1910 218,149 34.2%
1920 295,750 35.6%
1930 328,132 10.9%
1940 324,975 −1.0%
1950 332,488 2.3%
1960 318,611 −4.2%
1970 296,233 −7.0%
1980 241,741 −18.4%
1990 231,636 −4.2%
2000 219,773 −5.1%
2010 210,565 −4.2%
Est. 2018 207,778 [29] −5.5%
Historical Population Figures[30]
U.S. Decennial Census[31]
2018 Estimate[32]
Racial composition 2010[33] 1990[23] 1970[23] 1940[23]
White 43.7% 61.1% 82.4% 97.6%
—Non-Hispanic 37.6% 58.3% 80.2%[34] 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%[34] (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.[35] Non-Hispanic Whites were 37.6% of the population in 2010,[33] compared to 80.2% in 1970.[23]

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,[36] one of the four largest Turkish American communities,[37] one of the largest Jamaican American communities in any major U.S city[38] and a large concentration of Polish Americans along with nearby Buffalo, New York. In addition, Rochester is ranked number 9 in the nation for the largest Italian population in the United States.[39]

In 1997, Rochester was reported to have the largest per-capita deaf population in the United States.[40] This is attributed to the fact 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, although a significant Jewish population also was present.[41] In 1938, there were 214 religious congregations, two thirds of which had been founded after 1880.[41] At that time, the city added, on average, 2.6 new congregations per year, many founded by immigrants from southern and eastern Europe.[41] 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.[41] Additionally, there are several Buddhist temples in the city: one Cambodian, two Lao, and one Vietnamese.


In 2012, Rochester had 2,061 reported violent crimes, compared to a national average rate of 553.5 violent crimes in cities with populations larger than 100,000.[42] That same year, Rochester had 827 personal crime incidents and 11,054 property crime incidents.

In 2018, Rochester reported 28 murders (13.9 per 100,000 residents).[43] In 2012 there were 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.[44][45]


Kodak is headquartered in Rochester.

Downtown Rochester and the central business district after dark.

Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, the largest employer in the six-county metropolitan area.

From the West Side of Genesee River

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,[46] and retains a significant presence in Rochester, although its headquarters are now in Norwalk, Connecticut. Bausch & Lomb moved to Bridgewater, New Jersey in 2014.[47] 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.[48]

High technology

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 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.[49]

Other organizations such as High Tech Rochester provide local startups with mentorship, office space, and other resources.[50] 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.[51] In 2006, the University of Rochester became the Rochester area's largest employer, surpassing the Eastman Kodak Company.[52]

Food and beverage

A white hot Garbage Plate from Nick Tahou Hots.

One food product 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.[53][54] Another local specialty is the "Garbage Plate", a trademark of Nick Tahou Hots that traditionally includes macaroni salad, home fries, and two 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.[55]

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: 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, Salvatore's Old Fashioned Pizzeria, Mark's Pizzeria, Pontillo's Pizzeria, Perri'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.


  • Genesee Brewing Company.
  • Rohrbach Brewing Company
  • The Lost Borough Brewing Co.
  • Other Half Brewing
  • Three Heads Brewing
  • Roc Brewing Co.
  • Iron Tug Brewing
  • Swiftwater Brewing Company
  • Fifth Frame Brewing

Major shopping centers

  • Rochester Public Market
  • Village Gate Square

Former shopping centers

  • Midtown Plaza Closed as of July 29, 2008 after years of slow deterioration. The site now has mixed-use residential and commercial buildings. One lot referred to as parcel 5 remains undeveloped with proposals for theaters.[56]
  • Reynolds Arcade (remains in use as office building)

The Metropolitan, an iconic part of Rochester's skyline

Tallest buildings

As of June 2016, the top ten tallest buildings in the city are:[57]

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


Kodak Tower in High Falls, just north of Center City.

Numerous companies have corporate headquarters in Rochester.

  • Abbott's Frozen Custard – Ice cream franchise
  • Carestream Health – Health equipment and technology
  • Eastman Kodak – Printing and photography
  • ESL Federal Credit Union – New York State's largest credit union in assets[58]
  • Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield – Insurance
  • Frontier Telephone of Rochester – Communications
  • Genesee Brewing Company – Brewery
  • Gleason Corporation – Gear equipment manufacturing
  • Greenlight Networks – Internet service provider
  • Hickey Freeman – Handmade suits and clothing, including the Bobby Jones line
  • Hillside Family of Agencies – Social services non-profit
  • Home Properties – Apartment and properties firm
  • Monro Muffler Brake – Auto care chain
  • North American Breweries – Alcoholic beverage company
  • Rochester Gas and Electric – Utilities
  • Rochester Regional Health – Healthcare
  • Rohrbach Brewing Company – Microbrewery
  • Vuzix - Virtual/Augmented reality wearable technology company

Locally founded corporations that 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 Rochester to the suburbs include Wegmans (Gates, New York) and Paychex (Penfield, New York).[59][60]


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.[61] 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 La'Ron Singletary.

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 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.[62] 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.[63] Most 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 covered by New York's 25th congressional district currently represented by Democrat Joe Morelle of Irondequoit, Monroe County in Congress. From 1987 until 2018 the city was represented by longtime Democrat Louise M. Slaughter of Fairport, Monroe County in Congress.

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[64] Rich Funke Republican 2015 Fairport, Monroe County
56 Northwestern[65] Joseph E. Robach Republican 2003 Greece, Monroe County
61 Southern[66] 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[67] Vacant
137 Center and west[68] David F. Gantt Democratic 1983 Rochester, Monroe County
138 A question-mark-shaped region sandwiched between districts 136 and 137[69] Harry B. Bronson Democratic 2011 Rochester, Monroe County

Rochester is part of

  • The 7th Judicial District of the New York Supreme Court
  • The 4th Department of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division

Representation at the county level

Rochester is represented by districts 7, 16, and 21–29 in the Monroe County legislature.[70]

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 16 fire stations 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 at the Public Safety Training Facility. The Chief of Department is Willie Jackson.[71]


Principal suburbs

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


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, Maplewood (10th Ward), Marketview Heights, Mt. Read, North Winton Village, Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA), Lyell-Otis, 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.[72]

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 was at the center of the 1964 riots.[73] 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.[74]


Historically, an Italian-American neighborhood, this area of the City of Rochester is now home to citizens from across the globe.[75][76] There have recently been efforts to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood, as the area has opportunity for redevelopment and renewal.[77][78][79][80][81][82]

The Lyell-Otis neighborhood is in the City of Rochester, NY in the Northwest Quadrant. Bordering the suburbs of Gates and Greece, the Lyell-Otis boundaries are: The Erie Canal (the City Line) on the West, Lyell Avenue on the South, Driving Park Boulevard on the North, and the old subway bed (long since filled-in, which previously was where the Erie Canal flowed) on the East - almost to Dewey Avenue, but not quite.

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.[83] 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 was overshadowed by developments in the north that would become downtown Rochester. Due to a tumultuous bend in the Genesee river, the area was home to skilled boatsmen who 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 fell 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.[84]

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 "Brooks Landing" development along the Genesee River at the former "rapids" is 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 Brue Coffee shop.[85] 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.[86][87][88]


Genesee River and the historic Aqueduct Downtown

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 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.[89]

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 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

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, a sandy glacial hill with a remnant oak grove and a flattened peak with the city's reservoir, forms the southeastern boundary of this neighborhood. Highland Park, renowned for its annual Lilac Festival, also is within walking distance.[90] 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.[91] 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.[92]

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, and many clubs, bars and high-end restaurants.


Maplewood is a northwest neighborhood 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.[72]

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, Garson Avenue 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. The Pocket Neighborhood is a microneighborhood enclosed within the larger North Winton Village neighborhood. It is composed of six streets: Kansas Street, Akron Street, Newcroft Park, Woodstock Road, Mayfield Street, a portion of East Main Street, and Atlantic Avenue. The Pocket has its own neighborhood association and events, including maintenance of Linear Park.

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.[93] 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 it took to complete this section of the canal.[94] This is one of the neighborhoods in Rochester undergoing the process of gentrification, partially due to a recent increase in homeownership in the area.[95][96] The Linden-South Historic District in South Wedge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.[97]

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.[98] 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.[99] 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 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 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%).[100] Charter schools in the city include Rochester Academy Charter School.

Colleges and universities

Nazareth College

Rochester and the surrounding region host a high concentration of colleges and universities which drive much of the economic growth in the five county area. The University of Rochester is the only large research institution primarily within the city limits, although Monroe Community College and SUNY Brockport operate campuses downtown. The Highland Park neighborhood is home to Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (part of whose facility is leased by Ithaca College's Department of Physical Therapy) and an office maintained by the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester is the metropolitan area's oldest and most prominent institution of higher learning, and one of the country's top research centers. U of R was ranked as the 29th-best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2019[101] and was deemed "one of the new Ivies" by Newsweek.[102] The nursing school has received many awards and honors[103] and the Simon School of Business is also ranked in the top 30 in many categories.[104]

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.[105] He also contributed greatly to the University of Rochester from wealth based on the success of Eastman Kodak.

Former colleges

Four institutions began operations in the city and later moved to Rochester's inner-ring suburbs:

  • The Empire State College Rochester Learning Center moved from its Prince Street address to Irondequoit in 1999.[106]
  • Monroe Community College moved from Alexander Street to Brighton in 1968.[107]
  • Rochester Institute of Technology moved from South Washington Street to Henrietta also in 1968.[108]
  • St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry moved from space leased in Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School to Pittsford in 2003.

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.[109]

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.

  • Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Charlotte High School
  • Dr. Freddie Thomas High School
  • East High School
  • Frederick Douglass Preparatory School
  • All City High
  • James Monroe High School
  • Nathaniel Rochester Community School
  • Northwest College Preparatory School
  • School of Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship at Edison
  • School of Engineering & Manufacturing at Edison
  • School of Imaging & Information Technology at Edison
  • School of Applied Technology at Edison
  • School of the Arts
  • School Without Walls
  • Thomas Jefferson High School
  • Wilson Magnet High School

Charter schools

Rochester charter schools are free public schools for children in grades K-12. There are no tests or entrance fees and charter schools accept students who need extra help in school, have IEPs and are English language learners. Through the website, parents and caregivers can learn more about academic and extracurricular offerings. Families can apply to all of the 12* schools in 19 locations through GoodSchoolsRoc.

School Grades served


Address & website Phone number
Academy of Health Sciences 5 (will expand to Grade 8) 1001 Lake Ave., Rochester, NY 14613 585-207-0590
Discovery Charter School K-6 133 Hoover Dr., Rochester, NY 14615 585-342-4032
Eugenio Maria de Hostos
Zimbrich Campus K-5 27 Zimbrich St., Rochester, NY 14621 585-544-6170
Joseph Campus 6-8 1069 Joseph Ave., Rochester, NY 14621 585-697-7115
Kodak Tower Campus 9-12 5th Floor – Building 10

343 State St., Rochester, NY 14650

Exploration Elementary Charter School for Science & Technology K-3 (will expand to Grade 5)  1001 Lake Ave., Rochester, NY 14613 585-498-4700
Genesee Community Charter School K-6 657 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14607 585-697-1960
Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts K-6 299 Kirk Rd., Rochester, NY 14612 585-225-4200
Rochester Academy
Elementary School K-2 (will expand to Grade 5) 125 Kings Highway S., Rochester 14617

(Bishop Kearny location)

Middle School 6-8 841 Genesee St., Rochester, NY 14611 585- 235-4141
High School 9-12 1757 Latta Rd Greece, NY 14612 585-467-9201
Rochester Prep  585-235-0008
Elementary School K-4 899 Jay St., Rochester, NY 14611 585-235-0008
Elementary School West Campus K-4 85 St. Jacob St., Rochester, NY 14621 585-368-5100
Elementary School 3 K-3 (will expand to Grade 4) 85 St. Jacob St., Rochester, NY 14621 585-368-5100
Middle School Brooks Campus 5-8 630 Brooks Ave., Rochester, NY 14619 585-436-8629
Middle School West Campus 5-8 432 Chili Ave., Rochester, NY 14611 585-368-5090
High School 9-12 305 Andrews St., Rochester, NY 14604 585-368-5111
University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men 7-12 1290 Lake Ave., Rochester, NY 14613 585-672-1280
Urban Choice Charter School K-8 545 Humboldt St., Rochester, NY 14610 585-288-5702
Vertus High School 9-12 21 Humboldt St. Rochester, NY 14609 585-747-8911
Young Women’s College Prep 7-12 133 Hoover Dr., Rochester, NY 14615 585-254-0320

* For the 2019-20 academic school year, families will need to contact Genesee Community Charter School directly to apply.

Private schools

  • McQuaid Jesuit
  • Aquinas Institute

Former schools

  • Nazareth Academy
  • John Marshall High School

Culture and recreation

The city of Rochester is home to numerous cultural institutions. These include the Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rochester City Ballet, 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.

Murphy's Law, a large, iconic bar and club at the corner of East & Alexander in the East End

The East End Theater is 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 within the neighborhood. The Eastman Theatre now plays host to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and other musical/drama events.

The Little Theatre in the East End

Monroe Avenue bars at night

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, 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

Rochester's parks include Highland, Cobb's Hill, Durand Eastman, Genesee Valley, Maplewood, Edgerton, Seneca, Turning Point, and Ontario Beach; four of these were designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.[110] 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",[111] "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:

  • Established in 2002, the Rochester International Jazz Festival is one of the largest Jazz Festivals in America. It takes place in late June at dozens of clubs, concert halls and free outdoor stages throughout Downtown Rochester; past performers include Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, and Wynton Marsalis. A record 205,000 people attended the event in 2016[112][113]
  • The 360 365 Film Festival (formerly the Rochester High-Falls International Film Festival) held at the George Eastman House's Dryden Theatre and the Little Theatre downtown. Several Films screened at 360/365 have been honored at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards[114]
  • Rochester International Film Festival, the world's oldest continuously held short-film festival[115]
  • The Lilac Festival at Highland Park, which is the oldest and most popular festival in Rochester and the largest event of its kind in North America, attended by over 500,000 people annually.[116] Established in 1898, it includes multiple attractions aside from the Lilacs themselves[117] These musical acts include the Wailers who attended in 2012 and 2014[118]
  • The Rochester Fringe Festival
  • The Corn Hill Arts Festival


The Federal Building

The Democrat and Chronicle, a Gannet newspaper, is Rochester's main daily newspaper. There are other numerous publications, and magazines that cater to many of the city's different people groups or special interests such as Insider magazine, City Newspaper, Rochester Business Journal, and the Minority Reporter. Former publications serving the city include the Rochester Post Express[119] and Rochester Evening Journal.[120] Rochester is also served by several local television and radio stations, with WROC-TV as the oldest television station serving the Rochester metro area.

Points of interest

Circle at Bausch & Lomb headquarters with the Xerox Tower in the background.

Rochester's historic City Hall

Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School

Geva Theatre Center downtown

  • Asbury First United Methodist Church
  • Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial
  • Cinema Theater
  • Cobbs Hill Park and Reservoir
  • Eastman Business Park
  • Ellwanger Garden
  • First Unitarian Church of Rochester, described by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning architectural critic as one of "the most significant works of religious architecture of the century".[121]
  • Frederick Douglass Monument
  • Frontier Field
  • George Eastman Museum
  • Geva Theatre Center
  • High Falls and the High Falls Entertainment District
  • Highland Park
  • House of Guitars
  • Liberty Pole
  • Little Theatre, one of the oldest art-house movie theaters in the country
  • Maplewood Park Rose Garden
  • Midtown Plaza, the nation's first downtown shopping mall (partially demolished – Tower and Seneca Building still stand).
  • Mount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, the nation's first Victorian cemetery
  • Nick Tahou Hots featuring the Garbage Plate and a charity run in its name
  • Ontario Beach Park and the Port of Rochester at Charlotte
  • Rochester Broadway Theatre League at the Auditorium Theatre
  • Rochester Contemporary Art Center
  • Rochester's Public Market
  • Rochester Riverside Convention Center
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • St. Joseph's Church and Rectory (Rochester, New York)
  • Seneca Park Zoo, one of the top three family attractions in the area
  • Strong National Museum of Play, nation's second-largest children's museum housing the National Toy Hall of Fame
  • Strasenburgh Planetarium, part of the Rochester Museum & Science Center
  • Susan B. Anthony House
  • Times Square Building, noted for its 42' tall "Wings of Progress" sculpture.
  • University Avenue and Park Avenue Artistic Districts
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Rochester Arboretum
  • University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music and Eastman Theatre
  • Water Street Music Hall


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,[122] and the fifth-best "sports town" in the country by Scarborough Research in September 2008.

Professional sports

Rochester has several professional sports teams:[123]

Frontier Field, including the Rochester skyline.

Marina Auto Stadium

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 Rhinos Soccer 1996 USL TBA 5
Rochester RazorSharks Basketball 2005 TBL Blue Cross Arena 8
Rochester Knighthawks Indoor lacrosse 2019 NLL Blue Cross Arena 0

In addition, there are numerous other amateur and club sports such as rowing and rugby. Rochester and its surrounding area also has a rich golf history and has hosted numerous professional tournaments on its local golf courses.[124] The city also boasts other facilities such as 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.

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, and the University of Rochester men's squash team, which is consistently ranked top 5 in Division I. RIT and UR's other sports, as well as both institutions as a whole, are in 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.[125]


Maritime transport

Packet boats on the Genesee River

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. There were a number of problems concerning the ship's engine, 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. This resulted in the failure of the project. It was sold to Förde Reederei Seetouristik, a German company, for $30 million.

Air transport

Aerial View of the Greater Rochester International Airport

Rochester is served by the Greater Rochester International Airport (GRIA). Daily scheduled air service is provided by American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.

In 2010, the GRIA was ranked the 14th-least expensive airport in the United States by Cheapflights.[126] 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.[127][128]

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,[129] the city was one of the original 25 cities FedEx served on its first night of operations on April 17, 1973.[130]

Rails and mass transit

Louise M. Slaughter Rochester Station

Rail service to Rochester is provided by the Louise M. Slaughter Rochester Station, served by Amtrak's Empire Service between New York City and Niagara Falls, the Maple Leaf between New York City and Toronto, and the Lake Shore Limited between New York City/Boston and Chicago. Prior to 1966, Rochester had a smaller version of New York City's "Grand Central Terminal". It was among Claude Fayette Bragdon's best works in Rochester, New York. The current station is modeled after Bragdon's work and named in honor of former longtime congresswomen Louise Slaughter.

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.[131] 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.[132] Also serving Rochester was the Erie Railroad and Lehigh Valley Railroad.

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). All RTS routes are based out of the RTS Transit Center on Mortimer Street.

The Broad Street Aqueduct was used as a subway tunnel

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. The subway which was operated by the Rochester Transit Corporation was shut down in 1956. The eastern half of the subway past Court Street became the Eastern Expressway with the western end of the open cut being filled in 1976. The tunnel was last used for freight service by Gannett Company to bring paper to the printing presses for the Democrat and Chronicle in 1997. 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 tunnel. 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 former canal and subway tunnel have become a frequent source of debate. Homeless people use the tunnels for shelter. 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 generated criticism as the cost of filling would not generate nor leverage economic development. The western end of the tunnel was filled in to the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad turnout in 2010 as part of a redevelopment of the above street and the eastern end of the tunnel is undergoing redevelopment. The Broad Street aqueduct and most famous part of the tunnel is on the National Register of Historic Places being added in 1976.

Major highways and roads

Main Street looking east

Three exits off the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) serve Rochester. Rochester has an extensive system of limited-access highways (called 'expressways' or just 'highways', never 'freeways') 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.

In 2016, the City of Rochester launched the Pace Car Program. "Pace Car drivers sign a pledge to drive within the speed limit, drive courteously, yield to pedestrians and be mindful of bicyclists and others on the street."[133]

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.[134] The expressway extension was never built.

Three Interstate Highways run through the City of Rochester:

I-390.svg Interstate 390 (Genesee Expressway)

  • I-390 runs south–north, crossing I-90 (exit 46) and routing north through Rochester's western suburbs. Its northern end is at I-490, however it continues north as NY-390 until it merges into the Lake Ontario State Parkway. South of I-90, I-390 runs to Avoca, New York, where it meets up with U.S. Route 15 and the Southern Tier Expressway, I-86.

I-490.svg Interstate 490 (Western/Eastern Expressway)

  • I-490 runs west–east through Rochester, starting at Le Roy, New York and ending in Victor, New York. It interchanges with the two other Interstates in Rochester: I-390 at the western city limit and I-590 at the eastern limit, as well as connecting at both ends with the Thruway, I-90 (exits 47 and 45). In July 2007, a new bridge over the Genesee River was completed and named the Frederick Douglass–Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge.

I-590.svg Interstate 590

  • I-590 runs south–north through Rochester's eastern suburbs. Its southern end is at I-390, while the northern end is at I-490; the highway continues north to the shore of Lake Ontario as NY-590.
  • In decreasing usage is the term "Can of Worms", referring to the previously dangerous at-grade intersection of Interstate 490 and expressway NY-590 on the eastern edge of the Rochester city limits, bordering the suburb of Brighton. In the 1980s, a multimillion-dollar project created a system of overpasses and ramps that reduced the danger but resulted in the loss of certain exits.

New York State Route Expressways:

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

  • NY 104 – Just east of the NY 590 interchange, NY 104 becomes the Irondequoit-Wayne County Expressway and crosses the Irondequoit Bay Bridge. On the other side of the Bay Bridge, in the town of Webster, NY 104 has exits before returning to an at-grade highway at Basket Road.

NY-390.svg New York State Route 390

  • NY 390 is an extension of Interstate 390 from the I-390/I-490 interchange in Gates. The northern terminus is at the Lake Ontario State Parkway in Greece, less than a mile from the Lake Ontario shoreline.

NY-590.svg New York State Route 590

  • NY 590 is a limited-access extension of Interstate 590 at runs from an interchange between Interstate 490 and I-590 on the Brighton/Rochester border. The northern terminus is at Culver Road in Irondequoit, near Sea Breeze (the western shore of Irondequoit Bay at Lake Ontario).

Rochester Inner Loop.svg Inner Loop

  • The Inner Loop Runs from Interstate 490 to Main Street on the north end and from 490 to Monroe Avenue at the south end. Formerly a loop, the eastern end was demolished and replaced with a surface road between 2014 and 2017. Unsigned reference New York State Route 940T begins and ends at Interstate 490, and the rest of the Loop is part of I-490 between exits 13 and 15, including the Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge. This expressway is commonly used to define the borders of downtown Rochester.

New York State Parkways:

Lake Ontario State Pkwy Shield.svg Lake Ontario State Parkway

  • Lake Ontario State Parkway travels from Lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton, Orleans County. The eastern end is at Lake Avenue in the city of Rochester in Monroe County.

Notable people

See List of people from Rochester, New York

Notable individuals who were born in and/or lived in Rochester include Kodak founder George Eastman, American social reformer and women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony, African-American social reformer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Olympic soccer player Abby Wambach, opera singer Renée Fleming, jazz singer Cab Calloway, composer Howard Hanson, mandopop singer Wang Leehom, actress Kristen Wiig, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, NHL ice hockey player Ryan Callahan, YouTube personality Jenna Marbles, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, and former NFL draft picks Kevin McMahan and Chandler Jones.

Sister cities

Rochester has twelve sister cities,[135] 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):[136]

City County / District / Region / State Nation Date
Rennes Brittany  France 1958[135][137]
Würzburg  Bavaria  Germany 1964[135][138]
Caltanissetta Template:Country data Sicily  Italy 1965[135]
Rehovot Center District  Israel 1972[135]
Kraków Template:Country data Lesser Poland Małopolskie  Poland 1973[135][139]
Bamako Capital District  Mali 1975[135]

City County / District / Region / State Nation Date
Waterford County Waterford  Ireland 1983[135]
Novgorod Template:Country data Novgorod Oblast  Russia 1990[135]
Hamamatsu Template:Country data Shizuoka Prefecture  Japan 1996[135][140]
Puerto Plata Puerto Plata Province  Dominican Republic 1997[135]
Xianyang Shaanxi China 2007[135]
Alytus Alytus County flag.svg Alytus County  Lithuania 2009[135]

See also

  • Portal.svgNew York (state) portal



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Further reading

  • Keene, Michael. Folklore and Legends of Rochester: The Mystery of Hoodoo Corner and Other Tales (2011) excerpt and text search
  • McKelvey, Blake. Rochester on the Genesee: The Growth of a City (1993) excerpt and text search; 292 pp; a brief history by the leading specialist

External links

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