Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rust Belt

This blog generally focuses on statistically based, objective evidence that shows how Rochester far outperforms its perception.  But in a deviation from the norm, this post is a completely opinionated, subjective set of reasons why living in Rochester (and other Rust Belt cities) can be remarkably fulfilling.  While we are often forced to harp on the cold weather, loss of manufacturing jobs, urban blight, and general lack of respect from the rest of the country, here are five explanations why people don't want to leave:

  1. If you have even a remote interest in American history, Rochester is extremely rich in this regard.   Rochesterians don't need to read about history to appreciate it.  We essentially live history on a daily basis.  The rise, fall, and rebirth of the past 150 years is on display...all the time.  New riverfront apartments give way to an abandoned subway.  A downtown housing revival occurs under the watch of a revolving restaurant that no longer revolves and isn't a restaurant.  Trendy eateries and breweries line a transportation corridor that is definitely not trendy...the Erie Canal.  Roads which became highways become roads again.  And new companies utilize the infrastructure of iconic companies which barely resemble their former selves.
  2. Do you enjoy being around engaged, intelligent individuals but wish they didn't think they were so important? Rochester has an uncanny ability to produce smart people who are also down-to-earth.  Couple a local culture that values education with Rochester's tendency toward self-deprecation, and the result is pretty nice.
  3. While historical job loss receives immense attention, those who can find a job that suits their taste live the good life.  Take a satisfying job and add (a) top-tier cultural and educational outlets, (b) really affordable housing, (c) really short commutes, and (d) a lot to do.  That's a solid formula for contentedness.
  4. There is nothing like a patchy city when it comes to exploration.  If willing to leave one's comfort zone even a little bit, the number of surprising finds can be astounding.  While the external facade of certain places is uninviting, the warmth, thoughtfulness, and creativity inside are what give Rochester its undeniable quirkiness.
  5. Everyone loves the underdog, and everyone loves a good comeback.  Rudy, Hoosiers, March Madness, and the 2004 Red Sox capture our imagination for a reason.  In Rochester, we're definitely an underdog, and we're definitely making a comeback.  For those of us who realize it, the energy is palpable.

1 comment:

  1. Another great blog. Keep them up. I really enjoy reading them!