Nothing gets under the skin of an optimistic Rochesterian like seeing a tiny city in the middle of nowhere have a more vibrant downtown than Rochester. Ithaca, located in an otherwise rural Finger Lakes region, boasts a population of around 30,000 and is located in a county with a population of perhaps 101,000 residents. Despite being surrounded by seemingly endless land, Ithaca has a surprising density that clearly values bikers and pedestrians. In fact, Ithaca Commons, arguably the city's cultural and economic center, is a pedestrian mall that is not open to vehicular traffic (this is an often failed concept, I know.) The result is a remarkably lively downtown that leaves Rochesterians scratching their heads. While Ithaca prospers and our Western New York neighbor, Buffalo, suddenly has a highly desirable waterfront, Rochester boasts the following:
- The longest discussion in the history of mankind about a performing arts center
- Perhaps one of the most unimpressive waterfronts in the entire Great Lakes region
- A huge amount of retrospective chatter about a boat that was not economically viable
- A great arena by 1980's standards
- A beautiful Main Street shopping district that includes Family Dollar and an abundant choice of lottery tickets
This rant is not productive, but it is therapeutic.