Union Street Construction

When the City of Rochester built the Inner Loop, it destroyed a number of neighborhoods and made dead end streets out of busy thoroughfares. Worse, it never actually accomplished its goal (assuming it wasn’t just displacing poor people) and was devoid of significant amounts of traffic for the most part.

Now the city has decided to fill in much of it and create space for commercial development. But it’s been slow going. Glacial is perhaps a better term. It’s been a year and this is what’s been done so far.

Mountain by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Roots by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Planetree by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

Concrete by Tom Maszerowski on 500px.com

When downtown Rochester was a destination

Younger people may not realize it, but downtown Rochester was once the place to go, whether to shop or just visit. It still was when I came to Rochester in 1975. We knew that there were malls in Greece and out in Victor but they were far away and didn’t seem to offer anything we couldn’t find at Sibley’s, McCurdy’s or in Midtown.

But once the malls in Henrietta and Irondequoit were built starting in the 80s, downtown lost its charm and ability to draw visitors from the suburbs. By the 90s both stores had been sold, renamed and the downtown stores closed forever. By the time my job took me to downtown, Midtown was a shadow of its former self, with empty stores outnumbering the open ones. I haven’t been in a department store in years, and visits to a mall are limited to the Apple Store.

Midtown and McCurdy’s has been mostly torn down and replaced with some nondescript buildings housing some generic company. There are plans to renovate the tower section, which was stripped down to its steel girders. I’m sure it will be nice, as such things go, but it won’t be like it was and perhaps could have been.