Archive for June, 2012

Rochester’s Four Corners — A Present From the Past

Finger Lakes Summer

Ornate exterior of the Powers Building

If you want to learn about the rich history of Rochester, NY — tag along with a walking tour by the Landmark Society of Upstate New York. I joined an “architecture for lunch” speed tour of the famous Four Corners of Rochester. But first, what are the Four Corners?

The intersection at Main Street (of downtown Rochester) where State Street becomes Exchange Street. It was located where the first two streets crossed, then called Buffalo Street. (Main Street) and Carroll Street (State Street). That intersection is still commonly called by its original name, The Four Corners.

The tour began inside the Powers Building — a building so vast and ornamented, it swallows the sky for a city block.

Finger Lakes Summer

Looking up inside the Powers Building

Entering the atrium my eyes scanned upward, enjoying the vast expanse of multi-tiered interior space, bathed in natural light. How could I have lived in this city for 50 years and NEVER seen this gorgeous space? (I think our educational system needs a little more emphasis on local history — this is worth learning about.)

Quoted from “

“Construction of the building utilized steel framing with a cast iron and ornamental stone façade. This revolutionary method of construction was employed to create what was then billed as a fireproof building. The building was the first in upstate New York to have a passenger elevator (then called a vertical railroad), gas illumination and marble floors. In 1861 it became the first commercial structure in Rochester to have electricity, utilizing its own power generating boilers.”

Mr Powers built several of the buildings in this small footprint, but he did not want any other structure in Rochester taller than this his masterpiece, continuing to add to it’s height in 1874, 1880, 1888, and 1891 as others vied for the top spot in the sky.

Case and point, here is an excerpt from “The Flower City: 1850-1899”


Powers Building completed


Ellwanger & Barry Building is erected to a height of eight stories. Daniel Powers adds a third Mansard roof to the Powers Building, adding two additional floors, reclaiming again the title as Rochester’s tallest.

Wilder Building erected to a height of thirteen stories. Daniel Powers adds to the height of the tower on the Powers Building, recapturing the title, for another five years.”

It is difficult to believe that less that 100 years prior to this building’s construction, this same area is unsettled and described as ” a swamp with dense forest, and swamp fever (malaria).”

Finger Lakes Summer

Glassed in atrium inside the County Courthouse

Finger Lakes Summer

Inside the County Courthouse

Other fabulous examples of architecture in this same area are 39 West Main St, which is the County Courthouse, Two Saints Episcopal Church, 17 Fitzhugh St S, and The Rochester Free Academy, 13 Fitzhugh St S..

Finger Lakes Summer

Gothic Revival Style displayed by the Rochester Free Academy and the Episcopal Church

Designated in the National Register of Historical Places, “The City Hall Historic District, tightly clustered in two downtown blocks in Rochester, is one of the most architecturally compelling nineteenth century civic complexes remaining in a major New York State city.” (More info)

Each building in this provides diverse examples of architecture. The church and academy stand side by side representing the early and later phases of Gothic Revival in the nineteenth century.  Across the street is the courthouse backed up to the City Hall.

June 18, 2012 at 5:30 am Leave a comment

See What’s Blooming in Skaneateles This Weekend

Skaneateles Garden Club Garden Tour

June 15 & 16, 2012 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. 

A tour of seven (7) Skaneateles residents gardens on tour. Luncheon held at the Skaneateles Country Club. June 15th 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. . Tickets available on day of the event at Garden locations. 

Garden Gallery


Weitsmans’s home at 45 Lake Rd.

Errico’s home at 68 W. Genesee St.

To learn more: Visit or the club’s Facebook page “Skaneateles Garden Club” or call Rose at (315) 685-3943.

June 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

Finger Lakes Summer Musical Theater, in Auburn, Opens with Altar Boyz

Finger Lakes Summer

A single stage set for the musical Altar Boyz

If you are looking for an evening of inexpensive fun this summer, you should head over to Auburn and catch a performance of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival (running all summer long, three different venues).

The first show of the summer at the Auburn Public Theater is a light-hearted one-act musical called Altar Boyz. The fast-paced show is a hilarious — but tastefully rendered — parody of a christian boy band that has been sponsored and commercialized into a traveling musical road show.

I was amazed how they danced, sang and joked through out, poking gentle fun at serious moral issues like religion, addiction, premarital sex, and homosexuality, in a light-hearted manner that kept everyone in the audience laughing and smiling.

My husband, who grew up in the Catholic Church, had a continuous grin and lots of belly laughs for the entire show.

The Altar Boyz are appropriately named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (Juan), The fifth and my favorite, is a Jew who just wants to try on a choir robe — Abraham. Each actor is a fabulous solo singer and their voices work beautifully together, as does their comedic timing.

One of the funniest running gags in the show is carried on by Luke, the muscled and mindless teen member, who confesses that he too has struggles. The Boyz hem and haw to name his burden, eventually referring to it as “severe exhaustion,”

The nice thing about this show is that the music and lyrics remain central and the story is kept to a “show-bizzy” minimum. There is one set for the entire 90-minute show and the five-person cast rarely stop singing except to grab the next set of props.

Auburn Theater is small, COOL, comfortable and every seat in the house is great.

“Altar Boyz,” presented by the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival.

Finger Lakes Summer Musical Theater

Auburn Theater right in the heart of downtown Auburn with free parking

Auburn Public Theater, 108 Genesee St., Auburn.

90 minutes without intermission.

The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival has planned to add a fourth venue since its 2012 opening. In 2014, it will — just not in Cayuga County.

As soon as each of the six shows in next year’s festival finishes its local run, it’ll ship up to Rochester for a one-week engagement at the 1,964-seat Kodak Center for Performing Arts.

June 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm 1 comment

Entertainment on Sodus Bay — Abe’s Waterfront Boat House

Finger Lakes Summer

waterside view of Abe’s.

If you search on Google for “Sodus Bay Entertainment,” the first listing that appears is “Abe’s Waterfront Boat House Bar and Grill.

Sodus Bay is a town geared up for summer fun on Lake Ontario. The Bay is full of spots to moor your boat and get something to eat. Abe’s Waterfront Boat House is set up for whatever type of entertainment you could want day or night — order a drink, enjoy the breeze and  listen to some live music.

Finger Lakes Summer

Looking down the bar at Abes

Back in 1910 this property was Walsh’s Boat Livery and it is decorated with turn-of-the-century boathouse artifacts. The club and outside decks can seat over 600, with both on-site parking plus 32 boat slips for boats.

Finger Lakes Summer

View of Sodus Bay from the deck at Abes

We ate outside on the spacious deck overlooking the bay, but there is the main Boat House as well as the Upper Deck or Crows Nest for dining and drinking.

What is the history of Sodus Point and Sodus Bay? Most of what is recorded tells about the town of Sodus, just south, where the Arbor Day was started. The land was originally territory of the Onandaga Nation. Sodus is believed to be an indian word meaning possibly “gleam on the water.”

The area around Sodus is filled with fruit orchards — once cherry, peach and apple, and now more and more, you see grape vines.

Finger Lakes Summer

Sunny lunch on the deck

Lunch  menu

Located at: 8527 Greig Street, Sodus Point, NY

Call: 315-483-4444

June 2, 2012 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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