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New to town or coming home? Some things to consider

LIVING: Getting settled 

New to town or coming home? Some things to consider

Up until the 1960's, Rochester's economy was dynamic and growing, and the area's major employers of the day often needed to build their management teams with outside talent. Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, and several other firms were industrial giants, and some offered prospective executives handsome relocation packages.

But Rochester's relocation business isn't what it used to be. As the region's economy changed, the flow of employee relocations has reduced to a trickle. Job losses, taxes, and even cold weather have taken their toll on the allure of Upstate New York over the last 30 years.

Many people, however, still move to the Rochester area, often to be closer to family and friends. This region also attracts thousands of higher-education students to its cluster of colleges and universities. So whether you're a Rochester newbie or you're returning after being away for several years, what do you need to know? How do you find a place to live and settle in?

Mark Siwiec, a real estate agent with Nothnagle Realtors, says it all comes down to three factors: neighborhoods, schools, and property values. Frequently, Siwiec's first task is being what he calls an ambassador for Rochester, because so much of his work involves educating newcomers about the benefits of living here.

Siwiec says he spends about 20 minutes on the phone with clients to help him understand their needs and expectations. Then he develops a tour for people who are unfamiliar with the area that highlights their interests, he says. His tours regularly include visits to Wegmans' Pittsford store, Schoen Place, the Little Theatre, 2 Vine restaurant, and the Eastman School of Music's Kilbourn Hall.

"If they have children, I always take them to the Strong [National Museum of Play], he says. Rochesterians "live and eat like kings," Siwiec argues. "We take it all for granted. We have a culinary sophistication that you don't have in many parts of the country."

Important numbers

Whether you're just moving to a different community in Monroe County or you're relocating from another state, here's some additional information to help you get established:

Emergency ambulance, fire, and police: 911

Greater Rochester Visitors Association: (585) 546-6810; the office provides maps and information on events, tourist sites, and activities in the area.

Department of Motor Vehicles: (585) 753-1604

Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation: (800) 743-2110

Frontier internet: (877) 674-0852

Frontier residential telephone: (585) 777-4663

Time Warner cable television, telephone, internet: (585) 756-5000

Monroe County Clerk: (585) 753-1600

Monroe County Water Authority: (585) 442-2000

Monroe County waste and recycling: Cascade Recovery US (585) 527-8110; Waste Management (800) 333-6590

City of Rochester: information, 311 or (585) 428-5990

In This Guide...

    Annual Manual 2014

    CITY's guide to visiting, living, working and playing in Rochester, NY
    Read articles on politics, neighborhoods, art, happy hour dining, theater troupes, a calendar of events for 2014 and more!

    CITY/COUNTY: Know your neighborhoods

    Introductions to Monroe Avenue, Mendon, 19th Ward, and other Rochester area communities
    Monroe County is about as diverse a community as you can find: a mid-size city, rural areas with orchards and farm markets, suburbs with 20th-century tract houses and shopping malls, and quaint, Victorian villages. The Genesee River and the Erie Canal bisect the county, more or less vertically and diagonally, so geology and history are a constant presence, shaping everything from traffic patterns to architecture and public festivals.

    POLITICS: Meet your pols

    A guide to your elected representatives
    Monroe County has a vibrant political scene, but it also has a pronounced party divide. Democrats control the governments in the city and a couple of inner-ring suburbs, while Republicans hold the power in most of the towns.

    DINING: The happiest of hours

    Six Rochester happy hours worth checking out
    Whether you've just had a rough day at the office, need a quick bite before dinner, or want to avoid the late-night crowds at the bar, happy hours are a great way to enjoy local food and drink at a discount. They are the perfect chance to try something new, or get that second drink.

    ART: Gems from Rochester's art museums

    Connections with collections
    When people visit a museum or gallery, they are typically drawn in to view a specific exhibition, and perhaps linger a while to wander the permanent collection as well. But since most cultural institutions have neither the space nor the funds to present their entire collections to the public at all times, many objects reside in storage, and a percentage of the collection is fairly unknown.

    MUSIC: Sing, sing a song

    Rochester is a karaoke hotbed
    Its title derived from mashing up the Japanese words "kara" (meaning empty) and "okesutora" (meaning orchestra), karaoke has been around for a long time. And some of its roots, believe it or not, are American.

    THEATER: A theater town

    A look at some of Rochester's niche theatrical troupes
    Anyone who believes that theater is a dying art has not spent much time in Rochester; we have always offered a remarkably full range of theater, for consumption and for participation. To use a word theater people enjoy, the Rochester theater scene is very textured; there's a little of everything offered, and something for everybody to see, to try out for, or to get involved in.

    MEDIA: The last bastions

    Where to find fading media in Rochester
    Now that Blockbuster has gone the way of the dodo, closing what remained of its stores at the start of this year, it seems the end is near for physical media. The fall of the former giant of home entertainment is just the latest reminder that the now omnipresent Kindles and Nooks, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Prime have had a profound effect.

    HEALTH/WELLNESS: The Lotus Flower City

    The history and growth of Yoga in Rochester
    These days, you can't go anywhere without hearing about the newest yoga craze. Before the dawn of the Victoria's Secret yoga pants empire, though, things were a little bit different.

    EVENTS: Mark your calendar

    Rochester's upcoming special events
    If there is one thing Rochester has an abundance of, it's festivals. Keeping track of all of them can be daunting, and we know that you wouldn't want to miss out, so we did the hard work for you.

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