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Why we love market day 

The Rochester Public Market can be noisy, crowded, and fishy, but that is part of the vibrancy and spirit that make it a unique experience. Where else in Rochester is it almost too crowded to move for hours at a time? To avoid the Saturday crowds, join a number of chefs that shop on Thursdays (it's also open Tuesday and Thursday mornings), when parking is much easier. A bonus: Market prices are often a fraction of grocery-store prices.

The Market is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, with a centennial party on June 4 and 5, 2005. There is a real sense of history here. Shoppers still travel the same cobblestone streets that in the early days would be covered with 2000 teams of horses from farms in Irondequoit and other suburbs. Now the farms are mostly in adjoining counties, and farmers leave at 3:30 in the morning to arrive in time for Saturday morning shoppers.

One farmer that comes from Williamson is Louie Chelini, who drives each week with his son, granddaughter, and other family members. I met Louie quite a few years ago when I learned that his corn was an ingredient in one of my favorite dishes, a corn chowder with lobster at Brasserie Restaurant. I've been buying a dozen or two ears from Louie every chance I get. I'll start asking him about the corn's progress months before harvest arrives.

In this anniversary year, there will be a sit-down restaurant returning to the Market. For decades there was Jimmy's, which served as a gathering place for politicians, activists, and other hungry people. Now Java Joe's coffee shop is expanding its slot along Commission House Row. Java's Café will be the first non-wholesale business open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, featuring the produce of the Market.

These buildings on the edge of the Market near Union Street house some of my favorite haunts, like Rich Ports Bakery, Vince Giordano's Cheese and Olive shop, JonJohn's Kitchen, Fare Game, and a new tea vendor.

In This Guide...

    Annual Manual 2005

    Surprised by Rochester
    When I was getting ready to move to Rochester five years ago, my friends and family were confused. They wore worried faces when they asked me, "What's in Rochester?" and "That's not too far from the city, is it?" and "Do you like the cold weather?"

    A newbie’s checklist

    Beginner’s guide
    So you've arrived, and now you need the basics: phone, utilities, a way to get around town, and, maybe, a way to get out of town. Here is some info to help you get settled in.

    Who's representing

    Government
    Mayor Bill Johnson 30 Church Street, Rochester 14614

    Pounding the pavement

    Neighborhoods
    I've been thinking about changing my name to Where's Your Car? (though I would have preferred You're Stunning or Are Those Real?).

    It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

    Neighborhoods
    There is so much talk about how to revitalize Rochester's downtown and make the city a more attractive place to live. But many people have discovered the benefits of city life.

    Finding a beat you can dance to

    Live music
    I know it takes a little more than turning on the tube, but heading out for live music is so good for you. Plus the audience (you) is an integral part of each performance.

    We’ve got music

    We're proud of our musical talent; here are four reasons why. The event

    Get yourself something to eat

    Welcome to the Rochester food scene. I write full reviews of different restaurants every other week in City, but here is a bit of a primer, by genre, to acquaint you with the area's amazing variety of dining options.

    Tending to your health

    Major hospitals Highland Hospital

    Get learning

    Schools
    Each public school district in Monroe County has contact information (listed below) where you can get more detailed information about individual schools. To get an overall picture, for some general research, or to just get involved, here are some resources:

    A little culture never hurt anyone

    Arts
    For a city our size, we've got plenty of culture. There's enough for every taste and energy level, but not too much to overwhelm.

    What's the alternative?

    Although Rochester has a number of respectable art museums and galleries, rarely will these venues show anything outside the mainstream. For an art space to do something daring, quite often it has to rely on the vision and resources of an individual or a small group of people.

    A little place outside the city

    Suburbs
    Monroe County has 19 towns and nine incorporated villages. Aided by short commutes, particularly between Rochester and its inner-ring of suburbs, many of these are bedroom communities.

    The gold of the silver screens

    Movies
    I'm only about 5-foot-3-inches, but I totally towered over Isabella Rossellini. Now, you may be wondering what sorts of circles a humble hometown girl like myself would run in that would enable me to reach that conclusion.

    High class

    Colleges
    Colgate Rochester Divinity School Can boast of a dedication for diversity, teaching students in over 20 Christian denominations.

    We'd rather be out in the open

    Recreation
    The areas in and around Rochester are rich with green space --- diverse, convenient, and beautiful places to walk the dog, take out a canoe, find a zoo, or smell the lilacs. From the beautiful Seneca and Highland Parks, both designed by 19th-century landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted, to Durand-Eastman Park, where you can feel the immensity of that Great Lake --- here is just a partial list of some of our favorite parks in the Monroe County (256-4950, www.monroecounty.gov) and City of Rochester (400 Dewey Avenue, 428-6767 or 428-6755, www.cityofrochester.gov) systems.

    Block partying

    Festivals
    Go ahead, give us a reason to celebrate. I dare you.

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