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ANNUAL MANUAL '10: Introduction 

One of the fun things about working on a project like Annual Manual is that you get to rediscover Rochester all over again. It's easy to take a place for granted after you've lived there long enough, but each year this publication reminds me what a cool, interesting place we live in.

            Rochester certainly has its share of struggles, but it also has a lot to offer. Few cities its size can boast the kind of rich history (we weren't called "America's first boomtown" for nothing), diverse landscape, and arts and cultural opportunities that we have in spades. And as Annual Manual reminds me, there's always something to new to explore here.

            Take, for instance, Rebecca Rafferty's article on local artist collectives (page 26). Rochester might not have as vibrant an art scene as, say, Pittsburgh, but a surprising number of ambitious artist types are organizing hives of creativity all over the city. You could spend whole afternoons checking out the studio spaces in the Hungerford Building, Artisan Works, Anderson Alley, and the other venues mentioned here and still probably not see everything.

            Or consider Michael Lasser's piece on the architectural gems of East Avenue (page 32). Anyone who drives down that notable street can see that it is home to some amazing houses and other structures, but have you ever stopped to consider the story they tell? Really study the various styles represented? Wondered who used to live in them, or when they were built? It's fascinating stuff, and these houses tell their own version of Rochester history.

            Not that Rochester is all about the past. Frank De Blase has a look at some of the area's most cutting-edge DJs and their energy-filled regular gigs (page 22), while Susie Hume serves up a sampling of the many quality local restaurants that specialize in a variety of international cuisines (page 16). We've also got profiles of several area communities, a list of major events for 2010, and a survey of people, places, and things that really help to define Rochester.

            No matter whether you've lived here all your life, or you've just come to town, there are always new facets of Rochester just waiting to be discovered. Here's hoping that Annual Manual 2010 puts you on the path to finding some of your own this year.

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