The neighborhood bar. Is there any place more comforting, more welcoming, more a fixture of the urban lifestyle? It’s a place where you can go for a much-needed decompression drink after a long day at work, a place to lazily while away a hot Sunday afternoon, a place to spend quality time catching up with your best friends.
Rochester’s city neighborhoods have their fair share of neighborhood bars, some longtime, divey fixtures; some more polished and hipster-(or bro) serving. Though I tend to prefer those on the divier end of the spectrum, one of my favorite neighborhood watering holes is shiny and relatively new. And, while it could pass, I’ll confess that it’s not actually in a historic building. The oddball single story structure is actually a reconstruction, an exact replica of the historic building that stood there until a few years ago.
It’s called, for obvious reasons, the Half Pint Pub. And it’s adorable.
In Rochester, we have to maximize summer outdoor fun times. So it’s important to do all your summer drinking and dining outdoors. Aside from its adorably small size, the Half Pint provides plenty of sidewalk seating for my dogs and me.
It’s a perfect spot to sit for hours, observing the comings and goings of Park Ave. If you’ve been sucked into Pokemon Go, it also just so happens to be adjacent to a popular Pokestop, so you can sit, drink a beer, and collect a bunch of Pokemon without getting off your butt.
And one of my favorite–albeit gimicky–features of the place is that you can get two half-pints of beer instead of a traditional full pint. Ingenious! But seriously, there’s something appealing about drinking beer out of a half pint mug.
Rochester has countless historical gems, from the tree-lined streets of the East Avenue Preservation District and its gracious Edwardian mansions to the hip High Falls Neighborhood that used to house the water-powered industry of Rochester’s Erie Canal trade. Our downtown main street, though, could use some…a lot…of TLC. Once home to offices, department stores, and the first urban indoor mall in the United States (how could that go wrong?), Main Street, and particularly East Main Street, is a series of a handful of successful businesses and hopefully successful revitalization projects, neighbored by vacant properties and discount stores.
In an effort to draw attention to the few remaining historical structures left untouched by revitalization along the downtown thoroughfare, the YUPs are planning an advocacy event for early August. Our event will feature a DJ, local beer, a downtown coloring contest, and a slide show featuring historical photos of East Main Street juxtaposed against other successful main street revitalization projects that featured historic preservation (we’re looking at you, Lynchburg, Virginia and Ferndale, Michigan!) The slideshow will be projected onto the side of the former Neisner Brothers Department Store, a location that was part of a failed demolition effort to build the new $230 million “Renaissance Center” that was to contain a performing arts center, an urban campus for our local community college, and a central bus terminal. This site and a few other buildings once marked for demolition are in the very preliminary stages of rehabilitation projects.
In tandem with the YUPs East Main Street event, the Landmark Society is also hard at work pulling together an application for listing this block and several other adjacent buildings on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
East Main Street in the early 1900s
Home of the former Neisner Brothers Department Store (now completely bricked over)
Our second Rust Belt Takeover weekend is almost here! Buffalove or bust, baby!
LISTEN UP! These are the important things you will need to know!
Sleeping Arrangements: If you need a free place to sleep, contact Bernice directly at 716.237.0419 ASAP. The Buffalo’s Young Preservationists have kindly offered their city and their homes to us for the weekend.
$15 cash / check and a blanket for your Richardson Complex Tour
If you have a…. putter/golf ball for the first ever Rust Belt Take Over Mini Golf Tourney
Comfy shoes, flash light, rain gear
Clear space on your phone for some serious IG action
Snacks / Water Official Schedule:
Friday Evening, July 15th!!!
Random Awesome Tour: Join us at 1100 Niagara Street (AKA The Agway) from 7pm – 8:45pm. The building is VACANT. It will be DARK. It is a giant white malting house next to a tim hortons located on the West Side of Buffalo. You can’t miss it!
9pm – ??? Welcome party at the Pop In! The Pop In is a special pop up event space on the West Side of Buffalo. We will welcome you with the food Buffalo is famous for – pizza & wings! Beer will be available, too. Donations welcomed. Parking is free and easy on Grant Street. 218 Grant Street. Buffalo, NY 14213
Saturday, July 16th!!!
9am – 10:30am = Tour of Silo City located at 87 Childs Street (right near the Ohio Street Bridge). Silo City is the largest collection of grain elevators in the entire world!!! Meet with Chris who is writing a book on this stuff and Dana, curator of the famous “City of Night” which is the worlds largest grain elevator party! The gate will be open – park inside the gate. We will start the tour at 9:10 sharp – BE ON TIME because they’re very vacant and require traveling in a group! Read about them here: http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/2015/06/seven-ways-enjoy-silo-city/
11am – 2pm = Tour of the Hydraulics Neighborhood & the Rust Belt Takeover Mini Golf Competition! Meet at 716 Swan Street (Hydraulic Hearth) at 11am Sharp. We will be picking teams and giving out awards to the winners – Larkin Links is the smallest mini golf course in the rust belt and all the holes have something to do with the history of Buffalo! Food trucks and beer will be open for drinking / eating purposes.
3pm – 5pm = Downtown Tour by Derik Kane. Meet at City Hall located on Niagara Square and explore all the incredible architecture including the Ellicott Square Building and The Guaranty Building by Louis Sullivan! The tour will end around 5pm at EXPO, Buffalo’s newest food market which also happens to be next to our historic Market Arcade building!
5pm – 7:30pm = BREAK. Go explore the central terminal, check out canal side, see Niagara Falls, sleep… whatever.
7:30pm – ??? = Resurgence Brewery Party for Bernice & Nate’s birthdays. YAY!!! Bernice and Nate are both part of the Buffalo’s Young Preservationists. Resurgence is a fun brewery with giant size games, loads of beer and fun AND is located inside a historic saw tooth building. 1250 Niagara Street. http://www.resurgencebrewing.com
Sunday, July 17th!!!!
9:15am – Noon = Breakfast on the newly restored Olmsted designed Front Lawn and a tour of the Historic Richardson Complex! Breakfast will be served between 9:15 – 10am and there will be a tour at 10am. YOU MUST BE ON TIME and it costs $15 cash / check. This is a crazy special tour – we can’t stress this enough – tours like this are incredibly rare and the building is being renovated so this will be the last time you’ll see it in this vacant state before everything goes in. It is preservation in the making, people!!!!
Noon – 1:30pm = We can wander over to Delaware Park which is our centerpiece in the parks and parkway systems designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. We will also see the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo History Museum and the Burchfield Penney Art Gallery on our walk around the park!
I was originally going to call this “What We’re Planning to Focus on this Year” but 2016 is already half over! Happy July! I wanted to give a quick rundown of what YPA has planned in the upcoming months to give a quick update to you, all my fantastic Rust-Belt-y friends.
Happy Hour with Carrie
As you know if you came to Pittsburgh for our RBC April Summit, we love our industrial history out here in Southwest PA, and the Carrie Blast Furnace site is a prime example of how artists and preservation advocates can come together to create something you really can’t find anywhere else.
If you went on the Carrie Furnace Tour in April, this is pretty much the same thing…except imagine after touring a real life going out for beers at a local brewery with your tour guide afterwards! Yeah. Sounds pretty great. This is our second year of partnering with Rivers of Steel for this event, and it promises to be amazing. I missed it last year and cannot wait!
As an engineer and infrastructure nerd, I love infrastructure. And as a North Sider, I love the North Side. What kind of sandwich do you get when you smoosh those two loves together with some preservation mayo? You get the Allegheny Commons Pedestrian Bridge (and a really stretched metaphor).
The Pedestrian Bridge, which was one of our heart bomb sites last year, used to be an important connection over a rail line that runs through the park. Sadly, the deck has been removed so freight can be double-stacked on rail cars. And as much as I love train infrastructure, pedestrians come first. So we’ve been working with City Government and a couple of the local Foundations to rebuild this connection!
One of the ideas we “borrowed” from BYP is the concept of “Painting for Preservation,” an all-ages event where people are encouraged to sketch, paint, photograph, sculpt, compose music about, dance on, just in general Art a Preservation-ready site. And this time, we’re going to be a part of OpenStreets PGH, a program put on by BikePGH where they close down a bunch of roads to car traffic and people are encouraged to do…whatever they want during it! So if you’re free July 31, come say hi and hang with us! We’ll be right around the star on this map.
Dormont Pool Party!
Who says preservation can’t be fun and relaxing? We’re planning on celebrating one of our proudest preservation victories with a pool party August 20 at the Dormont Pool, one of the largest and oldest public pools in the state. The pool was in continuous operation from the ’20s until around 2006, when upkeep and repair costs caused it to close indefinitely. YPA put it on its 2008 Top Ten Preservation Opportunities list, and since then, the pool has reopened, back and better than ever!
We plan to chill, read, swim, play board games (this may just be wishful thinking on my part), and just have a good time to celebrate the summer and the pool itself. Grab your suits and join us! Read more about the event at its Facebook page. And check out Friends of Dormont Pool for more information and history!
Well, that’s the events YPA Pittsburgh has coming up in the next couple months. As always, we’ll be advocating and educating people about preservation issues in Southwest PA, but these are a couple of the “special” get-togethers we have planned. See you there!