North view towards Kodak headquarters and State Street

Positive Change in Rochester

Another year, another decade

In the midst of the hustle of everyday life, do we see how much has really transformed over the last decade?

Rochester has many dedicated people and organizations that are working hard to build the future. There are developers, community activists, businesses, and committed residents like you and me working together to create lasting, positive change.

Here at MetroPops, we’ve taken tens of thousands of photos of our beautiful hometown of Rochester over the years. While putting together our first fully-searchable City Guide, it’s become visually apparent as to how much has changed over the last decade. We want to share some of these Before and After photos with you all. Every so often we’ll add more photos to this post as we find more comparisons, and if you have anything to add, please share it with us! 

For a bit of nostalgic effect, black and white photos are used to show the comparisons.

Capron Lofts After picture 2019
Outside the Capron Lofts in 2010 2010

Capron Street Lofts

We’ll start with the world-headquarters of MetroPops – a place in downtown where we can be central to all of Rochester’s incredible offerings. This is the Capron Street Lofts located in the Washington Square neighborhood of downtown, close to Geva Theatre, Fuego Coffee Roasters, and the Susan B. Anthony Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. A former lithographic manufacturing facility of Rochester’s seed (flower) industry built in 1910, it has now been transformed into modern condos, apartments, and a restaurant called The Vesper.

South-Ave-extension-after 2018
South-Ave-Extension-2011 2011

South Ave Extension

You may remember this area on South Avenue Extension where there was a parking lot for Sully’s Brickyard or Sully’s for short. The area has been tucked away underneath the 490 on-ramp just east of the Genesee River and was barely an after-thought to most in the city. Now it’s been re-designed by the City, landscaped by the residents in the area, and maintained with the cooperation of all.

Fun Fact: This spring, the Washington Square Community Association is looking to hire an artist or two with BIG ideas on creatively transforming the 490 on-ramp. More details coming soon.Y

Austrian Cannon in Washington Square 2019
Austrian Cannon in Washington Square deteriorating 2015

Austrian Cannon in Washington Square

This is the Austrian Cannon that resides in Washington Square, right across the street from Geva Theatre. This historical artifact was a gift from the Italian army (after WWI) to our city for those that helped fight against the Austrian Army.

What’s that got to do with Rochester, you ask? The significant Italian population residing here in Rochester during the early 1900’s actually went back to Italy to help fight the war as citizens of the old country. That was obligatory dedication and respect back then.

Today the Cannon has been restored after years of neglect and weathering from the Rochester winters. 


Promenade in Downtown

Here’s the eastern bank of the Genesee River in downtown. This is an area just south of what many of you know as Dinosaur BBQ and/or the area where some of Rochester’s most talented graffiti artists made their mark in the old subway bed. 

Just last year, the City of Rochester opened the new Promenade along the river for the entire public to enjoy. With inspirations taken from the High Line in New York City, this area is just one part of a larger project called ROC the Riverway and will include a skatepark coming in late 2020. 

Event taking place in Parcel 5 downtown Rochester 2019
Looking at Parcel 5 before development 2012

Parcel 5

Not too far from our offices is the much-talked-about Midtown and Parcel 5. Having undergone quite a bit of work over the last decade, this section of downtown now boasts the beautiful complexes of 88 Elm, Tower280, and The Metropolitan on its perimeters. 

While the City has not figured out what it’s going to do with the land yet, Parcel 5 has become one of the most popular event spaces in the past few years holding the Fringe Fest, the Jazz Fest, Movies with a Downtown View, and many others.  

Creating change together...

As you can probably tell, we’re proud of the work that we’re involved with here in our city. From MetroPops to the Washington Square Community Association to the Movies with a Downtown View, we have always believed that positive change only happens when you’re actively participating. To us, it’s about the chance to get our hands dirty and have fun, to effect change, and to make it what we collectively want – not just what’s given by default. This is a long-term project for us driven by our vision of the future of Rochester.

Would you like to get involved with us? We’d love your help. To reach out:

Washington Square:

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Thanks for checking out MetroPops. We're constantly adding new content, blog posts, and soon enough - DEALS... so check back often. If you see Jason, Stefanie, and the Team out and about in this beautiful city of all of ours, please say hello!

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