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—  City  —
A portion of Rochester's skyline, looking north-northeast along the Genesee River from the Ford Street Bridge.


Nickname(s): "The Flour City", "The Flower City", "The World's Image Centre"
Motto: Rochester: Made for Living
Location of Rochester in New York State
Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139
Country United States
State New York
County Monroe
Government [1]
 - Mayor Robert Duffy (D)
 - City 37.1 sq mi (96.1 km2)
 - Land 35.8 sq mi (92.8 km2)
 - Water 1.3 sq mi (3.3 km2)
Elevation 505 ft (154 m)
Population (2000 Census)
 - City 219,773
 Density 6,132.9/sq mi (2,368.3/km2)
 - Estimate (2007) 206,759
 Metro 1,098,201
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 146xx (14604=downtown)
Area code(s) 585
FIPS code 36-63000
GNIS feature ID 0962684

Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. The Rochester metropolitan area is the second largest economy in New York State, behind the New York City metropolitan area.[2] Known as The World's Image Centre,[3] it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City. It is the county seat for Monroe County.

Rochester's population is approximately 219,773, making it New York's third most populous city after New York City and Buffalo. It is at the center of a larger Metropolitan Area which encompasses and extends beyond Monroe County and includes Genesee County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Orleans County and Wayne County. This area, which is part of the Western New York region, had a population of 1,037,831 people at the time of the 2000 Census. As of 1 July 2005, this population rose slightly, to 1,039,028.[4]

Rochester was ranked as the sixth 'most livable city' among 379 U.S. metropolitan areas in the 25th edition (2007) of the Places Rated Almanac.[5] The Rochester area also received the top ranking for overall quality of life among U.S. metros with populations of more than 1 million in a 2007 study by Expansion Management magazine.[6][7] In the same study, Expansion Management rated the area's public schools as sixth best nationwide.[8]

The current mayor of Rochester is Robert Duffy, who was previously the city's police chief.

Founding and early history

An aerial view of downtown Rochester from 1938

On November 8, 1803, a 100 acre (ca. 40 ha) tract in Western New York along the Genesee River was purchased by Col. Nathaniel Rochester, Maj. Charles Carroll, and Col. William Fitzhugh, Jr. (1761-1839), all of Hagerstown, Maryland. The site was chosen because of three cataracts on the Genesee, offering great potential for water power. Beginning in 1811, and with a population of 15, the three founders surveyed the land and laid out streets and tracts. In 1817, the Brown brothers and other landowners joined their lands with the Hundred Acre Tract to form the village of Rochesterville.

Aqueduct of the Erie Canal as it was built in 1842, replacing the original construction from 1823. In the 1920s, the Broad Street Bridge was erected on top of it.

By 1821, Rochesterville was the seat of Monroe County. In 1823, Rochesterville consisted of 1,012 acres (4 km2) and 2,500 residents, and the Village of Rochesterville became known as Rochester. Also in 1823, the Erie Canal aqueduct over the Genesee River was completed, and the Erie Canal east to the Hudson River was opened. In the early 20th century, after the advent of railroads, the presence of the canal in the center city became bothersome, and it was re-routed south of Rochester. By 1830, Rochester's population was 9,200 and in 1834, it was re-chartered as a city.

Rochester was first known as "The Young Lion of the West", and then as the "Flour City". By 1838, Rochester was the largest flour-producing city in the United States. Having doubled its population in only ten years, Rochester became America's first "boomtown." By the mid-nineteenth century, as the center of the wheat-processing industry moved west, the city became home to a booming nursery business, giving rise to the city's second nickname, the "Flower City." Large and small nurseries ringed the city, the most famous of which was the one started by German immigrant George Ellwanger and Irish immigrant Patrick Barry in 1840.[9]

In 1847, Frederick Douglass founded the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in Rochester. Douglass, a former slave and an antislavery speaker and writer, gained a circulation of over 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. The North Star served as a forum for abolitionist views. The Douglass home burnt down in 1872,[10] but a marker for it can be found in Highland Park off South Avenue. The city was also home to abolitionist and women's rights leader Susan B. Anthony. Anarchist Emma Goldman also lived and worked in Rochester for several years, championing the cause of labor in Rochester sweatshops.

Rochester experienced another period of renewed industrial activity in the post-Civil War years. It is in these years that companies like Eastman Kodak and Bausch & Lomb were founded in the city. This boom continued into the early twentieth century, when Rochester became a center of the garment industry, particularly men's fashions. It was home of enterprises such as Bond Clothing Stores, Fashion Park Clothes, Hickey Freeman, and Stein-Bloch & Co.. It was home to the pioneer automobile company Cunningham, produced by carriage maker James Cunningham and Sons.[11]

The population reached 62,386 in 1870, 162,608 in 1900, and 295,750 in 1920. By 1950, population had reached a high of 332,488. It declined to 219,773 by 2000.

Geography and climate

Urban Rochester as seen from the air

Rochester is at 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139 (43.165496, -77.611504).[12] The city is east of Buffalo, west of Syracuse and sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. The Genesee River bisects the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.1 square miles (96.1 km2), of which, 35.8 square miles (92.7 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (3.42%) is water.

Rochester's geography comes from the ice sheets during the Pleistocene epoch. The retreating ice sheets reached a standstill at what is now the southern border of the city, melting at the same rate as they were advancing, depositing sediment along the southern edge of the ice mass. This created a line of hills, including (from west to east) Mt. Hope, the hills of Highland Park, Pinnacle Hill, and Cobb's Hill. Because the sediment of these hills was deposited into a proglacial lake they are stratified and classified as a "kame delta." A brief retreat and readvance of the ice sheet onto the delta piled unstratified (moraine) material there, creating a rare hybrid structure called a "kame moraine."

The ice sheets also left behind Lake Ontario (one of the five fresh-water Great Lakes), the Genesee River with its waterfalls and gorges, Irondequoit Bay, Sodus Bay, Braddock Bay, Mendon Ponds, numerous local streams and ponds, the Ridge, and the nearby Finger Lakes.

According to the City of Rochester, the city has 537 miles (864 km) of public streets, 585 miles (941 km) of water mains, 44 vehicular and eight pedestrian bridges, 11 public libraries, two police stations (one for the east side, one for the west), and 15 firehouses. The principal source of water is Hemlock Lake, which, with its watershed, is owned by the city. Other water sources are Canadice Lake and Lake Ontario. The 30-year annual average snowfall is 95.0 inches (241 cm)[13] The mean July temperature is 71.3 ℉ (21.8 ℃), and the mean February temperature is 23.6 ℉ (−4.7 ℃).

Rochester lies in the Humid continental climate zone, and has four distinct seasons, with often cold and snowy winters. Autumn features brilliant foliage colors, and summer sees comfortable temperatures that usually stay in the low to mid 80s (upper 20s Celsius) and it can be quite humid and heatwaves are not uncommon during a typical summer. Precipitation is plentiful year round.

Climate data for Rochester
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Average high °F (°C) 31
Average low °F (°C) 17
Record low °F (°C) -17
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.34
Snowfall inches (mm) 22.7
Source: The Weather Channel [14]
Source #2: [15] February 2010


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 20,191
1850 36,403 80.3%
1860 48,204 32.4%
1870 62,386 29.4%
1880 89,366 43.2%
1890 133,896 49.8%
1900 162,608 21.4%
1910 218,149 34.2%
1920 295,750 35.6%
1930 328,132 10.9%
1940 324,975 −1.0%
1950 332,488 2.3%
1960 318,611 −4.2%
1970 296,233 −7.0%
1980 241,741 −18.4%
1990 231,636 −4.2%
2000 219,773 −5.1%
Est. 2008 206,886 −5.9%
Population source:[16][17]

According to the 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, the city's population was 50.3% White (41.0% non-Hispanic White alone), 43.2% Black or African American (39.9% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 5.4% from some other race and 3.0% from two or more races. 13.6% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[18]

In the census[19] of 2000, there were 219,773 people (206,759 estimated as of 2007),[20] 88,999 households, and 47,169 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,132.9 people per square mile (2,368.3/km²). There were 99,789 housing units at an average density of 2,784.7/sq mi (1,075.3/km²). The racial makeup was 48.30% White, 38.55% African American, 0.47% Native American, 2.25% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.58% from other races, and 3.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.75% of the population. Ancestries include: German (10.9%), Italian (10.0%), Irish (9.6%), English (5.8%), and Polish (2.7%).[21]

Rochester has the largest per capita deaf population in the United States.[22] Rochester is home to internationally recognized programs for the deaf at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (part of the Rochester Institute of Technology) and at the University of Rochester.

There were 88,999 households of which 30.0% had children under 18 living with them, 25.1% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-families. 37.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone 65 or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.19.

Web site ePodunk estimates that Rochester has approximately 60% more gay males and lesbians per capita than the national average.[23]

The city population was 28.1% under 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 or older. The median age was 31. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a city household was $27,123, and the median family income was $31,257. Males had a median income of $30,521, versus $25,139 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,588. About 23.4% of families and 25.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.5% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Rochester area is home to a number of international businesses, including Fortune 1000 companies Eastman Kodak, Constellation Brands, and Paychex, as well as several national and regional companies. Xerox was founded in Rochester in 1906 as The Haloid Company,[24] and retains a significant presence in Rochester, although its headquarters are now located in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Gannett newspaper company and Western Union were both founded in the Rochester area by Frank Gannett and Hiram Sibley respectively.

Because of the high prevalence of imaging and optical science among the industry and the universities, Rochester is known as the world capital of imaging. The Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester is ranked number two in the country[citation needed], and the Rochester Institute of Technology has one of the best imaging science departments in the country[citation needed]. In 2006, the University of Rochester became the largest employer in the Rochester area, surpassing Kodak.[25]

Food and beverage

One food product that Rochester calls its own is the "white hot," a variant of the hot dog made by the local Zweigle's company. Another local specialty is the "garbage plate," first served at Nick Tahou Hots. Rochester was home to French's Mustard, whose address was 1 Mustard Street.

Rochester is also home to Wet Planet Beverages, producer of Jolt Cola and other beverages. Genesee Brewing Company, maker of the Genesee beers and JW Dundee's brand (Honey Brown) also calls Rochester home. Arbor Mist wines are produced in nearby Canandaigua, NY by owner Constellation Brands.

National frozen food manufacturer Birds Eye is headquartered in suburban Rochester. The Ragú brand of pasta sauce was originally produced in Rochester, and the Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauce is manufactured in Rochester. Barilla and Kraft Foods have food manufacturing plants in nearby Livingston County, in the Village of Avon. Heluva Good Cheeses are in nearby Wayne County and Seneca Foods are in nearby Marion, Wayne County and Mount Morris, Livingston County,.

Other local franchises include: Bill Gray's (a hamburger/hot dog joint that lays claim to having "The World's Greatest Cheeseburger"), Country Sweet (known for their chicken wings and BBQ sauce), Boss Sauce, described as a "tantalizing sweet, spicy-hot gourmet after-sauce," was born from the restaurant Eddie's Chicken Coop, Tom Wahl's, Dibella's, Great Northern Pizza Kitchen, John's Tex-Mex, Zebb's, Don's Original, and Abbott's Frozen Custard. Dinosaur Bar-b-que, which originated in Syracuse, also operates their second franchise downtown in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad station on the Genesee River.

The Rochester area is the birthplace of the Wegmans Grocery store chain, which has locations throughout the Northeast and Northern Virginia. In 2005, Wegmans was ranked the best company in America to work for by Fortune magazine; it has been ranked the best grocery store in America by Consumer Reports and Food Network.

Major shopping centers

Former shopping centers

  • Lake Ridge Centre (formerly known as Irondequoit Mall, then Medley Centre ) (Irondequoit, New York) (Closed as of February 2009, though anchor stores Macy's and Sears remain open, along with outparcels Target, IHOP, and Holiday Inn Express)
  • Midtown Plaza (Closed as of July 29, 2008)

Tallest structures

As of February, 2008 the top ten tallest buildings in the city are:[26]

Building name Height
ft m
Xerox Tower 443 135
Bausch & Lomb Place 401 122
Chase Tower 392 119
Kodak Tower 360 110
First Federal Plaza 309 94
One HSBC Plaza 284 87
Hyatt Regency Hotel 271 83
Times Square Building 260 79
Midtown Tower 251 77
St. Michael's Church 246 75

According to the April 4, 2008, issue of The Democrat and Chronicle, PAETEC Holding Corp.'s CEO Arunas Chesonis stated that the new tower to be built as the company's headquarters will rise slightly taller than the Xerox Tower.[27]

More recently, however, the height of the proposed Paetec building has shrunk to approximately 8-12 stories, reflecting the realities of the real estate market for leaseable office space in downtown Rochester.

Top private employers

As of 2009, the top ten private employers in Greater Rochester are:[28]


The Bausch & Lomb Tower and the Xerox Tower in downtown Rochester
Wegmans Food Markets are headquartered in Rochester

Several companies have corporate headquarters in the Greater Rochester area.

Locally founded corporations that have since moved their headquarters to other locations include French's, Gannett, Western Union, Champion and Xerox.

Many other large companies have a significant presence in Rochester.


Rochester is governed by a mayor and city council consisting of 4 district members and 5 at-large members[29]. The city's police department is the Rochester Police Department.

Neighborhood Empowerment Team

Enforcement of property code violations in Rochester is currently handled by the Neighborhood Empowerment Team, or NET. Rather than utilizing a centralized code enforcement office as most cities do, each neighborhood in Rochester is assigned its own NET office, leading to considerable discrepancies in the manner and severity of enforcement. On July 16, 2008, it was announced that two of the NET offices would be closed, and another one relocated, due to the high cost and low value of operating the decentralized network.[30]


Principal suburbs

Suburbs of the city include:Brighton, Brockport, Chili, Churchville, East Rochester, Fairport, Gates, Greece, Hamlin, Henrietta, Hilton, Irondequoit, Mendon, Ogden, Penfield, Pittsford, Riga, Rush, Scottsville, Spencerport, Webster, and Wheatland


Rochester has a number of neighborhoods, as well as popular communities in the inner ring suburbs, Brighton, Irondequoit and Greece and Pittsford. 10th ward, 19th Ward[3], 14621 Community[4], Barnard, Beechwood[5], Browncroft[6], Cascade District, Cobbs Hill, Charlotte, Corn Hill[7], Dewey, Dutchtown, Edgerton, Ellwanger-Barry, German Village, Grove Place[8], High Falls District, Highland park[9],Lyell-Otis, Dutchtown Maplewood[10], Marketview Heights[11], Mt. Read, Northern edge[12],Otis-Lyell[13],Park Avenue, Plymouth-Exchange, Southwest, East End, South Wedge, Swillburg[14], Susan B. Anthony[15],University-Atlantic, Upper Monroe[16], and more are all recognized communities.

Joseph Avenue

Extending across much of the north-central cityscape of Rochester, now including parts of the old Hudson Avenue and North Clinton neighborhoods, is the Joseph Avenue community. Also known as Polish Town or simply Avenue D and today almost entirely African American, this community suffered being the center of the 1964 riots.[31][32] The riots did produce some benefits in the long run: the north-central area has been the site of ongoing urban renewal projects since the late 1960s, and, as noted by "JULY ’64" filmmakers Carvin Eison and Chris Christopher, inspired the developent of such important African American organizations as The Urban League of Rochester as well as Rochester’s first anti-poverty organization (Action for a Better Community), and black community activist organization Freedom, Integration, Honor, God, Today (F.I.G.H.T.). However, the neighborhood is still considered the most dangerous part of Rochester and is blighted by crime, drugs and gang activity.[33]

Lyell Avenue

Once an Italian-American neighborhood, now a rainbow of many ethnicities[citation needed], there have been recent efforts by community organizations to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood. It is known largely for its crime rate, especially instances of prostitution.

19th Ward

The 19th Ward is a southwest neighborhood bordered by Genesee Street, West Avenue, the Erie Canal, and is across the river from the University of Rochester.[34] Now known by its slogan "Urban by Choice," in the early 1800s the area was known as Castletown and by 1930 was a booming residential area for doctors, lawyers, and skilled workers; it includes the once-prestigious Sibley Tract development. Homes in the neighborhood typically have gumwood trim, leaded glass, fireplaces, hardwood floors, and open porches. The 19th Ward has had an active community association since 1965, and is known for its cultural diversity. The current "Brooks Landing" development is an attempt to bring new economic development to the community.[35]


The Browncroft neighborhood is a hidden gem. Built on the former nursery grounds of the Elwanger and Barry nursery, these homes are grand and well preserved. The business district situated on Winton Rd has an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops. Homes found on Dorchester, Gramercy Park, Corwin, and Windemere have beautiful architecture.


Charlotte (shar-LOT) is a lake front community in Rochester bordering Lake Ontario. It is home to Ontario Beach Park, commonly known as Charlotte Beach, which is a popular summer destination for Rochesterians. A new terminal was built in 2004 for the Rochester-to-Toronto ferry service and was later sold after the ferry ceased operations in 2005. The terminal still exists, housing a burger joint, sushi restaurant, and ice cream parlor.

Corn Hill

The Corn Hill neighborhood near downtown is one of the nation's best preserved Victorian neighborhoods and a center for art. It is also home to Corn Hill Landing, a shopping and housing strip located on the Genesee River. The annual Corn Hill Art Festival, a two day event held the weekend after the 4th of July, is one of the city's most popular gatherings for art display.

Upper Monroe

Located less than one and one-half miles from downtown, Upper Monroe encompasses 17 streets with 1400 households and approximately 3300 residents. Cobbs Hill Park, with its beautiful reservoir, tennis courts and athletic fields, forms the southeastern boundary of this neighborhood. Highland Park, world renown for its annual Lilac Festival, also is within walking distance.[36] The Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association (UMNA) is a not-for-profit advocacy group representing the residents and property owners of the Upper Monroe neighborhood. Their goals are to ascertain the needs and concerns of the neighborhood and take positive action to address those needs and concerns.[37] The neighborhood is also home to a number of small, local businesses including: Hardpact, Huey's Hair Company, Monty's Krown, Jeremiah's Tavern, and Park Ave. Pets.[38]

East End

The East End is a residential neighborhood in Downtown Rochester but also the main nightlife district. The Eastman Theatre and the Eastman School of Music are in the East End, along with the Little Theatre, an independent film theatre and many clubs, bars and high-end restaurants.


A portion of the skyline of Rochester from a northeast perspective along the Genesee River.

Maplewood is a northwest neighborhood located south of Eastman Business Park and between the Genesee River and Dewey Avenue. Much of the area's charm comes from the use of parkways as well as parks and greenspace bordering the river. These features are the result of plans designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Maplewood Rose Garden is the second largest Rose Test Garden in the United States.

Park Avenue and the Neighborhood of the Arts

Lining the streets of Park Avenue are cafes, shops, pubs and restaurants. In a broader view, the total area surrounding University Avenue—known as the Neighborhood of the Arts—is one of the most culture and art-rich sections of the city. Located here are the Village Gate, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester Public Market, ARTWalk, George Eastman House, and high-end residential streets such as Granger Drive, East Boulevard, Douglas Road, Westminster Road, and Berkeley Street.


Also known by the abbreviation PLEX, the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood provides affordable housing for lower income families. Also home to many University of Rochester students, both grad and undergrad, it has a richly knit community and an active neighborhood association.

South Wedge

The South Wedge neighborhood dates back to 1827, prior to the incorporation of Rochester as a city.[39] The area is bordered by Byron street in the north, South Clinton avenue and Interstate 490 on its east, Highland Park on its south, and The Genesee River on the west. Construction of the Erie Canal (the old canal bed which went by the neighborhood is now used by Interstate 490) brought workers to the area, who set up camps for the months that it took to complete this section of the canal.[40] This racially integrated[citation needed] neighborhood is one of the neighborhoods in Rochester currently undergoing the process of gentrification, partially due to a recent increase in homeownership in the area.[41][42] A lot of young people live in this area.[citation needed]

Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood

This neighborhood is a Preservation District on the National Register of Historic Places. It encompasses a three-and-one-half block area within walking distance from downtown Rochester, and comprises residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The center of the residential area is Susan B. Anthony Square, a .84 acre park shown on city maps from 1839, which was designed by the famous Olmstead Brothers. Also within the neighborhood is the Susan B. Anthony House, which was the suffragist’s residence for the last decades of her life, now a museum, as well as the Cunningham Carriage factory built in 1848 on Canal Street. James Cunningham Son & Co. sold more carriages in the United States in the 1880’s than all other manufacturers combined. The Canal Street property, which still stands, remained Cunningham's headquarters for more than 100 years.


This pie-shaped piece of the city is bordered by S. Clinton Avenue, Field St, and Interstate 490.[43] The neighborhood received its moniker when a 19th century Rochester pig farmer utilized the area to collect swill for his swine. The neighborhood association humorously honors its roots by using street signs featuring the Swillburg Pig. The area has one of the highest rates of homeownership in the city and is currently undergoing gentrification as well.[citation needed]

Marketview Heights

Running east from Union Street just north of Main Street, Marketview Heights is best known as the location of the Public Market, which offers a variety of groceries and other goods from marketeers from farms and shops from surrounding areas, primarily on the week-ends.

Homestead Heights

Homestead Heights is located in north-east Rochester. It is bordered on the west by Goodman Street, on the north by Clifford Avenue, on the south by Bay Street, and on the east by Culver Road, which is also the border between the city and the town of Irondequoit. The neighborhood is a mix of residential and commercial. Real estate values are higher on the eastern end of the neighborhood near the Irondequoit border. The neighborhood is approximately 2-2 1/4 miles west of the Irondequoit Bay.


The City of Rochester is served by the Rochester City School District which encompasses all public primary and secondary education. The district is governed by a popularly elected seven-member Board of Education. There are also parochial and private primary and secondary schools located within the city. Rochester City Schools consistently post below-average results when compared to the rest of New York State. [44]

Colleges and Universities

Education is one of Rochester's primary economic areas[citation needed]. The city and its suburbs are home to a number of colleges and universities:

Together with Alfred University, Alfred State College, Empire State College, Finger Lakes Community College, SUNY Geneseo, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, all within 90 miles of Rochester, these institutions comprise the Rochester Area Colleges consortium.

River Campus of the University of Rochester

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester (U of R), ranked as the 35th best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report[45] and was deemed "one of the new Ivies."[46] The nursing school has received many awards and honors[47] and the Simon School of Business is also ranked in the top 30 in many categories.[48]

The University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is home to the highest power laser in the world, the OMEGA EP laser.[49]

The university is also home to the Eastman School of Music, which in 2004 was ranked the number one music school in America.[50]

Rochester Institute of Technology

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was founded in 1829 and is the tenth largest private university in the country in terms of full-time students. It is internationally known for its science, computer, engineering, and art programs, as well as for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a leading deaf-education institution.

RIT is among the top colleges and universities in the nation for programs in the fine arts, placing in the top 10 for many of the college's programs, including Photography (3rd), Glass art (2nd), Industrial design (8th), and others.[51] RIT's undergraduate programs have been featured as one of nation's best in the Princeton Review, and its undergraduate engineering programs have been ranked in the top 70 in the country by the U.S. News & World Report.[52]

Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College, the largest community college in Upstate New York, has had the top ranking community college athletic program two years in a row and was rated as the tenth best associates degree producing two year college by Community College Week.[53] MCC has four campuses: the Damon City Campus, the main Brighton Campus which houses the Mercer Gallery, the Applied Technologies Center, and the Public Safety Training Facility.[54]

Roberts Wesleyan College

Roberts Wesleyan was ranked the third-best value private college in the U.S. by the Princeton Review in 2007—the only school in New York State ranked in the top 10.[citation needed] It is also Rochester's only college affiliated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.[citation needed]

Culture and recreation

The Little Theatre on East Avenue
Rochester Contemporary Art Center

The city of Rochester is home to numerous cultural institutions. These include the world-renowned Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, George Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Strong National Museum of Play, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, and numerous arts organizations. Geva Theatre Center is the city's largest professional theatre.


Rochester's East End, within downtown, is well known throughout the area for being a center of late-night activity. It gets its name for being the stopping point for East Avenue, and both East and the surrounding streets are crowded with bars, nightclubs, coffee shops and high-end restaurants. The Eastman School of Music, one of the top musical institutes in the nation, is also located within the neighborhood along with its auditorium. The Eastman Theatre now plays host to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and other musical/drama events. Scattered around the city are also pockets of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Notable areas include the South Wedge, St. Paul Quarter and Monroe Avenue. The Village Gate is a well known multiuse building/plaza near University Avenue, within which several restaurants and bars are located. There are venues where music can be heard scattered all around the city. Live music is important to the nightlife.

Park lands

Lamberton Conservatory from 1911 in the Highland Park

The city's Victorian era Mt. Hope Cemetery includes the final resting place of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and George B. Selden. Other scenic cemeteries are Holy Sepulchre and its neighbor the Riverside Cemetery. Rochester is also known for its parks, including Highland Park, Cobb's Hill Park, Durand-Eastman Park, Genesee Valley Park, Maplewood Park, Edgerton Park, Seneca Park, and Ontario Beach Park; four of these were designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.[citation needed]

The city has 13 full-time recreation centers, 19 swimming programs, 3 artificial ice rinks, 66 softball/baseball fields, 47 tennis courts, 5 football fields, 7 soccer fields, and 43 outdoor basketball courts. As a legacy of its time as "The Flower City", Rochester hosts a Lilac Festival for ten days every May, when nearly 400 varieties of lilacs bloom, and 100,000 visitors arrive.

Near Rochester

Twenty miles southwest of Rochester, the Genesee Country Village and Museum[55] in Mumford, a hamlet in the town of Wheatland, contains a model historic village preserving local architecture, a nature center, model gardens, and sporting, art and carriage museums; 35 miles (56 km) South of Rochester [56] the "Grand Canyon of the East" 14,350 acre.[57] Letchworth State Park has cliffs up to 600 feet (180 m) high and waterfalls up to 107 feet (33 m) high. South and Southeast of Rochester, the glacially formed, 9,000-square-mile (23,000 km2) Finger Lakes Region[58] has a wine industry and many lakes and waterfalls spread across 14 counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Waynes, and Yates.


Rochester has many festivals in late spring and summer, including the Rochester International Jazz Festival established in 2002, the Corn Hill Festival[59] (arts, crafts, and food in this Third Ward neighborhood), the Rochester-High Falls International Film Festival held at the George Eastman House's Dryden Theatre and the Little Theatre downtown), ImageOut, The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival held at the Little Theatre, Clothesline Art Festival (artists from the region display their works on the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery), Park Avenue Merchants Festival, Lilac Festival at Highland Park, St. Patrick's Day parade (March), Rose Festival at Maplewood Park, Irish festival (September), two Greek festivals - one on East Avenue (in June) and one on South Avenue (in September), Gay Pride Festival (July), Puerto Rican Festival(August), Rochester Music Festival, and the Cold Rush Winter Celebration (celebrating winter sports in the Rochester area). In the summer, especially on the Fourth of July, downtown after dark is lit with fireworks and a laser show at the High Falls venue. The most popular of these is undoubtably the Lilac festival, which attracts many from areas outside of Rochester and draws on average 500,000 people every year.


The Democrat and Chronicle is Rochester's main daily newspaper. The Daily Record, a legal, real estate and business daily, has published Monday through Friday since 1908. Insider magazine (owned by the Democrat and Chronicle), "City" newspaper and the "Freetime" entertainment magazine are free, weekly publications. Rochester Business Journal is the weekly business paper of record. "The Good Life Magazine" is a free bi-monthly publication. There is also a grassroots, democratically-run, Independent Media Center called Rochester Indymedia. Media addressing the needs of Rochester's large African American population include "About... time",[60] and "Minority Report",[61] which has an associated news journal for the area's Latin American population, "La Voz".[62]

Rochester has eight broadcast television stations:

Rochester has multiple AM and FM radio stations including WXXI (Public Radio), WCMF (Rock and Roll), WBEE (Country) WDKX (Urban Contemporary Radio), and WHAM (News and Talk Radio).

Time Warner Cable provides Rochester's cable, cable television, and R News, a 24-hour local news channel.

Points of interest

High Falls during the summer
The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the World's oldest photography museum
Strasenburgh Planetarium, Rochester Museum & Science Center


Rochester was named the top minor league sports market in the country by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal in July 2005, the number 10 "best golf city" in America by Golf Magazine in 2007,[63] and the fifth-best "sports town" in the country by Scarborough Research in September 2008.[64]

Professional sports

Although Rochester is home territory of the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres, and the Sabres are further tied to Rochester through their owner, Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano, Rochester has several professional sports teams of its own:[65]

Club Sport Began play League Venue League championships Championship years
Rochester Red Wings Baseball 1899 International League Frontier Field 20 1899, 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, 1940, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997
Rochester Americans Ice hockey 1956 AHL Blue Cross Arena 6 1964-65, 1965-66, 1967-68, 1982-83, 1986-87, 1995-96
Rochester Knighthawks Indoor lacrosse 1995 NLL Blue Cross Arena 2 1997, 2007
Rochester Rhinos Soccer 1996 USL First Division Marina Auto Stadium 3 1998, 2000, 2001
Rochester Razorsharks Basketball 2005 PBL Blue Cross Arena 3 2005-06, 2008, 2009
Rochester Raiders Indoor football 2006 IFL Dome Arena (Henrietta) 2 2007, 2008
Rochester Greywolves Box lacrosse 2008 CanAm Genesee Valley Ice Rink 0 -

Among cities in North America with at least seven current professional teams, Rochester was determined in 2007 to be the only one whose teams all had cumulative winning regular season records.[66]

The Rochester Red Wings baseball club, the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, play in the International League. The Rochester Americans ice hockey team, the AHL affiliate for the NHL Florida Panthers, are known as the "Amerks". The Rochester Rhinos soccer club play in the USL First Division, which is the second-highest level American soccer league.

Frontier Field, including the Rochester skyline to the southeast.

Lacrosse has seen some popularity in Rochester. The Rochester Knighthawks play box lacrosse in the National Lacrosse League during winter and spring. In outdoor lacrosse, the Rochester Rattlers were a charter member of Major League Lacrosse, but the franchise was transferred to the new Toronto Nationals (MLL) in 2009. Also during the summer months, the Rochester Greywolves, comprising mostly local talent, play box lacrosse in the semi-pro CanAm Lacrosse League.

Two newer but very successful teams are the Rochester Razorsharks (of the Premier Basketball League) and Rochester Raiders (Indoor Football League); both have dominated their competition, despite some instability in their leagues, and both have championship trophies already.

In women's sports, Rochester is home to the Empire State Roar, a semi-pro team in the league known as the Women's Professional Football League. The fully professional Western New York FC Pride were to begin play in 2009 in soccer's W-League, replacing the amateur Rochester Rhinos Women, but instead they will be the amateur Rochester Ravens, as they once were. The Filarets was a notable women's basketball team that played in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

Professional golf regularly comes to Rochester. The PGA Championship and the US Open have been held at Oak Hill Country Club, as was the 1995 Ryder Cup. The Xerox Classic Tournament on the Nationwide Tour comes every August. The Wegmans LPGA tournament is yearly in June at Locust Hill Country Club.

The 2010 LPGA Championship will be played at Locust Hill.[67]

The city also has two independent pro-wrestling leagues: Next Era Wrestling and NWA Upstate.

USA Cycling has an annual tour stop in Rochester; the Rochester Omnium is newly expanded to a three-day professional cycling event featuring the Rochester Twilight Criterium.

While Rochester currently has no teams at the top level of the major American sports, the city does host training camp for the NFL's Buffalo Bills each summer since 2000 at St. John Fisher College in the suburban of Pittsford. The absence of a major pro sports team has not always been the case. From 1920–1925, Rochester was home to the Rochester Jeffersons, a charter member of the National Football League. From 1948–1957, the Rochester Royals played in the National Basketball Association, winning the NBA championship in 1951. In soccer, the Rochester Lancers played from 1970–1980 in the top-level North American Soccer League.

Since 1877, 29 teams in eight professional sports have represented Rochester, according to The Rochester Sports Project by local sports historian Douglas Brei. In spring 2006, Brei showed that Rochester's professional sports teams were collectively approaching 25,000 games played. That game was played on June 16, 2006, when Red Wings hosted the Indianapolis Indians at Frontier Field. He also reports that only six active franchises in the history of North American professional sports have played in the same city and same league continuously and uninterrupted since the 1800s: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Rochester Red Wings.

College sports

Almost all area college sports are played at the NCAA Division III level. The exception is the RIT men's ice hockey team, which moved up to the Division I level in 2005. Hobart College, an hour away from Rochester in Geneva, has a Division I men's lacrosse team.

Among junior colleges, MCC is dominant in NJCAA Division II sports. They are also a D-III golf powerhouse. Through the 2009 season, the "Tribunes" have won over 45 regular tournament titles, 5 conference championships, 4 NJCAA Region III Championships and won the 2006 and 2009 NJCAA Division III National Championship. Players have also won the 2009, 2006 NJCAA Individual Championship. as well as having a totla of 10 National All-Americans as well as two Academic All-Americans. The "Tribunes" are currently coached by PGA Profesional John Graham[17]who was voted Coach of the Year for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Rochester is the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S. which does not include at least one college or university participating at the NCAA Division 1 level in all sports.

Club Sports

Rochester is home to two men's rugby teams, the Rochester Aardvarks and the Rochester Colonials. Both have long histories, with the Aardvarks celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2006, and the Rochester Colonials celebrating 30 years upcoming in 2010. The Aardvarks are one of the few rugby teams in the country to own its own pitch: Aardvark Park in Henrietta, New York. The Aardvarks and the Colonials both have hosted local and state-wide tournaments and the Rochester Colonials hosted the 2007 USA Rugby National Collegiate All-Star Championships, Rochester's first national tournament, as well as the 2009 NYS Rugby Upstates Tournament and the 2009 New York State High School Rugby Championships. Both teams participate in the annual Saranac CAN-AM rugby tournament in Saranac NY in early August. Rochester also has a Women's Rugby club, the Rochester Renegades, who celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2008. The Renegades started the New York State Rugby Women's Division.[citation needed][68]

The Rochester Bicycling Club is a social and fitness bicycling club.[69]

Rochester is also home to Rochester Rhythm the three time champions of the American Extreme Paintball League or AXBL.[citation needed]

The Rochester, NY Region EWGA chapter, homepage [18], organizes leagues, golf training, and golf events and networking for the area's amateur women golfers.


Barges on the Genesee River

Maritime transport

There is marine freight service at the Port of Rochester on Lake Ontario, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

A short-lived, high-speed passenger/vehicle ferry Spirit of Ontario I, nicknamed The Breeze or The Fast Ferry, linked Rochester to Toronto, Ontario across Lake Ontario. It operated between June 17, 2004, and December 12, 2005, and cost the city $42.5 million. It was sold to Förde Reederei Seetouristik, a German company, for $30 million.

Air transport

Rochester is served by the Greater Rochester International Airport. Daily scheduled air service is provided by Air Canada, AirTran, American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, United, and US Airways. Many of these airlines do not operate mainline service to Rochester; rather, they contract regional airlines to operate flights on their own, smaller aircraft.

Mass transit

Amtrak (passenger) and freight lines provide rail service to Rochester. Rochester has intercity and transcontinental bus service via Greyhound and Trailways.

Local bus service in Rochester and its county suburbs is provided by the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) via its Regional Transit Service (RTS) subsidiary. RTS also provides suburban service outside the immediate Rochester area and runs smaller transportation systems in outlying counties, such as WATS (Wayne Area Transportation System).

From 1927 to 1957, Rochester had a light rail underground transit system called the Rochester Subway. It was the smallest city in the world to have one. There are proposals to put in a new system, possibly using some of the old tunnels. One includes converting the Broad Street bridge tunnel—the former canal aqueduct—into an underground pedestrian walkway, which would also include a Rochester Transportation Museum, and a tram system.

The Broad Street Aqueduct was used as a subway tunnel

The former canal and subway tunnels have become a source of controversy. Many city homeless use the tunnels for shelter, and a few areas near tunnel entrances have gained the reputation as being dangerous. The city has considered multiple solutions for the space including recreating a canal way, putting the subway system back in or filling the tunnels entirely. The plan to fill the tunnels in has generated criticism as the cost of filling would be comparable to restoring the subway.[citation needed]

The Broad Street bridge over the Genesee that the subway used still retains the lower track level.

Main Street looking east

Major highways and roads that serve the Greater Rochester Area

There are three exits off the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) that serve Rochester. Rochester has an extensive freeway (expressway) system which connects all parts of the city and the city with the Thruway. During the Thruway's construction, a disagreement between the governor of New York and mayor of Rochester resulted in a bypass of downtown Rochester, leaving the city struggling for growth.[citation needed]

Rochester's expressway system, conceived in the 1950s, was designed as two concentric circles with feeder expressways from the west, south and east. The system allows for quick travel within the metropolitan area and a lack of the traffic gridlock typically found in cities of comparable size; in part this is because the system was designed to accommodate an anticipated year-2000 metro population of 5 million, whereas the present-day population is just over one million.

The Outer Loop circles just outside the city limits while the Inner Loop circles around the immediate downtown area within the city proper. From the west are Lake Ontario State Parkway, NY-531 and I-490; Interstate 390 feeds from the south; and NY-104, NY-441, and I-490 approach from the east.

Four Interstate Highways run through the Greater Rochester area:

I-90.svg Interstate 90 (New York State Thruway)

  • I-90 runs from Seattle to Boston. I-90 connects to I-390 and I-490 to serve the Greater Rochester Area.

I-390.svg Interstate 390 (Genesee Expressway)

I-490.svg Interstate 490 (Western/Eastern Expressway)

I-590.svg Interstate 590

  • I-590 runs south-north through Rochester's eastern suburbs. Its southern end is at I-390, while the northern end is at I-490; the highway continues north to the shore of Lake Ontario as NY-590.
  • In decreasing usage is the term "Can of Worms", referring to the previously dangerous at-grade intersection of Interstate 490 and expressway NY-590 on the eastern edge of the Rochester city limits, bordering the suburb of Brighton. In the 1980s, a multimillion dollar project created a system of overpasses and ramps that reduced the danger but resulted in the loss of certain exits.

New York State Route Expressways:

NY-104.svg New York State Route 104 (Irondequoit-Wayne County Expressway, West Ridge Road)

  • NY 104 - Just east of the NY 590 interchange, NY 104 becomes the Irondequoit-Wayne County Expressway and crosses the Irondequoit Bay Bridge. On the other side of the Bay Bridge, in the town of Webster, NY 104 has exits before returning to an at-grade highway at Basket Road.

NY-390.svg New York State Route 390

  • NY 390 is an extension of Interstate 390 from the I-390/I-490 interchange in Gates. The northern terminus is at the Lake Ontario State Parkway in Greece, less than a mile from the Lake Ontario shoreline.

NY-531.svg New York State Route 531 (Spencerport Expressway)

  • NY 531 serves as a connector between the northwestern suburbs of Rochester and Interstate 490.

NY-590.svg New York State Route 590

  • NY 590 is a limited-access extension of Interstate 590 at runs from an interchange between Interstate 490 and I-590 on the Brighton/Rochester border. The northern terminus is at Culver Road in Irondequoit, near Sea Breeze (the western shore of Irondequoit Bay at Lake Ontario).

New York State Parkways:

Lake Ontario State Parkway.svg Lake Ontario State Parkway

  • Lake Ontario State Parkway travels from Lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton, Orleans County. The eastern end is at Lake Avenue in the city of Rochester in Monroe County.


In 2006 Rochester had 1259.6 reported violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared to a national rate of 553.5.[70] For 2006, Rochester had 827 personal crime incidents per 100,000 and 7,173 property crime incidents per 100,000.

With 100 being the national average, Rochester scores the following:

Personal Crime Risk - 170 Property Crime Risk - 134[71]

Notable citizens

See List of people from Rochester, New York

Sister cities

Rochester has eleven sister cities,[72] as designated by Sister Cities International. They are all dedicated by a branched concrete walkway over the Genesee River, dubbed the Sister Cities Bridge (known as the Frank and Janet Lamb Bridge since October 2006):[73]

Country City County / District / Region / State Date
France France Rennes Brittany Brittany 1958[74]
Germany Germany Wappen von Wuerzburg.svg Würzburg Bavaria Bavaria 1964[74]
Italy Italy Caltanissetta-Stemma.png Caltanissetta Flag of Sicily (revised).svg Sicily 1965[74]
Israel Israel Rehovot COA.png Rehovot Center District 1972[74]
Poland Poland Flag of Krakow.svg Kraków POL województwo małopolskie 1 flag.svg Małopolskie 1973[74]
Country City County / District / Region / State Date
Mali Mali Bamako Capital District 1975[74]
Republic of Ireland Ireland Waterfordcrest.png Waterford County Waterford 1983[74]
Russia Russia Flag of Veliky Novgorod.png Novgorod Flag of Novgorod oblast.png Novgorod Oblast 1990[74]
Japan Japan Flag of Hamamatsu, Shizuoka.png Hamamatsu PrefSymbol-Shizuoka.png Shizuoka Prefecture 1996[74]
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Ciudad de San Felipe de Puerto Plata.JPG Puerto Plata Flag of the Province of Puerto Plata.JPG Puerto Plata Province 1997[74]
People's Republic of China China Xianyang Shaanxi 2008[75]


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  4. ^ "City-data". 
  5. ^ Savageau, David (2007). Places Rated Almanac (25th Anniversary Edition ed.). Places Rated Books LLC. ISBN 0979319900. 
  6. ^ 2007 QUALITY OF LIFE QUOTIENT: What Really Matters Is Not the Salary, But What That Salary Will Buy, Expansion Management
  7. ^ Overall Quality of Life: Metros With Population Over 1 Million, Expansion Management
  8. ^ Best Metrowide Public Schools, Expansion Management
  9. ^ Blake McKelvey, "The Germans of Rochester: Their Traditions and Contributions", Rochester History, Vol. 20, No. 1 (January 1958), 7-8.
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  22. ^ "Making History: A Black Man's Hands Speak Eloquently". The New York Times. 2003-05-24. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
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  27. ^ PAETEC headquarters to tower over city, Democrat and Chronicle - 4 April 2008
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  30. ^ City Begins NET Consolidation, WXXI - 17 June 2008
  31. ^
  32. ^
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  34. ^
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  38. ^
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  41. ^ South Wedge Gay Neighbors
  42. ^ Diana Louise Carter, "Signs of Progress: Residents restore a faded South Wedge to Glory,” Democrat and Chronicle, October 10, 2004.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008
  46. ^ "America's 25 New Elite 'Ivies', August 21, 2008". Newsweek. 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  47. ^ Rankings, Achievements & Honors - School of Nursing
  48. ^ Rankings : Simon Graduate School of Business
  49. ^ OMEGA EP Laser System Complete and Ready for Operation University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE)
  50. ^ University of Rochester Rises in U.S. News Rankings University of Rochester Press Releases
  51. ^ "US News rankings". 
  52. ^ "RIT rankings 2008". 
  53. ^ SUNY's Impact on New York's Congressional District 29
  54. ^ MCC College Directory
  55. ^ Genesee Country Village and Museum
  56. ^ Letchworth State Park
  57. ^ Letchworth State Park
  58. ^ Finger Lakes
  59. ^ Corn Hill Festival overview
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ "Rochester makes 10-best golf cities list (November 27, 2007)". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
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  65. ^ ""Rochester Sports"". Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
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  69. ^
  70. ^ "Rochester NY Crime Statistics (2006 Crime Data)". areaConnect. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  71. ^
  72. ^ International Sister Cities of Rochester
  73. ^ City of Rochester, New York (2006-10-11). "SISTER CITIES BRIDGE RENAMED "FRANK AND JANET LAMB SISTER CITIES BRIDGE"". Press release. Retrieved 2007-06-10. "Mayor Robert J. Duffy conducted a ceremony today on the Sister Cities Bridge, officially renaming it the Frank and Janet Lamb Sister Cities Bridge." 
  74. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "International Sister Cities of Rochester". City of Rochester. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  75. ^ "Rochester Has New Sister City". R News. 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 

External links

Coordinates: 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W / 43.16556°N 77.61139°W / 43.16556; -77.61139

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