Archive | September, 2012

Tuesday in the village: Mobs and memories

11 Sep

R.J. Short did billboard duty, trying to attract cash mobbers.

I had the pleasure of attending two very worthwhile events in the village last night.

The first was the inaugural Webster Cash Mob, an event which was meant to encourage shoppers to descend en masse on one local business during one very short window of time, therein giving that small business owner an economic boost.  The target of this first cash mob was Yesterday’s Muse Bookstore on West Main Street.

Unfortunately, the number of people who actually “descended” on Yesterday’s Muse was far less than a mass. It was more like 15-20. I think the mob organizer, Renee Short, was a little disappointed by the turnout, but undeterred.  She was already planning a second mob for sometime in October.

When that one happens, I challenge this village to overwhelm the place.

My next stop was Veterans Park, where the village held its annual 9/11 memorial ceremony. While this year’s event paled somewhat to last year’s tenth-anniversary observance, it was still moving.

The 30-minute ceremony featured speeches by Mayor Peter Elder, Senator Michael Nozzolio and Assemblyman Mark Johns, and some beautiful music by the Chorus of the Genesee and village piper Jack Jacob Jarosinski.  It concluded with Taps, beautifully performed from the hilltop by a lone bugler.  Always makes me want to cry.

Webster is only one of a handful of Rochester-area towns still commemorating the events of 9/11/01.  I asked Mayor Elder about that, to which he responded, “If we don’t remember the heroes of 9/11, we’ll forget the sacrifices they made. We need to keep those memories alive.”

And how many more years does he expect Webster to continue the tradition?

“As long as we possibly can. It’s very important.”

Click here or on the photo to redirect to a small gallery of photos from the ceremony.

 

Webster remembers

11 Sep

The Village of Webster remembers the tragic events of 9/11/01 this evening with a memorial service at Veterans Memorial Park on North Avenue.

Last year’s ceremony was a very memorable event, which began with a solemn procession of first responders from the Webster Fire Department’s Enterline Station on South Ave to the park. It was followed by addresses from local officials, a presentation of the flag by the Cub Scouts, and some very moving music. I expect this year’s ceremony to be just as nice. Click here to see a Facebook gallery of photos from last year.

The ceremony begins at 7 pm at the gazebo, and the weather looks great.

 

So which have been your favorite blogs?

10 Sep

I’ve been writing this blog for more than four years now. It has taken me that long to realize a funny truth: The amount of time I put into researching and writing a particular blog is inversely proportional to the that blog’s popularity.

Case in point: A few years ago I wrote a three-part series on Baywinde resident Buddy Gorman, who was the last surviving member of The Bowery Boys, a group of actors who starred in a popular series of films in the ’40s and ’50s.  I spent several hours in conversation with Buddy and many more hours writing the series.

I think maybe a dozen people read all three. (If you want to be #13, click here.)

In contrast, about six weeks ago I posted a blog about hanging laundry.  The idea came to me while I was … well, outside hanging laundry. I spent literally 30 seconds planning it (“OK,” I said to me, “what am I going to blog about tomorrow? Hm, how about hanging laundry?”)  It took me another 5 minutes to actually write it.

It was what I consider a throwaway blog, little more than a placeholder created on the spur of the moment.  Yet it became one of my most popular posts. The D&C chose to publish it in the print edition. Readers posted comments (which doesn’t happen very often). Three separate people have stopped me to tell me how much they liked it.

I’ve always been a little hesitant to post personal blogs like that one. I kind of consider them cop-outs, when I don’t have what I would consider a “good story” in the pipeline. But I might have to reconsider that perspective, because my readers really seem to like them.

Which leads me to another idea I had, which I pull directly from Ann Landers: Do you have a favorite Webster blog? Something that maybe you have hanging on your fridge or on the wall of your business?  Is there one in particular which made you laugh or cry?  If I get some responses, perhaps I’ll re-post some of your favorites.

Or is that a cop-out?

 

Checking in with some newer Webster businesses

9 Sep

A look at Cafe Sewciety’s new classroom.

Not long ago I got an e-newsletter from my friend Judy Merritt at Café Sewciety Quilts, in which she announced that her little shop was celebrating its first year anniversary.  That’s quite an achievement. It’s tough for new small businesses to make a go of it, especially in today’s economy.  Witness the recent closing of A Barker’s  Dozen after only about 16 months.

It got me to thinking about some other young businesses in town, many of which I wrote about when they opened. I thought it might be fun to check in and see how they’re doing.

First, let’s go back to Café Sewciety.  When Judy bought the little house on Ridge Road a little more than a year ago, it was in dire need of redecorating and remodeling.  She and her husband worked tirelessly to turn its two main rooms into a charming little quilter’s shop and classroom with a small but diverse selection of quilting and sewing supplies.

In the year since, Judy has quadrupled her inventory and turned the garage area into a dedicated classroom. Plus she’s also upgraded her website to offer online purchases.

Read my original blog about Café Sewciety Quilts here.

Danny and Jessica Barry transformed Webster’s Four Corners.

* * *

A year ago September 23, Danny and Jessica Barry officially opened the doors to Barry’s Old School Irish Pub and Bakery, transforming the village’s Four Corners.  They transformed a corner which had been an eyesore for years and created a business which which is so much more than just an Irish a pub — Barry’s is more like a community meeting hall, where friends meet over scones, co-workers raise a Guinness together, and where onetime strangers have come to feel like family.

Barry’s is still going strong, and is already planning its one-year Grand Opening anniversary in October.  In this first year they have greatly expanded their menu and beer offerings, and instituted weekly special events including Wednesday night Trivia Night and a Sunday morning brunch.

Read my original blog about Barry’s Old School Irish here.

* * *

Take a short stroll from Barry’s down East Main Street and you’ll come across Webster Hots, now owned by Debbie and Pat Bush. Debbie and Pat didn’t start their business from scratch, but they did take it over from the previous owners back in January, and have been doing very well since. This summer they solidified their position as a favorite summer meal stop when they added ice cream to their menu.

Check out the first blog I wrote about Webster Hots here.

* * *

Walter Scott at his new East Main Street location.

Cross the street from Webster Hots and you’ll see Webster Gourmet. The first time I wrote about Webster Gourmet was about two years ago, not long after Walter Scott opened the specialty foods shop on West Main Street.  Last January I had occasion to write about it again, to announce that Walter had moved to his current location on East Main Street. The move meant more space for the fledgling business, allowing Walter to expand his inventory and regularly bring in new products.  As a result, the business continues to attract new customers and is thriving in its new location.

Next time you’re in the village, you might see Walter sitting outside his shop watching the world go by. Make sure to stop for a chat. The teapot is always on.

See my most recent blog about Webster Gourmet here.

* * *

When BC’s Chicken Coop moved into Webster Village, I immediately had a new favorite chicken place.

The Chicken Coop is kind of hidden off the beaten path on South Ave., but this little restaurant has developed a loyal and steadily growing clientele in the more than two years it’s been in business.  Owners Brandie Rauber and Christina Wasson have significantly expanded their menu since they opened, and starting this week, will be open for lunch Wednesday-Friday.

The Chicken Coop, by the way, recently was recognized as one of Rochesterians’ favorite restaurants on urbanspoon.com.

Check out my original blog about BC’s Chicken Coop here.

 

 

Food Truck Rodeo will help Bay View Family YMCA rebuild the climbing tower

8 Sep

Have you heard yet about the Trucks for the Tower Food Truck Rodeo planned for this coming Friday evening? If not, you haven’t been reading my blog lately.  This is an event that is near and dear to my heart, and I’m on the committee that’s pulling it together. So basically, today’s blog is an ad for the rodeo. You can stop reading here and check out all the cute photos of kittens on Facebook, or read on and find out more about this great family event that benefits a great cause — rebuilding the Bay View YMCA climbing wall.

Here’s the background:

On June 24, the day before summer camp began, the 45-foot climbing tower at the Bay View Family YMCA was set on fire by arsonists. The entire tower was destroyed, including much of the climbing equipment and zip line. It was a devastating blow to the YMCA community. (If you’d like more information, check out my previous blog here.)

The YMCA has pledged to replace the tower before summer camp begins next year, which is pretty exciting. But even more exciting is that the new “climbing complex” will include two zip lines (so a parent and child could zip at the same time, for example), a bouldering wall, and I think they mentioned a high-ropes component as well. And even MORE exciting? Everything will be handicap-accessible.

The YMCA has taken a two-pronged approach to raising the $100,000 necessary to fund this ambitious plan. The first is to solicit larger businesses for corporate donations. This has been pretty successful so far; a recent email from Bay View YMCA Executive Director Mike Stevens announced that those efforts have already raised almost $25,000.

But there are a lot of Bay View YMCA friends out there who would like to help out on a smaller scale.  That’s where the Trucks for the Tower Food Truck Rodeo comes in. If you’ve never heard about these things (I hadn’t), a Food Truck Rodeo is when a whole bunch of food trucks descend on one place at one time. It’s kind of like a mini State Fair, with all kinds of great dinner and dessert items at your fingertips.

But we’ll also have live music, kids’ activities (like a bounce house, gaga court, dunk tank and face painting), and lots of raffle prizes (scroll down for photos of a few of them).

These are the trucks who have confirmed their participation so far (more to come):

The Dough Boys * Tuscan Pizza * Frozen Delights * Marty’s Meat * Chowder UP Seafood * Wraps on Wheels * Caspers Street Dogs * Cheesed & Confused * Fett Svin BBQ * Snow Daze

Plus, we’ve got more than 50 raffle prizes donated from about 30 Webster and Greater Rochester merchants, including wine, two Kodak pocket video cameras, a Sabres jersey, a Thirty-one tote bag, and lots and lots of restaurant and retail store gift certificates. (We’re still collecting raffle prizes if your business would like to donate. Email me!)

Here are the details:

Trucks for the Tower Food Truck Rodeo and Family Festival

Friday, September 14, 5-9 pm
Damascus Shrine Center, 979 Bay Road, Webster, NY
Lots of food, desserts and beverages; live music by Webster-based Irish duo Barry’s Crossing; kids’ activities; raffles

Check out the event’s Facebook page for more details and updates as the event approaches.

Bay Bridge is closed — and other news of note

7 Sep

For the third time this summer, half of the Bay Bridge will be closed to traffic this weekend.

Beginning tonight (Friday) at 8 pm, all EASTBOUND lanes over the bridge will be closed, and will not reopen until Sunday around noon.

Detour signs will be posted, directing eastbound traffic south on 590, onto Empire Blvd. to Bay, then north on Bay Rd. back to Rt.104 east.  It will probably be a really good idea to avoid Empire Blvd. entirely this weekend and try to get around via Browncroft/Atlantic  or Blossom Road. Even these routes will probably be busy, so plan ahead.

Going westbound over the bridge won’t be much easier; that will also be reduced to two lanes during the same period.

* * *

As I was driving through the village recently, I noticed with some sadness that Barker’s Dozen Gourmet Dog Treats has closed up its North Avenue shop. The little bakery only opened up a year ago April.  I always thought it was a clever idea and knew a lot of people who were big fans (including 499 of them who “like” the Facebook page).  But perhaps store owner Gabriella Martinez … ummm … bit off more than she could chew when she tried to move her home-based business to a storefront.

On her Facebook page, Gabriella does explain to her fans that, “We are just switching it back to an online storefront so I can focus more of my time on Pup Culture.”  This, apparently, is a digital magazine about dogs, focused on furthering our human-dog relationship.”  Check out the Pup Culture website here.

* * *

You may have seen a mention in my blog a little while ago that a local “cash mob” was in the works. In a cash mob, a large group of people gather at a local business at a specified time and spend money — generally around $10-$20 —  giving that business an economic jolt. What a great way to support small businesses.

Well, the details have been finalized. The very first Webster cash mob will take this coming Tuesday September 11, from 5-7 pm at Yesterday’s Muse Books on Main Street in the village.  To participate, just show up and buy some books! Afterwards, the mob will be meeting across the street at Hatter’s Pub (another local business worth supporting) for a post-mob celebration.

The Webster Cash Mob folks plan to pick a new local business each month to mob. So this is just the beginning. You can follow the group’s Facebook page to stay updated.

* * *

You might also consider stopping by Veteran’s Park after the mob, where the Village will hold its annual 9/11 Memorial Service, beginning at 7 pm.  The gathering pays tribute to the thousands of fire fighters, policemen, EMT’s, and airline personnel, and private citizens who were killed in the line of duty on that awful day.

Last year’s ceremony was very moving and very meaningful. Definitely worth taking the time to attend.

 

 

Welcome to the D&C’s newest blogger

4 Sep

I would like to extend a warm welcome this morning to the Democrat and Chronicle‘s newest community blogger, Carolyn Iman Stahl.

Carolyn signed on as the Irondequoit blogger a few weeks ago and has already posted three very informative and entertaining blogs.  As a 31-year-long resident of Irondequoit, and stay-at-home mom who “moonlights” as an English teacher, Carolyn brings with her a very engaging writing style, a knack for headlines that draw you in (“Keep Irondequoit Crunchy!”) and a good eye for everyday stories that everyone in the community will love to read about, but won’t necessarily find in the daily paper (like, where did the “Santa Jogger” get to?).

Welcome to the Blogger Nation, Carolyn. I look forward to reading more of your “I-town” insights.

I encourage everyone to check out Carolyn’s blog at blogs.democratandchronicle.com/irondequoit, whether you live in Irondequoit or not.  (I know you can’t wait to read about the Santa Jogger and why Irondequoit is crunchy.)

Immediate Care not so immediate — but still convenient

3 Sep

Due to an unfortunate meeting between my left foot and my son’s elbow during an impromptu sparring match Saturday evening, I found myself in the (relatively) new Immediate Care office on Ridge Road (across from Target).  I specifically chose that facility because I knew they offered x-rays on site, and I suspected I would need one. Having never been there before, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity give it the once over and “review” it for my blog.

The first thing that struck me when I hobbled in was how much the waiting room looked like the lobby of an upscale hotel. It was very nicely appointed, with at least one large screen TV, even a waterfall.  Plus there was an area set aside for kids, complete with lots of toys and its own television, tuned to Nickelodeon.  This was one of the nicest doctor’s office I’d ever seen, and I’ve been in a lot of doctor’s offices.

Patients are asked to sign in on a touch screen computer when they arrive. It wasn’t much of a problem for me, but I imagine it might be a little more difficult for elderly patients or anyone in significant distress.  It was a short wait before I was called up to one of the two receptionists to do paperwork.  Then I went back to sit down again, for what turned out to be a much longer wait to be treated.

But this was when I discovered the second thing I liked about this place:  free Keurig one-cup-at-a-time fresh coffee and tea.  And French Vanilla creamers. I happily settled in.  It wasn’t until about 45 minutes later that I was called back to the examining rooms.

The actual nursing/clinician area through the doors was almost as nice as the lobby — as lobby-like as a nursing station can be, that is.  It was open and airy, with the examining rooms all right off the main area.  I was shown into a room, the nurse did what nurses do, then left me to wait for the doctor. Fortunately, she also left me a TV remote.  Yup, each examining room has its own TV.  Thing #3 that I really liked about this place.

To make a long story short, it was another 90 minutes before the doctor saw me, I got the x-rays and the official diagnosis, and finally went clumping back to my car, a fashionable new hard-soled sandal on my foot and a CD gallery of x-rays under my arm.

The whole visit took about two and a half hours in all.  You might think that’s excessive. I did, too.  But I rationalize that you take your chances when you visit one of these drop-in clinics with regards to how busy or not busy they are. It just so happened that pretty much all of Webster decided to injure themselves earlier that morning.  If I had arrived an hour earlier or two hours later, my wait might have been much shorter.

So despite how long it took to get treated, my experience at Immediate Care exceeded my expectations.  The office is pleasant, the treatment professionally administered and the people very nice (three separate people knocked on my door to check in during my wait and apologize for the delay. One even brought me more coffee).  And more to the point, they were open on a Sunday (my doctor isn’t), it was right around the corner from my house, and I didn’t have to drive to a hospital.  I will definitely go back again if the need arises.

(Obviously they think it will — they gave me a Loyalty Club card.)

Heading to college a bittersweet occasion for all

3 Sep

It’s been very quiet around our house for the last few days.  On Saturday morning my husband and I dropped Erin, our youngest, off at St. John Fisher College — a major milestone for her AND for us.  And despite how excited we all were to see the day arrive, it was a very bittersweet event.  Because no matter how excited you are to finally be out on your own, it’s a bit scary when it happens. And no matter how much you’re looking forward to empty-nesting, it’s sad when it happens.

I’ve been struggling to find the right way to put these feelings into words, and then remembered a letter my mother wrote to me my first week of college. She must have sat down immediately after returning home to write it and put it in the mail. She knew I would already be homesick, and she knew that laughter was the best medicine.  It made me laugh till I cried, and I needed to do both.

It was perfect, and I am pleased to share it with you all, and especially with those parents who have just sent your sons and daughters off to school:

Dear Missy:

Oh, I’m so glad you’re settled, temporarily, at least.  And of course I’m not WORRIED about you. You’re a big girl now!!!

(Did you find anything to eat, and where to go for supper? Do you have a comfortable bed? Did you stay warm last night? If it’s hot, will you have enough breeze? Do you like your roommates in the barracks? Do you know your way around? Do you have enough money? Will you have room enough for your clothes?)

Gee, we’ll miss you. I was just saying to your sister when we were taking your bed down, “Gee, I’ll miss that girl.”  She said, “Who?”  I’ll remind her again while we’re out tomorrow putting the ad in the Pennysaver for your dresser and your bicycle.

The neighbor lady loves your new sweater.

Love, Ma

Prime Steakhouse is under new ownership

1 Sep

I picked up another interesting bit of Webster business news in my travels around town yesterday. Prime Steakhouse on East Main Street has been sold.

This may not be news to you, since it actually closed its doors a few weeks ago. But I just found out yesterday, and was a bit surprised by the news. Last I heard from owner Neil Bauman, despite the troubles his other properties were  having with receiverships and such, The Prime was on solid ground.

Perhaps the economy finally did it in. Or perhaps it was the $28 steaks. Or maybe both.

In any case, I had the good luck to chat for a few minutes with the new chef, who told me the new owner hopes to open for business soon, maybe even as early as next week.  Various sources have informed me they’ll be keeping the name the same, but lowering the prices.

Stay tuned.