Monday, September 15, 2014

Friends in High Places

Saturday night, Rochester Love Notes teamed up with Greentopia to project lines of Love Notes onto the east wall of the Genesee River gorge. It was the largest Words on Walls event we’ve held to date, with two 20,000 lumen projectors illuminating the center of High Falls and people lining the Pont de Rennes bridge.

That pink logo.
Don Casper at Epic 10 Film Studios animated the lines from the letters, and the projection was accompanied by an original piece of music written by Sound ExChange Orchestra.

The bridge and the gorge on a normal night are pretty amazing. But this night, one of the first cool nights of the season, was spectacular. The falls were illuminated and changing from blue to red to white.

"I love you, you hot little secret, and I miss you all the time." Danielle Dagilis

Tanya's kids, up late and somewhat confused about what it was all about.

When we talked about projecting lines of Love Notes around the city at night, we never imagined this scale. But Michael Philipson and Lewis Stess, Co-Founders of Friends of the Garden Aerial, think big. A chance meeting between Michael and Tanya in May set the wheels turning for a collaboration. Without any explanation, he understood what we are trying to do with love notes, and the projection on the gorge was his idea.

This is Greentopia’s fourth year. The event is intended to bring awareness and highlight how our region is contributing to the sustainability movement. Greentopia has established its place among the region’s best festivals, but the vision of the event’s parent organization, Friends of the GardenAerial, is grander than I originally understood.

Here is their mission:

The Friends of the GardenAerial is committed to implementing a green infrastructure initiative that will both preserve and provide increased access for the general public to the Genesee River, the river gorge, and the 96-foot “High Falls” waterfall, all located within the High Falls Heritage Area, and is committed to including the High Falls Heritage Area into New York State’s first Eco-District.

Wow, right?  

We are proud to have had a small role in Greentopia, and in reimagining High Falls for one night. We are even more excited to have collaborated with a group of people that are working to transform a great little corner of the universe into a more vibrant neighborhood and the state’s first Eco-District. Thanks Michael and Lewis. Keep up the great work. And call us anytime.

A line from Tanya's Love Note, which documents the day Critical Mass came down her street.

Our favorite line from Roc_Guardian.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Love Note #25: You fit me as perfectly as my favorite pair of jeans, tears, frays and all

Name: Kristen Zory King

I Am: Director of Strategic Initiatives at Writers & Books
Years in Rochester: Two
Current Home: Rochester (NOTA)
Future Home: Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear Rochester,

Today I woke up with you to a rare summer morning - the sky clear and the air cool and calm, a quiet relief from your past few days of bright August heat. Still dazed with sleep, my first thoughts were those of serenity that carried me through the morning until I pulled on my favorite pair of jeans and notice a large, gaping hole along the seam. Immediately my calm was replaced with dismay - the jeans are worn, frayed, and loose, sure, but they're still my favorite "go-to" and this new tear makes them almost unwearable.

After brief consideration, I decided to wear the jeans despite the tear and pulled them on, sliding them past my calves and thighs, resting them comfortably on my hip bones. As I continued through my morning - listening to Beth Adams and Morning Edition on WXXI, checking my email, making coffee, preparing for meetings - a strange thought burrowed in the back of my mind: you, Rochester, are not unlike my worn, favorite jeans.

I moved to Rochester in the Summer of 2012 and it was on a shopping trip to Eastview mall shortly after that I found my now favorite pair of dark blue jeans. It wasn't love at first sight: the jeans were a little too long, bunching around my ankles, far from perfect. I was worried, but I was tired of shopping and so I bought them on a whim and later grew to love them. If you remember Rochester, this is exactly what happened with us - I came to you on a whim, believed in you despite misgivings, and fell more and more in love with you despite your flaws. As I wore and washed the jeans, they began to fray, and, let's be blunt, you too are frayed Rochester, with dismal poverty and educational statistics and an aura of rust on the skyline. You too are dark, worn at the knees, loose in the thighs and hips after a couple years of rough wear and tear. You are a city with ideas a little too big, ideas that don't always fit the exact way you need them, but I love you nonetheless.

I'm leaving you soon, Rochester. An exciting adventure is taking me to the Southwest and as thus, I have less than a month to walk on poetry through the Neighborhood of the Arts, browse local shops on Park Ave, enjoy coffee and cinnamon muffins at the Public Market. In a few short weeks I will trade you in all your many glories - your suffocating humidity, green summer trees, frosty mornings and ice-glittered streets - for a desert landscape I hardly know. I will give up your gray November skies, muddy boots, shallow mornings for 300 days of sunshine and prickly cactus hearts. God, I'm going to miss you. Yes, your winters are long, so long one begins to forget what if feels like to have the smooth heat of the summer sun on bare skin. But how else would we appreciate your beautiful spring lilacs? How else would we throw back our heads and laugh so loudly at your summer festivals? Walk along the canal with such lightness and ease or hear the hollow crack of a solid double hit at a Red Wings game? How else would be relish the magical dark nights of autumn - the smell of a brisk wind, a well-stoked flame, copper leaves and warm cider?

Rochester, you look good on me. Despite still being relatively new I am at home in your community, full of artists, historians, educators, lovers, bygones, devotees, and eccentrics. You're worn, sure, a little ragged and threadbare, but I wouldn't trade you for any other city, any other home. I'll miss you, Rochester. I really will. But I know that when I come back to you - and I will -  you'll still fit me as perfectly as my favorite pair of jeans, tears, frays and all.

All my love,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Love Note #24: Did you ever take particular notice of Rochester's sunsets?

Did you ever take particular notice of Rochester's sunsets?

1. Western October sky from the thruway at dusk, blanketed by blues and yellows

2. Stood waiting to cross Monroe avenue, looked west scoping a perfectly framed downtown,        backdropped by a storm-cloud muffled pink sunset

3. Wooed and bedazzled, budding love
Sunset over Lake Ontario lounging at Marge's beach, a life changer


Matt Witten

View from Marge's at sunset. Photo credit: Laura Engel, "The Adventures of Lorax" blog

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Love Note #23: I Love Your Rainbow

Dear Rochester,

I love the rainbow of beautiful faces of different colors we can see in your streets, in your schools, and at
various events.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Writers & Books and Rochester Love Notes Announce "Words on Walls Summer Kick-Off"

Writers & Books and Rochester Love Notes are excited to announce the official launch of a collaborative project, Words on Walls, at a free public event Thursday, June 19 from 8:30-10:00pm.

The Words on Walls Summer Kick Off will feature music, refreshments from Marty’s Meats of Rochester, complementary beer, wine, and a spectacular projection on the outer wall of Writers & Books’ historic brick building at 740 University Avenue in Rochester. The projection is slated to run from 9:00pm-10:00pm.

In larger-than-life, luminous words, an assortment of profound and colorful lines from the dozens of entries to the Rochester Love Notes blog – a community-driven project aimed at encouraging Rochester’s fans far and wide to proclaim their affection – will be projected upon the exterior fa├žade of Writers & Books, illuminating the evening with a bright glow for all attendees (whom organizers hope will leave feeling uplifted and inspired to contribute their own Rochester Love Notes).

The event is dubbed the Words on Walls Summer Kick-Off because it marks the beginning of a calendar of similar such happenings through October, including but not limited to the popular Food Truck Rodeo at the Rochester Public Market and Rochester Fashion Week. These announcements will be made at the kick-off.

To see what Rochester Love Notes is all about, read some entries, and contribute your own message of fondness for Rochester, visit Email a Love Note at any time to if you would like your note to be considered for this event, or Tweet to @RocLoveNotes. In addition, learn more about the event at the Writers & Books website at and follow them on Twitter at @WritersandBooks.

What more ostentatious way to tell Rochester that we are hopelessly devoted to her than by projecting our love in big, bright letters upon one of her beautiful buildings? Don’t miss this first-of-a-kind, free event in our community.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Love Note #22: Buried in Love


When I left this morning, after an hour of shoveling, everything was buried. But tonight I came home to a completely clean driveway, a path to my trash can, a street where every place a car parks on the right hand side was totally down to the pavement. I wasn't the only non-snowblower owning house to look like this. Clearly you have a heart of gold. I started crying. I feel, especially lately, that there aren't that many people left who just do good things because it's the right thing to do. 

You, Rochester, are different and full of those kinds of people. I'd like to know who you are so I can give you a bottle of wine, homemade poundcake, and a hug. Thank you for making this stressful month a little less so.


Deanna has lived in Rochester for 10 years and has recently bought a house in the Park Ave. neighborhood on Brunswick Street where the neighbors are just the most amazing people ever.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Love Note #21: I love you because you helped raise me

Name: Tyler Pauly
I am: A senior at St. Bonaventure
Years in Rochester: All 21, except while away at college
Current home: Pittsford

Dear Rochester,

I love you because you helped raise me. Your four seasons, even the harshest winters, were backdrops to all the laughs and thrills and lessons of my youth.

Generations past, my ancestors from Italy and Germany somehow found their way to this bustling little city, probably by train from the Big Apple. My grandfather started a business that still operates today, manufacturing menu covers used by restaurants far and wide. He and my grandmother raised their children in one of your cozy neighborhoods, and many years later I was born.

Because of my grandfather’s line of work, I learned early on that there’s a little bit of Rochester in every corner of the world. Whether it’s a Kodak camera, or a Wegmans shopping bag, or a Xerox printing machine, or a paycheck from Paychex, or one of your well-informed displaced natives singing your praises in some far-off place…you are everywhere.

I’m a senior in college right now, and I want to see and experience the world. I may become a boomerang that comes back one day, after I’ve had a taste of the harsh realities of life outside the 585. But I take comfort in knowing that the Rochester diaspora means home is all over the place. I just have to make sure I move somewhere with a Wegmans.  (But I’m young and restless so I’ll probably be back. Just be patient.)

With all my love and gratitude,


The Coal Tower in Schoen Place on a Snowy Day