Friday, July 29, 2005

...O ... C ... H ... E ... S ... T ... E ... R ... WHAT'S THAT SPELL?

First, a mea culpa. I am sometimes too lazy to do the research necessary to be accurate. So ...


This is the descriptive material for the Jack Rabbit 'coaster from the Sea Breeze website.

"Built in 1920, the Rabbit is the fourth oldest operating coaster in the country. It's a Miller & Baker wood coaster with an out & back layout. The 2,180 feet of track features a spectacular 75-foot drop, awesome dips, a wild last curve and a fantastic finale through a dark tunnel."

That "wild last curve" is in the tunnel. That's what makes the 'coaster a classic.

The Jack Rabbit is at the far right on the map, and the tunnel portion is the U-turn that swings through the trees. Once experienced, it is unforgettable. (The ride just above the starred 'new attraction' used to be named "The Wild Mouse", a more conventional 'coaster but still a thrill. The word "mouse" seems to have followed me for most of my life.)

Fun fact #25:

"No one really knows the true story behind the little Mercury-looking dude on top of that building downtown.

 < Mercury - L, Wings of Freedom - R

And no one can look up at those big steel wing-type things atop the Times Square building next door without getting inexplicably creeped out. But: Both serve as perfect compass points because of their height. Lost? Look for Mercury and the wings."

If I were feeling industrious, I could do some research ...... naaaah.

Fun fact #26:

"Brazenly staring at the mansions along East Avenue, especially at night when a stunning number of their inhabitants leave the lights on so you can see inside, is perfectly OK. Start at the George Eastman House at 900 East and head out of the city. It's popculture fantasy-land."



 < George Eastman House

If you want to see some very detailed illustrations of some of Rochester's more famous landmarks, check out this site.

Fun fact #27:

"You may or may not be told this, but Jimmy Breslin's hit novel The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight was loosely based on the bumbling mobsters who erupted into a messy war back in the '70s. Bring this up, and invariably someone will say they know someone who knows a guy who was whacked then."

The story of Rochester's mob wars could constitute at least two separate entries, but I'll just include a couple of personal notes. Back in '69 or '70, somewhere thereabouts, either just before or shortly after we got married (more about this in the next entry), my parents, who collected dining experiences like I collect seashells, took us to the Blue Gardenia Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge (twice, if I remember correctly) for some forgotten occasion. The experience was notable for a couple of reasons. First, it was invariably dim in the restaurant; the lighting was deliberately kept ... um ... intimate. The two times that we ate there, it seemed as if the restaurant had a very small clientele. Both times we visited, only two or three tables were occupied, and the diners were widely separated. The other notable thing was that from the time you entered, to the moment you were seated, right up to the minute that you rose, paid the bill, and moved to the door, you could feel the eerie pressure of eyes studying your every move. There was a sinister aura permeating that restaurant that I have never felt anywhere else. We did not know, and I'm guessing my parents did not know, that the Blue Gardenia was a major mob hangout. It was eventually gutted by a bomb. (For some brief mob history, this is a good site.)

The other personal note is short. I once worked at Bausch & Lomb with a man my age named "Leo". I did him a favor once and, in return, he asked me, in all seriousness, if there was anyone I wanted 'whacked', because he could see to it. At the time, I laughed. I shouldn't have. (Bonnie and I were later invited to "Leo's" wedding. It was an impressive ceremony, as elaborate as only Italians can make it.)

Fun fact #28:

"Also, this is the town where, in 1986, seven women protested not being able to legally remove their shirts in public by doing just that, getting nekkid (from the waist up) at a local park. Bring this up, and someone will say they know someone who knows one of those broads and how come women don't do that anymore?"

If, for some reason, you would like to find out more about this, this is a good site. Ramona Santorelli was the spokeswoman for the group and went on Brother Wease's radio show once to explain the group's motives, a visit that resulted in the memorable phrase (delivered by Ramona to Wease) "How would you feel if I called you 'dickhead'?"

Fun fact #29:

"You are less than a day's drive from the Sterling Renaissance Festival, where you can live in medieval times, watch a joust and eat an entire roasted hen with your hands. Let's see Christo top that with some flapping orange shower curtains."

It's a truly marvelous place to spend a weekend (a whole week is better if you can manage.) Here's where you'll find the info.

And, finally, Fun fact #30:

"Almost more than anything, we take the biggest pleasure in this: We're not Syracuse."

'Nuff said.

This wraps up my full-out, shameless promotion of Rochester, New York, pearl of the East and land of the snowbird (pat. pend.) Well, at least for now. I plan to devote some future entries to our ferry, but this should suffice for the present.







sunnyside46 said...

well, i want to come visit

mutualaide said...

Very funny and well, interesting!  I know I passed through Rochester NY a long time ago, in the back seat of my dad's old blue Hudson!  We were frequent travler's to a number of towns in NY, visiting his buddies from WWII.