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Crime Scene TapeA woman was shot inside Gitsis Restaurant on Monroe Ave. at 3 a.m. Sunday. Police have released few details about what led to the incident, but I suspect there will be much discussion about safety along the strip. There have been several shootings inside and outside establishments in the area over the last decade.

(Watch: 13WHAM obtained cell phone video taken inside the restaurant right after the shooting.)

Although there is a police presence on Monroe Ave., it doesn’t seem to compare to the highly-coordinated police strategy in the Upper East End. That may be the result of the fact East End bars are concentrated, while Monroe Ave. is more spread out. But lack of officers didn’t prevent the Gitsis shooting; witnesses said an officer was inside the restaurant when it happened.

The city’s response to the shooting will be interesting. Will City Hall heap nuisance points on Gitsis, which could lead to a shutdown? That was the response to the fatal shooting that took place outside the Bug Jar. The city ended up working with the owners to put in place a security plan.

City Hall has never really embraced Monroe Ave. as an entertainment district, even though it’s lined with bars and eateries. I’m not sure what could be done to prevent these sporadic incidents of violence other than closing down late-night eateries. Has it gotten to that level?

Update: The shooting appears to be accidental. Security approached police to report a customer with a gun and when police approached the man, he took it out and it fired. The police chief said there’s no reason to go after Gitsis for this incident.

Links of the Day:

– Rural Onondaga County towns oppose the county executive’s plan to limit sprawl.

Bausch + Lomb’s sale could be bad for Rochester.

– The Greece school district teacher absentee rate is 8 percent. That includes long term illness, maternity leave and professional development.

– Niagara Falls police officer say tenants spend their welfare rent checks on other things.

– Louise Slaughter was never a politician in the Buffalo mold. It didn’t matter.

– A study says the Adirondacks could support a cougar comeback.

In yet another sign the East End is gentrifying, a chain restaurant wants to move in.

Yes, it’s a fast food joint. But Moe’s Southwest Grill is moving into the Sagamore, where condos sell for more than a few hundred grand. This isn’t a sign the Sagamore is failing. It’s a sign someone has some some serious money, as the franchise requires a $1.5 million net worth and $600,000 liquid cash available.

This is not a story about Henry B’s closing. (I’m sorry for the staff affected, but it was not a popular place. In a town with 1,000 Italian restaurants, fancy and high end is generally not going to work.) This is a story about the chains jumping Jefferson Rd. into the Inner Loop.

Chains take fewer risks than independent business owners. And when they do take risks, they’re very calculated. Tim Horton’s recently made its first push into downtown Rochester after 10 years in the market.

“It was a mix of the proper location and right opportunity. We know downtown is being revitalized and we want to be a part of that,” said Adam Grandmont, Tim Horton’s district manager of operations. He sees a chain moving to the neighborhood as a big vote of confidence.

The danger of chains swooping in is an area loses its identity. I will not be happy if Matthews East End Grill sells out to Applebee’s or Spot Coffee becomes Starbucks or Veneto morphs into Olive Garden. A neighborhood’s soul is in its unique architecture, streets and businesses.

In Buffalo, Elmwood Village neighbors freaked out when Panera announced it was moving in. Even though the chain was taking over a Blockbuster, residents worried about the character of their enclave. The debate made me think about a conversation I had with the owner of a historic W. Main St. church who wants to tear it down to put up a dollar store. “Panera isn’t coming here,” he said, pointing to the low-income housing going up nearby.

At least Henry B’s is being subdivided to include both Moe’s and a local bistro. (By the way, Havana Moe’s cigar shop across the street has got to be throwing a fit right now. It’s been around longer than Moe’s Southwest. I can see some drama ahead.)

While I don’t think there’s any danger of East Ave. becoming W. Ridge Rd., we have to keep an eye on the chains. On the one hand, they’re a sign of success. (Anyone see the Dairy Queen lines?!) On the other hand, they’re a sign of gentrification…and the generic.

More Links of the Day:

– I have long despised the East End banners describing the neighborhood using words like “surprising,” “flashy,” “uncommon” and “swag.”


I admire the firm behind the ads, the same one pushing Garden Aerial, but I’m not digging the banners. The banners, paid for by the business association, don’t tell me anything about the district. There are so many banners with so many adjectives, there’s no message.

I’ve also never been a fan of the Maplewood neighborhood banners. Maplwood has gorgeous old homes and a rose garden. It doesn’t need banners to tell you it’s historic.

I knew the banner craze had jumped the shark when Bob Duffy actually had a ribbon-cutting for the East End banners. A ribbon-cutting. For banners.

Turns out, I’m not alone. A Houston blogger wrote a delicious (and foul-mouthed) rant called “Death to Placemaking Banners:”

…what makes placemaking banners a uniquely insidious evil is that they crap on real, authentic places.


…suppose the City puts up a bunch of banners on every damn streetlight that say HISTORIC DUNCAN’S ROW – WORK EAT PLAY LIVE. What this amounts to is vandalism. It’s taking the branded, sanitized experience of Weston Village at Southlands North and trying to retrofit it onto the at-least-still-somewhat-authentic Duncan’s Row experience.


You mean to tell me that this is a place where I can eat, drink, and hear live music? I HAD NO (EXPLETIVE) CLUE I WAS IN SUCH A PLACE UNTIL NOW. THANKS, PLACEMAKING BANNER!

– Magnum photographers are in town taking pictures of our fair city. The Democrat and Chronicle spent some time with the photographers, who are posting some of their photos on tumblr.

– Tearing down Midtown Plaza really hurt the merchants who were forced to relocate.

– Check out these stunning photos of conjoined twin girls in Mexico.

– Tablets are the second-most popular way to watch television. It’s the number one way for me.