It’s Park Avenue Festival weekend, a time to celebrate one of Rochester’s most vibrant neighborhoods. The city website tells us about its history:
Park Avenue’s history is long. It was first laid out as an avenue in 1852, but it took shape, albeit erratically, in 1860 as three separate streets. Park Avenue ran from Alexander Street to Goodman Street. “Crescent Street,” ran between Vick Park A and B. “Bates Street, named for an early East Avenue resident, ran from Barrington toward Culver Road.” The three were joined in 1875 and renamed Park Avenue.
James Vick, a successful horticulturalist, “seedsman,” publisher and businessman owned a business on East Avenue. Vick built Union Park Racetrack on his nursery’s land, and the track’s two straight-aways eventually became Vick Park A and B. (The curve in Park Avenue between the two streets was the racetrack’s southern end.)
It wasn’t always so nice on the avenue. Starting in the Depression and continuing through the 1950s, East and Park avenues saw decline. People were moving to suburbs. The advent of cars brought noise and parking problems. Mansions deteriorated and were broken up into ill-fitting apartments. In 1969, the Park Avenue neighborhood association was formed, focusing on code enforcement, preservation, beautification and business.
The Park Avenue Festival was born in 1976.
Today, Park Avenue has far more white people with money and far fewer children than the rest of the city. It has more bars and restaurants. It has few chain stores. It has more rental properties.
Some facts from the U.S. Census (Census tracts 29 & 31):
- Population: 8,366
- White Residents: 88% (44% for entire city)
- Renters: 81% of all households (62% for entire city)
- Families with Children: 5% of all households (26% entire city)
- Income: Median income for Census Tract 29: $35,769 Census Tract 31: $49,935 ($30,138 entire city)
Zip Code 14607:
45 restaurants – That’s 27 per 10,000 households (Metro area has a whole has 19 per 10,000 residents.)
18 bars – That’s 11 bars per 10,000 households (Metro area as a whole has 4 per 10,000 residents.)