Monday, July 21, 2008

New Fountains Downtown

Who says there's nothing new to see in downtown Rochester? Well, for those people who like to explore downtown on their lunch hour, during an evening stroll or on a weekend visit - you can now see the new fountains at Manhattan Square Park, next to the Strong National Museum of Play and a stone's throw from East Avenue. Here, in the newly renovated & redesigned former ice skating rink, the City of Rochester has added a warm weather feature: four fountain jets shooting sprays of water several stories into the air. Now that the ice in the rink has melted, the rink itsself serves as a lovely basin and reflecting pool for the new fountains. Anyone taking a stroll in the East Avenue/Broadway/Manhattan Square area during their lunch now has a wonderful, relaxing and picturesque site to visit that features the restful sound of splashing water and a great spot to spend some "down time" during the middle of the day. In addition to the attractive new design of the pool area, there is a terrific and unusual view of the Midtown/E. Broad St. skyline with some of the city's most interesting mid-20th skyscrapers as a backdrop. You'll feel like you're in a much larger city, such as New York or Chicago (which has it's own signature water feature: Millenium Fountain in the park of the same name). And, as an added bonus to visitors walking to the park via Broadway, be sure to notice the OTHER new fountain that's recently been added to the streetscape nearby : the brick fountain and splash pool directly in front of The Inn on Broadway at 26 Broadway (opposite Christ Church/behind Channel 10 News Building). A vastly smaller version of the fountain jets in Manhattan Square, this new pedestrian-scale fountain is directly adjacent to the public sidewalk and is a welcome addition to the former University Club property with its handsome 1920s Colonial Revival-style building. On-street parking is readily available for both fountain sites. After several failed attempts to create similar "fountain jet"-style public fountains downtown, these two new fountains are a welcome addition to our central business district. And just in time for warm weather visitors to enjoy them!

posted by Cynthia Howk, Architectural Research Coordinator (and a frequent lunchtime stroller in the central business district)