Southeast Quadrant - Park Meigs Neighborhood
The Park Meigs neighborhood possesses the hum and buzz that makes great cities great. Four major avenues contained within its boundaries East, Park, University and Monroe - present a wealth of restaurants, boutiques, bistros and museums, all within walking distance.
It’s a neighborhood with the historical heft of landmark mansions and nineteenth century homes, subdivided into apartments, along with innovative development that is transforming several older residences into condos and luxury lofts. Combine that with a diverse and lively community of residents and merchants, who promote all things southeast, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the City’s most popular neighborhoods. Its boundaries extend on the north to University Avenue (the south side from Oxford Street to Alexander Street) on the south to Monroe Avenue (the north side to Oxford St.), on the west to Union Street (Monroe Avenue to University Avenue) and east to Oxford Street.
As early Rochester expanded out from the center of the city, the Park Meigs neighborhood took form. Imposing East Avenue mansions housed many of the city’s wealthiest citizens. A century or more later, many of them remain in all their architectural glory, albeit with new residents. The Erickson-Perkins house, built in 1842, now houses the privateGenesee Valley Club. The Hiram Sibley House (1868), built for the president of Western Union and wealthiest man in Rochester, is now an office building.
Magnificent churches joined the family estates on East Avenue. The Third Presbyterian Church, on the corner of Meigs Street and East Avenue, literally the “third” in the city, was founded by only 22 members in 1826. When the church completed building in the late 1800's, they included a 140-foot high tower. This tower unfortunately obstructed the view of resident H.H. Warner, who had built an observatory on his land, the first in the country to be open to the public. A discouraged Warner would later move his telescope to California, but no doubt would be happy to know that another planetarium would arrive farther down East Avenue in the next century. Built in 1968, the Strasenburgh Planetarium is part of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, its next-door neighbor, which was built in 1912.
Church of the Blessed Sacrament, off Monroe Avenue, the nineteenth Catholic Church built in the City, was formed in 1901. Church history credits Bishop McQuaid for founding the parish, “primarily to relieve the overcrowding of worshippers at St. Mary’s Church” downtown. The Church now hosts the weekly Monroe Village Farmers Market in its parking lot.
The Rochester Zen Center was founded by the late Philip Kapleau, author of The Three Pillars of Zen, in 1966 on Arnold Park. Today the Center is one of the oldest and largest Zen Buddhist organizations in the country.
A variety of community organizations actively work to preserve and promote their very popular neighborhood. These include the Park Ave Neighborhood Coalition (PARC), the Park Merchant Neighborhood Association, the Meigs-Park Neighborhood Association, the non-profit Southeast Area Coalition (SEAC), and the Arnold Park and Park/Goodwin Block Clubs. In 2014, SEAC joined with the South Wedge Planning Committee (SWPC) www.swpc.org and today shares facilities and staff.
The Meigs-Park Neighborhood Association (PMNA) serves some 5,000 people. Members meet monthly in the Kirkhaven Nursing Home on Park Avenue; in between an E-mail Blast, generated by SEAC, neighbors stay aware of issues such as crime prevention and community events. The biggest event of the year, the Park Avenue Festival, which extends from Culver Road to Alexander Street, attracts thousands of fun lovers from around the region.
One of PMNA’s current projects revitalizes Goodwin Park, situated between East and Park Avenue. The group has spruced up playground equipment and is making additional plans to beautify the landscape.
The neighborhood is a year round draw for Rochester foodies. Dining opportunities are plentiful with cuisines spanning the world. Locals and visitors alike can choose from Greek, Thai, Japanese, Brazilian and Italian restaurants along with diners, coffee houses, an ice cream parlor, gelato cafe and a soup and salad takeout.
The neighborhood continues to be a regional shopping mecca, retaining long-time businesses as well as welcoming new ones. Parkleigh on Park Avenue, evolved from a corner pharmacy in the 1960s, into “the place” to shop for unique gifts from rhinestone barrettes to Mackenzie-Childs dinnerware. Neighborhood boutiques include everything from high end to vintage. 2Chic Boutique, A Step Apart and Utter Clutter are just a few.
The variety and vitality of the Park Meigs neighborhood makes it one of the most likeable and livable communities around.
If you would like additional information on this neighborhood, please contact the Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center:
320 N Goodman St - Suite 209
Rochester, New York 14607