17 Apr 2007

UrbEx Trip to Rochester's Rotating Restaurant

The title of this post is actually a bit of a misnomer; the space we visited in downtown Rochester is no longer a restaurant and it no longer rotates. Details aside, though, I took a trip with the University of Rochester's Urban Exploration club this past weekend to the top of the First Federal Building, located on E. Main St. in the heart of downtown. It's easily recognizable in the shot of High Falls below as the building that looks like a flying saucer has landed on top of it.

High Falls High Falls, from the pedestrian bridge

The space is unused currently, although in fairly good shape. The security guard who showed us around told us that the revolving part of the floor has been cemented down since the restaurant closed in the mid-1980's. The outer perimeter has been glassed in to create 10 or 12 small rooms, each with a view of a different part of the city. There are signs in some of the rooms showing what landmarks can be seen in that direction.

Inside the Rotating RestaurantThe 21st floor of the First Federal Building, which used to house a rotating restaurant

I got a chance to take some good aerial photos of the city, although it was a gray, cloudy day, the windows were dirty, and my camera isn't very good. However, I think this one of the view looking towards the U of R came out OK. In the photo there are three bridges. The one most in the foreground is Broad Street, and under it is Rochester's abandoned subway. Before the subway was built, it was an aqueduct for the Erie Canal, which was rerouted to bypass the center city. The city is now planning to rip out the street and make it back into a canal, in hopes of restoring some of downtown's former vitality. Other landmarks of interest are the library, which is between the two bridges, and built so that water goes right under it, and Cobb's Hill, which can be seen in the far background with the radio broadcasting towers on top of it.

Downtown From AboveView of Rochester looking towards U of R, taken from the top of the rotating restaurant

More photos from the trip can be found on my flickr page.