werd: james niche
photo credits not available
If you read this site and have anything to do with the underground in Rochester, you most likely know of the REAL underground spot, the old subway.
I discovered the subway for myself about nine years ago while hanging out with some friends who thought it would be a good idea to consume hallucinogens and walk the two mile, dark stretch between Dinosaur BBQ and West Broad Street. Not so much fun when we actually came to.
However, over the years as I have walked through downtown, on summer days I would always be sure to make my way down by the walkway below the Dinosaur BBQ. (which we will be referring to as 'Dino' throughout the rest of this passage)
I have seen graffiti art come and go. Some of which, I have had the honor to be able to witness going up, some pieces taking many days to complete. The sad thing is, because of grimey kids who want to 'get-up' in the graffiti world, they have trashed some of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. That's the game though.
This space has been deserted for years, except for random walk-throughs done by RG&E, the constant presence of artists and of course, the homeless.
In my travels through the subway, I learned that Dino was kind enough to leave a few open outlets below their building, left over from when they renovated in 2003. These outlets have been providing heat and power to many homeless people over the years, and by way of how the supports are designed underneath the building, they have also provided make-shift 'apartments'. Siiick!
God bless those ingenious homeless men and women, they are true survivors.
There has been debate over the past few years as to what to do with all this space, the topic is raised in the video you are about to watch, below.
The questions you need to ask yourself are...
1. Should it be filled in with dirt?
Ask that guy. Do you want to just fill in his home with dirt? He looks so happy!
2. Should the subway space be renovated into a shopping plaza?
Yeah, if you want this guy shopping there!
The point is, I do think that a downtown shopping destination is needed in Rochester, but there has to be an incentive to drive people down there.
NO!,We can't just slap in a Peebles and expect the suburbs to flock down here.
There must be business incentives, tax incentives and products that stand out form the malls. It's no different than with any other city. Get people out of the malls!
Another proposed idea is to convert the space into an art gallery of sorts to showcase local art and graffiti, which has made it's home in the subway.
We are an arts based city in every sense of the word. Let's expand on that. Let's get creative.
I by no means am mocking the homeless or belittling them. I have a very personal appreciation and understanding for the people living in the streets and struggling on this earth. From LA to NY, I've heard a lot of stories and spent time with people you would just never imagined and have always carried those people and events with me. Mama didn't raise no fool.
It's not easy out there for anyone and especially the mentally challenged. The mentally ill make up at least 70% of homeless in the U.S..
ACT:LIVE will be making more of a presence in the community over the next coming year by working more on a volunteer level in the streets and behind the scenes. I urge you all to do you humanitarian duty and help the homeless and less fortunate with every opportunity you get. But, that doesn't mean hand out change, that means get involved and get off your lazy ass, shut off your god damn X-Box and lend a hand. You won't ever regret it and it makes you feel so much better inside knowing you impacted someone's life. Trust me.
Right Now, We're Watching