Sunday, October 23, 2011

After visting 50 Main Streets, I'm ready to commit

Day 3, Mt. Morris Consultation

I spent the day working on the Main Street consultation with Mt. Morris, Livingston County, NY. Professor Shiffman led a productive brainstorming session that led to the formation of 3 committees and the assignment of tasks. The 9 Pratt students on the trip settled down to work. The 3 professors, Ron and Yvette Shiffman and I, set off to see more Main Streets. Livingston County has a Main Street program, with 5 villages in it, including two we hadn't seen yet: Nunda, to the south of Mt. Morris and Lima, to the north. We went to Nunda first. It is very small, but the three generations of Kathy's Florist had led a wonderful effort to decorate for Halloween. The various poles around Main Street were surrounded by cornstalks and corn people were settled in benches all over town. It gave the place a charming and festive air. It reminded me of the "Villages Fleuris" in France -- the Flowered Cities -- which have flowers everywhere, in hanging pots, planters and beds, giving the place a festive, joyous look.

After Nunda we headed north to Lima, but decided to see Avon first (Lima is pronounced like the bean and Avon with the hard Rochester o). Avon has a large central circle, and in the center is a monument to the sons of the town who lost their lives in the Civil War. The names are listed for us to remember. I have recently been communicating with Veterans Affairs about my mother's "death benefit," a pension she receives because her first husband, Clifford J. Hunter, was lost in World War II. He died heroically, but I don't know if his name and deeds are carved anywhere for future generations to ponder and admire. The circle also had a water fountain installed in 1904 by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Ron, who has been watching the documentary on Prohibition, commented that there were more bars in New York AFTER the law was passed.

From Avon we went to Lima, whose sign says, "A village at the crossroads of Western New York," the crossroads in question being two paths used by Iroquois Nation. We went to the American Hotel, which has a roster of 300 soups, from which co-owner Rose A. Reynolds chooses 6-7 to make every day. She and her brother/co-owner Patrick regaled us with stories about the hotel, the village, soup, etc. I had the awesome Aruba pea soup, and I bought Rose's cookbook, "Never Enough Thyme."

These visits bring my total to 50 cities. I am now ready to make a commitment to a deeper analysis. I am going to study all the cities of Essex County, NJ, looking at how they are interconnected, what each offers to its local community and the surrounding area, and the ways in which improvements in any of them might help the whole county to prosper. That will take care of 43 of the remaining 50. The other seven cities will continue to be those cities that cross my path as I travel around the US and other countries. be continued