Is it neighborly to brag?
I would think it’s OK if you have something to brag about.
Certainly, Rochester can boast at least a little now that it’s been declared the Most Neighborly City in the United States.
Ranked No. 1 this year by Neighbor.com, a nationwide neighborhood storage company, Rochester moved up from No. 2 last year, swapping places with Madison, Wisconsin.
It’s good to be No. 1, though chest pounding may not be in Rochester’s nature, where residents are quick to point out that blue skies are followed by gray skies and 12 feet of snow.
But as someone who has made a career of sorts of celebrating Remarkable Rochesterians, I know that the city itself is a remarkable place. Sure, it doesn’t have a Main Street fountain – more about that later – but it’s a neighborly place.
And Neighbor.com certainly did its homework, crunching a wide variety of data about the top 100 (by population) metro areas in the U.S.
Rochester got high marks for volunteering, charitable giving, citizen happiness and county parks.
“Rochester is known by locals to be a place where residents love to live and never hesitate to lend a hand to their neighbors,” Neighbor.com concluded.
Anecdotal evidence would support that conclusion, as we all have stories about Rochester area residents snow blowing out their neighbors’ driveways, raking their neighbors’ leaves and bringing casseroles in times of need.
Rochester Mayor Malik Evans was understandably pleased that his city was No. 1.
“Rochester has its share of struggles,” he said in a news release, “but this recognition is a testament to our residents' generosity, kindness, and volunteerism and reminds us that together, we make our city a great place to live."
Two other New York state cities finished in the top 25 of most neighborly cities. Poughkeepsie was No. 8, scoring well on giving and happiness. Albany was No. 23, earning lots of credit for its high number of nonprofits per capita.
Buffalo, the City of Good Neighbors, didn’t make the top 25 on the list, which is probably a mistake. At least, I’ve always found Buffalonians to be first-rate, quite willing to help people out, especially if they support the Bills.
And although it’s too small to make the list, I’d put in a word for Glens Falls in Warren County. My wife, Cindy, and I spent a night there this summer and were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the locals.
Geneseo, where I live, is not big enough to be on the list, either, but here, too, residents are quite neighborly. People take an active interest in what’s going on the community; they pitch in when needed, and they let you know when things are happening.
Why, the other day, I learned within minutes that, yet again, a car had run into the Main Street fountain. It was nothing at all like the hit in 2016 when a truck knocked the fountain off its base. There were no injuries this time, not to the driver, not to the fountain.
Rochester doesn’t have a fountain smack dab in the middle of Main Street, its loss. But it does have a ton of good neighbors and good neighborhoods. So, celebrate. Even brag. It may snow tomorrow, but, for now, let the sunshine in.
Let’s add the name of this sports executive to the list of Remarkable Rochesterians.
Kim Kerr Pegula (1969 - ): One of the principal owners of the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres, along with her husband Terry Pegula, she is the president of both teams, the first woman to lead a team in each league. Born in Korea, and orphaned there, she was adopted by a Fairport family at age 5, grew up there and graduated from Houghton College in Allegany County. She also serves as president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, which, in addition to the Bills and the Sabres, owns lacrosse’s Buffalo Bandits and hockey’s Rochester Americans.
From his home in Geneseo, Livingston County, retired senior editor Jim Memmott, writes Remarkable Rochester, who we were, who we are. He can be reached at email@example.com or write Box 274, Geneseo, NY 14454
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Rochester NY ranked as Most Neighborly City in U.S. on neighbor.com