When it comes to the coffee culture, UR students and the city of Rochester blend with coffee as well as cream and sugar do.
On River Campus, cafs are some of the most popular hangout spots. If you walk into Hillside, Starbucks or Pura Vida, there are throngs of students lounging in chairs and 20-plus-person lines queuing out the doors and down the halls of each establishment.
So, with a demographic of students who thrive off of coffee and caf life and a city popping up with coffee venues left and right, one question comes to mind: Why don’t you find more UR students at off-campus cafs?
The answers to this question are as multitudinous and varied as a caf drink list. From student to student, there are also as many variations and modifications to these answers as there are for an order of one latte.
For sophomores and up, parking is expensive, and for those who are willing to shell out the money, gas is a further expense limiting drivers right now. Other students just don’t have cars, and getting around off campus is obviously much easier when you have one.
Other forms of transportation can also be limiting. Walking takes a long time and biking is increasingly challenging as well once the temperature and snow begin to fall. As winter sets in, many have neither the audacity nor the proper insulation to venture outside long enough even to cross campus, let alone cross the threshold to the city itself.
The bus system, while it is improving, is less than perfect for spontaneous coffee runs to off-campus destinations.
The Rochester Bee Line is still a rookie in the realm of transportation, and it is learning from its flaws in its two-plus years of experience. Buses are an increasingly efficient way to get to and from campus, but a trip that involves a bus ride can take planning; it’s not accommodating to spur-of-the-moment adventures to new, unknown dives.
And then there are simply the time restraints and commitments that UR students impose upon themselves. UR’s student population is active, conscientious of grades, and characteristically busy with on-campus life, both by choice and by climate. For some, there simply isn’t time to pop off campus for an hour or two. Or at least, it might feel that way at times.
Finally, there is a stigma, based on both fact and myth, that Rochester is unsafe. Statistics showed that, in 2005, Rochester had the highest murder-per-capita rate in New York State, even higher than New York City. Students don’t forget that statistic easily, and although that rate has gone down since then, the student population keeps this fact and others, as well as news reports for other crimes in the city, in the back of their minds.
For these reasons, among others, students tend to conglomerate at on-campus establishments instead of branching out. There seems to be a magnet hidden in Rush Rhees Library itself: a magnet with an invisible pull on students, attracting them to the center of campus and inhibiting adventures elsewhere.
Yet, despite the campus’s magnetism, many students begin to itch for different locales, for new scenery and variety. For this itch, there may be a new balm.
In its first stages of opening, Boulder Coffee Co. has added a new location only steps from the River Campus. This new coffee shop is on the corner of Brooks Avenue and Genesee Street. It is right by the new Riverview Apartments, right across the footbridge linking the 19th Ward and River Campus.
If you walk over the foot bridge, cross the first street you get to (which is Genesee St.), on your right will be Boulder Coffee Co. It’s less than a 10-minute walk from Riverview, and just two or three minutes from the footbridge, depending on traffic at the crosswalk.
The corner of Genesee Street and Brooks Avenue is also a frequent bus stop for buses heading to and from the 19th Ward, and this bus runs relatively frequently. Also, with the coffee shop right on the corner of the street, you can watch the bus approach from anywhere within the many-windowed cafe, so you don’t have to stand outside in the cold to wait for your bus.
If you plan on driving to the new Boulder, take Elmwood until Genesee St and turn right. It will be on your left in 3 minutes or less.
The new Boulder Coffee Co. isn’t replacing the original on the corner of Clinton and Alexander in the South Wedge of Rochester, but it is a supplement, and a compromise, for UR students due to its proximity to River Campus.
Like the original, the Genessee Street location is expansive and sprawling. It is actually bigger than the original when you take the second floor into account.
The decor here is similar to the original: fireplace, couches, long ordering bar. However, this Boulder has booths along one wall downstairs and larger, newer-looking tables strewn throughout.
The food and drink menus are also like the original Boulder’s, at least so far. There are a variety of coffee, tea and juice drinks (both non-alcoholic and alcoholic), and they serve salads, sandwiches, bagels and bakery treats, too. The new Boulder Coffee Co. is so close to campus that you can practically smell the coffee across the river.
And what should be done about all those factors discouraging students not to go? The problem of location seems to be solved, but what about the rest? To combat the cold, buy a warm hat and ask for your drink extra hot when you arrive.
To handle time management and other commitments, keep in mind that working all day without any breaks is both unhealthy and unreasonable; a 45 minute trip to Boulder will do much more good than harm.
And finally, in regard to your personal safety, just be smart; don’t look like a target, and you won’t be targeted; go with a group or just trust your instincts and take precatuions when it comes to your safety. Rochester, like any other city, has its unsavory areas and questionable people, but these dicey aspects shouldn’t confine you to campus, especially now that there is such a promising enterprise right across the river.
This new venue has yet to prove itself yet managers report that there has been a surprisingly high interest in the coffee shop already.
Ryan is a member of the class of 2009.