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AJ
7:30pm on a Tuesday
at The Old Toad

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Where did you grow up?

I live in Penfield technically. But it’s in the Webster school district, and I have a Rochester mailing address. It’s a mish-mash. So, we’ll just say Rochester.

Do you have any favorite Rochester spots?

Well, we’re in The Old Toad right now. I love The Old Toad. And I like RockVentures, the climbing place. I like Mendon Ponds Park.

I’ve actually never been there.

You can feed the chickadees there. You have to go during the right time when it’s kind of barren and there’s not a lot of natural food. They’ll come right up to your hands.

Cool! Where is that?

It’s out in Mendon by the Pittsford/Mendon area. It’s pretty big. They have trails for people to ride horses and walk their dogs. I’ve been camping there too. There’s a big pond with a bunch of geese, and in the winter you can play hockey on it when it’s frozen.

I’ll have to check that out sometime. People always mention it, but I have yet to make it out there. So, what’s your favorite time of day to hang out in Rochester?

I guess if I’m by myself, I’m a morning person, so I like the morning to get stuff done. You get to see the sunrise. But my friends don’t like the morning as much, so I’ll usually go out in the evenings and nights.

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A few of the people I’ve interviewed have said they are morning people, and I am so not (laughs).

Well, I prefer to do stuff outside. I’d rather go on hikes with people. I mean, I like going out to bars and stuff, but it gets old. I like to do more active stuff. I mean, I play kickball on Thursdays, but that’s in the evenings too.

What’s your favorite neighborhood?

The one I live in, I guess?

Yeah! Describe where you live.

Well, I live in Penfield. In my neighborhood the houses are from the 70s, so they’re kind of similar. But they’re not like a development where they’re all exactly the same. We live in a circle, which was really nice growing up because we had a place to play. There wasn’t tons of busy traffic coming around and hitting kids on bikes. And I like that we have gutters instead of curbs, because it makes parallel parking easier. And our backyard backs right up to a park, which has tennis courts and big open fields. It surrounds our neighborhood.

I guess I just like the suburbs. The city has advantages where you can walk places easily, but it’s crowded. And I hate parallel parking and one-way streets. The country is fun with the open air, but it’s too far away. I like having everything I need within 10-15 minutes.

Growing up in Spencerport was the same. We have a lot of open space, but then you’re not that far away from the city.

Yeah, it was great. My sisters and I and all the neighborhood kids could just go over to the park and have all the space we wanted to run around.

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It says, “Make the most of what you got. Just enjoy it.”

And yell and throw stuff. And set off fireworks.

Yeah! Our neighbors used to set off fireworks for 4th of July.

I could not do that now that I live in the city (laughs).

Yeah, you’d get the fire department called on you.

Do you have any favorite bars?

The Old Toad! I love old style pubs instead of clubs or loud bars where you can’t hear anything. You can actually move around and it's not too crowded.

Do you have a personal coping mechanism for cold weather?

I actually like the cold weather. I’m a super warm person in general, so even when it’s snowing, I’ll wear shorts sometimes.

(laughs) Yeah I’ve seen you do that before, it’s so weird!

Yeah, well, when it’s too hot out, I feel very uncomfortable and antsy, and I feel like I have to get out of there. But if it’s cold, you can always bundle up more. Plus, I love the snow. Everything is quieter and brighter and calmer. Not the dirty snow, but fresh snow. Not the melty, salty snow.

If Rochester were a drink, what would it be?

Genesee Scream Ale.

(laughs) Genesee Cream Ale?

Yeah, it’s just what I associate with Rochester. That’s an interesting question. I don’t know, I feel like I know so many different sides of Rochester. I have a different feeling about it now than I did in high school. And the people you hang out with too mold it a lot. So now, when I think of a drink in Rochester, I think of Genesee beer. It’s classic. I like how it’s cheap, but in a good way. It’s a go-to. It says, “Make the most of what you got. Just enjoy it.”

I can't remember exactly where AJ and I met, but it was probably in a dorm room at the University of Buffalo. I saw him almost every other weekend after that while I was visiting my boyfriend. And yes, he totally wore shorts in the winter back then too. Thanks, AJ!