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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Friday Evening in Geneseo

Stacey and I spent the evening in Geneseo, N.Y. to see some friends performing in the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra.

Geneseo is a college town.  I attended SUNY Geneseo from 1979-1983.  During those years, 18 was still the legal age limit for drinking alcohol.  SUNY Geneseo was well-known for drinking.  Walking around Main Street in the village of Geneseo on a Friday evening in those years, you'd see groups of students everywhere as they went bar-hopping.  I remember Uncle Waldo's, the Vital Spot, the Inn Between, and GJ's (Gentleman Jim's), among others, as well as the Statesmen, down on the west end of Court Street.  Bands played at some of them, others had DJ's.  I frequented the Statesmen during my freshman year and the Inn Between during my sophomore year. Parties with plenty of booze would be in progress all over the campus; in dorms, frat houses, the College Union, and "The Rat," which was the nickname of the Rathskellar, down in the basement of Letchworth Dining Hall.

Now, on this Friday evening in 2019, Main Street was a virtual ghost town. With the drinking age now being 21, most college students are under age. The campus has a no-alcohol policy.  The Inn Between has been converted into student housing, I don't know whatever happened to GJ's, and I can't remember the exact location of Uncle Waldo's.  It appeared the location of the Vital Spot still had some life to it, but I couldn't tell from a distance whether it was a bar or a restaurant.  The Statesmen is long gone.

I couldn't even tell you where any students were.  Their dorms?  Coffee houses? On the east side of Geneseo where all the chain stores are now?  I didn't see any at the village park, where we were watching the concert.

Times certainly have changed.

Paul Pakusch
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