Remembering Rochester’s Midtown Plaza During Christmas

By the time I moved to Rochester in ’98 Midtown Plaza was well past it’s prime. Major retailers had moved to the newer and arguably nicer malls in the suburbs. Much of the plaza was vacant and the stores that remained weren’t exactly draws. Although times were tough the atmosphere at the mall changed during the holiday season. Midtown Plaza filled with families. Both parents and children downright giddy to be in Downtown Rochester, visiting Midtown Plaza. the draw, however, wasn’t shopping. During the holiday season Midtown Plaza transformed into a magical place. There was a monorail which children could ride, a massive Christmas tree, and Santa of course. Combined with the permanently installed Clock of Nations, which felt oddly as though it were a member of the holiday installations, the main hall of mall was a veritable holiday wonderland. Sure the mall had seen better days but there was something unmistakably special about the holiday installations. Midtown Plaza closed it’s doors in 2007.

The last time children were able to ride the Christmas Monorail was 2007 — the final year of operation for Midtown Plaza. I’ve been unsuccessful in determining what became of the monorail. I can only assume the monorail ended up in storage, in someones private collection, or *gasp* destroyed. I certainly hope the monorail is simply awaiting a new home but the more time that passes the less likely that seems. The sad part is the monorail was well maintained and in excellent condition during even it’s last season. If anyone has knowledge of the monorails whereabouts please leave a comment below. Until the monorail reemerges from hibernation this video will help keep it’s memory alive.

The Clock of Nations was saved from Midtown Plaza’s demolition. The clock underwent a much needed cleaning and minor restoration before being placed on temporary display in the Rochester International Airport. The clock will be moved to the Golisano Childrens Hospitol as a permanent installation in 2012.

Hopefully the ongoing transformation of Downtown Rochester will restore some of the holiday spirit lost when Midtown Plaza closed it’s doors. It’s things like the Midtown Plaza holiday installations that keep spirits high in small cities!

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One Response to Remembering Rochester’s Midtown Plaza During Christmas

  1. You’re making me miss midtown! My parents took me there when I was a kid, and then when I got older and we stopped going, it all seemed like a dream that I could vaguely remember. When we went back in 2007, it all came back to me, so magical! I would love to see something like that come along again in Rochester.