Straddling the Genesee River gorge just south of Lake Ontario and north of the Erie Canal , presides Rochester (pop. 220,000). New York ’s third-largest city, Rochester has traditionally been known for its behemoth high-tech industries: Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb. Many major educational and cultural institutions are based here as well, including the Eastman School of Music, Rochester Philharmonic, Strong National Museum of Play , and International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House .
For much of the 20th century, Rochester was famed for its prosperity—thanks in large part to Eastman Kodak. But in more recent decades, the city has been forced to reinvent itself. As Eastman Kodak and other major employers have downsized to shadows of their former selves, laying off thousands upon thousands of workers, the city has lost its identity as a paternalistic company town to become one made up of many small firms.
Rochester today is home to dozens of thriving but relatively unknown computer software, telecommunications, and medical equipment companies, and its population has learned to take nothing for granted. The areas around Rochester remain extremely prosperous, while its downtown suffers from common urban woes.
Rochester is a Midwestern city, with lots of solid brick buildings surrounded by a flat landscape. It was first established in 1803, but didn’t really begin to grow until 1825 when the Erie Canal  came to town. As America’s first boomtown, Rochester’s population increased 13-fold between 1825 and 1845.
Famous Rochesterians have included abolitionist Frederick Douglass, women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony, industrialist George Eastman, and musicians Cab Calloway, Mitch Miller, and Chuck Mangione. Native son Garth Fagan continues to live and headquarter his world-renowned dance troupe in the city.