Name: Alex Fiorille
         I am: 21 years old, student at Bates College
         Years in Rochester: 10 (used to live in Pittsburgh)
         Current Home: Lewiston, ME

How wrong I was. As you have guessed, I have once again left you for another. You must think me cruel, but I was young—I am young, and privy to such indiscretions. Alas, Rochester, I have gone mad. I do not expect your forgiveness, your sympathy, or anything from you for that matter, for you have given me enough. I write to say I was wrong. For years I pushed you away, muttering the three syllables preceding the comma and the “NY.” For years I dreamed of anything but you.
But today, my mind’s eye is open. The lilacs waft amidst the sweat and hormones of my modernist prison, the inescapable cold is warmed by the meaty zest of hot sauce, and the frenetic migrations through Wegmans, so comforting, yet so distant. You are as complex as your history and as simple as the smell of stale coffee and cigarettes that roused me from slumber during sleepovers at Nana’s; jam and runny eggs.

And for some reason, I rejected you. And once I was away, I forgot you.
I have been meaning to write you for years. After a considerable amount of time away, something began to change in me. It began in my dining hall as I dipped my pizza into a dollop of bleu cheese. The looks of horror struck me as odd, and for the first time I felt the divide. Others began immediately assuming by “New York” I meant “Manhattan. Corrections were met with:

“Is that in Westchester?”

“How far are you from the city?”

“That’s like Buffalo, right?”


“What about Rochester?” What about the barbeque, the Buffalo wings, the festivals, the beer, the communities, and the great people inscribed into a picturesque landscape? What about Manhattan Square Park at Christmastime, 100.5 The Drive, and Pontillo’s slices with blue cheese? What about these “so-called-New Yorkers” who hadn’t seen 99% of their state let alone the Flower City?
Today, Rochester, I must live with my abandonment. But today, I assert my pride, drenching my pizza in bleu cheese. Today, I write you this long overdue love letter as an apology for my indiscretions. I will return to you in six weeks’ time, more appreciative than the last; however, I will leave you again. In my heart you shall always remain.

With the utmost admiration and love,

Alex Fiorille
The beloved Pontillo's Slice