On a mound at Cobb’s Hill And how the City of Rochester handles its loose leaves.

On a mound at Cobb’s Hill And how the City of Rochester handles its loose leaves.


The ascent [Photo: d.t.]

Just when you thought there was nothing new at Cobb’s Hill (see at end). A giant leaf mound was recently spotted near the tennis courts!

Actually–as will be explained–the mound appears and disappears every year.  Nonetheless, this year Talker  was on a mission.  First, we gathered our crack photojournalist team, led by d.t. (d.t. can not reveal his identity as he remains in relative hiding ever since his top secret espionage photos from behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s.)


“Because it’s there” [Photo: d.t.]

Then the ascent. In the name of North America!  Sir Edmund has his Everest; we ours.

Oh, that explanation. To learn more, we turned (over a new leaf) to Karen St. Aubin. Director of Operations, City of Rochester, Department of Environmental Service.  Ms. St. Aubin provides the detailed and informative story:

The City of Rochester uses the entire month of November to conduct the enormous task of collecting loose leaves that residents and property owners have raked to the curb.  This is a weather-dependent and time-sensitive activity, as it is vital to pick the leaves up before the snow starts falling in order to ensure the pedestrian and vehicular winter safety of our citizens.

For collection purposes, the City is divided into 8 sections, 4 each on either side of the Genesee River. Each of these 8 sections is assigned for collection in one of the 4 full weeks in November.  These sections are further divided into smaller routes for assignment to work crews. The crews collect and remove leaves from all City right-of-way areas between the sidewalk and the curb.


Actually we found our walk up the Cobb’s Hill mound rather pedestrian. d.t. alerted us to a bigger, more challenging peak in Brighton [Photo: d.t.]

Many different types of equipment are employed in this task, including  leaf vacuum trucks, dumptrucks, front-end loaders, tractors, and large and small leaf blowers. The leaves are then transported from the routes to temporary staging locations within the larger leaf removal sections.  One of these locations is within Cobbs Hill Park near the tennis court area.


One of the staging locations on Culver Rd. across from East High. Actually over ten feet high. [Photo: d.k.]

We receive many inquiries from interested residents about “what happens next.” The leaves are taken from the temporary staging locations to a large surface lot for composting.  Leaves are stacked in long rows called windrows.  The leaves heat up within these windrows to an optimum temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps to break them down.  They are turned all winter long in order to maintain a consistent temperature in order to speed up the process.  By spring the leaves have turned into compost material which can be used around bushes and plants as a natural fertilizer.  The City makes this compost material available to City residents at a site near the intersection of Colfax Street and Ferrano Street as part of our Materials Give-Back program.

Thanks Ms. St. Aubin!  People do not realize that leaf removal and disposal is a complicated endeavor — done very ably by our City employees.  You probably don’t think much about leaves and where they go because  of their good work.

Knowing such environmentally sensitive use is made of the leaves made our four day trek to the summit all the better.

ON COBB’S HILL (pics and link)


Photo: Talker subscriber Eric Kemperman

On the 22nd of October, 1844 on top of Cobb’s Hill/



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Rochester’s own street ball Rucker Leaguerucker 2


Back to normalcy at Cobb’s Hill basketball

The 8th annual Festival of Softball after 800 innings. The Tribute to Noah nears 100000/noah

That Championship Season thirty five years laterbanner

Diehards and the Cobb’s Hill Tennis Courts/


Photo: Dean Tucker OOPS, I mean d.t.

Cobb’s Hill welcomes the 9th Cobb’s Hill Cyclocrosscyclo

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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