The end.

Thank you!

Washington Park tulips and sunshine

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have expected. We met so many interesting people and learned so much about this place.

Now that it's ended we are so grateful for the relationships, for the stories, for the comments, for the encouragement, for everyone who took a chance on us -- for all of it.

Thank you.

Let's stay in touch

USPS blue mailbox

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much.

But we'd like to stay in touch. So we're putting together a newsletter list. You can sign up below.

We'll be honest, we don't have any specific plans for this newsletter. We may just end up sending the equivalent of a holiday card now and then. It's just kind of nice to know we'll be able to say hello.

And you'll still be able to say hello to us! Our editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com address will continue to work, as will each of our email addresses -- mary or greg at alloveralbany.

The signup for the totally-unplanned, maybe-just-say-hello newsletter

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A few things I think about this place

Corning Tower view downtown Albany 2017-April

I also think you go up to the observation deck of the Corning Tower sometime.

By Greg

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things. It will probably be years before I fully realize how much.

As part of my own effort to take stock of all this, here are a few thoughts I have about this place.

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Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

fully shoveled sidewalk

It should look like this.

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel.

And shortly after that, Albany will no doubt engage in another round of its annual discussion about the fact that some sidewalks don't get shoveled.

It's an important quality of life issue for everyone in the walkable city, and it's even more important for people who have some sort of disability that makes it hard to get around. (Also: Shoveling is the neighborly thing to do.)

At the start of last winter the city of Albany tightened its rules so that the Department of General Services can now issue violations for unshoveled sidewalks directly after the 24-hour grace period following a snowfall. Ahead of that change we looked at violations the city had issued in previous winters to get a sense of where violations were being handed out, and to what sorts of properties.

Now we've had a whole winter with the new, stricter rules. So, was there a blizzard of violations issued?

Let's have a look.

(Yes, there are graphs and clickable maps, because of course there are.)

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Tea with Jack McEneny

Jack McEneny and a Christmas tree

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.

Jack visited the AOA downtown office for tea and a quick conversation. If AOA were continuing, we'd make this a regular feature, just because it's fun to spend time with Jack McEneny.

On this visit, he shared stories about getting into politics, his favorite job in his 48 years of public service, and what he thinks makes Albany a great place.

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Exploring the Mid-Hudson Valley

Mid-Hudson Valley composite

By Julie Madsen

The boundary of the Hudson Valley begins in our backyard, and the region spans from Albany to Westchester.

Famous for its natural beauty, dotted with farms, influenced by the arts, and layered with history, the Hudson Valley has a lot to explore. And focusing on the middle section is a good way to approach getting to know the region.

Here are a few ideas.

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Everything changes: AJ Jones

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AJ Jones

Everyone has a moment in life when things change. Sometimes we know it right away, other times we only recognize it looking back. With the turning of the year, we're taking some time to listen to people's stories about the moments that changed them, and what they've learned.

Many of us think there are things that we're good at -- things that are for us -- and things we're not good at. Those things are for other people.

AJ Jones is a student at Hudson Valley Community College. He started there as a home-schooler, working toward a GED, and then began working toward a degree in English. He was always a writer. Everyone said so. And he had no talent for art. He tried. He just wasn't good at it.

Then he took a chance and learned a lesson he shared with us.

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A few answers to a few of your questions about the end of AOA

AOA cards closeup

We have been overwhelmed by the response to our announcement last week that AOA will be ending December 31. Thank you to everyone who's posted a comment, sent us a note, or talked with us in person. We're tremendously grateful for all the support.

Many of you have had questions about why this is happening, whether there's a way to keep the site going, or what's next.

So we've pulled together a handful of the most common questions with a few answers. We hope they're helpful.

And, again, thank you.

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Stuff to do this weekend -- and the next, and the one after that, and the one after that...

stuff to do forever composite

More than 500 weekends worth of proof that the Capital Region is anything but dull.

One of the perks of producing AOA has been that it was our job to know about interesting events happening in and around the Capital Region. And there's a lot.

In fact, most weeks we were overwhelmed with the amount and the variety of things to do around the area. And for roughly 545 posts over the years, it has been our pleasure to share all the music, art, theater, tours, talks, films, fundraisers, festivals and more that go on each weekend. (And ,for that matter, also during the week.)

Many of you have told us that you looked forward to these posts, that they've helped you make plans and create memories. That makes us so happy. But it also makes us sad that we won't be around to help.

So here's a kit -- a sort of DIY guide -- for finding fun stuff to do on your Capital Region weekends.

We hope you find it useful. And, as always, if there's something you like to do that didn't make our list, please add to it in the comment section so everyone can benefit.

Thanks for trusting us to help with your plans, and may all of your weekends be fantastic weekends!

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Everything changes: Rachel Person

Rachel Person

Rachel Person

Everyone has a moment in life when things change. Sometimes we know it right away, other times we only recognize it looking back. With the turning of the year, we're taking some time to listen to people's stories about the moments that changed them, and what they've learned.

Rachel Person has spent her life surrounded by stories.

From the time she was young, the Albany High alum has been passionate about books. She spent six years working at Symphony Space in New York City as the associate director of the public radio program Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story. And today she's the events and community outreach coordinator at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs.

Her life's work has been about sharing stories with others, in part because books, like people, can change your perspective -- which in turn can change your life.

We talked with Rachel about the childhood book series, and the person, who helped guide her in her youth and still helps her out in a pinch today.

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A look around the project that's aiming to make over a big chunk of Arbor Hill

Home Leasing Clinton Ave Albany

One of the largest construction projects in the city of Albany right now is spread across multiple blocks of Clinton Ave and will eventually involve 70 different buildings.

A Rochester-based company called Home Leasing is working to create more than 200 units of affordable housing in the rehabbed buildings, many of which had been vacant or were in otherwise rough shape.

Here's a look around the project, and a bunch of bits about what's in progress...

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Everything changes: Taína Asili

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Artist Taína Asili

Everyone has a moment in life when things change. Sometimes we know it right away, other times we only recognize it looking back. With the turning of the year, we're taking some time to listen to people's stories about the moments that changed them, and what they've learned.

Taína Asili's work is hard to define. The internationally-known Puerto Rican singer, songwriter, documentary producer, bandleader, artist, and activist, who calls the Capital Region home, acknowledges that her work is unique. Influenced by Latin music, nueva canción, Afro-Latin, opera punk, flamenco, and rock n' roll, much of her music and art is connected to social justice issues and connects to the musical and artistic traditions of her ancestors.

From her earliest days, Asili says, there was never a time when she didn't identify as being a singer or an artist. But when you're forging your own path, when your style can't be easily defined, can be an incredible hurdle in a business that wants to package your work for sale.

In college, and for a few years after, Taina was part of a punk band, releasing albums and touring the world. But she felt like her voice had more to say than the punk genre would allow.

When her parents died -- and she herself was a single mom -- Asili says she went through a period where she felt lost. She traveled to Mexico where a trip to a town she never planned to visit set her back on her own unique path.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

neighborhood badge large

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Christmas and love, the beauties of winter, Julius Wendt, becoming a driver, talking about the scary things, life with a toddler, a moral dilemma in the supermarket, remains of a cemetery, a milestone -- and many, many thanks.

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Albany Barn in post ad 2018

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Happy holidays!

christmas tree ornament

However you celebrate this time of year, we wish you peace and happiness and a chance to relax.

Thank you again for all the support and encouragement over the years.

Everything changes: Michael McDermott

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State employee by day, Santa by night

Everyone has a moment in life when things change. Sometimes we know it right away, other times we only recognize it looking back. With the turning of the year, we're taking some time to listen to people's stories about the moments that changed them, and what they've learned.

By day, Michael McDermott works in training for the New York State Attorney General's Office, but for one month out of every year McDermott trades in his jacket and tie each night at 5 pm for a beard and red suit to play Saint Nicholas on Santa's Magical Express.

McDermott has become an expert in change. In a former life, he helped two publishing companies move from legal pads to computers, and he moved into a job helping state workers tackle change in their work lives. That was a temporary position and a few years ago he was left looking for work again.

Losing a job can seem like the end of the world, but for McDermott it ended up being a life saver -- literally. And it gave this part time Santa a new lease on life.

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Today's moment of winter

Buckingham Pond winter solstice 2018 fog

Solstice mood: foggy.

The apartments on Elm Street, The Lionheart, Colvin Ave mixed-use, and more exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

Albany planning board 2018-12-20 Elm Street closeup

Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board is a program recorded before a live studio audience once a month in which the fates of multi-million dollar projects around the city are (partially) decided.

Included this month: Approval for those controversial Elm Street apartment buildings, a Colvin Ave apartment proposal, The Lionheart, The Wilson, demolitions and how big is that sign...

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Everything changes: Robyn DeSantis Ringler

Ringler - Clinton.jpg

Robyn is the one on the left.

Everyone has a moment in life when things change. Sometimes we know it right away, other times we only recognize it looking back. With the turning of the year, we're taking some time to listen to people's stories about the moments that changed them, and what they've learned.

Robyn DeSantis Ringler began her career as a nurse in Washington DC in the early 1980s. Today, she's a lawyer, volunteering her time to help refugees being held at the Albany County jail.

The journey from nurse to activist to lawyer began with a VIP patient: President Ronald Reagan.

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Clinton Square, every hundred years or so

Clinton Square Albany 1920s Albany Public Library History Collection

We've had a bunch of items lately about the Clinton Square section of downtown Albany because the city is in the process of figuring out which projects there should get a slice of the $10 million from the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

So we thought you might find this photo interesting. It's Clinton Square -- the area around the intersection of North Pearl Street and Orange Street -- from (we're guessing) the 1920s. The photo is from the Albany Public Library History Collection. If you follow that link you can zoom into the photo and see a bunch of details.

One of the things that struck us about this photo is just how different this part of the city is now. There's no Palace Theater -- the old movie house wouldn't be built until 1930. There's no federal building in the background. And that row of buildings along the east side is now Wallenberg Park.

More than anything, though, there's just something overall about this scene that feels more human scale. At least, it does via the photo. (Also: Streetcars!)

Clinton Square is one one of the oldest major intersections in the city and it's been a topic of debate and discussion regarding development there for 200 years.

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Who controls the future of legal marijuana in New York, state faces loss of House seats, different plan for Lincoln Square towers, new head of Historic Albany

Marijuana legalization
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced his qualified support for recreational marijuana legalization Thursday. The mayor's view on how legalization should work appears to be in opposition to that of the Cuomo admin -- and it highlights the ongoing conversation over the role of local control and corporations in the future marijuana industry. [NYT] [Politico]

New York population trends
Because of population trends, New York State is line to lose one -- and maybe two -- seats in the House of Representatives after the next decennial census. [TU]

St. Clare's pension problems
Albany Roman Catholic bishop Edward Scharfenberger met with former St. Clare's Hospital employees Thursday in closed-door session to discuss the faltering pension fund. The former employees had a range of reactions to what went on in the meeting. Scharfenberger: "We're going to have to get together, put our heads together, and come together with some plan." [CBS6] [Daily Gazette] [Spectrum]

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CDPHP ad free checkups

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Honest Weight Food Co-op ad

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Looking for more? Check out the last week's worth of posts or the archive.

And you can always try searching for it:

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

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The best way to get in touch with us is via that email address above. We can't respond to every message. But if there's something you think should prompt a response, please don't hesitate to contact us again. We'll be happy you did.

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Let's stay in touch

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A look inside 2 Judson Street

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