A bunch of things going on this week.

A few of the 700some stories about the street names of Albany

Morton and S Hawk Corning Tower background

Morton was named after Washington Morton, husband of Cornelia Schuyler Morton. (He was the son-in-law of Philip Schuyler.) As for the other street... is that Hawk or Hawke?

There are 785 streets in the city of Albany. And Erik Schlimmer has figured out the backstory for the name of almost every one of them.

That monumental effort -- it took him four years -- is collected in the new book Cradle of the Union: A Street by Street History of New York's Capital City. (Mentioned earlier.) And the result is like a bag of local history potato chips. Once you snack on a few of the street name histories it's hard to stop.

"In all place names -- street, the town they live in, a mountain range, a stream, a pond, a building -- there's usually a story behind the name," Schlimmer told us this week when we met up with him. "And the story is usually pretty good."

Here are a few of those important or funny or surprising or sometimes dramatic stories...

(there's more)

Trey Anastasio's new band Ghosts of the Forest is playing The Palace

trey anastasio 2018

A new band headed up by Trey Anastasio -- Ghosts of the Forest -- is set to play The Palace April 9. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, December 15 -- they're $45 and up. (There's also a presale that starts December 12.)

Ghosts of the Forest includes Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Jennifer Hartswick, Celisse Henderson, Tony Markellis, and Ray Paczkowski. The Palace show is one of seven the band is group in April.

And, of course, Anastasio was just recently in town for two shows at TU Center with Phish.

photo via Trey Anastasio's website

Where to buy firewood?

stacked firewood closeup

Wade asks:

I'm looking for a reliable source of high quality seasoned firewood. Does anybody have a firewood guy they would recommend? Delivery preferred but not necessary. Price per face cord? Thanks for you input, Folks!

Have to admit: We know next to nothing about buying firewood. So we're curious if people have not just a place in mind about where to buy firewood, but also maybe some thoughts or tips about what to look for.

So, got a suggestion for Wade? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a place can be helpful.

Walk/don't walk

In an opinion piece over at the Times Union, Walkable Albany's Andrew Neidhardt urges the city of Albany to change its use of pedestrian signal "beg" buttons at busy intersections. "Albany's pedestrian signals should activate whenever the vehicle signals activate. The pedestrian signals should be reprogrammed to operate as if there was no button. The greatest pedestrian cities in the world do not force pedestrians to beg for a legal crossing at every corner and wait for several minutes. Albany should follow their lead and put pedestrians on an equal playing field with motorists."

Chad Orzel: Breakfast With Einstein

Breakfast with Einstein Chad Orzel

Check it out: Union College physics professor/science writer Chad Orzel has a new book out today called Breakfast with Einstein: The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects. Blurbage:

In Breakfast with Einstein, Chad Orzel illuminates the strange phenomena lurking just beneath the surface of our ordinary lives by digging into the surprisingly complicated physics involved in his (and anyone's) morning routine. Orzel, author of How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog, explores how quantum connects with everyday reality, and offers engaging, layperson-level explanations of the mind-bending ideas central to modern physics.
From the sun, alarm clocks, and the red glow of a toaster's hot filaments (the glow that launched quantum mechanics) to the chemistry of food aroma, a typical day is rich with examples of quantum weirdness. Breakfast with Einstein reveals the hidden physics all around us, and after reading this book, your ordinary mornings will never seem quite as ordinary again.

Orzel's previous book was Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist . And How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog was a Jeopardy! answer earlier this year.

(We're now looking forward to Waking Up With Newton and an explanation of why it's so hard to get out of bed in the morning.*)

Orzel will be at The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady this Saturday, December 15 for a signing from 1-2:30 pm.

* Yep. That's a terrible inertia joke. Oof.

author photo via Oneworld Publications

Fatal shooting in Albany, restrictions attached to state legislature pay raise, apartments proposed next to Crossgates

Fatal shooting in Albany
+ Albany police say a 28-year-old man was fatally shot near the intersection of the Judson Street and Second Street (map) in West Hill around 7:50 pm Monday. APD says a 19-year-old man also was found with a gunshot to the foot. [APD]
+ The fatal shooting is Albany's 15th homicide of the year, more than double the typical number in recent years. [TU]

Pay raise for state legislators
+ The official recommendations from the commission that determined state legislators should get a $50k raise includes a cap on outside income at 15 percent of the government salary. [TU]
+ Capital Region state Senator George Amedore, whose family owns a home construction business, on the outside income cap: "All this is going to do is create a bunch of career politicians who do not have have outside real world experience." [Daily Gazette]
+ Andrew Cuomo said Monday that outside income has been source of conflicts of interest, and any doubts about the legality of the ban could be addressed by the legislature passing a law to codify it. [Politico]
+ The commission also recommended significantly reducing the number of leadership stipends (known as "lulus"). [Politico]


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A big chunk of downtown Albany was just sold, and there are some big plans for the buildings

Kenmore Hotel block downtown Albany

A large group of historic properties were sold in downtown Albany this month, and the deal could be a major milestone in the ongoing transformation of the neighborhood.

Over the span of two days last week, Redburn Development Partners closed on "The Kenmore Portfolio," which includes the prominent Kenmore Hotel and Steuben Club buildings on Pearl Street, as well as the Capital Repertory Theatre building.

Redburn is planning apartment conversions for many of the buildings, which it sees as a continuation of downtown's recent shift toward being a residential, "18-hour" neighborhood.

"We think that we have the correct vision for what's needed in downtown Albany," said Jeff Buell, one of Redburn's principals, today via phone. "I think it's an absolutely transformational project that must be done if Albany's going to be a 21st century city."

Here are a few more bits about what's happening.

(there's more)

Buffalo, as a story

Farther afield: Buffalo has been getting a lot of attention from national media outlets lately as a travel spot and example of new growth -- and, as detailed in this Buffalo News article, a lot of the credit for changing the national image of the city is going to a 30-year-old former journalist who works for the local tourism marketing agency. He's been strategically tracking travel writers/bloggers/, organizing itineraries, hosting visiting journalists, and making trips to NYC to talk up the city. [Buffalo News]

Tedeschi Trucks Band back at SPAC

tedeschi trucks band

The Tedeschi Trucks Band will be back at SPAC July 14. Tickets go on sale this Friday, December 14 -- they're $19.50 and up. (There's also a lawn seat four pack for $60.)

The lineup also includes Blackberry Smoke and Shovels & Rope.

This will be four summers in a row that Tedeschi Trucks Band is playing at SPAC. So, presumably, people keep showing up and in not-small numbers. That's another way of saying that if you want your pick of tickets, it's probably not a bad idea to get them sooner rather than later.

SPAC lawn season pass
A reminder that Live Nation's SPAC lawn seat season passes for pop shows are now on sale for the upcoming season. The passes include access to shows, including sold-out shows, as well priority entry and complimentary lawn chair rental. The passes are $299 (plus fees) and will be on sale from December 4-December 18.

Lawn tickets at SPAC tend to be in the $25-$35 range (with some exceptions, see above). So if you think you might go to 10 (or so) shows next season, it could be worth it.

photo: Mark Seliger

A large, interesting party space in Albany?

AOA9 party crowd Cornerstone At The PlazaMaureen emails:

Hi, I'm trying to find a warm space with character preferably in Albany to host a dear friend's 50th. Have something like the Hollow? or Hangar? Or the Linda? in mind, but want to expand into rentable fire houses? old churches? It's for 85-90 people.

We've had similar questions in the past, but it sounds like Maureen is looking for a relatively large space and maybe something a little different.

One thing to keep in mind when hosting an event like this in what might be unusual space: You'll often have to coordinate catering or address details like seating. (That's one of the benefits of going with a place that hosts a bunch of events like this -- the venue often can handle that stuff.)

So, got a suggestion for Maureen? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're suggesting a place can be helpful.

photo: Timothy Raab

The new Zaitoon Kitchen location is open

Zaitoon Kitchen Albany

The new Zaitoon Kitchen at Crossgates Commons in Albany opens today. It's in the former Noodles & Co. spot near the McDonald's.

This is the second local Zaitoon location -- the first opened near the Latham Circle last year. Its menu includes a lineup of dishes inspired by Afghan and Middle Eastern cuisine: kabobs, kofta, falafel, salads, hummus, naan wraps, and a bunch of interesting small plate/side options. Zaitoon touts its food as "cage-free, veggie-fed, halal."

As Deanna suggested last year, it's worth going with a group so you can try a bunch of different things. We've been a handful of times and the food has been good each time. Prices are about what you'd pay at Chipotle or a similar fast-casual place.

We popped into the new location Sunday during a soft opening. The new place is bigger than the Latham location, and the design is modern.

The hours are Sunday-Thursday 11 am-9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-10 pm.

Debate over big pay raise for legislators, Albany County revenue from housing immigrant detainees, trio of Albany parks to get wi-fi

Pay raise for state legislators
The details of the planned $50k raise for state legislators will be released today:
+ An overview of the raise, how it's happening, and why there's a push for it. [NYT]
+ A
possible limit on outside income for legislators is already getting pushback. [Politico]
+ Local Assembly member Pat Fahy, who said she didn't seek the raise: "The good news for democracy is that I think you'll see more people interested in running." [CBS6]
+ Chris Churchill: "If we were tying lawmakers pay to performance, we'd have no choice but to cut their pay." [TU]

Albany County revenue from housing immigration detainees
A look at the millions of dollars in revenue Albany County has gotten from housing immigration detainees at the county jail and how that money that's being used. [TU]

Four-vehicle crash on Central Ave
Colonie police say five people were injured in a four-vehicle crash on Central Ave late Saturday afternoon in which a police say a car with two men had fled a traffic stop. CPD the said the fleeing car, headed west, sideswiped a eastbound CDTA bus, a westbound SUV, and the crashed head on into an eastbound car. The occupants of the eastbound car were injured and taken to the hospital. CPD says the two men in the fleeing car then ran from the scene, and one of them was picked up by police nearby. [Spectrum] [News10] [TU] [Colonie police press release]


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The week ahead

The Rep Miss Bennet Christmas at Pemberley

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley continues at The Rep. / phot via Capital Repertory Theatre Facebook

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (sunny ), to Muppets, to the stage, to marijuana, to stories, to skating, to music...

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Today's moment of mural

TOAST mural

While at the Thomas O'Brien Academy Of Science And Technology -- TOAST -- this week for the Lincoln Park planning meeting, we walked past this really fun hallway mural. It made us smile.

Animals playing instruments, flowers, dancing, the ESP, and whoever the figure above is.

Here are a few more sections if you'd like to have a look.

Have a good weekend.

Here's when the seasons really start and end in the Albany area*

Albany statistical seasons by quarter and temperature

* On average. And by these definitions, which are just one or two ways of looking at this topic. Really, it's winter whenever you decide to switch to the big coat and put the shovel in the car. | Also: Here's a larger, easier-to-read version of this graph.

Winter starts December 21 -- by the astronomical definition. And it starts December 1 by -- the meteorological definition.

But when does it really start in Albany?

Inspired by a chart and discussion on Twitter today attempting to mark the start of seasons in various places around the country based on normal temperatures, we figured it'd be interesting to look at the daily temperatures in Albany in order to define what you might call the "statistical" seasons. That is, when the seasons start based on what the temperatures actually are and not what the calendar says.

Of course, you can interpret numbers all sorts of ways. And in this case we ended up doing it two ways:

+ Breaking the year up into (roughly) four quarters according to normal temperatures. Winter's the coldest 25 percent of the days each year, summer's the warmest 25 percent, and spring and fall are what's in between. Looking at it this way, winter starts December 5 and lasts until March 10.

+ Looking at the distribution of temperatures here throughout the year and defining winter and summer as the days when temperatures are either in the bottom or top 25 percent of the distribution. Spring and fall are everything in between. Looking at it this way, winter starts December 1 and lasts until March 20.

And: See resulting chartage above. Don't worry, we've included a larger version here, along with a bonus graph.

Here's a bit more explanation and weather nerding...

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Albany Archives at APL: Local history of Christmas cards and Santa

Pease Christmas Card

That first printed Christmas card. / image courtesy of Manchester Metropolitan University

The first Christmas card printed in the United State was printed in Albany.

It's true. It was printed at 516 Broadway -- "The Temple of Fancy" -- in 1851.

Matt Malette -- Mr. Albany Archives -- will be at the Albany Public Library's Washington Ave Branch December 19 talk to talk about that bit of local holiday history. He'll also be taking up the Troy roots of the famous poem "A Visit From Saint Nicholas," which was first published in the Troy Sentinel, and other other local Santa historical whatnot.

The talk is Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30 pm in the branch's large auditorium (if you enter through the front door, keep walking toward the back of the library). It's free.

The 2019 MLK Day celebration at the ESP will include Rashad Jennings and Lillias White


Martin Luther King Jr. delivering a speech in New York City in 1962 commemorate the 100th anniversary of the issuance of Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The State Museum has the audio of the speech -- the only known copy -- posted online. / photo: NYS Archives

The Empire State Plaza will again host a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is January 21 this time around.

The 2019 event will include a keynote speech by Rashad Jennings, the former NFL running back and Dancing With the Stars winner who's become a motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist. And it will feature a performance by Tony-winning Broadway vocalist Lillias White.

The celebration is Monday, January 21 in the ESP Convention Center. A volunteer fair starts at 9 am that day, and the program begins at 10 am. It's free.

Following the event at the ESP, the annual city of Albany Beloved Community March will stretch from the concourse entrance on Madison Ave to the King Monument in Lincoln Park for a wreath-laying ceremony. (There will also be a CDTA bus to transport people.) And the Albany City Hall carillon will play a concert at noon.

Dr. King Children's Essay & Fine Arts Exhibit
The state Education Department is again sponsoring an exhibition of student art inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. (Maybe you remember seeing the exhibit in the ESP concourse.) It's open to students enrolled in any K-12 program. And the deadline to enter is December 17.

AOA is a sponsor of events at the ESP.

Troy council tables sanctuary city resolution, big pay raise for state legislators, John Faso's regrets, new director for AVillage

Troy sanctuary city resolution
The Troy City Council tabled the proposed sanctuary city resolution Thursday evening. Approximatley 40 members of the public spoke at the meeting both in favor and against the resolution. [Spectrum] [TU] [CBS6]

Pay raise for state legislators
A state panel voted to increase the salaries for state legislators from $79,500 to $130,000 by 2021. It's the first raise in 20 years and would make New York legislators the highest paid in the country. It also looks like the panel would impose some restrictions on outside pay for legislators, and there's some question about whether it can do that. The panel also supported pay raises for the governor and other statewide elected officials, as well as cabinet officials. [TU] [NYT] [Politico] [Spectrum]

Housing for people with mental health issues
An investigation by the New York Times, ProPublica, and Frontline highlights cases in which people with mental illness died or otherwise couldn't care for themselves after New York State shifted people from institutions into private apartments as part of a settlement agreement. [NYT]


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Bike share grew in both use and reach this year -- here's what CDTA's thinking about for next year

bike share bikes and rack Corning Riverfront Park

The bike share rack in Corning Riverfront Park in Albany was the most active hub in the system this past season.

The bike share run by CDTA -- CDPHP Cycle -- wrapped up its second season last week, and the transit org reported this week that people took 23,535 trips on the bikes between April and the end of November. That's more than double the total of last year's season.

CDTA pushed to expand the program this year, doubling the number of bikes to more than 300, and increasing the number of rack locations from 40 to more than 70 across larger service areas in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs. It also managed to get more than 4,000 new members for the system, bringing the total to almost 6,600.

And here's what CDTA's thinking about for next year...

(Also: The most popular hub locations and a few other numbers.)

(there's more)

Marijuana: Justice, Equity, Reinvestment at Albany Capital Center

drug policy alliance marijuana conference Albany Capital Center logo

A conference called Marijuana: Justice, Equity, Reinvestment will be at the Albany Capital Center December 11 and 12. It's backed by the New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance. Conference blurbage:

Creating a system to tax and regulate marijuana use by adults over the age of 21 is a sound economic investment for the state of New York. In the states with existing regulated markets, previously static economies have experienced a new small business boom coupled with technological advances that benefit a variety of industries. Additionally, legalization presents an opportunity for New York's agrarian community to foster the development of a new crop that is sustainable, resilient, and widely consumed. Similar to the rise of New York's craft wine and beer industries, a regulated marijuana market could also provide opportunities for small businesses in small towns across the state to cultivate a business model that is not reliant on access to large amounts of capital but is instead dependent on local resources as well as their own ingenuity and creativity.
The state of New York is well positioned to make a significant impact on the developmental trajectory of the nascent legal industry in a way that strongly favors diversity and inclusion. The history of marijuana prohibition in New York and lessons learned from other states have produced a wealth of information that can be used to preemptively address potential barriers to progress as the state transitions away from the failed experiment of prohibition.

That link above includes the conference schedule. The lineup includes all sorts of speakers: elected officials, advocates, academics, business owners, doctors.

It's free to attend, but registration is required.

(there's more)

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

And you can always try searching for it:

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Recent Comments

I've seen a steady increase in cycling trips along Madison Ave. after the road diet. I've been one of those riders, too. It's made summertime trips from my house to the Point on Madison that much faster than walking, and there's really no need to drive that short distance - thereby saving a spot for another patron. I've not only enjoyed the F out of the trip, but burned a few calories, too, which considering my diet, is much needed. I'm very very pleased with this effort and thank CDTA, CDPHP and CDTC for their efforts in making this happen. I'm resolving to make MORE trips in 2019!

A miniature Albany

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A few of the 700some stories about the street names of Albany

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Walk/don't walk

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A large, interesting party space in Albany?

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Bike share grew in both use and reach this year -- here's what CDTA's thinking about for next year

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