Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ We talked with the creator of the Troy Poem Project.
+ Cristin offered suggestions about hikes to start with as you set out hiking the High Peaks.
+ In business since the 1920s, the VanCurler music store is closing.
+ Deanna stopped into a new tacqueria in Albany.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: bike lanes, summers past, a photo with a photo, morning at The Track, telephones, steampunk, genealogy, flora, topiary, careers, summer food, fish fry, Hamlet & Ghost, Villa Balsamo, diners, grilling, subs, pretend cattle ranching, and the rest of the story.
+ The apartments in the Sheridan Hollow redevelopment have rented.
+ And The city of Troy held a public meeting asking for input about how to move forward at 1 Monument Square.
Here's the whole week in one place.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
It's been about two years since a change in New York State law required the more-active disability symbol on new state signage. But for whatever reason, we've noticed the new-style symbols popping up a bunch local places this summer.
That pic above is from a Market 32 parking lot earlier this month.
The new version of the symbol started back in 2010 as a form of activism intended to help reshape the perception of people with disabilities -- two designers in Boston ended up making stickers to apply over the old, more passive-looking symbol. And from there it grew into a collaborative design project with other people, and then a widespread shift.
Not local, but it touches on many of the topics we all end discussing here: An international engineering/design firm recently released an overview -- "Cities Alive: Towards a walking world" -- of all sorts of research related to making cities more walkable. And Fast Company has condensed it into an easy-scan list: "50 Reasons Why Everyone Should Want More Walkable Streets." (Some of these seem like a stretch, but many of them also rang true based on our own experience.)
The Capital Region led Upstate New York* in employment grown between 2009 June and 2016 June -- that's from a new report by the state comptroller's office. The Capital Region* was up 2.2 percent over that period, while all of Upstate employment was up just 0.3 percent. It was one of just three (of eight) regions Upstate to see employment growth.
So... good for the Capital Region, right? Yep, but it's not all great.
Here are a few more interesting bits from the report about jobs Upstate...
The Creative Life: A Conversation Series at UAlbany is an exciting new initiative of the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany Performing Arts Center and University Art Museum, all of which are housed and function on the main campus of the University at Albany. Presented by the University at Albany Foundation, the series features live onstage interviews conducted by WAMC's Joe Donahue with artists of national and international prominence in conversation about their creative inspiration, their craft, their careers and the demands of sustaining an artistic practice over time. A question and answer period will close all of the programs.
The event with author Joyce Carol Oates is Thursday, September 15 at 7:30 pm in the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.
Both events are free and open to the public.
UAlbany says it's planning for events of this type for the spring.
photos: Joyce Carol Oates - Dustin Cohen | Savion Glover - Savion Glover Productions
It's starting a little soggy, but it's going to be a lovely summer weekend -- and one of the last of the season. So go find something fun to do that you can look back on fondly in February.
After the jump, a few suggestions, from steampunk to baseball to the Travers to drive-ins and theater in the park. Pick your favorites and squeeze the most out of summer.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
Vega sentenced to maximum, Troy man found not guilty in death of toddler, shift in APD recruit training to focus on community policing
Gabriel Vega -- convicted of killing Vanessa Milligan, pregnant with his child, in Lansingburgh in 2014 and then setting fire to her apartment -- was sentenced to the maximum, 50 years in prison. Said Rensselaer County Court judge Andrew Ceresia: "This defendant deserves no mercy from the court, and he will get none." Vega's attorney said his client maintains his innocence in the case. Said Milligan's father of Vega: "This should be his funeral. This should be his demise. This should be the last day that he ever sees Troy." [TWCN] [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]
Acquittal in Troy 2 year old's death
Michael Davis -- accused of causing the death of a 2 year old in Troy last year -- was found not guilty of all charges. The prosecution had argued that Davis had squeezed the girl, causing internal injuries -- but Davis's attorney argued his client found the girl unresponsive and tried to resuscitate her. And he credited Davis's testimony on the stand for convincing the jury. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]
A federal judge's ruling Thursday allows Sheldon Silver to stay out of prison on bail while appealing his corruption conviction, which carried a 12-year sentence. [NYT]
Behold the yarn bombing of the parking meter poles on Madison Ave in Albany between Main and West Lawrence.
Some follow-up on the roll out of the Madison Ave Road Diet in Albany...
Since the new striping has gone down on the section of Madison Ave starting at Allen Street this week, we've heard a lot of comments from people hailing the traffic calming project for slowing vehicle speeds and providing bike lanes.
We've also seen a few complaints that traffic has become very slow during the late afternoon. For example: one person said it took her 25 minutes to get from New Scotland Ave to Allen Street on Wednesday, a distance of 1.3 miles. (Though maybe there was an unusual circumstance contributing to the backup.)
So at the city of Albany's official unveiling of the project's first phase Thursday afternoon, we talked with city officials about these complaints.
They urged patience as construction continues and they work out the snags. But they also called for people to adapt.
Noted: When the Howard Johnson's restaurant in Bangor, Maine closes in September, the location in Lake George will be the last one -- anywhere. The chain once had more than 1,000 locations. (The Lake George location was closed for a few recent years, but reopened in 2015. It's also the HoJo's at which Rachael Ray once worked. So it's probably on its way to becoming a historic site or something.) [AP/Post-Star]
More than a hundred people showed up for a public meeting Wednesday evening in Troy to talk about how to redevelop the 1 Monument Square site. And toward the beginning of the event, mayor Patrick Madden mentioned that the city was hoping to have a request for proposals out to developers sometime early this October.
But by the time the event was ending, Madden said his administration would be rethinking the process.
Here's what happened in between...
Here's a quick update on the ongoing Sheridan Hollow redevelopment project in Albany, one of the most interesting real estate projects in the Capital Region...
The 57 rental units centered around Sheridan Ave and Dove Street have been rented or otherwise set aside, and a large majority of them are now occupied. (There was an official ribbon cutting this week.) The units are distributed among 17 buildings constructed by the Syracuse-based org Housing Visions, and they join the 20 owner-occupied single-family and two-family homes already built there by Habitat for Humanity Capital District. (Habitat's now working on 10 new homes nearby.)
The rents for the affordable housing units are based on a sliding scale, according to Housing Visions. For example: rents for a 1BR unit range from $615-$1076 based on a household's income. If you're curious, there's a more detailed breakdown of the rents after the jump.
Housing Visions has also built two mixed-use buildings at the site. Both will include residential units upstairs, one of them with units set aside from tenants referred to Housing Visions by social services orgs. Also planned for the mixed-use buildings: office space for Habitat and a cafe -- the Hungry Hollow -- scheduled for a grand opening in October.
Cuomo signs ethics reform, public weighs in on 1 Monument Square, Paul Ryan headed to Saratoga, the 38 second pint
Without fanfare on Wednesday, Andrew Cuomo signed an ethics reform package that would impose tight restrictions on outside spending groups in an effort to curb the impact of the Citizens United decision, but critics say it is nowhere near strong enough, since it doesn't put restrictions on lawmakers outside income or affect the "LLC loophole."[WNYT][TU][TWCN]
1 Monument Square
The City of Troy is putting the brakes on the development of 1 Monument square after residents who came out for a public hearing about the space on Wednesday made it clear that any project there is developed slowly and correctly, with the city's future needs in mind. [TU]
Congress Street in Troy. Love the way the late afternoon sun filters through the locust trees.
Power Tool Drag Racing puts racing contraptions powered by ordinary power tools in head-to-head competition to see who takes it ... who REIGNS SUPREME!
The history of Power Tool Drag Racing is apocryphal and filled with myths, legends, hyperbole and downright facts. Never let facts get in the way! Needless to say, it's probably been around since the first hand power tools were available and some genius decided to zip-tie the trigger on a belt-sander and watch it tear across the floor to sounds of mad glee, terror and pure, unadulterated delight.
The power tool drag races will be outside on the street.
The Troy Mini Maker Faire is this Saturday, August 27 from 11 am-6 pm at TVCOG (corner of Broadway and 3rd Street). It's free to attend. And, of course, that's also the same day at the Enchanted City festival, also in downtown Troy.
TVCOG advertises on AOA.
The Cuomo admin is touting an upgraded state DMV facial recognition system that launched earlier this year -- the admin says the system is intended to help catch fraud and identity theft, and it's prompted "more than 100 arrests and 900 open cases since it launched in January."
A clip from the press release that we thought was interesting:
The upgraded system increases the number of measurement points on the face from 64 to 128, doubling the number of measurement points mapped to each digitized driver photograph and vastly improving the system's ability to match a photograph to one already in the database. The system also allows for the ability to overlay images, invert colors, and convert images to black and white to better see scars and identifying features on the face. Different hair styles, glasses, and other features that change over time - including those that evolve as a subject ages - do not prevent the system from matching photographs. DMV will not issue a driver license or non-driver ID until the newly captured photograph is cleared through the facial recognition system.
Since the facial recognition technology was implemented in 2010, more than 3,800 individuals have been arrested for possessing multiple licenses. Additionally, more than 10,800 facial recognition cases have been solved administratively, without the need for an arrest. If the transactions are too old to pursue criminal prosecution, DMV is still able to hold subjects accountable by revoking licenses and moving all tickets, convictions, and crashes to the individual's true record.
The Cuomo admin says almost half of the people tagged so far are accused of using a stolen identity in order to get a new license because their old license has been suspended or revoked.
Something to listen to this afternoon (or whenever): "Carcosa" by Rosary Beard.
Rosary Bear is Hunter Sagehorn and Matthew Loiacono. The video above was filmed by Nate Sims. The song was recorded by Eric Margan. It was mixed by Troy Pohl. And it features Tucker Callander on violin.
There are bunch of good bits in Steve Wulf's article over at ESPN about the history of Troy's major league baseball team, the Trojans/Haymakers. As Wulf writes, "I grew up in Troy, you see. And because I loved baseball even more than Freihofer's baked goods, I grew up fascinated by the momentarily glorious history of the national pastime in Troy." [ESPN] (via
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: bike lanes, summers past, a photo with a photo, morning at The Track, telephones, steampunk, genealogy, flora, topiary, careers, summer food, fish fry, Hamlet & Ghost, Villa Balsamo, diners, grilling, subs, pretend cattle ranching, and the rest of the story.
On the upcoming episode (August 29) of Running Wild with Bear Grylls, "Bear treks into the wilds of the Adirondacks with hoops legend Shaquille O'Neal." We've never seen this series before, but apparently Grylls takes celebrities to some wilderness spot and they do wilderness things together, like picking through elephant dung.
And you can always try searching for it: