Neighborhood, what's up...

We're #61

albany skyline obstructed smallThe Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area* had a population of 880,167 as of July 1, 2014, according to new estimates released by the Census Bureau this week. That ranks the Albany metro #61 for population among the nation's 390 Census-designated metro areas.

The metro population is up 1.1 percent -- 9,447 people -- since 2010. But its ranking is down one spot since that year, because other parts of the country have gained population faster. (Population in metro areas was up 3.9 across the nation during that time.)

The Census Bureau also released new population estimates for cities, towns, and villages.

Can you guess which place in the Capital Region as gained the most people since 2010?

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Music Haven 2015 lineup

Red Baraat band

Red Baraat will be there in July. (Their music is really fun.)

Here's the lineup for this summer's Music Haven concert series in Schenectady's Central Park, which is now in its 26th season. The Sunday evening series starts up June 26 28.

One of the things that sets Music Haven apart from the other summer series is that it tends to focus on world, jazz, and roots music. And this year is no different.

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Ferry across

Farther afield: Buffalo now has a bike ferry, connecting Canalside and the Outer Harbor. That is all. (Well, almost all -- it sounds like a fun thing, but we have a lot of bridges here. Even so, it's interesting to see a different sort of bike infrastructure/amenity.) [via @albanyjen]

Day trip: Wine touring

wine touring composite

By Lauren Hittinger

This is the perfect time of year to go wine touring -- the weather is beautiful, but it's not quite full-on pool weather, yet.

Luckily, the Capital Region is near multiple collections of wineries. It's easy to go touring for the day, or a quick overnight, without too much planning or cost.

Here are three nearby regions where you can make a day out of trying local wines.

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Going to the dogs

otto geese laser

Dogs equipped with lasers might sound over the top. But the Canada goose is a persistent foe.

Green Island mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan and her trusty pyrotechnic gun serve as one of this region's bulwarks against the invading hordes of Canada geese -- and crows! -- as highlighted by the Times Union again today. And the TU story prompted a range of reactions: tsk-tsking, tittering, Oh-Green-Island-ing, and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Our reaction: Green Island should go to the dogs.

Really. The town/village should get some dogs. Border collies, probably.

Canada geese are a problem in many places, and people have tried all sorts of ways to scare off the birds. And there's research that indicates using dogs is the most effective option.

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Shooting death in Albany, planners give approval to Mohawk Harbor project, law enforcement agencies winners in international gambling ring

Albany shooting death
Albany police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 60-year-old man late Wednesday night inside an apartment on Judson near First Street. It's the third homicide in Albany in recent weeks. A frustrated Common Councilman, Mark Robinson, told the Times Union: "When you have bad housing stock on top of bad housing stock and absentee landlords who only care about getting their monthly rent check, it is easy for drug houses to get established in our communities." [WNYT][TWCN][TU]

Another step toward Mohawk Harbor
Schenectady's Planning Commission has approved the Galesi Groups 60-acre riverfront condos and retail project for the old Alco site. [Gazette]

Brendon Glenn
Chris Churchill looks at the questions surrounding the death of Brendon K. Glenn, the unarmed Troy man killed by Los Angels police recently. Funeral services for Glenn were held in Troy on Wednesday. [TU][Record]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Growing seasons in Albany

lettuce bok choy radishes in garden

The lettuce likes it cool, anyway.

With the, um, rather brisk weather this week (56 on Wednesday) -- and frost advisories around some parts of the Capital Region -- we were curious about growing seasons here in Albany over the years.

Thankfully, the National Weather Service Albany office publishes that info dating back to 1874. And because we have an easier time scanning this sort of stuff when it's in graphical form, we flipped into an interactive chart...

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Summer suggestions for a young adult visiting from out of town?

flowers Central Ave Washington Ave-S emails:

My (French) sister is 18 and she is flying to visit me for a month in August. I'm very excited to have her.
Her English is pretty good for a French kid her age. I would love to involve her in local activities -- she wants to get to know the American culture badly. (And she really wants to speak as much English as possible.) I don't know what an 18 year old does in the summer around here, though.
So far I've filled a volunteering form at the Albany Public Library, they might keep her busy for a few hours a week. I feel the service industry would be a bit too brutal for her first trip here. She loves volleyball, I'm sure she could play in the park this summer, but a youth league would be even better, if such a thing exists.
Maybe this is something people reading AOA would know about (or be interested to share)?

As a young adult, -S's sister will no doubt be able to find her own way to a large extent. But -S is trying to get her visit here off to a good start.

So, got a suggestion for -S's sister this summer? Please share!

Troy River Fest Street Painting Competition 2015 registration open

Sidewalk chalk Troy River Street Festival 2013

The Troy River Fest* is back in downtown Troy June 20, and that means the return of the Street Painting Competition organized by the Arts Center of the Capital Region. The contest, in which artists create panels on the sidewalk, is one of our favorite parts of the festival.

Registration is now open for this year's contest. It's $15 to enter, which includes a set of chalk. There are four judging categories: adult, grades 9-12, grades 6-8, and grades 1-5. The competition is limited to 40 participants, so it's a good idea to pre-register. And be sure to read the guidelines.

Here are a bunch of entries from 2013.

(* This festival has been called the Troy River Street Festival in years past. This is first time we've noticed it's now called the Troy River Fest.)

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: ideas for summer, New York's Mount Rushmore, Noonmark Mountain, the upper Hudson, waterfalls and bison, a farmer's perspective, Ramp Fest, restaurant snippets, Creo, Wine Bar, Slidin' Dirty, unusual beans, men of New York, Washington Park lake, and keeping your pants on.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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Workforce Team Challenge 2015 parking restrictions, road closures

The annual Workforce Team Challenge race is Thursday (May 21) in Albany. And, as usual, there are road closures and parking restrictions around the Washington Park/Center Square/Hudson/Park/Park South area. Here's the list via the APD... (more)

Sawyer Fredericks, "Please"

As you've probably heard, Sawyer Fredericks -- the 16 year old from from Fultonville in Montgomery County -- won The Voice Tuesday night. Here's the clip of him being named the winner.

If you didn't catch any of his run on the show, the embedded clip above is from Monday -- it's Fredericks performing "Please," a song written by Ray LaMontagne. And you can definitely hear some LaMontagne in the way Sawyer Fredericks sings.

By Wednesday morning the track was #2 on iTunes singles chart. (And Frederick's cover of Neil Young's "Old Man" was #5.)

Body of missing Schenectady woman discovered in Coeymans, alleged illegal boarding house raided in Colonie, new video surfaces in Saratoga police stop, no birds at the fair

Body of missing Schenectady woman discovered in Coeymans
The body discovered in a shallow grave in Coeymans has been identified as that of Shelby Countermine, a Schenectady woman who disappeared last December . The case is being treated as a murder. [TU][WNYT]

Illegal boarding house
The Colonie codes department is serving the owners of a Central Avenue home for allegedly running an illegal boarding house with 15 bedrooms, 40 beds, and only a half bathroom. [TU][TWCN]

School budgets approved
Capital Region school district budgets were all passed on Tuesday. In Albany, the school district budget was supported by 72 percent of the votes cast - the highest figure in district's history according to the district director of communications. [Gazette][TU]

More video in controversial Saratoga Springs police stop
A second video has surfaced in a controversial Saratoga Springs police stop. This video shows the officer pepper spraying the man who is sitting in his car after refusing to get out of the vehicle while asking what crime he had committed. [TU][Saratogian][Gazette]

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Today's moment of spring

iris flower super closeup

The afternoon spritz of rain brought out the sparkle.

Three things about the iris:

1. The word "iris" is from the Greek word for rainbow (and the name of the goddess of the rainbow). That same word is a root for the word iridescence.

2. The etymological connection with rainbow is also why the structure in the eye is called the iris.

3. There's also Iris, a new documentary about fashion icon Iris Apfel, opening at the Spectrum this Friday. It's received very good reviews. For the 7:30 pm screening on Saturday, the Fort Orange General Store is hosting a pre-screening gathering in which "guests are encouraged to dress up in the spirit of Iris- layer up your colorful accessories, and put on your more eccentric outfits." There will also be a photo booth, drinks, and door prizes.

A handful of local crowdfunding projects

The 46ers is dipping back into the crowdfunding pool to finish off the documentary about people who have hiked all of the Adirondack high peaks.

All sorts of Kickstarter/GoFundMe/Indiegogo projects float by us from time to time.

Here are a handful of recent ones you that might catch your interest...

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Swim lessons for young children?

indoor pool bw flickr Thomas R StegelmannSean emails:

My wife and I would love to get our 2 year old started with swim lessons this summer. We were hoping your readers could help us wade through the pool of options out there and recommend their favorite spots. We live in Albany, but would happily travel elsewhere for a great experience.

We're guessing there are multiple places that offer these sorts of lessons. So we'll be awarding non-redeemable bonus points for suggestions that include a line or two about why you're recommending that place.

Got a suggestion for Sean and his family? Please share!

Earlier on AOA: Ask AOA: Swim lessons for adults?

photo: Flickr user Thomas R. Stegelmann (cc)

The competition

Interesting in light of the ongoing local conversation about Uber and Lyft: Long Beach, California rebranding its traditional taxi service, and relaxing certain regulations on things like promotional fares, in an attempt to put the service on better footing in its competition with taxi-app services. Key quote from San Diego State marketing professor George Belch in the LA Times article:"You can do the ad campaign, change your name, but a big part of branding is the product itself ... Taxi companies need to recognize that if the experience is not good when someone gets inside a cab, then a lot of the work goes out the window." [LA Times]

Frozen yogurt at Ayelada

ayelada frozen yogurt blueberry vanilla with lemon curd

Blueberry-vanilla twist, with lemon curd and and cookie crumbs.

By Deanna Fox

A moment of confession: I do not like yogurt.

Growing up, I would watch my mother spoon plain, tangy yogurt topped with fresh fruit across her lips as her morning meal. Today I find myself close with someone who revels in the thought of thick Greek yogurt topped with local granola and stewed rhubarb.

I just can't get behind it. For reasons of taste or texture, it weirds me out (and I say this shamefully, as someone who has made a life around food). The same holds true for frozen yogurt. Many friends have prodded me to try frozen yogurt as a means to hop on the yogurt bandwagon, but it all left me underwhelmed and questioning the appeal.

That is, until I reluctantly tried Ayelada's frozen yogurt in Latham.

Like Darth Vader realizing the error of his ways, or Elizabeth Bennett finally conceding to the appeal of Mr. Darcy, I now feel compelled to change my position.

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A ZIP code map of New York State

Capital Region ZIP code map clip

This is just a clip -- the clickable map is after the jump.

As it says on the label, here is a clickable map of ZIP codes (roughly) in New York State.

A while back we had planned to include this map with some discursive post about ZIPs and maps and perceptions of place that was related to the Halfmoon-wants-its-own-ZIP thing, but that post ended up only half baked and unpublished (thankfully -- no one needed to be subjected to that). We were reminded of the map again this week because of the wealthiest ZIP code ranking over at the Biz Review.

Anyway (oh no, here we go...), ZIPs are kind of interesting because of what they started as (a way for the US Postal Service to arrange its routes) and what they've ended up being used for (a way for the rest of us to also identify places). As the ZIP data website ZIP Boundary highlights, a ZIP code doesn't really define an area for the USPS, but rather a collection of delivery points.

And then there are the issues related to the fact that ZIPs are only loosely associated with municipalities -- that's how a place like Crossgates, which is in the town of Guilderland, ends up with a postal address that is Albany (because it's in the 12203 ZIP). Here's an interesting history of ZIPs, again from ZIP Boundary, that touches on that issue.

One of the things that's reinforced for us by looking around the map of Capital Region ZIPs is that the codes aren't necessarily a good way of defining areas (well, unless you're delivering mail). Again, using the 12203 ZIP as an example: it stretches from Washington Park in Albany west along Western Avenue, with lobes that include Guilderland, Bethlehem, and New Scotland -- that's an odd collection to group together.

Right, so... on to the map...

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Allegation of excessive force in Saratoga Springs traffic stop, Coeymans body being treated as homicide, Sawyer Fredericks finds out if he's won The Voice tonight

Today is school budget vote day. Don't know where to vote? Check with your board of education (it could be different from you vote for other elections).

Police/community relations
+ Troy: The trial for a lawsuit in which three Troy police officers are accused of using excessive force while arresting a man at a hospital in 2011 started in US District Court in Utica. [TU]
+ Saratoga Springs: The Saratoga Springs Police Department says it's placed an officer on administrative leave after an activist says excessive force, including pepper spray, was used on him during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon after giving the officer the finger. The incident was partially captured on video. (A "law enforcement source" tells WNYT there's also another video "that clearly shows the confrontation.") Adam Rupeka says he had gone to Saratoga Springs for the purpose of testing the police there. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [YouTube] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Kenneth White case
Kenneth White's father pleaded guilty to a finding of neglect in Albany County Family Court Monday. Jason White said he's getting substance abuse treatment and ultimately wants to get custody of Kenneth's sisters. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Coeymans body
A "source close to the case" tells WNYT and News10 that there's evidence indicating the body found in Coeymans last week is a Capital Region woman who disappeared in December. Police say they're treating the case as a homicide. [WNYT] [News10]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Recent Comments

My daughter just started private swim lessons at Ciccotti Center in Colonie. She has only been to two but so far she loves it. They also seem to be flexible with scheduling for the private lessons - doesn't need to be at a set day and time each week.

Ferry across

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