AOA Startup Grant finalists will be announced Monday!

The week ahead

Capital Rep Sex With Strangers

Capital Rep's production of Sex With Strangers opens this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (sizzle), to the stage, to the environment, to apartment touring, to food, to music...

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A quick recap of the week

week review 2017-09-24

Here are a few highlights from the past short week on AOA...

+ A breakdown of how Albany's mayor gets selected by just a small slice of the city's population.

+ Alie asked about finding a lawn mowing service in Albany. (We could use a few more suggestions for this one.)

+ We stopped by the Tivoli Preserve in Albany to see the sheep.

+ If you want to provide direct feedback on that Capital District Gondola idea, here's your chance.

+ Deanna tried the cereal sundae at Bumpy's.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: rude people, restaurants, the Pony Barn, a basket of ingredients, babysitters, floating palaces, a poignant monument, a 20s Broadway star, the Boreas Ponds, an endangered plant, Nova Scotia, and growing up.

+ This moth's episode of Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board prompted a lot of discussion.

+ Cristin checked out the 5 Wits "escape room" at Crossgates.

+ And noted: Those plants in Washington Park are for admiring, not taking.

Here's the whole week in one place.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!

Today's moment of autumn

sun and sunflower

Sunflower -- and sun.

Enjoy the beautiful weekend.

Night of the Walking Red V

night of the walking red 2014The League of Extraordinary Red Heads will once again gather at Ryan's Wake in Troy on October 4 for The Night of the Walking Red. Blurbage:

The fiery festivities feature an autumnal rite known as the "Toast of The Coppertops," during which members of the red-haired collective raise glasses of seasonal Pumpkin Ale (this year's batch is by Ithaca Beer Co.). Looming above them will be a 15-foot vinyl sign bearing the League's registered trademark logo and the concisely stated: "Agenda 1) Us. 2) Them."
There will be a sunset group photograph on the deck at 6:15 p.m. Entertainment will include a caricature artist, a photo booth, a t-shirt printing station provided by Troy Cloth & Paper and other fun activities. Admission is free. Children are welcome with supervision. The League gives special recognition to "Distinguished White Heads," such as Santa Claus, whose ginger hair has turned white. Un-red heads are also welcome to witness the crimson jubilee.

The league, founded by Duncan Crary, is about fostering ginger fellowship and solidarity -- and a good time for everyone.

The festivities begin that day -- a Wednesday -- at 4 pm. There were more than 200 people at last year's event.

photo: Neil Grabowsky

Troy history walking tours: Uncle Sam, ghost signs, wild women, mayhem

market block downtown Troy early 1900s

The Rensselaer County Historical Society has a handful of Saturday morning walking history walking tours of Troy coming up over the next few weeks.

The topics range from Sam Wilson to ghost signs to wild women to murder and mayhem...

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Checked in

Two bits from this Mike DeMasi story about SUNY Poly and its scandal-stalled plan to build a residence hall on/near its Albany campus: 1) Because SUNY Poly doesn't have a dorm here, it's been housing students at the CrestHill Suites on Washington Ave. And 2) The Albany SUNY Poly campus has just 160 students enrolled this semester. (It has more than 2,700 students at its Utica campus.) [Biz Review]

Stuff to do this weekend

LarkFest2010 crowd by Sebastien B

LarkFest returns on Saturday.

Another gorgeous September weekend is ahead of us, filled with festivals, cider donuts, theater, haunted tours, and more.

Our list is below -- pick your favorites. Planning something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Trucks destroyed in Voorheesville explosion, students defend transgender teens on school bus, charges in crash with cyclist, significant downtown Albany resident project facing redesign

Voorheesville explosion
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says an explosion at a state Department of Transportation site in Voorheesville Friday morning destroyed three dump trucks worth an estimated $500k. Neighbors reported hearing multiple explosions. The cause hasn't been determined, but investigators are calling it suspicious. [TU] [News10] [Spectrum]

South Glens Falls school bus incident
Students on a South Glens Falls school bus came to the defense of two transgender students this week when during an incident captured on video in which the bus driver kicked the two students off the bus. The district superintendent says the bus driver was wrong and "we're going to use this as a learning experience." [TU] [News10]

Puerto Rico
Andrew Cuomo, a group of state officials, and experts from the New York Power Authority are headed to Puerto Rico to survey damage from Hurricane Maria and offer assistance. [TU]

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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Today's moment of late summer

Buckingham Pond peachy sunset 2017-09-21

The autumnal equinox is at 4:02 pm Friday.

This summer is exiting in exceptionally fine form.

Those plants in Washington Park are for admiring, not taking

Washington Park tropical plants

We'll just get right to the point here: You should not dig up and take the tropical plants from Washington Park in Albany. Doing so is stealing from the city and its residents. Also: It's tacky.

Even so, someone has been stealing the plants. And Albany city's gardener would very much like them to stop.

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Parking, free or otherwise

Some of the discussion this week around the gondola and projects before the Albany planning board have ended up touching on parking. Because it always come back to parking.

So we thought you might find this Vox video interesting. It's basically a quick overview of the thoughts of Donald Shoup -- UCLA urban planning professor, author of The High Cost of Free Parking, and the patron saint of parking skeptics. It touches on the history of parking, pricing of street parking, and the requirements for off-street parking that municipalities fold into their zoning.

If you're curious, the parking requirements under Albany's new zoning code are in this pdf on p. 170. It's important to note that developers can get the requirements relaxed by doing things like siting a project near transit or including affordable housing.

Buffalo got some national attention recently because it got rid of parking minimums when it overhauled its zoning.

Checking out 5 Wits at Crossgates, and other Capital Region escape rooms

5 Wits Albany Deep Space

"Transported away from the relative safety of Earth and onto an abandoned ship in deep space..."

By Cristin Steding

One of the fastest growing branches of the entertainment industry is one that's still largely under the radar of most people: the escape room. More than 1,700 have popped up around the country since 2015 -- including five of them here in the Capital Region.

So I got together a group and checked one out.

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Cityscapes by David Hinchen

Cityscapes by David Hinchen

Now on display at the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center at Quackenbush Square: Cityscapes, an exhibit of paintings and photos by local artist David Hinchen. Blurbage:

"For me, buildings are the significant carriers of cultural memory. Surviving the builders and residents, they are reminders of remoter lives and times," says Hinchen. "Over the years, a city takes on an almost geological aspect, with successive generations leaving behind a layering of architectural styles."
Hinchen's work is characterized by these carefully constructed layers, remarkable for their complex details. In Hinchen's work, each stone and leaf is enumerated, each window lovingly detailed. In fact, Hinchen's buildings take on a human quality. He imparts these structures with an air of nobility, of quiet grace and dignity, befitting their cultural status. "There is a hard, beautiful dignity in weathering all those years - pure to themselves and uncompromising," says Hinchen. But if the buildings have a human quality, they also have the ability to impact humanity, says Hinchen. "The enduring physical makeup of a city directly influences its culture as well as its ability to survive as a place people care about."

We especially like Hinchen's architectural paintings, which have a certain warmth about them. You can see more of his work online and prints are available through his Etsy store.

Cityscapes will be on display at the visitors center through November 2.

Albany assessment error cost $90 thousand, Father's Day shooting suspect arrested, pair of teens suspects in fatal Mechanicville shooting, Egg to get $4 M shell


Albany assessment mistake cost $90,000
A mistake by the former Albany assessor cost the city about $90 thousand. Investigation into the mistake showed 9 of 27 properties granted commercial or mixed use tax exemptions did not qualify for the exemption.

Algae in Albany reservoir
The Basic Creek Reservoir in Westerlo, which is Albany's backup water source, has been affected by an algae bloom that has been a problem in bodies of water around New York State. [TU][WNYT]

Albany mayoral primary breakdown
Kathy Sheehan took 12 of the city's 15 wards in last weeks mayoral primary, with Carolyn McLaughlin taking two and Frank Commisso Jr, winning just his own ward.

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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The Playdium redevelopment! Downtown residential! Neighborhood critics! And more exciting tales of the Albany planning board


The proposed redevelopment of the Playdium was among the projects up for review.

Despite the fact that they often focus on multi-million-dollar projects that can literally change the shape of the city, Albany planning board meetings are often quiet affairs, attended by few (or no) members of the public.

That was not the case for Tuesday's meeting, which featured a packed gallery, a bunch of neighborhood critics, and even a loud, happy round of cheers.

Here's what had people fired up...

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An award-winning tale of Victorian robot sex

Chester5000 Isabelle and George coverCheck it out: Local artist/author Jess Fink won the 2017 Ignatz Award for outstanding series for her comic Chester 5000 XYV.

The annual Ignatz Awards are the festival prize for the annual Small Press Expo, which was this past weekend in the DC area. "The Ignatz recognizes exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression." (The actual award is a brick, in honor of the character Ignatz from Krazy Kat.)

Chester is an erotic, Victorian, sci-fi, romance comic. As she told us a few years back of the story's origins:

I've been interested in how people in eras past have dealt with sexuality for some time. A big inspiration was the Tijuana Bibles which were these little dirty comics people sold illegally in the 20s-50s.
I also had an interest in early erotic photography. Basically the Victorians are famous for being prudes, having no knowledge of the female orgasm and little sex education, yet there is a lot of erotic art from that era. I thought the juxtaposition of sexual discovery and prudish Victorian values would be fun.

The story has been collected into two books, which are both available for sale.

Adult swim at Via Aquarium

Via AquariumThis looks like it'd be a different sort of night out: Via Aquarium in Rotterdam is hosting a "Mer-Mixer" evening September 29 that "allows adults to explore the 30,000 sq ft Aquarium's 37 exhibits - without kids." Blurbage:

Guests who attend the event will be able to listen to live jazz music, purchase signature cocktails, and enjoy unlimited hors-d'oeuvres while mingling amid the sting rays, sharks, jelly fish and over 2,000 other forms of aquatic life.
Food and beverage services will be catered in from the newly reopened restaurant inside Via Entertainment.
If this event goes well, Via Aquarium plans to host more after hours events on a monthly basis.

The event is Friday, September 29 from 6-10 pm. Tickets are $50 ($40 if you're an aquarium season pass holder).

Earlier: Checking out the Via Aquarium

photo: Paul Gallo

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: rude people, restaurants, the Pony Barn, a basket of ingredients, babysitters, floating palaces, a poignant monument, a 20s Broadway star, the Boreas Ponds, an endangered plant, Nova Scotia, and growing up.

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Autumn Evening in the Garden 2017

Capital Roots urban grow center Troy

The Capital Roots Urban Grow Center in Troy.

The annual Autumn Evening in the Garden event to benefit Capital Roots is September 28 from 6-9 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy. It's a fundraiser to support the various programs that Capital Roots backs, from its many community gardens to the Veggie Mobile. Blurbage:

The event will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy, connecting more than 20 of the region's most talented chefs with 40 local growers, producers, and beverage makers from all over the greater Capital District. The farmers contribute meat, cheese, and produce which the chefs use to create unique dishes to share nearly 350 guests. Guests sample outstanding cuisine drawn from the creative kitchens of some of the area's finest restaurants while enjoying local wines, beers, and spirits, and mingling with chefs, farmers, and friends.

A list of participating chefs and bakers is below. It includes a bunch of names you'll recognize.

Tickets for the event are $150 for individuals, $250 for couples, and $75 for people age 35 and younger. They're available online.

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Cuomo blasts latest Obamacare repeal effort, New York grants $38 million to SUNY Poly, Shen agreement to sell controversial lot to Clifton Park


Cuomo blasts new Obamacare repeal effort
Andrew Cuomo voiced opposition on Tuesday to the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare and said if there is not replacement for the plan by October 1, New York stands to loose up to $2.6 billion in federal aid to hospitals that serve the uninsured. [TU]

$38 million for SUNY Poly
A week after it received a $25 million loan from the State University of New York, SUNY Poly's real estate arm will get a $38.5 million grant from New York State to help pay for its $324 million computer chip manufacturing research facility. [TU]

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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:

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Recent Comments

Imagine if a mixed use development - apartments, townhouses, restaurants, offices, a park - were built on the Rensselaer riverfront, and people on both sides could go to work and go out in either Albany or Renss, just by walking to a gondola station? If people had reason to traverse the Hudson - in both directions - for a reason other than commuting or getting to/from the train station, a gondola could be an awesome (and financially self-sustaining) idea, that also cuts down on the need for parking. ...

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