Here's a fun article by Deanna over at the Syracuse Media Group's New York Upstate site highlighting some of the sites and spots along US Route 20, which runs the entire width of upstate New York (and for that matter, the entire width the upper United States). (You may know US 20 as Western Ave in Albany.) [NewYorkUpstate.com]
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the creative process, the Church of the Holy Innocents, an architecture stroll, paying attention to pay, spring, Fork in the Road, CIA, 15 Church, burgers, bacon, the ill-fated Ville du Havre, and suckas.
A touring production of the musical Mamma Mia! will be at Proctors May 15 and 16. We have a pair of tickets for opening night and we're giving them away. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE. The winner will also get a $50 gift certificate for Aperitivo Bistro, which is just down the street from the theater.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
The musical Mamma Mia! was a comeback of sorts for ABBA. So what's something you'd like to see make a comeback in the Capital Region?
We'll pick one winner at random. That person gets the tickets the opening night tickets and the gift certificate.
Mamma Mia! includes ABBA's greatest hits, including "Dancing Queen," "S.O.S.," "Super Trouper," "Take A Chance on Me" and "The Winner Takes It All." The production will be at Proctors for three performances: May 15 at 8 pm, and May 16 at 1 pm and 7 pm. Tickets are $20 and up.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, May 7, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on May 11.
photo: Kevin Thomas Garcia
Two charged in fatal Albany shooting, Skelos won't step down, "United Nations of workers" bringing FIOS to Guilderland
Two suspects in Albany shooting
Two men have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the deadly shooting at Lark Street and Sheridan Avenue in Albany. [TU]
Dismissing a federal corruption complaint against himself and his son as "nothing more than a press release," Dean Skelos has decided not to step down as Senate Majority Leader. While Senate Republicans have stood behind Skelos, Assembly Republicans are calling on Skelos to step down from his leadership post. The cases against Skelos and Sheldon Silver involve some pretty powerful New York real estate names, including a major Albany political donor who has given at least $1 million to Andrew Cuomo. [TU][NYT][TWCN][NYT][CapNY][CapNY]
Schneiderman on Corruption
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took the opportunity to point out that the state has two path's forward, "one path is further investigations and prosecutions and the erosion of public confidence. The other path is to enact comprehensive reforms far more serious than anything that has been or is on the table in Albany. "[Capitol Confidential]
Tuesday -- May 5 -- was the birthday of Nellie Bly, one of the most important and colorful figures in the history of American journalism.
In 1887 Bly, whose real name was Elizabeth Cochrane, became famous for pulling off an audacious undercover story in which she got herself checked into a New York asylum for the mentally ill and reported on the conditions. She'd later stoke her fame by racing around the world in less than 80 days.
If Nellie Bly was around today -- even the actual 19th century Nellie Bly, transported in a time machine -- she'd probably have her own online media startup and would be killing the competition. Vice, Vox, Buzzfeed, bow down before the original queen.
One of Bly's articles for the New York World brought to her to Albany in 1888. And the story will have a familiar ring to it: she came here to buy some state legislators.
The annual Hidden Garden Tour in Troy returns Thursday, May 21 from 4-7:30 pm. Tickets are currently available online -- they're $10.
This is the 16th year for the event, which is self-guided walking tour of backyard gardens in the districts around the Sage and Washington Park in downtown Troy. The tour is rain or shine.
Proceeds from the tour benefit the Friends of Prospect Park. There will also be a dinner benefit for the org at Carmen's that evening from 6-8:30 pm. It's $33 for a prix fixe menu.
The annual Hidden City House and Garden Tour in/near Albany's Center Square neighborhood is set for Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. Tickets are currently $15 and will be available online soon.
photo via Friends of Prospect Park
Geez, guys, thanks for telling me about Saati. (*eyeroll*)
How is it that I have lived in the Capital Region nearly eleven years, and Saati has just recently come into my gastronomical consciousness? I'm not sure, but I'm glad it has.
With an extensive menu and convenient location, its popularity shouldn't be questioned: Think about a dish from any variety of deli. Chances are Saati has it. Beef kebabs nestle in next to pastrami sandwiches on the lengthy list of offerings.
Saati's offerings have a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern bent, so that's a good place to start.
Fun: Over at the Biz Review Chelsea Diana talked with the RPI students behind a startup that's developing a device that turns surfaces into interfaces for musical instruments. [Biz Review]
The live show MythBusters Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! will be at Proctors November 24. Tickets go on sale this Friday (May 8) -- they're $20 and up.
So, obviously, this show is based on the popular Mythbusters TV series, and Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are the hosts. Show blurbage:
MythBusters Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! presents a fantastical evening of on-stage experiments, audience participation, exciting videos, and behind-the-scenes stories. With this show, fans join Jamie and Adam onstage to assist in their mind-blowing and mind-twisting approaches to science. MythBusters Jamie & Adam UNLEASHED! brings you face-to-face with the curious world of Jamie and Adam as the duo matches wits on stage with each other and members of the audience. Jamie Hyneman has announced that he will end touring with the live show this year.
The Proctors show is at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, November 24.
Skelos holds onto state Senate leadership post, APD policy change on taser use, medical marijuana dispensary pitched for Clifton Park
Skelos and Son
+ Following the arrest of Dean Skelos and his son Adam Monday morning, state Senate Republicans decided Monday night to stick with Skelos as majority leader. (Ahead of the Monday night conference, George Amedore said Skelos should not keep the top spot, while Hugh Farley said Skelos should not resign the position if he doesn't want to.) [NYT] [Capital] [Daily Gazette]
+ A look at Glenwood Management, the development firm that's not been connected to both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, and its executive Charles Dorego. Said an unnamed lobbyist to Capital: "If Dorego is involved,then you can bet more trees are going to fall." [TU] [Capital]
Fatal shooting in Albany
Albany police say three people were shot -- one fatally -- early Tuesday morning in Sheridan Hollow (map). APD says it's taken two suspects into custody. The Times Union described the scene as "grisly with pools of dried blood on stoops, sidewalks and the street." [APD FB] [TU]
Albany police tasers
Albany police have a new policy that limits officers to using three bursts from a taser on a suspect. [TU]
Sometimes information raises more questions than it answers.
The main innovation of the new paper -- part of the Equality of Opportunity Project, involving multiple researchers -- is its focus on children who moved. Doing so allows the economists to ask whether the places themselves actually affect outcomes. The alternative is that, say, Baltimore happens to be home to a large number of children who would struggle no matter where they grew up.
The data suggests otherwise. The easiest way to understand the pattern may be the different effects on siblings, who have so much in common. Younger siblings who moved from a bad area to a better one earned more as adults than their older siblings who were part of the same move. The particular environment of a city really does seem to affect its residents.
The data does not answer the question of whether the factors that distinguish higher-mobility places, like better schools and less economic segregation, are causing the differences -- or are themselves knock-on effects of other, underlying causes. "We still need clarity on that," Mr. Grusky, the Stanford professor, said.
There are a lot of important details beyond that clip, and it's worth reading that article and the accompanying pieces. Here's economist Justin Wolfers arguing that the study "makes the most compelling case to date that good neighborhoods nurture success."
So, we've been poring over the results for the Capital Region and they raise a lot of questions. For example:
A bill that would make New York State the first state in the nation to ban the de-clawing of cats now has sponsors in both chambers of the state legislature. Here's the American Veterinary Medical Association's page on declawing -- it says the procedure (technically called "onychectomy") is "an amputation and should be regarded as a major surgery" and should only be considered after other interventions. [NYDN]
Here's the rundown of allegations made against Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, today by the office of US Attorney Preet Bharara.
If you've been following state politics over the last few years, all of it will sound sadly familiar.
Cue the Bharara corruption-in-state government soundbite: "By now, two things should be abundantly clear. First, public corruption is a deep-seated problem in New York State. It is a problem in both chambers; it is a problem on both sides of the aisle. And second, we are deadly serious about tackling that problem."
Cue the Skelos statement: "I am innocent of the charges leveled against me. I am not saying I am just not guilty, I am saying that I am innocent. I fully expect to be exonerated by a public jury trial."
The short story: The feds allege that Dean Skelos used his position in state government to set up, and sustain, a job and payments to his son in an arrangement involving a real estate developer and a company that made wastewater filtering tech.
The juiciest bits are in the complaint itself, including this section that must have had the federal investigators snorting with laughter:
On March 28, 2015, ADAM SKELOS placed an intercepted call to DEAN SKELOS (AS4.182), who relayed he was in Albany seeking to finalize the State budget. ADAM SKELOS complained that his father could not give him "real advice" concerning issues with the Environmental Technology Company because "you can't talk normally because its like fucking Preet Bharara is listening to every fucking phone call. It's just fucking frustrating." DEAN SKELOS replied, "It is."
Another opportunity to see David McCullough next month: The famed historian will be at the State Education building in Albany for a public event June 3 presented by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Tickets for the event are $15 and available via The Egg box office.
McCullough will be receiving the 2015 Empire State Archives and History Award. And he'll talking about "his career as a writer, historian, lecturer and narrator" with Harold Holzer (who is, of course, also a noted historian).
The event is Wednesday, June 3, 2015 at 7:30pm in the Chancellors Hall of the State Education Building, just across Washington Ave from the Capitol. (There's also a VIP reception ahead of the event for a $75 ticket.) We would not be surprised if this event sells out, so gets tickets sooner rather than later if you'd like to go.
Saratoga Springs: David McCullough will also be appearing at an event June 2 at the Saratoga City Center to talk about his new book about the Wright brothers (as mentioned last week). Tickets for that event are $40 (one seat, one book) and $50 (two seats, one book).
photo: William B. McCullough
Here are a few quick pics from the Fork in the Road food truck event in downtown Albany's Tricentennial Park Friday evening.
Six trucks assembled along the edge of the park. And around 6 pm and there was a solid crowd, especially considering this was the first event in the series. Tricentennial Park seemed to work well for the event, with its small herd of cafe tables and the its steps for sitting.
If anything, it's just great to see people enjoying a public space downtown in the evening.
Fork in the Road is set to return on the first Friday of each month through October (it skips July). So the next one is scheduled for June 5 from 4-8 pm.
On to the pics...
Dean Skelos arrested, investigation into Lansingburgh fire, rally for answers in Ivy case, jarred in Rotterdam
Dean Skelos arrested
Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, surrendered on federal corruption charges this morning. "Multiple sources" tell NYDN that Skelos will try to make the case that he should hold onto his leadership of the state Senate. [NYT] [TWCN] [NYDN]
"Authorities familiar with the investigation" tell the Times Union that gasoline was used to start the apartment fire in Lansingburgh early Friday. Lou Rosamilia: "Just total disrespect for human life. We are going to work vigilantly to get that person or those individuals involved in this, and put an end to it. Once and for all." [TU] [WNYT]
Rally for answers in Dontay Ivy case
About 100 people rallied outside Albany police headquarters Saturday to push for answers in the death of Dontay Ivy. It's been one month since Ivy died in police custody after being tasered, and there has yet to be official word about why the Albany man was stopped by police. Masai Andrews of Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration: "People are anxious, they want to have answers." [TU] [TWCN]
Also: A look at how police use tasers, and the relative lethality of the weapons. [TU+]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (crazy nice), to YouthFX, to the Arctic ice, to geoengineering, to tulips, to music...
This week was brought to you by early tulips, outdoor markets and other wonderful signs of spring .
It was also brought to you by AOA advertisers like Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA. Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region.
Here's the thing about AOA advertisers -- not only do they have some great goods and services, they also believe in AOA, and they're helping to support a community that's important to you. Without them, we couldn't bring you the information you've come to expect. So please support them when you can. Thanks.
Want to advertise on AOA? It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at email@example.com and we'll get you started.
Stuff to learn
UAlbany's History Department, offering an M.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental History. Explore the human connection to nature.
Ways to get where you're going
Capital Car Share. Share cars for just $8 an hour.
CDTA: whether it's work or play, CDTA can get you where you're going and safely back home again.
Keeler Mini, sponsor of AOA's Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza.
Stuff to do
Capital Repertory Theater, presenting Hamlet, April 17 through May 10.
Historic Albany Foundation, partnering with Albany Stories in Am I On , an effort to gather stories of the Capital City.
The Mop & Bucket Improv Company. MopCo offers a new improv show every Friday night at Proctors with music, scenes and improv games based on audience suggestions. They're also teaching classes in improv and creativity for adults and kids at MopCo World Headquarters on Union Street in Schenectady.
Spectrum 8 Theaters. Wait out the cold with a movie at The Spectrum. And don't forget the mint brownie.
miSci, The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady. Their annual butterfly exhibit is open through April 19.
The Albany Institute of History and Art's Triple Play exhibit, a look back at the history of baseball in the Capital Region.
Food and Drink
Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar, serving Ethiopian fare every Friday and Saturday evening with traditional Ethiopian flatbread (Injera), and choice of vegetarian choices or meat all seasoned with special Ethiopian spices (berbere).
Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.
New World Bistro Bar, named #1 Best Restaurant, according to Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' Readers' Poll and also listed as one of 'the 13 Best New York Restaurants, not in NYC' according to Thrillist.com.
New World Catering, from weddings and big parties to small gatherings in your home.
Broadway Plaza Liquor is now open at 418 Broadway, next to Coulson's News.
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.
Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Yep, it's time to get your 2014 taxes in order, and Staff Ciampino can help you with your business and personal tax needs. They're also the sponsors of the All Over Albany Start Up Grant business contest, so they're not only good at what they do, they're awesome too.
Historic home help
Historic Albany's architectural parts warehouse -- the Capital Region's only not-for-profit architectural parts warehouse.
Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.
The Albany Public Libraries. Their mobile app helps you find library locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. You can even check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you need.
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ Miss Pearl returned with advice for a person who doesn't like living here... but wants to. (There were a lot of good comments, too.)
+ We heard a little bit about the possible future of the Tivoli Lake Preserve in Albany, which has a lot of potential.
+ There's a gourmet food court planned for downtown Troy.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: waterfalls, signs of spring, Hang Glider Cliff, the Finger Lakes, soft serve, pizza, Sunday supper, a Maine event, an Italian dinner, a breakfast sandwich, an old menu, an 80s flashback, and a famed supplier of pancakes.
+ People are riding the bus more often.
+ We gave away tickets to see the Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match at Wolff's by asking: What are you fighting for?
+ And, not local, but we probably watched this about five times this week: it's aerial video of enormous tulips fields in the Netherlands.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
building interior photo courtesy of Cory Nelson
You've probably driven past it: Mike DeMasi talks with the owner of Russ & Rebel Leathers on Route 7 in Latham, who's selling the property after three decades. The conversation touched on changes in fashion, New York taxes, SEO, and clothes for strippers. [Biz Review]
And you can always try searching for it: