Items tagged with 'Amsterdam'

Amsterdam casino app bounced

amsterdam florida casino rendering

One of the renderings included with the Amsterdam/Florida casino site application.

The state Gaming Facility Location Board -- AKA, the people who will be picking which projects get granted a casino license -- disqualified the application for the proposed Amsterdam/Florida casino in Montgomery County at a meeting Thursday evening.

The unanimous decision was based on a determination the group backing the project had filed an incomplete application (the board's staff cited incomplete sections of the app in in a document for Thursday's board meeting). The board decided that considering the incomplete app would be unfair to the other competitors.

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Sold: Amsterdam Castle

Amsterdam Castle Exterior

Buy it for the castle, love it for the taxidermy.

We heard today that the Amsterdam Castle -- which actually is a former armory, but looks like a castle -- finally sold. Soon-to-not-be-the-owner-any-longer Susan Phemister confirmed during a phone conversation.

She says the new owners are "very nice people who plan to live in the castle and continue to run it as a bed and breakfast." The building is currently closed while the Phemisters move out and the new owners make some renovations.

The Phemisters bought the 36,000-square-foot place in 2005 and, after a lot of renovation, opened it as a bed and breakfast and event space (it has a 10,000-square-foot gym). In the years since they put it up for sale a few times, most recently last year. But as Susan Phemister explained to the NYT this past April: "The market for castles in upstate New York dried up completely." At the time, the list price was $895,000. [Daily Gazette] [NYT]

And now it's sold. Phemister couldn't disclose information about who bought the castle -- the new owners are "very private," she explained to us -- but she says she wishes them the best and hopes they can enjoy the good will and interesting experiences that come with owning a castle.

So, what does one miss about living in a castle?

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"The market for castles in upstate New York dried up completely."

Amsterdam Castle Exterior

It's actually an old armory. But it's castle-like.

The New York Times follows up on the Amsterdam Castle -- which is still for sale:

In the end, people can find a million reasons not to buy a castle: Some have complained that there is not enough parking, others would prefer a castle that is deep in the woods. The fact is, the only reason to buy a castle is that you have a terrible yearning to live in a castle. "It's the supercool factor," Ms. Phemister said.

The list price for the castle is now $895,000 -- down from $1.25 mill last fall. The Phemister's bought it for $800k in 2005.

Akum and her family stayed in the castle in 2011 (lots of photos) -- the family operates a bed and breakfast there. It's sort of a come-for-the-castle-stay-for-the-taxidermy situation.

(Thanks, Jessica R)

Kateri

Kateri Tekakwitha portraitAs you might have seen in all the local coverage, Kateri Tekakwitha -- a Native American woman born near Amsterdam, New York in 1656 (there's now a shrine at the site) -- was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church Sunday. She's the first Native American to be recognized as a saint by the church. Thousands of people were at the shrine in Auriesville to celebrate.

Sainthood is a big deal for Catholics. Saints are believed to have led lives of great faith, often in difficult circumstances. (In Kateri's case: converting to Catholicism, taking a vow of chastity, and becoming a paragon of faith after being left an orphan by smallpox and living through turbulent times.) And Catholics believe that God continues to act through these people after their deaths. (In Kateri's case: a boy in Washington State is said to have been cured of a flesh-eating infection after prayer to her.)

Local author Jack Casey was in Rome for the canonization of Kateri and he's written a series of posts about the experience on his blog. A book by Casey -- Kateri -- Lily of the Mohawks -- was recently published by Staff Picks Press, the imprint run by the Book House. It sounds like an overview of Kateri's story -- or, at least, a version of it.

Not surprisingly, the canonization of Kateri has reportedly prompted a range of reactions among Native Americans. From an interesting recent article by Renée K. Gadoua in the Syracuse Post-Standard:

"We've been waiting a long time for this," [Sister Kateri Mitchell, born on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation] said of the canonization at the Vatican on Sunday. "It's a great validation."
Doug George-Kanentiio, also a Mohawk from St. Regis, was brought up Catholic, even serving as an altar boy. But he left the church at 14 when he began to practice longhouse traditions.
"I had a lot of anger at the church at the things they had done to the Native people and the world and the moral compromises they made," he said.
He, too, will travel to Rome for the canonization.
"It took me a while to begin to adopt a different approach to this, not one based on history, but compassion for a young woman who was determined she was going to emulate the suffering of Jesus Christ," George-Kanentiio said. "That passion is remarkable."
Alicia Cook grew up on the Onondaga Nation, married a Mohawk and now lives at St. Regis, also known as Akwesasne. She has always practiced longhouse religion and has no interest in Kateri's story.
"The church has been telling us for years we're heathens," Cook said. "The white man has hurt us enough. They intruded on our land here."

And here's another perspective, from a site called American Indians in Children's Literature, lamenting the stereotypes that have popped up in coverage of Kateri.

portrait by Father Claude Chauchetière, S.J., ca 1696 via Wikipedia

For sale: Amsterdam Castle

Amsterdam Castle Exterior

Not actually a castle -- but close enough.

The Amsterdam Castle -- a former state armory converted to a bed and breakfast -- is for sale. From an article in the Daily Gazette by John Enger:

"I'm ready for my next project," [owner Susan Phemister] said. "Maybe a church."
She works in Manhattan as the vice president of planning for Thomson Reuters.
"I finish projects for a living," she said. "It's my passion."
But it's hard to sell a such a large property.
The castle was briefly on the market a few years ago with an asking price of $2.5 million and "I didn't get anywhere," she said.
This time around, they're asking for half of that, $1.25 million.
For that price, the buyer will get everything -- all of the furniture, decorations, even the sheets on the king-sized four-post beds and the bison head on the wall.
"We'll just pack our clothes and leave," she said.

Akum stayed in the castle last year with her family. As she wrote then:

Let's be clear: The Amsterdam Castle bed and breakfast is technically not a castle. It was built in the 1890s as the headquarters for Amsterdam's New York National Guard company. But your kids won't care about such details. Does it have a tower? Yes. Tall, narrow windows? Yes. A scale and grandeur that most private homes could never approach? Yes. And yes, there's a throne. That the throne sits in the middle of the indoor basketball court just makes the place even more awesome.
The Castle has that combination of quirks and elegance that makes a great B&B. And as a family getaway, it's in a class all its own.

Her post includes a bunch of photos from the place -- it looks really fun.

Video of the tornado near Amsterdam

"I'm a little freaked out because I'm pretty sure I just saw a tornado form and cross the Thruway."

Check it out: this is video shot by YouTube user linalia of the apparent tornado that touched down near Amsterdam Sunday. The clip should start at the tornado -- if not, it's at about 5:48.

The National Weather Service says it looks like the tornado crossed the Thruway near the Mohawk service area, headed north into Cranesville, and then northeast into west Glenville. [Recorder]

Update: The National Weather Service has confirmed it was a tornado.

The Amsterdam Castle

amsterdam castle exterior

A real castle? Close enough.

By Akum Norder

As my four-year-old ascended the grand staircase at our bed and breakfast, I caught her singing to herself. It was a wistful little tune about how this place is so much better than our house, and her voice soared up high for the end: "I wish I could stay here for ... evvv ... er."

I didn't take offense. How could I blame her? We'd all just called a castle our home for the night.

Let's be clear: The Amsterdam Castle bed and breakfast is technically not a castle. It was built in the 1890s as the headquarters for Amsterdam's New York National Guard company. But your kids won't care about such details. Does it have a tower? Yes. Tall, narrow windows? Yes. A scale and grandeur that most private homes could never approach? Yes. And yes, there's a throne. That the throne sits in the middle of the indoor basketball court just makes the place even more awesome.

The Castle has that combination of quirks and elegance that makes a great B&B. And as a family getaway, it's in a class all its own.

Here's a quick photo tour.

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100% real maple syrup

Syrup Composite

Real maple syrup. That's what we're talkin' about.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

People are passionate about maple syrup. Take these comments from the AOA crowd in Crystal's post about the best diner breakfasts:

Lfox18 says: "If you need to - charge me more but give me the real maple syrup."

Bob adds: "Pancakes just ain't pancakes without the real maple syrup."

And our favorite by Leigh: "I feel a little odd admitting it...but I actually carry real maple syrup in my purse when going out to breakfast."

Crystal even said within the story: "We can't emphasize enough to every diner out there how gross it is to try and pass off corn syrup as maple syrup. Not the same, not even close!"

We agree.

And this is the time of year when it's made. So in honor of the delicious, sticky, perfect-topping-for-pancakes-and-french toast, we took a visit to the Nightingale Maple Farm in Amsterdam to see how it's done.

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When pizza chefs get weird

pizza king shop smallYou wouldn't be able to make this up: Djovalin Camaj -- AKA John Camaj, AKA The Pizza King of Schenectady -- was arrested last week by the Montgomery County Sheriff's department for allegedly blocking a roadway to a Buddhist shrine in Auriesville and then later allegedly posing as a member of the sheriff's department. [Daily Gazette] [YNN]

But, wait, it (allegedly) gets weirder. From the (Gloversville) Leader-Herald:

Undersheriff Jeffery Smith said today that Serpa charged Camaj with trespassing after the man admitted erecting the roadblock that consisted of a portable orange road construction sign, several yards of orange string, a smashed jar of peppers, a jar of Yoga brand peaches, two campaign signs and a small statue of a pizza chef.

You know, we thought Camaj's decision to enter his chicken marsala pizza in the final of the 2008 Tournament of Pizza was a bit odd. Obviously, this resets the bar.

A Buddhist org called the World Peace and Health Organization has been buying up properties around Amsterdam as part of a large scale development plan.

Update April 22, 2011: Camaj has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. [Daily Gazette]

Fire eater Jennifer "Dehva Colure" Canton

Dehva large.jpg

Hot stuff

By Jessica Pasko

A divorce, a trip to San Diego and a few YouTube videos helped 33-year-old Jennifer Canton transform herself into the fire-eating, hula hooping dynamo that is Dehva Colure.

The Tribes Hill resident (near Amsterdam) is now a photographer/social worker by day and a fire eater by night.

How it happened and more photos, after the jump.

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The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame

By Jessica Pasko

Andre the GiantProfessional wrestling has a hall of fame? Sure, why not? But guess where it is: Amsterdam, NY. Yes, just thirty short miles from The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs (ah the artistic diversity of the Capital Region) you can find tributes to pro-wrestling faves from Gorgeous George to Rowdy Roddy Piper.

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