Items tagged with 'Lark Street'
You've probably heard at least a little bit about the big Rezone Albany project, which is working to completely overhaul and modernize the city's zoning code. The process is nearing its completion, and as that approaches, people are starting to get a sense of what sorts of changes the project might prompt.
One that's getting a lot of attention is the zoning designations for parts of Lark Street between Madison and Washington and adjacent areas of neighborhoods there. Specifically, the new "mixed-use neighborhood center" designation along parts of Madison, Lark, and Washington will eventually require businesses to close by 2 am. And the "mixed-use neighborhood edge" designation for zones around the area will eventually require an 11 pm closing time.
LarkFest was this past Saturday in Albany -- as you know. And a few bits/perspectives about the street festival are circulating today on the Monday after.
First, from the Times Union, word from that the Lark Street BID could make LarkFest alcohol-free in the future in order to cut down on the costs and complications related to the fest.
And from August Rosa -- a co-owner of the Lark Street beverage shop Brew, and a Lark Street BID board member -- a call to not change the festival. A clip:
... Albany events are so important, especially when surrounding towns (you know where I am talking about) are getting lots of buzz. They take chances. They have nothing to lose.
In fact, Brew might not have existed in the first place if LarkFest didn't exist. In 2004 as a freshmen at St. Rose I came down to see LarkFest on a whim and The Dandy Warhols were playing. I couldn't believe that one of the recent bands I downloaded from LimeWire was playing on the block! This was the first thing that established Lark Street as the cool place to be. From there I came down every week to grab a bite or pop into shops. I ended up living on the block in a few apartments. I ultimately opened up a shop here because I really do think that Lark Street can be what it was 10 years ago.
People just have to let it be. Lark Street is not a suburb. If certain individuals want to dilute Albany's culture then the businesses will move. ...
The topic of what the Lark Street commercial corridor is, and should be, has come up a lot in the last year or so as some people have said the stretch is in decline and others say it's just going through some cyclical change. The question of what LarkFest should be in the future fits right in with all that.
So, we're curious about your take on the future of LarkFest -- whether it should change, and if so, in what ways?
LarkFest is this Saturday on Lark Street in Albany, from 10 am to 6 pm. The street will be closed to vehicle traffic from Madison Ave to Washington Ave for the free street fair.
And the full music schedule -- 16 acts across three stages -- is out. Let's have a look.
The Upstate Artists Guild announced Tuesday that it will be leaving its longtime space at 247 Lark Street in Albany this fall. From a press release:
Over the years, members have dug into our own pockets to pay rent and other expenses. This past year, attendance is down, membership is down and people just aren't volunteering or donating like they used to. We are low on funds and manpower, so we are temporarily giving up our gallery space after our October show while we re-organize. This move will keep the Upstate Artists Guild running, and we plan to continue hosting 1st Friday events and have a pop-up show (still themed and accepting submissions) for each 1st Friday starting with November. We will most likely be at the current gallery space (247 Lark Street) for the November 1st Friday. The shows will only be the one night or possibly the weekend depending on the circumstance. We still plan on hosting our events- just in different spaces until we find a new home. Our goal is to find something more affordable and perhaps with another organization by April 2017's 1st Friday.
UAG has occupied the space since 2005. And it's hosted many, many exhibits, shows, and other events.
In other Lark Street storefront news... The clothing shop Enigma.co, which was once located in downtown Troy, has its grand opening at 248 Lark Street this Wednesday. And the Albany Ben & Jerry's, which re-opened on Madison Ave just down the street from Washington Park this past May -- will also be celebrating its grand opening.
Returning September 24: LarkFest in Albany. And the lineup of music headliners is out:
Brian Bell of Weezer
Post-punk from Montreal
Indie pop from Baltimore
Surf rock from Rochester
Video clips of each act are after the jump if you'd like to have a listen.
From the Lark Street BID: "This is just the initial wave of bands and a full lineup including local music, artists, makers and retail vendors will be released at a later date."
LarkFest is Saturday, September 24 from 10 am to 6 pm on the section of Lark Street between Madison Ave and Washington Ave. Admission is free.
AOA is on summer break this week. So, like last summer, we'll have new follow-ups this week with people we've covered during the last few years.
Just about this time last year we talked with Silvia Lilly as she was preparing to take over ownership of the popular Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark from Kevin Everleth. As she told us back then:
I understand that I have a lot to learn about the back-of-the-house, day-to-day, running of a restaurant, but I also feel as if I have a lot of front of the house knowledge to share.
I don't define success by making tons of money. Never have. I want to be successful in terms of giving our guests a memorable and positive experience from the moment they walk in the door.
Lilly -- a teacher by day, who has also worked in restaurants for most of her adult life -- has now owned the business for about eight months. She's renamed it Lark + Lily and revamped the menu to include some more casual dining options -- but kept the beautiful courtyard and the knowledgable staff.
So how's it going? We checked in with her to find out.
Last week we posted a pic sent along to us by Heather for a dinosaur -- T. Rex, it appeared -- walking down Lark Street.
A lot of people seemed to get a good laugh out of the pic. So we followed up to ask the very important question: "What the (heck) was that about?!"
Heather sent along this scene from Lark Street Thursday.
Just your typical summer evening.
The annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour in Albany is June 23 this year. Tickets are $15 and available online.
The tour is jointly hosted by the Center Square Association, Hudson/Park Neighborhood Association. and Historic Albany Foundation. Blurbage:
Every year, this tour brings the neighborhood to life as homeowners open their doors and gardens to the public. Guests are able to tour, at their leisure, the beautiful and historic homes and hidden gardens that make up the Center Square & Hudson/Park neighborhoods. Residents of these neighborhoods open their homes & gardens for one night only.
This year, the Lark Street BID is also putting together a list of discounts for area restaurants and businesses that you can enjoy on the night of the tour.
The self-guided tour is Thursday, June 23 from 5-8 pm. Map pickup for ticket holders/buyers is at Trinity Church (235 Lark Street) or Capital Wine & Liquor.
To say the guys at Berben and Wolff's are busy is an understatement.
"I've got to go make 20 pounds of seitan after this," says a smiling Joey Berben at the end of our recent interview. And that's on his day off. He and his business partner, Max Wolff, just opened a new restaurant on Lark Street, but they've been supplying seitan to a bunch of other local restaurants long before theirs opened.
Berben and Wolff's is a vegan deli, which sounds like an oxymoron. But according to Berben, "The definition of deli, as far as we're concerned, is more like specialty foods. It's specialty prepared things. It's going to be along the same lines of a typical deli -- pre-made salads, to-go things. We're selling things by the pound too, like the seitan products that we make."
What sets Berben and Wolff's apart from other vegan restaurants, is that they actually downplay veganism in the business.
"You'll notice the word vegan isn't in here anywhere," says Berben. "We're trying to disconnect from people's misconceptions about vegan food or vegan restaurants. It's just good food. Vegetable forward, plant-based food."
The Lark Street Ben & Jerry's has re-opened -- and it's on Madison Ave now. Specifically, it's at 467 Madison Ave, which is right next to El Loco and just east of Washington Park. (It's the former Little Moon storefront.)
The store opened this past Saturday, and there will be a grand opening set for sometime in the near future. Hours are noon to 11 pm every day.
Rich Wilson, who owns the franchise with business partner Mike Sperduto, was in the store this afternoon working on the wall art when we stopped in for a few minutes. Some of the furniture is yet to arrive, but there's ice cream in the cooler and they're scooping. Wilson said they're enjoying the feel of the new space and the extra work space it affords.
That new vegan deli on Lark Street -- Berben and Wolff's -- opened Tuesday. It's in the space at 227 Lark formerly occupied by The Brakes.
The deli is backed by Joey Berben and Max Wolff, who had already been making seitan for local restaurants. As Berben told us back it in March, their plan is to serve "things you would expect in a New York deli, but all plant based." And the menu reflects that aim. It includes items such as a housemade seitan pastrami reuben, a tempeh bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich, and BBQ pulled jackfruit with cabbage slaw on a bun. (We'll have more about the food in the near future.)
Hours currently are Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-8 pm and Sunday brunch from 10 am-3 pm. It's closed Mondays.
Here's a quick look around...
In my previous post, I took a crack at explaining some of the dynamics behind the economic and cultural malaise that many people feel is afflicting Albany's Lark Street.
But since every good analysis of a problem demands a solution, here's a followup: What can Lark do to get its mojo back in the face of significant competition?
Check it out: The Downtube storefront on Madison Ave in Albany is set to reopen this week.
The bike shop's building was damaged in a second-floor fire a year ago, and its first-floor retail space suffered extensive smoke and water damage. It's now been restored and renovated. There are a few pics after the jump.
The Downtube's Adam Hahn said they had been doing bike repairs out of the shop's garage last spring and summer and into the early winter. The shop has been closed the last few months for the renovations.
"We're here and ready to sell bikes, fix bikes," Hahn said to us this week during our quick peek at the space.
Hahn says The Downtube is aiming to be open this Thursday and Friday, and definitely this Saturday. (The shop had a soft open day this past weekend, too.) Hours going forward: Tuesday-Friday 11 am-6 pm, Saturdays 10 am-5 pm.
The Downtube has been operating since 1972, and at this location since 1980.
In January AOA ran a piece with a variety of thoughtful responses about the future of Lark Street. I'm grateful to be given the opportunity to chime in a little, as a planner and as a resident of the neighborhood.
As a relative newcomer (I've been on Dove Street since August 2013), I can't claim to have experienced what many people seem to regard as Lark's heyday; but, as is probably apparent if you've read my writing before, I believe strongly that while localized familiarity matters, comparative experience is highly useful as well.
Though reasonable people disagree on the extent of the problem, there seems to be a general sense that Lark Street is suffering from something of a commercial and cultural malaise.
But why? Surely there are multiple factors, but perhaps we can identify a primary one. In the spirit of Hanlon's Razor, I think the most obvious answer is probably the biggest single factor: the stagnation of Lark, perceived or real, is intimately linked to the exciting growth of other neighborhoods in the Capital District that offer similar cultural amenities.
The Ben & Jerry's shop that had been on Lark Street in Albany for many years will re-open at a nearby storefront on Madison Ave, according to a post on the shop's FB page: "We are very excited about our new location and look forward to scooping for you in Spring!" In a comment, the shop says it's hoping to work out something for the annual free cone day, which is mid April.
The storefront is at 467 Madison Ave -- it's the space formerly occupied by the Little Moon gift shop, and it's nextdoor to El Loco.
Owner Richard Wilson stopped operating at the shop's longtime spot on Lark Street earlier this year because of a repair problem and reported dispute between the building landlord and an adjacent property owner. [TU]
Around that same time Wilson talked with AOA for that big collection of perspectives on the state of Lark Street and its future. He remarked that Lark appeared to be in a down period, but he also had some optimism: "It's our little Greenwich Village in Albany -- it would be great to get it back to that."
The cafe in the storefront of the popular Crisan bakery on Lark Street closed a little more than a year ago.
But now it's back in a new form. And it's joined by New World Catering. And art.
Berben & Wolff's is backed by Joey Berben and Max Wolff. About a year and a half ago they started selling seitan -- a protein product made from wheat gluten -- to local restaurants, as well doing pop-kitchens and event catering. They now make a range of vegan products: breakfast sausage, chicken wings, chorizo, burgers.
"We have both always been very involved in food." Berben told AOA via chat today -- he's worked in the deli at Honest Weight, and Wolff is a restaurant chef. "There has been quite a lack of vegan restaurants in the area, so I began hosting events and cooking for friends. I was approached by Max last year about starting a legitimate business selling some of the seitan products I made. It took off pretty quickly and has been doing very well."
If there is one constant about cities, it is that they are always changing. Businesses open and close. People move in and out.
In Albany a lot of the recent discussion about neighborhood ebb and flow has been focused on Lark Street and the Washington Park neighborhood. The last few years have seen a lot of change on the stretch of Lark between Madison and Washington, and the recent closing of Justin's leaves another empty storefront on the street.
So is this part of the natural ebb and flow of a neighborhood? Or is it something more?
We asked a handful of people who live, work, and own businesses on Lark Street and in the surrounding neighborhood to share some of their thoughts about the direction of Lark Street -- and to tell us what they'd like to see happen in the neighborhood.
Mele Kalikimaka. The weather for this year's Santa Speedo Sprint on Saturday wasn't exactly Hawaii, but at nearly 60 degrees It was a lot less chilly than the Capital Region's swimsuit clad runners are accustom to.
This was the tenth year for the Speedo Sprint, organized by by the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy as fundraiser for the Albany Damien Center and the HIV/AIDS program at the Albany Medical Center. This year's sprint brought out 250 runners, hundreds of spectators and raised $13,000.
As always, a good time was had by all. But this year's event included a romantic surprise.
Here's a look at the scene...
AOA is taking things a little easy this week for summer break. So we thought it'd be a good time to catch up with some local businesses we've covered during the last year (or so) and find out how things are going. But our last post of the week flips things a bit -- we're looking to the future of a local business that's changing hands.
Nine years ago, chef Kevin Everleth opened The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark and turned a small wine and tapas bar into a popular neighborhood jewel. The food was always delicious, the staff was always welcoming, and the wine selection was always varied and interesting.
But Everleth is fond of saying about restaurants, "I buy them, I build them, and I sell them." And so, after nine years, he says it's time for him to move on. This week Everleth announced that he is selling The Wine Bar to one of his employees, Silvia Lilly, who currently works at the restaurant a few nights a week. (Lilly is a school librarian by day. And, of course, she lives in Albany's Delaware Ave neighborhood.)
Lilly has never owned a restaurant, but she's been working in Capital Region restaurants for more than 20 years and she's passionate about the business. And she's excited about carrying on the business Everleth founded.
Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!
The Historic Albany Foundation's annual Hidden City House & Garden Tour is coming up in and around the Center Square neighborhood. Beautiful, historic homes and gardens will open as people go on a self-guided tour through the streets around Lark Street.
AOA has a pair of tickets for the tour -- and a basket of Lark Street goodies -- to give away. The prize package includes:
+ A pair of tickets to the Hidden City House & Garden Tour
+ Three $20 gift certificates to The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark (gift certificates must be used separately)
+ Two $5 gift cards to The Brakes Coffee House on Lark Street.
+ A bottle of Perrier Jouet Grand Brut champagne from Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
Hidden gardens are lovely. What else is lovely?
We pass by things that are lovely everyday. If we're used to them, we may not notice, but sometimes they stop us in our tracks. Tell us about something you find lovely. Bonus points
if you tell us what makes it lovely in your eyes.
We'll draw one winner at random.
The Hidden City House & Garden Tour is Thursday, June 25 from 5-8 pm. The tour includes historic homes, backyard gardens, and some community gardens that are part of Capital Roots. Advance tickets are $15 and available online. After June 20, tickets are $20.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, June 11, 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 Monday, June 15.
Updated at 3:40 pm: We spoke with Crisan's owners about the changes coming to the bakery in the new year.
News from Lark Street today: Crisan, the bakery that has become part of the neighborhood fabric over the last six years, will be closing its cafe. Neighbors were notified this weekend that starting January 1 the bakery will close its storefront and focus on wholesale orders and weddings and custom cakes.
From the note: "What was once a place to socialize, to ponder, to read and to work, will be transformed into a cake decorating workspace and a private tasting room." (An image of the full note is after the jump.)
Though the cafe portion of the business is closing, owner Claudia Crisan Calabria and her husband Iggy Calabria emphasize they're not closing the bakery itself and its products will still be available.
They took a few minutes to talk with us about their decision.
Saturday's weather was miserable -- cold, rainy, the kind of day when snow might have actually been more welcome.
But there were still plenty of smiles and laughing and cheering at the Santa Speedo Sprint on Lark Street. It was the 9th year for the event organized by by the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy as fundraiser for the Albany Damien Center and the HIV/AIDS program at the Albany Medical Center. This year's sprint raised $7,000.
It was great to see so many people out there again, having fun and raising money.
Here are a bunch of photos from this year's sprint...
A piece of Lark Street history closes its doors for good on Sunday.
Hot Dog Heaven, the tiny Lark Street diner where Barbara Lamperella and her family have been making homemade soups, roasts, burgers and, of course, hot dogs for 20 years will flip its last burger on Sunday.
Lamperella says after two decades, it's just time to close.
When word got around back in March that the Caffe Vero location on Lark Street in Albany would be closing, there were a lot of people sad to see the high-quality coffee spot shut down -- including one of the people who's now keeping the location going.
The shop is currently undergoing a transformation into Stacks Espresso Bar. The two people behind the shop's next life are Tyler Wrightson and Ron Grieco.
"Everyone heard they were going out of business, and my partner and I saw the potential of the place," Grieco, who had been the manager of Tierra Coffee Roasters in Albany, told us today. "It was [Wrightson's] idea at first, he was a regular customer, and he didn't want to let that happen, so he approached me."
And the pair -- both live in the neighborhood -- decided to team up to take over the space. "[The shop]'s got great equipment, great location, and the Lark Street community is awesome."
Grieco says the shop is currently undergoing some renovations, and they're working with Silverfox Salvage on a few things. Among the planned additions: A bar at which he'll be making pour-over coffees for people interested in exploring different types of coffee. "It'll be more like a tasting menu [experience] than a stop-in."
They're also planning to offer coffee from a range of roasters (both regional and national), single-origin coffees, and "interesting" espressos.
The shop is currently open. There's a soft opening for the new concept planned for this Friday evening. Grieco says they're aiming for an official grand opening under the new name in the middle of May.
Earlier on AOA:
+ Talking about coffee culture in the Capital Region
+ The macchiato at Caffé Vero
Drawing is closed, but feel free to add your gift ideas for the Capital Region.
This week AOA celebrates our 6th birthday, but we're giving you the presents. Each day we'll have a drawing for some fun Capital Region stuff. You can enter to win a new "present" every day.
Today's drawing is a package of great gift certificates to Lark Street businesses:
+ A $100 gift certificate to Spa Virgo on Lark Street
+ Two $25 gift certificates to The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark
+ One bottle of sparkling wine and a $50 gift certificate to Capital Wine (Must be 21 or older.)
+ A $25 gift certificate to Crisan Bakery on Lark.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments
If you could gift one thing to the Capital Region, what would it be?
Maybe it's an indoor water park, maybe it's peace -- whatever you'd like to give the region if you had the ability.
We'll draw one winner at random.
Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 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 5 pm on Wednesday, April 16 and must respond by 5 pm on Thursday, April 17.
This will pique the curiosity of some people: A new "craft beverage" shop is planned for Lark Street, in the space currently occupied by Fuzz Records at 209 Lark (the intersection of Lark and State). The shop -- called Brew -- is aiming for an early summer open.
The people behind Brew are Fuzz Records owner Joshua Cotrona and business partner August Rosa. From a press release:
Highlights of the shop include a growler fill up station, a make your own six-pack section with a wide selection of bottled beer, a wall of specialty coffees and teas, cold brewed coffee concentrate growlers, and a cooler of ice cold beverages. Drip coffee, cold brewed coffee, and tea will also be available to go by the cup.
Additionally, Brew will sell beer making equipment, supplies, and ingredients for Capital Region home brewers. It's the shop's hope that Brew's product line will inspire customers to make their own concoctions. A detailed product lineup will be made available at www.brewalbany.com as opening day approaches.
The shop plans on bringing quality events to the area including tap takeovers from American craft brewers, coffee cuppings, educational programs and more.
The plan is for Brew to also sell a small selection of records, and Cotrona will continue to sell music through the website for Fuzz.
So what prompted the pair to plan the shop? Rosa told us this morning via email: "The idea came up when we realized the need for a craft beer outlet in the Center Square neighborhood. We decided to expand the offerings to include coffee, teas, and other beverages down the road. Our shop will help residents in downtown Albany skip a trip out to the suburbs for these items."
The store's liquor license is currently pending, according to the SLA website.
This area has had a bubbling craft beverage scene over the last few years -- including producers such as Albany Distilling Co. and Nine Pine Cider Works, as well as an increased focus on high-quality coffee. So maybe this is another piece in that overall picture.
Update: Over at Albany Proper, Patrick talked with the shop's owners at length about their plans.
Be sure to bundle up out there. We hear the inside of a tauntaun is rather smelly.
The Santa Speedo Sprint dashed down Lark Street again Saturday,
It was a fun time, as usual -- a big crowd of sprinters, some great costumes, and plenty of people lining the street to cheer on the runners. And the Albany Society for the Advance of Philanthropy raised $19,000 for the Albany Damien Center.
The sprint is one of our favorite holiday events. There are so many smiles. This year was no different. AND THERE WAS A GOAT.
A ton of photos are after the jump.
Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!
We're starting off the week with two things that make us happy -- tulips and champagne bubbles.
It's Tulip Festival week, and that means this Thursday is the annual Champagne on the Park event, in Albany's Washington Park. It's what it sounds like: sipping champagne, nibbling tasty treats, and taking in the tulips in Washington Park before the crowds descend.
And AOA has a pair of tickets to give away. Maybe to you.
To enter, please answer the following question in the comments of this post:
Tulips have some interesting names like Queen of the Night and Russian Princess. Some are also named after people -- there's a Dorothy Hamill and a Diana (for the princess). There's even a Donald Duck tulip. What would you name a tulip?
And if you'd like to describe this tulip as well, go for it. We'll draw one winner at random.
Champagne on the Park is this Thursday (May 9) from 5:30-9:30 pm, and includes complimentary champagne, wine, hors' d'oeuvres from Lark Street BID merchants, and music by the Graham Tichy Quartet. The event is a fundraiser for the arts programs run by the Lark Street BID throughout the year. Tickets are $60, or $100 per couple, if you buy them in advance. If you buy them at the event, they're $70 per person and $120 per couple.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 10 am on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 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 Tuesday and must respond by 10 am on Wednesday, May 8.
AOA is a media sponsor for Champagne on the Park
Albany's residential parking permit system takes effect January 15 (Tuesday) -- and today the Albany Police Department distributed official maps of the street segments covered by the system. The maps are post jump -- they'll will be familiar if you've been following the issue.
The parking permit system will be in effect from 8 am-6 pm Monday through Friday (holidays excluded). People without permits will still be allowed to park in any spot -- but there will be a two hour time limit. Violations of the system are a $50 ticket with a $15 surcharge.
Alternate side parking, snow emergencies, and other similar regulations trump the permit system.
Here's information on how to get a permit (doc). They're $25. Permits are also available for non-resident business owners ($25, limit 3) and visitors ($10, one per household in the covered zones).
The city is taking complaints related to system via an online form. More info at the city's website (scroll down).
Red Poppies, Lark Street's new Polish pantry and deli, has been open for about seven weeks, and in that time, owner Joanna Keblinski has changed her mind a bit about what drives her business.
"When I started it was just about good, healthy food," says Keblinski.
Seven weeks later the Polish immigrant, mom, and former film critic says it has now become, for her, as much about people's stories and memories.
The holiday season is a time for making wish lists, and shopping lists. In an effort to help you with both, we're asking a handful of people what's on their local holiday wish list this year.
Today's list comes from temporary Center Square resident Bill Pettit.
The 2012 Santa Speedo Sprint raced down Lark Street Saturday.
As in years past, it was another fun time. Lots of smiles. And the Albany Society for the Advance of Philanthropy raised a lot of money for the Albany Damien Center and the AIDS/HIV programs at Albany Medical Center -- $17,500.
Here are a whole bunch of photos from this year's sprint...
This Friday For the Love of Wine, the wine shop that opened a few years ago in Crossgates, will be closing its doors -- temporarily.
Williams and Von Schenkel are planning to open From The Garden, a farm-to-table restaurant and wine cafe, in the former Old House Cafe on Lark Street. They're both sommeliers, but this is their first time serving food -- professionally, at least.
Ready, set, strip (and then run): the annual Santa Speedo Sprint on Lark Street is coming up December 8. That means you still have a few weeks to gather sponsor pledges, plan your outfit, and steel yourself against the cold.
The sprint is one of our favorite events of the year. It's turned into a fun afternoon -- a big crowd, lots of smiles. And the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy raises a bunch of money for the Albany Damien Center and the AIDS/HIV programs at Albany Medical Center. ASAP is aiming to raise $25,000 this year.
As the event's website notes: "It turns out running through the streets in your underwear is a surprisingly socially acceptable activity."
Registration on sprint day starts at 11 am. The sprint down and back Lark Street is at 2 pm.
Earlier on AOA: Santa Speedo Sprint 2011 photos
Yep, AOA is media sponsor of the Santa Speedo Sprint.
Updated with set times
LarkFest is September 15th this year.
The Albany Common Council approved the final slate of streets for the new residential parking permit system Monday night. A map of the three zones is above. After the jump: a list of the designated streets with individual zone maps -- along with a copy of the resolution designating them.
Not every parking space in the designated areas will be subject to the permit system. But there many be some whole blocks designated within the zones, according to councilman Richard Conti, who headed up the design of the system. The state law allowing the system limits it to no more than 2,750 spots.
The target start date for the permit system is October 1. The spaces will be subject to permit parking from 8 am-6 pm on weekdays -- though two-hour parking will be allowed for people without permits. The permits will cost $25, and permit holders will get guest passes.
The important thing is that nobody got hurt.
That's the important thing. Right?
No injuries, no fatalities and nothing was taken that can't be replaced.
Well, almost nothing.
One early morning about a week ago, while I allowed myself an extra hour to sleep off some jet lag, and my husband got ready for work, a neighbor knocked on our door. He'd noticed a teenage girl wearing ripped pants and a backpack slip out of our back alley.
Now there's only one way into the alley, and he didn't see her enter. He asked her some questions but he wasn't comfortable with the answers, so he knocked on a few doors to see if everything was alright.
Everyone should get a chance to sit on a parade reviewing stand and have passing drag queens toss candy at them.
Seriously, it's a little bit awesome.
The Pride Parade and Festival wrap up the Capital Region's week long Pride celebration, and the parade is one of my favorite Lark Street events. It ranks up there with the Santa Speedo Sprint. I love it for the fun and the colorful costumes and the creativity.
But mostly, I love it for the joy and community spirit.
The annual Capital Pride celebration is this week (it actually started this past weekend). As usual, there's a full slate of events and activities all this week.
For a lot of people the highlight of Capital Pride is the Pride Parade and Festival. It's this Sunday in Albany's Washington Park. The parade starts at noon at State Street and Sprague Street, heads down State, turns right on Lark, and then right on Madison back up to the entrance of Washington Park (map). And check it out: AOA Mary will be one of the parade float judges this year.
The festival starts right after the parade in the park. The headliner entertainment this year is American Idol finalist Kimberly Locke.
Earlier on AOA:
+ Last year, Leigh wrote about why Capital Pride is one of her favorite local events
+ Capital Pride parade photos 2011
photo: Sebastien Barre
"Funky," is how Maude Baum describes the state of Lark Street in 1977 when she was looking for a home for EBA, her multimedia performing arts company. Funky in a lot good ways. And funky in some not-so-good ways.
Baum found the spot for her company above an old TV/radio repair shop at the corner of Lark and Hudson Ave. It's been there ever since.
This weekend, as EBA celebrates its 40 year anniversary, 35 of them on Lark Street, Baum took time to talk with us about where Lark Street's been (eclecticism, grocery stores, an archery range, unsavory behavior) -- and where it's going.
And, of course, Lark Street will be closed off that day for all sorts of artistic happenings and whatnot.
In other news: this is becoming the year of Babe City.
Albany police say the owner and an employee of Lark News and Grocery Saturday evening for drug possession. The APD says officer Michael Geraci -- the beat officer for the Lark Street area -- stopped into the store and saw the owner -- Zahid Gilani -- "sitting with several bags of marijuana and a scale at the stores counter." A store employee was also allegedly found with crystal meth, according to the APD.
This is the second drugs-related arrest/incident at 252 Lark Street (Lark and Hudson, streetview) in the last month. A man police say is the owner of Jay's Place, upstairs, was arrested (again by officer Geraci) for alleged cocaine and heroin possession at the end of March (note this comment by Mk).
APD spokesman Steven Smith says Gilani owns the whole building, but it's currently unknown if the two situations are connected.
Full press release after the jump.
The proposed Albany "cabaret law" has been amended with some significant changes that might make it a bit more palatable to business owners, supporters of live entertainment, and neighborhood groups.
The changes include lower license fees, and a public hearing process for applications...
This Wednesday night there will be no Laughs on Lark. The stand-up comedy showcase that's become a staple of Lark Street night life over the last year has been canceled until further notice.
The event usually takes place at Elda's, but last Friday night Albany police and members of a zoning enforcement task force told owner Elda Abate, and the owners of several other clubs around Lark Street, that they had to shut down their events.
Albany police say they've arrested an 11-year-old boy for allegedly breaking into cars near Washington Park -- and running an inside job robbery on a Lark Street store. From the APD press release:
Officer Michael Geraci was following up on a burglary report last Thursday with the owner of Frame Workshop at 215 Lark Street. The owner stated that someone had entered the business through a unlocked window between Wednesday night and Thursday morning and stole $240 from the cash register. Several picture frames, which were in front of the window, were also damaged when the suspect climbed in.
The owner told Officer Geraci that a young boy, who he had befriended, had been hanging around the business over the last couple of days and was inside on several occasions. He believed that the boy had intentionally unlocked the window while he was inside the shop so he could get inside when the business was closed. The owner gave Officer Geraci the boy's name and showed him a picture of the boy on Facebook.
The full press release is pasted after the jump.
This is at least the second recent arrest that's resulted from Geraci noticing something on his Center Square beat (the other: the man who allegedly posed as a detective). Both cases point to the potential payoff of having beat cops and community policing (and admittedly, it's a tiny sample). Would those arrests have been made without it? Sure, maybe. But having an officer out in the neighborhood, talking to people, making connections couldn't have hurt.
Weird: Albany police say a 19-year-old man has admitted to responding to "several dozen" police calls over the past year, representing himself as a detective.
From the APD press release:
On Tuesday evening just after 5:00 p.m. officers investigating a person with a gun call were involved in a brief foot pursuit that led to a arrest for criminal trespass at 273 Third Street. Officer [Michael] Geraci was one of the officers who responded to the call and he located a handgun on Thornton Street. Several minutes after the call went out [Ryan] Mann showed up to the scene on Thornton Street. ...
Mann was wearing eye glasses, had on a blue fleece jacket, dress shirt and tie, khaki pants and shoes. He had a bullet proof vest on and was carrying a portable radio, similar to one that police officers carry.
Officer Geraci initially questioned him at the scene and Mann was brought to the detective division to be interviewed. Mann admitted to responding to several dozen calls over the past year, mostly in the Center Square area. He monitored police calls through a phone application that scans police transmissions, carried a police badge from Oakland, California and would identify himself as Detective Ruff when he encountered people in the public.
The APD says Geraci nabbed Mann after recognizing him from responding to other police calls in the Lark Street area.
There is no indication at this time that Mann specifically targeted anyone or anything for gain or that he was a threat to anyone. He was scheduled for a mental health evaluation.
Mann has been charged with criminal possession of stolen property, but for the moment, not impersonation. APD says it's still investigating.
More details in the full press released pasted after the jump.
It might be silly and overly nostalgic, but years after its demise I'm still mourning the late great Shades of Green.
Like a lost love, absence has only made the heart grow fonder... and hungrier.
If you weren't in the area during that time or never had the pleasure, let me tell you, Shades was an absolute wonderland. It wasn't fancy: soups, sandwiches, and fresh-squeezed juices served from a small kitchen on Lark Street, but there was just something special about the food and the atmosphere. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians sat side by side enjoying meals that, regardless of labels, were just plain addictive.
Years after it closed, people are still lamenting its demise. And it left a vegetarian void in the Capital Region that has yet to be filled.
The Santa Speedo Sprint is one of the most fun events of each year. And this weekend was no exception. It was great to see so many people smiling, laughing, and cheering others on.
There's a big bunch of photos from this year's sprint after the jump...
This year's Santa Speedo Sprint is December 10 on Lark Street -- that's next Saturday. We know, we know, it's been entirely too warm recently for people to strip down to their festive swimwear/underwear and sprint down the street for charity. But the calendar does not lie. And there's still time to get your costume ready.
The Sprint is organized by the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy. Funds raised by the event go to support the Damien Center, which helps people and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Last year's event raised $20,000.
It's a $25 donation to run the sprint -- and runners are also encouraged to get pledges from other people.
If you're not up for running, it's still worth checking out. The runners appreciate the cheering and support. And the sprint is easily one of the most fun events of the year. How often is there a crowd where everyone's laughing and smiling, all for a good cause?
Here are a bunch of photos from last year's sprint.
People will start assembling for this year's sprint around 11 am (or earlier). The sprinting is at
noon 2 pm, starting at the intersection of Lark and Madison Ave.
Yep, AOA is a media sponsor of the Santa Speedo Sprint.
The public hearing for the proposed Albany residential parking permit system is tonight (Monday) at 7 pm at city hall. The public hearing is one of the last steps before the system could potentially be passed and moved toward implementation.
We suspect there will be plenty of suggestions/questions/concerns about the system, particularly about which spots will be subject to the permits. Richard Conti, the common councilman heading up the project, touched on that topic in his ward newsletter last week:
... the street designations on the zone maps are preliminary subject to revision after the public hearing. I've discussed the inclusion or non-inclusion of streets at neighborhood meetings during the month of October, and have received other communications, and am aware of some of the concerns regarding preliminary street designations. Under the state authorizing legislation, we are limited to the designations of 2,750 spaces spread across three zones. After the current proposed map was finalized we discovered additional spaces that had not been allocated. So we have a margin to play with to address concerns. ...
Resolving the street designations is the major issue that needs to be resolved; once that is completed the remaining pieces should fall into place.
As proposed, the system would cover three zones around the Empire State Plaza:
+ Zone A - 1946 spaces in Center Square/Hudson-Park/Washington Park/parts of Park South,
+ Zone B - 443 spaces in the Mansion neighborhood
+ Zone C - 163 spaces in Arbor Hill around the Ten Broeck Triangle
Details and maps of these proposed zones are available from the city's website -- and we've also posted them after the jump here for easy scanning.
The state law giving the city the right set up the system allows for 2,750 spaces within a 3/4 mile radius of the ESP. Once implemented, the system will run for two years and then be up for review.
Car sharing: We hear that car sharing advocates will also be at the hearing tonight pushing their case. In the past, advocates have touted sharing as another way of addressing the parking problem in congested neighborhoods.
Check out this great video Julia Evanczuk made at LarkFest this past weekend (also embedded above).
But, wait, there's more:
+ Sebastien's posted a photoset from the festival (there's even a pic of AOA Mary).
+ Bennett also posted a photoset (we like this photo)
+ And here's a quick video clip by YouTube user clawdnb from the silent disco -- it's kind of fun to see the disconnect between what you're seeing and what you're not hearing.
By the way: There were an estimated 80,000 people at LarkFest this year. Or, at least, that was the "expected" number. We're curious if there's been a more systematic count of the actual number. (Counting crowds is notoriously hard and estimates often vary widely.) [Daily Gazette] [YNN] [Fox23] [Popular Mechanics]
As you well know, LarkFest is this Saturday. After the jump, the stage schedule for the musical acts, both national and local -- plus a video playlist of the acts so you can do a little previewing. (Alternately, if you're coming to this post after LarkFest, you can listen again.)
On with it...
Officials in Albany announce details Thursday of the extension of the "Safe Corridor" program to new Lark Street and Central Avenue.
Part of the project will involve signs around the city that will direct pedestrians along what the program deems the safest route. The goal is to have as many people as possible along certain routes to prevent crimes from happening. There will also be "Safe Haven" business stickers given to participating business, as well as special LGBT-friendly rainbow stickers given to some businesses in the Lark Street and Central Avenue areas.
There are a bunch of issues that go along with this sort of program. Are businesses ready for the responsibility that goes along with being a "safe haven?" And does designating certain streets as "safe" mean that other possible routes might become less safe because fewer people travel down them.
The program could be helpful. And it's encouraging to see attention to the issue. But real change will probably only come from stepped-up policing and increased engagement with the public.
Updated at 6:15 pm
The headliner is Mike Doughty, the former frontman for Soul Coughing who's been a solo act for a bunch of years now. Also among the national acts: Diego Garcia, formerly of Elefant, now of his (apparently sexy) self. If you listen to EXT, you've probably heard his song "You Were Never There."
The lineup also includes some good locals. The full list is after the jump.
LarkFest is September 17.
Jess sent along this rainbow pic:
Spotted the most lovely rainbow yesterday evening while at happy hour at the Lionheart!
A happy hour special.
photo: Jessica Pasko
The task force developing the Albany residential parking permit system released its report and recommendations last week. The file that we received from Common Councilman Richard Conti, the task force's chair, is embedded after the jump.
The report includes many of the provisions Conti mentioned when we talked with him about the system in June. But there are few bits that caught our eye -- we've highlighted those.
If you live/work/visit the area around the Empire State Plaza, it's worth taking a look at this report. There will be a public comment period after an ordinance is introduced. There's also lobbying/emailing/stopping your council person on the street to talk about suggestions or changes. (And based on the comments from June, it sounds like people will have suggestions.)
It's been just about a year since the state legislature passed a bill allowing the city of Albany to set up a residential parking permit system near the Empire State Plaza. So, where's all that at now?
Albany Common Councilman Richard Conti is heading up the task force in charge of developing the system. We had a chance to talk with him last week about how the system is potentially shaping up...
In case it has somehow escaped your attention: Art on Lark is this Saturday in Albany. Lined up this year:
+ The Living Walls project will have a group of artists creating a mural on Hudson between Willet and Lark.
+ And an outdoor gallery organized by Albany Center Gallery.
Also: a bunch of good local music organized by WEXT. The schedule for that is after the jump.
It's a gorgeous, sunny day and you're out for a stroll in your neighborhood. Half-eaten apple in hand, you pop into the post office to mail a letter and then head to the butcher for a pound of sausage and a ball of fresh mozzarella. On your way home, you stop at the food cart to chat with the owner and grab a bag of soft pretzels.
Now imagine all of this happening on Lark Street. Impossible, you say? Maybe today. But how great would that be?
If you're wandering down to Lark Street for 1st Friday tonight, here's a clip of what you'll see in the window at Crisan. Artist/architect Shadi Khadivi spent 14 hours photographing what goes on in the kitchen at Claudia and Iggy's Lark Street bakery/edible art gallery.
Shadi teaches architecture studios at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, and Parsons the New School for Design in New York City, and owns her own design studio in Albany. She says she's fascinated by the creative process and by bringing what goes on in the background to the foreground. So she edited a full day in the Crisan kitchen down to about 11 minutes. You won't get any secret family recipes, but you will get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes and what goes into the creation of some of those gorgeous pastries. The project, called 6:45-9:00, will be projected on a screen in the front window of Crisan tonight.
Officially, you can no longer say there isn't a good place to go for espresso in the Capital Region. Because in November, Caffé Vero opened its doors on Lark Street, and these people take espresso seriously.
Well, before opening the Albany location they sent a sample of their water to a lab in California to learn how well suited it was for making espresso. As it turns out the water in Albany is pretty good. This meant they only needed to install a filter that removes dissolved solids and chlorine.
That along with at least a dozen other invisible steps is what goes into producing some of the richest most delicious espresso based drinks in the Capital Region. But it is their version of a macchiato that is really the ideal showcase for the best espresso in Albany.
The AOA elves are back to help you with your holiday shopping. For the next couple of weeks we'll be bringing you fun, interesting, local gift ideas for the holiday season.
On this ninth day of the gift guide, AOA brings to you: retro video games and a partridge in a pear tree.
OK, no partridge. And no tree. But the rest, yes. Absolutely.
I'm not much of a gamer myself - when I think games, I think of Scrabble or Apples to Apples. And my video game skills don't go too far past the occasional attempt at "Guitar Hero." But for the right person -- the video game freak (or is it geek?) who doesn't just want the hot new thing but appreciates a good game of Super Mario Brothers, Pastime Legends is your place.
Updated Monday at 8 pm
This year's Santa Speedo Sprint once again proved the scantily-clad Santa dash is one of the most fun events of the year. It's so great to be in a crowd where so many people are smiling.
And last we heard, ASAP had raised $20,000 for the Albany Damien Center!
Many photos are after the jump.
Updated Thursday night
The Lark Street restaurant scene is changing up again with a few closings, some openings, new menus and a place for sale.
The intersection of Lark, Central and Washington in Albany -- already home to three nearby Indian restaurants -- now has a fourth: Jewel of India, which opened at 187 Lark Street on Saturday.
Jason and Shadi emailed with an early word:
The food was surprisingly good! They have a real tandoor, so the murg tikka comes out juicy on the inside and burnt on the outisde - perfect! The naan and lamb biryani were also good. The prices were very reasonable.
Jewel of Indian joins LaZeez (at 35 Central) and Aashiana (at 31 Central) and Gandhi (at 1 Central) all within a block radius block from that intersection. And, just a few blocks away at Lark and Madison, is Tandoor Palace.
Indian food isn't approaching sushi-like levels here (yet), but there do seem to be a lot of choices now -- both in Albany and around the Capital Region.
Now we could really go some lunch buffet...
You couldn't have asked for better weather for this year's LarkFest. And an estimated 70,000 people seemed to agree.
Sebastien sent along a whole bunch of photos from the day. As he wrote on his site:
Center Square neighbors, including myself, know the drill. Either leave Albany for the day, or embrace the crowd, the music, the vendors... and have fun. I grabbed my camera and spent the better part of this beautiful day on my favorite street.
A bunch of his photos -- along with a few links to other photosets -- after the jump.
Laura Glazer and Lori Hansen think Albany's Center Square residents are proud of their neighborhood. So when they were working on a 1st Friday project for the big windows at Capitol Wine, in the heart of the Washington Park/Center Square neighborhood, they wanted to find a way to express that pride.
The photographer and graphic artist considered a number of ideas before settling on the one thing that neither of them felt they were good at: drawing.
The result: some fun rolls of Center Square "wallpaper" that are fun, quirky and as it turns out, just a tiny bit AOA inspired.
Photos and a little more from Laura Glazer after the jump.
Update: MattW checks back in to say that Tandoor Palace was back open when he went by Thursday evening.
MattW sends along word that it appears Tandoor Palace at Lark and Madison in Albany has been seized by the state Department of Taxation and Finance for "nonpayment of taxes." (more photos after the jump)
At the other end of Lark, it's look like another Indian place is sprouting: a sign in one of the spaces by the still-closed Al Baraki says a restaurant called Jewel of Indian is coming soon. There's a website mentioned, but the domain is currently parked.
Also: As of earlier this month, a Taste of Greece was for sale -- $55,000 was the asking price.
The LarkFest organizers announced the music lineup for this year's festival.
In contrast to recent years when the lineup featured one or two bigger names, this year's slate features a range of somewhat lesser-known acts from different genres -- indie rock to neo-soul to Midwesterners who "sound like a drunkenly angry Tom Petty crawling out of a Florida swamp."
Some of them sound pretty good. The full lineup and the local acts -- selected in a contest from over 80 entries -- after the jump.
We will be closing off Hudson [Ave] near Washington Park and throwing Albany's first Silent Disco.
Each patron will be given a wireless headset. 2 DJs will broadcast their music over the airwaves and the party goers will be able to choose which one they listen to.
Here's the Facebook event page.
The approximate area covered by the 3/4 mile radius. Not every spot will be subject to the permits.
The state Assembly has passed the bill that would allow the City of Albany to run a trial residential parking permit program around the Empire State Plaza. From Albany Common Councilman Richard Conti's Facebook status last night:
Albany Permit Parking Bill just passed the Assembly, 80-45! Thanks to Assemblymembers McEneny and Canestrari for their efforts on moving this forward ... now it moves to Governor Paterson for approval.
The bill passed in the state Senate last week.
Among the bill's provisions:
+ The City of Albany would be allowed to "pilot a residential parking permit system with a two year sunset" within a 3/4 mile radius of the ESP.
+ No more than 2,750 spaces would be made available by permit in the permitted area. (The bill figures there are about 9000 spaces total in the affected area.)
+ Permit parking would not be allowed on streets where adjacent properties are zoned for "commercial, office and/or retail use."
+ At least 20 percent of the spaces in the permit would be available for non-residents to use for at least 90 minutes at a time.
(Thanks, Mike and others!)
Update: From a PEF press release:
The New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) is disappointed state lawmakers have passed the Albany Permit Parking Plan, pandering to a small group of residents while shunning the needs of the general public.
The union is calling for Paterson to veto the legislation.
Richard sent along a photoset of the avant-garde looks created by local stylists at the Lark-ternative Hair Competition this past weekend at Art on Lark. Some of the styles are whimsical, some are fierce -- all area little out there.
Bonus shot: Here's another photo from the competition by Mike Watson (Flickr user musicnartblue).
Bonus photoset: Flickr user vonnegutjr has posted a handful of photos from the music stage.
photo: Richard R
The annual Art on Lark festival is this coming Saturday in Albany. Lark Street will be closed off for all the artistic happenings.
Among them is a new event: the Lark-ternative Hair Competition. From the Lark Street BID:
The competition will feature four of the most innovative and talented hair designers in the Capital Region. Each of the four contestants will have the opportunity to show five different avant-garde or alternative hairstyles as a complete head-to-toe look with make up, clothing and accessories. The stylists will also get the opportunity to explain the vision and inspiration behind their collections.
A panel of judges will pick a winner.
Art on Lark will will also include music on two stages. The lineups are after the jump.
photo: Sebastien B
There's a "Rock to Rebuild the Lark Tavern" benefit coming up May 22 at the Washington Park lake house. On the schedule for the event: music, food, an art auction and a silent auction. Tickets are $10.
If you have goods or services to donate, contact Jasen Von Guiness: jvg |at| albanysociety |dot| org.
If you have art you'd like to donate for the auction, contact Samson Contompasis at the Marketplace Gallery: TheMarketplaceGalleryNY |at| gmail |dot| com.
To volunteer: larktavern.volunteer |at| gmail |dot| com
Earlier on AOA: Fire at Lark Tavern
There was a serious fire at the Lark Tavern early this morning.
MattW emailed this morning with the photo above: "There was a fire early this morning at Lark Tavern. Didn't see inside but it looks like there may extensive damage. They had a fire crane and the road closed off. My thoughts go out to Tess and the Lark family."
The Lark Tavern is a huge part of that neighborhood. Our thoughts are with Tess and everyone there. A whole lot of people are going to be pulling for them.
Update: Matt Baumgartner is organizing a Lark Tavern Fire Fund. He says Tess left a voicemail message for him this morning hoping to find jobs for her staff. He says she also mentioned that "It looks like we're not going to be able to open our doors for awhile."
People are posting messages of support on the Lark Tavern Facebook page. From a wall posting by the Lark Tavern:
The out pour and response is truly amazing. Tess and the entire staff of Lark Tavern are deeply warmed with your thoughts, prayers, and support. As we gather ourselves and the smoke clears we will begin to take the next step, and will continue to keep you updated. Once again Thank You ♥
More updates: Here's a photo of multiple firefighters working the side of the building with ladders earlier this morning. [@tenacioustj]
We're gutting the kitchen and bathrooms, re-doing the bar, and making some really nice facade improvements. I'm really excited. It's gonna be great. Yes, I'm nervous about shutting down for that long. But it's needed. And we're also making menu improvements and adding some new additions to the bar side.
Matt says he expects the location to re-open January 27.
There are many photos -- and some video -- after the jump.
Here's a heads-up for the weekend: the Albany Society's annual Santa Speedo Sprint is this Saturday.
What, you may ask, is the Santa Speedo Sprint? Well, we could tell you about it -- but pictures from last year will really tell the story better. The proceeds from the sprint go toward supporting the Albany Damien Center.
This year's event starts "around 2 pm" on Saturday on Lark Street (get there a little early). It's a good time. And, you know, there's still time to sign up...
AOA is one of the media sponsors of this year's sprint -- that's why you've been seeing ads on the site.
Still no verdict in Bruno trial, new Saratoga police chief named, man allegedly walks out of jewelry store with $29k necklace, light rail for Saratoga?
Christopher Cole will be Saratoga Springs' next police chief. He's a 20-year veteran of the force and the son of a Saratoga cop. Incoming public safety commissioner Richard Wirth, who had protested a chief being picked before the start of his term, appeared to be happy with the selection. Ed Moore, the current chief, announced his retirement in order to save the department money -- and perhaps layoffs -- though it's unclear how much money will actually be saved. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]
RPI celebrated the the ten year tenure of president Shirley Ann Jackson this past weekend. In a speech Saturday, Jackson said the school had become "re-enrgerized, reinvigorated and refocused." And Aretha Franklin's performance at EMPAC Friday night was fantastic, apparently. [WNYT] [Troy Record] [Troy Record]
Rivers Cuomo -- of Weezer fame -- was apparently hurt when his tour bus rolled over on the Thruway near Amsterdam Sunday. The TU seems have gotten some indication that Cuomo was eventually taken to Albany Med. The bus apparently skidded after hitting some ice. [Fox23] [TU] [CapNews9]
Nicole, an employee at Albany Medical Center Foundation.
Court halts mandatory flu shots for health workers, stabbing in Glenmont, small pumpkin crop, Paterson-Schwarzenegger friendship
A state Supreme Court judge has issued a temporary halt to the state-mandated flu shots for health care workers. A handful of lawsuits, including one filed by three Albany Med nurses, argue that state Department of Health overstepped its authority in requiring the vaccinations. The state health department says it's "confident that the regulation will be upheld." [NYT] [TU] [AP/Troy Record] [WTEN]
Neil Breslin and a group of other state senators are calling for Hiram Monserrate, recently convicted of misdemeanor assault, to quit -- or get kicked out of the Senate. Breslin said that Monserrate's exit is a necessary step toward the state Senate earning back the public's trust. [TU] [AP/Troy Record]
Investors with an Albany investment company currently under federal investigation say they raised red flags about the operation more than two years ago. [TU]
Excellent weather, interesting performers and a big crowd made for some great LarkFest photos. The pic above is by B -- there are bunch of others in his Flickr photoset.
There are two more great photos -- and some video -- by two other photographers, after the jump.
We don't know if it was the weather or Moby or what, but it looked like there were more people than ever at Larkfest today. When we were there it you could barely move down the street. But no one seemed to mind much.
It was almost too crowded to get a good picture. Here are a few shots we got today. If you've got a few you want to share, pass them on.
One of the music stages at this year's LarkFest is hosting a lineup of bands from the local B3nson music collective. In anticipation of what's shaping up to be a fun day of music, the B3nson folks have released a free compilation of 17 songs.
There's a lot of good stuff in this package -- including tracks from Scientific Maps, Sgt Dunbar, We Are Jeneric, Matthew Loiacono, Beware! the Other Head of Science and a bunch of others. (Be sure to check out that new We Are Jeneric song.)
The compilation is available both as individual songs and a zip of of all the mp3s. Definitely worth the download.
The main stage lineup at LarkFest features Moby, Bell X1, Matt & Kim and Company of Thieves.
LarkFest is Saturday from 10 am to 5:30 pm.
There's also a great group of local bands lined for the second stage: Matthew Loiacono, We Are Jeneric, Scientific Maps, Barrons in the Attic, Beware! The Other Head of Science and Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned.
LarkFest is September 19.
Two women are walking along when one says to the other...
"I realized last night that every guy I have slept with has a masters degree or was working towards one.
So apparently I have an educational requirement I was unaware of..."
photo: Flickr user CarbonNYC
Tweeted @daveyrich yesterday: "@alloveralbany I just rented an apartment in center square. How bad is parking, really? Am I gonna need to sell my truck and get a car?"
We re-tweeted and a handful of people responded. Their thoughts -- and maybe yours -- after the jump.
So this weekend at Art on Lark, AOA's too-fabulous Jess Pasko got her best Tim Gunn on and joined Kristi G, fashion designers Katie Pray and Gina Ulrich and Upstate Magazine's Christa Dijstelbergen to judge Project Larkway (think Project Runway for local designers and models).
This year's designers were Amy Orr , Jill Castle and Joleen Button. Button won.
Here's a little of the inside scoop from the judges on how it went down and more pictures from the runway.
So when we heard the other day that Hodge Podge Books, the children's/young adult book shop on Lark Street was closing after 27 years, we thought "Ohhhh. It's like The Shop Around The Corner in that Meg Ryan movie. It's kind of sad."
And it is sad.
But just a little bit.
Yeah, we know, nobody cares what we had for lunch. But this may be an exception to the rule.
Last night we stopped by and heard about the newest sandwich, and today we were the first in line at lunchtime.
Crisan's $1 scoop of gelato is back.
We recommend the tiramisu flavor.
That is all.
State worker unions confront Paterson at Gideon Putnam, Murphy lead over Tedisco widens, why the Dalai Lama reconsidered, bank knocked over with electric drill, Saratoga grid could get smart, Dr. Wow
The state worker unions protested the planned job cuts outside the state Democratic Rural Conference Friday evening at the Gideon Putnam. David Paterson stopped outside the meetings to talk with the protesters -- though one union rep called the impromptu session "absolutely unproductive." Paterson later told a news conference that the unions haven't been willing to "any sort of effort that would help us balance our budget." The unions say the state save money by cutting the use of outside contractors. [Post-Star] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]
Police say the gunman in the Union St. shooting last week was the boyfriend of the murdered man's estranged wife. Police say the shooter shot himself in Niskayuna after he saw police at his apartment. They say they're not sure what motivated the incident. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The unofficial count from the New York State Board of Elections has Scott Murphy up 273 votes on Jim Tedisco in the NY20 special election. [NYS BoE]
A rep for the Dalai Lama says the Buddhist spiritual leader has decided to come to Albany because he "feels committed to supporting the expression of worthy ideals." The Dalai Lama had cancelled an earlier appearance because of the negative publicity associated with the Ethical Humanitarian Foundation, the sponsoring organization. EHF is connected to a Clifton Park executive leadership program that's been accused of cult-like tactics. [TU] [Forbes]
A plant that processes hazardous waste in Cohoes was grossly under reporting its emissions for years, according to an analysis of EPA numbers by the TU. [TU]
Police say the human skeleton found in Rotterdam near the Mohawk last week belonged to a man who was reported missing in 2005. They say they're not sure what caused the man's death. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
State police say the guy who robbed the Key Bank on Hoosick St in Troy on Friday might have used to an electric drill for the stick-up.
New York State's unemployment benefits are not indexed to inflation -- and have not been raised by the state legislature for more than a decade. [NYT]
An Albany police commander says a small group of young people are responsible for about 75 percent of gun violence in the city. [TU]
If you've strolled down Lark street after 5PM, you may have wandered into EB Essentials.
If you've strolled down Lark Street before 5PM, you may have seen some of their locally made gifts from the window, tried to get in and whimpered a little from the other side of the glass.
Yes, it's a little frustrating, but here's the deal...
So we went back and forth on posting about this because it all seemed kind of trashy and a little stupid. But the sad truth of the matter seems to be: people are having a hard time distinguishing the streets of Center Square from a bathroom. So they're just letting it go... right there... on the sidewalk and in backyards.
The latest episode of this, um, condition played out over the weekend during/after the St. Patrick's Day parade. We've heard from a handful of people in the neighborhood that many parade-goers just couldn't seem to help themselves.
And this has prompted a few questions.
Deal closes this year's state budget gap, Waterford site "a significant threat," quadriplegic bookie going to prison, ducks love french fries
A deal to close the $1.6 billion gap in the state's budget for this fiscal year passed both houses of the Legislature last night. The plan makes up the money by trimming a number of items, "sweeping" money from various accounts and raising a tax on health insurers. The current Three Men in a Room (Paterson, Silver, Smith) put the deal together behind closed doors -- and it was voted on by legislators before they had much of a chance to read it. Republican Senate minority leader Dean Skelos criticized the process, "Don't just push us out the door, shut the door and have three Democrats in a room from New York City make a determination on the economic policy of the state." The state still faces a $13 billion gap in next year's budget. [TU] [NYT] [CapNews9] [NYDN]
Both national Republican and Democratic parties are expected to focus on the special election to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's former seat in the House. Jim Tedisco officially began his campaign yesterday with a flurry of basketball metaphors. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]
The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently told Waterford that a site in the town "presents a significant threat to the environment and public health." The site, on which an old barrel cleaning business once operated, had been identified as dangerous years ago -- but a miscommunication between the federal EPA and the state DEC led to an 8-year delay in further testing. [Troy Record]
An anonymous source tells the TU there may have been an accomplice involved with the that 40-year-old murder case -- but the statute of limitations on the crime have expired. State police arrested a 62-year-old man last week after a tip re-opened the case last year. As the Saratoga County DA's office prepares for the case, it's been studying old cases because the man would have to be prosecuted under the laws in place four decades ago. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The new consignment shop on Lark Street sells secondhand clothes and local art, but it's also serving as a classroom of sorts.
Think you're funny? Why not give it a whirl at a comedy open mike?
Local comedian Greg Aidala might have just the thing for you. Folllowing in the footsteps of his monthly local comedy showcase, The Brew Ha-Ha, Aidala's started up a comedy open mike series.
It's cold. The holidays are over. There's ice and slush everywhere you look. And did we mention it's cold?
So last night we went in search of the antidote to our post-holiday deep freeze funk. And we found it--asparagus soup at the Lark Street Wine Bar and Bistro. Actually, any soup from the Lark Street Wine Bar and Bistro will work, but asparagus with white truffle oil is our favorite.
And here's why.
Pendant necklaces from Elissa Halloran.
Sure, cider donuts are great and all, but for some of us, fall-themed cocktails are a little more our taste. So when I spotted the pumpkin pietini advertised at Bombers the other night, well, I couldn't resist.
After all, I love pumpkin pie and I love cocktails, so why not combine them?
For the last five years, there's been a string of rumors about what was going into the old Larkin space at 199 Lark Street.
It's going to be a pan-Asian restaurant (whatever that is)! Nope.
A martini bar is going in! No, again.
But now it looks like there's an answer.
Sebastien sent along a link this morning to some video he shot of the Tom Morello show at Larkfest. It looks like people were having a good time.
There are a handful of other Larkfest clips up on Youtube, including more Tom Morello, Eric Hutchinson and seven-year-old Cristo Lewis singing... Johnny Cash.
Yes, we admit it, we've been spending too much at Crisan these days. The call of the $1 gelato is too strong to resist.
And of course, while we're there, why not sample a little pastry to go with? (Did we mention our lack of discipline?)
Well, we think we've found a favorite. It's a tiny little chocolate number that's as sweet as its name.
OK, we're not martini connoisseurs . We've been known to order them shaken, not stirred, straight up with a twist just because we've heard it before. But we're also not fond of sticky fruity drinks with lots of juice and umbrellas in them. If you like a summer drink that's dry and cool with just a hint of citrus and a few bubbles, you may just find your new favorite cocktail at DeJohn's on Lark Street.
That's where we found ours.
Al-Baraki, the popular Lebanese restaurant on River St in Troy, opened a second location this week on Lark St in Albany. After being beckoned in off the sidewalk Tuesday evening for a few samples, we asked owner Paul Chedrawee why he set up shop on Lark. "Because it seemed like half my customers over in Troy were from this neighborhood," he told us.
And sure enough, not two minutes later, in walked a regular customer from the Troy location who lives just around the block from the new place.
Tea lovers, you can rejoice. Albany's now got a place just for you. You'll no longer have to settle for the coffee house scene, because the Good Leaf Tea Company has opened a real, honest-to-goodness tea house on Lark Street.
The folks of Good Leaf already run a shop and café at the At the Warehouse, not to mention an online store, but now they've expanded the business with another shop and cafe in Center Square. The cafe, which opened just over a week and a half ago, occupies the space that once housed Lark Tattoo at 274 Lark.
Move over Schoolhouse Rock, The Mathematicians are taking "math rock" to a whole new level.
Yes, we said it. Math rock.
It's coming to Art on Lark. And we promise it's far cooler than it sounds.
It's coming--really it is. The wine shop on Lark Street just got the thumbs up from the liquor board. Empire wines, a popular neighborhood shop, outgrew the space at the corner of State and Lark about a year ago. New York State liquor laws prevented them from owning two stores, so they were forced to shut down the Lark Street location. New owner Mark Brogna has been waiting for approval since January. He's been keeping the neighborhood updated on the progress with signs in the window. Today we noticed that the crossed fingers switched to thumbs up. Hang on to your corkscrews, Mark says there will be wine before the summer is out. (Thanks Colleen!)
It's a bakery! No, it's an art gallery! Hey kids -- it's a bakery AND an art gallery. And the art is edible. Crisan, the long gestating bakery/art gallery on Lark Street finally opened its doors this morning.
Remember The Larkin? Yeah, that great place next to Elda's on Lark Street with the old
school booths and bar and the great little music space upstairs. Downtown residents have
been missing this favorite neighborhood joint for nearly five years. Meanwhile, the building at 199 Lark has been vacant. But maybe not for much longer.
A "long picture" from the scene outside Ben and Jerry's today for Free Cone Day.
Jackbit and Joltz was kind of a curiosity months before it opened. Washington Park and Center Square dwellers have been wandering past the former Bryn Mawr Book Shop on Lark Street since last spring, wondering about the franchise-style "coming soon" signs. "See you in June", "See You in September" and finally "Hoping for Australia Day." Well, Australia Day (January 26th) finally came, and the Aussie themed sandwich/energy drink bar (yep, really) opened for business. And pretty much every day since we've noticed people coming to AOA in search of information about the place. So we grabbed our dilly bags, hopped in the bog and set out in search of tucker. Here are a few tips we picked up for those venturing "down under"...
Four years ago Albany's Lark Street became home to Antica Enotica. You know, "The Wine Bar" (yeah, no one else used its real name either). It was a cool little basement hangout with fireplaces, reliable tapas and good wine. Well, the place has been sold. And in this case, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Looks like the little wine shop at the corner of State and Lark will reopen. Neighborhood Resident Mark Brogna missed Capital Wine and Spirits as much as the rest of us. But he decided to do something about it. Brogna was one of the owners of the old Bryn Mawr book shop (soon to be the home of the Aussie themed coffee and sandwich bar Jackbit and Joltz). He bought the business and says he'll be opening it as Capital Wines and Liquors as soon as the license comes through. Yes!