Items tagged with 'Latham'
Quickly noted: Elevation Burger finally opened in Latham this week. The location for the new-school burger chain in the Fresh Market Commons shopping plaza -- at Route 155 an Route 9 -- has been in the works since 2015.
There's been a boom in more-upscale, fast-casual burger chains lately: BurgerFi, Smashburger, Burger21 have all opened locations in this area in recent years. And they've joined Five Guys and locals such as Crave and Juicy Burgers.
Elevation Burger's claim to differentiation is that the beef for its burgers is "100% organic, grass-fed, free-range." The company says its chicken, bacon, and the beans and grains for its veggie burgers are also organic.
We haven't had a chance to try the food. (Maybe you have?) But we might have to get a crew together and do another tasting tour.
Exit 6 off the Northway is a surprising culinary destination in the Capital Region.
Not hip by any means, nor safely walkable, there are unexpected bright spots of good food that makes one reconsider the notion that the suburbs are inherently void of worthwhile restaurants. Heading west off the exit, find Euro Deli and Ayalada. East, you'll come upon Tipsy Moose and A La Shanghai.
Just across the street is Celadon Thai, a family-run jewel that serves up generous portions of pad thai and fiery curries that glimpse authentic cuisine. Chief among those offerings is tom kha, a classic soup that alone could make Exit 6 a food destination
Some people say the Capital Region food scene is behind the times, a decade behind the trends in major metropolitan areas like New York City and San Francisco.
That might be true. I think the decade span is waning, though, as social media keeps us connected to the food of elsewhere with unprecedented speed. Nevertheless, I don't mind if we are behind the curve a bit, for it keeps us from going through the same growing pains and trial-and-error slip-ups that more risk-tolerant, innovative cities experience.
Take food courts, for instance. Why not let people like Corey Nelson (of Troy Kitchen) or Richard Rosetti (of Galleria 7 Market) go and suss out what does and doesn't work other places so we can benefit and keep our bellies full of good food here?
A recent lunch at Galleria 7 Market, in Latham, cemented that thought for me. Just gazing into the oyster case at Hooked Seafood Co., which operates from the market, delivered me the option to try a fresh St. Simon oyster -- a perfect amuse bouche and gentle enticement to a lunch of blackened fish on a fresh roll.
The fast-casual concept is the hot ticket in restaurants these days. It is why places like Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and the upcoming Troy Kitchen continue to flourish across the dining scene. Sitting down and ordering with a server is so old-hat. We Americans are a busy bunch! Give us quality food on the go and don't make us wait too long for it.
But one cuisine that is unrepresented in the local fast-casual marketplace is Italian fare (save for pizza). Is it possible to get a hearty bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with haste?
Bellini's Counter -- the fast-casual offshoot of the local Bellini's Italian restaurant chain -- seems to think so. And they are willing to bet that the food you've come to expect from more formal sit-down restaurants can be had just as easily in this quick-serve format.
I think it's fair to say Bellini's is cashing in on that bet.
The latest local entry into the field of fast casual burger spots -- BurgerFi -- opens today in Latham.
"I thought it was a great concept," Angelo Mazzone said Tuesday during a media preview. The local hospitality group king is one of the backers of the local franchise, along with the Lia family (of auto group fame). "Everything is 100 percent fresh. We don't even have a freezer here. So things come in fresh. The produce is all fresh. We make our own fresh onion rings. We make french fries from potatoes that we cut ourselves. The beef is 100 percent natural, no preservatives, no antibiotics, nothing like that."
BurgerFi already has more than 70 locations around the country. And the local franchise backers have plans for more locations both here in the Capital Region and other parts of upstate.
Here a few pics from the Latham location, along with a few bits about the burger boom.
Lauren has set out to survey a handful of brunch spots around the Capital Region for a short series.
I'll admit it. I am one of those people that tends to pass over suburban eateries, especially if they're located inside of a strip mall or plaza. In that way, I have become an urbanite, gravitating towards the downtown areas in the Capital Region. The only problem with this perspective is that you can miss out on some interesting places that are still locally owned.
An example of such a place is Tala, a Mazzone Hospitality restaurant located on New Loudon Road in Latham. I'm glad I abandoned my city preferences and visited this modern, bistro-style restaurant as part of my brunch investigation. Plus, as this was the suburbs, there was no Sunday morning test of parallel parking skill.
The new Sonic in Latham opens today, location announced on its Facebook page. It's on Route 7 at Wade Road (map). Hours are 10 am to 10 pm this Monday -- regular hours, 6:30 am to midnight, start Tuesday.
This week is a "soft" opening for the location. There's a grand opening lined up for next week.
Latham is the fast food chain's first location in the Capital Region. It's said previously it has plans to open a total of eight locations around the area.
In years past Sonic often got mentioned as a chain people would like to see here. Maybe they were suffering from limeade deficiency.
By the way: Chick-fil-A has officially mentioned that it's scouting the Albany area for potential sites. [Biz Review]
A moment of confession: I do not like yogurt.
Growing up, I would watch my mother spoon plain, tangy yogurt topped with fresh fruit across her lips as her morning meal. Today I find myself close with someone who revels in the thought of thick Greek yogurt topped with local granola and stewed rhubarb.
I just can't get behind it. For reasons of taste or texture, it weirds me out (and I say this shamefully, as someone who has made a life around food). The same holds true for frozen yogurt. Many friends have prodded me to try frozen yogurt as a means to hop on the yogurt bandwagon, but it all left me underwhelmed and questioning the appeal.
That is, until I reluctantly tried Ayelada's frozen yogurt in Latham.
Like Darth Vader realizing the error of his ways, or Elizabeth Bennett finally conceding to the appeal of Mr. Darcy, I now feel compelled to change my position.
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.
The fast food chain says it's planning a June opening for the location. From a press release: "In advance of the June grand opening, the site will undergo a $2 million remodel to transform it into a state-of-the-art SONIC Drive-In complete with traditional drive-in stalls, a drive-thru window and indoor dining. The location will employ close to 50 local Albany residents in a variety of jobs, including the iconic skating Carhops."
Sonic says it's planning at least 8 locations around the Capital Region over the next seven years in "Albany, Latham, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, Amsterdam and the surrounding areas."
The chain has been looking at the Albany area since at least a year ago. It's been moving into upstate New York over the last few years. It now has locations in Watertown, Rochester, Binghamton, and the Middletown/Newburgh area, with Syracuse and Buffalo in the pipeline. Last year the company said it had plans for 27 locations around upstate. Nationwide there are more 3,500 Sonics.
Sonic is fast food -- burgers, fries, hot dogs. It's one of those things that people have often mentioned they've wanted to open here. Now they can mark it off their lists. (And watch as a We Want Chick-fil-A sleeper cell activates amid the limeade-induced chaos in order to recruit new members.)
Fortunately for me, eating pizza has rarely been a case of taking whatever cold slice might be left in the box from the night before. The Capital Region is flush with pizza options, so it comes as no surprise that the first meal of the day be covered by the pizza category.
How do you make pizza suitable for breakfast? You put an egg on it. Some iterations, like the Eggs in Purgatory pizza from More Perecca's, rely on coal-fired crust to support spicy, house-made tomato sauce with a few poached eggs on top. (Sidenote: I'm fairly certain EiP pizza is the perfect hangover cure.)
Others, like the breakfast pizza at Bella Napoli in Latham, forgo the sauce altogether and make the eggs the star of the show.
And even though sauce is my favorite part of the pizza, I'm OK with that.
Sonic is planning to open its first location in the Albany area in spring 2015 in Latham, the fast food chain announced Tuesday. It says it's planning to ultimately open eight locations around the Capital Region.
Press release blurbage:
[Franchisee] Fast Eats, LLC, led by an experienced service industry team, is already fast at work on their first location in Latham with expected opening in the spring of 2015. Within seven years, Fast Eats expects to open eight drive-in locations in the New York Capital District, including Albany, Latham, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Clifton Park, Amsterdam and the surrounding areas.
A spokesperson said the company didn't yet have officially confirmed details of the exact Latham location.
Sonic has been looking at this area since at least early this year -- back in February the company told us it was in talks with potential franchisees about setting up in this area.
The chain has been expanding through New York State over the last few years. It has locations in Watertown, Rochester, Binghamton, and the Middletown/Newburgh area, with Syracuse and Buffalo in the pipeline. The company says it currently has plans for 27 locations around upstate. Nationwide there are more 3,500 Sonics.
Sonic locations are set up like drive-ins. The company is based in Oklahoma, with a large concentration of its locations in the southeast and southern midwest. So it's planning some adjustments for its upstate locations, including indoor dining areas.
Sherry Lynn's Gluten-Free in Latham -- which for years has been a source for items such as doughnuts and mac 'n cheese for people who can't eat gluten -- is moving and changing a bit. From a post on its Facebook page (link added):
As everyone knows our lease is up at our current location. Our plan was to purchase a building and continue. Unfortunately with the growing competition offering gluten free in the area there is little support for the restaurant portion of our business, being a small family business we are unable to compete. So we we will be closing mid December ( exact date unknown ). We have found a location at 11 Herbert Drive, Latham, NY 12110, where we will be able to continue offering safe gluten free baked goods, but will not continue the restaurant at this location. We are getting a late start on fitting out this building so we will be closed for sometime. Please help us spread the word and share this on your wall. we will keep everyone posted as soon as we know closing date and reopen date. Thank you for your continued support.
In the last few years there seems to have been a significant upswing in awareness of celiac disease and the number of people avoiding gluten, and restaurants and supermarkets have reacted accordingly. It's not uncommon now to see the menu at a restaurant include at least a few items that are specifically marked as gluten free.
And while that's good for people who are allergic to gluten, it sounds like the spread of gf options has cut into Sherry Lynn's business. One of the complications of a niche going mainstream.
Earlier on AOA: A few years back we compiled a listing of local gluten-free restaurant options (2011)
exterior photo via Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free FB
The owners of Hoffman's Playland, the half-a-century-old children's amusement park in Latham, announced this summer that they're planning to retire and, unless someone steps in to take it over, the park may close after next season. Tim Dawkins is one of many Capital Region residents who grew up with Hoffman's -- he even worked there for five summers.
In the summer of 1989 I was 9 years old, and I was playing baseball as a member of the Cohoes Little League.
It had been a rough season.
Early on I was hit in the head with a baseball at practice, and it ruined me. I was conditioned to jump out of the batter's box. I hadn't gotten a hit all season. I most certainly would have quit, but my dad believes that once you start something, you finish it. Since quitting wasn't an option, I knew I needed motivation.
That's when it hit me: Hoffman's Playland. I absolutely LOVED going to Hoffman's. I didn't know very many kids who didn't love Hoffman's. That was the pot at the end of my rainbow (I was 9, people). I vividly remember announcing this epic idea to my parents: if I got a hit, they had to take me to Hoffman's and give me an entire book of 25 tickets all to myself! My parents were awesome, but also -- I think -- pretty desperate to see me get a hit.
They went for the plan.
Fast forward several weeks. I got my first hit of the season. My only hit of the season. As I safely made it to first base (thanks to an overthrow by the shortstop), I shouted across the field to my mom in the stands, "Hey mom! We're going to Hoffman's!"
Cheesesteaks might as well grow on trees. Even though we are more than 200 miles north of Philadelphia, this signature dish from the City of Brotherly Love is as ubiquitous in the Capital Region as it is across the country.
And why not? It's a classic combination of beef, sauteed onions, and cheese. Although there are some philistines who don't care for onions and order their cheesesteaks "witout."
But most of these sandwiches -- even though they may look like Philly cheesesteaks, and are called Philly cheesesteaks -- sadly are not Philly cheesesteaks.
There is one critical component that transforms a simple everyday steak sandwich into the classic made famous at joints like Jim's and Pat's and Geno's. And luckily for us, the good people at Latham's Philly Bar and Grill are in on the secret.
With the demolition of the Starlite Theatre in Latham this week, it seemed like a good time to pull up this photo Sebastien took there a few years back. He has a good photoset of the place as it existed in 2009, decayed, performers such as Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Milton Berle and Johnny Cash just a memory. [Fox23]
photo: Sebastien Barre
The New York Court of Appeals -- the state's highest court -- ruled today that Nite Moves, a Latham strip club, is not exempt from paying sales taxes on cover fees and private dances. Attorneys for the company that owns Nite Moves had argued the club shouldn't have to pay the taxes because dances at the club qualified for a "dramatic or musical arts performances" tax exemption.
From the 4-3 majority opinion for In the Matter of 677 New Loudon Corporation v. State of New York Tax Appeals Tribunal:
Clearly, it is not irrational for the Tax Tribunal to decline to extend a tax exemption to every act that declares itself a "dance performance." If ice shows presenting pairs ice dancing performances, with intricately choreographed dance moves precisely arranged to musical compositions, were not viewed by the Legislature as "dance" entitled a tax exemption, surely it was not irrational for the Tax Tribunal to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status. To do so would allow the exemption to swallow the general tax since many other forms of entertainment not specifically listed in the regulation will claim their performances contain tax-exempt rehearsed, planned or choreographed activity.
The majority opinion could pretty much be paraphrased as, Stop being ridiculous -- you know that is not what the law is intended to do. Judges Carmen Ciparick, Victoria Graffeo, Eugene Pigott, and Theodore Jones made up the majority.
But the dissenting opinion's response is essentially, Yeah, well, you're being a bit of a snob -- and it doesn't really matter what the legislature intended, it matters what the law actually says. And, as written, it says a dance is a dance.
As it happens, the dissent -- by Judge Robert Smith -- is more fun to read. Here's a clip:
Price Chopper announced today details for the "concept store" it's building at the location of its Latham store. The Chopper is pitching the project as "the most ambitious project ever undertaken" by the supermarket chain.
From the press release:
The most notable new feature will be a multi-faceted, full-service culinary offer in the form of 16 themed, fast-casual/cooked-fresh-to-order dining experiences, accompanied by in-store seating for 140 guests and seasonal outdoor seating. Among the moderately priced dining areas will be a Ben & Bill's NYC-Style deli; a Chef's Grill where a variety of specialty dishes - from steak to mussels to seafood to antipasto - will be prepared fresh for each guest; a Mexican themed restaurant featuring international flavors; a classic pizzeria, a meat rotisserie offering succulent pork and beef, in addition to poultry; an old-fashioned sub shop; a New England style fish fry restaurant, and a full-service salad and vegetarian/vegan bar, just to name a few. Other specialty restaurant concepts still being finalized will be unveiled in the coming months.
Also planned are a complete cooking school in which local/regional and national chefs and specialty instructors will teach recipes, techniques, trends and meal solutions for classes, parties and special events, the growing and harvesting of some fresh produce right in the store, and the building of a drive-through pharmacy.
More details and concept images are after the jump.
Price Chopper aiming to complete the store sometime in late 2013/early 2014. The company says it will also makeover eight of its other stores in the area over the next two year. Counting recently finished store remodels -- like the one in the Slingerlands -- PC says it will put almost $90 million into upgrading Capital Region stores.
Of course, all this comes in the context of much increased supermarket competition in the Capital Region:
+ ShopRite just opened its third store -- in Slingerlands, right across from a Price Chopper -- has plans for a fourth, and seems intent on going head-to-head with the Chopper.
+ Hannaford has been remodeling stores.
+ The Fresh Market is now here.
+ Trader Joe's opened this year.
+ Honest Weight Food Co-op is moving ahead with its new location.
+ Whole Foods is planning to open at Colonie Center sometime in early 2014.
+ And there's also the unnamed, unconfirmed chain that's reportedly been looking at the Latham Circle Mall site.
The competition is forcing everyone to step up their games.
Daniel B. stopped by the scene outside the new Joe's Crab Shack in Latham this morning. He says there were well over 100 people camped out at 9 am -- and the line wrapped around three sides of the building. (It's at the Latham Farms location, where the Dakota used to be, on Troy Schenectady Rd, just east of the SPUI.) He passed along the video above.
The chain restaurant opened today and was giving away "FREE CRAB for a Year" to the first 100 people in line.
We're not sure how the hula hoops fit in. Update: Brian, who was one of the first people in line, emails that the hoops were part of contests and other first-day festivities.
But reincarnation may be just ahead. A development group is proposing to demolish a large part of the Latham Circle Mall and build again as the "The Shoppes at Latham Circle" -- with retail, restaurants, entertainment and -- gasp -- maybe a supermarket.
Here's the outline of the plan...
Hey, have you heard the rumor about Wegmans coming to Albany? At the Latham Circle Mall? At the First Prize Center?
Variations of this rumor have been circulating since at least the beginning of the year. We've heard from it about 100 different people (an exaggeration, but not by much). And they all heard from a guy who knows a guy who... you get the picture.
The latest version surfaced Tuesday and it goes like this: the big W has bought the Latham Circle Mall -- it's a done deal -- and Wegmans will start demolition/construction soon. Since then, we've watched search referral traffic for "wegmans albany" come rolling in. The word has obviously gotten around.
Well, for what it's worth, Jo Natale -- a spokesperson for Wegmans -- told us today that the company has not bought the Latham Circle Mall property.
But that story is just so delicious. And it's easy to see why -- it follows the recipe for a juicy rumor...
The historic farmhouse at the end of the runway at Albany International Airport runway sat vacant and in disrepair for years.
It had once served as a private home, a post office, a town hall, an inn, and was where a plan was hatched for the infamous Cherry Hill murder. It was even moved -- the whole house, moved -- 600 feet, at one point.
The house has now found a new life as the home of The Tailored Tea -- a tea room for breakfast, lunch, brunch, afternoon tea... and plane watching.
Today's wildlife moment: a posing fisher.
During our email exchange earlier this week with scientist Roland Kays, he passed along two recent clips his wildlife cameras had captured in the Colonie. The first, embedded above, is of a fisher striking a pose in front of a camera just off Sand Creek Road (we're guessing this is the general area):
This camera was ... in a slim strip of forest that connects 2 larger wooded areas (aka core areas). Our GPS tracking of fishers suggested that they used this strip as a movement corridor to get between the larger fragments, we are now testing that by setting cameras out.
We've linked to it before, but here's Kays' "Scientist at Work" series at NYT about tracking fishers in Latham.
The second clip, of raccoons "jogging" over a footbridge near the Hilton Garden Inn at ALB, is after the jump.
I would like to know if somebody can recommend a good, clean laundromat in the Latham- Troy area where we can wash a large, white comforter?
If have a suggestion for Jeff, great, please share. And if you happen to have a favorite laundromat outside the Latham-Troy area, we'd love to hear about that, too.
photo: Flickr user AlishaV
A man died during a struggle with Colonie police this morning at the Gold's Gym in Latham, as the Times Union reported.
It sounds like there were a handful of people in the gym at the time, and a few firsthand reports have popped up online -- which describe a crazy scene.
First from Crystal Beauchemin (@Beau511) on Twitter:
Wow: guy who was flipping out& knocking machines over at my gym this AM then tazed by police...died...&I was working out 10ft away
A string of her tweets describing the incident is embedded after the jump.
Then he ran down the stairs, backwards mind you, and ran through the lower level of the gym, screaming and making a couple loops before going out the door. Somebody tried locking the doors after that, but he stormed back in, continuing on with his rage. Luckily someone managed to dial 911.
Meanwhile, he went behind the front desk and into the office, trashing everything.
He went back out into the gym, knocking over free weights, display walls, and huge weight machines. By this time, the police began arriving, with one of the first responders in being a woman. The enraged man spotted her and began going after her, so right as he went to approach her, she tased him.
She reports it then looked like the man had a heart attack. The Troy Record reports the man got treatment for cardiac arrest, and both the Record and the TU report he was later pronounced dead at Albany Med.
Chuck passed along this photo of the Latham checkerboard water tank being dismantled this past week. He has a photo series from the tank's last days on his blog.
The tank is now de-checkered and down. So long, landmark.
Earlier on AOA: Farewell, Latham checkerboard water towers
photo: Chuck Miller
Update: Colonie says the dismantling has been postponed until there's warmer weather. [Troy Record]
If you're driving through Latham this week, tip your cap to the checkerboard towers.
Demolition of Latham's landmark water towers is scheduled to start today.
The FAA has said the towers have to be removed because they're on the flight path of a runway at the Albany International Airport.
The new configuration of the Exit 6 interchange in Latham opened today. It's the Capital Region's first single point urban interchange -- or, as its friends like to call it, a SPUI.
We stopped today around 5 pm to check it out. Traffic appeared to be moving through the intersection smoothly. Watching it for a few minutes, the flow has a certain grace to it, as the gently arcing lines of traffic slip past each other.
About that. Driving through the broad open area of the intersection didn't feel weird, but we could see how some people might not feel totally comfortable at first (though, really, it's not bad... just different). The state DOT has posted directions on how to the use the intersection, along with a diagram.
There are actually a few interesting bits in there. For example, the traffic lights on the "slip ramps" are there only for pedestrians (a pedestrian has to push the button to activate them).
The interchange isn't completely finished. But it looks good. More photos after the jump.
Update: Now with hot SPUI video.
(Thanks to Wendy to for the heads-up!)
You would have thought they were giving away shopping bags full of diamonds. Yesterday's grand opening of the region's first Fresh Market was a seething mass of humanity.
Traffic was snarled up for blocks at the intersection of routes 9 and 155, and their jumbo-sized parking lot was filled beyond capacity. There wasn't even a shopping cart to be found.
On one hand that was probably a good thing, since all of the people inside made it difficult to move around, and the checkout queues stretched all the way across the store. But on the other hand, The Fresh Market shopping carts seem to be a key part of the experience.
Just a reminder that Exit 6 on the Northway in Latham will be closed this weekend for construction on the SPUI. The ramps to/from I-87 are scheduled to close at 10 pm Friday night and open back up at 6 am Monday. There will also be lane closures on Route 7.
In other words: avoid, if you can. Here's a list of detours.
This weekend's work on the SPUI "marks a major milestone in the project and the approximate halfway point in this year's work," according to the state Department of Transportation. Barring any "unforeseen issues," the agency is projecting the interchanged will be open in the new Single Point Urban Interchange configuration "sometime in October 2010." The whole project is scheduled to be finished in 2011. Total cost: $41.9 million.
The New York Law Journal reports that a New York State tax appeals tribunal ruled this week that Nite Moves, the
strip club adult juice bar on Route 9 in Latham doesn't qualify for a sales tax exemption for the "dramatic arts."
The ruling is posted online and it's actually kind of interesting. The owner of the club hired a cultural anthropologist from the University of Maryland as an expert witness (yes, she visited the club and examined videos). From the ruling (emphasis added):
Dr. Hanna described the exotic dance routines variously as:
somewhat "risqué" or "naughty" adult play, a fanciful teasing that transgresses social decorum and dress codes in an ambience (sic) ranging from sedate to carnival-like. Exotic dance is erotic fantasy and communication with a display of nudity, disclosure of more skin and different movements than are seen in public, the use of high heels (often six inch stiletto platform shoes) and incorporation of jazz-like, improvisatory movements in routines (Exhibit "7," p.7, ¶ 4).
Dr. Hanna stated, based on her review of the three DVDs that these naughty, risque, playful, teasing, erotic, nude performances at Nite Moves were "live, dramatic choreographed performances" (Tr., p. 94 [lines 14-15]). Dr. Hanna concluded that:
the presentations at Nite Moves unequivocally were live dramatic choreographic performances. They are in a theater that shows only dance routines. The theater actually is a little bit like an off Broadway theater. It's small and it's intimate, it's like theater-in-the-round (Tr., p. 94 [lines 13-19]).
Yep, it's like theater-in-the-round. As the New York Law Journal reports, Dr. Hanna's findings actually persuaded an administrative law judge last month, but the tax appeals panel wasn't buying it.
The ruling also includes details about the economics of the club (the dancers are independent contractors who "rent" the facility).
Update: WNYT reports the club owner says he'll appeal the ruling.
Knowing Dunkin' Donuts was just not going to cut it, I embarked on a two-day doughnut tour of Albany and Troy, eating my way through the best of the best bakeries around.
After the jump, check out whose doughnuts were able to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Washington Ave Y closing, track season at Saratoga threatened, little hope for on-time budget, police say teen party caused $200k in damage
The Washington Ave YMCA will close March 31, according to a letter dated March 11 from Capital District YMCA president David Brown. The letter cites the $400,000 annual loss from the Washington Ave location and calls the decision to close the branch "very painful and difficult." The Y has said the location has been losing money for the last two decades. [Save the Y Facebook] [TU] *
A state police report on the fatal police car crash on Madison Ave in Albany last summer concludes that both drivers were at fault, according to the APD. The primary fault was laid with the civilian driver, who the report concludes failed to yield to the oncoming police car. The driver has said she didn't hear the car's siren (the report concluded the car's siren was on). The report says "secondary contributing factor" to the crash was the "failure to drive with reasonable care for all persons using the highway" on the part of APD officer Christopher Orth. [Troy Record] [WTEN] [TU] [Fox23]
Leaders of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc say "there will be no Saratoga race meet this summer" if that state doesn't find a way to get $15 million to NYRA -- either by fixing the bankrupt NYC OTB or finding a new winning bidder for the Aqueduct racino contract. Saratoga business owners are anxiously watching the situation. [NYTB] [TU] [WTEN]
Potential bidders for the Aqueduct racino apparently believe that the contract is step towards the legalization of casino gambling in New York State. [NYT]
State police say a man pulled over for driving the wrong way on 787 Saturday afternoon had a blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit. [WNYT] [YNN] CapNews9 is now YNN
Weird and difficult budget process could be ahead, jury selection in Raucci trial, RPI knocking down presidents house, man robs supermarket with a note
Pundits say David Paterson's now-lame duck status could be the beginning of a very weird and difficult state budget process. That has some people -- notably Sheldon Silver -- calling for lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch to handle the budget negotiations. Meanwhile, the head of the state Democratic Party called Andrew Cuomo "all but the presumptive nominee" for governor. [AP/Post-Star] [NYDN] [TU]
John Sweeney pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI Friday afternoon. As part of the deal, he's up for 30 days in jail -- and he'll have to wear an alcohol monitor on his ankle after he's released. He'll also have to do 300 hours of community service. [Daily Gazette $] [Saratogian] [TU] [WNYT]
Jury selection is scheduled to start today in the trial of Steven Raucci. The pool of potential jurors for Schenectady County Court has been doubled to 675 this week. Raucci faces 26 criminal charges, including arson and terrorism. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6]
The construction of SPUI at Exit 6 on the Northway is set to start back up in March -- and it looks there will be delays. Lots of delays.
The DOT says it will be closing three lanes of the Rt 7 bridge. That should constrict things considerably for the 45,000 cars that pass through that point every day. The DOT is also planning a handful of weekend closures of on/off ramps at the exit, starting in March. [WTEN] [Fox23]
What the state DOT is calling a "major road work event" began this week on Route 7 near Exit 6 on the Northway. The project has temporarily re-routed Route 7 west of the Northway.
If last night's traffic is any indication, the situation will be a mess all week. The westbound traffic was backed up into the box for the intersection for the off-ramp from I-87N. And people were being less than conscientious about clearing the intersection. There was honking.
You might want to avoid that stretch if you can. Route 155/Albany-Shaker (Exit 4) will take you around the south side of the airport and drop you off beyond the construction on Route 7.
Earlier on AOA: It's pronounced "spoo-ee"
The long-developing Chipotle in Latham is tentatively scheduled to open November 6, according to company spokesman Chris Arnold. He says the date "could still change a bit."
The restaurant will be located at the intersection of Route 7 and Wade Rd.
The Capital Region's first Chipotle opened in Wilton this past April. There's also a Clifton Park location planned -- Arnold says it "looks like it will open the first part of December."
Arnold says both openings will be accompanied by special promotions. When the Wilton location opened, the company gave away free burritos.
We think the food tastes pretty good, too.
Espada's son resigning from Senate job, sheriff's deputy arrested, council members got ghost tickets, Novella says she's changed, Skidmore's rep up in smoke
Pedro Espada says his son will be resigning the $120k/year state Senate job that was created for him. The resignation comes after Andrew Cuomo's office said it was looking into whether the hiring violated state ethics laws. It also came out yesterday that Pedro the Younger apparently had not been showing up for his new job. Big Pedro said last night the resignation was "appropriate," though he continued to insist the hiring had not been nepotism. [TU] [NYT] [NY Post] [Daily Politics]
Also among the state Senate Democrats' recent hires: a former member of the governor's staff who was let go after the state Inspector General's office described him as "immature," "irresponsible" and "ill-suited." [TU]
A Saratoga County Sheriff's deputy was arrested Tuesday night after a woman accused him of forcing her into a sex act with him. The sheriff's department says the deputy was on duty in his uniform -- and the woman in his patrol car -- when the alleged act occurred (the Gazette says it was oral). The deputy and woman apparently already knew each other. [TU] [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star]
Colonie supervisor Paula Mahan says the town's $19.5 million deficit has almost been cut in half. The special one-time deficit reduction tax accounted for $5.5 million. Mike Hoblock, Mahan's Republican opponent for the supervisor position, questioned whether the town was really that far in the hole to start. [CBS6] [CapNews9] [TU]
Paterson says he will force Senate into session, judge snagged in DWI sweep, bristling at being New York's pay toilet, vinyl records store opens in Schenectady
David Paterson says he will call the state Senate into special session tomorrow if the body doesn't get to work today. Said Paterson yesterday of all the drama: "Over the last couple of weeks, the senators' conduct has been laughable." Paterson says Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman would preside over the special session -- a provision that some say could be unconstitutional or create a conflict of interest. The session would focus on "emergency" issues such as the sale tax extension for some counties. Not on that list: same-sex marriage, though Paterson says he intends for the Senate to vote on the bill before the summer break. [TU] [NYDN] [PolitickerNY] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
Two things that might prompt Senators to start moving: they can't hook up their cronies with patronage jobs until the situation's resolved; and all their pork is currently locked in the barrel. [TU] [TU]
Police say an Albany County family court judge was snagged as part of the county-wide drunk driving sweep last Thursday. Green Island police say the judge tried to evade a checkpoint at the Troy-Green Island Bridge and led police on a short chase. [TU] [Troy Record]
The Albany Police Department is reportedly trying to fire two members of the force -- the detective accused of driving drunk through Albany into Bethlehem in February; and the sergeant who's been accused of trying to cover for the detective. [TU]
Sebastien's ongoing urban decay tour of the Capital Region recently made a stop at the old Starlight Music Theatre in Latham (there's a whole photoset).
To say this place has seen better days is an understatement -- Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Milton Berle and Johnny Cash all played there at one point.
photo: Sebastien B
Update: We've created a listing of Capital Region gluten-free restaurant options.
Let's face it - food allergies and dietary restrictions kind of, well, suck. When you're eating out, you don't really want to make an issue of it -- but at the same time, being stuck with a plain iceberg salad again can get a little tedious.
I never made it out to Sherry Lynn's old place in Brunswick -- but I'd been waiting patiently for several months for this new, larger business in Latham.
The service is a little slow, but the selection is pretty impressive. And some of the gluten free treats I tasted were yummy enough to share with wheat-eating friends. If you're -- you know-- inclined to share.
I don't think I've ever been to a baby shower where I haven't given the same gift someone else is giving.
Which is why I was immediately ready to stock up for the half-dozen moms-to-be I know when I saw these adorable ribbon-adorned baby bodysuits, blankets, and burp cloths at Clearly Yours in Latham.
State worker unions talk trash about Paterson, special election absentee ballot count starts, big new contract for Siena basketball coach, Troy dog park become partisan issue
The heads of the two biggest state worker unions, CSEA and PEF, met with David Paterson yesterday about the planned layoffs and it appears not much happened -- except for some trash talking. CSEA president Danny Donohue said the governor "needs a good psychiatrist or at least he should share the drugs that he's on because he's not making any sense to any of our members." Paterson's people called Donohue's remarks "inappropriate" and said they "reflect a lack of respect for the taxpayers of New York." The two unions are also upset that Paterson tried to go over their heads by sending a letter directly to state workers. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [Biz Review]
The "long, tedious" count of the absentee ballots in the 20th Congressional District special election has started. Every ballot is being examined by an election worker and observers from both campaigns. An elections commissioner says the process could take as long as three weeks. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Post-Star]
State police and animal protection groups raided a horse farm in Coxsackie yesterday and found 177 malnourished horses. The animals belong to trainer Ernie Paragallo, whose horses have won more than $20 million in purse money over the last 12 years. The condition of Paragallo's horses has been a concern of animal groups since at least 2007. [TU] [NYT] [NYT]
David Paterson says he's planning to introduce legislation that would make same-sex marriages legal in New York. Previous bills have passed in the Assembly, but stalled in the state Senate. [Gannett/TU]