Items tagged with 'Washington Park'
Quick follow up on the plan for the Albany skatepark, from a packed public meeting about it Thursday evening:
+ The current plan is to get a plan. As Albany city recreation commissioner Jonathan Jones told the crowd: "This is in the infancy stage."
The city of Albany announced Thursday that a skate park is being planned for Washington Park. And there's a public info session about it lined up for Thursday, November 13 from 6-8 pm at Bleecker Stadium. From a press release:
Department of Recreation staff will provide a brief overview of the planning effort and an introduction the city's vision for the proposed skateboard park at Washington Park. The public is invited to provide suggestions on issues, impacts and considerations that should be addressed in the creation of a draft plan and draft environmental impact statement.
People unable to attend the meeting may provide written comments by Friday, November 28, 2014 to: Elisabeth Draper, Deputy Commissioner, City of Albany Department of Recreation, 7 Hoffman Ave, Albany, NY 12209.
Draper* says the city is looking at converting four currently underutilized tennis courts into the skatepark. That location -- "The Blue Banks" -- has been used for Go Skateboarding Day events in the past.
A skate park for Albany has been on the wish list of a lot of skaters for a long time. As Dylan Longton, the local organizer of Go Skateboarding Day, pointed out to us last year, skaters get hassled for skating at places like the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, but the city lacks a place where it's explicitly allowed.
"I'm stoked on the movement finally," Longton said to us Thursday via text, adding he'd like to offer input on the design of the park. "[The] location is perfect and a lot of skateparks are made on old washed up tennis courts and the way the Blue Banks are it is already a great foundation to have something to offer for all styles of skating and bmxing."
Added Longton in a follow-up text: "And a shoutout to Trev [Trevor Culley] at Seasons Skateshop for going to the council meetings and staying with the skatepark movement."
*Elisabeth Draper has written for AOA a few times in years past.
Historical fact of the day, because Halloween: The site of what is now Albany's Washington Park was once a cemetery -- a rather large cemetery.
The image above was created by Albany Archives. It's an overlay of a map of the old cemetery on Washington Park. It covered a big portion of what's now the park.
A few years back Paula Lemire wrote about the "State Street Burying Grounds" over at Albany History. A clip:
The State Street Burying Ground, founded in 1800 as an alternative to the overcrowded churchyards and private family graveyards, was located at the present park's northeast corner. Enclosed by a ten-foot high wooden fence, the grounds were divided into four large section for various churches, as well as an area set aside for strangers, African-Americans, and deceased persons not associated with any religious congregations. Graves from a number of smaller burial grounds were relocated here as progress encroached on downtown churchyards, raising the real estate value of land previously dedicated to the dead.
Within a few decades, however, the State Street Burying Ground was already in serious decline. The high mortality rate of the early 19th-century, combined with epidemics such as an 1832 cholera outbreak, had resulted in a badly overcrowded graveyard. The fence had suffered from neglect and vandalism, livestock wandered freely among graves, headstones were stolen or damaged, and immigrant gangs used the forlorn spot for violent brawls.
After the opening of the Rural Cemetery in 1844, the State Street Burying Grounds' condition became so pitiful that it was deemed "in the highest decree discreditable to the city authorities and the churches interested." A future Superintendent of Albany's parks later recalled that there was "a mouldy and neglected air about the place."
The situation eventually prompted the Common Council to close the cemetery, and the graves -- said to be 40,000 in number -- were moved to the then-new Albany Rural Cemetery all the way out in the far, far reaches in would come to be called Menands.
Of course, the Albany Rural Cemetery still exists (even if it's no longer rural). And it's a nice place to walk as you take in the monuments to the many Albany-famous figures from the past.
Earlier on AOA: Capital Region haunts
Think of it as today's moment of summer -- 104 years ago: "Annie Ray Andrews modeling hat at Washington Park in Albany, New York."
The photo is from a collection at the Florida Memory project related to Koreshan Unity, a "communal utopia" group that eventually found its way to Florida after stops in New York and Chicago. Its leader, reportedly prompted by a vision involving a beautiful woman, had some rather unusual views about the world.
From a biographical note about Andrews on the photo: "Daughter of Dr. A.W.K. & Virginia Andrews. Born May 6, 1879 in Binghamton, New York. She played in the Koreshan Unity orchestra. Died 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."
And a handwritten note on the back of the photo: "This is the hat."
[via The Commons on Flickr]
Tulip season is very much underway in the flowers beds of Albany's Washington Park. There are still several varieties yet to bloom, but there were plenty of tulips to gawk at Wednesday afternoon.
So who's out to the early lead in this ultra-competitive floral venue? Which blooms are lowering the boom on the competition?
Let's go to the early season power rankings...
Updated May 9
A quick scan version of the music slates for both the main and local stages -- along with embedded videos of the acts -- is post jump. As usual, the lineup includes both national and local acts.
As you know, Tulip Fest includes a bunch of events, including the crowning of the new Tulip Queen. Here's the full event schedule.
Tulip Fest is May 10 and 11 this year.
We stopped by Washington Park in Albany today for national Go Skateboarding Day. A bunch of ramps and rails were set up at the basketball courts, and a few hundred skaters were taking advantage of the setup and the perfect weather.
This local event was organized by 22-year-old Dylan Longton, who's hoping it will help focus attention on the need for a skatepark in the city.
Sure, you've seen plenty of tulips. But do you really know them?
Intrigued by these famous floral personalities from Washington Park, we had them sit for portraits -- and a look into their psyches...
Check it out: An aerial view of the tulip beds near the Moses statue in Washington Park. The image above is just a section of the photo. We've also embedded a large, zoomable version of the whole photo.
The photo was taken by Robert Eastman. His company -- Ground Aerial -- takes low-altitude aerial images using a 60-foot extendable mast topped with camera equipment. As he said to us in an email today: "[W]e were in Albany on Tuesday working on a project. Since the weather forecast for this weekend doesn't look so great, I thought I'd stop by Washington Park and enjoy the tulips on a nice sunny day. I couldn't rest breaking out the equipment and getting a panoramic shot from the air."
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
Now on the market: 5 Englewood Place in Albany -- also known as the UAlbany presidents residence. List price for the mansion on the edge of Washington Park: $625,000.
From the listing:
Absolutely stunning home. Original details abound: working pocket doors, moldings, hand hewn beams and the list goes on. Beautiful gourmet kitchen with 6 burner Viking range, KitchenAid double wall oven, a huge Bosch refrigerator, and granite galore. Nicely appointed and updated bathrooms. The outdoor space is just as impressive with in-ground pool, huge 1.55 acre yard and mature gardens. This home is in excellent condition and is a must see.
There are a bunch of photos at the listing page, many of which highlight some beautiful details (the stairway is pretty great). The house is 6,000 square feet, with 9 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, according to the listing. The agent is TL Metzger's Sam Critton.
The house has been the UAlbany presidents residence since 1998, when it was bought by the University at Albany Foundation for $650k. The university news item at the time notes the home was designed by Robert W. Gibson, the architect who designed the Cathedral of All Saints near the Capitol.
Current UAlbany president Robert Jones doesn't live in the house -- he and wife are living in a condo at 17 Chapel in downtown Albany (immediate past president George Philip did live there). Back in January Karl Luntta -- UAlbany's director of media relations -- told us Jones and his wife decided to live downtown just because of "personal preference." And the University at Albany Foundation was "determining how [the property] can serve the university and exploring all options for the property." (We have a request in asking what prompted the sale.)
Follow up gawking: the developers for the 27 Western residential conversion project in Albany emailed us recently to let us know the project was almost finished -- and asked if we'd like to have a look.
As we mentioned back in August, we're always curious about these sorts of re-purposing projects. In this case it's a former school building being turned into apartments.
So, yeah, let's have a look...
Sometimes you drive by something so often, you don't even really see it anymore. A historical monument that once drew thousands to the city becomes just as much a part of the landscape as a Dunkin' Donuts.
You've probably noticed that a large stone monument in Washington Park near Henry Johnson Boulevard.
What is that? And why is it there?
Breaking news: The late summer/autumn flowers in Washington Park are beautiful this year.
Related news: Does anyone know the name of those weird plants in the foreground? They're kind of alien in a wonderful way. (Another photo post jump.)
We were walking through Washington Park this week when we happened upon... a movie shoot. (You know, just a usual day in the park.)
The shoot was for an indie film called The Perfect Color, directed by local filmmaker Justin Halstead. The project raise more than 16,000 on Kickstarter earlier this year. It started production this week, the whole movie will be shot in Albany.
From the plot synopsis:
Chance encounters with Jane over the next few days force Bill to relive his past. The world seems to take on whatever color she happens to be wearing when he sees her. The more Bill gets to know her, the more he sees her imperfections. She's supporting a drug habit by shacking up with Bill's closest thing to a friend, RASHID, a raunchy loud-mouth with expensive tastes. This news brings Bill to the brink, the point of no return, where he must decide whether to retreat and continue living in black-and-white nothingness or accept Jane for who she is and take a chance on imperfect color of life.
We've been watching the activity at 27 Western Ave in Albany recently. The property -- which is across from Washington Park, adjacent to the downtown UAlbany campus -- is a former school. It's currently undergoing a residential conversion project.
Always curious about these sorts of re-purposing projects, we talked with the development company. And here's what's up.
Every subculture has its own nuances, unwritten rules, set of characters. And after watching Ballin' at the Graveyard, you're likely to think about the subculture of pick-up basketball every time you pass a busy court.
The documentary, created by local pick-up baller Basil Anastassiou and director Paul Kentoffio, is billed as "a gritty, intimate look into the culture and community of pickup basketball as told by a group of hardcore ballers at Albany NY's Washington Park." The film examines the scene at the basketball court there known as "The Graveyard," looking at the lives of some of the men who play there.
The film opens Friday for a limited run at The Spectrum. Anastassiou and Kentoffio took a few minutes to talk with us about the film, rules of the court, the importance of trash talk -- and taking it to Mario Cuomo.
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.
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
The tulips in Albany's Washington Park are at their peak. Officially. The city actually sent out a press release today to make sure the word got around because the flowers are so early this year.
That's a little funny, but it speaks to how much tulips are part of Albany's identity. And people would be disappointed if they missed out.
We stopped by the park today to check out the blooms. We ran into Jessica Morgan, Albany's new city gardener. She got dealt tough hand in her first year.
"It's terrible luck!" she said to us, laughing, as we watched people admire the beds of flowers.
We stopped by Washington Park today for a tulip check. A bunch of beds are already blooming -- and it looks another batch will be open during the next week or so.
This year's Tulip Festival is a month from today.
Apparently the tulips didn't get the memo.
Earlier on AOA: Tulip Fest 2012 lineup and schedule
The lineup for this year's Tulip Festival was announced today -- Fountains of Wayne is the headliner. And some tribute bands.
Tulip Fest is May 12 and 13 this year (Mother's Day weekend, as always).
The full lineup -- with a schedule of events -- is after the jump.
The annual Local Harvest Festival will be back in Washington Park in Albany October 2 (that's a Sunday). The festival features a bunch of local producers selling sample and items. You'll recognize a lot of the names: Battenkill Creamery, Our Daily Eats, All Good Bakers, Cowbella, Bros Tacos. And the Chefs Consortium is also involved this year.
There's also music and other activities. The festival is organized by Honest Weight Food Co-op. It's a fun time.
AOA was a media sponsor of last year's festival, and we're doing so again this year.
This video is fun. It's like running the Freihofer's -- but, you know, without the actual running.
[via Unspeakable Visions]
Bennett and Sebastien sent along nice photo sets from the Tulip Festival.
A handful of photos from the sets are after the jump. Re-live the flowers, the music, the lassos...
Anyone in Albany knows the Moses fountain in Washington Park. But few know how this biblical tableau came to be one of the most striking features of the park, or why it is called the King Memorial Fountain.
So, why is this splendid fountain there -- and whom does it memorialize?
The music lineup for this year's Tulip Fesitval includes...
- Cold War Kids
- Dan Mangan
- Sam Roberts Band
- Matthew Carefully
- Bryan Thomas
- The Rodeo Barons
- Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned
... and a handful of others. The full schedule is pasted after the jump.
Also this year: new rules for alcohol. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed to be brought in (under threat of bag and cooler inspections) and there will be no open containers allowed. (There will be a beer garden.) [TU]
The Tulip Festival is May 7 and 8.
If your holidays have been missing caroling, you're in luck. A group is getting together in Albany's Washington Park tomorrow to help spread some holiday cheer:
On Wednesday December 22nd, at 6:00 we will be meeting in Washington Park in Albany, by the fountain. From there we will follow a route and spread some holiday cheer with our chorus of song. Included is a link to a google doc for the PDF of the song lyrics. Print it out, dress up warm, and come on out!
Invite everyone you know, the more the Merrier!
(Thanks, Marcie and everyone!)
Bonus random caroling fact: The term "wassailing" refers to both the 16th century practice of carolers singing for Christmas treats (figgy pudding, for example) -- and singing to apple orchards with the aim of helping the trees thrive. [Wikipedia]
If you were around Washington Park in Albany this afternoon around 4 pm, you might have seen dark smoke billowing out of the park.
The smoke was from a car fire.
Firefighters told us One of the passengers told us they were driving to the park and the car, for some unknown reason, just started smoking. They stopped the car at Henry Johnson, everyone hopped out and they called 911. No one got hurt.
Except for the car. As you can see above, it's pretty well toasted. The interior is completely burned out -- all that's left of the seats are the metal frames.
A few more pics after the jump.
photo: Sebastien B
This is the second year in Albany for the event, which is intended as a protest of society's "indecent exposure" to cars and fossil fuels. As Sebastien found out last year, a more accurate name is probably "The World Scantily-clad ride."
The wiki for the Albany ride reports there were 14 riders here last year.
photo: Sebastien B
The roads that will be closed for part of Saturday | View in a larger map
There are a bunch of parking restrictions and road closures in/around Washington Park this weekend because of the Freihofer's Run for Women.
The full list is after the jump.
Via Sebastien and Jason come a whole bunch of good photos from Tulip Fest.
Sunday's high temp was 47 -- that's 21 degrees lower than the normal high. And it rained on Saturday. As Jason emailed: "I was glad i brought my raincoat, because getting hailed on sucks."
And from @OKGo on Saturday: "Albany, we stopped the rain just for you. Now lets get ready to celebrate these here tulips..."
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
Here's a warm-up for this weekend's Tulip Fest: Paul has posted a good photoset of tulips from Washington Park.
There are some great close-ups in the short set. Be sure to catch the insect covered in pollen.
photo: Paul Gallo
Don't wait until Tulip Fest weekend. Go this weekend. Or, if not this weekend, sometime during the next week.
The tulips in Washington Park are in bloom. They look great right now. And if you go during the next week, you won't have to
elbow people out of the way wait patiently to see them up close.
A crowd member approached us -- in real life! -- recently with a question about places to hold a small wedding ceremony in the Capital Region. She's looking for a pretty place to gather about eight or ten people for a small, quiet ceremony.
A few places that came to mind are after the jump. We're hoping you'll have some suggestions, too.
Not to be confused with turkey hangover. Emails Sebastien:
Something weird happened [Thursday] night. I was outside until about 10:30PM, came back home, and decided to go back out to buy something at the corner an hour later. The temperature had suddenly dropped about 5 to 8 degrees, instantly creating a dense "flash" fog in Center Square. It did last about an hour. I grabbed my camera and walked to Washington Park. It was creepy and beautiful.
Here's the slideshow on Flickr. The photos really are eerie.
photo: Sebastien B
Both Peter and Eileen sent us pics of the statue on the memorial in Washington Park yesterday afternoon. As you can see in the photo above, the statue is wearing a mask. Emailed Eileen:
Spotted this sight on a walk through Washington Park today ... [and] ask you and your readers - why?
Is it a reference to the silencing of the statue? Or does she have swine flu? Or something I haven't thought of yet?
Our first thought upon the seeing the pic was that the mask was a flu reference. Peter had the same thought.
Anyone have the scoop?
By the way: it doesn't look like getting the mask on that statue was a quick hit. It probably involved a bit of climbing -- see the other photo from Eileen (after the jump).
(Thanks, Eileen and Peter!)
JF, who recently moved to Albany, emails with an observation:
I've repeatedly noticed small, black plastic bags floating about in the streets and skies of Albany. I probably see these bags two to three times a week. They're about the size of a plastic grocery bag, but they appear to have no print on them. They're just plain black. And ubiquitous! I never saw anything like this in Seattle.
It's always sad to see litter, even sadder to see plastic bag litter (we can all help the environment and its critters by not using plastic bags), and downright mysterious that these same bags are everywhere. Is there some store in Albany that packages goods only in smallish black plastic bags? If I knew where these dang bags were coming from, I'd talk to the folks handing them out and try to convince them to sell reusable bags, give discounts for reusing bags, etc.
JF has spotted the bags in the Henry Johnson/Washington Park area and also in Troy.
Anyone know the scoop?
Jennifer sent along this photo, which was taken yesterday in Washington Park. This would be a comically bad parking job just about anywhere, but near the always parking-deficient Center Square it might have caused an angry mob.
As Jennifer wrote in the email's subject line: "Smart Car, Stupid Driver."
Our first thought on seeing the photo was: "You could probably park another Smart Car in the space between the car and the curb." Not content to just speculate, we attempted to test this guess using the photo. The result is after the jump.
The list is full! We're working on opening up more space. We've expanded the list! And it's full again!
Undaunted by this summer's weather, AOA is having a cookout in Washington Park on August 13. Among the many reasons you should add this evening of fun and free food (yes, free) to your social calendar:
The folks from Bilinski's will be there cooking up some special all-natural chicken sausages -- so special, they're not available in stores, yet. Bilinski's is looking to get some feedback on the new products. So here's a chance to actually influence what shows up in supermarkets.
You can follow up that sausage with some gelato from Crisan. Yep. Free gelato.
The cookout starts at 5:30 pm. We'll be in the grassy area just west of the monument in Washington Park. All you need to bring is yourself and maybe a blanket or something to sit on. We'll be providing drinks, plates, napkins and all that kind of stuff.
In order to make sure we'll have enough food, we do ask that you RSVP. The list only has 50 spots on it. If you're interested, it's best to sign up early.
Sebastien spotted this guy in Washington Park on Sunday.
He emails: "We have no clue what he was doing in Washington Park. Protecting squirrels maybe."
photo: Sebastien B
Capital Pride 2009 wrapped up yesterday with the annual Washington Park festival and parade.
photo: Sebastien B
Because they're hiding somewhere in Albany's Washington Park. Waiting for you.
Sebastien and I set them free to frolic in the trees and bushes. Catch them if you can! And if you do, be sure to look under their feet for a secret message.
We have to admit to feeling a little conflicted about catching the little guys. As we all know, sometimes gnomes just want to get out and see the world.
photo: Sebastien B
A few more pics from Washington Park are after the jump. The ice brought down some pretty big parts of trees.
If you have some interesting pics from the storm, we'd love for you to post a link to them in the comments or send them along: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com.
Check out the video Sebastien shot of this past weekend's bike polo action in Washington Park:
Yep. It's polo, on bikes, and it's heading across the river to Albany on Sunday.
A Led Zeppelin tribute band made up of all women*? Sure, why not. Lez Zeppelin is playing the Washington Park Lakehouse tonight as part of the Monday Nights in the Park series. We were curious, and maybe you are, too -- here's a clip of them playing Dazed and Confused:
We gotta say -- the bare midriff looks better on her than Robert Plant.
The show starts at 6 pm. Ten Year Vamp opens. And, yep, it's free.
Albany's Monday Nights in the Park concert series has a great show lined up for tonight. Aimee Mann is headlining the night. (Yes, the Aimee Mann.) That's pretty cool all by itself, but it gets better: the show is free.
Things kick off at 6 pm in the amphitheater at the Washington Park Lakehouse. Make sure you get there in time to catch the opening act -- it's local singer/songwriter/guitarist Ashley Pond.
(Bonus: the Albany Rickshaw guy will also be there tonight.)
A "long picture" of some tulips in Washington Park. It's kind of like taking a 55 second vacation at your desk.
More Mission Impossible than 1812 Overture. That's what Dr. Gary Zeller (that's him on the right holding the fire) says it will look like in Washington Park on Friday night, when Mayor Jerry Jennings ignites "Night Fire", aka Albany's floating, burning tulip.
Gary Zeller (alias Dr. Z.) is a chemist, entertainer, pyrotechnics expert and the owner of the environmental technology company Zeller International. He did the special effects for "Dawn of the Dead" and won an Academy Award for the development of Zel Jel, a fireproof substance that protects stunt people.
He's also the guy who figured out how to make "Night Fire" burn.
AOA talked with Dr. Z about how to burn down a giant tulip display without, you know, burning down everything else around it.
Check out this photo set from Flickr user jaki byard -- it's a bunch of shots of people skating in Washington Park this past weekend. We love the way the photos capture the skaters mid-flight, like they're floating.