Items tagged with 'design'

The wild turkey

wild turkey zoology of new york

Historical illustration of the day, because Thanksgiving week: "The Wild Turkey," from Zoology of New York, published in 1844. Or: The New-York Fauna: comprising detailed descriptions of all the animals hitherto observed within the state of New York, with brief notices of those occasionally found near its borders, and accompanied by appropriate illustrations.

The book was the work of James Ellsworth De Kay, a medical doctor and zoologist with a somewhat colorful backstory, and artist John William Hill. The author and illustrator produced the work for the New York State Geologic Survey.

image via NYPL

Albany Antique Postcard Show

vintage Albany postcard

We don't know if this card will pop up at the show, but it seems like a good bet.

The annual Albany Antique Postcard Show is set for December 6 at the Polish Community Center on Washington Ave Ext in Albany. Blurbage:

Over 1 Million Vintage Postcards on display and for sale at the 4th Annual Antique Postcard show held at the Polish Community Center in Albany New York. Dealers from 5 different states will be set up with cards from all over the world. Collectors will come from all over the east coast to look for every subject imaginable. Small towns from all over New York state, over 100 years old. Free appraisals on location.

The company behind this show is Mary L. Martin Ltd. Postcards, which has an interesting backstory -- one that started in Albany. As the story goes, the eponymous Mary Martin was living in Albany during the 1960s when she got interested in postcards via her husband's stamp collecting hobby. Martin started collecting and trading the cards, and that eventually turned into a job for her and later a family business. (Along the way the Martins moved to Maryland.) Mary Martin died in 2001, and the business is now run by Martin's daughter, also named Mary, who grew up in the family business. It has a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Maryland and claims the world's largest collection of postcards. [Baltimore Sun] [Baltimore Magazine] [Baltimore Sun x2]

The postcard show at the Polish Community Center is from 9:30 am-3 pm on December 6. Admission is $3.

Wide awake, in print again

albany wide awake city brochure laura glazerYou know that 1916 brochure touting Albany as the "The Wide Awake City" -- the one that sang the city's praises in verse -- that we mentioned earlier this week? Laura Glazer (of Hello Pretty City fame) downloaded it and had the brochure printed.

A batch of them is for sale about the Fort Orange General Store on Delaware Ave in Albany. They're $10 each.

Albany, embroidered

albany embroidered patch

Mitch sent this along and we thought it was fun: It's an Albany patch -- like, the kind of patch you can sew on things. He explained:

Over the course of the past year or two, I've been on an occasional (but ongoing) search for an embroidered Albany souvenir patch. I came to the conclusion that we somehow live in the only city in the entire country that DOESN'T have one of these that can be purchased with 2 clicks of a mouse or a trip to a store.
I decided to take the task on myself. I'm a designer at a local agency, so it sounded fun anyways.

Mitch is selling them online -- they're $6 each.

We asked him if he had any specific applications in mind for the patch. His reply:

Honestly, the only real application I really had in mind for the patch was to put it on MY jacket. I think that part of the beauty of something like this is that everybody can, if they want to, figure out their own application for it. Like I said though, it's really just something that I couldn't believe didn't already exist, especially considering the local pride that Albany residents have.

Campaign Yard Sign Design Election 2014, Part II

campaign yard design election 2014 composite part 2

Election Day is Tuesday, so it's time to pull the lever for part two of Campaign Yard Sign Election 2014.

The first half of the design election included spleen throbbing induced by questionable typography.

Will the next batch of campaign signs go over better?

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Campaign Yard Sign Design Election 2014, Part I

campaign yard sign design election 2014 governor composite

Election Day is next Tuesday, and that means campaign yard sign season is at its peak. Front lawns, street medians, parking lots, and many other spots are now filled with the signs -- they're everywhere.

So we thought it'd be fun to get together a few designers again to critique this year's crop of campaign yard signs as design objects. (Alternately, you might view this as test of how much questionable typography it takes to make a designer's spleen start throbbing -- and we now have an answer.)

Because it's a campaign yard sign bumper crop, we've split the signs into two batches. First up: governor, state Senate, and Schenectady Family Court.

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Chip Kidd at Skidmore

designer chip kidd

Designer/author Chip Kidd will be at Skidmore November 13 for a talk and Q&A.

Kidd is probably best known for this book covers. He's designed a bunch of them, many for famous authors, while working with Knopf since the 1980s. In fact, you probably have a Chip Kidd-designed book cover on your bookshelves right now. Kidd has also written a few novels, a Batman graphic novel, and multiple books about comics.

The Skidmore event starts with a talk titled "! or ?: Let me be perfectly clear. Or mysterious" at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 13 in Palamountain Hall's Gannett Auditorium. A Q&A with the audience is scheduled for 8:30 pm. And there will be a book signing at 9 pm. It's free and open to the public.

Help with kitchen renovation design?

kitchen tools in holderM. messages:

We are thinking about doing a kitchen renovation. Got the contractor, got a "look" picked out, but kind of clueless about the actual design process. Has anyone had a good experience with a designer, either through one of those kitchen renovation one stop shops, or an independent person?

We're always a little amazed by how talented designers can look at a situation and see solutions/angles/ideas non-designers might miss. And, sure, hiring one will probably be more expensive. But when you think about how much a kitchen gets used -- and how frustrating a design flaw can be over the years -- it can be worth the extra money.

So, got a suggestion for M.? Please share!

A landscape designer for a backyard makeover?

generic landscaped yard areaChuckD emails:

It's time we did something about the backyard. But we're not interested in some HGTV thing with all parts sourced from a Big Box DIY store. We're looking for a creative designer/contractor who will design and build a natural backyard space to include replacement of a ratty deck, a rattier wood fence, inclusion of an existing inground pool, two existing happy doggies, and most importantly, an awareness and interest in those gray areas between indoors and out and work it into our passive solar house. Can anyone recommend someone who will think outside The Box and help us realize our ideas? Cuz we're clueless.

Even on a small project there can be a big difference between what the typical person can scratch out on the back of an envelope and what a professional designer can put together. And a landscape designer might be able to lend some helpful expertise on the sort of plants and other features that will make the new backyard easier to maintain over the long run.

So, got a suggestion for Chuck? Please share!

Portraits of Martin Van Buren, in honor of his birthday

martin van buren portrait 1837 cropped

Look at those blue eyes.

This past Thursday was the 231st birthday of Martin Van Buren -- eighth President of the United States, the first president to be born US citizen, and the most famous native of Kinderhook, New York.

Because it was MVB's birthday this week, and it's Friday -- and, you know, just because -- here's a collection of portraits in honor of his 231st. (OK, some of them aren't technically portrait, but they're interesting to look at.)

OK...

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Postcards from the past: Albany

vintage postcard greetings from Albany

Here's a bunch of old postcards of Albany, originating in the same collection from which we pulled the vintage postcards of Troy a few months back.

The postcards are from a Boston Public Library collection. All the postcards are thought to have been printed between 1930-1945.

Some of the cards depict places that no longer exist, though many of the Albany spots have endured, if not necessarily with the same purpose. But even the cards that show buildings that still stand probably present a version of that place that never truly existed -- the backgrounds de-cluttered, the landscaping manicured, the scenes mostly devoid of people. It's the past as it was idealized by someone then.

Wish you were here...

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re:albany

re albany larkin

Imagined.

We enjoyed flipping through this project Aaron sent along today: re:albany -- in which he basically re-imagines empty buildings around the city via Photoshop.

The image above is a good example. It's his imagining of what the long-empty Larkin building on Lark Street could be. As explains on the site:

Remember the Larkin? It used to be a great Lark street spot between Eldas and Crisan. ... I like the use of garage doors in bars/restaurants. If it's nice out, you're open to the outdoors. When it's cold, keep it closed and its still a good look. Wood siding on the upper half to balance out the industrial beams of the lower half. Hopefully it doesn't look too much like a wild west saloon.

Sometimes the here-let-me-redesign-that-for-you approach doesn't necessarily play well. But in Aaron's case, it seems to be coming from a good place. As he explained via email:

I believe in small cities. I think they are the key of getting the best of both worlds (character, food, and places as amazing as your closest big city, BUT without all the stress that comes with living there.) So, I wish nothing more than downtown Albany to be a destination, full of shops, restaurants, lofts, and bustling foot traffic. Something similar to what it was back in the day when breweries ruled and packed trolleys ran down the hill. However, the best I can do is give a suggestion and maybe some inspiration to someone who can do something.

His Tumblr has just a few re-imagines so far -- but it sounds like he has more in the works. We hope he keeps at it. (And we hear he's taking suggestions...)

By the way: You might know Aaron from Barons in the Attic.

Postcards from the past: Troy

old postcard overlooking Troy

Troy as it was, from one perspective.

We happened upon this collection of old postcards -- including cards from the Capital Region -- from the Boston Public Library not once, but twice this week. And after the second time, we figured we pretty much had to do something with them.

All the postcards are thought to be printed between 1930-1945. Some of the cards depict places that no longer exist. And even the cards that show places still standing probably present a version of that place that never truly existed -- the backgrounds de-cluttered, the landscaping manicured, the scenes mostly devoid of people. It's the past as it was idealized by someone then.

The collection includes postcards from different spots around the area. So we decided it'd be fun to periodically pull a handful from a spot, map the locations depicted, and match them with the current streetview.

First up: Troy.

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No ordinary illustrations

no ordinary apple coverCheck it out: Talented local designer Phil Pascuzzo has illustrated a children's book -- No Ordinary Apple, by Sara Marlowe. It's about "mindful" eating (and an apple). Blurbage:

On an otherwise ordinary day, Elliot discovers something extraordinary: the power of mindfulness. When he asks his neighbor Carmen for a snack, he's at first disappointed when she hands him an apple--he wanted candy! But when encouraged to carefully and attentively look, feel, smell, taste, and even listen to the apple, Elliot discovers that this apple is not ordinary at all.
Lushly and humorously illustrated, No Ordinary Apple makes a traditional technique for training mindfulness a fun and enjoyable way for children to learn to slow down and appreciate even the simplest things.

"Lush" and "humorous" are good words to describe Phil's style -- his work is often colorful and witty. You've no doubt seen his work -- he's designed a bunch of book covers, as well a version of the Twitter bird.

Phil has designed a bunch of book covers, show posters, and even a version of Twitter's famous bird. (He also designed the AOA holiday banner this past December.)

Earlier on AOA: The book on Phil Pascuzzo

Swissted at the Arts Center

swissted poster mike joyce at arts centerThis could be worth a stop: Swissted, in which Troy native -- and now NYC-based -- graphic designer Mike Joyce mashes up punk rock and Swiss modernism, will open at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on Saturday (April 13). From the blurbage:

Drawing from his love of punk rock and Swiss modernism, two movements that have almost nothing to do with one another, Mike has redesigned vintage punk,hardcore, new wave, goth, grunge, and indie rock show flyers into International Typographic Style posters. Every single one of the shows represented actually happened.

Joyce's Stereotype Design studio has worked with a bunch of music clients, including Iggy Pop, Katy Perry, The Stooges, The Strokes, Maroon 5, Natalie Merchant, The Lemonheads, Morphine, Heart, and Aretha Franklin.

The Swissted exhibit will be up at the Arts Center April 13-21. On April 18, Joyce will be there for a reception and book signing from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Yep, the Arts Center advertises on AOA.

Currier and Ives exhibit at Albany Institute

Currier and Ives lexington

"Awful Conflagration of the Steam Boat Lexington," a lithograph printed by Nathaniel Currier. The Lexington was a luxury steam ship that caught fire and sunk in 1840.

Opening this Saturday (February 9) at the Albany Institute of History and Art: The Legacy of Currier & Ives, an exhibit that includes 64 prints from the famous 19th century printing and publishing firm. Blurbage:

The exhibition, organized around five themes of Identity, Progress, Home, Success, and Artist, introduces the visitor to the firm of Currier & Ives and illustrates, through interpretive and educational materials, how their imagery became ingrained in the national consciousness. During the seventy-two years that Currier & Ives operated (1834-1907) the firm produced more than 8,000 lithographs. Their colorful prints, which hung in homes and public buildings across America, gave testimony to the events and ideas that shaped national history, its progress, and art. Currier and Ives worked with several prominent artists like Eastman Johnson, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, and George Henry Durrie, whose designs are represented in the exhibition along with others.

The story behind the firm Currier and Ives is interesting -- it specialized in identifying images that would be popular and then producing them inexpensively. We bet Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives would have been all over the web if they were operating today (CurrierIvesFeed?).

The Albany Institute exhibit runs through June 15. It could make a pretty good double bill with the also-currently-open Making of the Hudson River School exhibit.

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

image: "Awful Conflagration of the Steam Boat Lexington," from the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts

Mohawk Show

mohawk show smileDesign gawking: the Mohawk Show -- an exhibit of work from a design competition sponsored by the Cohoes-based Mohawk Fine Papers -- will be on display at the Foundry in Cohoes January 31.

The touring show highlights "higher thinking in graphic design, excellence in print production" -- and not surprisingly given the sponsor -- "appropriate paper choice." The exhibit has already made a handful stops around the country, and after Cohoes it's headed for Europe.

The exhibit will be on display from 6-9 pm. It's free.

image: Neal Whittington / Present & Correct / Mohawk Fine Papers

Milton Glaser exhibit at Opalka Gallery

milton glaser exhibit opalka galleryOpening this week at Sage's Opalka Gallery: "Milton Glaser: In Search of the Miraculous: One Thing Leads to Another" -- a collection of recent work by the famous designer. There's a reception for the exhibit this Friday (November 2), from 5-9 pm.

Glaser has created many designs you'd probably recognize -- maybe most notably the I (heart) NY logo (which he created pro bono for the state, in the back of a taxi).

On November 14, there will be a screening of a documentary about Glaser, To Inform and Delight. The doc's director, Wendy Keys, will also be there. The screening is at 6 pm -- it's $5.

The Opalka Gallery is on the Sage Albany campus, at New Scotland Ave/Woodlawn Ave/S Lake Ave. It's open Monday-Friday 10 am-8 pm, and Sunday noon-4 pm.

Good design leads to electoral success?

campaign sign design primary winners

Winning design?

Observation: the results of our campaign yard sign design primary matched up surprisingly well with what actually happened in last week's primaries.

Here's the breakdown...

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Political yard sign design primary, part II

political yard sign design primary composite 2

Oh, the polarizing typefaces.

Yesterday we started our political yard sign design primary with a look at signs for Albany County DA, and a few local state Senate races. Today, we move onto a handful of local Assembly races. And there a lot of signs. So let's get to it.

As in part one, we got a trio of accomplished local designers to critique signs. Here are the results...

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Political yard sign design primary, part I

political yard sign design primary composite 1

In this primary, your stance on kerning can make all the difference.

The primary elections for state and local offices is this Thursday. And that means lawns, medians, parking lots, and other spots all over the Capital Region are currently adorned with political signs. So. Many. Political signs.

You can't help not seeing them. They're everywhere. So we thought it'd be fun to look at the signs a little differently, a little more fundamentally -- as design objects. And we got a trio of accomplished local designers to critique the design of signs from a handful of local races.

Because of the vast herds of signs this year, we've broken the design primary up into two days.

Today: design primary results from races for Albany County DA, State Senate 43rd, and State Senate 44th...

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I (something) NY

The state's tourism arm introduced a new advertising campaign today that plays off the iconic I (heart) NY design. It replaces the heart with other images that are supposed to represent fun things from around the state: pizza, the track in Saratoga, Finger Lakes wine, and so on.

One of the TV spots for the campaign is embedded above. The ads will be shown around the state, as well as in markets such as Hartford, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Montreal.

The Cuomo admin press release says the tourism arm will also be collecting submissions from the public for the logo, which will then be displayed online.

About the original logo...
The original "I (heart) NY" logo was created by famous designer Milton Glaser in 1977 as part of a campaign to promote New York City. And he did it for free -- the logo wasn't even copyrighted originally. He says the idea was first sketched in the back of a taxi. Glaser says he thought the campaign would be short lived: "It was like one of those things you bang out because it didn't seem to merit any more attention." [Wikipedia] [Wikipedia] [Telegraph (UK)] [The Believer]

The logo has been appropriated/re-mixed/ripped off almost everywhere. A few years back the state hired an anti-counterfeiting firm to crackdown on unlicensed uses. [I Love NY]

Update: Glaser's apparently not a fan of the update: "I saw one that said, 'I Pizza NY.' I don't get it." [NY Post via @thomaskaplan]

Rock on, lunchboxbrain

rock on gap threadless lunchboxbrainCheck it out: one of local designer Andrew Gregory's t-shirts is for sale at the Gap.

Andrew, who lives in Rensselaer, does design work under the name lunchboxbrain. His design ended up at the Gap through a partnership with Threadless. From his blog:

Rock On was originally designed for a community challenge - Threadless Loves Minimalism II. Most of my tee designs are fairly simple and I thought that the design was a great fit for the challenge. While it didn't win that challenge, I knew it was a strong design and had even considered printing it myself. Two months after I submitted the design, I received an email from Threadless stating that my tee was under consideration for inclusion in the Threadless + Gap line. A few months later, I got the word that Rock On had made the final cut. Needless to say, I was relieved, thrilled and humbled by the news.

He's giving one of the shirts away on his lunchboxbrain Facebook page.

Back in 2010, one of Andrew's t-shirts was featured on Woot!, the deal a day site. Here are more of his shirt designs that are currently available.

A typeface that says Albany

nipper albany typeface word bubble

This caught our eye this week: there's an effort in Chattanooga, Tennessee to develop a signature typeface for the city. The effort is organize enough that it's produced a video explaining how the typeface could help the city market itself, and there's a Kickstarter project aiming to fund it.

This got us thinking about what an Albany typeface might look like. It'd be an interesting challenge -- finding a way to acknowledge the city's long history, but also working in the fact that city's most prominent architecture (the ESP) is more modern.

Or maybe even more fun: a collection of Capital Region typefaces -- for Albany, Troy, Saratoga, and Schenectady -- that could be used on signage and other related materials. It'd help reinforce the idea that each of those places is different, with their own unique feel.

[via TMN]

Michael Bierut at St. Rose

michael bierutNoted designer Michael Bierut will be giving a talk at St. Rose September 30. Opening a few days before that at the school's Esther Massry Gallery: "Michael Bierut 30 Years 90 Notebooks." From the blurbage:

In this exhibition of work stretching over three decades, Bierut has recorded his work and thoughts in a series of identical notebooks dating back to 1982. Today there are more than 90 such notebooks. The exhibit presents a selection of completed pieces that are juxtaposed with an assortment of Bierut's notebooks. Viewers can make connections between original, very rough sketches and finished work and gain insight into the design process as a result.

Bierut is a partner at the famed design firm Pentagram. He's worked with a long list of well-known clients (example: The Atlantic redesign, the New York Times building sign, the Saks shopping bag.). He co-founded Design Observer. And In 2006 he received the AIGA Medal, the highest award in the design field.

Embedded after the jump is video of Bierut talking about his notebooks.

photo: Christian Witkin

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Troy, can you dig it?

troy can you dig it t-shirt designTroy-based illustrator Owen Sherwood emailed this week to let us know that he has a Troy design entered in the "Threadless Loves Your City" t-shirt contest. As his blurb reads on his entry at the Threadless site:

Troy, NY is not only my Hometown but the long time home and final resting place of Mr. Samuel Wilson... Also know as the one and only Uncle Sam! Like that famous historical figure, us Trojans we love our fish-fry, vibrant art scene and tiny hot dogs. We ride bikes and think we're hipper than Bushwick. We may be small but we're tough. With Uncle Sam for our role model, we are strong yet sensitive, thoughtful yet gnarly and most importantly, welcoming to all newbies. Join the Trojan Army! Vote For the best little city in New York! Vote for TROY!!! CAN YOU DIG IT!!! (Did I sound like Breaveheart, I was going for Braveheart)

And, as he said to us in the email: "Help me put Troy on the map... Or at least on a shirt!" Voting ends next Wednesday (August 24).

Earlier on AOA:
+ "Rub me on your butt!"
+ Woot! Andrew Gregory!

Blast from the past

new york central hudson engine

All aboard! Next stop... the future.

We came across this photo today while getting Carl's piece about the Livingston Ave Bridge together. It's a locomotive from the old New York Central railroad -- the railroad organized by Erastus Corning (the great grandfather of the longtime mayor of Albany).

We love the sleek vintage futurism of the locomotive's design. It looks like a rocket ship from an old Flash Gordon flick.

The engines were designed by Henry Dreyfuss, one of the celebrity industrial designers of the 1930s and 40s. Among Dreyfuss' many notable designs is the classic "Lucy" telephone.

This streamlined engine design (the "Hudson") went into service in 1938 after being manufactured in New York Central's huge West Albany yard (the engine under the hood was produced by Alco in Schenectady). The stylish locomotives powered the famous 20th Century Limited line.

If/when New York ever gets high-speed rail, we kind of hope the engines look this.

photo: Robert Yarnall Richie via Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library

Get the Message at Albany Institute

Graphic Design Exhibit Composite

A few of the images from Graphic Design: Get the Message.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

The Graphic Design: Get the Message exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art is definitely worth a visit for design nerds, it will also be interesting to anyone who's a critical consumer of media -- or just curious about the images we see every day.

Stay a little while and you'll see it's also about world history, innovation, how far we've come as a country, and how we absorb information...

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How Phantogram's music looks

Here's something to look at. It's a video for the Phantogram song "Make a Fist" by greater Capital Region locals The Ravacon Collective. It's like something from a turbulent dream. We like it. (Though we're glad to be experiencing it awake).

Ravacon created a dozen different visuals for Phantogram to play during their national tour this year. You can see how the visuals were used from this concert clip shot at a show in Louisville back in September.

There's one more after the jump, video for the Phantogram song "Running from the Cops."

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Making the Twitter bird more "human"

twitter bird PascuzzoThere's an interesting interview with local designer Phil Pascuzzo at design:related about his work on the now ubiquitous Twitter logo and his ongoing relationship with the company. A snip:

[Twitter co-founder] Biz [Stone] had sent over the bird mark that he designed, which Twitter was using at the time. I think he said something to the effect of "can you redesign this logo and add some Phil-style." Being a Twitter newbie, I did some research and asked friends that used this communication tool so that I had a better idea of what the product was. Giving the mark more life and vibrance really made sense at this point. Like most projects, I began by doodling in my lined notebook and quickly came up with something I liked. From there I worked in Illustrator to execute the mark in a polished way.

There's a lot more in the interview, which also includes some great design eye candy.

The site for Phil's studio -- Pepco -- has a bunch of examples of his work, including many of the book covers he's designed.

And check it out: Phil's also the drummer for Scientific Maps.

[via @id29]

Earlier on AOA:
+ A little bird told us
+ The book on Phil Pascuzzo

Felt & Wire

m-square press postcard felt and wireDespite (or, perhaps, because of) pushing pixels all day, we're total suckers for great paper products -- stationery, cards, tags, whatever.

So there was some smiling when we came across the Felt & Twine Shop recently. It's a designer-curated online shop of printed goods run by Cohoes-based Mohawk Fine Papers. There's also a blog.

It's not as expansive as Etsy (what is?), but it made from some happy browsing.

Earlier on AOA:
+ "I Love New York" by CAPow!
+ Lori Hansen's vintage letterpress
+ Paper Dolls
+ Susan Merrick

photo: M-square Press postcard

A photo tour of EMPAC

empac_ribbon_cutting_scene.jpg

The scene at today's opening.

RPI cut the ribbon on EMPAC today. And you know what? It's pretty cool. There's nothing else like it in the Capital Region. Heck, there's probably nothing else like it in the world right now. You should definitely check it out.

A lot of people have already written about all the crazy artistic and technological potential at this place, so we'll leave that to them. We did take a tour today, though.

Here are a bunch of pics...

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The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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