The last week's worth of items on AOA
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: scars, a frozen swamp, skiing, free medical care, a desire for tougher diners, kimchi fries, poutine, Good Night Noodle, lunch, a prize dinner, soda bread, Stewart's dairy, and purple.
Over at Buzzfeed today there's an article highlighting how Kirsten Gillibrand is using her formidable fundraising ability, public support, and mentoring to draw her preferred candidates into political races across the country -- women, especially. Says KG: "To me it's a call to action. It's asking women to participate in politics. To vote to become advocates on the issues they care about, to run for office [and] if they don't want to run for office to find women candidates they share values with that they can support." And of course, every candidate she helps get elected become a potential ally, widening Gillibrand's network of influence. [Buzzfeed]
I moved here recently for school and was wondering where I could find cheap Albany postcards for the people back home. Thanks in advance!
We'll adjust Wesley's question a bit to cover any sort of local postcard. Less expensive is better, but we're curious about finding good postcards for this area in general. (And let's hope even the good once aren't all that expensive.)
It's been a while since we've browsed a rack of Albany postcards, but we don't remember many as being kind of cool or interesting. Maybe things have changed. Or maybe this is an opportunity for someone to make some good cards.
So... got a suggestion for Wesley? Please share!
Regents reelected in spite of Common Core controversy, Troy rolls out snow emergency plan in time for spring, Olympic medalist visits Watervliet
New language added to the Assembly's budget would require the state to pay a PILOT for upgrades on the Harriman campus. [TU]
The latest discussion about where to locate a casino in the Capital Region centers on Schenectady, where a developer is planning a $100 million project to transform the former American Locomotive Company site into "an urban-style walkable" development with condos, a supermarket, movie studio, hotel and retail space. [TU]
Three members of the Board of Regents were reelected on Tuesday amid controversy over the Common Core implementation -- a fourth regent decided to retire and was replaced by a Sullivan County lawyer. [TU][WNYT]
Just weeks before the start of spring, the city of Troy has posted its new snow emergency plan. [Record]
Whatever the apocalypse does or does not bring, Tuesday was beautiful. A high of 52 degrees. 52 degrees.
It will be the warmest 52 degree day of the year.
March 28 is the public on-sale time. The band also has a pre-sale ticket request system. The deadline for entering that is March 23.
July 4 is a Friday this year, so the usual weekend run starts on a Thursday this time around.
Other pop acts announced for SPAC this summer so far...
After the near instant sell out of the May 24 Modest Mouse show at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, a second show has been added for May 23. Tickets go on sale this Friday (March 14) at 10 am -- they're $45 ahead.
The opener for the Friday, May 23 show is Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. (They were in town for a show at Upstate Concert Hall last November.) The Saturday opener -- Brand New (which played a sold out show at UCH last fall) -- wasn't available, according to the show's promoter.
So, it should go without saying that if you're interested in getting tickets for this new show, you should prepare to buy them when they go on sale Friday. Tickets will be sold through the Dan Smalls Presents website and at Brewery Ommegang. May the ticket server odds be ever in your favor.
APL's creative librarians have come up with some non-traditional geography challenges based on kids' games. Instead of "pin the tail on the donkey," you'll play "pin the city on the state." You'll use your best crayon skills to draw maps. And, you'll do some local Google street-view stalking to figure out where in the world Carmen Sandiego's been hiding.
There will be prizes for the best teams, along with state-shaped cookies and other snacks for participants.
This is a follow-up of sorts to APL's spelling bee for adults last fall, which we hear was a lot of fun.
The geography bee is from 6:30-8 pm this Thursday, March 13. It's a team competition, and teams need to register ahead of time because space is limited. Registration is free. To register, call the Pine Hills branch at 482-7911 ext. 230.
And that branch is pretty much across the street from a whole strip of restaurants/bars -- from Tierra on up to the Madison Pour House -- if you're looking for someplace to grab a drink or something to eat afterward.
The APL advertises on AOA.
MASS MoCA announced today that Beck will be playing at the museum June 24. Tickets go on sale this Saturday (March 15) at noon -- price info hasn't been posted yet, but they'll only be available through the MASS MoCA box office and there's a six-ticket limit per order.
The MASS MoCA show is part of a Beck summer tour announced today. He recently released a new album, Morning Phase. It's gotten strong reviews. (It's been described as a "companion piece" to Sea Change.)
There aren't a lot of details posted about the MASS MoCA show, but it sounds like it will be outside ("rain or shine"). We're guessing this will sell out, and quickly. So if you're interested in going, don't wait.
photo via Beck FB
Albany has its share of emerging breweries and distilleries, along with pubs serving craft beers, spirits, and ciders. But sometimes you just need a change of scenery.
So I recently took a trip up to Vermont for a day-long brewery tour in the Burlington area...
In which a National Post article attempts to disabuse the the rest of world of the notion that our international neighbors just the north are always so polite. Among the evidence: rowdy hockey fans and non-tipping maple leaf-clad tourists. Also: Justin Bieber. [via TMN]
St. Patrick's Day is a big holiday in the Capital Region -- and with it being on a Monday this year, there will be various celebrations and events starting this weekend and continuing into that Monday.
So, here are a bunch of local ways to celebrate the holiday over the next week. From the parades, to food and drink, to music for the time of year where everyone is Irish, if only for a day.
And remember: It's St. Paddy's Day, not St. Patty's...
Common Core discontent puts focus on Board of Regents, McCoy pushes for styrofoam ban at all businesses, UAlbany women headed to NCAA tournament
The latest turn in the ongoing drama over the state's implementation of the Common Core standards:
A Rensselaer County Court jury found Ariel Myers guilty of assault for the shooting of Robert Guynup near the Griswold Heights apartments in 2009. It was the third time Myers had been tried in the case. [Troy Record] [TU]
Herman Robinson -- the Schenectady man accused of serially raping a young woman for years, impregnating her, and then killing the baby shortly after it was born -- pleaded not guilty Monday to a group of charges that included second-degree murder. Robinson faces 25 years to life if convicted. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Law enforcement officials say the credit/debit card skimming case at an Asian buffet in Glenmont appears to be part of series of cases through the Northeast in which an organized crime ring is training people to get jobs in restaurants in order to steal the card info. [TU]
Updated overnight Tuesday to Wednesday
Again, significant updating because the forecast for this "complex winter storm" continues to change.
The paraphrased NWS forecast:
Wednesday morning: Precipitation starts. And because temps will be in the upper 30s, it will be rain. And there could be a lot of it -- more than half an inch.
Wednesday afternoon: Temperatures fall during the day. The rain starts to turn to the ever popular freezing rain in the late afternoon/early evening.
Wednesday night: Freezing rain turns to sleet. And then the sleet turns to snow. Accumulation totals between 2 and 4 inches.
Thursday: Snow continues. Very windy. And very cold -- temps in the lower 20s. Generally unpleasant.
Thursday night: Maybe a bit more snow. Lows in the single digits.
Friday: Sunny and 36.
As mentioned before, this storm is going to be like a giant smear across this part of the United States, stretching from the west/southwest to northeast. And within that wintry smear will be very steep gradients for precipitation. How steep? Well, forecasts have the Adirondacks pegged for as much as 20 inches of snow. Lake George/Saratoga for 7-14 inches. And closer to Albany, something like 2-6 inches total.
Have a look at the snowfall probability forecast map (screengrabbed post jump) -- it looks like a topographic map of a long (snowy) butte or something: a big plateau of a highly probable snowy deluge stretches from Buffalo through the Adirondacks and into Vermont and Maine, and then steeply declining probability high snowfall totals from about Glens Falls through Albany and into the Hudson Valley.
So small changes in the track of the storm -- or shifts in temperature -- could have a big effect on how things shake out Wednesday and Thursday.
Even though the forecast is now calling for mostly rain during the day Wednesday, we're keeping this pegged as a solid "effort acknowledged" icy, snow apocalypse because of the uncertainty and the threat of possible icing. (We'll take snow over ice any day of the winter.) Depending on when the freezing rain starts, the commute home could be messy.
Lucky shovels at the ready, upstaters.
Media freakout forecast: Low, but trending upward. The hype monkeys live for icy drama, and they're starting to pick up the scent.
Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.
Behold, some delicious local history nerd candy: the Albany Postcard Project.
The site, a creation of Albany Archives and collaborators, is an online collection of local vintage postcards mapped to the places from which the images were taken/illustrated. The entries also include dates about when the postcard's publishing era, when/from where/to where it was sent if mailed, and the message on the back.
Example: Here's an entry for a 1907 postcard of The Trust Building at the corner of State and Broadway in downtown Albany. (The SUNY Research Foundation currently occupies the building.)
From the project's about page:
At its peak, the postcard craze of the 1900s spawned thousands of images from many American cities, hundreds of them from Albany. The Albany Postcard Project is a community based initiative launched by the Albany Archives to create a comprehensive look at how the city appeared at the turn of the 20th century using scenes from postcards.
With much of Albany's architecture lost to time (and bulldozers), we can get a great idea of where the generations before us lived and worked through these pictures. In many instances we can duplicate the spot where the postcard was taken and compare the two locations, sometimes with startling results.
Over time we plan to collect as many of postcards as possible, and we need your help. We'd love to have scans of your postcards to help get a clearer picture of the city.
That about page link includes the info about how to submit cards.
Kristi Gustafson Barlette -- one of the Times Union's highest profile personalities -- announced today she's stepping back from her popular blog and column. From a post today about the evolution of her role at the paper:
That's not to say I don't still love writing, I do, but my mission has changed and raising Little C is a priority. R and I were raised by stay-at-home moms and want to offer Little C the same.
So I've decided to step away from the blog, and from Life 3.0, to be home with our daughter. To watch her grow and mature and build and follow her own dreams.
I'm not going off the grid, or even fully stepping away from journalism. Around Memorial Day, I'll be doing some part time editing for the TU and freelance writing for the magazines. I'll also continue my FLY 92.3 segment.
I'll continue to play around on Facebook and Twitter -- and use those platforms to reach out to readers for story ideas and sources for two of my favorite features sections -- Solutions and Work Life. A new opportunity, and a new role -- one I'm excited to begin. Now, and then, you can reach me through Facebook and Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org.
During her maternity leave, Barlette started her own blog separate from the TU, and she mentions in the post that she'll continue to write there.
More than anyone else in this market, Barlette has successfully embraced being the sort of multi-platform personality that so many media orgs have tried to cultivate over the last handful of years: as a columnist in the paper, on her very popular blog on the TU website, on radio and TV, on Facebook and Twitter. All the while she's exhibited a keen sense of how to pick topics people will respond to -- and from time to time, to press people's buttons.
Most media people are kind of interchangeable for consumers of media. Yep, some readers/watchers/listeners notice bylines, and if a media figure sticks around long enough there's a certain position of familiarity she or he takes on. But it's remarkable to us how often we've encountered people who have some sort of opinion about Kristi -- good, bad, impressed, frustrated, whatever. They noticed her. It's like they couldn't help but have some sort of reaction to her. We're pretty sure that didn't happen by accident.
Renovations on the Adelphi Hotel in downtown Saratoga Springs are taking longer than expected and the hotel will be closed for the second consecutive summer, Mike DeMasi reports. The current owners, who bought the historic hotel in 2012, are hoping to have it open next year. Alas, another year before we can drinks in its courtyard again. [Biz Review]
Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!
Comedian/storyteller/actor/writer/director/This American Life regular Mike Birbiglia will be
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
In Sleepwalk with Me, Mike Birbiglia shared stories about some of his odd dreams and sleepwalking. So, tell us about one of your funny dreams.
Or, if you don't have a funny dream to share, in honor of the Pizza Pillow, what's the pizza of your dreams?
So, either a funny dream or a dream pizza. We'll draw one winner at random. Totally non-redeemable bonus points for a funny dream involving pizza.
Birbiglia's current tour is titled "Thank God for Jokes." Blurbage: "Mike Birbiglia returns to the stage with more painfully awkward stories about telling jokes ... and how that can get you in trouble. Join Birbiglia as he visits Cats-a-chusetts, argues with someone about their nut allergy, hosts an awards show for angry celebrities, and learns that Fozzie Bear is a tough act to follow"
The Troy Music Hall show is at 8 pm on Friday, March 21. Tickets are $29 and up.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 8 pm on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Wednesday, March 12 and must respond by noon on Thursday, March 13.
Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.
photo: Brian Friedman
There's an interesting
It's My Exit Monday on WEXT. It's the day a listener programs the station for an hour. Tonight's eclectic mix comes from Saratoga's Jen Jannsen and includes Sugarman, Radiohead, and Michael Stipe.
Long look into GE and PCBs, fatal stabbing in Troy, Schenectady church damaged by fire, surprise find: a bowling alley
From a long Times Union artilce by Brendan Lyons about GE and PCBs, based on documents the paper obtained through FOIL:
[N]ewly uncovered documents reveal that as early as the 1960s -- decades before the government ordered GE to undertake the [Hudson] river dredging that is scheduled to resume this spring -- company officials were warned of the potential serious health threats of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which their engineers described in confidential memos as "hazardous waste."
The documents also indicate that GE flushed far more PCBs into the river than government regulators have estimated, and that nearly a million pounds a year of additional PCBs were carted away by scavenger crews, dumped with an attitude characterized by a GE engineer in 1970 as "out of sight, out of mind."
More materials related to the article. [TU] [TU]
During a 2012 deposition as part of a civil suit, Troy police chief John Tedesco said the TPD's Internal Affairs Bureau hadn't been thoroughly investigating complaints of excessive force going back as a far as a decade. [TU]
The Cuomo admin is pushing for the proposed $600 million state public health lab building on the Harriman office campus to be privately financed, built, and maintained under an arrangement in which the state would pay lease-like fees to the private builder -- yet the building would be totally exempt from city taxes and zoning. [TU]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (hrmph), to the Book of Mormon, to Christopher Durang, to Jane Austen, to local docs, to dirt, to to St. Patrick's Day (observed), to music...
This week was brought to you by cookies, ice cream, longer days and a faint light at the end of the winter tunnel. It was also brought to you by New World Bistro Bar, celebrating its five year anniversary on March 23rd. Share your favorite NWBB Memory with them to enter their Anniversary Prize Drawing. The grand prize is a Five-Course Tasting Dinner for Six at the Chef's Table.
If there's something you want to pass along to the AOA crowd, we can help get you started. It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at email@example.com.
Here's a list of folks who made AOA possible this week. Be sure to check them out when you can.
Stuff to do
The Mop and Bucket Company, offering classes in improv for performance or just for fun, and coaching for using improv skills in everyday life. You can also catch their shows every Friday night at Proctors.
+MiSci -- which is offering a taste of spring with an indoor butterfly house open now through April 19.
+Live Nation, presenting Jack Johnson at SPAC on May 24.
+Advantage Transportation. They provided the pretty awesome party buses for the AOA Bad Boys, Broads and Bootleggers Tour, and they can provide limos, trolleys and party buses for your special occasion.
+ The Arts Center of the Capital Region offers a wide range of classes, from dance to wood working to digital illustration. You can register for spring classes today.
+The Mop & Bucket Company -- offering a full slate of classes throughout the year. Not a performer? Improv can help increase your creativity and openness in the workplace too. You can catch MopCo performances every Friday night at 8 pm at Proctors.
Food and Drink
+ The Cheese Traveler, introducing its new sandwich and panini menu --available Tuesday through Sunday. Sandwiches built on loaves sourced from Bonfiglio & Bread in Hudson and will feature a variety of high quality meats, cheeses, condiments, and other fine accompaniments. Offerings will change based on seasonal availability and inspiration, and can be enjoyed in-store or packaged to go.
Here's a menu sample:
Laguiole, Apple Peach & Apricot chutney (Rosebud Farms) $6.99
Toma Celena, Pawlett, smoked duck breast (Larchmont Charcuterie), black currant jam (Les Comtes de Provence) $7.99
Manchego Artesano, salchichon Iberico (Fermin) oil-cured olive tapenade $7.99
+Sweet Sue's of Troy, lunches, sweets and catering.
+ Mingle on Delaware Ave in Albany. Be on the lookout for Fin the Fishmonger's "Fin"-tastic specials, including fresh haddock fish tacos & pan-seared whole trout. Their chef will be using local products to create new specials daily to keep the menu fresh.
+Brown's Brewing-- a sponsor of the AOA BAd Boys, Broads and Bootleggers tour. Relax with a cask beer at the new Malt Room.
Stuff to Try
+Berkshire Bank, America's most exciting bank, providing $1,500 for the winner of the All Over Albany Small Business Startup contest.
+Urban Maker -- art, clothing, sculpture, jewelry and photography, made here in the Capital Region. Urban maker is currently seeking artists and crafters to sell their wares in this online local marketplace.
+The Lofts at Harmony Mills, Manhattan style loft living in the Capital Region.
+Choose Cohoes -- Tourism, dining, entertainment and shopping in the Spindle City.
+ Albany Public Library's mobile app -- find locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. Check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you're looking for.
+ Get a FREE MONTH of Wink High Speed Internet Service from Tech Valley Communications. Enter this code when you sign up for service at: www.winkinternet.com: w1n87k0
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ The AOA Startup Grant is back! We're giving away $1,500 to a promising idea. You should apply.
+ We got a look inside the (almost finished) Albany Barn artists live/work building.
+ New to the area, Brian asked about good ways to meet people and find activities.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the spare beauty of winter, thrift, good drivers, Mt. Colden, Market Bistro, red sauce, Nine Pin, 90 State, goat cheese and thyme cheesecake, sushi, tapas, smoked meat, dehydrated oranges, Paint & Sip, the Fagbug, The Joke, and equine tableware.
+ We heard about some of the early planning for high-speed rail in New York.
+ T asked about finding a place for an affordable post-wedding group meal.
+ Lauren checked out Plum Dandy Cookies and Milk.
+ That time people rode sleighs across the frozen Hudson River at Albany.
+ Ice cream stand season has started.
Here's the whole week all lined up.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
sleigh image: "Snow Scene in Albany, New York," 1850, Albany Institute of History and Art | map: NYSDOT
This calf was born this week at Gordon Farms in Berne. It's calf season there. Sarah Gordon -- her dad, Sandy Gordon, owns the farm, -- snapped the photo. She says they're expecting 22 calves on the farm between now and early April. The Angus-Hereford are usually 65-75 pounds when they're born.
Baby animals. Spring must be near.
From an AP story this week by Michael Hill:
Sharp winds lashed up the Hudson River as sailors launched boats onto the ice. Sails whipped furiously as the long blades slid across a white sheet that spread for miles.
Finally, a frigid winter has created excellent conditions for ice sailing on the river.
"In the blink of an eye you can get up to 30 miles an hour ... you can just feel the power of the wind filling the sails," Michael Soldati said after a bracing run across the ice. "It's just awesome. It's just you and the wind."
That YouTube clip embedded above has some good video from this past weekend (and a brass band). And here are some good photos from the Daily News.
Here's a website dedicated to the ice yachting on the Hudson -- it includes a bunch of photos, a details about activities this weekend:
The forecast for sailing has changed for the weekend -- Sunday is looking better with more wind and cooler temperatures than Saturday. Saturday should be warm with little wind -- the soft "snow ice" surface may soften to the point where even with good wind we could not sail. We will be on the ice none the less with sails hoisted and holding court to answer your questions and hopefully provide an enjoyable day on the ice. There is an ongoing potluck of gourmet food and fine wine on the ice when the sailing is happening -- visitors are encouraged to participate.
Gourmet food. Fine wine. And yachts on ice.
Bonus bit: The Coast Guard monitors the ice on the Hudson River, including aerial surveys of the conditions. And then it posts those photos online. Here are the collection of photos from this past Thursday -- you can see the long stretch of ice on the Hudson near Kingston.
Updated March 8
Public service announcement: Ice cream stand season has started.
The Snowman in Troy opened today. Bumpy's in Schenectady opened yesterday. And a few other season stands will be opening over the next week or so.
Here's a round up of a bunch of season ice cream stands, with opening dates. In some cases the dates are TBA, or we just couldn't find out (yet). So if you can fill in some of the information in the comments, we'd very much appreciate it. Because ice cream.
Who wants sprinkles...
When Albany Med introduced the big plan for the two-whole-blocks redevelopment in Albany's Park South neighborhood last summer, one of the questions was: What about the Quintessence building?
The Fodero diner building that housed the restaurant Quintessence -- twice -- has been in Albany since the 1930s (or 40s), after it was shipped up from New Jersey. And while the land it sits on is part of the redevelopment plan -- the building itself is not.
As a result, Albany Med was offering to give it away -- for free -- to anyone willing to move it. But word is that the building is in pretty rough shape, and even after about a dozen inquiries, there were no takers.
So, here's the current plan, according to Rich Rosen, VP of Columbia Development, which is coordinating the Park South redevelopment: Architects for the project are looking into which elements of the diner building have some sort of notable historic or aesthetic value. They'll then try to work those parts of the diner building into the new mixed-use building planned for the site along New Scotland Ave -- say, in the lobby, along with information about the diner building's history.
And if someone turns up tomorrow willing to take the building away, is the original offer still on the table? Maybe. Rosen told us that if the building would be staying in the area, then they'd consider the idea because it would preserve a bit of local history. But if the person wanting the diner would be moving it out of the area -- or scrapping it for parts -- they're not interested.
About the Park South redevelopment: The $110 million plan to completely redevelop two whole blocks of Park South took another small step forward Thursday evening when reps appeared before the city planning board for what was essentially a getting-to-know-you-again presentation. A few quick bits...
The forecast for this weekend may have you breaking out the sunscreen and Bermuda shorts -- but resist the urge. Sure, 40 seems warm when it's been snot freezing cold, but unless you're up for a polar plunge, it's not swimsuit weather.
After the jump, a few things to do on this lovely winter weekend. Got plans you don't see here? You know what to do. Drop them in the comment section so we can all see.
Also: Don't forget to set the clocks forward an hour for daylight savings time before you go to bed on Saturday. (Yes, already.)
And have a fantastic weekend.
Prosecutor: "This is one of the most heinous crimes I've ever seen," Gillibrand's push for reform of military's handling of sexual assault cases hits roadblock, lawsuit over K-cup ingriedents
Schenectady County prosecutors said Thursday that a medical assistance call this past December prompted the unraveling of the case in which a Schenectady man, Herman N. Robinson, is accused of serially raping a girl since 2006 when she was 11 years old, impregnating her, and then killing the baby shortly after it was born. "Individuals who requested anonymity because the investigation isn't over" tell the Times Union that Robinson allegedly left a suicide note in which he said he had buried the body of the baby in a local park (the baby hasn't been found). Schenectady County ADA and special victims bureau chief Tracey Brunecz: "This is one of the most heinous crimes I've ever seen," Brunecz said the young woman's family was "shocked" to hear about the allegations. And she said the woman, now in college, is "a remarkably strong young lady." [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN] [WNYT]
The Troy City Council voted in favor of a resolution seeking an outside review of the Kokopellis incident. [Troy Record]
UAlbany's site plans for the Cuomo admin's Start-Up NY program have been approved. (Start-Up NY is the program in which companies locating on site connected to colleges or universities can get a range of incentives, including paying no taxes for 10 years.) [TU]
The state's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in January, the lowest level since December 2008, the state Department of Labor reported. But the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro was down 1,700 non-farm jobs in January 2014 compared to January 2013. [NYS DOL]
The last day for skating at the rink on the Empire State Plaza is this Sunday, March 9. The rink is open 11 am-8 pm every day (closed 3-4 pm for maintenance). It's free to skate -- and skate rentals are $4 adults / $3 kids / free on Friday.
We got a question today from a reader who, curious because of this winter's deep freeze, wanted to know if there are any officially sanctioned places or events for safely walking across the frozen Hudson River. After a bit of research and asking around, we arrived at the same conclusion she did: no, there are not. So, let's make this clear: Do not ever try to walk across the frozen Hudson -- not here, not upriver, not anywhere.
But, in looking into this topic, we came across some interesting local frozen Hudson River history. That image above is titled "Snow scene in Albany, New York". It's a hand-colored wood engraving on paper, part of the Albany Institute's collection, from around 1850 -- when things, including the river itself, were different.
Are those carriages? On the frozen Hudson? Yes, yes they are. From Hudson River Panorama: A Passage Through Time:
Ice formed regularly on the upper portions of the Hudson River until the 1903s, when deep channels were dredged for the year-round operation of the Port of Albany. A frozen river provided many opportunities to cross from one side to another. Numermous references to people walking or skating across survive, but horse-drawn sleighs provided one of the fastest and most common crossing methods. The popular Albany Sleigh, manufactured by James Goold and Company, was well known throughout the United States and Europe. According to the an 1871-72 brochure, Goold used only the finest wood and steel in his Albany Sleigh, which featured pleasing combinations of colorful paint decorations and included the finest plush upholstery and carpets for interiors. Established in 1813, Goold's company also manufactured carriages, coaches, and wagons.
So not only were people conveyed across the frozen Hudson River in a sleigh -- they were doing it in style. (Here's more on the Albany Sleigh over at Hoxsie.)
Bonus history bit: The frozen Hudson River also plays a role in "The Knox Expedition," a Revolutionary War story.
An article in NYT this week depicts Bennington, Vermont -- just over the border from Rensselaer County -- as a place overrun by heroin. Says a Vermont state trooper in the story: "The quaint town of Bennington has had a rude awakening of drugs ... Everyone is doing it... It's in the high school. The kids are doing it right in school. You find Baggies in the hallway." In January, Vermont governor Peter Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State address to the topic of heroin and opiate addiction. [NYT] [Shumlin admin]
When I first walked by Plum Dandy Cookies and Milk, with a charming family inside enjoying sweet treats with adorable glassware and fancy straws, I felt like I was staring into a modern-day hipster Norman Rockwell painting. I wanted to stop in right then, but I was on my way to meet friends somewhere else.
I love sweets, so it was only a matter of time before I arranged another chance to stop in. And here's what I discovered when I finally made it inside.
Stock market fact of the day: Of the 11 publicly listed companies headquartered in the Capital Region, the one currently with the highest market cap is Plug Power. The fuel cell system company recently hit a one-year high -- but its share price was once much, much higher. Being the local company with the highest market cap doesn't necessarily make Plug the biggest fish in the pond, though. Example: The Golub Corp -- the parent company of Price Chopper, headquartered in Schenectady -- is privately owned (that is, not listed on the stock market), and has annual revenues of almost $3.5 billion. [Biz Review] [Google Finance] [Forbes]
T asks via the Facebook:
I am having a City Hall wedding in August and I am looking for a nice place to have a decent meal afterward for about 20 people that won't break the bank. I would like it to be an Albany restaurant. I have researched several options and they are just too much. I would like to do something that would work out to be $20 or less per person. Can you throw this out to your readers for suggestions? Thanks.
Sometimes it seems like there's almost no ceiling on how much can be spent on a wedding. But trying to keep the cost down -- that can take some creativity and flexibility.
So... got a suggestion for T? Please share! We're especially curious if maybe there's some sort of non-traditional option that might work.
Earlier on AOA: Planning a Capital Region wedding: catering
Astorino running for governor, church raffles gun in effort to gain parishioners, please don't feed the vultures
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, has announced he's running for governor. Astorino made the announcement on Wednesday in a six-minute video in which he charges that Cuomo is the manager of New York's decline. [WNYT][Capitol Confidential]
Troy City Council Public Safety Committee chair Robert Doherty says that under an ordinance created by the committee, city police officers who try to stop people from filming or photographing them would face a fine and jail time. [TU]
What the unanimous vote by the Saratoga Springs City Council opposing expansion of casino gambling in the city actually means for the expansion of casino gambling in the city depends on where you stand. Opponents of a full casino say they are confident the vote shows there is not support for gambling expansion in Saratoga. Casino advocates say they supported the council's vote because it could help reserve judgement on the casino until more details are revealed in a final bid. [Saratogian][TU][NYT]
A Schenectady man is charged with raping a girl over the course of six years, from the time she was 11 years old, fathering a child with her, and then killing the baby. [Gazette]
The Times Union reports that the new suspect in the Schenectady house fire that killed a father and three children has told them he was in the vicinity of the home on the night of the fire. [TU]
Chipotle recently announced that its much-anticipated vegan "sofritas" would soon be arriving at Northeast locations, and there it was when we stopped into the Stuyvesant Plaza location Tuesday evening.
From the chain's description of the tofu product:
We start with organic tofu from Hodo Soy that we shred and then braise with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos, and a blend of aromatic spices. The result is a delicious, spicy tofu that will give vegans and carnivores something they both will love.
The sofritas has gotten a lot of attention because 1) Chipotle almost never introduces new menu items and 2) it's tofu at a major national chain. The product has been hyped as a tofu "turning point", and the possible beginning of a "chain reaction" that could lead other chains and restaurants to add vegan items. It also didn't hurt that it was developed by Chipotle's star chef/culinary manager Nate Appleman, and that early testers said the stuff actually tasted pretty good -- so much so that it might appeal to non-vegans/vegetarians.
So, anyway, we got the sofritas in a (very not-vegan) burrito bowl. Initial reaction: It's... OK. It has the texture of crumbled sausage or chunky ground beef. And the chipotle flavor definitely registered. It sort of reminded us a little bit of ground beef with "taco" seasoning. We still prefer just the straight-up "vegetarian" bowl (something we get often) over a bowl with the sofritas.
Oh, and it should be mentioned that tofu in a burrito isn't exactly groundbreaking or anything. Bombers has had tofu burritos for a long time.
Earlier on AOA: Vegan dishes worth trying -- even if you're not a vegan
We used to joke that one of the state's main economic development strategies was to just append the word "nano" onto as much stuff as possible. Maybe that actually is the strategy. The latest: The NanoCollege is building a public/private facility near Syracuse that, among other uses, will somehow be merging nanotechnology and film production [Syracuse.com x2]
High speed rail in this country is one of those things that always seems to be happening just over the horizon. And for the Northeast -- and the Capital Region specifically -- this somewhere-out-there future holds all sorts of potential. Imagine what it would be like to hop a train at Albany-Rensselaer -- the 9th busiest station in the nation -- and be in NYC in a little more than an hour.
The thing is, for all the talk, we never seem to get closer to actually arriving at high speed rail. But that might be changing. Slowly.
The state Department of Transportation is currently working to sort out plans for higher speed rail service through New York. And there was a public information session Tuesday at the NanoCollege about the options, the first of series of sessions around the state.
We stopped by, checked out the presentations, and talked with one of the people involved in the planning. Here's a breakdown of the state's current route toward high-speed rail.
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