The last week's worth of items on AOA

Wallpaper and power

Schuyler Mansion Ruins of Rome wallpaper

Some of the new wall covering. The Schuyler Mansion Twitter stream and blog have more photos.

The Schuyler Mansion recently completed the reproduction and reinstallation 18th century wallpaper -- "Ruins of Rome" -- and the historic site's blog shares the details about how exactly that all happened. The process involved digital image tech and, we suspect, a lot of patience.

But this part struck as particularly interesting. Writes Danielle Funiciello:

Rather than the sparse interior which has greeted visitors for 100 years, walking into the mansion is like now like stepping back in time. Philip Schuyler vision for his home was calculated. Each element was designed not only to impress guests once they arrived at the home, but to encourage wealthy and important guests to come in the first place; thereby creating networking opportunities for the Schuyler family. The size and grandeur of the home was successful - drawing visitors like the Washingtons, the Marquis de Lafayette, the Marquis de Chastellux, Benedict Arnold, and even Benjamin Franklin, who had a letter of introduction written so that he could stay at Schuyler's when travelling through Albany. The "Ruins of Rome" helps historians and museum visitors alike understand the first impression that accomplished this.

Hamilton
The Schuler Mansion is again offering its popular "When Hamilton Called Albany Home" tour in March. It's currently taking reservations for March 2 and March 4. And when March starts, it'll be begin taking reservations for other dates during the month.

And if you go, be sure to scope out all the wallpaper.

Earlier on AOA:
+ "You maintain your empire in spite of all my efforts..."
+ A timeline of Theodosia Burr Alston

photo via Schuyler Mansion Twitter

Nice, but...

Over at The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer asks a timely modern ethical question: Is It Okay to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change? The question is a jumping off point for looking at how people are influenced in their thinking about climate change. [The Atlantic] Earlier: Yep, winter's been odd in recent years

Siena Hip-Hop Week 2017

Siena hip-hop week 2017 posterThe annual Hip-Hop Week returns to Siena March 20-25 with a series of events focused on the art, politics, and culture of hip hop.

The keynote speaker this year is the groundbreaking MC Sha-Rock. As Siena professor Todd Snyder, the organizer of Hip-Hop Week, writes:

Sha-Rock (our keynote) is the first woman of hip hop. She was a member of the pioneering group The Funky 4 +1 (know for their old school hit "That's the Joint"). She was the first female rapper to appear as a musical guest on SNL & was also featured in films such as "Beat Street" and "Wild Style." She had a huge influence on artists such as Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow.

There's a listing of the week's free-and-open-to-the-public events below.

This is now the fourth year for Siena's Hip-Hop Week, which has included talks by Grandmaster Flash and Chuck D in previous years. It's sponsored by the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center at Siena.

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Stuff to do this weekend

brain candy live savage stevens

Adam Savage and Michael Stevens bring their Brain Candy Live show to Proctors Friday night.

Spring? Is that you? Nope, not yet. Still February.

But it's the weekend and our streak of balmy weather continues, so we'll take it.

After the jump, our list of stuff going on this weekend that might interest you.

Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments. It's more fun if you share!

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

CDPHP indoor swimming in-post ad

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Murder charge in Albany infant death, Troy officer honored for actions during shootout, a new life here and a new arm

Albany infant death
A Troy man has been indicted on charges that include second-degree murder in the death of an infant at a residence in Albany earlier this month. Prosecutors allege the man "recklessly engage[d] in conduct which created a grave risk of death that ultimately resulted in the death of a one year old infant". An Albany woman has also been indicted on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. Both people have pleaded not guilty. The infant's grandmother tells News10 that woman charged is the boy's mother. Albany police say officers had been called to the apartment on South Allen Street February 6 and found the infant unresponsive -- he as taken to Albany Med and later died. [Albany County DA] [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN]

Transgender students
Following a Trump administraion rollback of federal protections for transgender students this week, New York State officials -- including Andrew Cuomo, education commissioner MaryEllen Elia, and attorney general Eric Schneiderman emphasized state protections for transgender students. [Washington Post] [Politico NY]

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A new February record

melting pile of dirty parking lot snow

As warmth returns to the land, the snows of a far off mountain range melt and stream upon the parking lot plains.

Yeah, so February, just when it was looking like you'd be typically wintry... you, too, have gone all weird on us.

Thursday's high temperature at the Albany International Airport was 69 degrees -- not just a record for the date, but the highest temperature ever recorded in February here (going back to 1874). [NWS Albany]

As it happens, it's not the highest winter* temperature ever recorded here. Days in both December and January have hit 71 (December 29, 1971; January 6, 2007 and January 13, 1932).

* Meteorlogical winter = December, January, and February

Earlier on AOA: Yep, winter's been odd in recent years

Progressive, warm, vibrant Jewish congregations?

menorah blue sky background Flickr Ted Eytan CCAH writes that her family is looking ahead to a move to Albany:

So I'd love to hear any suggestions of progressive, warm, and vibrant Jewish congregations/communities. Having a good religious school and/or activities for young families would be a bonus. We lean Conservative, but can be flexible on the denomination.

AH's question was prompted in part by the earlier question this week about progressive churches and the helpful responses it garnered.

So, got a suggestion for AH and her family? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a specific congregration can be very helpful.

photo: Flickr user Ted Eytan (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)

Fair Share 4 Albany

fair share for albany logoThe push for the city of Albany to get that additional $12.5 million from the state continues...

The Sheehan administration, backed by the city's state legislators, formally launched a campaign called Fair Share 4 Albany Thursday in an effort to focus attention on the bid for the inclusion of the "Capital City Funding" in the state budget.

The campaign -- with its own logo (that it's on the right), website, and social media streams -- is focused on the city's low level of state municipal aid per capita compared to other big cities around the state* and it's high level of tax-exempt property. And it's urging people to call elected state officials to press the case -- it even includes tips on what to say.

The $12.5 million didn't show up in the Cuomo admin's 30-day budget amendments last week, setting off a scramble for the mayor's administration because the current budget relies on the money. Kathy Sheehan has said the city is facing the prospect of cuts to things like recreation programs and Alive at Five if the money doesn't come through.

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"Let's just throw up some cones and see what happens for a week"

Some food for thought as the Capital Region continues to look toward expanding bus rapid transit: A city adjacent to Boston lacked a rapid transit connection to its bigger neighbor, so it turned a mile long stretch of curbside parking into a temporary bus-only lane -- which reduced travel times for both bus riders and drivers. [City Lab]

Brew goes Pint Sized, plans second location (and a tiny bar)

Brew Pint Sized Albany interior 2017-February

The current shop on Lark Street.

Changes are coming to Brew, the popular beer/coffee shop on Lark Street.

Owner August Rosa says he's changing the name to Pint Sized. And he's opening a second location in Saratoga Springs -- what he believes could be the Capital Region's tiniest bar.

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Details for the As You Are Albany premiere

as you are sundance still

A still from As You Are, which was filmed at many locations around the Capital Region.

Here are the details for that special Albany premiere screening of As You Are, the Sundance prize-winning film that shot in this area in 2015...

The special screening will be at The Spectrum March 3 at 7 pm. Tickets for the event are $20 and only available online, not through the normal Spectrum ticketing system. The event is sponsored by Film Albany and Upstate Independents, and all the proceeds will benefit the YouthFX program in Albany.

The event will feature a post-screening Q&A with the Albany natives behind the film: writer/director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, writer Madison Harrison, and producer/colorist Joseph Mastantuono.

Joris-Peyrafitte and Harrison were part of a program at the Albany Free School that grew into YouthFX, and as the director told us recently, it played a big role in setting them on this path:

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Oprah speaking at Skidmore's commencement

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is set to be the speaker at this year's Skidmore commencement May 20 at SPAC. (See Skidmore News story.) The college will be awarding an honorary doctorate up on her, along with two others...

+ Ann Rubenstein Tisch, founder of the Young Women's Leadership Network

+ Wes Moore, author, youth advocate, and Army veteran (maybe you saw him speak at the Sage Albany campus last fall)

The event will be livestreamed, according to Skidmore's commencement website.

So, what's the protocol for an Oprah visit? It's kind of like having the president visit, right?

As it happens, Winfrey has been to Saratoga Springs at least once before -- she made a quick visit in 2013 to have dinner with two graduates of her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa that were attending Skidmore. [Saratogian 2013]

photo via Oprah Winfrey Facebook page

Guilty verdict in Best murder, Hoosick Falls considers revised PFOA agreement, Stefanik/Faso constituents call for town halls, the choices that led to closure of Troy's pools

Guilty verdict in Best murder
After five hours of deliberations, a Schenectady jury convicted Bloods member Troy Saunders of first-degree murder, robbery and all other charges in the death of Wayne Best Junior. Saunders could face life without parole.[Gazette][TWCN][TU]

Hoosick Falls
Former EPA administrator Judith Enck is urging Hoosick Falls not to accept a
a newly revised settlement from Honeywell and Saint Gobain that would up compensation for contamination by $195 thousand to $1.04 million. [TWCN][Record][TU]

SUNY Poly
Former NYS Budget Director Bob Megan was appointed on Wednesday as the president of SUNY Poly's two nonprofit development arms. [TU]

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How we all ended up talking about a gondola between downtown Albany and the train station

Capital District Gondola ESP rendering

Last fall the McLaren Engineering Group floated the idea of building a gondola lift to ferry people between downtown Albany and the train station over in Rensselaer. The initial phase of the project would have a price tag $16.6 million-$19.5 million. (That image is from the feasibility study.)

By Sandy Johnston

The concept of building a gondola or aerial tramway across the Hudson River from the Rensselaer Amtrak station to downtown Albany and the Empire State Plaza has generated a considerable amount of debate in the Capital Region over the last several months.

Readers of my previous commentaries in this space know that I'm suspicious of the need to spend tens of millions on capital-intensive infrastructure projects in the region, preferring to spread the money around to more fundamental improvements such as increased local bus service and CDTA's planned Bus Rapid Transit lines.

The gondola concept, though, presents an opportunity to consider a more basic question: Just why do quirky, perhaps absurd ideas like the gondola keep popping up in regional dialogue about transportation infrastructure?

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Robert Randolph & the Family Band at Upstate Concert Hall

musician Robert Randolph

The funk/soul act Robert Randolph and the Family Band is set to play Upstate Concert Hall April 22. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 24 -- they're $25 ahead / $28 day of.

Randolph is regarded as one of the best guitarists in the world, and plays the pedal steel guitar. The band just released a new album.

It looks like the UCH show will have an opening act, but it's TBA.

photo via Robert Randolph & the Family Band Facebook

Registration open for CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge, Freihofer's Run for Women

workforce team challenge 2016 finish

CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge
This year's CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge is May 18 in Albany and registration is now open. The race -- which consists of teams from local companies and orgs -- is capped at 10,000 participants and usually fills up.

The registration fee is $24. This year's race will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany and Vanderheyden, as well as the Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club, which organizes the event.

Here's the course map -- the 3.5-mile route starts at the State Museum, heads up Madison into Washington Park, and then returns to the State Museum.

Freihofer's Run for Women
The annual Freihofer's Run for Women is June 3 this year in Albany. Registration for the popular 5k is already open -- it's $30 until April 15, and then the price increases incrementally until the day of the race.

The race -- which heads up Washington Ave and around Washington Park -- draws more than 3,000 participants.

CDPHP advertises on AOA.

photo via CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge Facebook

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the Tour de Wing, mac-n-cheese, Sunhee's, barbecued frankfurters, Valentine's Day, Susan B. Anthony in jail, growing Troy, consumption, snowshoeing, winter weekends, the photo regional, the new dog, and doing your job.

Neighborhood in-post ad Honest Weight 2017

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Wicked Mohawk Valley

wicked mohawk valley book coverThis area has its fair share of seedy history, and here's more evidence...

The Schenectady County Historical Society has a talk from Dennis Webster -- author of Wicked Mohawk Valley -- lined up for March 4 at the Mabee Farm. Blurbage:

Would a decorated lawman risk his career for garden fresh vegetables? What crime family terrorized chickens in two counties? What dastardly murder happened on Potato Hill Road? And why would anyone dare guzzle the "creeping death"? Be prepared to have these questions answered, and discover a dossier of some of the most notorious and unbelievable criminal cases in the history of the Mohawk Valley. From bootlegging to brothels to racketeering, local author Dennis Webster has collected the most thrilling stories of deception and mayhem within the Mohawk Valley.

A ripe-from-the-vine backyard tomato is rather tempting.

In addition to Wicked Mohawk Valley, Webster is also the author of Haunted Mohawk Valley as well as a contributor to Adirondack Mysteries, among other works.

The talk is at 2 pm on Saturday, March 4. Admission is $5.

The Mabee Historic Farm is in Rotterdam Junction, 10-15 minutes west of Schenectady.

New draft settlement for Hoosick Falls, no charges for firefighter who accidentally shot himself, transgendered woman assaulted at bus stop

Saint Gobain ups Hoosick Falls settlement
A new draft agreement between Hoosick Falls and Saint Gobain adds $195,000 to an original $850,000 agreement for expenses related to PFOA contamination. [TWCN][TU]

Meanwhile, Hoosick Falls mayor David Borge says he agrees with a recent statement by NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker that the village now has some of the cleanest drinking water in the nation. [Record]

Petersburgh air
Results taken from a test of the Taconic Plastics facility in Petersburgh show PFOA and other substances are being removed from emissions. [WNYT][TU]

Gibson on McMaster
Chris Gibson served under H.R. McMaster and has high praise for Donald Trumps choice for National Security Advisor. [TU]

STROSE_525x80_general 2017.jpg

CDPHP indoor swimming in-post ad

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Fast break

Because time lapse: Here's a video of the Times Union center changing over from hockey rink to basketball court between the Albany Devils game Saturday afternoon and the Siena game that night.

The legend continues

Jimmer Fredette -- the "Loneliness Master" -- scored 73 points for the Shanghai Sharks in a double overtime loss this past weekend to the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association. He shot 25-of-49 and 10-of-18 from three. The Glens Falls native is averaging a little more than 37 points per game, virtually tied for tops in the league. [NY Post] [ESPN]

518 Songfest 2017

The 518 Songfest returns to The Egg April 1. The headliner is Sawyer Fredericks, of American Idol The Voice fame. Also on the card: Girl Blue, The Sea The Sea, John Davidson, and Sandy McKnight.

Blurbage: "Songfest is a unique live concert experience, in that the artists get to perform their songs, as well as talk a bit about their music and experiences as creators and musicians."

Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 24 -- they're $30 ahead / $35 day of. The concert is a benefit for Exit 97.7 WEXT and the Columbia Arts Team. It's in the 450-seat Swyer Theater.

A front page flight

NYT 1910-05-30 Glenn Curtiss Albany flight

Maybe you've seen that video that's been bouncing around online today of every New York Times front page since 1852 -- in 55 seconds.

There's an Albany-related historical bit mixed up in there: The first news photograph ever published on the paper's front page -- in May of 1910 -- was from... Albany.

Yep, it was a photo of Glenn Curtiss piloting "The Albany Flyer" biplane shortly after takeoff from a spot that's now in the Port of Albany. Curtiss was attempting to become the first person to fly from Albany to New York City -- and, in the process, claim a $10,000 prize from the New York World (something like $250k in today's dollars). He was successful, making the trip 2 hours and 46 minutes of flight time with two stops. Over at Hoxsie, Carl has he whole story. (Because of course he does.)

Anyway, NYT went all out on its coverage of the Curtiss flight. It even hired a special train to follow him on the route. And it published a multi-page spread with a bunch of photos, including that first one from Albany on the front page.

[historical bit via Kottke]

screengrab from NYT Times Machine

"The drive for citizenship and the drive for a permanent home is a pretty powerful drive"

The New York Times has a look at how refugee populations have bolstered cities along the old Erie Canal corridor in recent years, re-occupying vacant housing and bringing new vitality to neighborhoods in places as Buffalo. [NYT]

Cinnamon buns at Fifth Tier Baking Studio

Fifth Tier Baking Studio cinnamon bun

By Deanna Fox

Fifth Tier Baking Studio is tucked into a section of Columbia Street in downtown Albany that feels like an alleyway, hidden away from the typical bustle of North Pearl Street. It's the sort of spot that requires a bit of sleuthing.

With no seating and a limited menu, the shop isn't focused on creating a comfortable lingering experience for its customers. Instead, the focus is on production, churning out scones of sweet and savory varieties, jumbo-sized cookies -- and massive cinnamon buns that blend warm spice with sweet dough in a masterly fashion.

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"You're saving a piece of history that cannot be remade."

Over at The Alt, Ann Morrow talks with Patrick Chiou about the developer's plans for the Church of the Holy Innocents building, his residential redevelopment project near Broadway, and the prospects for Arbor Hill. [The Alt]

A progressive, friendly, diverse church?

church windows pewsM. writes:

Hi I recently moved to Albany and I am looking for a good church hopefully one that is progressive, friendly and diverse.

We've had similar questions in the past, but it's been years since the last one and things change.

So, got a suggestion for M.? Please share! And sentence or two about why you're recommending a specific church can be very helpful.

Overflow crowd at local Congressional town hall meeting, opposition to Colonie landfill expansion, SUNY Poly said to be "rudderless," the sordid casino story that maybe wasn't so sordid

Tonko town hall meeting
An overflow crowd of more than 500 people turned out for a town hall-style meeting with Paul Tonko Monday evening in Schenectady. Among the topics: the Affordable Care Act, refugees, manufacturing jobs, and the environment. Said Tonko during the meeting: "When I have a chance to meet with the president, I will share some very strong feelings about climate change, about the environment, about public lands." The crowd appeared generally supportive of the Democrat. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Stefanik and Faso: Neither Elise Stefanik or John Faso have town hall-style meetings scheduled, a recent point of criticism for both Republican Congress members. [Saratogian] [TU]

Gillibrand on Russia and Trump foreign policy
Kirsten Gillibrand during a visit to 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base Sunday: "I am very concerned about another country trying to undermine our elections. Our democracy depends on free and fair elections and so I am concerned by these acts by Russia. I am concerned how the president is reacting to other foreign countries and positioning us in a more volatile way. I'm concerned about the country and our well-being and it's one of the roles I take very seriously on the Armed Services Committee." [TU] [TWCN]

Colonie landfill expansion
A look at the opposition organizing among nearby towns and residents against the proposed expansion of the Colonie landfill near the Mohawk River. [TU+]

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The week ahead

the band Young The Giant

Young the Giant will be at The Palace later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (wut), to eating and drinking, to poems and stories, to hip hop, to digital news, to farming, to music...

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A quick recap of the week

week review 2017-02-18

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:

+ We gave away tickets to the Gathering of the Farm Cideries by asking: What's your favorite thing to eat when it's cold and snowy outside?

+ It's been snowy in a normal way.

+ Haley looked at a handful of projects trying to lift Schenectady's Eastern Ave neighborhood.

+ A quick scan of the latest batch of high school graduation rates from around the Capital Region.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the Blake family, Knox & Mead, purchasing your own supply of chocolate, the pearly gates, helping kids become community members, snow stress, mineral springs, snowy photos, The Tollgate, pizza, the restaurant industry, Buffalo wings, and childhood.

+ We talked with Albany native Miles Joris-Peyrafitte about As You Are, the Sundance prize-winning film he directed here.

+ Ann an David from 98 Acres examined the history of redlining in Albany.

+ The EBA building on Lark Street is up for auction -- we talked with Maude Baum about selling the longtime home of the dance company.

+ And a look at the many, many tax-exempt properties in Albany, and how that affects the city's budget and the people who live there.

Here's the whole week in one place.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!

Today's moment of winter

state street capitol blue sky wispy clouds

Walking up State Street, for a moment, it was all blue skies, sunshine, and wispy clouds.

Then it was February again.

The untaxed city within the city

Albany untaxable properties map

The map above depicts parcels in the city of Albany from which, for various reasons, the city doesn't get property taxes. It's from a slide deck used by Kathy Sheehan during her recent presentation before joint state legislative budget hearing about municipal aid.

That topic has popped up again this week (it never really goes away) because the city's request for an additional $12.5 million from the state -- what the Sheehan admin has tagged as "Capital City Funding" -- was not included in the 30-day budget amendments submitted by the Cuomo admin. That doesn't necessarily mean the money is completely off the table -- the Cuomo admin indicated Friday it could still happen -- but it does cast the fate of the money in doubt. Given given that it represents 7 percent of the current $177 million enacted budget, the city faces making some hard cuts if the money doesn't come through. And on Friday Sheehan urged city residents to call the offices of state legislative leaders to push for the aid.

Sheehan and other city officials have long argued the city deserves more aid from the state for two reasons:

1. The amount of money the city gets from the state's main type of aid to municipalities (AIM) is, on a per capita basis, way lower than what other large cities around the state get. It's not even close. As Sheehan said Friday: "We are not asking for something extra. We are asking for something that gets us a little closer to parity."

2. Large portions of the city -- some 63 percent of the property value -- are tax exempt because of the presence of the state and other institutions that don't have to pay.

Here's a larger view of that map, along with a few quick bits.

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Looking for more? Check out the archive. Or try searching for it:

The Scoop

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Recent Comments

If you've never checked out a Friends meeting (Quakers), I recommend giving it a go. I'm Jewish, but have been sporadically attending Friends meetings for several years. We sit in silence. There's no pastor. The idea is that G-d is within all of us, and if someone's truly and deeply compelled to speak, they share their message. Sometimes it's a full hour of silence and then at the end of the meeting we share joys and sorrows and community updates and you realize that the people sitting silently beside you are some of the most engaged, empathetic, and fair-minded activists around.

Stuff to do this weekend

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The untaxed city within the city

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How we all ended up talking about a gondola between downtown Albany and the train station

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Fair Share 4 Albany

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Progressive, warm, vibrant Jewish congregations?

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