The last week's worth of items on AOA
I just moved to Schenectady, and I'm wondering if anyone has good recommendations for brunch spots (especially those with bars) for Saturday/Sunday mornings.
I've tried Union Cafe, which has fantastic service, darn good pancakes, and tasty Greek eats. Eating on the patio in the sun is nice (although the view leaves something to be desired), and there is no alcohol served (i.e., cravings for a bloody mary or mimosa go un-quenched).
Any tips from the AOA community would be greatly appreciated.
Lindsay mentions that she's been following Lauren's brunch mini-tour. But that hasn't made it to Schenectady, yet. So if you have suggestions for Lindsay, they can also double has possible spots for Lauren to check out.
So, got a good place in mind? Please share. And, as always, a sentence or two about why you're suggesting that place is like an extra kick of horseradish in the Bloody Mary.
Something to get you going today: A demo of "Summer of 87" by Dryer. Power pop. So much.
Now we have to fight the urge to go digging up old clips from 120 Minutes...
Inmate found dead at Albany County Jail, anti violence rally planned in Schenectady, questions about Quirky, all over a Scooby Doo doll
Inmate found dead at Albany County Jail
A prisoner at the Albany County Correctional facility was found dead in his cell on Wednesday night, in what is believed to have been a suicide. The man was due to be sentenced next week on a conspiracy charge in a scheme to get an 80-year-old woman to turn over her home. [TWCN][TU]
David Sweat is still spilling information about his Dannemora escape. [TU]
Joyce Mitchell, the Dannemora prison employee who helped Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from the prison, will collect her state pension, even though she is forced to retire because she is going to jail for her role in the incident.[WNYT]
Chris Churchill on the sentence 16-year-old Marquis Dixon received for stealing a pair of sneakers in Albany-- which is significantly longer than the one Jeffrey Mann got in Saratoga County for his role in the bar fight that killed Aaron Huggins. [TU]
We are into the thick of blueberry season around the greater Capital Region. And as we've mentioned before, blueberries are just about our favorite pick-your-own crop because they're easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually between $2-$3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year.
There are a handful of farms around the Capital Region that offer pick-your-own blueberries. Here's a list with some info. And, of course, if you know of a place that should be on the list, please share.
The schedule for the upcoming 2015-206 season at the Massry Center at the College of Saint Rose is out. The slate includes a ukulele virtuoso, a couple of banjo titans, a river-spanning jazz festval, and the return of the popular Christmas concert featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi.
Noted: There is still snow in Buffalo left over from last November's huge snow storm. [WGRZ]
I've got some friends coming into town and we thought it would be a blast to head up to Lake George and rent a boat for the day. There seems to be a ton of places out there that rent so I was wondering if any of your readers have done this before and could perhaps recommend something to us. We'll have 7 adults and are not tied to any particular location on the lake.
If you have a place to suggest -- or even thoughts on what to look for -- we'll be awarding non-redeemable bonus points for suggestions that include a sentence or two about why that's a good place.
Got advice for Sean? Please share!
Earlier on AOA: Where to go paddleboarding?
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Track season, Tanpopo, Chester's, Siro's, sushi cake, birthday cake, the ValleyCats, the uptown campus, Thacher Park, moths, Washington Park, a secret beach, FDR, disturbing mini hot dogs, and Neanderthals.
"They started hitting us a little bit and Ed started loosening up, and he was a lot of fun that night"
William Kennedy and E.L. Doctorow walk into a bar in Albany... Not the beginning of a joke, but an actual story as told by Kennedy to Paul Grondahl. The story also involves "vodka poppers." (There's also a glancing cameo by Hunter S. Thompson.) [TU+ (link around)]
Without ado, further or otherwise, here's the slate for the upcoming fall season at EMPAC. It is, as usual, full of performances, talks, and events that promise to be interesting, thought-provoking, even challenging.
Dannemora employee takes plea deal, Malta man sentenced in wife's murder, Quirky cuts jobs, goat rustlers sentenced
Dannemora employee pleads guilty to aiding escape
Joyce Mitchell, an instructor at the tailor shop at Clinton Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding Richard Matt and David Sweat in their escape from the prison in June. Mitchell told a judge she "was caught up in he fantasy," and that she enjoyed the attention they gave her and the thought of the start of a different life. [TU][NYT]
Former cop sentenced in wife's murder
The Malta man and former Long Island cop convicted of killing his wife of 40 years was sentenced to 15 years in prison.[TU]
Schenectady shooting victim named
The 18 year old man shot on a Schenectady Street on Monday has been identified as Kusaan Tolliver. The shooting was the second in five days in the city. The president of the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association says the group is planning a march against violence with the help of the Southern Christian Leadership conference.[TU][TWCN]
A Lake George man was sentenced on criminally negligent homicide in connection with a fatal bar fight in Saratoga last September. At the sentencing Andrew Mann apologized to Aaron Huggins' family and to his own, saying " not a day goes by that I don't wish I hadn't put my hands on him." [WNYT][Saratogian]
This guy was clinging to the side one of the pools at the Harriman State Office Campus Monday evening, as tadpoles darted around the dyed-blue water below.
This Wednesday is a big day for one of the most interesting transportation projects in the Capital Region because the city of Albany will be publicly presenting options for the Madison Ave Road Diet. The range of options will be on display, and public comments collected, at the College of Saint Rose Wednesday at 6 pm.
The project is aiming to make the popular thoroughfare through Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood safer by reducing the number of lanes in an effort to "calm" traffic. It's a notable example of how the thinking about the way people get around is evolving from a perspective that places a high, almost sole, priority on cars, to an approach that intends to be more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.
The Madison Ave Road Diet is also potentially important because it could end up including the first protected bike lane in the city of Albany -- that is, a lane designated for bikes that's protected from car traffic by some sort of barrier. Cycling advocates have been pushing for such an amenity, and see it as a significant step towards more bikeable city.
Here are three thoughts about the push for protected bike lanes.
Over at NYT Sandy Keenan talks with students and officials at UAlbany about SUNY's new policies on affirmative consent and finds there's still a lack of awareness, as well some skepticism, about "yes means yes." [NYT]
We're expecting a baby soon and were looking for a meal delivery service in the Capital District. Not necessarily to lose weight, but something that's somewhat healthy, delivered cold, but that can be warmed up for meals, so we don't have to worry about meals every night once the baby's here. I've only seen services in other larger metropolitan areas, but not in ours. Any ideas/suggestions?
We are, of course, interested in hearing about local suggestions. But we've also noticed recently there are some web-based companies that offer shipments of meals or pre-prepped meal ingredients. So maybe that's a related option. (We really have no idea -- we have not seen those services in action.) Or maybe you can think of a different angle -- like, say, small-scale catering -- that could work.
So, got a suggestion for Dana and family? Please share!
This made us smile: There's a tiny, mobile cabin that you can via Airbnb for use in the Adirondacks.
From the listing for "The Green Lantern":
The Green Lantern is a timber frame, mobile cabin that we will transport anywhere in NYS's Adirondack Park so you can camp in style and comfort. Cabin has bed platform, windows, shelving and electricity. NYS campsites are equipped with bathrooms. ...
The Space Cozy cabin that smells like pine. Skylights, screen windows and Dutch door afford plenty of light and yet ensure privacy.
Guest Access This is a private mobile cabin that we will transport anywhere in the Adirondack Park in NYS that offers thousands of campsites. We can also deliver to a private property if you've got friends or family in the Park.
The cabin rents for $200 a night with a two-night minimum -- or $550 for a week (and $1800 for a month).
photo via Airbnb
Fatal shooting in Schenectady, allegations against arrested Watervliet police officer detailed, investigation into shooting of cat
Watervliet police officer arrested
The Albany County DA's office detailed the charges against Watervliet police officer Joshua Spratt, who had been a school resource officer Watervliet High School -- he's accused of having a sexual relationship with two students, ages 16 and 17. He faces charges for alleged sex acts involving the 16 year old at multiple locations in Watervliet and Menands. Watervliet police chief Ronald Boisvert called the allegations "shocking." And school district superintendent Lori Caplan released a statement that said in part: "If the allegations are true, we are profoundly troubled that a trusted authority figure who served an important role in our district could betray that trust of students, staff and families of our school district in such an egregious way." [Albany County DA] [TWCN] [WNYT]
Also: SUNY Poly is involved with
So, what's the backstory? Via an email from MetLife's David Hammarstrom Monday (link added):
The MetLife blimp was in the greater Albany area for the [Baseball] Hall of Fame induction weekend, and had been tethered at Griffiss International Airport between flights. It was scheduled to depart for Boston this morning.
Griffis is near Rome, so a route from there to Boston would take it over a good chunk of the Capital Region.
Because it's sure to come up this week as we approach of string of forecasted 90something-degree days: The highest daily temperature on record for the Albany area is 104 -- recorded on July 4, 1911. [NWS Albany]
That record temp was part of a massive heatwave.
Over at NYT, Noam Scheiber has an interesting look at the some of the research regarding minimum wage increases and what it might say as New York State and other places head for $15 per hour. Though maybe what it doesn't say is more accurate. As Scheiber writes: "[T]he sheer magnitude of the recent minimum wage increases sets up an economics experiment the country has rarely if ever seen before." (The article also includes some interesting bits about a Subway franchise in Albany.) [NYT] Earlier on AOA: A few ways of thinking about the minimum wage
Speaking of unusual Hudson River creatures... the state Canal Corporation reported today that a seal -- yep, a seal -- made its way through the lock at the Federal Dam in Troy this weekend. From the Canal Corp's FB posting (link added):
We had a special visitor at Lock C-1 (Halfmoon) over the weekend! A seal swam up the Hudson River and locked through the federal lock at Troy before visiting us on the Champlain Canal. Thank you The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation for your guidance as we worked to keep the seal safe.
That photo is also from the Canal Corp's FB posting.
As it happens, it's not really all that usual to see a seal in the Hudson River around Albany. A seal -- or maybe multiple seals -- have been popping up around Coxsackie the last few years. As you know, the Hudson is open to the ocean at its southern end, and the thought is that seals end up here after after following food up river.
A person who placed a 50-cent Pick Five bet -- picking the winner of five consecutive races -- on Saturday races at the Saratoga Race Course ended up winning $471,124.50. ESPN's Darren Rovell reports the bettor spent $675 on multiple combinations for the Pick Five. [ESPN]
Lauren has set out to survey a handful of brunch spots around the Capital Region for a short series.
I'll admit it. I am one of those people that tends to pass over suburban eateries, especially if they're located inside of a strip mall or plaza. In that way, I have become an urbanite, gravitating towards the downtown areas in the Capital Region. The only problem with this perspective is that you can miss out on some interesting places that are still locally owned.
An example of such a place is Tala, a Mazzone Hospitality restaurant located on New Loudon Road in Latham. I'm glad I abandoned my city preferences and visited this modern, bistro-style restaurant as part of my brunch investigation. Plus, as this was the suburbs, there was no Sunday morning test of parallel parking skill.
Watervliet police officer arrested, focus on impending gap between fast food and other minimum wage employees, some sort of taxi plan in the works
Watervliet police officer arrested
A Watervliet police officer who had been assigned as a school resource officer was arrested over the weekend has been charged with a criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child. [WNYT] [Troy Record] [TU]
Sampson found guilty
State Senator John Sampson, the former head of the state Senate while it was controlled by Democrats, was convicted Friday of three charges related to hindering a federal investigation -- and a felony conviction means he's booted from the state Senate. If you're keeping score, he was the second former high-ranking state Senator to get the boot last week for a felony conviction, joining Republic Tom Libous. [NYT x2]
The owner of the local Mr. Subb chain says he'll have to raise menu prices 20 percent to cover the scheduled fast food employee minimum wage increase -- the sandwich chain isn't subject to the planned increase (not enough locations), but the owner says he'll have to raise wages to compete for employees. The planned increase is also highlighting the impending gap between fast food employees and the many other workers in other industries that make minimum wage or close to it. [Biz Review] [NYT]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (hot, hot, hot), to The Track, to baseball, to theater, to barns, to all sorts of music...
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ We gave away tickets to miSci's Science of Brewing event by asking: What is something you'd like to do before the summer is over?
+ The lineup for this year's Pearl Palooza is out.
+ Sean asked about finding a good doctor for treating a wrist injury.
+ A whole bunch of pics from this year's AOA Rail, River, Hudson trip.
+ Here's the lineup for this year's Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival.
+ Jess is coming back to town after almost two years away -- so she's curious about new stuff she needs to check out while she's here.
+ Deanna pointed out the dosas at Parivar.
+ Here's a rundown of county fairs around the area this summer.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: kids and the future, Athens, the emergency vet, Nipper, North Creek, cycling around an island, hiking, mood lifting, apples, how the bread is made, near restaurants, cooking competitions, the Savory Delicatessen, uncertain closing time, ice cream announcements, and a wig where it probably shouldn't have been.
+ Sovrana's got the tabloid treatment.
+ The minimum wage for fast food employees in New York State is set to rise to $15 per hour -- eventually.
+ We gave away tickets to the Capital Region Brewer's Fest at The Joe by asking: What is a great Capital Region combination?
+ A bunch of facts about the Saratoga Race Course.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
A holiday has been declared throughout the land.
OK, not exactly throughout the land. Just here at AOA. We are starting the weekend a little early. We hope you can do the same.
And speaking of the weekend, here's your weekend tasting menu of stuff to do. There's a pretty wide variety this week, from racing and beer festivals to county fairs and drive-in movies. There's lots of mid-summer stuff going on and a lovely weekend ahead.
Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
The Saratoga Meet begins tomorrow, and odds are you're going to make a trip or two to the ponies this summer or you know someone who will. There's plenty of time between races to take in the sites or pick your trifecta in the next race, but in case you're looking for a way to entertain your track companions, here are a pocketful of fun facts to pull out over drinks in the clubhouse or at the picnic tables at the paddock.
Got any you want to add? Drop them in the comments and make us all smarter.
130 years ago today Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, died at his cottage near the top of Mount McGregor in
WiltonMoreau, just north of Saratoga.
Grant's role in history is being re-examined by some historians, who now eschew the image of the Civil War general turned Commander -in-chief as a drinker whose success was based largely on luck, for one of a champion of African Americans. In a piece today in the Huffington Post on why historians are changing their tune about GrantJohn F. Marszalek -- a historian and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association says "You have to go almost to Lyndon Johnson to find a president who tried to do as much to ensure black people found freedom."
Grant spent his last days in the cottage on Mount McGregor. The cottage, now a state historic site, is preserved pretty much they way it was when he left it -- books, bedding and all-- and it is open to the public for tour. On Saturday the keepers of the cottage will mark the anniversary of Grant's passing with a Remembrance Day ceremony.
Looking for more? Check out the archive. Or try searching for it: