The last week's worth of items on AOA
The Albany Center Gallery opens its new members show exhibit Wednesday -- and it's doing so in a new gallery space in the Arcade Building on Broadway in downtown Albany.
We got a look around the new space this week and talked with executive director Tony Iadicicco for a few minutes...
The Albany Newspaper Guild, which represents many employees at the Times Union, announced Wednesday that longtime local journalist Marv Cermak left the union $50k in his will. About how the guild might use the money: "Potential preliminary ideas include a scholarship fund for the children of union members, an assistance fund for distressed employees, and a modest bonus for workers at the newspaper, where wages remain frozen by Hearst Corp. since 2008." [Albany Newspaper Guild] See also: Mike DeMasi's remembrance of Cermak as a colleague and friend
The date at The Egg is part of the tour for a new Nightvale live show -- "All Hail" -- that includes narrator Cecil Badlwin and guests, music by Disparition, and Erin McKeown as the weather.
From the podcast's blurbage:
WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Turn on your radio and hide.
The creators of the show were -- Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor -- were recently on the podcast Bad with Money With Gaby Dunn and talked about how they started Night Vale and how they've funded it.
photo via Welcome to Night Vale FB
What's he doing in Saratoga? Attempts to reach Tyler through social media and his management company haven't provided information yet.
But he did fly on a private jet through Albany International Airport, and his visit provides a peek into how local restaurants provide catering for such stops. It turns out Tyler -- or someone with him -- likes his sweets.
This is an interesting look at the idea of "border vacuums" -- highways, sunken roadways, large buildings that constrain neighborhoods or discourage people from easily crossing -- and it had us thinking about local features such as 787, the ESP, and even stuff like that section of Route 85 that runs across part of uptown Albany separating the Harriman campus from neighborhoods to the east. [CityLab]
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: working to build the ESP, Albany's first dollar store, the Albany Basin, MLK, the Women's March, politics and consumer choices, winter walks, save-the-date cards, Donna's, Lo Porto's, Brava, and proud pizza.
Interesting night to say the least. Saints win pic.twitter.com/RWu0Q9aeia— Robert Lee (@RobertLeePXP) January 18, 2017
So last night's Siena-Rider game at the TU Center got heated after a scuffle late in the second half. That prompted Rider to skip the handshake line at the end of the game -- but Siena coach Jimmy Patsos walked it anyway. Cue the SportsCenter highlights.
Siena won the game 78-68.
In the post-game press conference, Patsos said of Rider's coach: "I love Kevin Baggett. He, [St. Peter's] John Dunne, and me are the three closest friends in the league, we pal around the most. It was a basketball game. Things got a little heated. I don't think anyone meant anything by it. ... [reporter interjection about in-game situation with Baggett] I just do my own thing. I've got plenty of problems to worry about myself. My inventory plate's full."
Wintry mix causes closings and delays, Cuomo releases $152.3 billion 2017 spending plan, Trump and Cuomo to meet, Teachout unveils plan for ethics/campaign reform
Weather overnight caused a number of closings and delays today.[TU]
Cuomo releases budget
Andrew Cuomo unveiled his $152 billion 2017 spending plan on Tuesday, calling it "the best budget of my administration." Among other things, the budget calls for free college tuition for middle class students, upstate ride sharing, reliance on the Millionaire's tax and $2 billion for a Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which would help towns with contaminated water deal with the crisis.
Cuomo also included a plan to re-privatize NYRA.[NYT][WNYT][TWCN][Gazette]
Andrew and Donald
Andrew Cuomo meets with Donald Trump today to discuss "issues of importance to New York" including Cuomo's plan to upgrade and rebuild many of New York's bridges, train stations and airports.[NYT][WNYT]
Albany's city hall kind of looks like it's been perched on the hill across from the Capitol forever. But the current building "only" dates back to 1883. And as you know, Albany is much older than that.
That postcard above -- courtesy of the Albany Postcard Project -- depicts the Albany city hall that stood before the current one and did so on the same site. (It was itself a sequel of sorts.) It was built in 1832 and made it half a century before it burned down in 1880.
A description of the building from Bi-Centennial History of Albany (1886) by George Rogers Howell and Jonathan Tenney:
"[I]t's the type of thing that just over time it has become something that if it's not broke, don't fix it"
The computer program the state Education Department uses to calculate $25 billion in school aid it distributes is 30 years old and written in COBOL, Joseph Spector reports. NYSED has tried unsuccessfully in recent years to get a $2 million allocation to convert to something more modern because the software's no longer supported and the department is worried about its longterm reliability. Also, it sounds like it's kind of pain to use. (We bet state government is full of stuff like this -- data systems powered by hamster wheels, being held together by tape and the evaporating knowledge of old programming languages). [USA Today Network Albany]
Singer/songwriter Aimee Mann is set to play
Mann announced today that she has a new album -- her first in five years -- coming out in March. Mental Illness includes contributions from Ted Leo, with whom she toured a few years back (they made a stop at Helsinki Hudson).
It isn't mentioned on The Egg listing for the show, but it looks like Jonathan Coulton will be the opener.
The show at The Egg in the 982-seat Hart Theatre.
By the way: The Barenaked Ladies show at The Egg April 21 is sold out.
Jimmermania lives -- in China. Jimmer Fredette now plays for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and is leading the league in scoring at 37 points per game on 49 percent shooting (41 from three) and 93 percent(!) from the free throw line. He also been nicknamed "Loneliness Master." [NY Post] Earlier: 28.5 facts about Jimmer Fredette
Now that the vacant buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy are no longer "breathing" light, what's next for the properties?
The land banks in the three cities, along with the cities themselves, are working to connect potential buyers with the homes in the hope they'll be repaired and occupied.
How's that going so far?
Over at the Time Union Cathleen Crowley surveyed the websites of local municipalities, assessing them on what sorts of information is available and how easy it is to find. The conclusion: Some local government websites are pretty good -- many others are not. Crowley writes: "[P]lenty of local municipalities need to go back to the fundamentals and post tax rates, labor contracts and staff email addresses. A search button would be nice, too." [TU+ (link around]
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds are lined up to play shows at SPAC June 16 and June 17. Tickets go on sale February 18 -- they're $40.50 and up. There's also a presale starting for members of the Dave Matthews Band fan org starting this Thursday, January 19.
DMB isn't touring this summer, creating the opportunity for the Matthews/Reynolds tour. Reynolds, a guitarist, has a long history of collaborating and playing with Matthews and the band. And his solo career has brought him through this area a few times, including to the Massry Center this past December.
The press release for this summer's Matthews/Reynolds dates tout them as "stripped-down, acoustic" shows.
SPAC pop shows
Here's the list of SPAC pop shows announced for this summer so far...
State budget season starts with private presentations, no charges in odd incident involving Schenectady mayor, Toll Gate is closed and future is unclear
Andrew Cuomo is apparently skipping a public presentation of his proposed state budget in favor of separate private presentations for members of the state Senate and Assembly today. A look at the some of the key issues for this year's budget. [TU] [Politico NY]
No charges in odd incident involving Schenectady mayor
In a report released Friday afternoon, Saratoga County DA Karen Heggen concluded the actions of Schenectady police and mayor Gary McCarthy during a late-night episode this past May in which McCarthy was accused of confronting, and then following, two women he said appeared to be acting suspiciously raised concerns, but didn't rise to the level of a violation. Heggen also recommended Schenectady police should have called in an outside law enforcement agency to handle the situation because of the mayor's involvement. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Daily Gazette editorial: "[McCarthy] should have known better not to pursue the van. He should have called police from his home, given a description of the vehicle, and went to bed. He said he was potentially witnessing garbage-picking, not a murder." [Daily Gazette]
McLaughlin officially declares for Albany mayor
Albany Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin officially announced on Saturday that she's running for mayor -- the first person to do so for this cycle. [AOA]
Chris Churchill on Albany's usual reluctance to change mayors, and why this time could/might be different. [TU+]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (not too much like winter), to MLK Jr. Day, to film, to activism, to history, to hockey, to music...
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ Luke walked through the story of how 27 properties in a Troy neighborhood ended up in a shaky situation -- and the complicated path back that resulted in them getting back on solid footing.
+ Here's the new plan for a big mixed-used development near Quackenbush Square in Albany.
+ Deanna stopped into Mia Lucci's for pizza.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: 197 River Street, the Albany riverfront, the choicest spirits of our city, mother's Bach, the Huyck Preserve, cabins in the woods, birds, Brooks Brothers, Donna's, Fish at 30 Lake, Parivar, Field Goods, being open minded, and the last eight years.
+ Fred asked about good places to get gluten-free desserts.
+ We nerded out for a few minutes at the new Ice Ages exhibit at the State Museum.
+ Also out this week: the spring schedule for EMPAC.
+ CDTA's new Navigator fare smart cards are now available to the general public -- and they could eventually change more than just riding the bus.
+ We got a look at the new 3Fish Coffee in Albany.
+ And Carolyn McLaughlin is officially into the pool for Albany mayor.
Here's the whole week in one place.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin officially announced Saturday morning that she's running for mayor of Albany.
From her announcement speech at the Albany Colosseum building on South Pearl Street:
We know it's not about us as an individual, but it's about what we as a community can do to make this city of Albany that ultimate community for which we all can be proud to say that we live in, that we work in, and that we play in. We know that this can be the kind of city that recognizes that you can't be about one neighborhood, but it's about all neighborhoods.
McLaughlin, a Democrat, was first elected to the Common Council in 1997, representing the 2nd Ward, which includes the South End. She won the Common Council presidency in 2009. (She was also chair of the Albany County Democratic Committee for two years until losing out in a party election this past September in what was seen as part of the build up to the mayoral race.)
McLaughlin is the first candidate to officially announce she's in the pool for mayor. She will presumably face incumbent Democratic mayor Kathy Sheehan in the party's primary this September (and perhaps one other person?). The Democratic primary has historically been the de facto election for the office because of the party's overwhelming enrollment advantage in the city.
If elected, McLaughlin would be the first African-American mayor of Albany.
Here's video of McLaughlin's announcement speech, along with another clip of her talking about her personal and professional history...
The little fish on this storm sewer grate in Albany caught our eye this week -- it's next to the note about the sewer draining to waterways. (At first we thought it might be a sturgeon, but the head and fin alignment look wrong.)
These little decorative touches on otherwise utilitarian stuff make us smile.
Also: Sturgeon on sewer grates would be pretty great.
The state Department of Transportation announced Friday it's changed the speed limit on Washington Ave Extension to 45 miles per hour. (You might remember the city of Albany also recently changed the speed limit on the section of Washington Ave from Brevator to Fuller to 30 mph.) "As part of the education and enforcement campaign, Albany City Police may issue tickets to both pedestrians and motorists for violating the law. In addition, police will have supplies of informative motorist and pedestrian safety tip cards to distribute." (As we've mentioned before, the design of Washington Ave out that way is something to keep an eye on.) [NYS DOT]
Sometimes the push to finally do that thing you've always talked about arrives in the form of disaster.
Almost two years ago there was a fire in the building that houses the Downtube, the well-known bike shop across from Washington Park in Albany. It took a year of reconstruction and renovation before the shop's showroom reopened last March.
At the time of the fire, Emma Fullem -- whose parents, Robert Fullem and Marilyn Kaplan, own the Downtube -- was living in the San Francisco area, working for an organization that helps people learn how to be food entrepreneurs. And as renovation work on the building started up, she got a call from her dad: Come home and let's open a coffee shop.
So she did. And they did.
This weekend 3Fish Coffee -- located in a former garage space alongside the Downtube -- has its soft opening. It'll be operating weekends this month and next before opening full time in March.
We stopped in recently to get a look at the new coffee spot and talk with Emma Fullem about the family story behind the shop, being a part of the neighborhood, and the search for good English muffins.
The latest local brewery to pop up: Great Flats Brewing in downtown Schenectady. Over at the Daily Gazette, John Cropley talked with the founder about the backstory and what's in store. [Daily Gazette]
Wait, what? It's the weekend? Already?
No need to feel unprepared. After the jump we've got a list of stuff happening over the next few days that you might want to try -- from wine and food festivals, to Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, to hockey, to a Broadway musical.
Doing something you don't see here? Let us know about it in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
Caution urged on Hoosick Falls village settlement, proposal for transferring ownership of The Palace, big deal for big guns from Watervliet Arsenal
The Hoosick Falls village board chose Thursday night to hold off on making a decision about the proposed $850k settlement with Saint Gobain and Honeywell for village costs associated with PFOA contamination of the drinking water. The meeting included many statements from residents skeptical of the settlement and urging caution. [Politico NY] [TU]
The Palace announced it's reached a project labor agreement for its planned $65 million renovation and expansion. Theater officials say it can't move forward until the org that runs the venue gets ownership from the city -- they say that will also help with fundraising. The current proposed transfer deal: $750,000, paid to the city over 30 years. The Palace says the building also currently requires more than $4 million in maintenance/repairs. [Daily Gazette] [Biz Review] [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT]
Fatal Watervliet Shaker Road pedestrian crash
Colonie police say they've located the vehicle they believe was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash with a pedestrian on Watervliet Shaker Road early Sunday morning -- in Melrose in Rensselaer County, on the property of a relative of the vehicle owner. They say they also have video of the vehicle. [TU] [TWCN] [News10]
The Fort Frederick Apartments in Albany -- which now stands on State Street near the Capitol -- originally started out at Swan and Washington Ave. It was moved a block south in 1926 to make way for construction of the Smith Building.
Yep, they literally picked up the whole building and moved it.
That episode will be at the center of a talk by Albany city historian Tony Opalka and longtime local architect Harris Sanders at the the Albany Public Library's Pine Hills branch January 18.
Opalka and Sanders will be talking the Fort Frederick's move, the city's geology and how it affects the way buildings are constructed, along with a bunch of other local architecture bits.
Here's an old photo showing the Fort Frederick standing along Washington Ave (it looks like the date attributed to the photo might be wrong).
The talk at the Pine Hills branch is Wednesday, January 18 at 6:30 pm. It's sponsored by the Friends of the Albany Public Library. It's free and open to the public.
If you're not familiar with Harris Sanders, you're almost surely familiar with many of his buildings -- they're all over this area. But his most famous local architectural work is... a dog. Yep -- he came up with the idea of putting Nipper atop what was then a distribution warehouse for RCA products.
Check out this profile of Sanders from a few years back by Joseph Dalton.
Earlier on AOA: Albany, sliding between past and present
CDTA opened its new Navigator fare card to the general public Thursday. The new system includes a bunch of potential benefits for riders as well as the transit org -- and it opens some interesting possibilities for transportation in the Capital Region that extend beyond the bus (hello, taxis).
"It makes everything quicker, everything more convenient," CDTA CEO Carm Basile said Thursday. "But most importantly, the customer manages their own account. They do what they want to do when they want to do it and how they want do it."
Here's a quick overview, along with a few bits about the upcoming bike share and a common taxi system for the Capital Region.
The schedule for the spring 2017 season at EMPAC is out. And, as in past seasons, it's full of all sorts of different, cutting edge, and challenging performances, talks, and demonstrations.
This time around, the topics range from digital activism to video games to music to re-imagining a theater classic to architecture.
Here's a quick-scan of the slate...
The Storytime Time comedic storytelling series recently started up again, and it's next show is this Friday, January 13 at the MopCo theater space in Schenectady. Blurbage:
The event is a hybrid of a comedy show and storytelling event and the best way to understand it is to just come to it.
This month features true & funny stories from Kat Koppett, Jaye McBride, Peter Delocis, Thomas Attila Lewis, Ryan Shea and Storytime Time favorite Kevin Kaszubowski!
The organizer and host of Storytime Time is comedian Ethan Ullman.
Tickets are $10 / $6 for students and seniors, and available online.
MopCo advertises on AOA.
Cuomo's last stop on State of the State tour, Saratoga High School probes Instagram hate speech account, dealers ready for Rivers Casino opening
State of the state
Andrew Cuomo gave his final State of the State address on Wednesday at UAlbany. Among the items he discussed : public corruption, a plan to cap skyrocketing prescription drug costs with the use of a price control board, and upstate ride sharing. Only three members of the state Legislature attended the address, and State Senator Jim Tedisco and assemblyman Phil Steck have formally filed legislation that would require the state of the state to be giving from the Capitol in the future.
$15 million for Schenectady rail station
Also part of the Cuomo's 2017 plan -- $15 million for a new Schenectady train station. Albany International Airport is still waiting to see if it will receive funding for planned improvements. [TU][WNYT]
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