The last week's worth of items on AOA

Today's moment of summer

rainy daisy

Rainy daisy.

Growing a business

Over at NY Mag there's a profile of the company that wants to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Pearl Street in Albany's Warehouse District -- one of the things that sets it apart from others in the field is that it's owned by a trio a women. (The profile also serves as a look at New York's process for licensing medical marijuana businesses, which -- surprise! -- is costly and somewhat opaque.) [NY Mag] [TU]

Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River

hudson river creatures

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

The Hudson River is many things:a thread through history, a transportation corridor, a scenic inspiration. But first and foremost it's a habitat for all sort of creatures.

Here are a few odd and notable inhabitants of the Hudson River...

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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Sean Rowe at the Ale House

Sean Rowe

Sean Rowe is set to play a show at The Ale House in Troy August 15. Tickets are $15 at the door.

As you know, Rowe was a staple of the local music scene before his career's trajectory took a sharp upward turn a few years back -- he signed with ANTI records, toured around the world, got pub in all sorts of media outlets, and has appeared on TV. The show at The Ale House is a chance to see him again in a not-big venue. We're guessing it's going to be packed.

Across the street
While we're talking about The Ale House, check out the old-school rock 'n roll/country/Americana-inflected upcoming schedule of events at The Ale House and The Hangar across the street:

July 14: Parker Millsap at The Hangar
July 19: Robbie Fulks and Redd Volkaert at The Ale House
August 15: Sean Rowe at The Ale House
August 28: Frog Holler at The Hangar
August 31: JD McPherson at The Hangar
September 30: Wayne "The Train" Hancock at The Hangar
October 24: Ray Wyle Hubbard at The Hangar

photo: Anthony Saint James

New York City Ballet back at SPAC


The New York City Ballet opens its 2015 residency at SPAC Tuesday evening. It's the start of a two-week run for the company at SPAC.

Opening night is an all-Balanchine program. Among the other highlights from the schedule: the annual ballet gala is this Saturday, July 11; and next week, on Friday, July 17, there will be a performance of La Sylphide.

Justin Peck
The SPAC schedule also includes of two works by rising star choreographer Justin Peck, this Wednesday and during the gala performance on Saturday. Peck and his work to create a new ballet were the subject of a recent documentary called Ballet 422. The Bow Tie theater in Saratoga Springs will be screening the doc Monday, July 13 -- and Peck will be there for a post-screening Q&A. The screening starts at 7 pm.

photo via SPAC website

Albany red light cameras set to start soon, was this Fourth of July different for fireworks, update on one of the "Railroad Puppies"

Albany red light cameras
Albany's acting police chief tells the Times Union the city's new red light camera system will start coming online in the next few weeks -- with a few changes. [TU]

After a Fourth of July in which local counties (except Albany) allowed some types of fireworks, some people say noise and disruptions from pyrotechnics were worse in some neighborhoods, though local police departments say they got about the same number of calls. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Saratoga Springs police
WNYT reports that the officer placed on leave following the middle finger traffic stop has submitted his resignation. [WNYT]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Solar continues to grow around New York

rooftop solar panels

More common.

The Capital Region had the second-highest amount of installed solar energy generation capacity in the state as of 2014, according to numbers released by the Cuomo admin Monday. The eight-county region had 51 megawatts of capacity -- up 500 percent since 2011. (The region with the highest total was Long Island, with 96 megawatts.)

For some perspective, a megawatt of installed solar is estimated to be capable of powering about 155 homes a year in New York State.

New York State has a whole had almost 315 megawatts of installed solar capacity as of 2014, according the Cuomo admin. That's up 300 percent since 2011.

A few individual Capital Region counties also ranked highly. Albany County had 13.66 megawatts of installed capacity -- the fifth-highest total among all counties. And Columbia County ranked #1 for installed capacity per capita.

Are there clickable maps? You know there are...

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Pasties, Pencils, and Pints 3rd anniversary

pasties pencils and pints 2015 JulySassy drink 'n draw Pasties, Pencils, and Pints returns to The Hangar in Troy July 16 after taking a few local months off. It's the 3rd anniversary of the series.

The model for this month's session is Miss Couple. There will be a cash bar, and music from DJ Heat Machine. And it's BYODS -- Bring Your Own Drawing Supplies. (There will also be coloring books available.)

So, what's the motivation behind these drink 'n draw nights? We talked with organizer Emily Armstrong about it almost two years ago:

It needs to be sassy. And it's like, the model is supposed to be sexy and everybody's encouraged to cheer for them. The model's working their sex appeal -- whatever that means for for him and her. And people are supportive of it and people cheer, no matter if that's somebody that they'd be attracted to. That's irrelevant, they're there and they're participating and doing an encouraging, fun thing.

The event starts at 8:30 pm on Thursday, July 16. It's $10.

Albany I Spy 2015, game on

AlbanyISpy2015 mapThe clue sheet and map for this year's Albany I Spy, the popular photo scavenger hunt from Albany Archives and the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, is now posted online.

Here's how it works (emphasis added):

Step 1: Download the form
This is your Master Albany I Spy Clue Sheet. Sounds important, right? It is! Be sure to write your name and contact information where indicated because this is how we will contact the winners.
Step 2: Set your course
You'll use the clues on this form to identify the mystery landmarks. Then, set your course each day - or wait for one spectacular day - to head to downtown Albany to spy and write the name of the landmark on your Master Clue Sheet.
Step 3: Get extra clues
Stumped? Don't worry, we're here to help! Each day, we'll be posting a special extra clue on our social media sites: Albany Archives, Discover Albany, Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, and All Over Albany, or search using the hashtag: #albanyispy.

The contest runs through July 18. And there are prizes from Cider Belly, Parish Public House, Wolff's, Bombers, the ValleyCats, The Olde English, and City Beer Hall.

This year's end-of-contest event -- where you can submit your answers -- is at the Parish Public House in downtown Albany on Saturday, July 18 from 1-3 pm with drink specials, and Albany history trivia.

(You can also email your answers -- details at the link above -- but only one entry submitted this way will win a prize in a drawing.)

AOA is a media sponsor of Albany I Spy

Hopping islands in the Hudson River

paddling past Peebles Island

Paddling past Peebles Island.

By Duncan Crary

Ahead of the Rail, River, Hudson II tour this coming weekend, we have a series of posts focusing on the Hudson River this week.

I've got a thing for islands. And not just the tropical resort kind. Show me a dry spot in a parking lot puddle and I'm compelled to adventure onto it.

Every island, like every potential lover, is mysterious from afar. Little worlds unto themselves, they can be paradise or prison -- deep dark sanctuaries where the wild things are. Put the spade to their sands, and you may strike pirate gold.

Here in Albany, our recorded history begins on the islands where friendly Mohicans once welcomed Henry Hudson ashore. I often wonder about that first languageless exchange -- of arrows snapped across the knee and spirits passed around the fire. Today, there are fewer islands and even fewer Mohicans in these parts.

So for the wayfarer of backyards, these are some notes I've logged on a handful of the Hudson River islands among us.

River Week is sponsored by: Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Albany BID, Dutch Apple Cruises, Harmony Mills, Hudson River Greenway, Nine Pin Cider, Sweet Sue's, and Downtown Troy BID.

River Week in-post ad Dutch Apple

River Week in-post ad Hudson Valley Ramble

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Sweat moved from Albany Med, review of next Albany police chief, "Bra Wars" in Guilderland

Dannemora escape
David Sweat was discharged from Albany Med early Sunday morning and moved to the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus (in Seneca County), according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. [NYS DOCCS]

+ Prison experts tell the Times Union that the review of security procedures at the Clinton Correctional Facility should focus on keeping contraband out of the prison and the relationship between staff and inmates. [TU]

+ The Buffalo News reports that, according to "information obtained" from "law enforcement officials," three days before the escape Richard Matt had sent his daughter a letter that said, "I always promised you I would see you on the outside. I'm a man of my word." [Buffalo News]

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The week ahead

weird al 2015

Weird Al -- and his accordion, presumably -- 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 (like summer), to spying history, to the ballet, to drama, to music...

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This week was brought to you by

rail river hudson composite for 2015 promo

Only ten tickets left for Rail, River, Hudson -- reserve yours today.

This week was brought to you by raindrops, fireworks and those cakes with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries that are shaped like the American flag.

And of course, as always, it was brought to you by AOA advertisers. If advertisers didn't support AOA, we wouldn't be here. If we weren't here we couldn't bring you Morning Blend, Stuff To Do This Weekend and all the interesting info in between.

So thanks to Dutch Apple Cruises and all the businesses that are supporting AOA's upcoming Rail, River, Hudson tour. Last year's Rail River Hudson trip sold out, and this year there are only about 10 tickets remaining, so get your space reserved today.

Please support our advertisers when you can. And tell them AOA sent you.

Want to advertise on AOA? It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at and we'll get you started.

Food and Drink

Sweet Sue's in Troy -- serving dinner and dessert on AOA's upcoming Rail, River Hudson II adventure on July 11. Sweet Sue's is also a sponsor of the Enchanted City Steampunk Festival , returning to Troy on October 3. Tickets to the Queen's Ball are now available via Kickstarter.

Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar, serving Ethiopian fare every Friday and Saturday evening with traditional Ethiopian flatbread (Injera), and choice of vegetarian choices or meat all seasoned with special Ethiopian spices (berbere).

Local, healthy, delicious
Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.

Nine Pin Ciderworks -- now offering their delicious cider in cans. You can stop in at Nine Pin this summer and grab a beverage and dinner from a food truck in the loading bay next to their Broadway tasting room -- Wednesdays through Saturdays this summer. Nine Pin is

Farmie Market
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.

New World
New World Bistro Bar, named #1 Best Restaurant, according to Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' Readers' Poll and also listed as one of 'the 13 Best New York Restaurants, not in NYC' according to

New World Catering, from weddings and big parties to small gatherings in your home.

Fine wine
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.

Stuff to learn

UAlbany's History Department, offering an M.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental History. Explore the human connection to nature.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studios on Troy Schenectady Road in Latham. Learn to dance in 2015. Gift certificates available

The College of Saint Rose, offering 52 Graduate Programs with a purpose. Programs include: MFA in Creative writing, MBA, Computer Information Systems and more.

Ways to get where you're going

Capital Car Share. Share cars for just $8 an hour.

CDTA: whether it's work or play, CDTA can get you where you're going and safely back home again.

Keeler Mini, sponsor of AOA's Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza.

Stuff to do

Dutch Apple Cruises, with sightseeing and charter cruises throughout the summer and Fall. Dutch Apple is a part of the AOA Rail, River Hudson tour on July 11.

Mop & Bucket Improv Company, presenting shows at Center Street Public House every Thursday in July, and offering classes in improv and creativity for adults and kids at MopCo World Headquarters on Union Street in Schenectady.

Spectrum 8 Theaters. Enjoy a movie at The Spectrum. And don't forget the mint brownie.

Albany Institute
The Albany Institute of History and Art's Triple Play exhibit, a look back at the history of baseball in the Capital Region.

Helpful stuff

Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA. Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region.

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Staff Ciampino can help you with your business and personal tax needs. They're also the sponsors of the All Over Albany Start Up Grant business contest, so they're not only good at what they do, they're awesome too.

Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.

The Albany Public Libraries. Their mobile app helps you find library locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. You can even check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you need.

Photo: A Slyer Image Photography

A quick recap of the week

week review 2015-07-04

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

+ Ann and David from the 98 Acres in Albany project looked at who lived in the neighborhood knocked down for the Empire State Plaza.

+ It looks like a state wage board will be recommending a "substantial" to increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers.

+ The state sold a caboose on eBay.

+ Deanna tried an old Capital Region favorite from a relative newcomer.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: patriotism, the media, art, crypto currency, a relay, Buck Mountain, the Ice Meadows, Venus and Jupiter, a culinary tour, disappointing mac 'n cheese, banh mi bread, serviceberries, and adulting.

+ A look at the latest designs for the 1 Monument Square project in downtown Troy.

+ And we folded a ton of suggested neighborhood highlights into a clickable map.

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

Also: There are just a few tickets remaining for AOA's summer tour to Hudson. So don't wait!

couple photo courtesy of Mark Leonard and 98 Acres in Albany

Stuff to do this weekend

ESP fireworks by Bennett Campbell

There's gonna be fireworks. / photo: Bennett Campbell

We're starting the weekend a little early. But we wouldn't leave you without stuff to do this weekend...

Happy 4th of July weekend.

There are plenty of options for celebrating Independence Day this weekend, from fireworks, to parades, to drive-ins, to swimming pools, to baseball games, to summer theater.

So grab your sunscreen, bug spray, and your umbrella (just in case), check out our list of stuff to do and go pursue some happiness. You deserve it!

Doing something you don't see on our list? Drop it in the comments.

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

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Today's moment of summer

It was nice to have blue skies again. And that breeze... a little cool for July, but we'll take it.

Different event layout for this year's ESP fireworks

ESP fireworks layout 2015As usual, the big fireworks display on the Fourth of July is at the Empire State Plaza. But because of construction at the State Museum end of the plaza, things are a little unusual this year.

The events for this year's July 4th celebration will be focused on the north end of the plaza -- AKA, the Capitol end. There's no seating at that end of the plaza, so the state Office of General Services is asking people to bring lawn chairs.

The image to the right is the plaza layout for this year's celebration -- don't worry, there's a larger version after the jump.

The events at the ESP start Saturday at 3 pm with a naturalization ceremony. Then it's music from 3:45 pm through 8 o'clock. (The headliner this year is South Side Johnny & The Asbury Jukes.) Fireworks are at 9:15 pm.

Road closures/parking restrictions: Here's the list of road closures and parking restrictions related the ESP event, from the Albany police department. (Note that some of the start Friday and really early Saturday).

The fireworks display draws a big crowd. So if you don't have to drive, we'd suggest either walking or taking the bus. CDTA will be providing extra service after the fireworks from the Washington Ave side of the Capitol.

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Not flagged for taxes

Filed under "One of the no doubt many things we didn't know about NYS tax law": US flags, as well as many other types of flags, are exempt from sales tax in New York State, as are accessories sold along with the flags for their display. (So... flags are not sandwiches, apparently.) [NYS Department of Taxation and Finance]

Neighborhood highlights

tierra coffee roasters and madison theater

Tierra Coffee Roasters and the Madison Theater in Albany both were mentioned.

A few months back as part of an AOA birthday week drawing asked people to name something that's a highlight o f their neighborhood. And there were a lot of things mentioned.

You can probably guess some of the things mentioned, either because they're popular or prominent. But there were also a lot of other things mentioned that are smaller or more out of the way, so maybe they're new to you.

Because we got so many suggestions, we figured it'd be useful to fold them into a clickable map.

The long days of summer are a good time to explore new areas -- so maybe the map will help you find a few new places to check out...

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Restricted public access at Kaaterskill Falls this summer

kaaterskill falls

The two falls have a combined drop of 260 feet.

The state Department of Conservation announced this week that it will be restricting public access to Kaaterskill Falls in Greene County starting July 6 and running through the rest of the summer. DEC says the closure is that work on trail and safety upgrades can be completed. From the press release:

Access to the falls will only be allowed from the Kaaterskill Falls trailhead located on NY Route 23A. DEC will prohibit public access past the wooden fences at the base of the falls. The Laurel House Road parking area near the top of the falls will be closed and visitors will not have access to Kaaterskill Falls from the parking area for the remainder of the hiking season. Individuals found trespassing in construction areas will be ticketed by law enforcement personnel.
DEC staff and contractors will construct a new foot trail from the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail at the base of the falls to the Escarpment trail at the top of the falls. This 0.2-mile trail will include construction of a new, approximately 260-foot stone staircase, with 200 stone steps.
In addition, an approximately 300-foot spur trail will lead from the staircase to a point above the middle pool of the falls. At the end of this trail, DEC and its contractors will install another shorter set of stone stairs to provide access to the middle pool area. The stone staircase will be designed to blend in with the natural stone of the area at a location that will limit its visibility from below. DEC will also build a fully accessible trail that leads to an accessible viewing area and overlook platform at the top of the falls.
The new trails and stone staircase will accommodate the public's desire for access to a better view of Kaaterskill Falls and the middle pool area, while also protecting public safety. In recent years, DEC has taken additional steps to prevent people from continuing past the end of the marked Kaaterskill Falls trail, including an increased number of signs warning of potential risks, but some people ignored the warnings and put themselves in danger by continuing past the fence at the end of the trail.

The falls are an impressive, beautiful site, and they're a popular hiking spot, just about an hour south of Albany. (It's one of those not-a-lot-of-effort/big-payoff hikes.) They've also been the scene of multiple deaths -- Watershed Post fills in some of the context.

Chilling the ESP

The Empire State Plaza at 50 exhibit at the State Museum includes a handful of videos about the plaza's creation and inner workings. And it looks like many of those videos are posted online.

Here's one we thought this one was interesting -- it's about the massive chilling system for the plaza, which relies on water pumped from the Hudson River and power from the steam generation plant over in Sheridan Hollow. The system cools 10 million square feet of space at the ESP. The plant could theoretically cool about 9,000 homes, according to the video.

By the way: The water in the reflecting pools at the ESP is also from the Hudson River.

(Thanks, Rafael)

New superintendent and rules for Clinton County, Malcolm Smith gets 7 years, dog runs for mayor of Schenectady

Dannemora update
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has announced that the Clinton County superintendent has been replaced with a former first deputy from Elmira Correctional Facility. Part of his job will be to enforce new rules, which include the closing of the honor block from which Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped. Meanwhile other inmates from Sweat and Matt's honor block are complaining about abuse in the wake of the escape. [TU][WNYT][NYT][WNYT]

David Sweat could be discharged from Albany Med by the end of the week[WNYT]

Richard Matt's family has finally agreed to claim the convicted killer's body. [WNYT]

How the search for Richard Matt and David Sweat helped the Dannemora economy. [NYT]

Smith gets 7 years
Former Senate Majority leader Malcolm Smith was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday for trying to bribe his way onto the Republican ticket for the 2013 New York City Mayoral Race. [TU][NYT]

Complaints about Cuomo
It seems NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio isn't the only Democrat who is frustrated with Andrew Cuomo.[NYT]

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A look at the latest plan for the 1 Monument Square project in Troy

1MonumentSquare 2015-June Monument Square crop small

One of the exterior options presented.

The latest iteration of the third major attempt to redevelopment the 1 Monument Square site is down to a one building.

The development team aiming to build a residential/restaurant/farmers' market project on the prime spot in downtown Troy presented its latest plan Tuesday night to the Troy Planning Commission. And the commission gave the site plan a preliminary approval.

So, let's have a look.

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Capital Cobblestone Project

old albany street map clipA local author/historian is researching the backstory on the names of Albany's streets. All of them.

Erik Schlimmer, who's also a UAlbany grad student, has previously worked on place-name history books of the Adirondacks. He's aiming for the Capital Cobblestone Project to also become a book.

Schlimmer is posting updates and historical bits on a Facebook page for the project. Here's a sample:

Many streets in Albany, especially those downtown, do not retain their original names. Eagle Street is named for our national bird, a symbol of freedom and patriotism. It used to be called Duke Street after the Duke of Albany of the British royal family. Out with the British and in with the Americans.

Given all the histories of Albany, it's kind of surprising this hasn't been done before. It's total history nerd candy.

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: patriotism, the media, art, crypto currency, a relay, Buck Mountain, the Ice Meadows, Venus and Jupiter, a culinary tour, disappointing mac 'n cheese, banh mi bread, serviceberries, and adulting.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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Soggy June

albany area precipitation 2015 Jan-June

This year's weather had been tracking along a path toward one of the driest years on record for the Albany area.

Then June happened.

The chart above was generated on the NWS Albany website -- it shows the normal accumulated precipitation for January through June (brown line), the accumulation for 2015 (green), and the highest and lowest accumulated precipitations on record (blue and red). You can see how this June marked a significant upturn in local rainfall.

June's rainfall total was 6.7 inches -- almost three inches more than the typical amount for the month. It was one of the wetter Junes on record for the Albany area.

This year is still about 3 inches (about 17 percent) short of the typical rainfall total to date for the Albany area.

For weather nerds: The NWS Albany website now has an easy-to-use option for looking up local historical weather data and generate graphs from it.

A dozen employees suspended at Dannemora in wake of escape, Saratoga County shooting ruled suicide by police, planning ahead for Avian Flu

Dannemora suspensions
Twelve employees were suspended from the Clinton County Correctional facility, including Superintendent Steven Racette, two deputy superintendents and nine corrections officers.[TU]

More breakout details

+David Sweat has told authorities that he and Richard Matt were sawing through the cell walls for about six months before their escape from Clinton Correctional facility, and that he did a dry run of the escape the night before. [NYT]

+Sweat told police no power tools were used in the escape, just hand tools and a sledgehammer. [WNYT]

+Sweat also told authorities that police almost caught him twice in the three week search, and that one officer walked by a tree he was hiding in. [News 10]

+Five days after he was killed by law enforcement officials, Richard Matt's body has still not been claimed from the Franklin county Coroner.[TU]

Meanwhile, inside Dannemora
Some prisoners are claiming they were violently assaulted by authorities in an effort to obtain information about the escape. [TWCN]

One report now shows that Clinton Correctional facility has had a history of violence by staff. But some officers say the escape doesn't surprise them because a fear of lawsuits and a push for inmate rights has limited guards. [TWCN][TWCN]

Have a Nice Day:the movie
Chris Churchill is already planning the movie version of the escape.

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

The Scoop

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

Recent Comments

And there it is. Architectural panel. This is what the people in this project think is good enough for you, Troy. I can't wait til this project limps to the finish line in time for the upcoming elections. Then we can just go about calling the building what it really is: The Atrium 2.0

Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River

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Solar continues to grow around New York

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