The last week's worth of items on AOA
The lineup for the Solid Sound Festival this summer at MASS MoCA is now out.
It's headlined by Wilco -- because, you know, it's Wilco's festival. The band will be playing two shows, one each on Friday and Saturday of the festival. A few others from the lineup: Mac Demarco, Parquet Courts, Real Estate, Shabazz Palaces, Cibo Matto, and John Hodgman.
The full announced lineup is post jump.
Let it be known: This year's AOA Birthday Party -- the seventh, unbelievably -- is later this month. And you're invited (obviously).
AOA7 will be at Takk House in Troy on Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30-8:30 pm. There will be a bunch of free snacks from New World Catering, cupcakes (as is tradition), and a lot of interesting people (because you'll be there).
As in past years, space is limited so we're asking people to RSVP. And because the party fills up very quickly each year we're doing things a bit differently this time around.
We will post details about the online RSVP this Friday, March 6 at noon. Our hope is that will give everyone a chance to check their calendars, coordinate with friends, find a babysitter, or just have some advance heads up.
We're looking forward to seeing you.
Thousands converge on Capitol for Lobby Day, Troy tells neighborhood without water to fix the problem themselves, White's aunt denied custody of sisters, 70 years of love in the first degree
Today is Lobby Day at the State Capitol, when thousands of people from around the state will converge on the Capitol to lobby for funding in the state budget. An education rally will be held in West Capitol Park and nine thousand teachers, parents and students are expected to turn out to show their support for charter schools. Their rally will include a performance by Janelle Monae [TU][WNYT][NY1][Rolling Stone]
Brighter Choices Charter School makes its final bid to remain open at a public hearing this Friday. [TU]
Residents of one Troy neighborhood have been without water for eight days, and the city says those residents will have to hire plumbers and fix the problems themselves. [Record][TU]
A judge has ruled that the sisters of Kenneth White, the little boy who who is believed to have been murdered by his cousin late last year, will remain in foster care. The children's aunt, and the mother of alleged murderer Tiffany Van Alstyne, petitioned the court to get custody of the girls. [WNYT][TWCN]
The rendering above is the latest version of the new visitor center planned for Thacher Park State Park. It was released this week as part of the announcement of the Cuomo admin's NY Parks 2020 plan, which proposes to spend about $900 million on upgrades for state parks.
The plan reiterates some of the already-planned new amenities for Thacher Park, including the $3.8 million visitors center which will overlook "the most dramatic views in the region." Dan Keefe, deputy public information officers for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, says there isn't a target completion date for the visitors center yet. But planning is already in progress for exhibits inside the center, and an effort to raise private money to pay for those exhibits will start this spring.
Thacher is also in line for new facilities for mountain biking, caving, and a high ropes course. Keefe says those are expected to be ready for this summer. And park officials will be working with the Thacher Climbing Coalition to identify rock climbing locations after the snow melts.
Other state parks in the region are also slated for upgrades as part of NY Parks 2020 (pdf). Among those plans: facilities improvements for Spa State Park, possibly adding the former Mt. McGregor prison forestland to Moreau Lake State Park, and the digitization of a collections at at Peebles Island. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]
Every now and then the idea of New York State hosting the Olympics pops up. And it's done so again this week, with leaders in the North Country banging the drum about bringing the winter games back and both Chuck Schumer and Elise Stefanik offering generally supportive statements. [Lake Placid News]
This is not a good idea.
Let us turn our attention to the medal stand of reasons why not...
Though milder weather is apparently on the way, ice cream probably still isn't at the top of your mind.
But, really, any time is a good time for ice cream. And if you need justification, try this one that AOA Mary told me her dad used for wintertime ice cream while she was growing up: Eating food that's roughly the same temperature as the air around you will help offset any unpleasantries that weather or temperature might bring by creating an equilibrium between the temperature of your insides and the temperature of your outsides. (Also: Eating ice cream is, in general, an excellent distraction from what's going around you -- including the cold.)
While we have a bevy of good ice cream places in the Capital Region, Stewart's is perhaps the best known for year-round ice cream availability. But let's not overlook that other great New York State regional dairy, Byrne Dairy, which claims the hearts of Central New Yorkers. (It's the official chocolate milk of the New York State Fair.)
And it has one thing Stewart's doesn't: ice cream sandwiches.
Noted: The production of season two of Orange is the New Black, which is shot in Rockland County, got almost $10 million in tax breaks from New York State's film tax credit program. [Democrat & Chronicle]
The Philadelphia Orchestra will be returning to SPAC this summer, August 5-22. The lineup of concerts is out -- it includes notable names such as Yo-Yo Ma, Bernadette Peters, Joshua Bell, and Megan Hilty. (There's also a Pixar night this year.)
A condensed version of the schedule is post jump.
Tickets go on sale to SPAC members today (March 3), and to the general public March 24.
Upgrades for state parks planned, Albany parking permit system going sticker-less, former county legislator accused of dumping kitty litter in yards
The Cuomo admin has unveiled a $900 million plan for upgrading state parks. In the Capital Region, it includes facilities improvements for Spa State Park, possibly adding the former Mt. McGregor prison forestland to Moreau Lake State Park, and the construction of the already-proposed Thacher State Park visitor center. [Cuomo admin] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]
The backstory on a temporary state surcharge on health insurance that grew to collect billions and billions of dollars -- which was has been spent with little or no formal oversight, and ended up filling the slush fund from which Sheldon Silver is accused of granting money for his alleged asbestos case referral scheme. [Capital]
About that walkway connecting the TU Center, not-yet-built Albany Convention Center, and ESP: it's not currently clear from where the money for the walkway conversion/renovation/construction will come. [TU]
The Albany residential parking permit system is switching over to a sticker-less system that will include online registration of visitor passes. [TU]
Some context for the $200 million price tag on the proposed renovation of Albany High School. [TU]
A bit breezy.
Over at Drink Drank, Craig Gravina -- of the Albany Ale history project -- touches on some of the unfortunate side effects of Albany's long beer history. [via @AlbanyArchives] Earlier on AOA: Resurrecting a beer, and part of Albany's history
A couple of upcoming writing classes at the Arts Center of the Capital Region caught our eye:
April 14-May 19, 6:30-8:30 pm - $188
April 16, 6:30-9:30 pm - $95
Marion Roach Smith returns to teach her very popular one-day class about writing memoirs. Blurbage: "A possible subtitle for this one-shot class could easily be Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Memoir, but that's a little wordy, isn't it? We'll talk about being too wordy, as well as every other aspect of writing what you know, in this unique, rarely-offered class. Multi-media, highly entertaining, this is the class you say you never have time to take in the 6-week, wait-listed version that is regularly offered. Highly informative, after this class students will be able to write memoir, whether it be a college essay, a blog, a letter home, an essay for public radio, an op-ed for the newspaper, or a book-length memoir." (Roach is also teaching the six-week version this spring.)
Noted: The only successful attempt at secession from the State of New York was the split by Vermont in 1777. The Green Mountain state's exit from New York put in an odd spot given all that was going on at the time (you know, the Revolutionary War and all that) -- and during the state during that period has come to be known as the Vermont Republic. [via @JonCampbellGAN] Earlier: What if Upstate New York and Downstate New York were separate states?
Strayed will be talking about Wild, her memoir about her 1,000-mile solo hike along the Pacific Coast trail. It was a best seller, and part of Oprah's book club. The book was made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon that was released last year.
But her work extends beyond Wild as an award-winning essayist. And she also wrote the popular Dear Sugar column for the Rumpus.
Strayed's talk at HVCC starts at 7 pm on Thursday, March 12 in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium. Doors open at 6:15 pm -- seating is limited and first come, first sit.
photo: Joni Kabana
For the (almost) record: the past month was unusually cold.
This February was the second coldest February on record, according to the National Weather Service. The average daily temperature was 12.7 degrees -- 13.2 degrees colder than a typical February. (The record for February is 12.1 degrees, set in 1934.) That mark also tied for 4th coldest month on record for Albany. There were 12 days during February on which the minimum temperature dipped below 0.
It also happened to be the fifth snowiest February on record, with 30.6 inches of snow. (As of this morning we're at 72 inches of snow for this winter -- about 25 inches more than the typical amount by this point.)
Temperature record date back 1820, snowfall records to 1885.
In related news: It's now March.
Reasons for the Schenectady casino site selection, more ZIP code complaints, Albany cidery aiming to double production
Factors that played into the Schenectady casino site's selection, according to the Gaming Facility Location Board report released Friday: design and waterfront location, poverty rates for nearby areas, and perceived problems with other applications. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]
Court papers filed by the Albany County Sheriff's Office in the Kenneth White case indicate investigators have tried to link boots worn by Tiffany VanAlstyne with tracks in the snow found near White's body. [TU]
A persistent issue for homeless single mothers with young children: the cost of child care makes getting and keeping a job very difficult. [Daily Gazette]
The Albany Convention Center Authority is aiming to start construction on the new facility the week of March 16. The convention center also recently hired a sales director who will start recruiting potential events/shows for the center. [TU] [Biz Review]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (thawing), to the stage, to activism, to pizza, to beer, to music...
This week was brought to you by carbs, cabin fever and the shift from disinterest to fantasy. Thank goodness for our AOA advertisers, putting the win in winter. Like the folks at Staff Ciampino and Company. They can help you win at tax season. 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.
You'll find more of the advertisers that make AOA possible in the list below. Please patronize them when you can, and thank them for their support. If there's something you want to pass along to the AOA crowd, we can help get you started. It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stuff to learn
UAlbany's History Department, offering an M.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental History. Explore the human connection to nature.
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
The Mop & Bucket Improv Company. MopCo offers a new improv show every Friday night at Proctors with music, scenes and improv games based on audience suggestions. They're also teaching classes in improv and creativity for adults and kids at MopCo World Headquarters on Union Street in Schenectady.
miSci, The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady. Their annual butterfly exhibit is open through April 19.
Get your tickets now for one of 14 Siena home games at the TU Center.
The Albany Institute of History and Art, presenting the 2014 Exhibition by artists of the Mohawk-Hudson region,highlighting the work of the best visual artists in the region.
Troy Music Hall
Troy Music Hall presents an evening with Lily Tomlin, March 7 at 8pm.
Places to live
Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA,created a bonafide tournament of pizza miracle, when they bought out all of the tickets to the TOP final at Shmaltz brewing and gave them away to 100 hungry readers. In addition to being pizza philanthropists, Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region. Because that's how they roll.
Food and Drink
Honest Weight Food Coop -- eat healthy and local in the new year.
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.
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 Thrillist.com.
Broadway Plaza Liquor is now open at 418 Broadway, next to Coulson's News.
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.
Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Yep, it's time to get your 2014 taxes in order, and 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.
Historic home help
Historic Albany's architectural parts warehouse -- the Capital Region's only not-for-profit architectural parts warehouse.
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.
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ Lauren went ice fishing.
+ The measles vaccine was introduced in 1963 and you'll totally expect what happened next in New York State.
+ Place game: the eyes have it.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: downtown Schenectady, the need to talk, your other family, snowshoeing, fairy castles of cascading ice, gratitude for warmth, Marcus T. Reynolds, Saratoga Beer Week, Mac-N-Cheese Bowl, the new-again McGuire's, the food of the gods, jerk chicken, tacos, Schenectady Restaurant Week, and feeding the cats.
+ What's that figure on the SUNY Poly CNSE seal? And why was it picked?
+ Some stuff about the next upscale burger place scheduled for arrival in the Capital Region.
+ A few more details about CDTA's upcoming smart card/app for fares.
+ Among the nation's biggest metros last year, Albany had one of the lowest rental vacancy rates. (Which might help explain if feels like rents are high.)
+ And the story of Garnet Douglass Baltimore, a Trojan if ever there was one.
Here's the whole week all lined up.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
This looks interesting: The Clark is opening an exhibit called Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection this Saturday (February 28). It includes prints from a handful of early 20th century British printmakers. Exhibit blurbage:
The first three decades of the twentieth century in Britain were a time of great civic and cultural change, ones that witnessed social and economic growth followed by depression, political turmoil, and vast technological advancement. Today known as the Machine Age, this was an era when industry and mechanization were embraced both economically and visually. New modes of communication and transportation--radios, trains, automobiles, airplanes--along with the rise of new building types such as the skyscraper transformed the landscape of the country. Amid the mass consumerism that emerged at this time, the fascination with all things mechanized ultimately gave rise to its seeming opposite: a desire for a return to craft and the hand-made.
There's an exhibit opening talk with curator Jay Clarke this Sunday, March 1 at 3 pm.
Machine Age Modernism is at the Clark through May 17.
Earlier on AOA: Day trip: Williamstown and The Clark
Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany is celebrating its one-year anniversary this Saturday with a Gathering of the Farm Cideries. It starts at 11 am and runs through 9 pm with cider tastings (of course), food from Slidin' Dirty, and music. Tickets are $10 ahead, $15 at the door.
As you know, Nine Pin was the first cidery in the state to get a farm cidery license. It will be joined by eight other farm cideries from around the state at the event, and they'll be offering 1 oz samples (along with products for sale). A list of the cideries is after the jump.
Each Friday this February we've been highlighting people and stories from the Capital Region's history in honor of Black History Month.
Being named for two noted abolitionist heroes could be a little intimidating, but Garnet Douglass Baltimore was equal to his name.
This grandson of an escaped slave grew up to become RPI's first African-American graduate, a civil engineer, landscape architect, and the designer of Troy's Prospect Park.
So long, February! The end of the longest shortest month of the year is at hand. Sure, it's still pretty cold. But it's the weekend, and there's stuff to do.
What is there to do? We're glad you asked.
Well, after the jump we've pulled together a few things we thought might interest you.
Got something planned you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.
And whatever you're up to, don't forget your scarf, and have a fantastic weekend.
Local schools on Cuomo admin's "failing" schools list, the Albany St. Patrick's Day parade drama, the thing about wild animals
The Cuomo administration released a list of 178 schools around the state it says are "failing." The list includes three schools in the Albany school district (including Albany High School), two in the Schenectady district, and one in Troy. Said Cuomo in a statement: "This is the real scandal in Albany, the alarming fact that state government has stood by and done nothing as generation after generation of students have passed through failing schools." Local school officials pushed back on the Cuomo admin's contention that they've been getting enough funding, and the threat of a state takeover. Schenectady schools superintendent Larry Spring: "It baffles me that the governor would systematically withhold money from poor schools that serve poor students, that he would wait for them to fail, and then say the state government is going to ride in to rescue them." Albany schools superintendent Margeurite Vanden Wyngaard: "The premise of receivership is that other folks can do that better ... And I understand that notion -- but we are not a business model. We are not creating a factory or parts; we are trying to develop human beings." [Cuomo admin] [Daily Gazette] [TU]
More banging on the drum for the Cuomo admin to release numbers on how much state aid schools will be getting so districts can plan budgets, this time from Assembly Republicans. [NYSNYS/Troy Record]
The proposed $200 million renovation of Albany High School will be up for a public vote on Election Day this November. [TU]
Colonie's town board approved new rules for motels that limit guest stays to 28 days if a motel doesn't have a restaurant or kitchenettes in the rooms. Also Thursday: The owner of 470 Troy-Schenectady Road reached a plea deal that includes the demolition of the building, which the town said had many code violations and was housing people upstairs. And the Alex Patel motel saga continued. [TU x2] [News10]
The Albany metro area has the highest per capita union membership in the nation, according to an analysis based on Census data. [TU]
Very much farther afield: An eight-year-old girl in Seattle started regularly feeding the crows in her neighborhood -- and now the crows leave her gifts. [BBC via Kottke] Earlier on AOA: Many things about crows
Last week we wrote about one of the residential conversions in progress in downtown Albany. As is so often the case, a prominent thread in the comments was the rental price. And then chris capped things off with this comment:
Hey, when people start buying houses again this place will be half-empty and they'll have to drop the rent. Have patience...
We were thinking about how chris framed the situation -- essentially, people are leaning away from buying houses right now and toward renting -- and wondering if we could get a better sense of the situation.
Are there numbers on that? Of course. Did we look them up? Of course. Are we now going to share some of the numbers with you, with graphs? Of course.
You might have heard that the former 99 Restaurant building on Western Ave near Fuller Road in Guilderland is being rebuilt into a steak house called Black and Blue. It's part of a Rochester-based restaurant group that already has a Black and Blue in Rochester and Buffalo. Here's a review of the Rochester location this week from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
The book has been getting a lot of attention recently because it pushes the boundaries of the dystopian YA genre (some sort of disease kills off people once the reach their late teens or early 20s) and it's written almost entirely in the evolved teenage English dialect of its protagonist.
Author Sandra Newman thinks Katniss Everdeen, of the 'Hunger Games' trilogy, is kind of a wuss. The 15-year-old heroine of Ms. Newman's coming dystopian novel, "The Country of Ice Cream Star," has "certain crucial differences," Ms. Newman says. "Instead of agonizing over kissing a boy, she just has sex. Instead of killing people with her archery skills, she has an assault rifle. I also think she's a lot smarter and funnier than Katniss Everdeen, but clearly I'm biased."
From a Washington Post review:
But what makes the novel so fascinating -- and, yes, so challenging -- is the language Newman has created for Ice Cream and the way we see this disease-ravaged world through her eyes:
"Days that come been clean bonesse. We keep to 495, a highway broad as any field. Got a twin highway the same, these two companion faithful. Together, they go stretch and snake across all unkept distance, till they find our new Connecticut. All this way be forest. Ain't scarcely notice when the Massa woods be left, and yonder start. A hummock seem familiar in your eye; then it come queery that the individual trees be strangers."
Here's an AV Club review that's a bit more reserved in its praise.
The event at Nortshire starts at 7 pm Friday, February 27. It's free.
One of the good things about the Capital Region is that you don't have to travel all that far to go hiking, experience some natural areas, or just kind of get away from it all.
We were reminded of that recently by the map above. It estimates noise levels on summer day around the country. The deeper the blue, the more quiet the place. And as you can see, both the Catskills and the Adirondacks (especially) offer some rather deep quiet.
The map is the creation of the National Park Service Division of Natural Sounds and Night Skies. Researchers have been gathering the information and making the models to study noise and light pollution, and how it affects animals (including humans). The map was presented at the recent annual AAAS conference (it's a big science conference). [AAAS] [Science] [AAAS]
The map's not really that surprising -- it appears to match up relatively well with maps of population density and light pollution. And in the Northeast, the Adirondacks are one of the least-populated places, and they have some of the darkest nighttime skies. And they're rather quiet, too, apparently.
Earlier on AOA: The closest darkest place
Sheehan asks state for $17 million, Schenectady middle school students still failing in large numbers, Albany County Land Bank seeks owners with vision for 123 properties
Andrew Cuomo held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss pre-K andhis plan to fight sexual assault on college campuses, but instead he found himself dealing with ethics questions. Cuomo told reporters he has not been subpoenaed by federal investigators to this point. The press conference was called for the exact same time NYC mayor Bill De Blasio was set to make his budget pitch to legislators, which raised some eyebrows. [Daily News][TU][TU][NYT]
One day after Albany learned there would be few strings on its $5 million state Financial Restructuring Board grant, Kathy Sheehan appeared before state legislators on "tin cup day" to lay out a case for the city to get another $5 million to reduce its tax levy, along with a recurring $12 million grant. [TU]
After seeing that Albany got that $5 million from the Financial Restructuring Board, Troy mayor Lou Rosamilia is also looking for help from the board.[TU]
The Albany County Land Bank is soliciting proposals for 121 properties scattered throughout the city and two properties in Cohoes. [TU]
For a second year in a row, reports indicate Schenectady students are failing middle school in droves. [Gazette]
CDTA shared a few more details today about the fare payment system that's in the works. The transit org will be pilot testing the system this year, and could start rolling it out by the end of 2015.
A few bits about the upcoming "Navigator" smart cards:
Upscale burger chains are (whatever the old thing was).
Announced Wednesday: The fast casual chain BurgerFi will be setting up in Latham this spring, with another location planned for Saratoga Springs.
The Capital Region locations are a joint venture between members of the Lia family (of auto group fame) and Angelo Mazzone (of his own local restaurant empire fame). Press release blurbage:
BurgerFi, short for "Burgerfication", is headquartered in North Palm Beach, FL, and currently has 58 locations throughout the country including company owned and franchised units.
BurgerFi has made its mark with never frozen, grass fed Angus beef that is free of growth hormones, chemicals and additives. Additionally, each BurgerFi store is built to reduce its carbon footprint on the environment. Tables are made from recycled Coke bottles, chairs consist of compressed wood and large fans utilize 66-percent less electricity. The chain has strict recycling programs in place for all its oil, cardboard, bottles and cans at each restaurant location. ...
Over at the Biz Review, Mike DeMasi talked with Angelo Mazzone about the restaurants.
So, what's the word on BurgerFi?
JES emailed us recently:
Been noticing the new signs, etc. on the Nano [College] buildings. Do you know what the mythological character is that has been added to those signs?
The character in the
logo seal is the god Hermes from Greek mythology.
And why did SUNY Poly CNSE pick Hermes?
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: downtown Schenectady, the need to talk, your other family, snowshoeing, fairy castles of cascading ice, gratitude for warmth, Marcus T. Reynolds, Saratoga Beer Week, Mac-N-Cheese Bowl, the new-again McGuire's, the food of the gods, jerk chicken, tacos, Schenectady Restaurant Week, and feeding the cats.
Looking for more? Check out the archive. Or try searching for it: