Neighborhood. Neighborhood. Neighborhood.

Where to celebrate National Tequila Day

Thumbnail image for Bombers Birthday Margarita .jpgSo it turns out today is National Tequila Day. Yep, that's a thing. And Alisa wrote with a question:

National Tequila Day is Thursday July 24. Does anyone have some good suggestions as to where to celebrate after work?

Anybody have thoughts about where to get a good Margarita, Mule or Texas Two Step -- or just some straight tequila in the Capital Region?


Photo: Kim D.

Cherry Plain State Park

cherry plain park sign.jpg

Cherry Plain State Park -- worth the trip

By Lauren Hittinger

This summer I'm visiting local state parks and getting the scoop on each one. Today I'm stopping at Cherry Plain State Park. I've also already visited Moreau Lake, Grafton Lakes, and Peebles Island.

I first heard of Cherry Plain State Park as an ideal place to go to avoid the crowds, while still getting a day of swimming in. The park, situated quite a distance from metro areas, certainly does deliver on the promise of peace and personal space.

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Yaddo to offer tours in September

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The main house at Yaddo, open to the public on September 21

Yaddo, The Artist's retreat in Saratoga founded by Spencer and Katrina Trask is opening for tours for one day in September. The house, normally closed to the public, hosts artists, writers, filmmakers, composers and performance artists. Leonard Bernstein, John Cheever, Truman Capote and Eudora Welty are just a few of the artists who have had residencies there.

The main house and cottages have opened for tours about five times, and each time they sell out, and the waiting list is very long. They'll open for public tours for only the 6th time in the organizations 114 year history on September 21. Two hour tours will be offered at 8:30 am, 11am, 1:30 pm and 4 pm. There will also be a deluxe tour available to 50 guests on September 20, from 4-7 pm with a reception. Tours are $50. Tickets are available here. The deluxe tours are $250.

We took the tour in 2011 and it's really interesting. You get to see the dining rooms, a studio, the elegant staircase where John Cheever is rumored to have ridden and antique sled, and artist's studios. Even the pencil sharpener under the stairs made us wonder what was written with the No. 2s sharpened there.

You can check out the rose garden and rock garden at Yaddo anytime between dawn and dusk for free. It's a great place to have a quiet picnic in Saratoga.

Cruz found guilty, McCoy calls on Housing Authority to move residents away from railyard,lightning shatters tree at Saratoga

After about five hours of deliberations a jury convicted Pablo Cruz of murder.Cruz is facing 25 years to life for
running down an Albany bicyclist in Albany and led police on a chase through two counties while the victims body was tied to his vehicle. [TU][TWCN]

Albany county Executive Dan MCCoy, calling on The Albany Housing Authority to move hundreds of resident out of the Ezra Prentice public housing complex near the rail yard where oil trains travel: "Let's face it: it doesn't take a rocket scientist to say 'Should these people be living here?'" At the press conference McCoy announced new legislation that would impose fines of up to $250 thousand and up to a year in jail for operators who fail to notify county officials o an oil spill within 30 minutes. [TWCN][TU][WNYT]

Responding to Wednesday's New York Times expose that suggested Andrew Cuomo or his aides intervened in the Moreland Commission investigations the Cuomo administration claims the governor was misunderstood when he claimed the commission was independent. Cuomo's opponents are calling for action, from investigation to resignation.
In an interview on Charlie Rose on Wednesday, federal prosecutor Preet Bharara reiterated his pledge to pick up the investigations into political corruption, where the Moreland Commission left off.[NYT][CNY][Capitol Confidential][POH]

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Paper artist Niki Haynes

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Niki Haynes at work

By Lauren Hittinger

Niki Haynes says she's "living the analog" dream. Haynes and her husband, Steve Rein are artists who came to Troy 14 years ago, from San Francisco. And a field where many are forced to do unrelated jobs to pay the bills, Haynes and Rein are thriving as full time exhibiting artists, working in spacious studios in their downtown Troy home, operating with multiple etsy shops, turning old objects, and paper, into new art.

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Schenectady's Little Italy outdoor film festival

Moonstruck poster.jpgSchenectady's Little Italy opens an outdoor film series with an Italian flare this Friday.
The Dan DiNicola Film Series , named for the late arts journalist and entertainment critic, will be held in the parking lot behind Perreca's in Schenectady. It's a bring your own lawn chair event. The series opens this Friday with Moonstruck, and continues on Friday nights through August 22. Here's the rest of the schedule:

August 1 - Big Night

August 8 Fellini's- 8 1/2

August 15 - Roman Holiday

August 22 - My Cousin Vinny

Earlier on AOA

+Friday night flicks outdoor movies

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: an opportunity for kindness, summer paradise, train running, the Catskills, a swank party, the Troy Pig Out, favorite places, iPads, dinner in Watervliet, Mio Posto, outstanding ribs, road trip pizza, and China.

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RPI grant for 3-D cell studies

Over at the technology/lifestyle site ShinyShiny, a piece on Guohao Dai, an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at RPI, recently recognized by the NSF for his work on developing 3-D cell printing technology. Dai has received a $440 thousand dollar early career grant from the NSF to use 3-D printing to create a "vascular niche" that replicates the native environment of adult stem cells to analyze adult nervous system cells.

Ecovative GIY

ecovative mushroom material rawEcovative -- the Green Island company growing polystyrene-replacement products from mushrooms -- says it will soon be offering the material for people to grow their own structures. Blurbage:

The "Grow It Yourself" (GIY) product enables designers, artists, educators, and innovators to grow their own creations with Mushroom® Materials, just like we do at Ecovative. We hope to inspire the use of healthy, ultra-rapidly renewable, compostable materials in all kinds of products and projects.
The GIY kit includes bags of living Mushroom® Material, which is essentially the same raw material that we use to grow Mushroom® Packaging and other products. GIY growers can use this material to make their own new and exciting creations. In cases where a GIY customer has created a new product that needs to be produced at scale, Ecovative can help. Our production facility in Green Island, NY can replicate designs with a high degree of consistency and quality control.

Ecovative says the first batches of material will be distributed in early September -- there's a sign-up form at that link above. The kits will be $19.99 + shipping.

The Hy-Fi tower
Ecovative's material has been getting (even more) attention lately because of structure that recently opened at MoMA's satellite location in Long Island City. The Hy-Fi tower was designed by David Benjamin, from architecture firm The Living, and makes use of 10,000 bricks grown from Ecovative's product. Benjamin created a prototype of the bricks himself with a few bags mushroom material he got at Ecovative during a visit to the company. Here's a recent interview with Benjamin about the tower and Ecovative on WNYC.

Earlier on AOA: Ecovative in the New Yorker

photo: Ecovative

Burned body may be connected to Peace Pagoda fire, Lansingburgh residents raise concerns over violence and fires, Cuomo gives OK for Albany red light cameras

he burned body found in cohoes was determined not to be connected with recent Lansingburgh fires, but they now believe the man may be connected to a recent fire at the Grafton Peace Pagodaa. The investigation has shown that the man recently had a disagreement with the management of the Peace Pagoda
[WNYT][TWCN][Record]

More than 200 people showed up for a community meeting on a recent outbreak of violence in Troy, including suspicious fires and a stabbing in the last week.Among the complaints was a call for a crackdown on the landlords of vacant buildings in the city. [WNYT][News 10][Record]

Victory church is offering a reward for information on the fires and the homicide. [WNYT]

Jury deliberations got underway on Tuesday and will continue today in the Pablo Cruz case. [TU]

Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation allowing red light cameras in certain sections of New York State, including Albany. [TWCN]

Cuomo also signed a law on Tuesday that will officially extend Albany's residential parking system. [TU]

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The Nina and the Pinta on the Hudson

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If you were down by the Hudson River during the first part of this week you may have see these: the Nina and the Pinta (you know, like Christopher Columbus). The replica ships, owned and operated by the Columbus Foundation, are based in the British Virgin Islands.

The ships were in Newburgh over the weekend, sailed by Albany Monday and Tuesday they were in Troy. Crew member Jamie Sanger says they stop in the Collar City for maintenance.

"We stop in Troy every year to have a crane pull the masts out so we can get under the bridges. Then when we get to Oswego we can put them back in. We won't stop in Newburgh again for another few years, but we'll be sailing past Albany and stopping in Troy again sometime around June of next year."

Sanger says the Nina was built first, about 25 years ago, and is an exact replica. About 15 years ago they built the Pinta, which is slightly larger than the original ship.

The most common question he gets is: "Why is there no Santa Maria." The answer: it would be too large and most ports they stop in only have room for two ships.

The ships will be docked in Amsterdam at Lock 12 until 8 am on Wednesday if you're interested in getting a closer look. Then they head to Rochester, where they'll be docked for tours through Sunday.

The photo above is courtesy of Jaime Walton from Silver Fox Salvage in Albany. A few more from him are after the jump.

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Saratoga Hat Day 2014

fashionable saratoga entrants

Entrants in the "Fashionable Saratoga" category.

By Kaitlin Resler

Once again the ever-stylish Kaitlin Resler was AOA's representative on the judges' panel for the Saratoga Race Course's hat contest, which was this past Sunday. Here's her recap -- with photos -- of the annual Saratoga event.

I've just started to get those pangs of worry that summer is moving fast, that it's going to be over any minute, and then I realized that track season in Saratoga just started, and there's plenty of time! That's really just the summer activity touchstone that marks the height of summer, mid-July and all.

This past Sunday I got to judge the hat contest again, with a little more insight into what to expect (last year was my first time at the contest, and my first time to the track since I was a little kid!), and yet was still blown away by all the contestants!

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Report: Pessimism for casinos in the longterm

Thumbnail image for roulette wheel by Hakan Dahlstrom FlickrBecause casinos. From the summary of a Fitch Ratings report projecting longterm trends for regional casinos, revenue growth for which Fitch concludes will "remain challenging":

We attribute this pessimism to longer term structural macroeconomic and secular factors. Notable factors include saturation across regional markets; stagnant wages among the lower tier players; reprioritization of disposable income; proliferation of online/social gaming; potentially lower propensity to gamble among younger generations; and lowered preparedness for retirement by baby boomers.

A recent Moody's outlook for the short term came to a similar conclusion.

Also: From a Capital today, a report that some of the applicants for the Hudson Valley casino licenses will be seeking property tax breaks.

Earlier on AOA:
+ A map of where casinos are already located in and around New York State
+ Scanning the summaries of the Capital Region casino applications

photo: Flickr user Håkan Dahlström (cc)

Reaction to the reaction

Over at NYT, Anna Altman looks at the huge response generated by the display of Brenda Ann Kenneally's Troy photos on Slate. Much of the reaction was harsh. Altman talked with Kenneally and Slate's editor, touching on topics of documentary, context, exploitation, and living on social media. [NYT] (Thanks, E)

Moules Frites at Brewery Ommegang

moules frites ommegang

By Deanna Fox

Ah, summer. What could be more quintessentially American summertime than baseball, beer, and moules frites.

Yep, I said it. Moules. Frites.

Okay, so maybe that's a reach. While baseball and drinking beer are endemic to this country, the fancy title for mussels and French fries is a classic Belgian item.

But there is a place where those three elements -- baseball, beer, and moules frites -- coalesce in harmony, and that's Cooperstown, the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the hometown of one of the best examples of Belgian beer and food in America: Brewery Ommegang.

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The Legend of Major Duncan Campbell

Duncan Campbell's grave

The grave of Duncan Campbell in Washington County (with replica headstone). / photo: John Bulmer Photography

Fun: Duncan Crary will be telling the story of Major Duncan Campbell of the Black Watch -- "New York's first world-famous ghost story" -- this Thursday at the Malt Room in Troy. As the story begins:

The widely circulated legend of Major Duncan Campbell says a desperate man came knocking wildly on the doors of the house of Inverawe one night. He had blood on his hands and kilt, and begged for sanctuary -- a sacred oath of protection granted in the Highlands of Scotland.
Duncan vowed to shelter the man and swore on his dirk, a traditional and ceremonial dagger worn by Highland Scots.
Soon after, a group of men arrived at Inverawe to inform Duncan Campbell that a highwayman had murdered his cousin, Donald Campbell. The men had last seen the murderer heading that way. But Duncan had already given his word that he would shelter the very same bandit, and so he concealed him from the gang.

Campbell later gets dispatched by the British to North America to fight in the French and Indian War in what's now known as New York -- at a place called "Ticonderoga," a word that would haunt Campbell. The story would later become famous thanks to Robert Louis Stevenson.

To go along with the story at the Malt Room, there will be a Scottish-theme menu and a scotch tasting. And bagpipes. (We've been assured they'll be "indoor bagpipes." Maybe that's like bagpipes using their indoor voice.)

The story starts at 6 pm on Thursday, July 24. Admission is free.

As you know, Duncan and AOA have worked together on AOA events, and he occasionally writes for AOA.

No arrests in suspicious Troy fires, Cuomo continues big lead on Astorino, uproar over coach's firing, another brewery

No arrests have been made in the string of suspicious fires early Monday in Lansingburgh. Troy police have increased patrols in the area, and city officials are asking residents to be vigilant and report anything suspicious. There's a community meeting about the situation Tuesday evening. [TU] [Troy Record] [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Troy police have yet to make an arrest in the fatal stabbing of a teen at a birthday party in Lansinburgh Friday night. A church is offering $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction. [TWCN x2]

Pablo Cruz -- the man accused of drunkenly driving into a cyclist in Albany, killing the man, and leading police on a high-speed chase -- testified Monday: "It wasn't me. I wasn't in that truck on the 24th. They made all this (expletive) up!" Cruz's attorney told the judge his client testified against his advice. [TU] [TWCN]

Continuing nano drama: After NanoCollege allegations of "disgusting politics" and "misinformation" in the media, the city of Albany is apparently now trying to get a financing deal back together with the NanoCollege for the ZEN building -- while the county tries to poach the deal, and the approximately $1.9 million fee that goes along with it. [TU]

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Coming up: Sarah Fish on the Food Network

Sarah FishBack in February Sarah Fish mentioned to us that she was lined up to be on the Food Network Show Guy's Grocery Games. And now, via Notes on Napkins, comes word that the Troy chef will be on the episode that first airs this coming Sunday (July 27) at 8 pm. The episode is titled "Arounds in the World Three Carts."

Fish told us in February that the Food Network producers were interested in her because of her focus on cooking with fresh ingredients:

But they were asking, "What do you think is going to be your competitive edge?" I actually think that it's going to be my from-scratch cooking, because if I see something in a box or can or whatever I'm going to know what preparation has already gone into it so I can eliminate half the work by knowing what has already gone into it.

She'll be the second local chef to appear on the show -- Illium Cafe chef/owner Marla Ortega won an episode that aired this past May.

Fish is currently in process of transitioning her new restaurant, Cafe Congress, in Troy.

[via @MHAInnovations]

Teammates

1932 Albany High School yearbook basketball girls

Pictured above: The 1932 Albany High School senior girl's basketball team, which had a "record that would be difficult to surpass" (it included a surprise championship in their sophomore season).

The photo is from the 1932 AHS yearbook recently added to the Albany Public Library's collection on the New York Heritage online archive. The APL is looking for donations for yearbooks from other years to add to the collection.

Flipping the 1932 version was interesting, seeing all the club and team photos, wondering what paths the lives of the then-teens ended up taking. And the back of the book includes some interesting ads -- even a few for businesses still in operation.

APL advertises on AOA.

Directions in sculpture

Art break: Check out this short film about Albany artist Abe Ferraro and his LEGO/erector set-like shipping box sculptures.

The video is part of "Albany my Albany," series by Juan Luis Lopez Fons profiling local artists and entertainers. There are six episodes in the current season.

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Looking for more? Check out the last week's worth of posts or the archive.

And you can always try searching for it:

The Scoop

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Psst... Over Here

Rants, raves, suggestions, tips, shout outs:

editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

Recent Comments

Although it's outside the Capital Region and so naturally isn't included in the AOA listing, as ever I remind everyone that the Dutchess County Fair is the biggest of all NYS county fairs and worth the trip to Rhinebeck.

Where to celebrate National Tequila Day

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Cherry Plain State Park

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Moules Frites at Brewery Ommegang

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Remembering Friday nights in Troy

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Ecovative GIY

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