Tulip time is now!

The week ahead

some people hear thunder

Some People Hear Thunder opens at Capital Rep this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (very spring), to the stage, to film, to remarkable stories, to startups, to tulips, to all sorts of music...

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A quick recap of the week

week review 2017-04-28

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

+ We gave away tickets for this year's Champagne on the Park by asking: What's something of your local list of spring things to do?

+ Here are a bunch of funny/clever/nerdy signs -- and crowd photos -- from the March for Science in Albany.

+ Greg asked about what the role of bystanders should be when someone is clearly acting inappropriate in public. There was a range of interesting answers.

+ Albany once had an observatory, ya know.

+ Free summer concert season approaches! Here's the lineup for this summer's Upbeat on the Roof.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: wildflowers, the luxury of carpet, Lincoln's funeral train, Rebecca Rhino, church history, an old Albany dairy, a question from a contractor, the Albany Craft Beer Festival, seasonal burger stands, restaurant coupons, Terra kitchen, taco happy hour, many steps, working through mental illness, distant family, and being part of a new thread.

+ Here's the lineup for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival.

+ Affordable housing has become a prominent part of the discussion as the big Rezone Albany project comes to a close.

+ And go see the Washington Park tulips! Don't wait!

Here's the whole week in one place.

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

Today's moment of spring

magenta crabapple bloom

Pretty sweet... for a crabapple.

Go see the tulips, don't wait

Washington Park tulips 2017-04-28

Important news: The Washington Park tulip beds are blooming.

As of Friday afternoon we'd say about 65 percent of the tulips were in bloom, and it looked like many others were getting ready to emerge.

So, don't wait until the Tulip Fest. Make some time to stop by take in the tulips over the next week.

Here are a handful of photos if you'd like to virtually gawk.

But, really, just go see them.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Troy Music Hall

Jazz Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton_Marsalis

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will be at the Troy Music Hall October 7 for a show. Tickets go on sale the general public May 5 -- they're $49.50 and up.

Marsalis is, of course, jazz royalty. Blurbage about the orchestra:

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) comprises 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today. Led by Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire ranging from original compositions and Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works to rare historic compositions and masterworks by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, and many others.

It's the first show of the 2017-2018 season at the music hall.

The Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

photo: Joe Martinez

Stuff to do this weekend

half moon market 2016-April

The Half Moon Market returns to Albany's Washington Park Lake House this weekend.

On your marks. Get set. Weekend.

Before you go out, be sure and have rain boots, sun screen, and a heavy sweater handy -- this weekend we'll be swinging from the 80s to the 50s and from sunshine to spring showers. Spring in the great Northeast.

On tap this weekend, music festivals, craft markets, comedy, art, theater and all kinds of other fun stuff. After the jump we've lined up a few things we thought you might enjoy. Planning something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments and share with the rest of us.

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

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Grandfather gives emotional testimony in Lake George boat crash trial, the push for police to use a "textalyzer," signs of a brewery project in Troy

Lake George boat crash trial
Robert Knarr -- Charlotte McCue's grandfather -- testified Thursday about the night of the crash, sobbing as recounted the events: "We were home, basically, and we were driving comfortably and then I heard a loud 'bang, bang, bang.'" The day also included the playing of video of a police interview with Alexander West in which he asserted he had only had two beers earlier in the day, a contention that's been disputed by testimony from earlier witnesses in the trial. [News10] [Spectrum] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Textalyzer
Legislators in the state Assembly and Senate are pushing a bill that would allow police to use a device to determine whether a mobile phone was being used during a crash -- without a warrant. Attorneys say use of the device would raise Constitutional and privacy questions. [TU] [News10]

A $2.55 million settlement and a mystery
The family of Slingerlands woman who suffered a serious brain injury at the Loudonville home of a prominent family has settled a lawsuit for $2.55 million -- but they say they still don't know what happened that night in 2011. [TU]

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Thinking about affordable housing in Albany

Corning Tower view downtown Arbor Hill Warehouse District 2017-April

What can the city of Albany do to encourage more affordable housing?

That's the question at the center of a debate that continues to simmer as the city heads toward the approval of the huge overhaul of its zoning, a process that touches on all sorts of important topics. What sorts of businesses can open where? How late can they be open? How can old buildings be adapted for new uses? How can neighborhoods suffering from disinvestment gain new life?

This current debate is focused on something inclusionary zoning, a proposal in which developers would be required to include affordable housing units in some developments.

Here's a look at what that would involve, along with a bunch of thoughts about housing in the city.

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Tulip Queen finalists 2017

The list of finalists to be this year's Tulip Queen -- and to reign over this city with an iron tulip-shaped scepter -- is out. (OK, actually it's not so much about reigning over the city as it is about community service, but you never know, power can be intoxicating.) The next queen will be crowned at -- where else -- the Tulip Festival May 13.

Old trees out, new trees soon

trees cut down ESP labyrinth corner

James tagged us on Twitter today after noticing that a crew had taken down the trees in the southeast corner of the Empire State Plaza. (That's his pic above.) It's the corner where the labyrinth usually stands. He was wondering what was up because the scene was now looking... sparse.

The trees -- maples -- had contracted a disease called verticillium wilt, according to Heather Groll, the communications director for the state's Office of General Services. She said via email they're being replaced with "some lovely red oaks" and the new trees will be in place later this spring.

The labyrinth
As mentioned, that corner is where the wooden labyrinth by Francois Stahly usually stands. The structure had been in bad shape in recent years and OGS decided that on-site repairs weren't enough. So pieces of the art/playground were shipped off to Vermont in the fall of 2015 for restoration -- here's a Paul Grondahl article about the process. Groll said Thursday she didn't have a timeline for its return.

Talking about the fears of "bicycle face" and other preoccupations during the early history of women and bicycling

circa 1900 bicycling ladies Schenectady

Two women stopped during a bicycle ride around 1900 in Schenectady. / photo: Larry Hart Collection, Schenectady County Historical Society, Grems-Doolittle Library

This could be interesting: The Schenectady County Historical Society is hosting a talk May 13 -- "Women on Wheels" -- by author/historian Ellen Gruber Garvey about the contentious early history of bicycling and women. Blurbage:

When women and girls first rode bicycles in large numbers in the 1890s, they celebrated their new freedom to move around in the world. Susan B. Anthony said she stood and rejoiced, "every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood." She thought bicycling had "done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." Is it surprising that conservatives panicked at visions of women riding alone, with other women, or with unsuitable men, and campaigned to stop them?
Bicycling women wanted to keep their new mobility, and there were plenty of arguments back and forth. Some claimed that women would damage themselves by acquiring a "bicycle face," or would get sexual pleasure from bicycling -- and thus ruin their reproductive capacities. Although this seems like something that happened long ago, women, especially, are often still discouraged from physical activity and mobility in the US and in other countries. How did that happen? Could bicycling again offer freedom to all?

Ellen Gruber Garvey is a professor at the New Jersey City University and has written books about the history of scrapbooking and advertising around the turn of the 20th century.

The talk is at the Schenectady County Historical Society (32 Washington Ave in Schenectady) at 2 pm on Saturday, May 13. It's free.

Earlier on AOA: When bikes weren't just something on the side

History days at Cherry Hill and the Ten Broeck Mansion 2017

Cherry Hill house

Historic Cherry Hill

Two Albany historic mansions have annual history-themed events coming up...

Albany History Fair
Historic Cherry Hill in the South End is again hosting the annual Albany History Fair on May 7. This year's theme is "Whose Side Are You On? Suffrage & Anti-Suffrage in Albany." Blurbage:

This free event will include musical performances of suffrage and anti-suffrage songs by Mary LaFleur and Tony Opalka; a one-act play, "The Burden of the Ballot," written by Dr. Krysta Dennis, Lecturer in Creative Arts a Siena College and performed by Janet Kimlicko, Kellyrose Marry, Sydney Paluch and Sandra Boynton; a lecture, "It Is No Right But a Wrong" Albany and the Antecedents of Anti-Suffrage by Kori A. Graves, Assistant Professor of History at UAlbany, and a panel on women in politics today moderated by Liz Benjamin, host of the Spectrum News show Capital Tonight and Editor-in- Chief of the blog, State of Politics, and featuring New York State Assembly Member Patricia Fahy, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, and Albany Common Council Member Dorcey Applyrs. Other activities include a voter registration booth, displays, a scavenger hunt, and a special tour, "Casting Her Ballot: Emily Rankin and the Suffrage Question."

The events are from noon-4 pm on Sunday, May 7. Admission is free.

Living History Day
The Ten Broeck Mansion in Arbor Hill has its Living History Day coming up May 7. The day includes tours, historical re-enactors, an archaeological excavation, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and music.

The events are from noon-4 pm on Sunday, May 7. Admission is free.

Split verdict in UAlbany bus trial, more drug testimony in West trial, $350 thousand price tag for unplanned Schenectady demolitions

UAlbany bus trial
The two former UAlbany students who claimed they were the victims of a racially motivated attack on a CDTA bus 15-months ago were found guilty on Wednesday of filing a false report, but were acquitted of assault and harassment charges. Asha Burwell and Ariel Agudio could each face jail time, and are currently under a 9pm curfew until their sentencing in June. Their attorneys say the case should never have come to court. [TU][Gazette][WNYT][Spectrum]

West trial
+Alexander West testified on Wednesday that he was aware there was cocaine on his boat the night he crashed into another boat, killing an eight year old girl. Attorneys for West worked out a deal for him to share the information, claiming the knowledge didn't amount to usage. Prosecutors also attempted to discredit a witness who had an on-again, off-again relationship with West and stated he was flirting with her and seemed drunk on the day of the crash.

+Sara Foss shares thoughts on the drug and partying subculture behind the Alexander West incident.
[TU][Gazette][Spectrum][Gazette]

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Today's moment of spring

tulip bed in front of Capitol

There are a going to be a lot of tulip photos over the next few weeks.

It's just the way it's going to be.

Where the new homes have been built

Halfmoon Community Growth Profile new homes map

Parcels in the town of Halfmoon on which new single-family homes were built between 1995 and 2015. / map: Capital District Transportation Committee and the Capital District Regional Planning Commission

The Capital Region county that's the most different from the other three core counties? That's probably Saratoga County. And here's (another) bit toward that case...

Of all the single-family homes built in the Capital Region core between 1995 and 2015, almost half were in Saratoga County.

That's from the Capital District Transportation Committee and the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, which have posted a series of new "community growth profiles" for each of the core's 56 cities and towns:

Between 1995 and 2015, more than 35,111 single family homes were built in the four county Capital District Region on lots totaling 55,928 acres. The majority of single family home growth occurred in Saratoga County with 49% followed by 25% in Albany, 15% in Rensselaer, and 10% in Schenectady. As of 2015, there are 209,730 single family homes and 378,947 housing units overall in the region. And, approximately 214 miles of new roads were built between 2005 and 2015, of which 21% included sidewalks.

The town of Halfmoon is a prime example of the population and housing growth in Saratoga County. Between 1990 and 2015, the town went from 6,125 housing units to 11,060 units, according to its profile.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival 2017

Williamstown Theatre Festival 2017 poster

The updated slate of shows for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival is out. As usual, the casts include actors you'll recognize, such as Jane Kaczmarek, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jayne Atkinson, and Cristin Milioti.

In recent years WTF has also served as a launching point for new shows, some of which make their way to Broadway.This summer's schedule includes four world premieres, as well as a new play and a new musical.

Also: Single-show tickets are now available for pre-order online. (You can also save some money per ticket by buying tickets in multiple show bundles.) Many of these performances sell out, so if you're interested in going, it's a good idea to buy tickets sooner rather than later.

Here's the lineup...

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What's up in the neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: wildflowers, the luxury of carpet, Lincoln's funeral train, Rebecca Rhino, church history, an old Albany dairy, a question from a contractor, the Albany Craft Beer Festival, seasonal burger stands, restaurant coupons, Terra kitchen, taco happy hour, many steps, working through mental illness, distant family, and being part of a new thread.

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Upbeat on the Roof 2017

Allyson and Whitney Smith from Cannon the Brave

Allyson and Whitney Smith from Cannon the Brave. They're on the schedule in August.

Free summer concert season approaches...

The Upbeat on the Roof series is returning to The Tang Museum at Skidmore later this summer -- and on a new day of the week. The roof-top concerts are moving from Fridays to Thursdays.

Museum explanation blurbage: "The move to Thursday nights coincides with the Museum's new year-round hours. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursday. This move will give visitors a chance to visit the galleries before and after UpBeat concerts."

This year's lineup is below. As usual, it includes local acts across a range of genres.

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Witnesses testify to cocaine use in Lake George boat crash trial, deliberations underway in bus attack trial, wreck claims life of 18-year-old Coeymans man, state delays Albany budget report again

Lake George boat crash trial
Jurors in the Alexander West trial on Tuesday heard from two women who testified they snorted cocaine on with West in the hours before the fatal boat crash that killed an 8-year-old girl, but it was left unclear how much cocaine West consumed or exactly how much he had to drink before the crash.[TU][Gazette]

UAlbany bus incident trial
Deliberations are underway in the UAlbany bus attack trial. In closing arguments the defense claims his clients, the women who claimed they were attacked, were acting in self defense, and asked the jury to remember the questions of racial bias in the case, while prosecutors say the video in the case shows it is not a question of racial bias, but truth.[Gazette][TU]

18-year-old killed in Albany County wreck
An 18-year-old man Coeymans man was killed and his passenger injured after their car crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a Freightliner tractor on River Road in Bethlehem. [Gazette][TU]

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The old observatory

Dudley Observatory Albany South Lake

Speaking of observatories... Albany had an observatory. In fact, the observatory still exists... just not in Albany.

The Dudley Observatory was once located at different spots in the city of Albany -- in north Albany, and then on the triangle of land between New Scotland Ave, South Lake, and Myrtle. (The Capital District Psychiatric Center is there now.)

That photo above is from the former observatory building on South Lake. From The Dudley's history blog, Counting Stars:

The second building is Dudley's most famous, and it was one of the most iconic buildings in Albany at the time. It showed up in postcards and maps of the era. It was an imposing Romanesque structure of red brick, two stories tall with an observatory tower at the western end. To the east was the residence of the director and temporary housing for visiting astronomers. In the center were the rooms for the computers, the library and the rooms for the resident astronomers.

And those computers? People -- usually women. (Yep, like in Hidden Figures.)

The observatory sold the building to Albany Med in the 1960s (it later caught on fire), and moved to an office on Fuller Road. It's now located at miSci in Schenectady.

photo via The Dudley Observatory

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Recent Comments

I feel that when people don't confront inappropriate behavior it sends a signal that it is tolerated. I often speak up in situations like these, depending on my reading of the situation. If we consider ourselves part of a community we all have a role to play in signaling what is and isn't appropriate behavior.

Thinking about affordable housing in Albany

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How should we respond when someone is being clearly inappropriate in public?

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