Our country's been going through some rough times politically. It's hard to feel optimistic at the moment.
Then you watch 20 people become American citizens.
We stopped by the Albany Capital Center Thursday afternoon for a naturalization ceremony in which people from 16 different countries around the world took the oath of citizenship. Young and old. Families and individuals. Everyone with a smile, snapping pictures, hugging, excited to make this their country, to be a part of our collective story.
Maybe we'll OK.
The official wrap-up for the Breathing Lights public art project is set for April 7 at Proctors. Blurbage:
Why spend a $1M on public art? What did we accomplish? What's next? Come find out. Breathing Lights will officially wrap with a networking lunch with Mayors Sheehan, McCarthy and Madden, live performances, screenings, lively policy discussions, a presentation of project impacts, and the debut of WMHT's Behind the Lights documentary.
The day includes a few different events. Each is $10, or $20 for all three. The screening of the documentary is free.
Here's a compressed schedule.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
Playing on Mayer's name, what are you the mayor of?
Interpret that as you like. Maybe you're the mayor of your street. Maybe you're the mayor of getting stuff done. Maybe you're the mayor of eating grilled cheese. (Really, don't think too hard about it.) We'll draw one winner at random -- that person gets the tickets and gift card.
The show at TU Center is Friday, Marc 31 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $35.75 and up.
Ama Cocina is at 4 Sheridan Ave in downtown Albany, just off North Pearl Street. So you could head there for dinner and then make your way down the street for the show.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 24, 2017 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon Monday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, March 28.
Live Nation advertises on AOA.
photo via John Mayer Facebook
The second phase of the Madison Ave Road Diet in Albany is set to start later this year and the city has a public meeting coming up April 6 to offer info and answer questions about the plan:
Continuing the transformation of Madison Avenue into a complete street and consistent with the theme developed publicly during Phase 1, the City of Albany is now progressing Phase 2 of the project to add bike lanes, improve transit stops, and improve pedestrian accommodations on this important City Street. During this public information meeting, project representatives will provide information about the Phase 2 scope and schedule, and address questions during a brief Q&A period. Similar to Phase 1, Phase 2 proposes to reduce the number of travel lanes in the corridor from four lanes to three, upgrade traffic signals, provide signal coordination for motorists, and provide improved accommodations for non-motorized users in the corridor.
This next phase will cover the stretch from Partridge Street to Lark Street.
The lead up to the road diet prompted a lot of discussion -- from cycling advocates, from businesses expressing concerns about parking, from people who just had a hard time believing that reducing the number of travel lanes wouldn't create traffic problems. And when that first phase -- from Allen Street to Partridge -- was reconfigured, it set off a whole new flurry of comments and criticism, with city officials calling for people to be patient and adjust.
So this meeting will be a good opportunity to take a stock of how things have turned out so far. (An informal take based on our own experiences: The reconfigured section feels safer and more humane, and the transition from the new segment to the not-yet segment is jarring.)
And as we mentioned last year, this project is a test of the road diet concept. If it works out, it's not hard to see other streets getting a similar treatment.
The public meeting is Thursday, April 6 at 6 pm at the College of Saint Rose's Touhey Forum (Lally School of Education building, 1009 Madison Ave).
Celina Ottaway took a circuitous route to the kitchen, but it's paid off. The global influences of her life in business, journalism, and personal endeavors now show up in dishes for her Celina's Kitchen menus: Asian pesto, poulet creole, japchae. Together with chef Pierre Farvil, they're pulling together vibrant, rich flavors that reflect past experiences while looking ahead.
If you want to first hand taste of what they're cooking, your best chance is to bundle up and head over to The Low Beat on Sunday for the spot's latest pop-up brunch.
Abelove files civil suit over Cuomo order, Capital Region population drops, unattended cooking oil blamed for Colonie fire, Siena students create arm for 7-year-old Ugandan girl
Less than a week after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office seized the cellphone of Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove in an investigation into the death of a civilian in a confrontation with police, has filed a civil complaint in state Supreme Court seeking to overturn Andrew Cuomo's order giving the NYS attorney general authority to supersede local DAs in such cases. [TU]
Capital Region population
Fixed According to newly released U.S. Census data, Capital Region population rank relative to other metros slipped a few places. [TU]
NY Dems lobby against ACA repealing replace
Top state officials are doing some last minute lobbying to try to influence House Republicans from NY to vote against the measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. [Gazette][TU]
We stumbled across this old, undated photo of Maiden Lane in downtown Albany in the Albany Public Library History Collection this week. And we were struck by a few things:
+ Love those old retail shop signs. (Apparently it was the place to score some shoes.)
+ Those signs are gone, but the streetscape -- the buildings date to the late 19th century/early 20th century -- is more or less the same as today.
The biggest difference you might notice is in the background -- mainly that the street keeps on going to the west. Maiden Lane is one of the city's oldest streets and for centuries it stretched from the waterfront up the the hill to Eagle Street. (See this 1891 map.) That changed in the early 1970s with the construction of the Ten Eyck Plaza Project. (It was also around that time that Pine Street was extended to Broadway.)
If you head over to the APL's collection on the New York Heritage site, you can zoom reallyclose into the photo to catch a glimpse of the segment of the Maiden Lane that no longer exists, along with the old shops.
When it shot in Troy last October it was called Derailed. Now it's Off The Rails and will be shown on the Lifetime Movie Network this Sunday, March 26 at 8 pm. Blurbage:
After surviving a train derailment, Nicole Barrow has lost all of her memories. The only things she remembers about herself are that she has a husband running for Attorney General and she is a geography professor with a love of cartography. Months of recovering lead her to believe she is slowly putting her perfect life back together. However, when she is approached by several strange men claiming she had contacted them to meet for sexual fantasies, she discovers a series of social media pages claiming to be her. Has her identity been stolen, or is this her former self? As she scrambles to put the pieces of her mind together, she questions who she can trust and must fight to remember the truth.
We hear the story is actually set in Troy and at Sage.
The Tomorrow Paradox
Another locally-shot film -- the indie sci-fi production The Tomorrow Paradox -- is set to screen at The Madison this Saturday, March 25 at 7 pm. The director, Bruce Wemple, will be there for a post-screening discussion.
And speaking of Lifetime movies (not sure how it's come to this)...
That movie about Joyce Mitchell and the Clinton Correctional Facility prison break is set to air April 23.
WMHT has a new documentary about Henry Johnson -- Henry Johnson: Tale of Courage -- premiering April 11 at 7:30 pm. It'll then air multiple times during the month.
But before that, there's a preview screening at the State Museum April 4 at 6 pm. A discussion will follow with producer Zeke Kubisch, city of Albany special community projects coordinator (and author and scholar) Barbara Smith, and historian Aaron Noble. The screening is free to attend, though WMHT does ask that you RSVP.
You probably know (should know) the outline of Henry Johnson's story. An Albany resident, he served in WWI with the Harlem Hellfighters, who had been placed under the command of French forces because of racism within the US Army. While on sentry duty in 1918 he fought off a surprise German attack of at least 12 soldiers and saved a fellow American soldier, all while being wounded multiple times. Upon his return to the United States he was initially hailed as a hero. But he was later marginalized after speaking out about the racism African-Americans faced in the military. Unable to work because of his war injuries, Johnson's personal life crumbled and he died at the age of 32.
It wasn't until 2015 -- and after the work of many people -- that Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
This could be a good way to learn more about CSAs if you're been curious: Takk House in Troy is hosting a CSA fair April 15 from 11 am-2 pm. The event is a collaboration between the Hudson Valley CSA Coalition, Hudson River Exchange, and Glynwood.
CSA = Community Supported Agriculture, in which you pay at the beginning of the season for a share of a farm's produce and then get regular allotments during the season. Event blurbage:
CSA Fairs provide an opportunity for local residents to learn about the vital role Community Supported Agriculture plays for independent farms, to shop around the various shares available and sign up for their Seasonal Share. From fruits and vegetables to herbal wellness to meat and dairy, CSA shares offer community members access to the diversity of farm fresh products - and land based wisdom - that make Hudson Valley living plentiful and enjoyable.
The event at Takk House will include reps from Colfax Farm, Denison Farm, Field Apothecary, Laughing Earth Farm, Roxbury Farm, and Soul Fire Farm. Also: "Remember to bring your checkbook for share deposits and be entered to win on-site sign up giveaways when you buy a share at the event."
Hudson River Exchange advertises on AOA.
photo via Hudson Valley CSA Coalition Facebook
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: an unsettling event, uncovering stories, Celtic crosses, Fritz Von Vonderblenkenstoffen, cross country skiing in the city, a snowy stroll, an icy hike, Cooperstown, photo awards, art awards, the South Troy Diner, Old Chatham, too too too, Stewart's famous, drinking cookies, a secret ingredient, and reflecting on 10 years.
He most recently starred in the Broadway hit, "Oh, Hello on Broadway" alongside Nick Kroll. In 2015 Mulaney released his 3rd hour stand up special a Netflix Original titled "THE COMEBACK KID" which the AV Club called "his best hour of his career." He began his career in New York's East Village and has since toured around the world. In 2008, he began writing at "Saturday Night Live" where he appeared as a "Weekend Update" correspondent and co-created characters such as "Stefon" with Bill Hader. He currently writes for IFC's "Documentary Now" and for Netflix's "Big Mouth" on which he voices the character of Andrew.
The show at The Egg is in the 982-seat Hart Theater.
A handful of other comedy shows coming up...
I am looking for a local nursery that sells beautiful Spring/Easter plants, such as lillies, hyacinths, tulips, etc.With the first day of spring (almost) behind us, and the holiday approaching, I am hoping your readers can provide some good suggestions!
These sorts of plants seem to pop up in all sorts of stores around this time of year, often packaged for easy giving. But, as Kristin mentions, we suspect you're going to find the best selection and quality at a local nursery or a shop that regularly deals in flowers.
Got a favorite spot for buying these types of plants? Please share!
Faso/Collins ACA amendment causes uproar, Colonie apartment fire displaces 100, Child hit by school bus in Troy, PFOA troubled Hoosick Falls elects new mayor
Faso/Collins ACA amendment causes state concerns
An amendment to ACA legislation proposed by Congressmen John Faso and Chris Collins, that would only affect New York State, would relive counties outside of New York City of responsibility for Medicaid, shifting their portion of payment to the state. The plan, which also calls for a property tax cut, has angered Andrew Cuomo, and caused mixed reaction in both parties. [WNYT][Spectrum][Buffalo News][NYT]
Colonie apartment fire
Three people were hospitalized, one is seriously injured, and about 100 were left homeless after fire broke out in a kitchen of a Colonie apartment building. [Gazette][TU][News 10]
Child hit by school bus
A 6-year-old boy was hit by a school bus in Troy early Wednesday morning. The Child was sent to the hospital with lacerations and non life threatening injuries. [News 10][TU]
We've been posting pics of the same clump of crocus going back a bunch of years. When the crocus blooms, it's sort of like an unofficial sign that spring has arrived.
But this year... well, this year was weird. This crocus started to poke through the dirt and rocks in February. And then, after the stretch of strangely warm weather in the early March, it was just about to bloom when the cold snapped back. The curled up blooms stood there, waiting. Then the crocus was buried in two feet of snow. And after the melt... the almost-blooms lay slack.
Then, today, during the sunny afternoon: A bloom appeared. Spring really is here. Again. Or something.
The Cuomo admin officially launched a rebate for electric cars Tuesday -- New York State will now chip in up to $2,000 for qualifying vehicles. That's on top of federal of a federal tax credit that's worth up to $7,500.
Press release blurbage:
$55 million of the Drive Clean Initiative is dedicated to rebates of up to $2,000 for purchase of a new plug-in hybrid electric car, all-electric car or hydrogen fuel cell car. In addition to the $55 million in rebates, $15 million will support improving consumer awareness of electric cars and their many benefits, installing more charging stations across the state, developing and demonstrating new electric car-enabling technologies, and other efforts to put more electric cars on New York's roadways. The initiative will be managed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and will help the state achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.
The rebate can be applied to more than 30 different models of vehicle, though the amount slides based on the all-electric range of the car. Also: If the vehicle is more than $60k, the rebate is just $500 regardless of range. (Let's face it, if you can afford a Tesla a rebate's probably not going to sway you.)
The ninth season of WMHT's TVFilm series is coming up later this year, the media is org is still accepting short films submissions. Blurbage:
Hosted and produced by Brandon Bethmann, TvFILM engages dialogue with winning filmmakers to discuss the inspiration, ideas and concepts behind their work. In addition, TvFILM profiles the people, places and events that are shaping WMHT's growing independent film and media community.
The deadline to submit a film is March 31. That link above has info about how to do so.
You can watch previous episodes from the series online.
As mentioned previously, the award-winning YouthFX program has the premiere for its new crop of films set for March 30 at The Spectrum. Tickets are $10 / $8 for students. These screenings usually sell out, see keep an eye out for advance tickets going on sale soon.
What other cities are doing with their waterfront highways, a continuing link series: Philadelphia is planning to cover a portion of I-95 along its downtown waterfront with an 11-acre park. The roots of the plan stretch back to at least 2007, and it'd be funded with money from the city, state, and private donors. [Plan Philly] [Billy Penn] (Thanks, E)
The music lineup for this year's Solid Sound Festival was out last month, and now the lineup for the comedy portion of the fest is out:
John Hodgman (of course)
Michael Ian Black
Jean Grae's The Show Show with DJ Quelle Chris
Solid Sound is June 23-25 at MASS MoCA this summer. Weekend passes are currently $159, and a kids pass is $50.
High Mud Comedy Festival
A reminder: MASS MoCA's High Mud Comedy Festival is March 31-April 1. The headliner is Phoebe Robinson, co-host of the popular podcast 2 Dope Queens. (Aparna Nancherla is also part of the lineup.)
Every culture and cuisine has its own version of a greasy spoon diner. Places with quick crowd-pleasing menu items that focus less on modern, qualitative platitudes (farm-fresh local zero hormone free range organic sustainable conflict-free!) and more on getting cheap eats dipped, fried, or otherwise laden in fat on the table with haste.
Greasy spoons are abundant in Albany, and in many ways, these sorts of establishments comprise the hallmark of our local eating scene.
When it comes to the Tex-Mex variety, Sala Latina reigns, and its Monday night buffet is one of the best bargains in town.
And you can always try searching for it: