Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (classic), to swimming pools, to baseball, to WTF, to naked magic, to dance, to all sorts of music...
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ Sandy looked at whether light rail is right for the Capital Region right now.
+ We gave away tickets to the Hidden City House and Garden Tour -- with a gift card to Yono's or dp -- by asking: What's something local that you're looking forward to eating this summer?
+ Sean asked about which school district people would recommend for his family -- there were thoughtful answers.
+ Deanna doesn't like cream pies -- but she tried the coconut cream pie at Restaurant Navona anyway, and is glad she did.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: actions that reverberate across generations, not listening to naysayers, career tradeoffs, Daniel Manning, floods, the Dix Range, wildflowers, Huckleberry Point, memories of the Catskills, cheap eats, the happy place, a claim of burnt ends, and congratulations.
+ It's swimming pool season! Here's a big list of public pools around the Capital Region.
+ Julie put together some ideas for a visit to the Finger Lakes region.
+ And here is a photo of a dinosaur on Lark Street.
Here's the whole week in one place.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
Euclid Ave in Albany.
The Downtown Albany BID is setting up an outdoor movie series for later this summer and fall. And it's looking for input on which movies to show via an online survey.
The BID is asking for people to pick five movies from a slate of 20 films -- ranging from Indiana Jones to The Big Lebowski to Salt (partially filmed downtown, of course) to 10 Things I Hate About You. One person who completes the survey will win a four pack of season passes to the 2016-2017 movies series at the Palace.
The deadline for submitting a survey is July 1 at 11:59 pm.
The Downtown Albany BID advertises on AOA.
image: Sony Pictures
New York State set a new modern record for maple syrup production this year, the Cuomo admin announced Friday. The Empire State produced 707,000 gallons of syrup, according to numbers from the from the US Department of Agriculture.
That's up from 601,000 gallons last year. And it keeps New York at the #2 spot nationally, holding off a surging Maine with 675,000. Better luck next time, Pine (Not Maple) Tree State.
New York's increased production this year was in part a result of a longer season -- 36 days on average this year, compared to 26 last year. But the state continues to add taps, too. Its tap count was above 2,500 this year -- the Cuomo admin says that's the highest number since 1946 -- and the count has been rising by a couple of hundred each year for the past few years. (The state's yield per tap has also been rising.)
Of course, Vermont continues to dominate the field, where they're just playing a different game.
Heather sent along this scene from Lark Street Thursday.
Just your typical summer evening.
Summer! Summer! Summer!
Sorry. We're excited about the summer. We should be focused on telling you what there is to do this weekend.
Weekend! Weekend! Weekend! Focus. So, we just checked the forecast and it calls for lots of sunshine.
Sunshine! Sunshine! Sunshine! OK, you know what, we're not even going to try. After the jump, a bountiful list of summer stuff to do.
Stuff to do! Stuff to do! Stuff to... Seriously, we'll stop now.
If you're planning something you don't see here, we hope you'll tell us about it in the comments. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!
Bernie Sanders back in Albany, LGBT flag burning being investigated as a hate crime, a commencement speech declaration
Bernie Sanders in Albany
Bernie Sanders is scheduled to give a speech at The Egg Friday -- his campaign is calling it a ""Where We Go From Here" speech. People were already lined up by 8:30 this morning for the midday event. On MSNBC Friday morning Sanders said he would vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. [Sanders campaign] [TU] [NYT]
Rainbow flag burned at Damien Center
The Albany Damien Center reported Thursday that the LGBT rainbow banner in front of the church that currently houses the center was set on fire sometime overnight Wednesday to Thursday morning in an apparent act of vandalism. Albany police say department detectives and the FBI are investigating and they're treating the incident as a possible hate crime. The Damien Center provides services to people living with HIV. Said Perry Junjulas, its executive director, to the Times Union: "When I saw it, it was this automatic almost punch-in-the-gut feeling, like 'Oh my God, there are people out there who really do hate us, and they're right here.'" [Albany Damien Center FB] [APD] [WNYT] [TU]
Troy charter changes might not go through
Troy city officials are looking into whether the city charter changes approved by voters last fall -- including the elimination of two city council seats -- can go into effect as planned because it appears the city might not have followed the proper procedural steps for making the changes. [Troy Record]
Magazine Street in Albany. The Easter Bunny finally finds those eggs he mistakenly dropped while making rounds earlier this year.
(This rabbit was looking at us like, "What, can't a guy just graze for a late-afternoon snack without someone gawking at him?" Definitely more annoyed than afraid.)
Because trolleys: The Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany is hosting horse-drawn trolley tours of Albany starting this Saturday, June 25. Tickets are $25 and available online.
A local Historian will walk you through some great points of interest. Did you know that Herman Melville, author, wrote Moby Dick while staying here in Albany or the very first basketball game was played right here at the then YMCA on Pearl Street? Of course there will be a bit of Irish history told as well! Come and enjoy some local history and relax as we bring you back in time all while riding on a horse drawn trolley. This ride is approximately 1 1/2hr long ~ bring your cameras and enjoy Albany as we bring you back in History.
As we've mentioned before, trolleys had a long history in Albany and the Capital District. And the first trolleys, which started operating in the 1860s, were drawn by horses. Check out these historical photos of Albany and Schenectady.
The horse-drawn era didn't last long -- the local trolleys started switching over to electric power in the 1890s. And by the 1940s, the local trolley system was discontinued in favor of buses.
photo via Irish American Heritage Museum FB
We noticed a few people watering lawns recently, and that got us curious about how this area's doing in terms of rainfall lately. So we looked up the numbers via the NWS Albany website, which very helpfully generated the graph above.
That precipitation accumulation since the start of 2016. The green line is this year's accumulated total, the brown line is the 30-year normal, and the red and blue lines are the record lows and highs.
As you can see, we're a bit behind the normal for the year. And for the month of June so far, the Albany area's at a little more than 2 inches -- about .8 inches off the normal. But over the past month parts of the state have been relatively dry -- see this map from the NWS Binghamton office.
graph: NWS Albany
Why: lakes, waterfalls, and wine
How far: 3-3.5 hours
The land surrounding the eleven long and narrow lakes resembling fingers in Central New York is filled with much natural beauty to behold -- and many libations to sample.
The Finger Lakes region is New York's largest wine producer, boasting over 100 wineries. There are also plenty of little towns to explore, as well parks and lakes to take in. And it's an easy summer weekend getaway from the Albany area.
Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Because of the ongoing Uber/Lyft discussion here: Using Uber data, Buzzfeed has put together estimates of how much drivers made in three cities during periods in late 2015 -- after expenses. The hourly rates ranged from $8.77 in Detroit to $13.17 in Denver. [Buzzfeed]
A business called Taste of Troy, started by Amy Koren-Roth, is offering food walking tours (Or should be that walking food tours?) of downtown Troy. Blurbage for its "Central Troy Historic District Food Tour":
Put on your walking shoes for an entertaining and delicious way to learn about Troy, its ups and downs, and the role food is playing in bringing this architectural gem back to life. You'll sip and sample some New York classic flavors (often with a new twist). Of course, we will sprinkle in history, architecture, and culture to round out your perfect Saturday in the Collar City. Our Central Troy Historic District Food Tour is a leisurely 3 hour, 1.5 mile walk with plenty of refreshing and informative stops along the way, so it's suited for most ages and fitness levels.
The tours are offered on Saturday mornings. Tickets are $49 and must be purchased in advance.
Daniel went one of the tours recently -- here's his recap.
Tonko joins House Dems in sit-in, couple injured in Albany County bobcat attack, Siena team prints Frozen hand for child
House Democrats stage protest
Representative Paul Tonko was among the Democrats who staged a protest on Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives in a push for a vote on gun control. Tonko says the protest stemmed from frustration over the refusal to hold votes on gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, "And you resort to the most extreme measures to draw attention to the fact that the silence is deafening.''[NYT][TU]
Special session not likely
Andrew Cuomo says isn't likely to call state legislators back for a special session to address ethics because "because the measures they didn't do, they don't want to do." Cuomo said he believes it could take a constitutional convention to get ethics laws changed.[TU]
Kamfer v. Cuomo
The Supreme Court declined to hear a Mayfield man's challenge to the NY Safe Act, but he says he's not done fighting. [TU]
Swimming pool season has arrived.
Many of the Capital Region's municipal pools, beaches and spray pads have already opened, or will be opening soon.
After the jump, a list of town/city swimming pools, spray pads, and state beaches around the Capital Region with info about when they open, hours, and cost.
Sometimes the history of the most mundane objects -- like spoons -- has a remarkably weird history. For example: The "polyamorous Christian socialist utopia" that gave birth to the Oneida Limited company, which for roughly a century made silverware in Oneida, New York (located between Utica and Syracuse). [Collectors Weekly] [via @lnorthup]
The schedule for this summer's New York State Writers Institute's free public readings series in Saratoga Springs is out. And as usual, the lineup is full of names you'll recognize, such as Rick Moody, Claire Messud, Robert Pinsky, Joyce Carol Oates, and William Kennedy.
The readings are on Skidmore's campus and are free and open to the public.
Without further ado...
The New York State Attorney General's office announced Wednesday that it reached an agreement with Jimmy John's to stop including non-compete clauses in the hiring packets it distributes to franchises. Yep, a non-compete clause for a sandwich shop. Details of the non-compete clause first came to national light in a 2014 HuffPo report. As NYT's Neil Irwin pointed out, the lack of reciprocity -- the sandwich shop employees got nothing for agreeing to the clause -- was striking. [NYS OAG] [HuffPo] [NYT]
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: actions that reverberate across generations, not listening to naysayers, career tradeoffs, Daniel Manning, floods, the Dix Range, wildflowers, Huckleberry Point, memories of the Catskills, cheap eats, the happy place, a claim of burnt ends, and congratulations.
And you can always try searching for it: