Yes, we have a few more weeks of official summer, but unofficially, folks, this is it. Pretty soon the swimming pools and ice cream stands will give way to pumpkin picking and cider donuts. The take home: get out there and soak in some summer this weekend.
AOA is taking one last summer Friday. But after the jump, we've pulled together a few things we thought might interest you. Got something planned that didn't make the list? Drop it in the comments and let the rest of us know.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!
Over at the Times Union there's a really nice profile of longtime Washington Tavern bartender Mark Harris -- Mr. Harris -- by Steve Barnes. Harris is retiring after 39 years behind the bar at the Pine Hills landmark. [TU]
We were browsing through the local photos today on the Yale Photogrammar site -- an easy-to-use interface for 170,000 photographs from 1935 to 1945 created by the United State's Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information -- and came across this photo of the Watervliet Arsenal in 1942, taken by Alfred T. Palmer. The caption:
Voices for a mighty argument. A long line of big guns being rushed toward completion under the war production program. Guns shown here are being turned out in the major caliber shop of a large eastern arsenal
One of the cool things about the Photogrammar site is its map which allows you to search the collection by location. There are something like 220 photos from the immediate Capital Region in the collection. And the thing that was interesting about them -- to us -- was just how ordinary the scenes in them seemed to be. A lot of them are of people working -- making tanks at Alco, haying a field ("someone has to do it"), folding laundry at a stove, riding bikes from school.
The Albany Symphony Orchestra opens its new season September 6 at the Palace with a concert featuring superstar violinist Joshua Bell. We have two tickets to the performance and we're giving them away. BUT WAIT. There's more: The winner will also receive a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Yono's (reservations recommended) -- which is, of course, just a short walk from the Palace.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
What is something classic about the Capital Region?
Could be a building, a tradition, whatever. We'll draw one winner at random. That person gets the pair of tickets and Yono's gift certificate.
The ASO performance at the Palace starts at 7 pm on Saturday, September 6. Tickets are $56 and up.
Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Friday, August 29, 2014 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 on Saturday and must respond by noon on Tuesday, September 2.
photo: Bill Phelps
What's a relatively recent Capital Region building that has a design you like or appreciate?
We've been thinking about this question generally for a while, but the posts this week about the Albany Capital Center and the 27 Holland apartments -- and the reaction to those designs -- has focused our attention on it.
Because it seems the recurring reaction to almost every new building around this area is "meh."
Sure, some of these designs are less than inspired. But is a win even possible for architects and designers in this area? The pull of traditional building styles of a century (or more) ago is strong and people here understandably are attracted to it, so there's backlash when a new building doesn't try to fit with the pre-existing style or is regarded as a pale imitation of it. At the same time, there are people who push for the Capital Region to embrace more modern design -- as others, soured by some regrettable examples of modernism, push back. And all along the way are concerns about cost, which in many cases can scuttle attempts at trying something new or innovative.
So, what's an example of something "new" that you like. And by new, we'll say anything that's been built in the last 25 years. What are the good examples? It doesn't have be the most excellent thing ever -- just something that you'd consider good.
The Friday Night Flicks series of outdoor movies in West Capitol Park wraps up this Friday with a screening of Casablanca. Also: The first 150 people will get free popcorn courtesy of AOA!
The screening starts at 8 pm. It's a free. Bring a chair or blanket.
AOA is a media sponsor of the NYS OGS Friday Night Flicks series.
An episode from Kirsten Gillibrand's upcoming book, about working out in the US Senate gym, as recounted in People: "On another occasion, she writes, after she dropped 50 lbs. one of her fellow Senate members approached her, squeezed her stomach, and said, 'Don't lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!'" Another male Senator also once reportedly remarked in the gym: "Good thing you're working out, because you wouldn't want to get porky!" [People]
Fall is a good time to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement. But, if you're like me, motivation can be a bit of a barrier when Netflix is calling. Luckily there are a handful of local races with silly or fun themes to take the edge off.
After all, nothing says motivation to run quite like being chased by someone in a zombie costume.
If the undead aren't your thing, maybe another theme appeals to you. Here are a handful of upcoming 5k races that could be fun...
Sheehan reaches $11M casino support agreement to with East Greenbush, dogs who killed terrier will be put down, public paid security costs for Cuomo
Mayor Kathy Sheehan has committed to an $11 million deal to support the East Greenbush casino. According to the terms of the agreement Albany would get $11 million over ten years and an effort would be made to try to steer at least 25% of jobs to Albany residents. The deal allows Albany to support other casino proposals, unlike the offer made by the developers of the proposed Hard Rock Casino in Rensselaer, which was an exclusive offer.The proposal has been passed along to the Common Council for review. [Business Review][TU][WNYT][Saratogian]
The public covered the cost for thousands of dollars in security money for the State Police detail that accompanied Andrew Cuomo to Israel. [TU]
The two dogs that leapt out a window in Schenectady, attacking and killing a smaller dog, will be put down and their owner will have to pay $2,000 and do 75 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.[TWCN] [News 10]
We took a few moments today to watch this bee works its way around this sunflower, one circle at a time.
The historical photos site Shorpy today featured an excellent photo of State Street in Albany, looking up toward the Capitol, circa 1900. Streetcars! Horses! Top hats! It's remarkable how much it had changed just about 15-20 years later. [via @AlbanyMuskrat]
As many of you know the Adelphi Hotel is going massive reconstruction and we are very excited for what is to come for them however it meant that we must vacate. We have no plans on relocating at this time, Bettie is exhausted and is looking forward to many more "yellow brick roads" towards happiness that lie ahead.
We have loved seeing all of your faces over the last five years and thank you for your continued support. Please know this decision did not come lightly.
Riding the cupcake wave of the last decade, Bettie's opened in 2009 after taking over the space in the then-Downtown Street Marketplace that had been occupied by an earlier cupcake bakery (Spa City Cupcakes). And it gained a lot of attention with its double-decker cupcake bus (the pic on the right is from 2009 -- it's all pink now). It later had locations at Hoffman's Playland and Colonie Center. (Colonie was at one point the epicenter of the local cupcake boom with four cupcake businesses competing within a short range.)
But trends change. And small businesses are hard to keep going.
This announcement isn't a total surprise -- earlier this month Bettie's put its famous double decker bus up for sale.
Earlier on AOA: Tasting Capital Region cupcakes (2012)
The town of Rotterdam took the title for best-tasting drinking water at the State Fair this week. (And if the competition included those gauzy Olympics-style profiles about overcoming adversity, Rotterdam's water system would have provided plenty of material this year.) The Capital Region has dominated this competition over the last eight years -- a local municipality has won it five times over that span (including two wins by Albany). Past results post jump. (more)
Two bits from the recent past resurfacing together:
The film -- titled H. -- is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy this week. And, inspired by that story about the floating head last summer, the film's plot includes a giant head floating in the Hudson River.
After the jump there are photos from the shoot this past April involving the giant, floating head.
The trailer for H. is embedded above. It was written and directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia. A description of the film, from a Variety story: "a contempo greek tragedy about two women, both named Helen, whose lives and relationships begin to unravel in the wake of a meteor explosion over their town of Troy, NY."
We haven't heard anything about a local screening, but you gotta figure the film will make the rounds on the festival circuit first. So it could be a while before it shows up locally.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: protected bike lanes, skepticism, deer and guilt, Westchester County, the Jersey shore, Glens Falls, high peaks, Woods Hollow, where to stay in Albany, beef in a blanket, pasta for lunch, good carrot cake, food trucks, the Bazaar Shirt, a daring chipmunk, the car dealer data industrial complex, and nuts.
Check it out: There's a new mural under the Green Island Bridge depicting TroyBot.
The mural is on the wall of the Troy-side bridge overpass. It's based on a design by Ben Karis-Nix from Troy Cloth and Paper. A group of volunteers, including RPI and Sage students, helped paint the piece last week.
The TroyBot character is an imagined version of the Green Island Bridge that can transform into a giant robot. The mural depicts TroyBot helping the city after a storm.
Here are a handful of large-format pics.
The AOA Farm Tour planned for September 13 in the Helderbergs should be a lot of fun. We'll drink some beer, visit some lovely farms, meet some interesting farmers, see some cute farm animals, and then eat some good snacks made by the Palmer House Cafe from food grown nearby.
Tickets are just $40 for the day. And they're on sale now. And now would be a good time to buy them, because ticket sales end at noon on Saturday, August 30.
Got a question about the tour? Email us: editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com.
NYT won't endorse Cuomo, Teachout/Astorino to debate, another shooting in Troy, $316M in state overtime in first half of 2014
Troy police are searching for a suspect in yet another shooting. A 31-year old man is in critical condition after he was shot on Tuesday night on Jacob street. The incident occurred on the same day a pair of murder victims from Lansingburgh were laid to rest. [WNYT][TU][TWCN]
The body of a Clifton Park woman who has been missing since Sunday was found on Tuesday behind the Ravenswood Pub. [TU]
A report by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office shows state agencies spent more than $316 million on overtime in the first six months of 2014.[TU]
The New York Times is not endorsing Andrew Cuomo, citing his failure to come down on corruption in state government. [NYT]
Sean Eldridge and Chris Gibson will debate four times in October.[Record]
A quick update another apartment project in Albany: The rendering above is for "The Gallery on Holland," a 125-unit apartment building planned for 25 Holland Ave (near the intersection with Delaware Ave). The building will be 7-stories and include 160 interior parking spaces.
This project has been in planning for at least a year -- here's some backstory from August 2013 as reported by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist. It's set to replace the 3-story brick apartment/dorm building currently on the site. The project's been held up by a sewer line issue that required acquiring additional property. Last week it got demolition approval from the city planning board, and it needs one more OK from the city Board of Zoning Appeals before moving ahead. [TU]
The company behind it is Richbell Capital (RBC), which also built the Paddocks of Saratoga. RBC managing director William Hoblock said if the BZA approval comes through and everything lines up as now planned, demolition could start this winter, and the project could be completed by 2016.
There's currently a bit of an apartment boom (if that's the word) in/around Albany:
+ This 25 Holland project is just about a half mile from the Park South mixed-use project that will include more than 265 residential units.
+ On the city's border with Menands is the loft conversion of the old Albany International headquarters (it was also before the planning board last week).
+ Multiple projects downtown -- completed or planned -- like the Monroe.
+ There are new apartments planned for South Allen Street near St. Peter's
+ A range of smaller conversion projects such as 27 Western (completed) and 960 Broadway (planned, it was before the planning board last week).
+ And today JCE reported two projects planning privately-owned student housing (which are apartments, more or less) near UAlbany's uptown campus. [TU]
This fits into what's apparently a national upswing in apartment construction. [Businessweek]
image: Dominick Ranieri Architect
We've recently purchased a Victorian home approaching it's 150th birthday! We'd like to have the original hardwood floors refinished and restored to the beauty underneath years of use - can readers recommend someone for the job that is knowledgeable about homes built in the 1800s or specializes in restoration?
We're curious if there's a difference between refinishing 150-year-old hardwood floors and, say, 50-year-old hardwood floors (or younger). You know, are there a lot of quirks of very old floors that make them different to work on?
Got a suggestion for Courtney? Please share! And non-redeemable bonus points for a quick line or two about why you're suggesting that company or person.
And you can always try searching for it: