Stuff to do this weekend!

Checking out the new Rensselaer esplanade

Rensselaer esplanade view of Albany

We got a chance Friday afternoon to hop over the river and check out the new esplanade along the riverfront in Rensselaer. There are some large-format photos below if you'd like to gawk a bit.

The city formally announced the opening of the $3.1 million project that morning. The 1,000-foot-long linear park, which was funded by the state, currently includes a walkway along the river and really some nice views of the Albany skyline.

That said, there's not a lot there right now. The park is tucked behind the deLaet's Landing construction site where Broadway passes over the Amtrak tracks. And you have to walk along a gravel construction road to reach the park.

But you can see how it's the start of something. When the park's fully completed it will have a bike path and the possibility of hosting outdoor events. And the deLaet's Landing project -- it's the under-construction building you can see from the Jennings Landing in Albany -- will include 96 residential units and some commercial retail space. So there's some room for interesting things to happen.

More connections
One other thing: Seeing the esplanade reinforced the idea for us that the cities of Albany and Rensselaer could both benefit from a better pedestrian/bike/whatever connection across the river. Between the improvements in Corning Riverfront Park, the in-planning Albany Skyway, the development at the Rensselaer esplanade, and the plans for the Albany South End Connector and the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, there are possibilities to create an interesting cross-river zone (if that's the word) of parks and trails and even commuting.

It's just one more reason to think about how to incorporate a pedestrian/bike path on the next version of the nearby Livingston Ave Bridge.

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99 properties

The city of Troy is selling 99 foreclosed properties, so Luke Stoddard Nathan mapped them, pedaled past them, and highlighted a handful that look intriguing. Favor comment: "Set far back from the road, obscured by trees, ringed with trash, and missing its front porch, this large, old waterfront home seems the most likely on the list to be haunted." (It looks like it could be a beautiful home.) [The Alt]

There will be a film shoot in Albany next week -- and a bunch of road closures and detours

albany film shoot detours 2018-July

Some of the road closures and detours.

A film production crew will be in Albany next week and its work will be prompting various road closures and detours Monday through Saturday each day. The three areas that that will be affected:

+ The Clinton Ave ramp and Water Street near Broadway. (OGS also says its Water Street "A" lot will be unavailable for permit parking Monday-Friday.)

+ Montgomery Street and Colonie Street near Erie Boulevard and the Central Warehouse

+ North Lake Ave between Clinton Ave and Washington Ave, with temporary closures of Central Ave.

The full list -- and it's a long one -- is below.

ABC Studios is behind the film shoot. The Central Ave BID posted a few details this week about the production, which it says is for a TV show called "Crime". It's very possible that a placeholder title for something else. "Crime" has been the working title for The Punisher, according to IMDB, the Netflix show based on the Marvel comic that's produced by ABC.

And about the Saturday work on North Lake near Central Ave:

The scene includes a gunfight action sequence with stunts, car chase, and simulated gunfire. This is NOT a real fight--it is a scene for a TV show. Albany Police Officers will be supervising and assisting us with our work to ensure everyone's' safety.

Here's that list of road closures...

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Kaloyeros found guilty, Albany police officers union says it's not apologizing for statement, Albany neighborhoods continue to deal with storm flooding, scenes from the Build-A-Bear line

Kaloyeros guilty
+ A federal jury found Alain Kaloyeros and three development company executives guilty of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy related to the bidding process for projects connected to SUNY Poly in Syracuse and Buffalo. His attorney said after the verdict in Manhattan that "there's no way that Alain Kaloyeros is guilty" and that they're planning an appeal. [TU] [NYT] [Biz Review]
+ The verdict prompted another round of calls for corruption reform in state government. [Politico NY]
+ Assemblyman John McDonald says there should be a review of the contracts and the state comptroller's office should be involved. [WNYT]

Amazon warehouse
+ Schodack residents turned out to express their concerns at a Rensselaer County IDA hearing Thursday about possible tax breaks for the proposed warehouse project that would be occupied by Amazon. [TU]
+ A consultancy analysis concluded that the warehouse project would generate $31 million in revenue over 20 years for the town, school district, and other taxing districts. [Biz Review]

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A few more bits about the present and future of the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail 2018-07-11 rail trail sign

The second segment of Albany County's Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is now paved -- as noted earlier this week -- meaning there's now 9 miles of (almost) continuous pavement from the South End in Albany all the way out to Voorheesville.

We got a chance this week to talk with Albany County exec Dan McCoy about the present and future of the popular trail.

"I go around doing my state of the county every year, people are like rooting us on -- when's it going to be done, when's it going to be done, when are you going to fix the problem with it," McCoy said in reference to the remarkable popularity of the rail trail. "And these are good issues to have."

Here are a few bits about paving, the depot building in Slingerlands, new amenities, bathrooms, bike share, and what's still ahead...

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Restaurants and the labor market

This article by Steve Barnes is about local restaurants having a hard time finding employees -- but it's about all sorts of other threads, including the modern food economy, the labor market, immigration, and ICE. (The flip side of this story is also that maybe we should all be paying a bit more to eat in restaurants so that the people who work there can make more.) [TU]

Stuff to do this weekend


10,000 Maniacs at Cohoes Music Hall this weekend. / photo: Don Hill

Another fun-filled summer weekend awaits the Capital Region with blueberry picking, roller derby, swimming, music festivals, comedy, the Pig Out, and a Chip Fest.

Here's our list. Pick your favorites and don't forget your sunscreen.

Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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SPAC x NYCB 2018

The New York City Ballet returns to SPAC next week, and as part of the lead up to the annual summer residency NYCB and SPAC have again produced a series of short ballet videos at sites around the area.

Two of the videos are set at the Shaker is set at the Shaker site in Colonie. The first of those is embedded above. Note: The stylistic editing creates a flicker/strobe effect, that some people might be sensitive to.

The other two clips (so far) are embedded below. (The third clip is set at the Adelphi.) They're nice little visual breaks.

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Ludacris at the TU Center

rapper actor Ludacris

Ludacris is set to play a show at the Times Union Center August 11. Tickets go on sale this Friday, July 13 -- they're $50 and up.

Joining the rapper/actor as a headliner for the show: rapper/songwriter August Alsina.

And the lineup also includes DJ Nick Lake, DJ Ted Smooth, MC/Actor Lou Pizarro, MC/Actor Teddy G, MC/Actor Jeremy.

History of domestic violence in Schenectady shooting, Albany County considers sanctuary law, population growth in Saratoga County

Schenectady shooting update
+ Corrected The mother shot in the triple shooting in Schenectady this week has a history of being the subject of domestic violence. The victim told police she was afraid to leave Deshawn Howard, because she knew he had a gun and he threatened to kill her and her children if she left him. The woman had an order of protection against Howard, obtained earlier this year after he punched her in the face in front of her children. [WNYT][Gazette][TU]
+ Sara Foss on two domestic violence cases and the effect of domestic violence on children. [Gazette]

Response to Albany shootings
"I want to see the outrage. I want to see people angry" -- Acting Albany police Chief Bob Sears on the community outrage and response to the rash of shootings and violence in the city this summer. [TU]

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Today's moment of summer

snap peas late day sun

There is often a discrepancy between the number of snap peas picked and the number of snap peas that end up in the kitchen.

They go missing somewhere in between. Somehow.

How the Albany metro area compares favorably to places such as Boston, DC, and Austin

We were having a conversation the other day with someone about some of the things people who don't live here -- especially people from larger metros -- might not understand or appreciate about the quality of life here.

And one thing that immediately sprang to mind: There are (relatively) good job opportunities in the Albany metro area, and the (relatively) low cost of living means you can live here (relatively) comfortably without having to scrape like you would in a lot of big/coastal metros.*

That point is illustrated by this interesting interactive data visualization from The Hamilton Project at Brookings -- it depicts median income by occupation and age across the nation's 300some metro areas. (It's attached to an analysis aptly titled "Where Work Pays: How Does Where You Live Matter for Your Earnings?")

And here's the important thing: it gives you the option to adjust for cost of living and taxes.

So how's that work out for Albany?

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Brewtus Roasting Co.

Brewtus Roasting exterior

We got a chance to stop by Brewtus Roasting Co. in Delmar on Wednesday, a relatively new coffee spot tucked into a space between Delaware Ave and the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail near the Four Corners.

Brewtus was formerly called Barkeater and based in East Greenbush. Owner and roaster Stephen Pivonka changed the name last fall, and opened the Delmar space this past April.

He'd already been selling his products at the Delmar Farmers Market and said he was getting requests for a spot in the hamlet. The town of Bethlehem also chipped in a grant to help the move.

The other draw: Brewtus is in the same building with the Real McCoy Beer Co. and the Royal Meadery.

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River recreation

For inspiration: This Curbed listicle highlights how a handful of cities around the US and the world have worked/plan to clean up their urban waterways to provide recreation spots and swimming. (Or: Another reason why continuing to work the combined sewer overflow problem can be a benefit.) [Curbed]

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Grandma's, customers, Dancing Ewe, Nippletop and Dial, Great St. John's Wort, lotus, tickaphobia, the heatwave, The Rattle Watch, fares, and the story of everyone's life.


Albany Barn in post ad 2018

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Beer (and cider) ice cream is now legal to be sold in New York

mercers raspberry chardonnay

Wine ice creams, like this one, have been allowed to be sold for the past decade.

Noted: Beer and hard cider ice creams are now legal to be sold in New York State.

The state has allowed wine ice cream for the past 10 years, and this week the governor signed a bill that also allows for beer and cider ice cream or other frozen desserts. From the memo for the bill, which was sponsored by James Seward in the Senate and William Magee in the Assembly:

Ice cream made with wine is a food product manufactured in New York State that has been safely sold and regulated in a manner similar to confectionary that contains alcohol since 2008. This bill seeks to approve similar products made with beer and hard cider. As with wine, this bill would, limit the percentage of alcohol in ice cream to not more than 5% of alcohol by volume, prohibit its sale to persons under twenty-one years of age and require the same product labeling and warning statements similar to wine and confectionary that contains alcohol. This bill will help New York dairy farmers, craft beer and cider producers, dairy processors and manufacturers, and food retailers and restaurants meet the increasing consumer demand for these new and innovative products.

Five percent alcohol by volume is right around the alcohol content of many beers.

To go along with the beer and hard cider ice cream bill, the governor also signed another bill this week that allows wine frozen desserts to be sold in packages of less than one pint. (The original intent of the minimum package size was an effort to keep the products away from kids.) From the bill memo: "The sale of wine ice cream was enacted into law in 2008. Since that time, the demand for smaller packaging for weddings, fundraisers, recreational tours and other events has increased. This bill would lift the minimum requirements that are currently in law to accommodate this demand for smaller packaging sizes."

Both bills take effect immediately.

Earlier: Here's a map of every brewery in New York State

Mother and two children shot in Schenectady, suspect in fatal Albany stabbing, widow sues Schenectady police, Guardian Angels in Albany

Mother,children shot in Schenectady
A Schenectady man is charged with shooting a mother and two children on Tuesday afternoon in a domestic dispute at a home near Union Street and Brandywine Avenue. The victims included a 16-year-old and a 7 -year-old. They were reported on Tuesday to be in stable but guarded condition. A one-year-old baby at the scene was unharmed. After a manhunt that lasted several hours, police arrested Deshawn Howard in connections with the shooting. Howard also had gunshot wounds that authorities believe may have been self-inflicted.[TU][WNYT][Spectrum][Gazette]

Guardian Angels in Capital Region
The recent outbreak of violence in the Capital Region has brought the group the Guardian Angels to Albany's streets.
Not everyone is happy about that. [TU][WNYT]

Suspect in fatal Albany stabbing
Police have charged an 21-year-old Lahquann Grady of Albany with the fatal July 4th stabbing of Rashaun Byrd.[TU]

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Pick-your-own blueberry season 2018

blueberries in box on grass

Mid summer is here, which means it's blueberry season around the greater Capital Region. And there are a bunch of places where you can pick your own.

Blueberries are are easy to pick (on bushes about waist high), relatively cheap (usually about $3 per pound), and they freeze beautifully, so you can stock up for later in the year. Picking them on a beautiful summer morning is almost meditative.

Here's a list of farms around the region for PYO blueberries, along with a few details.

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Troy neighborhoods and districts map

Check out this map of Troy neighborhoods and districts put together for the Troy subreddit by FifthAveSam.

A clip from the background explainer for the map:

I'm tired of wishing that there was a better map of Troy when people ask where something is located. I've spent the last couple of days scouring the internet to find the old list of Troy's recognized districts in order to make a map to help others understand the area a bit better. I also used some recent government posts and injected a little bit of my own opinion in order to make a comprehensive map of our neighborhoods and districts.

And later in the explainer: "This is not 100% perfect nor do I predict it ever will be." That's understandable -- maps are hard.

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Historic Albany Foundation Parts Warehouse sale

HAF parts warehouse

The Historic Albany Foundation's Parts Warehouse is having a sale July 21, with a focus window-related pieces. Blurbage:

[A]ll window items - sash, screens, storms, shutters, antique glass and hardware - heavily discounted at 40% in celebration of the Parts Warehouse's 40th anniversary.
The same items are discounted 25% throughout the month of July.
New and renewing members will enjoy an additional 10% discount on the day of the sidewalk sale, and anytime they shop at the Parts Warehouse.
Have questions about historic window repair? We'll have restoration experts on hand to answer your questions, and printed resources available for the taking.

Even if you're not in search of window stuff, the parts warehouse is worth stopping by sometime just to browse and gawk and see what's available. (Another placed like that: The Habitat ReStore.)

The HAF Parts Warehouse will be open Saturday, July 21 from 9 am-5 pm. It's 89 Lexington Ave in Albany.

photo: Akum Norder

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

And you can always try searching for it:

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Recent Comments

The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in Albany takes that type of thing. I did an internship there and it's a really great organization and the refugees who receive the items are super grateful.

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