Here are a few highlights from the past short week on AOA:
+ The Best Dozen took Daniel to Hannaford and, well, we think all the donuts are starting to get to him.
+ We updated our listing of ice skating spots, both outdoor and indoor.
+ All that remained of the Quintessence building this week was the door.
+ We gave away tickets to a Valentine's Day dinner at Nine Pin Ciderworks with food by Jeff Loshinsky Catering by asking people about everyday expressions of love. There were some great answers.
+ Apocalypse or not, it was extraordinarily fluffy snow.
+ Lauren asked about good wine classes.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: on who is Albany, the state of our state, fire vs. ice, a blood-red path through the snow, a snowy hike, the King's Highway Barren, Lake Placid, shopping for art, quality ingredients, Crimson Sparrow, U Mundu E Ca, late night food, crimes and punishment, and old railways.
+ A checklist for Upstate Place/Rust Belt City is the new Brooklyn articles. Because... yeah.
+ Lauren Hittinger put together a day trip to Glens Falls and the Hyde Collection.
+ That land on the southern edge of downtown Albany won't be a convention center -- so what should it be?
+ An interesting, kind of beautiful map of the Capital Region's main arteries.
Here's the whole week all lined up.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
A cold, blustery afternoon at Capital Hills.
(Otto didn't seem to mind. Of course, he was also wearing a fantastic fur coat.)
Over at WNYC, Andrea Bernstein looks into the slush funds -- some $200 million, unaccounted for publicly -- that the governor, state Senate majority leader, and Assembly speaker had their disposal during the 2000s. It was money from this pool that Sheldon Silver's accused of funneling to a doctor in return for asbestos patient referrals to a law firm. "All of this can happen in Albany, because everyone understands that lax ethics rules and the secret slush funds are the grease that keeps the machinery of state government running smoothly." [WNYC]
Map gawking: Check out this map of traffic volumes on major roads around the Capital Region. It's like an angiogram of the area's vehicle arteries.
The data is limited to roadways, marked in yellow, that are eligible for federal aid. The wider the yellow line, the higher the daily average volume.
The relative volumes probably won't be much of a surprise -- you know, it's not unexpected that I-90 through Albany and I-87 from Albany north to Saratoga County are the most-traveled arteries (each averages more than 100,000 vehicles per day).
But one thing that did strike us about the map is the way it highlights the degree to which the Capital Region sprawls northward much more than any other direction. We've always been a little curious why areas such as, say, southern Rensselaer County and southern Albany County haven't been built up like southern Saratoga County.
Earlier on AOA: The busiest Thruway exits
One more weekend until they let the groundhog loose in Punxsutawney.
Regardless of whether the little rodent sees his shadow we're in the middle of the coldest part of the year in the Capital Region -- when cabin fever is a constant threat. So before you get sucked into the couch and your comfy clothes, check out the cabin fever busting list of stuff to do in the Capital Region this weekend. It might help stop cabin fever before it starts.
Doing something you don't see here? Share it with the rest of the crowd.
Whatever you're up to, put your booties on, because it's cold out there today -- and have a fantastic weekend.
Bronx Assemblyman seen as frontrunner for Assembly speaker, Repp sentenced to 40 years to life, disruptive pile driving, family birthday x3
"People familiar with the investigation" tell WNBC that the feds are looking into state Senate majority leader Dean Skelos and his sources of outside income. Skelos's office released a statement calling the report "irresponsible, and does not meet the standards of serious journalism." [WNBC] [NYDN]
Anthony Repp, who pleaded guilty to killing his mother and stepfather with a rock at their Schaghticoke home in 2013, was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison. Rensselaer County ADA said audio of the attack could be heard on a 911 call, with Repp saying at the end, "Bye-bye mom, gone forever." Repp's attorney, Terrance Kindlon, said his client suffers from mental illness, but the specifics of the case didn't fit a defense on those grounds. [Troy Record] [TU] [News10] [WNYT]
What is the next life of the southern edge of Albany's downtown?
That's the question at the heart of the request for proposals (RFP) issued today by Empire State Development for the collection of land that had originally been gathered for a convention center. From the RFP:
With its large size and premier location in the heart of downtown Albany, this Project offers a unique opportunity for a major development in the City's urban core. The Site features convenient proximity to the area's transportation access points and is less than a quarter mile or closer to the City's commercial, cultural and governmental destinations. The Project will serve as a key component of the City's initiatives to attract urban re-investment downtown to meet market demand while simultaneously revitalizing the area with a vibrant mix of uses.
So, yeah, this project -- whatever it ends up becoming, if it ends up becoming -- could be an important part of the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Albany.
Here are a few bits from the RFP that caught our eye, along with a few thoughts...
Here's another look at the break-up-New York State topic, this time with the focus on New York City as something more along the lines of city state and a review of its contributions to state revenue. But: NYC can blame the legislature for not letting it do what it wants, but the legislature is largely controlled by... representatives from NYC and its immediate area. So, yeah, maybe some of this is about money, but it's also about local control, something Albany -- the actual Albany, not "Albany" -- and other cities can probably agree on with NYC. [Medium/Mike Brown] Earlier: What if Upstate New York and Downstate New York were separate states?
As the winter drags on, I'm continuing to look for accessible day trips to keep away cabin fever. I recently visited Glens Falls, which was a perfect spot for a little adventure and exploration.
Glens Falls is far enough away that it's not a regular destination for me, but close enough for an impulse day trip.
Plus, the town is filled with arts and culture.
The "Upstate Place/Rust Belt City is the new Brooklyn"/"People are moving from New York to Upstate Place/Rust Belt City" has become its own distinct genre of article. And it's durable, persisting over many years (here's one from 2008 and one from this week).
Some of these articles aren't bad -- they capture some of the complications and nuances of these cities trying to grow again while attracting new people and attempting to provide opportunities for the people who've lived there for years.
Others are just irritating, in that all these diverse places end up being defined in reference to Brooklyn. The praise delivered often has a faintly condescending tone. And the problems inherent in these cities' growth is glossed over.
Of course, many of the articles fall somewhere in between.
Because we're here to help, we've put together an outline of "(Upstate Place/Rust Belt City) is the new Brooklyn" article cliches/themes/references. Think of it as a sort of check list...
Potential successors line up for Speaker, two die in separate Capital Region fires, man jailed for hitting mother, 72 year old lays down fitness challenge for Jimmy Fallon
Several Democratic lawmakers are already vying to replace the speaker. Here's a look at who they are, and a breakdown of the six days that resulted in Silver's demise. Meanwhile lawmakers are working on the budget without Silver. [TWCN][NYT]
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has reportedly lined up cooperating witnesses in the corruption case against Sheldon Silver. [TU]
Sheldon Silver is taking a leave of absence from the Manhattan personal injury law firm where he works outside of the legislature. [NYT]
Reconsidering how things get done in the legislature in the wake of the Silver controversy. [TU]
On the People Moving to Upstate/Rust Belt Cities Article Scale that spans from "WTFLOLOLOLOL(tears)" to "Actually, Not That Bad," this Gothamist article on re-development in Buffalo, and its recent success in attracting younger adults, is toward the "Actually Not That Bad" end. By the way: This promo video about Buffalo -- "Buffalo: America's Best Designed City" -- is interesting.
The snow we got from this most recent not-quite-local-snowy-apocalypse was fantastically light and fluffy -- so much so that it almost seemed fake. On Tuesday while clearing the sidewalk we thought it might be the lightest snow we've ever shoveled.
The fluffiness of snow is something that meteorologists pay attention to. Or, to be more specific, they're interested in how much water it takes to create (insert number) inches of snow under given conditions. And if you ever dive into the forecast discussions from the National Weather Service, you'll often see mentions of the snow-to-liquid ratio.
We were curious about getting some more specific sense about how fluffy Tuesday's snow was, so we conducted an (not terribly scientific) experiment.
The first part: Scooping the snow you see above in the photo from an undisturbed part of the yard.
Can you guess how much water was in all that snow when it melted?
Here's the answer...
The film H. -- you know, the one shot (and set) in Troy, that included that floating giant head in the Hudson -- is screening at Sundance this week. And it's been getting some positive early press. [via TU Arts Talk] Update: In the comments, Mike Keegan offers a quick take on the film after seeing it at Sundance.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: on who is Albany, the state of our state, fire vs. ice, a blood-red path through the snow, a snowy hike, the King's Highway Barren, Lake Placid, shopping for art, quality ingredients, Crimson Sparrow, U Mundu E Ca, late night food, crimes and punishment, and old railways.
I'm looking for someone who is interested in teaching a small group (2-4) people about wine once a week for around a month. I have two small children and attending a wine class out in the world is difficult, so I'm hoping to find someone willing to come to my home and share their love and knowledge of wine. Perhaps a sommelier at a local restaurant or a wine shop employee would be willing to provide private classes, but any suggestions your readers can provide would be greatly appreciated.
The in-home part, especially for a small group, might be hard. But maybe someone has a suggestion about how to make that work -- or a class somewhere that's worth arranging for sitter. (Or maybe this is an opportunity for someone to launch Saturday afternoon parents wine club/play date.)
Got an idea for Lauren? Please share.
Dems will replace Silver as speaker, Capital Region unemployment reaches seven year low, virtual snow days just aren't the same
After ten hours of deliberations Assembly Democrats announced on Tuesday that Sheldon Silver will be out as speaker as of Monday. It's still not clear if Silver will resign or be forced out of the speaker's post, but he told reporters, "I will not hinder the succession process." Silver did say he had no plans to resign his seat in the Assembly. [TU][WNYT][TWCN]
Silver's temporary replacement will be Rochester Assemblyman Joseph Morelle. Morelle, who will be speaker until at least February 10, when a special election will be held, is a business friendly Democrat.[NYT][News10][City&State][CapNY]
Unemployment dropped to a seven year low in December with a local jobless rate of 4.5 percent. [TU]
The Capital Region only got a few inches of snow on Tuesday, but it was enough to make commutes slippery.[WNYT]
Rensselaer is going ahead with plans for a waterfront esplanade, even though the city lost its bid for a casino at DeLaet's Landing. [TU]
Monday afternoon ahead of the forecasted icy, snowy apocalypse we snapped a few "before" pics. And then Tuesday afternoon we snapped a few after pics.
Mix to combine, and... today's moment(s) of winter, sliding between before and after.
From the show's blurbage:
WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Turn on your radio and hide.
The show has been described as "Lovecraftian", "caught somewhere between Weird Twitter and Tales of the Unexplained", "like NPR meets The Mothman Prophecies," and channeling David Lynch and Orson Welles. As co-creator Jeffrey Cranor explained to All Things Considered:
I've always been fascinated by conspiracy theories. And also, to a lesser extent fascinated by the Southwest desert. Fascinating things probably happen there on a regular basis. So I came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood."
The live show at The Egg is in the Hart Theater.
photo via Welcome to Night Vale FB
Bring your Valentine for a unique dining experience at New York's first farm cidery. For one night only,Nine Pin's industrial setting will be staged for lovers. Award Winning Chef Jeff Loshinsky will showcase a romantic four course dinner paired with four glasses of Nine Pin's finest ciders.
We have a pair of tickets to the dinner, and we're giving them away. To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
What's a small, everyday way that someone expresses love for you, you express love for another person, or you see how other people express love for each other?
Grand gestures -- the elaborate marriage proposal, the extravagant gift, or whatever -- get a lot of attention. But life is mostly a bunch of small moments strung together. And showing your love for someone -- whether it's your partner, friend, family member, whoever -- is often about the small things we do for each other. Maybe it's time made for someone, listening during a tough day, or cooking that person's favorite dinner on a Tuesday night.
So, this could be anything. We'll draw one comment at random. That person gets the pair of tickets.
The Valentine's Day dinner at Nine Pin starts at 7 pm on February 14. Tickets are $85 per person. For reservations: 449-9999.
Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Thursday, January 29, 2015 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 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 5 pm Friday, January 30.
Jeff Loshinsky Catering catered the Rail, River, Hudson tour, and Nine Pin Ciderworks was a sponsor.
And you can always try searching for it: