Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ That time Nellie Bly declared Saratoga "the wickedest spot on earth."
+ Each weekday the Capital Region's urban centers (Albany, especially) swell with a tide of commuters -- so where do all those people come from?
+ New York State and Albany were once a hotbed of bicycle activism.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: a transition, crossing the street, dealing with the city, the Livingston Avenue Bridge, the river with less water, running at Thacher Park, Track season, wedding details, Peck's Arcade, an insiders dinner, customer threats, and a catabetic emergency.
+ The results of calculator aimed at projecting how it costs to have a "secure yet modest standard of living" prompted some interesting discussion about topics such as the cost of child care.
+ As, as you might have heard, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is running in the Travers this weekend. There's has been much hype. Admittedly not a track person, Greg talked with local sportscaster Robert Lee to try to understand why it's been such a big deal. (Also: Why you shouldn't bet American Pharoah to win.)
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
horse photo via NYRA / bicycle photo from the Larry Hart Collection, Schenectady County Historical Society, Grems-Doolittle Library
The annual Oktoberfest block party in North Albany organized by Wolff's is set for September 26. The event will again include food vendors, dachsund races, and other activities.
Admission is $10 and includes a commemorate 1-liter stein. (We haven't seen the ticket info posted yet -- but tickets are usually available ahead of time online.)
New this year is the Spaten Sprint 5k that morning. The course follows along Broadway and North Pearl Street in the Warehouse District.
Registration is $30 ($35 after September 18) and includes a commemorative beer stein, free beer (in the stein), free entry to the Oktoberfest block party, and the usual 5k stuff like chip timing. There are also cash prizes for top finishers, both individuals and teams.
What's it like to a ride along with one of the horses as it cruises around the track at the Saratoga Race Course?
The closes most of us will ever to get to finding out is a video like the one above -- the exercise rider for American Pharoah wore a Go Pro camera Friday morning during the Triple Crown winner's workout gallop around the track. (NYRA posted the video on YouTube.)
One of the things we were thinking about while watching the video wasn't about how things appeared, but about how they sound -- the thunderous hoof strikes and rushing wind, and the tide of crowd noise as the distance between the horse and the grandstand expands and contracts.
Earlier on AOA: American Pharoah? Really? Please explain.
Tech Valley Center of Gravity founder Laban Coblentz is moving to France for a new job, and today bid farewell to Troy in a post on Facebook: "In my heart of hearts, I identify with Troy, with Troy's grit, its authenticity, its blue-collar can-do reclaimed-alley post-Age-of-Innocence post-industrial post-affluence up-by-the-bootstraps farmer's-market urban-flea rockin'-on-the-river arts-tech micro-brew pig-fest fine-wine Maker-Movement innovate-till-you-drop bad attitude." The whole thing is worth reading. Earlier: A look inside the Tech Valley Center of Gravity new space in the Quackenbush Building
We hate to be the ones to say it, but it's the last weekend in August. If there are any items remaining on your summer to do list, we suggest you get cracking.
For those of you looking for stuff to do, you'll find our weekend round-up after the jump.
Mix them, match them, trade them with your friends.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
Huge crowd expected in Saratoga Springs this weekend, Saint Rose facing faculty and program cuts, the pigeon whisperer of Schenectady
Saratoga Springs police say they're expecting more than 100,000 people in Saratoga Springs Saturday for the Travers, and multiple agencies have been drawn in to help handle traffic and crowds. There will also be increased security at the Saratoga Race Course, with hand-held metal detectors screenings at the entrances. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]
American Pharoah's workout this morning at The Track drew an estimated 15,000 people. [@CBS6Torie]
Lansingburgh police shooting
Officials say Troy police Officer Joshua Comitale is now out of intensive care. Troy have said he was shot in both legs during the shooting in Lansingburgh last weekend. [TU]
Colonie Center shooting
Colonie police say they have a suspect in the shooting outside the mall, but have not made an arrest. [TU]
Faculty cuts at Saint Rose
Facing a structural budget deficit and operating shortfalls, the College of Saint Rose told faculty and staff members this week that the school is going into "retrenchment," which will include faculty layoffs and program cuts. [TU]
The train stopped just to one side of the Livingston Avenue Bridge. And while it was probably because of track congestion or some sort of traffic, we'd kind of like to think it was taking a moment to admire the Hudson just before sunset.
A book to keep an eye out for: Not on Fire, but Burning by Greg Hrbek, a writer in residence at Skidmore. The novel is set for a September 22 release and is already getting attention -- including a starred review in Kirkus and a spot on the "most anticipated" list over at The Millions.
From some of the publisher blurbage:
Twenty-year-old Skyler saw the incident out her window: Some sort of metallic object hovering over the Golden Gate Bridge just before it collapsed and a mushroom cloud lifted above the city. Like everyone, she ran, but she couldn't outrun the radiation, with her last thoughts being of her beloved baby brother, Dorian, safe in her distant family home.
Flash forward to a post-incident America, where the country has been broken up into territories and Muslims have been herded onto the old Indian reservations in the west, even though no one has determined who set off the explosion that destroyed San Francisco. Twelve-year old Dorian dreams about killing Muslims and about his sister--even though Dorian's parents insist Skyler never existed. Are they still shell-shocked, trying to put the past behind them . . . or is something more sinister going on?
Meanwhile, across the street, Dorian's neighbor adopts a Muslim orphan from the territories. It will set off a series of increasingly terrifying incidents that will lead to either tragedy or redemption for Dorian, as he struggles to prove that his sister existed--and was killed by a terrorist attack.
Not on Fire, but Burning is unlike anything you're read before--not exactly a thriller, not exactly sci-fi, not exactly speculative fiction, but rather a brilliant and absorbing adventure into the dark heart of an America that seems ripped from the headlines. But just as powerfully, it presents a captivating hero: A young boy driven by love to seek the truth, even if it means his deepest beliefs are wrong.
There's a book launch party for the novel at Northshire Saratoga October 1.
We noticed this week that the prominent rose mural gracing the side of an office building on Broadway in Albany's Warehouse District was looking a bit brighter. And it turns out the mural recently got a refresh. (Here's how it looked last year.)
In one of those coincidences of fate, the artist who painted the mural almost two decades ago was Casiano del Peral -- the father of Nine Pin Cider Works founder Alejandro del Peral. As you know, the cidery opened a few years back in a building right below the mural. And Casiano was the one back on the scaffolding to refresh the rose.
Nine Pin advertises on AOA.
Speaking of the Travers... Ashley has put together a detailed list of viewing parties around Saratoga Springs to watch the race on Saturday. (Admission to the Saratoga Race Course is sold out for the day.) [Saratoga Food Fanatic]
I have to admit that I'm not a Track person.
It makes sense to me how it could be fun for some people -- the time spent relaxing at a beautiful venue, the thrill of placing a successful bet, the majestic animals, the hats. I'm just not one of those people.
Probably as a result of not being a Track person, the recent non-stop hype about the arrival of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah for the (sold-out) Travers this weekend is a little odd to me. It's a horse. I mean, obviously, a special, accomplished horse. But, still... a horse.
So, to get a better sense of the the American Pharoah hype train as it passes through our area (Do I wave? Is that how it works?), I got in touch with my friend Robert Lee -- local sportscaster, voice of Siena Saints basketball, and avid horse racing fan.
American Pharoah. Please explain.
Controversial Troy memorial
There's been some controversy over a memorial to Thaddeus Faison, the man who died in the Troy shootout that injured two police officers.The memorial on 7th Avenue was constructed after the original one, near the site of the shooting was taken down at the request of the property owner. Faison's wife told News10 that the memorial is not a sign of disrespect abut a way for those who knew him to say goodbye, and assured people that no death threats were being sent to police. Graffiti commemorating Faison, who is being remembered by his friends as a man who was good to children and made a bad decision, was being cleaned up on Wednesday.[Chris Churchill][Record][News 10][WNYT][Record]
Police arrested a Troy man who had an AK-47 style assault rifle as he was headed toward the 7th Avenue memorial for Faison on Tuesday night.[WNYT]
Former Peter Young COO pleads guilty
The former CEO of the Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment has pleaded guilty to filing false reports for claiming $600,000 in state funds would be used on a Brooklyn treatment center, but using the money instead to pay upstate employees and fund upstate projects. [TU][News 10]
Admitted: We're a sucker for sunflowers.
A family budget calculator posted online Wednesday by a think tank -- Economic Policy Institute -- aims to to answer that question for metro areas around the country. A few of the results for the Albany area posted above. (Here's a Washington Post interactive using the data that gives a quick look at how a metro stacks up against the rest of the nation.)
A bit of blurbage about the calculator:
Poverty thresholds are generally national income levels used to measure the number and share of Americans who are economically deprived. Conceptually, these measures are important metrics, but are fundamentally different from EPI's basic family budgets. Families above poverty thresholds are just thought to be free of outright material deprivation. In contrast, family budgets offer a broader measure of economic adequacy by measuring the dollar amount necessary for families to live securely but modestly in various communities across the nation.
As with anything like this, the methodology is going to make a difference in the outcome, and EPI documents the recipe it used.
One thing that caught our eye right away was the cost of child care. While it wasn't surprising that it was expensive, we wouldn't have guessed it was quite that much. A look through the methodology reveals that the cost of childcare is from data published by state. So it's possible the number is inflated a bit by the downstate cost. (Now we're curious about the cost of day care here in the Albany metro area...)
Earlier on AOA: A few ways of thinking about the minimum wage
After three years of sweat and planning, our doors will open on September 19 in a celebration that will unveil the renovated neo-gothic church and usher in the first push of an unapologetic art and performance schedule.
For you, for this evening, we have curated a wall-to-wall environment of artwork, food, and sound, spanning multiple disciplines and spilling outward into adjacent sites.
There will be a ribbon cutting if you come early, and dancing and DJ under the stars if you stay late. We've put some of the best creative minds together to plan this event and it is shaping up to be quite something. Something new, something different, and something wildly fun.
The evening includes a "strolling dinner" from Peck's Arcade, a special "Post Pale" beer brewed by Rare Form, along with performances and art. Tickets start at $85 / $55 (under 35) -- they're available online.
That night also will mark the opening of the second "movement" of Rural Violience at PostContemporary. The exhibit, curated by Brandon Stosuy (Pitchfork editor, Basilica Soundscape collaborator), includes the work of Matthew Barney, Cindy Daignault, Lionel Maunz, and Prurient (with John Sharian). The opening will feature a performance by Brennan Hall and Dana Wachs.
The org formerly known as CAC Woodside moved from North Adams to the Woodside Presbyterian Church in Troy in 2009, and has been providing workspace and living space for artists as the buildings were transformed.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: a transition, crossing the street, dealing with the city, the Livingston Avenue Bridge, the river with less water, running at Thacher Park, Track season, wedding details, Peck's Arcade, an insiders dinner, customer threats, and a catabetic emergency.
The Capitol Park After Dark series of outdoor movies wraps up tonight (Wednesday) with a screening of the Humphrey Bogart classic The Maltese Falcon. AND THERE WILL BE FREE ICE CREAM.
Yep, free ice cream. The first 100 people at the Stewart's ice cream cart in West Capitol Park for the screening will get a free scoop of ice cream, courtesy of AOA.
The screening starts at 8 pm. (Bring a chair or blanket.) Happy summer.
Update: There's actually one more screening in the series this Thursday night -- last week's presentation of Monsters University was re-scheduled because of weather.
NYS OGS advertises on AOA.
The University at Albany School of Public Health has initiated an "All School Read" program, which invites students, faculty, staff and community members to select and read an important book covering issues relevant for those preparing for careers in public health. The first book chosen is Putnam's Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, a groundbreaking examination of the growing inequality gap in the United States. The book details how children and grandchildren today have had harder lives amid diminishing prospects compared with earlier generations of Americans.
The forum is Wednesday, September 16 at 5 pm at the UAlbany School of Public Health campus in Rensselaer.
Putnam is probably most famous outside of academic circles for his book Bowling Alone, in which he argued that Americans were withdrawing from civic and social organizations, and becoming less engaged with their communities.
Here's a Washington Post article from earlier this year about Our Kids and what Putnam has been up to recently.
Details slowly unfold in Lansingburgh police shooting, Pharaoh to land at Albany International, fishing for cars in the Hudson
Troy shooting update
Chad Klein, one of the patrolmen injured in the Saturday car-jacking in Troy, was released from the hospital on Tuesday. [TU]
Chris Churchill's column in support of the two officers injured in a shootout in Troy this week that killed Thaddeus Faison. [TU]
After police removed a memorial to Faison,, a second memorial has gone up near Faison's former home on Seventh Avenue, where neighbors remember him as a father who encouraged children to listen in school and do better. [Record]
Fatal salon stabbing
Police say they have no new leads but they continue to search for the person who stabbed Jacuelyn Porreca to death in her salon on Friday.[WNYT]
Dontay Ivy case
David Soares may have more options for stepping away from the Donald "Dontay" Ivy case if the case is not given to New York's attorney general as he requested. [TU]
And you can always try searching for it: