"It's a wonder how much of a treat alphabet pasta is as an adult..."

How I ended up riding a bike as one of my primary ways of getting around town -- and how that's gone

cyclist silhouette

By Greg

So here's something I've been hearing lately: "You rode your bike here!?"

Because I did.

This past summer I made an effort to become a bike person. That is, not just a person who rides a bike for fun, but a person who uses a bike for transportation around town. (Though, really, it's still fun even you use it that way.)

Here are a few thoughts on how that's gone...

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Halloween costume parties (for adults)

spooky foggy pond

The spooky season is almost here.

Halloween is just a few weeks away, and that means there are a handful of costume parties for adults that are also coming up.

We've pulled together a short list below. (If there are others you think should be included, please share.) Many of these are popular and tickets do sell out. So if you're interested in going, getting tickets sooner rather than later is a good idea.

Also: Get your party plan set give you more time to work on your costume...

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Cyclist dies in crash, Albany to begin search for police chief, pedestrian hit in Niskayuna, Palace names new executive director


Cyclist hit
A cyclist was taken to Albany Med with serious injuries after a crash with a vehicle on Washington Avenue Extension around 5:30 am Thursday. Update: Albany police say the cyclist has died. [WNYT] [APD]

Pedestrian hit in Niskayuana
A pedestrian is in critical condition after he was struck by a car on State Street near Balltown Road in Niskayuna on Wednesday night. [Spectrum]

Albany police chief search
Ten months after former Albany police chief Brendan Cox left his post, the city is hiring a search firm to find a new police chief. [TU]

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Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Erik Bergstrom

comedian Erik Bergstrom

The Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series at Proctors brings Erik Bergstrom back for a stand-up show Saturday, October 28. Tickets are $15 ahead / $20 day of.

Show blurbage:

Bergstrom's hilariously dark comedy is a fitting match for Halloween weekend, as an illustrator and author, he published his first book, "Grimmer Tales" (Penguin Books) in 2009 and has had his illustrations repeatedly appear in the New Yorker and other publications. Last year, after finessing his set right here at Pretty Much The Best Comedy Show, Comedy Central picked Bergstrom to record and produce his first Half-Hour on their network, which aired in September of 2016.

Bergstrom also survived a bout with cancer during the last few years. As he told Splitsider: "Cancer is the best agent I've ever had. When I got this special I got emails from agents wanting to know if I wanted to sign with them, but I was like, 'If I want another TV spot I'll just have more cancer.'"

The show starts at 8 pm.

photo via Erik Bergstrom Facebook

Empire Rye

Craft distilleries are booming in New York State -- but also around the country. So, in an effort to stand out from the increasingly crowded field, a group of distilleries in the state has developed an official designation for a New York State whiskey -- Empire Rye. [NYT]

Open call for artists to create mural in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood

More (potential) public art: The Pine Hills Improvement Group in Albany is working with Upstate Artists Guild to create a new mural along the side of the Maple Leaf Market building at Ontario Street and Morris. There's an open call for submissions from artists (the deadline has been extended):

Some themes for this mural might include community, neighborhood, maple leaves/trees, streetscape, historic city, food, among other options. You are encouraged to make this mural fun, playful, and funky. While you are welcome to complete the entire mural on your own, you are also encouraged to consider developing an outline and a color scheme that neighbors can then help paint in (think coloring sheet).

There's also some artwork on the 10 feet-by-40 feet wall. Whether it's replaced or incorporated into the new design is up to the artist.

The cost of materials for the work will be covered, and the artist will also get a stipend. Here are more details about applying.

The Pine Hills Improvement Group is committee of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association.

Earlier:
+ Three new murals for downtown Albany
+ That Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail mural is now complete

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: "Me too" stories, seeing a visit in a different light, the miracle of art, the truth in a post-truth world, the haunted Capitol, Eleanor Roosevelt, photographic family history, Cypress Pond, Mohawk Club Pale Dry Ginger Ale, lunch along the upper Hudson, dinner in Ballston Spa, dessert, and things that are OK.

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Albany Barn Fusion 2017 in-post ad

Arts Center Studio Sprouts in-post ad

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Action Bronson at Upstate Concert Hall

rapper Action Bronson

The rapper Action Bronson is set to play a show at Upstate Concert Hall December 8. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 20 -- they're $27.50 ahead / $30 day of.

The show is part of a tour in support of Blue Chips 7000, the album he released this past summer.

In a bit of twist, Bronson has become known in the food world over the last few years in part because of his Vice show F*ck That's Delicious. Last month he published a book related to the show, F*ck, That's Delicious: An Annotated Guide to Eating Well.

Five Albany properties lose mixed-use tax break, tenant announced for Starlite, Bow Tie may not have ruled out Troy

Nxivm
The New York Times looks at the latest allegations surrounding Nxivm, the Clifton Park organization that's been accused of manpulating its members. The Times story alleges that women are being branded as part of a secret sorority within Nxivm, and reports former members are asking state authorities to investigate. [NYT]

Albany properties lose tax break
Five properties in Albany will lose tax breaks reserved for mixed use projects that were given to them due to an error by the city's former assessor. City officials say none of the properties in question would have come to fruition without the breaks.[TU]

Tenant for Starlite
A Saratoga Springs investment firm is making plans to move its headquarters to the former Starlite Theater in Colonie. [TU]

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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A shareable reminder of that shop in Troy

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Because... well, who knows. But you know this would have gotten "likes" on the Victorian Facebook.

Memes, sponsored content, Facebook link bait -- all this stuff might seem very modern. But it's probably not a stretch to say that people have pretty much always been into shareable images like this, it's just that now we are all collectively able to manufacture and distribute it at saturation levels.

We were thinking about that while browsing through old trade cards for shops in Troy from the late 19th century. The cards were sort of like modern business cards, but were a form of content unto themselves that people traded and collected.

Some are beautiful. Some are kind of funny. Some are just plain weird. Here's a few of them from Troy...

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The lineup of speakers for this year's TEDxAlbany is out, and tickets are now available

TEDxAlbany 2017 logoThe lineup of speakers is out for this year's TEDxAlbany, which is December 7 at Overit in Albany.

This topics for this year's talks range from math to philanthropy to health to... urine. The lineup of speakers posted is below.

TEDxAlbany is the locally-organized version of the popular TED talks series. Overit hosts the event at a studio in its converted church building on New Scotland Ave.

Tickets are also now available. They're $75 and include breakfast and lunch. There's a limited number, and the event has filled up in past years.

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Beef vegetable soup at Chuck Wagon Diner

Chuck Wagon Diner beef soup

By Deanna Fox

Let's face it, beef can be boring. And most times, it is.

Burger joints focus on loading up toppings instead of creating a flavorful patty. Steak is almost always overcooked and improperly seasoned. Soups made from beef stock are nearly universally oil slicks, too unctuous to sip.

Fortunately for me, I live in a place rife with great beef preparations. I can get house-aged Chateaubriand within walking distance of my abode at The Bears. Quality cuts of farm-fresh meat are just a quick drive away at various farms and a butcher shop.

But it's a humble preparation -- beef and vegetable soup -- that is unrivaled.

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Moriah Formica advances on The Voice

Moriah Formica was back on The Voice Monday night -- and she advanced. Her head-to-head performance with a competitor is embedded above.

And she was great. The matchup wasn't even all that close. The judges were again full of praise for the Shaker High School student.

Sorting the 1 Monument Square situation, DA calling 1995 Schenectady murder solved, local company says Uber/Lyft have taken almost half of its taxi business

1 Monument Square
+ Talking with a bunch of interests in downtown Troy about how to move forward at the 1 Monument Square site. [The Alt]
+ Sam Judge, the Troy developer and property owner whose lawsuit apparently tripped up the movie theater project, to the Business Review: "The suggestion that the site is doomed or no other reputable developer will develop the site is preposterous." Judge also alleges that Steve Strichman, Troy's commissioner of planning and economic development, threatened the developer's ability to do business in the city if he didn't drop the legal action -- Strichman denies the allegation. [Biz Review x2]
+ Judge to Chris Churchill: "I couldn't in good conscience sit back and watch while parking problems went from bad to worse." [TU]
+ The Madden administration says it's considering options for Riverfront Park access at the 1 Monument Square site, along with staged development. [Troy Record]
+ Cohoes is now trying to make a play for the project -- its director of community and economic development says the city has three sites downtown in mind. [WNYT]

Schenectady murder cold case closed
Schenectady County DA Robert Carney announced Monday that his office has closed the case on the 1995 murder of Suzanne Nauman. The DA says an examination of DNA evidence suggests that the perpetrator was Stanislaw Maciag, who killed himself in prison in 1997. State and city investigators were prompted to look at Maciag's potential involvement by a Daily Gazette editorial that noted the parallels of Nauman's murder to another case. [TU] [Spectrum] [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady police oversight
The state's highest court ruled Tuesday that Schenectady's public safety commissioner does have the authority discipline police officers. [Daily Gazette]

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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Today's moment of autumn

This is from last week, late in one of those warm days when the asters were still out. And the bees. So many people soaking up the sun and availing themselves of the October flowers.

Gotta admit we've watched this a few times since then as a break of sorts. It's very chill.

Brain Food for the Curious returns for a new season at the State Museum this week

state museum from plaza

The State Museum's "Brainfood for the Curious" series of short lunchtime talks starts a new season this Tuesday, October 17.

A museum historian or scientist gives a 20-minute talk in the museum's Huxley Theater and then answers questions. The talks cover all sorts of topics, from history to fashion to geology to archaeology to biology. Each event starts at 12:10 pm. They're free.

Here's the schedule for the new season...

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15 minutes free

The bike share launched by CDTA this year appears to be off to a promising start, but one of the difficult issue for the program -- and other bike shares around the country -- is how to provide access to people for whom the cost might be a barrier (CDTA has said it's thinking about this issue). The solution in Pittsburgh: free 15-minute bike share rides for anyone with that transit org's smart fare card, which are like the Navigator cards here. [Fast Company via @omarjpeters]

Three new murals for downtown Albany

Capital Walls murals 2017 October in progress Kantorovitz 1

Something you might notice this week: Three new murals are going up in downtown Albany.

Two of the murals are in the Green Street drive-through section of the Green-Hudson parking garage, and the other is on the side of a wall along Water Street and I-787 by the Riverfront parking garage.

The work is part of the Capital Walls project -- a collaboration among the Albany Center Gallery, curator Tony Iadicicco, and the Albany Barn. And it's being funded by the Albany Parking Authority as part of its ongoing effort to make its garages feel more welcoming. (See also: The two large murals on the Quackenbush garage.)

"The goal is to inspire and create community and sense of place," said Iadicicco of the murals.

The works should be finished within the next two weeks. Here's a quick in-progress look at each one...

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Toned down

It's not your imagination -- the colors of the foliage this autumn are more muted. Jeff Wilkin talked with an expert from Cornell about what's going with the trees and why the colors appear so drab. [Daily Gazette]

Interior designer or decorator suggestions?

modern dining roomChristina emails:

Can you ask your readers to recommend any interior decorators or designers they have worked with? I am looking for some help for my living room, but don't want to commit to buying everything at once, so a focus on someone I can pay to help me with a plan that I can implement over time would be great.

A designer can be an added expense for a home project. But we're often pleasantly surprised by how a talented designer can look at a building/space/place and see solutions, angles, and ideas a non-designer might miss. And if you buy a home that needs a lot of updating, being able to talk over a plan with someone who does this often could be a help.

So, got suggestion for Christina -- whether it's a designer or some other sort of resource? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a person/service can be a big help.

Earlier: Help with kitchen renovation design?

photo: Paul Gallo

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Recent Comments

The City should take a more proactive approach based on neighborhood consensus. A prescriptive design guideline with great clarity could save lots of graves for aspiring developers and other stakeholders. The City has to be clear upfront on conditions to be met such as overall allowed building volume, easy river connection, parking, pedestrian oriented ground floor usage and etc. It not seems reasonable to expect commercial developers to build something on their own initiative to both maximize ROI and please all city residents.

How I ended up riding a bike as one of my primary ways of getting around town -- and how that's gone

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Interior designer or decorator suggestions?

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Three new murals for downtown Albany

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Morning Blend for Oct 17

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