Blogs > Millennial Traveler

New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Flight from Cincinnati to Newark is "Worst"

From the Wall Street Journal: Flight 4352 has been on time only 19% of the time, according to United's website, and has been canceled 7% of the time—far greater than the airline average of about 2% of flights canceled.

The flight's number has been changed multiple times to cleanse it's poor record, the WSJ pointed out.

There's an interesting "diary" for the trip from Cincinnati to Newark and I love the dateline - Somewhere Over Ohio.

New Ride Debuted at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George

Sometimes I wish a theme park - other than Hoffman's Playland - was in my coverage area so I could go to debuts of new rides too.

But, since there's not, I'll have to live vicariously through Paul Post who did an interesting article about the newest ride at the Great Escape.

The Screamin' Eagles was described by one 89-year-old vet as "almost as good as skydiving", in the article. The same vet, Leo Dean, by the way, was recently honored at a Watervliet Memorial Day ceremony - unless there's another 80-something WWII parachuting vet in the area named Leo Dean.

Paul Post's article has some good photos and video.

Here's the initial announcement of the Screamin' Eagles from 2012. I can't help but notice, however, that of the 15 new rides in Six Flags parks this year - the Screamin' Eagles is at the end of the list.

The theme park opened for the season on May 18 and Six Flags recently agreed to a $1.3 million settlement for dozens of people who got sick at their Great Escape Lodge across the street, dating back to 2008.

Families Paying Disabled Guides to Skip Lines at Disney

An undercover team at the Today Show paid two disabled guides to get them past the long lines at Disneyland. The fee was $50/ hour for one and $200 total for another, according to an article on the Today site.

And the story seems to have been first reported by the NY Post earlier in May.

It's amazing that they were able to do this. Horribly amazing.

Disney says they find this act "deplorable" and they say they are now cracking down on such services, which could be found before on Craigslist.

I have a feeling that this will continue, but maybe not as often.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Travel Bloggers Needed for Free National Park Trip

Ok, who wants to be in my "group" to apply for this great opportunity for an all-expense paid trip to either Olympic, Glen Canyon, or Mesa Verde National Parks?

Basically, a group of four is needed to apply for the American Latino Expedition which is meant to help diversify the tourists visiting these parks. (And, you actually don't have to be Latino to apply - but probably couldn't hurt.)

(From a trip I took to Mesa Verde this time last year)




From the site (which has the application and more info):

"Expenses, including air travel, lodging and most on-site tour and excursion fees will be covered by ALHF and Expedition partners, ARAMARK Parks and Destinations and REI.
The groups selected will serve as ALHF Ambassadors to our national parks by participating in social media activities that bring these parks to all communities across the country. As part of the experience, bloggers selected to participate will be asked to:
  • Blog about their experiences on their personal websites and share content on ALHF.org and on our partners' websites.
  • Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube their entire experience! Once bloggers are selected and announced, we will work with each group to share all aspects of their trip and expedition experience with followers and friends on social media.
  • Participate in media interviews regarding the @American_LatinoExpedition for regional and national audiences."
Applications are due by June 14.



I'm in. Who's with me?

My top choice, btw, would be Olympic National Park.

Saratoga Sip and Stroll Extended to Tonight (Thursday)

For those who didn't see the Facebook update - probably due to all the storm status updates - last night's event in Saratoga Springs has been extended to also include today from 6-9pm.

If you braved the inclement weather last night and liked the experience of walking around to over 20 businesses to try samples, you can do it *again* tonight for half off. Those who are going for the first time can pay the $25 day-of fee.

Partial proceeds are helping The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Tickets can be purchased here.



To continue with my "S" blog about this event a couple weeks ago, I wanted to call this blog: Saratoga Sip and Stroll - the Sequel. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ziplining in Rensselaer County - 50 percent Off

Another emailed promotion I recently got: 50 percent off Ziplining at Engelke Farm in the outskirts of Troy (technically Eagle Mills).

You can order the voucher here which is good through August 31 of this 2013 season.

Engelke Farm, which also does hayrides/a cornmaze in the fall, XC sking in the winter and sells items at farmers markets, is located at 463 Garfield Road, off Route 2.

Pricing for Ziplining normally is: $15/person for 1 ride on 2 lines, $20/person for 2 rides on 2 lines, or $30 for one hour of unlimited rides, according to their site.

Hours of operation - 11am-5pm on Sat/Sun in May, and 11am-5pm on Thursdays/ 11am-9pm Fri/Sat/Sun in June-August.

Ziplining is done on a reservation basis only and cash is required.

Reservations can be made by calling 337-0103.

Another ziplining possibillity - Adirondack Extreme.

And for giggles, there's an aerial course at Jiminy Peak.


 




 
(photo from their Website)






Cruise Industry Bill of Rights for Passengers

The Cruise Lines International Association announced a passenger bill of rights before the holiday weekend, and days before a Royal Caribbean ship caught on fire and had to fly 2,200 passengers home on Tuesday from the Bahamas where the Grandeur of the Seas ship was stranded and couldn't make the journey back to Baltimore.

The bill of rights - given by an association which includes Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Holland America, among others - comes in the wake of multiple issues, mainly on Carnival cruises.



According to USA Today, the Bill of Rights pledges the following:
  1. The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master's concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
  2. The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
  3. The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore-side medical care becomes available.
  4. The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
  5. The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
  6. The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
  7. The right to transportation to the ship's scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger's home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  8. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  9. The right to have included on each cruise line's website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
  10. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line's website.
  11. The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
  12. The right to have included on each cruise line's website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
  13. The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line's website.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Photos of Melting Ice Hotel in Sweden

What happens when temperatures increase around an Ice Hotel? This.

Interesting shots of a melting hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

One of these days I want to stay in one - before it turns into a swimming pool for the season. Or, a river, as the IceHotel's website points out.

Pets on Amtrak May Soon Become a Reality

A bill introduced by a California lawmaker would pave the way for pets to be allowed on Amtrak cars, providing they can be stowed in a container that fits the railroad business' carry on requirements, according to ABC news.

The pet owner would be restricted to traveling up to 750 miles with their furry loved one and would also have to pay an undetermined fee, continued the report filed on Thursday.

Then, those pets too big for carry on containers could be stored in the luggage cars - similar to when flying.

As it stands now, only service dogs for people with disabilities are allowed on Amtrak trains. Not even police dogs are allowed, unless with Amtrak police, according to the Amtrak site.

(I wish I could take credit for this photo. But it's from moveoneinc.com)


And not everyone is happy about it. Sure, people love animals. But up to 750 miles with a barking dog or a cat going crazy in his/her carrying case - well, it could be worse than a screaming baby.

I, personally, do think this is something that is do-able. But, maybe kind of like the Prague metro car just for singles, they may need to separate one car on each train for pets or people who won't mind being around a pet for a possible long period of time.

As for a comment from Amtrak, media outlets are reporting that they say they're "reviewing the proposal."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

NYC to Ireland for $699, Including Tax

I get a lot of emails from Sherman Travel and Travelocity and Expedia. And the list goes on.

Having paid about $1,000 for the same flight (but with a different airline) I have to admit this is a good deal and a good time to go to Ireland too.

When friends got married in Northern Ireland (right on the Irish border) they were told that weather there is usually best (read: not rainy) in June or September. (though - honestly - even in early September for their wedding it was a bit rainy so there probably is not definite "rule" about Irish weather)

This Aerlingus deal - good through May 30 - includes all of September.

(an 11th century cross in Clones, Ireland from my trip in 2011)

(Crom Castle in Northern Ireland)


I know folks around here are proud of their Irish heritage and Ireland is an amazing place to go. So go.

Prague Metro Creating a Car Just for Single People

I initially clicked on the video link to watch a segment on Combat Juggling (yep, it's a real thing), but I'm glad I kept watching the video following since the idea of a car on subway lines for single people is kinda brilliant.

The Prague Metro is working on instituting a subway car just for singles. Here's the video.

Sure, the usual thought of metros is a dark, sometimes quasi-sketchy place (don't get me started on the Rome, Italy Metro) where people very rarely talk - let alone look up from their book, magazine, Kindle, iPhone, iPod, or thumb-twiddling. Yeah, people don't like to interact on subways. It's a fact.

But...I think people, in general, do like to interact so having a designated car to meet singles could work. In fact, I think it would work.

(from the Prague Metro Website)
 

Considering Prague is still on my to-go list, if I were still single, I'd probably go to check it out.

I look forward to reading how it goes over there and maybe it'll migrate to other subway systems around the world.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hotel Freebies Across the U.S.

The Albany Business Review recently had this article, published through their national affiliation, about nice little extras that hotels offer. These include free snacks in the room, free happy hour, free gifts on the bed, spa access and fitness classes for free.

I experienced a free happy hour on a business trip a couple years ago. There really is nothing like free alcohol, especially when your room is just a few hundred feet away.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Airlines Increase Re-booking Fee

Multiple airlines are  increasing their re-booking fee from $150 to $200. Those airlines include American, Delta, United and U.S. Airways.

This went into effect in April for United, with that fee applying for US and Canadian flights while increasing the change fee from $250 to $300 for some international travel, according to USA Today. United appears to have started the trend which has now reached the four airlines.



Our NY Senator Chuck Schumer caught wind of this and is apparently not too happy. Not sure if he'll be able to help regulate the private airlines (doubtful) but he's calling on them to reduce the fees again.

This site gives an interesting history of why the fees have steadily increased (stemming, possibly, from business travel).

Also, mayhaps slightly out of date, but this is a nice wrap up by USA Today of airline fees, ranging from checking bags to changing flights.

Swimming Pool Memberships in the Capital District

Believe it or not, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend: the official start of summer. Etiquette says you can finally break out the white clothes again. And the temperatures say it's time to go swimming.

I start thinking about summer swimming early - well, actually,I probably never stop thinking about summer swimming. Or swimming in general.



So I figured I'd share my recent research on memberships at area facilities with pools:

Italian American Community Center (Albany) - What sparked my search was a flyer at the Italian American Community Center that caught my eye when I was visiting that Washington Avenue Ext. location not too long ago. They have an outdoor heated pool, about 60 x 30. And, according to the flyer, it seemed like they had summer memberships which allowed access to the pool from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

I just heard back from someone at the IACC and they said it was $225 or $275 for the approximate 3 month period. But, like the other places, I looked at - I believe this also includes deals like their Two for One Monday buffet and access to their other facilities (*achem* Bocce ball, anyone?).

Sidney Albert Jewish Community Center (Albany) - This facility (mainly known as the JCC) includes an indoor and outdoor pool. The outdoor one is open the end of June to early September. And the indoor one is open 5:30am-9:45pm Mon-Fri with shorter hours on the weekend.

Membership varies but they have a short-term membership of four months which is $244 for an individual - there are also membership options for couples, families, seniors, young adults,etc.

Rudy A. Ciccotti Center (Colonie) - This place particularly markets themselves to swimmers and water lovers. Just take a look at their opening paragraph of their website: "This amazing, state-of-the-art family recreation center offers a fabulous Aquatic Center with a fun-filled activity area that includes water slides, splash pool, and lazy river. The Aquatic Center also features a 25-yard lap pool, leisure pool, warm water pool, and wet party room. The facility offers the perfect place for swim lessons, group exercise programs, birthday parties and more."

Membership rates are not on their website - you have to reach out to them to apply. Which, in my opinion, is a bit odd - it's kinda like your joining a swimming cult or something. But it might be worth it. According to a response I got, adult membership starts at $56/month. You can see their entire response below, including info about a promotion they're having through May 31.

Capital District YMCA (Various Locations) - You really can't talk about pools in the region without at least mentioning the YMCAs. The quality and size of the pools differ (Troy's is a bit small - 20 yards - with no jacuzzi, Albany's also does not have a jacuzzi, while the Guilderland and East Greenbush ones are the same 25-yard size with pretty large adjacent jacuzzis/steamrooms/saunas.)

Membership is $47/month for an adult, with options for families and seniors as well.

RPI and Emma Willard also have pools. I used to lifeguard at the Emma one so I know they have allowed residents to use it but their site says otherwise. I'm sure RPI would probably be open to non-students/faculty using their beautiful facililty as well.

If you like your swimming environment to be a bit more natural - here's a list of local swimming holes too.

And here's a list from AOA of mainly area municipal pools.


(From the Ciccotti Center:
Our membership rates are based on the number of people in the household and their ages: The first adult (age 18-61) is $56 per month, and additional adults (ages 16 and up) are $30 per month. Children (ages 6 months through 15 years) are $15 per month. We only charge for the first four members of the household, oldest through youngest, and the fifth member and up is free. (Seniors, age 62 and up, are $48 per month as the first adult in the household.)
You can join on either a monthly or annual basis. If you are a monthly member, we charge you electronically at the beginning of every month from an account of your choosing. If you join on an annual basis, you prepay for the year upon joining, and we give you an additional month (your 13th month) for free!
Whether you decide to join as a monthly member or as an annual member, we are currently having a sale offering 100% off of our enrollment fee through May 31st, so this is a great time to join and save some money. (After May 31st, our one-time enrollment fee is $75 for one adult, $125 for two adults, $150 for three adults in a household, and $25 for a youth-only membership.)
We have a no penalty, no hassle cancellation and refund policy too! Cancel on or before the 20th of a month, and your expiration date is the last day of that month. Cancel on the 21st of a month or later, and your expiration day is the last day of the following month. With annual contracts, we will also refund the unused portion of your year immediately after your expiration date (not including the free month, of course.)
If you have additional questions, please feel free to write again or to call me directly. And I hope you'll stop in for a free, no obligation tour. There is so much to share about the benefits of membership and the features of the center. No appointment is necessary; just stop in at your convenience. We know you'll love it here too!!
In good health,
Debbie


Debra Lambert
Center Director
Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Center
30 Aviation Road
Albany, NY 12205
Ph: (518) 867-8920
Fx: (518) 694-0704
www.ciccotticenter.org)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Aurora Borealis in the Adirondacks

Apparently, you don't have to travel to Iceland or Scandinavia or Alaska to see the aurora borealis.

This shot was taken by Johnathan Espers in the Adirondacks on Saturday:

I first read about Espers' photo on All Over Albany.

And this is certainly not the first time there have been sightings in New York State. Here's a video of it in Saratoga Springs last year, and an article about the Hudson Valley getting them last month.

I remember seeing glimpses of the aurora on clear nights on the quad during my time at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.

Seeing the Northern Lights depends on solar flares. There was a pretty good show for folks in New York in 2011 too because of the increased activity in the upper atmosphere.


Want to Host an International Student?

I love foreign exchange programs.

That's probably because I participated in one when I was a freshman in high school and I still talk to some of the people I met to this day. They are a great way to learn about another culture and for someone from another country to learn a bit about life in the U.S. while forging good relations - even on a hyper local scale.

As luck has it, the International Center is seeking local host families for high school foreign exchange students from Eurasia for the 2013-14 academic year. Host families can include single parents, retirees, empty nesters, individuals, domestic partners, couples with no children, or parents with young or teenage children. Hosts need only to provide a bed, a quiet place to study, meals, and transportation to/from school activities.

And the rewards last decades: I still remember the first time I flew across the Atlantic to do a foreign exchange in Geislingen, Germany. I remember seeing all the little red roofs of the houses below. I remember sleeping in a small bed in my exchange partner's room - some nights we'd talk mainly in English but others I'd want to challenge myself and talk in Deutsch. We stayed in Germany for four weeks and it was only $1,000. That, my friends, is a priceless investment and one that I (should) still thank my parents for today.




That was my first taste of international travel - going to Berlin, to Neuschwanstein, to Munich. Learning tongue twisters in another langue. And making memories with teenagers across the ocean that have truly lasted (and I usually have a horrible memory).

The next year, the students came to stay with us and the cycle continued. My sister eventually went over too.

I stayed with those friends on a trip to Germany a few years back, and my host partner stayed with me here in Troy for about three months in 2009, as she traveled around and experienced Capital District life.

Just last week, I emailed that host partner  and I've been Facebooking one of the other students I met from the program.

So, in case I haven't made my point clear: You want to host these students. You really want to. They're awesome and it's an awesome experience.

For information on this U.S. Department of State sponsored opportunity, call the International Center of the Capital Region at 518-588-8947 or email CLeising@ICCRAlbany.org.

NY State Parks Smoke-Free Zones

Some good news for folks who don't like cigarette smoke:


For Immediate Release: May 10, 2013

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES SMOKE-FREE ZONES EXPANDED IN NEW YORK STATE PARKS

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that expanded outdoor smoke-free areas will be in effect within state parks and historic sites for the 2013 peak summer season. The full list of designated no-smoking areas is available on State Parks’ website at http://nysparks.com/inside-our-agency/public-documents.aspx.

“Our state parks embody the rich, natural beauty that New York has to offer, and our residents should be able to enjoy them free of pollution from second hand smoke,” said Governor Cuomo. “Today’s announcement of the expansion of smoke-free zones in our state parks is an important step forward in ensuring New York’s families can enjoy our great outdoors smoke-free, in a healthy environment. I encourage all New Yorkers to visit our unmatched state parks this summer and take advantage of the variety of recreational activities available to them.”

State Parks has expanded upon its smoke-free areas at playgrounds and swimming pools to now include other zones such as specific swimming beaches; pavilions and picnic shelters; developed athletic facilities; boardwalks; outdoor seating areas near food and beverage concessions; areas where outdoor environmental education programs are held; public gardens; areas where children or large numbers of visitors congregate; and within 50 feet of buildings. In addition, all state parks in New York City are designated smoke-free parks to make their smoking regulations consistent with the prohibition on smoking in all city-run parks.

"We've heard loud and clear from the public that they want expanded smoke-free areas to better enjoy New York State's natural and breathtaking parks," said OPRHP Commissioner Rose Harvey. "We take the public's concerns seriously: ensuring the comfort of non-smokers, protecting the health of children and families from second-hand smoke and promoting healthy lifestyles."

Expanding smoke-free areas in state parks provides multiple health benefits to New Yorkers. Recent studies have shown that outdoor secondhand smoke can reach concentrations found in indoor areas particularly in places where multiple smokers congregate, such as near building entryways and outdoor eating areas. Additionally, cigarette butts pose a health threat to young children. In 2010 alone, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received more than 7,428 reports of potentially toxic exposures to tobacco products among children younger than six years of age.

“New Yorkers visit state parks, playgrounds, beaches and other recreational areas to breathe fresh air and enjoy the outdoors,” said State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H. “They should not have to be exposed to the health hazards associated with secondhand smoke or tobacco litter, and these recently adopted regulations will ensure a healthier experience for everyone. Eliminating smoking in outdoor public places, especially where families gather, is an important strategy towards changing social norms and reducing the social modeling of smoking by children and youth.”

More than 300 municipalities in New York State agree and have passed regulations restricting tobacco use in parks, playgrounds, beaches, pools, athletic areas, pavilions and other outdoor recreational areas.

While voluntary no-smoking areas have been established in many areas of the park system, a regulation adopted in February enabled the agency to designate and fully enforce the no-smoking areas, including issuing tickets carrying a fine of up to $250 for violating the no-smoking areas if necessary. Ninety-one percent of comments the agency received on the proposed regulation favored creating outdoor no-smoking areas.

No smoking areas will be designated by signage at outdoor locations where smoking is prohibited. Even with the new regulations, there will remain many appropriate areas including most campsites, open air picnic areas, parking areas and undeveloped areas within the 330,000-acre state park system for those who wish to smoke in a manner that does not violate the concerns of the majority of the public. Smoking is already prohibited inside all buildings within state parks and historic sites.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 179 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Great Escape Opens May 18

Let the summer season begin!

No, it's not track season. That's not for a couple months. It's opening weekend for Great Escape - which is kinda like track season but parking is more expensive.

This weekend - May 18 and 19, their opening weekend - tickets purchased online are just $20.18, according to their site. It's unclear if this includes the $20 parking fee, my guess is that it doesn't. (sorry if I sound bitter - I remember when parking there was free and prices regularly were still $20....does this make me old?)

The hours this weekend are 10am to 6pm - and the water park does not open until next Saturday, May 25.



I do love the Great Escape though. And Six Flags has done a good job operating them in recent years.

There are about 40 rides (I just counted them), and the new coaster this year is the Screamin' Eagle, which I kept thinking was not new. But I finally realized I was confusing it with the Steamin' Demon coaster. That's also still in operation - they just must enjoy naming things similarly at the park.

For first timers - you must not have gone to school around here since it's a rite of passage for any 6th grader within a 100 mile radius - there's a Storytown (which is how the park started) with small nursery rhyme houses for the kids to explore, a Ghost Town, a Timbertown, a Carnival-like area, the Kidzopolis (which I have to admit, I'm not really familiar with) and the water park.

There's also usually live entertainment - and you can't leave without eating a funnel cake with ice cream. It's a rule.

Tickets are normally about $52.99 (a bit less for kids) and more information can be found here.

There's also a lodge across the street with the same name.


Did you know today is Green Your Commute Day in Albany?

I bet you didn't.

Honestly, I wouldn't have known either. The only reason I did was because I occasionally check the state DEC site (they sometimes announce cool outdoor/hiking events).

Well, you probably already drove your car to work. But - never fear - it's not too late to participate in this inaugural green commute event since activities are going on until 2 p.m. in Albany's Tri-Centennial Park on Broadway and Columbia Street.

There are more details in the press release below.




DEC, Partners Announce First Green Your Commute Day - May 17

Collaboration Highlights Environmentally Friendly Ways to Commute to Work

Activities Include Lunchtime Bicycle Ride, Electric Car Display, Free Raffles and Giveaways

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a partnership with the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks), the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and alternative transportation service providers for the first Green Your Commute Day in Albany, Friday, May 17. The event, held in Albany's Tri-centennial Park on Broadway and Columbia Street from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., will highlight environmentally friendly ways commuters can get to and from work such as carpooling, bicycling, walking and public transportation.
Green Your Commute Day brings together for the first time a collaboration of state agencies with the Albany Parking Authority; Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID); vRide; Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA); Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) and Broadway Bicycle Co. & Plaine and Son. The event coincides with nationally recognized Annual Bike to Work Day, which encourages bicycle commuting as an environmentally friendly transportation alternative.
DEC Commissioner Martens will be among the cyclists riding their bikes to work. He will be greeting DEC participants as they arrive to work on their bikes.
"Green Your Commute Day is designed to bring awareness to the environmental, financial and health benefits of alternative transportation for those who work downtown and throughout the Capital District," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "If you choose to walk, ride a bike, car pool or take a bus to work, you reduce your consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels, air pollution and traffic congestion. The amount of exercise you can get and the money you will save on fuel and auto maintenance is a good reason to join the crowd this Friday to show your support for 'green' commuting!"
"Green your Commute Day promotes exercise, enjoyment of our beautiful outdoors and just an overall healthy lifestyle. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the fresh air on Friday May 17th and walk, bike or take mass transit to their destination," said OPRHP Commissioner Rose Harvey. "The outdoor experience is a refreshing and wonderful escape."
"Green Your Commute Day is a great opportunity to draw attention to and encourage the use of alternative forms of transportation that can help the State reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. We are pleased to join in the effort to encourage a 'green commute' throughout Albany, which has many historic and scenic locations for commuters to enjoy whether on foot, bike or public transportation," said Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO, NYSERDA.
"The New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. takes pride in working to protect and enhance environmental quality in New York State, and we applaud this effort to both promote and enjoy biking, walking and other forms of 'green' commuting," said Matthew Driscoll, president and CEO of EFC.
"We are proud to be part of Green Your Commute Day," said Michael Klein, executive director of the Albany Parking Authority. "By carpooling, drivers can help reduce air pollution and save money at the pump. It's one of the easiest environmentally friendly steps drivers can take. We are pleased to be able to provide incentives to drivers by collaborating with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, other state agencies and important transportation providers like CDTA."
"As we cultivate a thriving downtown neighborhood, one large attraction is the walk-ability and available resources within the district," explained Georgette Steffens, executive director, BID. "Many of our current residents love the freedom of parking their vehicles and being able to walk to their workplace, catch the bus, ride their bike and walk to great dining and entertainment options."
"Green Your Commute Day gives our community an opportunity to highlight alternate modes of transportation and re-think how they commute," said CDTA chairman David M. Stackrow. "Many people choose CDTA as an affordable, convenient and environmentally responsible way to connect to work, school, shopping and services. Businesses also choose CDTA as an option to increase accessibility for employees while alleviating parking and congestion issues."
"We are thrilled to co-sponsor 'Green Your Commute Day' and equip bicycle commuters with everything they might need for a safe ride to and from home," said Heather Rizzi, manager of Broadway Bicycle Co. (Albany) and Plaine and Son (Schenectady). "Cycling offers many benefits, including a healthy, low-impact, outdoor recreational lifestyle; a tool to combat stress and expanding waistlines and a way to save money and reduce the 'pain at the pump,' especially for short trips."
"There are so many ways now to 'Green Your Commute' to work," said Michael Franchini, executive director, CDTC. "You can carpool, take a CDTA bus, take CDTA's Northway Express, drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, ride a bicycle or walk. All of these options are promoted through the Capital Moves website (link in the right column), which can help you find the best way to lessen your commute's impact on the environment."
"vRide is delighted to participate in Green Your Commute Day," said Jesse Kafka, vRide national account executive. "As the nation's leading provider of commuter vanpools, vRide removed over 40,000 cars from our nation's roads on a daily basis in 2012, which resulted in a reduction of about 361,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Promoting alternatives to the single occupancy vehicle commute is our mission everywhere, including downtown Albany and the greater capital region."

List of Activities from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.:

The Albany Parking Authority will provide free, one-day parking to carpoolers only (two or more people in the same vehicle) at the Quackenbush Parking Garage in downtown Albany on May 17. Drivers must complete a short registration form available at the offices of BID or at the Quackenbush Parking Garage the day of the event, and must also register at either purpool ( for those who work at 625 Broadway only, link in the right column), or iPool2 if you work elsewhere in the capital region (link in the right column.)
  • CDTA is offering a free, one-day bus pass for May 17. Participants must pick up their free one-day bus pass in advance at the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District offices located at 40 North Pearl Street, Albany, available until May 17 while supplies last. On May 17, 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. CDTA will also offer information about routes, schedules and commuting services. They will display a hybrid bus and show participants how to use bus bike racks.
  • Broadway Bicycle Co. & Plaine and Son will hold a safety and maintenance clinic and take cyclists out for a lunchtime fun ride.
  • Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles will be on display.
  • BID will offer giveaways and feature information about downtown events and attractions.
  • vRide will display a vanpool van and provide information on its services.
  • CDTC will offer carpooling and bicycle commuting information.
  • NYSERDA will provide information on alternative transportation.
  • DEC experts will tell you how to maintain and drive your car to achieve optimal fuel efficiency.
  • Expert, informed advice on walking to work in downtown Albany from a downtown resident.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And, now, a word about traveling with United from LAX by Wil Wheaton

I just read a Google+ post by Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: Next Generation). He didn't have a very good experience at Los Angeles' Airport, particularly with the United Airlines folks.

(By the way, there apparently is no real reason that Los Angeles International is called LAX.)

Anyway, I thought I'd share Wil's post....

"We got up at 3am on Thursday morning for our 6:52am flight. We stumbled around in the middle-of-the-night darkness, and I wondered if it would have just made more sense to stay awake, instead of trying to sleep for a few restless hours.

We kissed our dogs and our son who was housesitting for us goodbye, and about 35 minutes later we were at the airport. We did the security theatre dance and got some food that we took to the departure lounge where we waited to board our plane.

A United Airlines employee, apparently annoyed to be dealing with passengers, announced that our plane had no flight crew, would be delayed for almost an hour, and those of us connecting to Ottawa would need to go to the service counter to rebook our connection. She frowned at me when I approached the counter and asked her where the service counter was. As if she was speaking to an idiot child, she told me it was next to gate something that I forget.
 
 


"Where is that?" I asked.

She sighed and told me it was in an entirely different terminal. Then she announced, in the same irritated tone, the location of the service counter.

We walked all the way to the other terminal, and stood in a huge line of people being "helped" by two employees.

Nearly every person I dealt with at LAX was a jerk. With the exception of the woman who checked us in for our flight (before all the problems started), not one United Airlines employee could be bothered to treat us with patience or kindness. I would remind the United Airlines employees at LAX that we had done nothing wrong, we were patient and polite, and just trying to get to our destination -- you know, that thing an airline is supposed to do? Take passengers from one city to another? -- but it was United Airlines that screwed up, and it was the United Airlines employees who had no right at all -especially the ones in a customer service capacity - to treat us like we were putting them out and being unreasonable.

We ended up leaving LAX and going home, prepared to fly out the following day. Did I mention we didn't have our luggage? Yeah, we didn't, because the incredibly competent LAX ground crew put our bags on our plane without us and sent them on to Ottawa without us which I see to recall is a violation of a big pile of FAA regulations. Did I mention that we sat in the baggage claim for close to 40 minutes waiting for our bags to be returned to us? Did I mention that the United Airlines employee in the baggage claim completely ignored me while I stood in front of her so I could ask her about how long we should expect to wait for our bags? Did I mention that she finally asked me, again, like I was an idiot child, if I had my claim tags so she could look at the system to find out where they were, and then told us that they'd been put on the plane and sent to Ottawa without us, so maybe we'd get them back at our home sometime the following week.

Eventually, thanks to the hard work of the organizers at Ottawa Comic Con and my agent, we were able to get onto an Air Canada flight on Thursday afternoon that ended up landing us in Ottawa late Thursday night. Also, Anne got in touch with someone from United Airlines on Twitter who made sure that our bags were waiting for us in Ottawa when we got there.

I would just point out, for the record, that our problems with United Airlines were entirely with their employees at LAX; the customer service people we worked with who were not in LAX were very helpful. This is not the first time I've had an absolutely terrible experience with people at LAX, and it would be really great if there was some sort of giant enema at LAX to clean out the people who work there who are deliberately contemptuous toward the passengers they are supposed to be helping get from one place to another. With unemployment as high as it is here in Los Angeles, I imagine that airlines serving Los Angeles -- one of the busiest airports in the country -- would not have much difficulty replacing surly and rude employees with friendly and helpful ones."


Couple Went Overboard on Carnival Cruise in Australia

The search has been called off for the couple who fell overboard from the Carnival Spirit. Defending their safety standards, cruise ship officials are saying their fall was likely not accidental. Their last moments on the ship and fall off the ship were caught on the security cameras, according to The Australian newspaper.

The paper named  Paul Rossington, 30, and Kristen Schroder, 27, as the two who fell.

They were discovered missing during debarkation in Sydney, about 12 hours after they fell into the ocean, according to The Australian. They fell in on Wednesday.

A police source said they were seen fighting that  night, and she was the one who fell in first and he went after her.

The cruise they were on was a 10-day trip.

(the couple in a Facebook photo)

Carnival released a statement:“At approximately 9:15 a.m. today during the debarkation process for Carnival Spirit at the conclusion of a 10-night cruise in Sydney, it became apparent that two guests, a 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, were unaccounted for. The ship immediately initiated standard missing person procedures including a full search of the vessel as per protocol. The guests in question were travelling with family and friends and initial reports indicate that the couple was last seen onboard the vessel last night.

“We have naturally been concerned since we became aware that two passengers were missing from Carnival Spirit and our thoughts are clearly with their families at this difficult time. We are working closely with New South Wales Police and assisting them in their inquiries.”

As I looked at the Carnival site, I noticed - despite all of the incidents in recent months - their press area seems to be dedicated to the positive happenings in the company. Which makes sense, from a marketing platform, but it might be good to keep your current/future customers aware of the issues on the Triumph, the death of a Saratoga Springs teen, and the Triumph adrift again due to strong winds in April.

I'm actually still looking into the Carnival ships out of NYC. Maybe there will be some good deals.

An Unmanned Aircraft Flies Over the UK

How would you feel about riding in a plane without an actual pilot in the cockpit? I mean, there would be a pilot but he'd probably be on the ground - possibly in his pjs, sipping tea and eating scones (well, maybe).

A 16-seat plane was the first to fly across the UK last month from Lancashire to Inverness, according to the BBC. There were no passengers but the craft did share airspace with commercial planes.

They did cheat a bit too with this plane - called the Flying Testbed - since they did have an on-board pilot do the take off and landing. But then someone on the ground handled the rest while the robotics on board avoided any hazards.

(an example of an unmanned plane - or so says Yahoo)


These Unmanned aerial vehicles have been around for a while. The first attempt was in 1916, according to Wiki. Instead of commercial, they seem to mainly be military aircraft (which, honestly, doesn't make me feel much better about them flying overhead).

It's all pretty cool - but - considering how nervous folks are already about flying, I'm not sure this will gain in popularity any time soon. I'd give it a few decades or so, maybe once we have unmanned cars too (which actually is pretty well on its way - with some estimates of mainstream arrival of unmanned cars in 2020 - there's even a summit about driverless cars coming up in June in Detroit).

A 2,300-year-old Mayan Temple Demolished in Belize

And people thought demolishing a 123-year-old church was bad in Watervliet...

The AP is reporting that the majority of a Mayan pyramid was razed, even though the area is under government protection since it's a pre-Hispanic plot of land.

Construction equipment, including a backhoe claw, were discovered on Friday at the site. A small portion of the center of the pyramid mound is left standing, according to the AP.

As archeaologists said in the article - this is just despicable.


(AP photos from the site)
 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 101

Growing up, our family tradition on Mother's Day was always going to Moxie's in Wynantskill for their Free Hot Fudge Sundae deal for mothers - a deal that continues today.

In fact, there are a lot of deals for moms on Mother's Day:

Carmen's Café in Troy - a free Momosa
The Big Dipper in Wynantskill - a free regular size soft ice cream cone
Alexis Diner - a complimentary glass of wine
TCBY - free yogurt
Charlie Mac's in Cropseyville - free slice of homemade ice cream pie

Seriously, there are a lot of deals.



And cool offerings too. If your mom loves brunch - and who doesn't like brunch - there are certainly options:
Arlington House in West Sand Lake - Brunch buffet (at 11:30am and 1pm) $34/person
Holiday Inn Wolf Road - Brunch buffet (from10am-2pm) $35/person, $13.50 children (4-12)
Portofino's Italian Ristorante in Latham- Brunch ( 11am-2pm) $29/person (children under 4 free)

And, of course, there's Tulip Festival in Albany - until about 5:30pm.

In case you were wondering, the reason for all the offerings/specials is that Mother's Day is actually the big day in the restaurant business - getting even more business than Valentine's Day.

But what ever the freebie and what ever the reason, I hope you enjoy creating your own Mother's Day traditions with your children and families. Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Six Flags Agrees to $1.3 million Settlement from 2008 Incident

According to the Post Star, Six Flags agreed to a $1.3 million settlement on Tuesday in court in lieu of dealing with a class action lawsuit.

About 650 people were affected by a viral outbreak in March 2008 at the Great Escape Lodge. More than 100 of the guests are part of the lawsuit.

A spokesperson from the Lodge maintained that the viral issue did not originate at the facility.

The illness is believed to have occured from a viral strain in the pool area of the indoor water park, according to the Post Star.



With a third of the settlement going to legal fees, about $866,000 would be split, the Post Star reported - which would end up being about $8,660 per person in the suit.

The Lodge, across the street from the Six Flags-owned Great Escape theme park, includes suites, dining options inside the resort like Johnny Rockets, and the indoor water park. Prices start at around $179.

The $43 million lodge and waterpark opened in February 2006, according to the TU.

Plane Hit by Lightning - Twice - and Still Lands in NYC

An American Eagle plane - which I actually didn't even know was an airpline - was struck by lightning twice on Wednesday (May 8) as it flew closer to New York City, it's destination, according to multiple media outlets including the Huffington Post.

The plane, which flew from Detroit, landed safely at LaGuardia by 10:41 a.m. yesterday.

It appears the same release was sent to all the media since they all pretty much have the same info. Most articles also state that an emergency was declared onboard by the captain as a precaution.

There were 20 passengers and three crew members, who were all safe upon arrival.

And now for those out there wondering how planes usually avoid being hit by lightning, a random photo I found online:

Albany International Airport Has Most Expensive Round-Trip Fares in State

According to the Times Union's Eric Anderson, Capital District travelers out of Albany International Airport pay the most in the state - $411 on average per round-trip- but the average distance is also about 1,205 miles.
The TU cited fourth quarter figures reported by the U.S. Department of Transportion this week.
Albany International has airlines including United, Delta, Southwest, US Airways Express, and Air Canada Express.
Albany Airport is the oldest municipal airport in the country.

(and this, btw, is why I usually fly out of Boston or NYC)




Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Heart NY: State Launching NYS Tourism Campaign

I'm just reading about this myself. I'm definitely interested to see how this works out and how it will affect local tourism.

Here's the press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office today:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of New York’s largest tourism campaign in decades, committing nearly $60 million to grow the industry, create jobs and attract even more visitors to the Empire State.

The Governor’s announcement came at the conclusion of the New York State Tourism Summit, where hundreds of tourism experts gathered in Albany to discuss ideas and new ways to bring tourists to every corner of the state. As the fifth largest employment sector in New York, tourism supported 714,000 jobs and generated more than $29 billion in wages in 2012. One out of every 12 jobs in New York is tourism-related. The more than 202 million international and domestic visitors that visited the Empire State last year resulted in $57 billion in direct tourism spending, and generated $7 billion in state and local taxes.

New York State has some of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the world. From the peaks of the Adirondacks to the beaches of Long Island, no matter what you’re looking for you can find it here,” Governor Cuomo said. “I want the world to know about these assets, too, and am committed to making the State a ‘must see’ global destination and creating new jobs and investments in New York.”

After discussions with tourism experts and hearing the concerns and ideas of local and international tourism officials, the Governor announced a series of initiatives designed to make New York State the tourism capital of the world:

Highest Level of Tourism Funding in Decades: The Governor announced the state would invest nearly $60 million in tourism funding - the highest level of tourism funding in decades, making New York State third in the country in tourism funding. Last year, the state invested $19 million in tourism funding.

New I LOVE NY marketing campaign with Port Authority and MTA to promote Upstate NY tourism destinations: Under the partnership announced today, The MTA and Port Authority will provide $2 million dollars’ worth of advertising space on subways, bus and commuter rail systems and at airport arrival points and kiosks to promote Upstate tourism.

    · The MTA/I LOVE NY Partnership will result in more 7,000 advertising spaces throughout the MTA subway, bus and commuter rail systems. This will include 2,500 posters at subway stations, platforms and in rail cars; 2,600 ads in New York City buses; 2,000 ads in Metro North and LIRR trains; and ads at 250 Metro North and LIRR station platforms promoting Upstate tourism. Last year, more than 8.5 million people rode the State's subways, buses and commuter railroads every day. In addition, the MTA and I LOVE NY will co-brand railroad destination and getaway packages to Long Island and Hudson Valley beaches, wineries, parks and attractions.
    · The Port Authority/I LOVE NY Partnership will result in advertising at the Port Authority’s most important travel hubs and services: JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, PATH, Stewart Airport, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the JFK AirTrain. Advertising spaces made available for this campaign by the Port Authority will include: Passenger walkways at JFK Terminals 1 and 5, featuring advertising on the interior walls and windows; large outdoor banners at JFK Terminals 1 and 4, designed to capture the attention of international travelers; 13 back-lit “dynamic” signs at JFK, LaGuardia, and Stewart terminals; “Path Through History” advertising featured on PATH and AirTrain car advertising and station platform posters; “I Love NY” signage and information at traveler information kiosks located in all JFK, LaGuardia and Stewart airport terminals; “I Love NY” video PSA’s on the Port Authority’s outdoor digital “Media Mesh” display at the Port Authority Bus Terminal; and more than 20 indoor and outdoor print/digital advertising resources at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, including high-visibility column wraps.
    · Additional Airline and Airport Partnerships: As the first entry point for many travelers and tourists, the Governor announced new initiatives to welcome visitors to the Empire State and inform them about the state’s many assets and attractions. This will include on-site greeters and welcome centers at New York’s airports. The Governor also announced the state's airports will feature Taste NY. Additionally, the Governor announced that Delta Airlines will start featuring I LOVE NY advertisements in their in-flight magazine starting this month.

NYS Sports and Special Events Commission: The Governor announced that the State will create a Sports and Special Events Commission. The commission will be charged with recruiting sporting and other special events to venues across the state – and competing for part of the $600 billion global sports tourism industry.

New Welcome Centers at Border and Interstate Crossings: The centers will serve as hubs of information about the State’s tourism assets and attractions. New signs showcasing local attractions will also be strategically placed at these border and interstate crossings.

New Taste NY Marketing Efforts: As announced today, Taste NY products will be sold at strategically located rest stops across the State. The Governor also announced there will be a Taste NY Tent at this year’s PGA tournament in Rochester, selling and sampling Made in NY products to tournament-goers.

International Tourism Campaign: From Asia to South America: The Governor announced an international tourism campaign – ILOVENY ASIA / ILOVENY SOUTH AMERICA – that will invite people overseas to the Empire State and have a presence in emerging markets such as China and Brazil. There will be NYS representatives in parts of Asia and South America to promote the Empire State as a top travel destination and help plan itineraries.

New Tourism Information for Decision-Makers: Empire State Development will be a clearinghouse for tourism metrics, offering New York’s businesses a place to go for information on how to best market to visitors and attract tourists.

I LOVE NY in Times Square: The Times Square Alliance has agreed to give the state space at the Visitors Center to help market state attractions to the more than 400,000 tourists that pass through Times Square every year.

I LOVE NY LGBT: The Governor announced an I Love NY LGBT niche tourism initiative to market NYS to the LGBT community, which accounts for approximately $70 billion in tourism spending in the U.S. every year.

Today’s summit follows a series of other initiatives spearheaded by Governor Cuomo, including New York Open for Fishing and Hunting, Path Through History, Wine, Beer and Spirits tourism and the Adirondack Challenge, designed to lure new visitors, create new jobs and spotlight the state’s natural beauty and unparalleled attractions.

Ommegang's Black Crowes Concert Re-Scheduled for Sept. 5

A lot is going on at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown.

Jon and I were lucky enough to go to their Great Beer Deserves Great Food dinner April 19 and the Game of Thrones one, featuring their new GoT beer and the chef from Albany's City Beer Hall, in March.

From an Ommegang email sent out today, there are quite a few events coming up and a slight change to their Black Crowes concert originally scheduled for July 26:

"First, the last spring installment of our Great Beer Deserves Great Food dinners will take place this Friday night featuring chef Travis Yuen of the Alewife in NYC. He has prepared an inspired spring menu featuring some of our new seasonal beers to get the warm weather started off right. You can find the menu for this event attached to this e-mail. There are a limited number of tickets left for this event so make your reservation at the Ommegang gift shop by calling (607) 286-4090.

"Additionally we are only a few weeks away from our first major concert of the 2013 season. On Sunday May 26th we will have an evening of music from renown artists Old Crow Medicine Show. Old Crow got their start busking on the street corners of upstate New York and Canada and have made waves with audiences at major festivals across the country. Most well known for their song 'Wagon Wheel' Old Crow has appeared on late night television as well as The Grand Ole Opry. Tickets are available at Brewery Ommegang as well as online at www.frontgatetickets.com or www.dansmallspresents.com or call (607) 286-4090 for a complete list of physical ticket outlets.
 
"Also please note that due to a conflict with the artist we have had to move the date of The Black Crowes concert, originally scheduled for Friday July 26th to Thursday September 5th. All tickets purchased will be honored at the new date and any inquiries for refunds can be remitted to dan@dansmallspresents.com or events@ommegang.com ."
 
 

Avocado Fries from Slidin' Dirty

I think the two words I've heard the most this past week have been "avocado" and "fries". Or, at least, those are the two words that my brain seems to be paying the most attention to.

I missed the Slidin' Dirty food truck at the Food Truck Festival in Troy on Saturday, which may have been just as well since I heard lines at most of the trucks were kinda, sorta, extremely long. But also well worth the wait.

I can now say the same about the avocado fries. They are worth the foodie hype and the wait (oh, it's been a long seven days since I first heard about them). It was even worth fighting former Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian over the last order of avocado fries at the food truck in Troy today. (OK, we didn't "fight" exactly but....there were words exchanged....mostly nice words, since he's a nice guy - but there were words. And, long story short, I got the fries.)

So, here's the deal with the avocado fries:
Brooke Taney, who owns and operates the food truck with her husband Tim, makes the fries.
They're $3 for an order of about seven fries that includes your choice of a chipotle or horseradish dipping sauce.
Slidin' Dirty also has a meal deal of two sliders with an appetizer (including the avocado fries) for $10.



From their appearance, they reminded me of parts of a blooming onion. After all, it's another fried vegetable/fruit/thing.
It's crunchy on the outside, and creamy inside - a great combination. And the horseradish dip brought out some of the flavors in the fried batter dip.

The Taneys explained: "We wanted to do a fry for the truck and since we are a gourmet food truck, we thought they would be a hit! Fresh cut fries are often greasy no matter how long you soak, blanch and refry them. Plus, who doesn't love avocados?! They are the good fat! People like them who don't even like avocados!"

Overall, I'd definitely recommend them. It's a win/win/win - supporting a new-ish local business (they just opened in March 2012), trying a unique food item that  you don't see on a lot of menus, and they're just $3.


Other menu items include sliders with a choice of Angus beef, roasted chicken breast or a vegetarian option served on a brioche bun. There are also gluten-free tacos that can be substitued for the bun. There are also gluten-free tortilla chips and pulled pork sliders. And beverages are just $1.

You can find out more about Slidin' Dirty on this site. They're planning to be in Menands' Riverview Center at 11am Thursday and they'll be at the Tulip Festival on Saturday in Albany. They're also really good at getting back to folks on Twitter (@Slidin_Dirty). The food truck accepts cash and major credit cards.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pre-Empire State Plaza Documentary of Neighborhood Proposed

I had heard through the grapevine of this effort to make a documentary about the neighborhood that was demolished to make way for the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY.

This happened in the late 1950s, 60s, 70s so I'm almost surprised such a documentary has not yet been made. I also can't help but compare this with the current tearing down of St. Patrick's Church in Watervliet - that could be a documentary of its own as well.

The Empire State Plaza project took over a dozen years of planning/construction with a $2 billion price tag.

Here is a bit more information and a trailer for the documentary which would focus on the Italian neighborhood, along with info about how to donate through kickstarter, via Keep Albany Boring. And even more information, via the Times Union.

  (the Plaza, Then and Now)  
       

Fundraiser for Albany's Palace Theatre on Thursday

Palace Theatre Announces
Sandy Hackett’s
 
RAT PACK SHOW
 
“SALUTE TO THE PALACE”
This Thursday
MAY 9
7:30 pm
Mayor Jennings invites you to a “Salute to the Palace” – a fundraiser to benefit the Palace Theatre!
Celebrating 50 years of The Rat Pack,Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show has been hailed as the next best thing to seeing the Rat Pack themselves.
“The interpretations by the actors capture the stage essences of the Rat Pack
members in a way that is eerily supernatural.”
-SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. & Joey Bishop… THE RAT PACK. They were style with substance, swing with swagger and a non-stop party that everyone wanted access to. Now audiences can experience this critically acclaimed, hugely entertaining theatrical production that includes exciting new arrangements of the classic songs everyone knows and loves. In addition, audiences will hear original, never-before-heard songs written by the late,legendary songwriter, Ron Miller (“For Once In My Life”), and recorded voiceovers made exclusively for this show by Sandy Hackett’s father, the late, legendary comedian,Buddy Hackett.

“Sandy Hackett is my first choice to play me. Honestly, I wish I had been that good!”
-JOEY BISHOP

“You’ll swear that the sounds of Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show have conjured
up the golden era of Las Vegas”
-ROBIN LEACH; LUXE LIFE

Tickets for “The Rat Pack Show” at 7:30 PM are: $20, $39.50 & $49.50
Tickets are ON SALE NOW at the Palace Theatre Box Office(located at 19 Clinton Ave).Box Office hours are MondayFriday 10AM – 5PMand Saturday 10AM – 2PM as well as special hours during performances. Tickets are also available for purchase via Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at 800-745-3000 and All Ticketmaster outlets oronline at ticketmaster.com.
Presented by CDPHP & Huck Finn’s Warehouse and more.
Sponsored by Tri City Rentals, Connelly’s Diamond Gallery, Sano-Rubin, Citizens Bank, Capitalize Albany Corporation, 74 State, Mazzone Hospitality, The Bonadio Group & Price Chopper