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2007 Readers’ Picks

 

The winners of Metroland’s annual poll of readers’ favorite things in the Capital Region

 

Food & Drink

 

Best American

1. Jack’s Oyster House

2. (tie) DeJohn’s and Justin’s

With a name like Jack’s, you know it’s American. When you get a hankering for some good ol’ meat and potatoes with a bit of flair, these are your three favorite spots around.

 

Best Italian

1. Lombardo’s Restaurant

2. Café Capriccio

3. Caffe Italia

The old school takes it handily: Lombardo’s is the red-sauce champ, with Café Capriccio’s delectable fare bringing them a well-earned second.

 

Best French/ Continental

1. Provence

2. Nicole’s Bistro

3. Chez Sophie

Oui, oui!

 

Best Seafood

1. Real Seafood Co.

2. Red Lobster

3. Jack’s Oyster House

Real Seafood? Delicious. Jack’s Oyster House? You bet. But Red Lobster?

 

Best Chinese

1. Ichiban

2. Plum Blossom

3. Peking

You guys love you some Ichiban . . .

 

Best Japanese

1. Ichiban

2. Koto

3. Hiro’s

. . . as you voted them tops in both eligible categories.

 

Best Vietnamese/ Thai

1. My Linh

2. Bangkok Thai Bistro

3. Van’s

My Linh won this in a landslide; it would appear that this is because readers can’t think of any other Vietnamese restaurants.

 

Best Mexican

1. El Mariachi

2. El Loco Mexican Café

3. Garcia’s

The mighty El Mariachi kingdom has cornered the market on your hearts, and that crazy café on Madison Avenue still offers some of the best margaritas poured.

 

Best Southern/Soul

1. Hattie’s

2. Smokey Bones

3. Magnolia’s

The Saratoga Springs landmark won in a landslide, but Smokey Bones’ BBQ and Magnolia’s Southern flair won favor, too.

 

Best Caribbean

1. Clayton’s

2. Roy’s

3. First Choice

You sure miss Clayton’s: The shuttered Center Square mainstay won by a lot.

 

Best Indian/ Pakistani

1. Shalimar

2. Sitar

3. Karavalli

Two perennial faves take the top spots, while the buzz-heavy Karavalli places third.

 

Best Greek

1. A Taste of Greece

2. Grecian Garden

3. Chariot

You still have a taste for the ever-tasty Taste of Greece.

 

Best International

1. Yono’s

2. BFS Restaurant

3. Avenue A

Yono’s has won fast favor in its new downtown Albany location, while BFS holds steady and always-busy neighborhood fave Avenue A moves into contention.

 

Best Vegetarian

1. Antipasto’s

2. Four Seasons

3. Shades of Green

Antipasto’s was the overwhelming winner. As with Clayton’s, you folks just won’t let go of your fond memories of the long-gone Shades of Green.

 

Best Steak House

1. Angelo’s 677 Prime

2. Barnsider

3. Delmonico’s

The Capital Region, evidently, can appreciate expensive meat: Angelo’s 677 Prime won easily. The ever-dependable Barnsider and Delmonico’s also know how serve up a tasty slab o’beef.

 

Best BBQ

1. Giffy’s

2. PJ’s

3. Chico’s

Thanks! We were getting a taste for some ribs, and now we know that you guys overwhelmingly prefer the classic BBQ styles of Clifton Park’s Giffy’s.

 

Best Brew Pub

1. Albany Pump Station

2. Brown’s Brewing Co.

3. Troy Brew Pub

The C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station continues to impress, while Brown’s earns a respectable second. In third is, uh, the Troy Brew Pub . . . which changed its name to Brown’s Brewing Co. three years ago. When’s the last time you people went out for a pint?

 

Best Beer Selection

1. Mahar’s

2. Lionheart

3. Holmes and Watson

Mahar’s has it all, from the sublime to the ridiculous, from every corner of the globe. And they serve their brew with attitude: Mahar’s is not a place for beer poseurs. The Lionheart has great drafts, and Homes and Watson has a great selection.

 

Best Diner

1. Latham 76

2. Metro 20

3. Miss Albany

When you’re looking for eggs and bacon at 3:30 AM, you go with the classics: Latham 76 and Metro 20 in Guilderland. And for your weekend brunch, another classic—Miss Albany.

 

Best Deli

1. Gershon’s

2. Maurice’s

3. Ragonese

People tend to like their delis old-school, with big helpings and bigger pickles. Gershon’s is all of that, and it’s No.1 in your hearts.

 

Best Brunch

1. Justin’s

2. Gideon Putnam

3. Peaches Café

We can taste Justin’s casted hash and eggs right now. Mmm. Gideon Putnam’s brunch is almost overwhelming, while Peaches is an old favorite.

 

Best Outdoor Dining

1. El Mariachi II

2. DeJohn’s

3. Water’s Edge Lighthouse

El Mariachi’s Robinson Square location is your first choice, but you have plenty of love for DeJohn’s patio and the Scotia charms of Water’s Edge Lighthouse.

 

Best Cheap Eats

1. Bombers

2. Taco Bell

3. McDonald’s

People head to Bombers when they want a lot of food for a little money—and, we imagine, because they prefer their Tex-Mex free of e-coli or rat infestation.

 

Best Catering

1. Glen Sanders Mansion

2. Old Daley Inn

3. Classe Catering

For the ultimate in takeout, our readers prefer Glen Sanders time and time again.

 

Best Burger

1. Red Robin

2. Five Guys

3. Lark Tavern

This category was dominated by two national chains, with the venerable Lark Tavern serving up a tasty No. 3 special.

 

Best Wings

1. Bombers

2. Wings Over Albany

3. the Rusty Nail

You guys like your wings the same way we do—with a frozen margarita. Does that make us strange? Hell, no.

 

Best Pizza

1. I Love NY Pizza

2. Paesan’s

3. Inferno

Um, we’re not going to try to guess which of the many I Love NY Pizzas you people mean. Next year, specify please. We can verify, however, that both Paesan’s and Inferno have some tasty pies.

 

Best Bagels

1. Bruegger’s

2. Uncommon Grounds

3. Dunkin Donuts

The first Bruegger’s opened 20 years ago in Troy. It’s true! Big ups to Uncommon Grounds.

 

Best Sandwich/Subs

1. Quizno’s

2. Debbie’s Kitchen

3. Panera Bread

Look at Debbie’s Kitchen sandwiched in between Quiznos and Panera Bread. We’re warning you, you out-of-town, chain-restaurant start-ups, don’t piss Debbie off.

 

Best Ice Cream

1. Ben & Jerry’s

2. Cold Stone Creamery

3. Stewart’s

Don’t mention ice to us right now—it’s, like, 10 below out.

 

Best Coffee

1. Dunkin Donuts

2. Starbucks

3. Daily Grind

In the age of big, bad franchise domination, it’s nice to see y’all still got some love for the locally owned Grind.

 

Best Desserts

1. Cheesecake Factory

2. Vanilla Bean

3. Bella Napoli

Business Penetration 101: The secret to a successful venture is to use a signature product in your name. The runners-up in this category are locally owned and they rock.

 

Best Martini

1. Alibi’s

2. Justin’s

3. Blue 82

We like our martinis girly and pink, and these fine establishments make the girliest and pinkest ones around. They also pour some pretty macho gimlets, too.

 

Best Wine List

1. the Ginger Man

2. Wine Bar

3. Antica Enoteca

The Ginger Man has always impressed us with its comprehensive wine list and the servers’ knowledge of their wares. And, actually, the same can be said for Saratoga Springs’ Wine Bar and Lark Street’s Antica Enoteca.

 

Best Bakery (Desserts)

1. Bella Napoli

2. Vanilla Bean

3. Villa Italia

We’re on our way for cannoli already.

 

Best Bakery (Breads)

1. Panera Bread

2. Bella Napoli

3. Perreca’s

There was a time when we got Red Lobster as the winner for seafood restaurant every year. That stopped this year. But now this? Panera Bread as best bread bakery? We suppose you are going to tell us that McDonald’s makes the best coffee in town, too. (Actually, they kinda do.)

 

Best Indian Buffet

1. Shalimar

2. Karavalli

3. Curry House

Anything and everything you want in an Indian buffet can be found at Shalimar—we can almost taste the shahi korma and chicken vindaloo now. And you can’t beat the price! Our mouths are watering.

 

Best Chinese Buffet

1. Dragon Buffet

2. Capital Buffet

3. Kings Buffet

Their names say it all. Buffet. When you got that craving to graze from heat-lamped pots of Szechuan goodness, these spots are your top picks.

 

Best Date Restaurant

1. Justin’s

2. the Ginger Man

3. Jack’s Oyster House

Justin’s cozy, cushioned, candlelit dining room provides just the kind of ambience you all prefer when choosing a date destination. The Ginger Man and Jack’s followed closely in terms of votes.

 

Best Kids Restaurant

1. Friendly’s

2. Red Robin

3. Chuck E. Cheese’s

Friendly’s is great and all, but where are the giant animal costumes?

 

Best Power Lunch

1. Jack’s Oyster House

2. 677 Prime

3. Panera Bread

Feel the power of Jack’s. Not pow-pow-Power Wheels power, but the power of hundreds of politicians gathered in one spot haggling over the fate of us normal folk, all while they enjoy some ultra-tasty oysters.

 

Best Eats at 3 AM

1. Denny’s

2. 76 Diner

3. Bob’s Diner

At 3 AM, it isn’t so much about the food as it’s about that comfortable vibe of bleary-eyed scenesters and super- caffeinated servers, and Denny’s, apparently, never fails. You aren’t looking for gourmet; you’re just looking to wind down with a fresh cup of coffee. These places can’t be beat.

 

Best Breakfast

1. Denny’s

2. Miss Albany Diner

3. 76 Diner

So what you are saying is that a good breakfast to you means bingeing on eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, and gravy to the tune of two times your caloric intake for the day? Well, we agree.

 

Goods and Services

Best Optical Store

1. Empire Vision

2. Lenscrafters

3. DiNapoli’s

We see you know what you’re talking about.

 

Best Appliance Store

1. Sears

2. Best Buy

3. (tie) Green’s and Lowe’s

Our readers are not shy about going big-box for their appliance needs. Nice to see one locally owned business (Green’s) hanging in there.

 

Best Antiques

1. River Street, Troy

2. Katbird Shop

3. (tie) Aunt Katie’s Attic, and Warren Street, Hudson

There are a lot of old things for sale in Troy. And Scotia. And Hudson.

 

Best Bookstore

1. Borders

2. Barnes & Noble

3. The Book House

Borders and Barnes & Noble duke it out for the top spot again. We can just picture them lobbing rotten eggs across Wolf Road at each other.

 

Best Newsstand

1. Coulson’s

2. Borders

3. Westmere News & Variety

No one even came close to Coulson’s, as per usual.

 

Best Internet Provider

1. Road Runner

2. Verizon

3. AOL

It must be our collective childhood fondness for the Looney Tunes, or its reliable broadband service, because Road Runner dominated in this category. It won by a landslide.

 

Best Garden Store/Nursery

1. Hewitt’s

2. Faddegan’s

3. Home Depot

Hewitt’s won by a landslide, perhaps because people don’t so much trust their gardening questions to dudes who sell aluminum siding.

 

Best Florist

1. Lark Street Flower Market

2. Frank Gallo and Son

3. Emil J. Nagengast

You people love your flowers! And there is an apparent bond you’ve made with their florists. We can tell that by how close the votes were for the top three winners.

 

Best Home Electronics Store

1. Best Buy

2. Hippo’s Home Entertainment

3. Circuit City

Why does Best Buy have a lockdown on the home-electronics market? It’s probably because you can buy a microwave, a car stereo installation and the DVD of Enter the Dragon all inside its comfortable yellow-and-blue world. Hippo’s appeals to those who want some custom lovin’.

 

Best Furniture Store

1. Taft Furniture

2. Old Brick Furniture Co.

3. Raymour & Flanigan Furniture

“Hey, it’s the big store,” what do you expect? People like big. Old Brick did come in a close second. Probably because it’s kinda big, too.

 

Best Pet Supplies Store

1. Petsmart

2. Petco

3. Benson’s

When you absolutely, positively need to dress your dog up in a cute little sweater and booties, you turn to Petsmart.

 

Best Gift Store

1. Romeo’s

2. Wit’s End

3. Hallmark

Because you like your gift stores with a bit of man-ass, Romeo’s defeated its vanilla comers handily.

 

Best Wine/Liquor Store

1. All Star Wine & Spirits

2. Exit 9 Wine & Liquor Warehouse

3. Capital Wine & Spirits

All Star is the rock star in this category for the umpteenth time.

 

Best Vintage Store

1. Salvation Army

2. Goodwill

3. (tie) Metropolis and Last Vestige

The DIY vintage-clothes shoppers voted in droves this year, and Salvation Army came out on top. For those of you who are willing to pay someone else to claw through the bargain-filled racks, Metropolis and Last Vestige offers tons of style and a bit of savings.

 

Best Women’s Clothing Store

1. Macy’s

2. H&M

3. Circles

Your Macy’s card is buzzing in your pocket now, isn’t it?

 

Best Men’s Clothing Store

1. Macy’s

2. Spector’s

3. Express and J. C. Penney

Your Macy’s card is out of your pocket and leading you by the hand toward the register now, isn’t it?

 

Best Children’s Clothing Store

1. Gap Kids

2. Children’s Place

3. Old Navy

Your kids dress fancy. Our kids can too, when they figure out how to apply for their own Gap cards.

 

Best Women’s Shoe Store

1. Saratoga Shoe Depot

2. DSW

3. Macy’s

In past years we may have alluded to a certain shoe fetish shared by some members of the staff. It’s Saratoga Shoe Depot’s fault. They keep us longing to dip our toes into fresh leather.

 

Best Men’s Shoe Store

1. DSW

2. Macy’s

3. (tie) Saratoga Shoe Depot and Payless

The guys know where to go to get their shoes—they feel comfortable in the warehouse atmosphere of DSW. They can get in, get out, and get on with their lives.

 

Best Women’s Haircut

1. Jean Paul Salon & Spa

2. Rumors

3. Tullio’s

We were hoping you’d misinterpret this one and write in “Britney Spears.”

 

Best Men’s Haircut

1. Rumors IV Men

2. (tie) Gregory’s and Jean Paul Salon & Spa

You can’t see this, but Supercuts came in just behind Gregory’s and Jean Paul. You guys are real funny.

 

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Dick’s Sporting Goods

2. Sports Authority

3. Goldstock’s

While Sports Authority and Goldstocks garnered a respectable number of votes, no one came close to the winner in this category. Apparently everyone loves Dick’s.

 

Best Bike Shop

1. Downtube

2. Plaine’s

3. Dick’s Sporting Goods

Downtube remains at the top of the list for discriminating cyclists. Customer service, great selection and a superb fix-it shop all contribute to the store’s annual dominance in this category.

 

Best Toy Store

1. Toys “R” Us

2. K B Toys

3. The Toymaker

You naughty, naughty devils—Adult World nearly snuck its way into the top three. Let’s try to keep the rest of list clean, shall we? To that end we suggest you check out Toys “R” Us and let Geoffrey the giraffe clean your mouth out with soap.

 

Best Video Rental

1. Hollywood Video

2. Blockbuster

3. Netflix

Don’t be surprised if you see your neighbor at Hollywood Video, because apparently, that’s where most of you go to grab your copies of Borat nowadays.

 

Best Tattoo

1. Lark Tattoo

2. Tom Spaulding

3. Impulse Tattoo

The readers were very clear about where they prefer to get inked—Lark Tattoo won by a landslide.

 

Best Cellular Service

1. Verizon

2. Cingular

3. Sprint

Verizon, you devil, you. You stole our heart with the Chocolate and then stole our money when it broke three or four times. But we still love you, and so does everyone else.

 

Best Jeweler

1. Northeastern Fine Jewelery

2. Hannoush Jewelers

3. Kay Jewelers

When you want your bling, any of these top winners get your business. It was a dead-heat between the top three.

 

Best Day Spa

1. Kimberley’s . . . A Day Spa, Ltd.

2. Crystal Spa

3. Jean Paul Salon

Kimberley’s proves convincingly it’s the place you most like to be pampered.

 

Best Musical Instrument Store

1. Parkway Music

2. Guitar Center

3. Drome Sound

This was a close one, but readers ultimately went with Parkway, perhaps because it’s not as loud as the next- closest competitor.

 

Best Farmer’s Market

1. Troy Farmer’s Market

2. Saratoga Springs

3. Empire State Plaza

At either the Atrium in the winter, or the parking lot in the summer, the Troy Farmer’s Market is always hopping.

 

Best Produce

1. Price Chopper

2. Hannaford

3. Honest Weight Food Co-op

Price Chopper won by a huge margin in this category, perhaps because this locally owned chain has revamped its produce sections in recent years to include things like hard-to-find fruits and organic selections.

 

Best Place To Buy a Computer

1. Best Buy

2. Dell Online

3. Apple Store

What happened, Apple Store? Hope that iPhone thing works out for ya.

 

Best Place to Service a Computer

1. Best Buy

2. Apple Store

3. CompUSA

The geek squad rolls hard. The geek squad rolls deep. Don’t F with the geek squad, or they will put you to sleep.

 

Best Shopping (plaza)

1. Stuyvesant

2. Mohawk Commons

3. Newton

There is only one worthwhile plaza in the Capital Region, according to our readers. That is not to say there is only one plaza. There are lots of strip malls and plazas, but there is only one plaza that escapes the strip-mall stereotype by laying on the pomp and circumstance like it’s going out of style.

 

Best Shopping (Mall)

1. Crossgates Mall

2. Colonie Center

3. Rotterdam Square

It started in 2007: Malls across America shirking their human masters to do battle with each other. Many lives were lost, many Starbucks and Torrids laid to waste. Cinemas sprang up, Cheesecake Factories shot forth from the muddy soil. Here in Albany we got the worst of it, as titans Crossgates and Colonie Center unleashed a shopaholic’s Armageddon of savings. Rotterdam Square was the only survivor.

 

Best Shopping (City)

1. Saratoga Springs

2. Albany

3. New York City

You love the Spa City, whose cute little downtown is a shopper’s paradise.

 

Best Shopping (Outlet)

1. Lee, Mass.

2. Lake George

3. Woodbury Commons

Lee reigns supreme, perhaps because it’s so fun to sing the word “Lee” as you stroll its outlets.

 

Best Supermarket

1. Price Chopper

2. Hannaford

3. Honest Weight Food Co-op

It was a neck-and-neck race between Price Chopper and Hannaford, but Price Chopper pulled ahead in the end, and we can see why. We love PC’s huge produce selections and various perks—in some locations there are sushi chefs and florists.

 

Best Health Food Store

1. Honest Weight food co-op

2. GNC

3. Green Grocer

This category was no contest for Honest Weight. But, we have to say, we’re still concerned that our readers think that GNC is a health food store. We know you all love your pills, but c’mon now.

 

Best Record Store (Used)

1. Last Vestige

2. FYE

3. Blue Note

There can be only one! And that one is Last Vestige—the last remaining beacon of used-record and -CD sales in the Capital Region.

 

Best Record Store (New)

1. FYE

2. Best Buy

3. Coconuts

We may have asked last year but we have to ask again: You guys look at how much your CDs cost before you buy them right? OK, just checking.

 

People and Places

Best Park

1. Washington Park, Albany

2. Central Park, Schenectady

3. Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs

Washington Park received three times the votes as the very close second- and third-place finishers. Score one for the 19th-century “city beautiful” movement.

 

Best Playground

1. The Crossings, Colonie

2. Washington Park, Albany

3. Central Park, Schenectady

Parents of the Capital Region have spoken: The Crossings is a hit. Folks still love Washington and Central parks, though.

 

Best Day Trip

1. Lake George

2. New York City

3. Vermont

Lake George won this with a huge lead over the perennial favorites to the south and northeast of us. Score one for the home team.

 

Best Bike Trail

1. Mohawk River

2. Corning Preserve

3. Saratoga State Park

In the past we and our readers have been accused of coveting trail mix. Well here are the places we like to eat it.

 

Best Running Trail

1. Corning Preserve

2. The Crossings

3. Mohawk River

Nothing beats a good run around (or away from) the Hudson.

 

Best Hiking/Nature Trail

1. Thatcher Park

2. Five Rivers Environmental Education Center

3. Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Thatcher Park is the best place to take out-of-towners to impress them with the Capital Region’s natural beauty. Five Rivers is great nature preserve. And we’re pretty sure that Albany hasn’t taken all of the Pine Bush for dump expansion yet.

 

Best Rock Climbing

1. Albany Indoor Rock Gym

2. Electric City Rock Gym

3. Thatcher Park

The Albany Indoor Rock Gym has superior escarpments, and monumental ledges.

 

Best Gym

1. Planet Fitness

2. Gold’s Gym

3. YMCA

People like working their abs in the “judgment free zone.”

 

Best Massage Therapist

1. Chris Minehan

2. (tie) Nick Pavoldi and Mary Panza

Next time, send us gift certificates so we can test these people out and prove you all right.

 

Best Yoga/Pilates

1. Albany Kripalu Yoga Center

2. Best Fitness

3. Studio G

No one out om’s Albany Kripalu. It took this one in a landslide.

 

Best Golf Course

1. Saratoga National Golf Course

2. Capital Hills at Albany

3. Stadium Golf Club

Saratoga National won with a good lead over the course you still call Albany Municipal, and Schenectady’s Stadium.

 

Best Mini Golf

1. Hoffman’s Playland

2. Funplex, East Greenbush

3. Pirates Cove

Hoffman’s Playland has spent years fine-tuning its miniature-golf course, and you like the results.

 

Best Skiing/ Snowboarding

1. Gore Mountain

2. Jiminy Peak

3. West Mountain

The votes are in: As the ads say, you want more Gore.

 

Best Ice Skating

1. Empire State Plaza

2. Swinburne Park

3. Hudson Valley Community College

There is just something about skating at the center of Albany’s most stunning architectural mess.

 

Best Bowling Alley

1. Playdium

2. Latham Bowl

3. Sunset Lanes

The Playdium dominated the competition, keeping the bowling crown in the heart of Albany.

 

Best Pool Hall

1. Diamond 8 Billiards

2. Golden Cue

3. Backstreet Billiards

Rack ’em up and shoot ’em.

 

Best Bar

1. Tess’ Lark Tavern

2. Jillian’s

3. Old Dublin Inn

This was close, but Tess’ Lark Tavern took the victory, which is likely a testament to everything Tess herself has done since she took over this Center Square mainstay. Jillian’s second-place win is likely a testament to Jerry Jennings’ vision for Pearl Street, and Clifton Park’s Old Dublin Inn has made a name for itself with good beer and live music.

 

Best Hook-Up Bar

1. Jillian’s

2. Skyline

3. Lionheart

Hey reader, you like reading the Metroland Readers Poll? Yeah, so do we—it is so hot. Hot like white-socks-in-the-dryer kind of hot. So, where are you going after this? Maybe we could get a few drinks at Jillian’s?

 

Best Gay Bar

1. Oh Bar

2. Waterworks

3. Club Phoenix

They battled it out like gladiators. Their hot, sweaty flesh glistened under the neon of the beer signs as they wrestled hard and long through the night. In the end, Oh Bar came out on top, outlasting its closest competitor, Waterworks.

 

Best Wine Bar

1. Antica Enoteca

2. the Wine Bar

3. (tie) Vin Santo and the Ginger Man

It was a close race, probably because, like us, you get warm and fuzzy about anything after a few glasses of Cabernet.

 

Best Happy Hour Bar

1. Bombers

2. Jillian’s

3. Noche

Seems like everyone has an opinion on this category, as it received a truckload of entries. Bombers won big here, on the strength of its eight-hour-long happy hour.

 

Best Strip Club

1. DiCarlo’s

2. Nite Moves

3. Shenanigans

You like seeing nakey-nakey ladies at DiCarlo’s the best. We can’t usually be so picky about where we see nakey-nakey people. But we know that DiCarlo’s is the best place to do it.

 

Best Bartender

1. Michael Callagan, Old Dublin Inn

2. Mike Ruddy, JJ Rafferty’s

3. Tess Collins, Lark Tavern

The world-renowned statisticians in our employ excitedly informed us that the contest for best bartender was “CUT-THROAT CLOSE!” Looks like a few bartenders are going to have to make their drinks a little stiffer.

 

Best Server

1. Julianne Torres, Yono’s

2. Aleph Ashline, Justin’s

3. Desiree, Hill St. Cafe

It takes a certain balance of charm, efficiency and love for the job to claim the Best Server award. The readers have spoken: The majority of you love Julianne at Yono’s, and Aleph from Justin’s pulled in at a close second.

 

Best Public Official

1. Eliot Spitzer

2. Jerry Jennings

3. David Soares

You elected him, you love him, you expect to see him as president someday. Again you prove that Gov. Spitzer has won your hearts by a landslide. As for numbers two and three: Watch out Jerry, there’s a new star in Albany politics.

 

Best Citizen Advocate

1. Alice Green

2. Eliot Spitzer

3. Naomi Jaffe

Alice Green is a perennial favorite in this category and with good reason. Green has dedicated her life to improving the lives of the discarded in Albany and while she lost her bid for mayor of Albany in 2005, Green left her mark and put Albany’s old guard on notice.

 

Best Animal Advocate

1. Steve Caporizzo

2. ASPCA

3. Whiskers Animal Benevolent League

We appreciate Steve Caporizzo for his meteorological skills, but we love him for his commitment to finding adoptive homes for homeless animals. Readers called it a draw, as he took gold in both categories. We’re not sure which ASPCA you prefer, but we know and love Whiskers, too.

 

Best Local Charity

1. Salvation Army

2. Ronald McDonald House

3. Equinox

Was it the thrift shops? Because that’s why we would have voted for them.

 

Best Swimming Pool

1. Victoria Pool, Saratoga

2. Lincoln Park, Albany

3. YMCA

This one was very close, as the Colonie Town Pool was fourth.

 

Best Swimming Hole

1. Grafton State Park

2. French’s Hollow, Guilderland

3. Poestenkill Creek

Grafton’s “hole” is actually a lake, but we’ll let it go since we haven’t instituted a Best Local Lake category thus far.

 

Best Campgrounds

1. Moreau State Park

2. Lake George

3. Thompson’s Lake

These three were all pretty close in the voting, but Moreau’s campgrounds edged ahead for the win.

 

Best In-Store Pet

1. Caymus (dog), All Star Wine and Spirits

2. Sparky (cat), the Katbird Shop

3. Amber (cat), Sweater Venture

Store pets just make the shopping experience homier, so let’s hear it for Caymus, Sparky and Amber—and Morsel, of Some Girls Boutique, who was only one vote out of third place!

 

Media

Best Local TV News

1. WNYT

2. Capital News 9

3. WRGB

Complete and utter ownage from WNYT. Capital News 9: You might be on all the time, but WNYT is right-on, all the time.

 

Best Local TV News Anchor

1. Lydia Kulbida, WNYT

2. John Gray, WXXA

3. Liz Bishop, WRGB

We get it—you love your Lydia Kulbida. She is smart, snappy and sincere. But you have a soft spot in your heart for John Gray and Liz Bishop, too. We understand.

 

Best Local Meteorologist

1. Steve Caporizzo, WTEN

2. Bob Kovachick, WNYT

3. Paul Caiano, WNYT

It wasn’t very close this year. Steve Caporizzo brought home best local meteorologist without breaking a sweat. People still have plenty of love for the WNYT weather team, though.

 

Best Local Sportscaster

1. Rodger Wyland, WNYT

2. (tie) Joe Calderone, Capital News 9, and Rich Becker, WXXA

Rodger Wyland won in a landslide; he’s clearly become the local sports guy.

 

Best News Radio Station

1. WAMC 90.3 FM

2. WGY 810 AM

3. WROW 590 AM

Alan Chartock’s flagship station of Northeast Public Radio won this by a mile, and why not? They have reporters in the field all over the region. WGY’s news coverage has slipped, while must-hear interviews with state and local newsmakers have made WROW the local go-to station.

 

Best Local Music Radio

1. WEQX 102.7 FM

2. WRPI 91.5 FM

3. WGNA 107.7 FM

Lesson to all the format-shifting, classic-rock whoring, Christian-rock loving, identity-crisis having stations in the area: WEQX owns your rumps. The 21-year-old alt-rock outlet won in a landslide, while all-over-the-map WRPI and country mainstay WGNA were only one vote apart.

 

Best Local Radio DJ

1. Willobee, WEQX

2. Kevin Richards, WGNA

3. Jason Keller, WHRL/WGY

This one was very close. In the end, readers chose WEQX’s amiable afternoon guy (and program director) Willobee over his “drive-time” rival Kevin Richards and multitasker Jason Keller, who now handles mornings for WHRL and evening news at WGY.

 

Best Local Publication

1. Metroland

2. Times Union

3. the Daily Gazette

What can we say? We dig you, too. But why no love for The Record?

 

Best Local Arts Coverage

1. Metroland

2. Times Union

3. the Daily Gazette

Our statisticians informed us early today that Metroland had an “absolute and incredible silly-insane lead!” in this category. Having such a great lead lends us the opportunity to remind you: Mland ain’t nothing to mess with.

 

Best Local Print Journalist

1. Fred LeBrun

2. Miriam Axel-Lute

3. Carl Strock

The curious thing about this category is that the top three finishers are primarily columnists. While columnists are journalists, we were thinking more in terms of reporters for this category; and of the three, the winner does the least actual reporting in his column. That said, all are terrific writers—especially our own Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award winner, Miriam Axel-Lute.

 

Best Local Web Site (News)

1. www.capitalnews9.com

2. www.timesunion.com

3. www.wnyt.com

It was very close between Capital News 9 and the Times Union; we’re guessing that the former’s quick and frequent updates gave it the edge.

 

Best Local Web Site (Community)

1. www.timesunion.com

2. www.albany2go.com

3. www.schenectadychamber.org

It was a tight race between the two Times Union sites and the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce’s site. If you haven’t checked out the Chamber’s site, you should: It’s an excellent source of information.

 

Best Local Web Site (Arts)

1. www.metroland.net

2. (tie) www.albany2go.com and www.thehiddencity.com

Thanks for liking our online movie- schedule so much!

 

Best Local Web Site (Music)

1. www.rkstar.com

2. www.metroland.net

3. www.weqx.com

Dan Goodspeed’s rkstar.com was the clear winner over our own site and Vermont’s WEQX-FM.

 

Best Local Blog

1. Albany Eye

2. Capital Confidential

3. Kev Brock

We definitely agree with this pick. Since its disappearance from the Web, Albany Eye has become our favorite blog. It is wonderful how we are no longer treated to the mysterious Albany Eye’s wit, humor and deep insight into local media. Oh, wait! Albany Eye never had any of that to begin with. Seriously though, we heart the Times Union’s Capital Confidential and the sage of Greenwich, Kev Brock.

 

Arts & Entertainment

Best Movie theater

1. Spectrum 8 Theatres

2. Regal Crossgates Stadium 18

3. Madison Theater

Perennial winner Spectrum 8 Theatres has the movie selection and real-butter popcorn you love. Crossgates 18 has the stadium-sized massiveness you crave. The Madison has the neighborhood convenience (and kid- and college-student-oriented programming) you appreciate.

 

Best Museum

1. New York State Museum

2. Albany Institute of History & Art

3. Schenectady Museum & Suite-Bueche Planetarium

The State Museum wins on the bears and dinosaurs and mountain lions alone—we love that stuff. The Albany Institute has had excellent programming run of late, and the Schenectady Museum gets big geek points for presenting the latest in robots and multimedia and outerspace and . . . excuse us while we lock ourselves in the bathroom with a copy of Wired.

 

Best Art Gallery

1. Albany Institute of History & Art

2. Kismet Gallery

3. Clark Art Institute

No matter that you picked two museums and one gallery. The Albany Institute balances its own great collection with interesting traveling exhibits. Troy’s new kid on the block, Kismet, won patrons quickly, while the spectacular Clark Art Institute won your love the old-fashioned way: with great art.

 

Best Local Performing Arts Organization

1. Saratoga Performing Arts Center

2. Capital Repertory Theatre

3. Proctor’s Theatre

People apparently appreciate the new regime at SPAC—and the Proctor’s makeover. Capital Repertory Theatre won your hearts with great live theater.

 

Best Local Visual Artist

1. Val Tran

2. Michael Oatman

3. Eileen Cheong

Last year’s third-place finisher moves in front this year, while last year’s winner drops a notch to second place. Welcome, newcomer Eileen Cheong!

 

Best Local Filmmaker

1. John Sayles

2. Tennyson Bardwell

3. Penny Lane

Same as last year, in a different order: Sayles jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this year’s poll. That said, nobody on this list released a new film in 2006.

 

Best Local Author

1. William Kennedy

2. Russell Banks

3. Barbara Smith

What more can we say but, O Albany! Oh, just this: Barbara Smith gets props for being the only author-public official we have—since Jim Coyne stopped running for public office, anyway.

 

Best Local Poet

1. R.M. Englehardt

2. Mary Panza

3. (tie) Taina Asili and Dan Wilcox

Words, words, words: In readers’ minds, nobody strung them together more effectively and/or read them more dramatically than Englehardt—who also happened to release a new book last year.

 

Best Local Solo Musician

1. Erin Harkes

2. (tie) Mike Grosshandler and Paddy Kilrain

We, too, are fans of Harkes’ big, bluesy voice, whether she’s solo or with a band. Velmas co-frontman Grosshandler and folk-punker Kilrain duke it out for the runner-up spot.

 

Best Live Music Venue

1. Northern Lights

2. Saratoga Performing Arts Center

3. Revolution Hall

With expanded space and more bars than you can shake a stick at, Northern Lights is primed to dominate this category and the Albany music scene for a long time to come. (P.S. Thank you for Mastodon.)

 

Best Dance Club

1. Jillian’s

2. Skyline

3. Fuze Box

When readers wanna shake what their mamas gave ’em, they tend to head to North Pearl Street, but it’s nice to see the old White Tower still in the fight.

 

Best Open Mic

1. Lark Tavern

2. Muddy Cup

3. Caffé Lena

The Lark’s big night is still going strong, and still winning this one annually. But the Muddy Cup’s Monday-night venture is gathering steam, and the venerable Caffe Lena hangs in at No. 3.

 

Best Karaoke

1. Oh Bar

2. (tie) Maxie’s and Bombers

Oh Bar continues to be the hotspot for folks who want to hear “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” mangled beyond recognition—and for those who choose to do the mangling.

 

Best Country Band

1. Back 40 Band

2. Skeeter Creek

3. Kamikaze Hearts

Country fans know their country, and that’s why Back 40 have won this category two years in a row.

 

Best Local Blues/R&B Band

1. Ernie Williams

2. Foy Brothers

3. George Boone Blues Band

Ol’ Ernie is the perennial victor in this category, but watch out—the Foy Brothers are gaining fast!

 

Best Local Jazz Band

1. Brian Patneaude Quartet

2. Adrian Cohen Trio

3. George Muscatello

Patneaude edges out Cohen again, with Muscatello bringing up the rear. Let us remind you that all of these guys are still awfully young, so if you haven’t caught them yet, you should have plenty of time.

 

Best Punk Band

1. The Erotics

2. Monkey Gone Mad

3. Murderer’s Row

For proof of their punkness, refer to this week’s cover story.

 

Best Local Hip-Hop Artist

1. Origin

2. Shyste

3. Rick Whispers

The area hip-hop community continues to thrive, in no small part due to the efforts of these three fine, upstanding citizens.

 

Best Local Rock Band

1. Super 400

2. The Velmas

3. Ten Year Vamp

Damn right. We couldn’t agree more with your top pick here.

 

Best Local Alternative Band

1. Sirsy

2. The Velmas

3. Dead Rabbits

Sirsy cut the size of their band in half this year, but that was still more than enough for them to take home a win in this category.

 

Best Cover Band

1. Burners UK

2. The Refrigerators

3. Wylder

A posthumous win for the late, great Burners. Let’s see if they can win this one again next year.

 

Best Tribute Band

1. Horror Business

2. Deadbeats

3. British Steel

Don’t go into the bathroom with the Horror Business, they will put a knife right in you. Or so says the Misfits song they take their name from. We would heed that advice, because from what we hear, these ghouls employed some of the black arts, or at least goth-punk intimidation, to reach the top of our charts.

 

Best Metal/ Hardcore

1. Held Under

2. Dead-Lift

3. Last Call

With thousands of the Capital Region’s metalheads served, the area’s most reliable metal band became the people’s champion. And don’t forget—they always serve up their metal with a heaping side of down-home brutality.

 

Best Local DJ

1. Lady Luck

2. DJ Dread

3. Milkdud

Lady Luck is a veteran of ’80s nights around the Capital Region—we know, because we’re usually out there shaking our butts to her tunes. More power to her.

 

Best Dominatrix

1. Mistress Colette of LaDomaine

2. Deidre Kelly

3. Goddess Dianna Vesta

Thanks, readers. We were too ashamed to find out for ourselves.

Etc.

Best Local TV Commercial

Advantage Suzuki; Bombers; Capital Board and Bike; Curves; Delmonico’s; bank commercial where sleazy guy uses girl’s laptop; FOX 23 sports; anything but the “HUUUUUGE” commercials; Martin, Harding & Mazotti; Glen Sanders Mansion; Howe Caverns; Kooky for Suzuki; Hippos; Price Chopper; Resnick’s Mattresses; River Rats hockey; WEQX; Taft Furniture; We the People; Tony’s Dipped Chocolate; Some Girls Boutique; Reliable Brothers.

Best Use of Public Funds

Public schools; after-school program; town/village historians; the Crossings in Colonie; changing all the welcome signs at the state borders from “Gov. Pataki” to “Gov. Spitzer”; Albany’s riverfront; Albany Public Library; Albany/Rensselaer railroad station; Fourth of July at plaza; Aqua Ducks; Congress Park; Department of Public Works; Armory Center; Bigger Better Bottle bill; unclaimed deposits in Environmental Protection Fund; Eliot Spitzer’s salary; fixing the lights of Route 50 in Saratoga Springs; my state salary; Pine Bush; Planned Parenthood; SPAC; police horses; Porco trial; NYSTI; prosecuting Alan Hevesi; public charter school; Proctor’s; St. Patrick’s Day Parade; renovations on State Street; Soares’ salary; Tulip Fest; WAMC; YMCA; the entry corridors into Cohoes; those pigs in Guilderland; widening freebie 90 at exit 5; senior services of Albany; bike trails; snowplowing; Metroplex; homeless; the Egg.

Best Misuse of Public Funds

Raising our taxes to raise legislature salaries; the war in Iraq; Blue Karner butterfly; any state money that goes to the Adirondack Park Agency; Bruno stadium; drug laws; education; Cohoes; political campaigns; anything Bruno spent on his buddies; rotten buses; city of Rensselaer; Medicaid; buying inferior equipment, then having to repurchase the same; discretionary pork; Greenwich police; footbridge to Corning Preserve; Empire State Plaza; every use is bad; fireworks; filling the politicians’ pockets; government; Metroplex; New York State Senate; Malta roundabouts; parking enforcement; Port of Albany; those stupid street-cleaning machines; SPAC; Schenectady City Police Department; spot-filling potholes instead of really fixing them; state workers; repaving I-90 over and over again; the unused Troy riverfront; UAlbany; the art-design horses on the street in Saratoga; that $30,000 platform Spitzer had to have for his inauguration; the Times Union Center; support of gun shooting range; the mayor’s office; phantom jobs; proposed Rotterdam Park; raises for politicians; Washington Park; state Legislature and Assembly; Albany Police Department; all the new stop signs in Fort Edward; AMD in Luther Forest; Amsterdam River Front Center; CDTA; extended welfare; Albany landfill; Mayor Jennings; convention center; Chris D’Allesandro’s salary; Alan Hevesi.

Best Way to Lure People to the Capital Region

Better shopping stores; Erie canal tours and history; lie; promote arts and entertainment/dining; Adirondacks, SPAC, shopping; bulldoze Albany and start over again; bring back the Toy Boxx!; an aquarium; scenery, seasons; fix all the roads in the cities; parking; jobs; more good food; downtown revitalization; make the nanobots do it; bribery and candy; cheap rent; being the capital; drop “Tech Valley” as a marketing tag line and replace it with “Sex Valley”; entice small business rather than paying off huge corporations that are eyesores; hidden history, undercover alternative arts, and cheap antiques; move it to Maui; Lark Street; more competition between local businesses; keeping the balance of development and rural landscape; skiing; remind them that NYC is too expensive; Schenectady Planetarium; sex and drugs; entertainment; tell them it doesn’t suck that much; welfare is working pretty good; lower taxes; free music venues; legalize marijuana; build a convention center; advertise effectively.

Best Time Had in the Capital Region for Under $10

Mini-golf and ice cream; Playdium; Gus’s, Watervliet; shopping at the malls; ice cream at Stewarts; watching the planes; bike trail; Brave New Dances at eba; movies at Proctor’s; ballet at SPAC; an El Mariachi margarita; Bombers; a gun tour through Schenectady; bowling; NYS Writers’ Institute events; O’Brien’s Garden Grill; open mic at the Van Dyck; Arthur’s open mic; ride your bike/skateboard; River Street in Troy; Skyline; Spectrum; Capital District Pridefest; Stone Crow $1 Saturday nights; St. Patrick’s Day Parade; sunset over the Mohawk at Colonie Town Park; summer play in Washington Park with a cheap bottle of wine; the Ale House; the drive-in; Wednesday night at the Bullpen in Saratoga; Valentine’s; Valley Cats game; walk through Congress Park and Broadway, stopping for ice cream; beers and a Sabres game at Legends; Jumpin’ Jacks; Albany Blues Fest; Alive at 5; NYS Museum; Thatcher Park; First Fridays; Congress Merry-Go-Round; kayaking the Hudson; local music scene; Henry Hudson Planetarium; Grafton State Park; Collins Park; country line dancing; Washington Park after midnight; gospel gala; party at the plaza; L-Kens; Rollerama; people-watching; Moreau State Park; Schenectady Museum; Park Playhouse; National Museum of Dance; New York state parks; Ralph’s on the Park—pitcher of beer/mixed drink for $5, $5 for the jukebox.

Best Place to See and Be Seen

Bombers; Angelo’s 677 Prime; SPAC; any bar before a holiday; Blue 82; Albany Symphony Orchestra performances; Andy’s Sports Bar; Thatcher Park; Crossgates Mall; downtown Northampton, Mass.; Jay Street; Knowledge Network; free concerts; Caroline Street, Noche; Capital Repertory Theater; Color Me Mine, Stuyvesant Plaza; Glen Sanders Mansion; Jazz Fest, Saratoga; MySpace; Pearl Street; political function; my bedroom; New York City; Northern Lights; Troy Farmers’ Market; Tapas Wine Bar; Racino; Provence; Price Chopper; Lark Street; Saratoga’s Broadway; Union Bed and Breakfast; Webcams; Ultraviolet Café; Pinksterfest; the Egg; Justin’s; Fuze Box; downtown Albany; Tulip Fest; Lark Fest; Alive at 5.

Best Place to See Without Being Seen

Jillian’s; Prospect Park; MySpace; out the window; Internet; El Mariachi patio; First Friday art shows; Hoffman’s Playland; Lake George mountains; movies; Vietnamese nail salon, Central Avenue; pretty much any bar in Troy; Racino; Troy Ale House; Sneaky Pete’s; Watervliet; the Egg; Schenectady; Uncommon Grounds patio any day; Valenti’s Pub; Wal-Mart; Waterworks; aerobics class; 2nd floor of Bombers; Daily Grind; DiCarlo’s; college bars; behind the bushes; Muddy Cup; upper deck, Times Union Center; gallery seating at Legislature/Capitol; Cheesecake Factory; Capital Repertory Theatre; Berne; the track; Plaza on the 4th; in a tree; State Street condos balcony during Lark Fest; Saratoga flat track in a big hat; Lark Tavern; Twilight Lounge; riverfront; ’80s night at Fuze Box.

Best Thing That Could Happen to Albany

Clean up neighborhoods in city; forget about the convention center; a cobblestone promenade; a professional sports team; a bigger and better police force; a really good rock club, and less crack; Black Sabbath or AC/DC at Times Union Center; become a little NYC; Tech Park succeeds; an indoor BMX track; bird flu; a socialist regime; big money for the arts; casinos; bike lanes; gay newspaper; free cabs; eliminate Central Avenue; Democrats could leave; education funds overhaul; enforce the drinking age; getting rid of 787; major media coverage; keep bars open 24/7; large art galleries; less poverty; IMAX Theater; go back to small, neighborhood schools; it develops an identity; grants for local entrepreneurs; hosting MTV’s The Real World; elect new mayor; stores, not more bars, downtown; snowplows; mass transportation system underground; Jennings ODs on suntan lotion; upscale living downtown; get rid of Spitzer; money; no feral cats; send all the college kids back downstate; more hot single young guys; more shopping plazas like Stuyvesant Plaza; Native American ghosts resurrection; more naked girls; replacing the impossible-to-read “pretty” street signs; one of our local bands makes it big; smoking in bars; train station in Empire State Plaza; start taking care of their mentally disabled population; have stuff open on Sundays; less crime; revolution; road repair; someone kick Jerry Jennings in the ass; more parking; reopen the Wellington Hotel; the Music Shack is resurrected; commuter rail; clean up the politicians; blow up Arbor Hill; more arts funding; bring “life” to downtown; lower taxes; being made a part of Troy; round out the Egg.

Best Thing That Could Happen to Troy

Discover it; less crime; publicity to encourage people to see what’s already there; restore old buildings; more stores, public events; move it to this side of the river and get rid of Watervliet; showcase architecture; clean up the South End; more music; slide into the Hudson; complete population transfer; baby, that’s a dead deal; better CDTA service; a supermarket downtown; a movie theater that serves beer; improve local business/housing; the Music Shack is resurrected; an indoor BMX track; build an Uncle Sam museum; build a roller-skating rink for kids; get rid of Tutunjian; drug-treatment programs; filling up the empty stores with great new things! Oh, and a hotel; get rid of the one-way streets; halt gentrification; if the arts scene kept growing; more jobs; pay teachers more; resurrection of Uncle Sam; revitalization of 3rd Street; RPI bringing thousands of new jobs; the dirty movie theater reopens; taxes go down; urban planning; keep doing what they’re doing—it’s looking good; less drugs and less scum; red-light district; put in more downtown loft apartments; it’s happening, slowly; turn one-way signs in a different direction for change of pace; neutron bomb.

Best Thing That Could Happen to Schenectady

Clean up the crime and drug dealers; a cow kicking a candle over—like historic Chicago; more downtown development; military occupation; reduce taxes; bulldoze GE; change the name to something easy to pronounce; anything besides what is happening to it now; employ police officers who abide by their laws, too; don’t remind me that Schenectady’s still here; keeping the Van Dyck alive; mass transit connection to Albany; pay teachers more; science center; match and can of gasoline; name change to Colonie; more clubs; better snow removal; better schools; revitalization; disintegrate; better shows at Proctor’s; more movies produced there; errant SCUD missile; blow up Hamilton Hill; resurgence of GE; revolution; two neutron bombs; it’s too late—need to start all over again—by getting all new cops.

Best Thing That Could Happen to Saratoga Springs

Public transportation; greyhounds; go disco; control growth; better and more parking; a luxury tax on all the rich people; it could be cheaper; drop in housing prices; warm winters; road improvements from the Northway to SPAC and the track; pull the stick out of their asses; revolution; keep character of town; lower property taxes; get closer to Albany; no more video gambling; a hotel at the Racino; an invasion of homeless people; decrease the commercialism; broadcast a national TV show here; carve out a place for the average Joe; idiots would be banned during track season; combined monster truck rally with flat-track meet; lose its ego; growth in the arts/less growth in retail; I’ve already moved here; leave it alone; it gets a little cheaper; keep it just the way it is; less yuppies; elect politicians who are real Saratogians with an interest in the city; like Saratoga needs any more good things to happen to it; double taxes for homes over 1,000 square feet; lower restaurant prices; no chain stores; secede from the Capital District; the drunk girls could get some class; the new improved Children’s Museum; public restrooms downtown; people would realize that it’s drastically overrated; people could get poorer; it’s perfect; commuter rail; fewer wanna-bes.

Best Thing That Could Happen to the ’Burbs

No more construction, keep housing costs down; get some diversity; stop the greedy developers from destroying all the open space; redistribute the resource; lower taxes; they could get more bars; a friendly greeting to neighbors; an extra lane on I-87 to lessen traffic jams; easy access to Albany; careful zoning to keep the “small town” feel; build some houses that do not all look the same, please; fewer urban immigrants; keep them the way they are; less traffic; rap music; more carpooling; more parks for kids; no more big-box stores; parents pay attention to their families; more hybrid cars; SOME kind of activity other than soccer; less kids; less fast food; a forced reduction of lawn size; commuter trains to decrease traffic and pollution; sidewalks that go somewhere; less drains, more independent businesses; more pavement and SUVs; renounce privilege.

Best Evidence That the Region Is Looking Up

Nanotech; Pataki is gone; WiFi; busy on the weekends everywhere; cities are revitalizing, more businesses moving in; increased use of Washington Park; Pearl Street; AMD; Bill Parcells moved to Saratoga; I am still here; Krispy Kreme goes out of business in Latham; new attorney general; Schenectady is almost clean; New York City residents buying homes; reopening of the Armory; weather seems to be getting nicer every year; spring is coming; Sweeney was defeated; there really does seem to be a lot more happening these days; trees; high employment rate; Kirsten Gillibrand; lots of jobs; RPI bringing in new people.

Best Evidence That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Hurricane Katrina; Fuccillo; Jennings looks pale lately; Paul Vandenburg; Rudy Giuliani running for president; there’s only one person in all those cars driving to work; AMD; Albany High School; the milkman delivers orange juice; AM newstalk; fellowship churches; cities just keep getting trashier; Albany now has 13 Starbucks; rise of Islamofascists in the world; just look around; Osborne Street Garage is still in business; seeing the way today’s youth acts; taxes are so high; the Northway between 4 and 6 PM; the existence of Crossgates Mall; where is all the high tech?; our weather patterns; South Pearl Street; Oswego has 13 feet of snow; Bush; Hamilton Hill; the destruction of Washington Park’s oldest tree; Joe Bruno is still calling the shots; watch the news—it’s all bad; more people heading north from New York City; global warming; the election of our current leaders.

Best Local Celebrity With Whom You’d Like to Have a One-Night Stand

Donna Pennell; Scott Varley; Vince Gallagher from Channel 9; Detective Jimmy Miller; Pat D’Angelis; Megan Baker; Kumi Tucker; Tri-City Valley Cats; Randal Putnam; Alan Chartock, that sexy specimen of a man; Darwin; Debbie Gabrione; Ann Hughes; Bill Stratton; Candace Jarrett; Capone; Lydia Kulbida; Liz Bishop; Jerry Jennings; Erin Harkes; Doug Daniels from WEQX; Eliot Spitzer; Eileen Houston; General James from 104.9; Heather Morrison from Capital News 9; Joe Bruno; Kaitlyn Barto from Fox23; Kevin Richards; Jill Montag; Jim Tedesco; Kristina Krawchuk; Melanie Kramer from Sirsy; Marissa Jacques, Capital News 9; Mike Trash; Mike Grosshandler; Matt Baumgartner; Mike Miseno; Oh, my God . . . no contest: Kirsten Gillibrand; Paddy Kilrain; Pat Rielly; Matt Pirog; Rich Libutti; Steve Caporizzo; Steve LaPointe; Nate Buccieri; Todd Minnick; Tom Teta; Vans from 104.9; Shirley Ann Jackson; Val Tran; Lee Copson; Erica at Chez Sophie; Kathryn Houser from Fox23; Jason Irwin; Jimmy Fallon; David Soares; Nicole Forige from CBS 6; Rachael Ray; John McLoughlin from Channel 10; Bob Kovachick; Matt Bombardier, Chip Fasciana; Donna on WEQX.

Best-Kept Secret in the Capital Region

Close proximity to many great places; Victoria Pool; Thatcher Park; abundance of talented musicians; Did you know we were the capital?; Capital Hills Golf Course; Carol’s Pizza in Troy; Countryfest; the “international” aspect of our airport; Harriet Tubman Free School; Betty’s Sunshine Tavern; Albany Pine Bush; Four Corners Luncheonette; brunch at Magnolia’s on the Park; my grandmother’s sauce recipe; Ralph’s on Central; Aqua Duck tours; excellent health/medical care; Hattie’s; Indian Ladder Farm; Johnny’s Hot Dogs on Central Avenue; Jay Street in Schenectady; Joe’s Tavern in Cohoes; Junior’s $1-hamburger night; it’s actually a fun place to live; Congress Park, Saratoga Springs; Landis Arboretum; Lanci’s; Curry House; Cella Bistro; eba; Linden Avenue waterfalls.

Best ? Add Your Own Category

Best Local Theatre: Curtain Call, Latham; Best Place to Take the Family: Indian Ladder Farms; Best Running Club: Team In Training; Best New Restaurant: Cella Bistro; Best Spot to See the Stars: Berne; Best Candy: Peanut Principle; Best Waste of Tuition: Albany Law; Best Thrift Shop: St. Peter’s Hospital; Best Bluegrass Band: Dyer Switch; Best Belly Dance instructor: Bonnie Mion; Best Fire Department: Westmere Fire Department; Best Rental Car Company: Enterprise Rent-a-Car; Best After-School Program: Liberty Partnership Program; Best Excuse If Your Response to Nearly Every Survey Question Was “I Have No Idea”: You live in Clifton Park; Best Local Solo Musician We Thought Quit Playing Live Shows: Mitch Elrod; Best Dog Trainer: Bark Busters; Best Addition to the Albany Music Scene: Red Square; Best Auction: Finney’s Auction; Best School District: North Colonie; Best Fake Tan: Mayor Jennings; Best Downtown Building: Union Station/Norstar/Fleet building; Best Acoustic Duo: the Tequila Mockingbirds; Best Barista: Joe, Flavour Café; Best Place to Make Out: Congress Park, Saratoga; Best Day Care: Tippie Toes Day Care; Best Ironman Music Champion: John Brodeur; Best Grooming Salon: Petsmart, Albany; Best Car Stereo Shop: East Coast Audio Concepts, East Greenbush; Best Singer: Julia Donnaruma; Best Local Rap-Metal Fusion Band: Dead-Lift; Best Condominium: Village on the Green; Best Local Jam Band: School Bus Yellow; Best Local Podcast: Humanist Network News Podcast; Best Local Producer: Mike Grosshandler; Best Italian Ice: Civitellos; Best Parking Lot to Have Sex in: parking lot across from Bombers; Best Photographer: Kris Qua; Best Tan: Jerry Jennings; Best Tea: Whistling Kettle, Ballston Spa; Best Restaurateur: Angelo Mazzone; Best Snowboard Shop: Capital Board and Bike; Best Real Estate Agent: Jon Huther; Best Pet Sitting Service: Purrfect Pet Sitting, West Sand Lake; Best Place For Kids: Creative Sparks; Best Neighborhood: Delaware Avenue near Spectrum.

photos by: Joe Putrock


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