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Best Citizen Advocate (Shaking Things Up)

David Soares

Citizen advocates usually come up through the ranks of nonprofits, cutting their teeth harassing those in positions of responsibility. But sometimes those responsible government folks become powers to be reckoned with themselves, as happened with David Soares in his two years as a community prosecutor in Arbor Hill. In Soares’ innovative work with quality-of-life offenders and the Community Accountability Board, he probably interacted with more real-life non-activist citizens than all of Albany’s lobbyists put together.

As long as the tenants need us: (l-r) Roger and Maria Markovics.
Photo by: Teri Currie

Best Citizen Advocates (They Keep Going and Going . . . )

Roger and Maria Markovics
United Tenants of Albany

Roger and Maria Markovics don’t just run a nonprofit organization—they run it from the trenches, working tirelessly to help primarily lower-income Albanians find affordable and livable housing. They’ve exposed price-gouging slumlords and chronic code violators; they’ve also partnered with a number of organizations that share the belief that decent, affordable housing is a basic right, essential to human dignity. And did we mention that they’ve been doing this work for more than 30 years? That’s long past the point when most idealistic social workers, however well-meaning, have burned out.

Best Citizen Pit Bull

Aaron Mair

“No actually, I mean it,” could be Mair’s motto. He’s taken the issue of redistricting to increase the voting power of racial minorities by the throat and won’t let go. He’s won his fights at the county level, including a recent agreement to go beyond the map that the judge ruled was a minimally acceptable response to Mair’s first lawsuit. Now he’s taken his fight to the city, despite stubborn opposition and a lot of “Where were you when we first worked this out?” One thing the city can count on: Mair won’t go away.

Best Undeserved Award for Bad Behavior

Roger Ploof’s Park South Profits

After years of owning large portions of Albany’s troubled Park South neighborhood, the notorious Ploof is now selling off Park South properties at inflated prices in anticipation of a urban renewal plan designed to fix problems that residents say his lack of maintenance or tenant management caused in the first place.

Best Republican Imitation of an Old-School Albany Democrat

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian

His predecessor made some last-minute appointments to the planning commission that he couldn’t oust without lots of legal headaches. The planning commission was giving developers a hard time. Tutunjian couldn’t get it to do what he wanted. So he dissolved the commission and created a new board with narrower powers, fewer members and a unanimous Republican shine. Trojans beware: Removal of term limits could be next.

Best Imitation of an Ostrich

Albany County Democratic Party

The Democratic mayor of Albany endorses the incumbent Republican governor, and he’s punished by . . . being named the city’s rep to the state Democratic Committee. A viable Democratic challenger emerges for a Republican-held Assembly seat in Colonie, and the two opposing factions in the party unite to . . . deny him support. A three-way special election is held for the District 2 County Legislative seat, in the heavily Democratic city of Albany, and the Democratic candidate . . . comes in third, behind the Working Families and Independent candidates. Can anyone at party headquarters smell the coffee?

Best Moving Target (Local)

Albany Aquaducks
Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, Broadway and Clinton Avenue, Albany

You’ve seen the contraption lumbering by your office window. Protestors have shaken their signs at it. It’s gotten stuck trying to dock in Troy. But let’s face it: A tour of our capital city from land and water sounds pretty cool. The amphibious tour vehicle is brand-new, so it won’t suddenly succumb to old battle fatigue; the drivers are Coast Guard-trained; and it’s even heated. Of course, it’s also a convenient and relaxing second career for the recently retired police Chief Wolfgang—but even the Hudson breezes won’t protect him from the slander lawsuit filed by fired police commander Christian D’Alessandro.

Best Moving Target (International)

John C. Nielsen
Somewhere in Haiti

There’s getting out, and there’s getting out. As the APD struggled with some serious tragedies, ridiculous screw-ups, and complete failures at CYA PR, former public safety commissioner Nielsen decided that reinvention as ducky entrepreneur wasn’t far enough away—so he took a job helping Haiti develop its police force.

Best New Place to Get Ticketed

Outside Your Front Door
Central Avenue and Surrounding Streets

Thanks to the city of Albany and its favorite cure-all, parking meters, many city residents now get to pay through the nose for the right to park around their homes. If you work along the avenue, just keep telling yourself that every paycheck the meter eats helps boost the local economy.

Best Self-Serving Mea Culpa

Cheryl Coleman

The Albany City Court judge best known for making sarcastic, sometimes juvenile remarks from the bench; partying with the winning legal team after a sensitive, controversial case; and—most famously—instigating an altercation with four young women at a Bon Jovi concert, then using her influence to have them arrested finally stepped down this year amid an ongoing investigation by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct into the last incident. In an interview after her resignation, Coleman admitted she lacked a judicial temperament and said she thought she’d done a “fair-to-middlin’ job”—small consolation to any defendant who might have suffered from her questionable judgment.

Best Orange Man

Mayor Jerry Jennings

Somewhere in between the color of your drunken uncle’s nose and the burnt sienna crayon you used to munch on as a kid lies the unnatural and nearly alien hue of our good mayor’s outer epidermis. We refuse to believe there’s not something fishy going on here; Albany is obviously not the most tropical of climes, after all. Whether it’s the product of years of tireless tanning-bed action or just a broken tint knob on our old boob tube (we know for a fact that it’s not, though), all we know is that that guy is fucking orange, man, and that’s really weird.

Best City With Its Lights Out

Schenectady

You’ve got to hand it to Schenectady. It’s taken a beating in recent years but manages to roll with the punches just enough to stay alive. It can’t afford to pay for police, trash pickup or any of the other services other cities provide their residents, and there are doubts about how much longer General Electric can hold a charge. Scandals, crime and community frustration abound, but the city is a scrapper, to say the least. In the words of one city official, “Face it—Schenectady is broke.”

Best Scenic Drive (Nature Studies)

Taconic Parkway

The Taconic, a curvaceous route through rural corners of Westchester, Putnam, Duchess and Columbia counties, stretches more than 100 miles and took four decades to build. Yes, the Taconic is in the middle of nowhere, but FDR, who initially presided over its planning, intentionally routed it away from large cities, demanded that it appear rustic and incorporated parks into its design. The idea was that traveling the road was to be a recreational activity and a respite from city living. In 1992 it was designated a “State Scenic Byway,” and it truly is an anti-highway. The road overlooks picturesque countryside and lush foliage in the fair months, though at night or in winter it can scare the bejesus out of you. But one day-tripper’s pleasure is the white-knuckler’s nightmare on this road, which, of course, is half the fun.

Best Scenic Drive (Social Studies)

Sacandaga Lake
Saratoga County Route 7 (South Shore Road) and Route 4 (North Shore Road)

Skirting Great Sacandaga Lake is not only a gorgeous drive but quite a time-consuming one. In 1930 the Conklingville Dam was built, creating a reservoir that helped prevent flooding of the municipalities along the Hudson and Sacandaga rivers and generate hydroelectric power, though a couple of towns were sunk in the process. Traverse the Batchellerville Bridge between Routes 7 and 4 or ride over the dam itself; drive through cute shoreline towns such as Edinburg and Day (once the subject of sociological studies by virtue of being a closed community).

Best Scenic Drive (Urban Studies)

Route 5 West

Start in Albany and head west on Route 5 (Central Avenue). Drive slow. Take it in. Tell us you’re not fascinated. Route 5 offers a trip through times past, a view of what the world used to look like in small towns and cities before we homogenized car travel with streamlined, multilane highways and a Roy Rogers at every rest stop. Cruising this two-lane gem, you can take in what remains of the old downtown in places like Fonda, Fultonville and Herkimer, village centers abandoned years back so that modern ones could be erected nearer to the Thruway exit. Dig the old codger on the porch next to the dilapidated grain barn across the road from the railroad tracks. Want to stop in a greasy spoon? Take your pick. The adventurous—or those not driving—can make a drinking game out of counting the general stores. Be sure to take a camera.

Best Scenic Drive (Historical Studies)

Route 2 East

Route 2 is the gorgeous road that leads into (and through) the Berkshires. The serene setting and winding roads fill you with a sense of peace and an appreciation for the beauty of nature. The route is rich in history, too—there’s even a historic auto trail guide about it called The Mohawk Trail: Route 2 from Boston, Massachusetts to Troy, New York, a 150-mile lesson in early 20th century history. For example, did you know there’s a chimney from colonial-era Fort Massachusetts in the Price Chopper parking lot in Braytonville?

Best View of the Hudson Valley

Amtrak

You’ll never see a bald eagle while driving up the Thruway. Even if you were to catch a glimpse of one, you’d have to keep your eyes on the road instead. But grab a seat on the west side of the NYC-to-Albany train, and you’ll have an unimpeded view of the cliffs, marshes, inlets, islands with decaying castles, piers, distant Catskill mountains and, of course, the Hudson River itself. Bald eagles and egrets not guaranteed . . . but not at all unlikely, either.

Best Street Names

Upper Letter S, Lower Letter S
Off Route 443, New Scotland

No need for namby-pamby nouns like “street,” “road” or “avenue” here. It’s shaped like an S. Half of the S is uphill from Route 443, and half is downhill (uphill is south at this point, so the “upper” and “lower” designations make more sense on the ground than on the map). Simple, descriptive and not to be confused with Letter S Road, which is in Ghent. (If Albany’s discontinuous streets were named this way, we’d have an awful lot of them named after Morse Code symbols.)

Best Urban Farm

Normanskill Farm
Off Delaware Avenue, Albany

Police horses, a tree nursery, hay fields and community garden plots with more square footage than many apartments. Down along the Normans Kill, it’s hard to believe you’re inside the city limits of Albany. A walk along the river by the gardens at dusk is a bird- watcher’s delight, with killdeer running along the ground like sandpipers and wild turkey calling in the distance. Cross-country skiers enjoy it in the winter. And yes, at certain spots it smells like a farm, but isn’t that the point?

Best Hike (Family)

Mount Jo
Lake Placid

Accessible from the Adirondack Loj, a few miles outside the village of Lake Placid, Mount Jo features a pair of trails (take the shorter, steeper one up and the longer one down) that can be hiked in a couple of hours—challenging enough to work up a good sweat but not too difficult or intimidating for children (in fact, outdoor-oriented kids love it). The best part of climbing this low peak is that when you get to the top, there’s a breathtaking view of the high peaks in all their splendor.

Best Swim-Hike Combo

Taconic State Park
Valley View Road, Copake Falls

Yeah, it’s the trailhead for the popular (and crowded) Bash Bish Falls trail, but that’s not what you’re going for. Instead, check out the family-friendly trail up to Sunset Rock: some scrambles, some meadows, some blueberries (in season), and a great view over the Catskills and Hudson Valley when you’re at the peak. After coming back down the mountain, go for a dip in Ore Pit Pond, an old, deep, cold quarry, with a cool little kids’ pool just over a spillway and lots of grassy lawn to sit in for those of you who don’t like to get sand in your shorts.

Best Park

Central Park
Schenectady

Central Park has a little bit of everything for everybody, from tennis to ice skating to picnicking to a cool kids’ playground to the Music Haven stage. If you’d prefer to just stroll or lie in the grass and stare at the treetops, the park is more than lovely enough for that, too. Not only the best park in the Capital Region, but also one of the best things about Schenectady, period.

Morbid angel: Albany Rural Cemetary. Photo by: Leif Zurmuhlen

Best Cemetery (Scenic)

Albany Rural Cemetery
Cemetery Avenue, Menands

Where else can you admire impeccable groundskeeping, drive twisting wooded roads with picturesque views and visit with a dead president? Albany Rural Cemetery has such a unique and historical collection of tombs and monuments that visitors might mistake it for a sculpture garden rather than a graveyard. It’s fairly hopping for a cemetery, so don’t expect much solace there in the summer and fall months, but bring the dog, your sweetie and a bottle of wine. Don’t get stuck inside, though—the gates close promptly at 7 PM.

Best Cemetery (Scary)

Forest Park
Pinewood Avenue, Brunswick

True story: A pagan warlock takes a nature walk in this long-abandoned cemetery and is overcome by its malevolent aura. In broad daylight. It wasn’t that the life-size angel statues had been decapitated and amputated. Nor was it the strange quietude of their sunless grove. No, it was because one of them had recently been immolated, her armless torso charred to cracking blackness. The work of erupting hellfire? Or perhaps a force more earthbound (as indicated by the place’s omnipresent beer cans)? We’ll leave it to braver souls than ours to find out.

Best College Campus

Union College
Schenectady

Inside the gates of Union’s immaculate campus, one might just forget that the city of Schenectady lies just outside. The 200-something-year-old college grounds are beautifully kept, from the football field to the eight winding acres of Jackson’s Garden. The campus also has some of our region’s most impressive architecture on display, including the recently refurbished Schaffer science library, the expansive new Olin Center science building and, in the center of it all, the only hexadecagonal—that’s 16-sided—building in the northern hemisphere, the Nott Memorial. You may not be able to afford the tuition, but if you’re in the Electric City and looking for a nice, leisurely stroll, Union is one of your best bets.

Best Golf Course(Public)

Capital Hills
Par Avenue, Albany

“Golf is a good walk spoiled.” —Mark Twain

When they changed the course moniker from Albany Municipal to Capital Hills, we’d swear that they actually added more hills. This course has gone through many changes and continues to undergo improvements that increase the difficulty and quality of play. The greens are nicely maintained considering the amount of play, and the fairways are lush and green. The signature 17th hole, dedicated to the late Mayor Thomas Whalen, rivals any hole this area has to offer.

Best Golf Course (Private)

Mohawk Country Club
1849 Union St., Schenectady

“Golf is a game that is played on a 5-inch course—the distance between your ears.” —Bobby Jones

The Capital Region’s climate isn’t the most conducive to golfing, yet year after year we’re amazed at the lushness and quality of this private club. Beautifully manicured and appointed, this gem challenges your endurance, dexterity and intellect. When the professionals come to town, this is the track they play. Figure out a way to get onto this course. You won’t be disappointed.

Best Golf Course (Public Posing as Private)

Saratoga National Golf Course
458 Union Ave., Saratoga Springs

“Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses.” —Adlai Stevenson

If Saratoga is considered the gem of the north, then Saratoga National is the Hope Diamond. When the track is in full swing, this course is mobbed with a Who’s Who of local and visiting celebs. Bill Parcells and Mike Francessa were seen duffing it up last week. With wetlands and water hazards in play on all 18 holes, enough sand traps to start a public beach and greens that . . . well, let’s just say we spent a little extra time testing the greens. This course is a must-play for any avid golfer, but do it now, or you’ll have to wait till fall.

Best Miniature Golf (With Locals)

Oasis Park Miniature Golf
97 North Greenbush Road, Troy

Oasis keeps us coming back because it’s actually challenging. Oh, sure, “real” golfers will scoff at the idea that getting the ball in just the right part of the waterfall gets you closer to the hole, but what do those plaid-trousered freaks know about it, anyway? In the past year, Oasis has sensibly reconfigured its 18 holes—making it almost like new again—to accommodate a bumper boat pool and a bigger, better clubhouse in which tired golfers can recuperate on Perry’s ice cream while Dad tallies up the score.

Best Miniature Golf (With Tourists)

Around the World/United States
Lake George

It’s been around a long time, but give this place credit for (a) being extremely well-kept, (b) keeping up with the times (the forbidding-looking KGB guy has been removed from the Russia hole, for one) and most important, (c) being a heck of a lot of fun. Who can resist the temptation of getting one’s ball up and around the brim of the sombrero (Mexico) or deny the thrill of the almost guaranteed hole-in-one in the guitar (Spain)? Or, closer to home, turn down the quixotic challenge of getting the ball anywhere near the oil fields (Texas)? Adding to the challenge of keeping under par is the periodic rumble of cannon fire from nearby Fort William Henry, not to mention the eardrum-shattering, toddler-terrifying whistle of the steamboat Minnihaha. And you thought Phil Nichols had it tough.

Best Golf Extravaganza

Eaglecrest
Route 146A, Clifton Park

Let’s start with the mini-golf: 18 holes of daunting water hazards, rocks and other such obstacles preventing you from holing out under six swings of the flat stick and tasting the sweet sting of your pride. Across the parking lot is a nine-hole chip-and-putt that sports semi-challenging, 100-yard-or-less par-threes—perfect for working on your short game. And get this: It’s lit. Cool. Night is usually the inhibitor of all golf activities, but not here. Because it’s open until 11 PM, we can’t think of a better way to spend an evening. The least exciting part of the Eaglecrest complex is the 18-hole championship golf course—6,600 yards of pure green love, speckled with swamps, sand traps and woods, all begging you to donate your golf balls generously. Next time you feel like spending some time in golf heaven, you know where to go.

Best Tennis Courts

Central Park, Schenectady

Court maintenance is a high priority at Central Park. The courts are crack-free, the nets are fresh and tight, and the lines are crisp, eliminating all doubt as to whether your backhand passing shot really clipped the baseline. The scenery is also remarkable, as the tennis complex is set deep within an array of deep green vegetation. And you don’t usually even have to wait to play. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But let’s face it: What’s really pulling you to Central Park for your weekly tennis outing? The chance that Anna Kournikova will be there? Ahh. The New York Buzz, Schenectady’s own World League Tennis team, calls Central Park home for a few weeks in June. The event, previously the OTB Tennis Tournament, has seen the likes of Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova and, last year, U.S. Open champ Andy Roddick. We think there are still burn marks on the court where his 150-mph serve grazed the ground.

Best Road Bike Challenge

New Scotland Avenue from Madison Avenue to Thacher Park

The hill that leads to the mountaintop sanctuary known as Thacher Park is grueling to bike up, to say the least. However, the real challenge of this trip, when going via New Scotland, is surviving the tumultuous trip down the length of New Scotland Avenue from Madison Avenue in downtown Albany. Between roadwork, roadkill and road hogs, you and your bike (road, hybrid or otherwise) will be lucky to make it out alive. Don’t forget to wear your helmet and pack a patch kit. Reward yourself for surviving the trip with the spectacular view from the cliffs of the park.

Best Public Ice Skating

Spa State Park
Saratoga Springs

A sunken garden surrounded by the park’s trademark tall pines provides a quiet spot to skate through the winter. On more temperate weekend days skaters can crowd the ice, but it’s pretty sparse any other time. Bring a thermos of cocoa along for a late-morning skate on some sunny weekday, and there’s no more pleasant thing imaginable.

Best Public Ice Hockey

Elm Avenue Park
261 Elm Ave., Delmar

No need to use a pair of shoes for a goal—this town park always has a couple of real, full-size nets ready to go. With enough space for families to take a leisurely skate while locals play a game of four-on-four, it’s no surprise that this rink is a favorite among the puck-savvy masses. A skate guard is there during park hours to patrol the ice or provide an extra skater when the teams are uneven, and there’s an indoor prep area if you need bathrooms or a break from the cold.

Best Place to Mountain Bike (Sane)

Grafton State Park
Route 2, Grafton, New York

The interconnected trails at Grafton run the gamut of riding environments, from technical switchbacks and rocky drops to peaceful access roads and slow, winding declines. Mudders can also get their fix, as sections of some multiuse trails hop in and out of shallow bogs. It’s the perfect place for new bikers to find their legs and veterans to warm up for another season. Best of all, you can get by without the most pricey bike, as hard-tails shouldn’t have a problem with much of the course.

Best Place to Mountain Bike (Insane)

Skidmore College
North Broadway, Saratoga Springs

Full of single-track trails and craggy drops that will make even the most hardcore bikers question their sanity, these trails are not for first-time bikers or the faint of heart. Fallen logs, perilous roots and points where the trail simply disappears beneath you are among the obstacles that await the weekend warrior. Access to certain trails requires a season pass, with the money going toward leasing the land, improving the trails and insuring all the ill-prepared bikers who end up with tread marks on their foreheads.

Best Store Dogs

Caymus
All-Star, Latham Farms

Elwood
Drue Sanders Custom Jewelry, 1675 Western Ave., Albany

Caymus is a beautiful, rather underworked chocolate lab named after the California winery, and he is in love with his surroundings. You will often find Caymus basking in the sun shining through the front windows or following his owner as he assists a customer, and he is always willing to receive some attention. Elwood has a very daunting presence: he is a very large Great Dane, but with the sweetest disposition. He is truly a bull in a China shop; he will often bang into things or scare the pants off an unsuspecting customer, but Elwood is a lapdog in a giant body.

Best Store Cat

Hennessy
Center Square Wine & Spirits, 3 Central Ave., Albany

Walk along the first block of Central Avenue in Albany anytime of day, and take a look in the window of Center Square Wine & Spirits. In between the displays, you’re likely to see a lightly striped orange tabby lounging in a cardboard box or curled up under the back of the counter. If he’s not too sleepy, he might even give you a passing glance. If you’re so favored, you’ve met Hennessy, the store’s 5-year-old mascot. Hennessy took his share of hard knocks on the way to these comfy digs and deserves them well. If he’s out of sight, you can still see him: the store has Hennessy’s picture displayed in a place of honor on the wall.

Best Location for a Fortress of Solitude

Broadway, Menands

Just north of Albany, beyond the abandoned warehouse district, there’s an array of imposing, free-standing, Justice League HQ-style buildings that make us long for a grand and secret lair of our own. Keep in mind, it’s location, location, location, even in the superhero racket. This stretch of Broadway offers relatively low traffic flow but easy access to both the highway and the river (sometimes, when the Metromobile is in the shop, we like to putter around in the Metrophibian Aquatic Assualt Craft, you know?), and privacy and convenience are both crucial in the caped-crusader biz. Plus, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from North Pearl Street, which is nice on weekends, ’cause superheroing can be a lonely, lonely business.

Best Fingers-Crossed Real Estate Boom

Troy

If you’re in the market for a house, we hope you’re not looking in Troy. Not that we’ve got anything against Troy; in fact, we’re as fond of its turn-of-the-century elegance (however ramshackle) and its techno-boho vibe as are the optimistic big-city investor types swooping in from ritzier ZIP codes and scooping up whole blocks of property. We’re not wishing a market crash on them, we swear. We wish Troy well. Hell, we love Troy. It’s just that we just can’t seem to get a piece of it—even the pieces that two years ago seemed cursed for eternity—in the current climate of mad-dash carpetbagging. Of course, if Troy rebounds to become the next Williamsburg, we’ll be thrilled—it’s just that we’ll be thrilled in a pissy kind of way, gazing enviously from our 2 BR’s with new W2W in Watervliet.

Best Pick-up Strip

North Pearl Street, Albany

We here at Metroland never cease to be amazed by how little the women who go out on North Pearl get away with wearing. But then again, why show up on that street without the intention of getting laid? It’s not like the beer’s so cheap and the service is so good that you’re going for the actual bars. The dancing at most of the clubs leaves much to be desired. But you’re almost guaranteed to be able to hook up with someone, or at least grab some ass. And if you’re really lucky, you can witness some über-sleaze when there are competitions for bead-getting with cash rewards.

Best College Bar

Washington Tavern
250 Western Ave., Albany

Known among the college crowd as “WT’s,” the Washington Tavern offers a clean place for people in the student-saturated Pine Hills neighborhood to sit back and have a drink amid the cleanliness and class missing from too many student-ghetto watering holes. It’s got the usual pub fare to keep you full and arcade games to keep you entertained, it’s within stumbling distance of at least one of your friends’ apartments, and it’s been known to give out bottles of cheap champagne to customers who show up on their 21st birthdays.

Best Theme Bar

Bombers Burrito Bar
258 Lark St., Albany

You may have once considered Bombers a place to eat, drink and socialize (read: hook up), but owner Matt Baumgartner has other plans. You see, he’s transformed his bar into something of a game room these days, what with “Hipster Bingo” every Sunday night and “Smart-Ass Trivia” on Tuesdays, and who could complain—prizes range from free chips and salsa to pitchers of frozen margaritas. Let’s not forget the parties, either, which have included prom and luau themes, and the discontinued-but-deeply-missed monthly dance party, “Bounce.” Don’t forget to don your best outfit along with your thinking cap, though, as Bombers is still an excellent place to “socialize.”

Best Dive Bar

Palais Royale
164 Jefferson St., Albany

This perennial favorite is still one of the few bars in the area where you can feel at home instantly. It’s also, easily, the best place in town to bring your visiting friends. The prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is laid-back, the décor is accented with an amazing collection of classic bar knickknacks and memorabilia, and the juke box is kickin’. (Though a few newer tunes have been added, there are still plenty of cool classics by Porter Wagoner, Nat “King” Cole, Patsy Cline and Fats Waller.) Sit down, order a Spaten and tell Jean that Metroland sent you.

Best Happy Hour

Bombers
258 Lark St., Albany

Seriously, who else could possibly compete? Happy hour at Bombers runs from 11 AM to 8 PM every freakin’ day of the week. A very nice variety of $2 pints, $2.50 wines and $2.50 well drinks. Our only complaint is that we can’t think how the heck anyone could be expected to get any work done on Lark Street anymore.

Readers Poll

Best Park
1. Washington Park

Best Playground
1. The Crossings

Best Day Trip
1. Lake George

Best Bike Ride
1. Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway

Best Running Trail
1. Corning Preserve Trail

Best Hiking/Nature Trail
1. Thacher Park
2. Five Rivers Environmental Center

Best Rock Climbing
1. Albany Indoor Rock Gym

Best Gym
1. Gold’s Gym

Best Massage Therapist
1. Nick Pavoldi

Best Yoga/Pilates
1. Albany Pilates Center
2. Pilates Principle

Best Golf Course
1. Saratoga National Golf Course

Best Miniature Golf
1. Hoffman’s Miniature Golf

Best Skiing/Snowboarding
1. Gore Mountain
2. Jiminy Peak

Best Ice Skating
1. Empire State Plaza

Best Swimming
1. Colonie Town Park
2. Lake George

Best Bowling Alley
1. Latham Bowl
2. Sunset Recreation
Playdium (tie)

Best Pool Hall
1. Diamond Eight Billiards
2. Golden Cue Billiard Lounge

Best Bar
1. Jillian’s
2. Bombers

Best Hook-Up Bar
1. Big House
Jillian’s (tie)

Best Gay Bar
1. Water Works

Best Wine Bar
1. The Wine Bar
2. The Gingerman

Best Happy Hour Bar
1. Big House

Best Strip Club
1. Di Carlo’s Gentlemen’s Club

Best Bartender
1. John Bentley, Water Works

Best Server
1. Tracy, Londonderry

Best Public Official
1. Mayor Jerry Jennings

Best Citizen Advocate
1. Mark Dunlea
2. Alice Green

Best Animal Advocate
1. Steve Caporizzo

Best Local Charity
1. Albany City Mission
2. Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York

 

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