Best Mayor Who
Looks Like an Anchorman
They say politics
is show biz for ugly people. Occasionally, thats not true.
Albany Mayor Emeritus (Deceased Division) Erastus Corning III was
as dapper as a matinee idol. Former Albany alderwoman Sharon Ward
was no slouch in the looks department, either. Which brings us to
Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton, whose TV-quality hair can be spotted
from across a crowded arena. Good thing he wants to be mayor, not
anchorman; some of the local Ron Burgundy types would be out of
Best Mayor Who
Looks Like a Lumberjack
have compared Hudsons new, lovable mayor to Santa Claus or
Jerry Garcia. We like to think of him in more rugged terms. Sing
with us: Hes a lumberjack and hes OK . . .
Best Mayor Who
Looks Like an Orange
think wed leave him out, did you?
the Spa City, traditionally a GOP stronghold, gave way dramatically
to the Democrat opposition: Every Republican running against a Democrat
lost. Valerie Keehn took the mayors seat away from Republican
Michael Lenz, despite the incumbents $500-a-plate fundraisers.
Was it the water issue, the development issue, backlash against
national GOP corruption, the war? Who knows; probably all of the
above. What is for certain is that it pissed a lot of people off.
The conservative Saratogian, which endorsed many of the losing Republicans,
referred to the Democrat victory as a bloodless coup.
Just goes to show you what Democrats can do when the elections arent
There is nothing
more American than a good ol bobblehead. Judging by the rate
this award has been given in the past, we think it is fair to say
that a good bobblehead is hard to find. But when you come across
a deserving bobblehead, it is important to give it its due. The
Joe Bruno bobblehead handed out at ValleyCats games has made a greater
impact than any other bobblehead in recent memory. We have heard
stories of local media luminaries basing their important decisions
of the day on the response of their miniature Bruno. Funny, we do
the same thing.
Best Park (Urban)
welcoming, Central Park has something for everyone: tennis courts
(Venus Williams just stopped by), swimming pools, sports facilities,
meadows for walking and lounging, and the Agnes MacDonald Music
Haven, one of the premiere outdoor performance venues in the region.
Best Park (Rural)
John Boyd Thacher
With its vast
views, its location along the Helderberg Escarpment, its year-round
programs and tours, its pools, trails, picnic areas and ball fields,
Thacher Park wins this category easily.
thrall: the Crossings in Colonie.
Best Park (Suburban)
the Crossings is a gorgeous park that is not only conveniently located
near a confluence of major roadways, but once inside makes you feel
like youre in the country. There are six miles of new trails
for biking, running, in-line skating and walking. The park is beautifully
landscaped with marshlands, a manmade pond, wooded trails, a cow
farm bordering to the east, and panoramic views of the Helderbergs.
It is becoming a community centerpiece for group walks and benefit
events. In the winter when the pond freezes, strap on the skates;
and you can go inside to warm up. This is a gem of a park.
bliss: Schenectadys Jay Street.
Best Urban Oasis
This is one
of those instances when closing off a street to vehicular traffic
worked. Jay Street, which begins just across State Street from Proctors
Theatre, is a haven of restaurants, shops and bookstores, creating
a small-neighborhood feeling in the middle of downtown Schenectady.
Go there after work some evening and youll see what we mean.
town along the tracks
There are a
number of instances on the Amtrak line along the Hudson where the
scenery is simply unreal, where it is hard to relate what youre
seeing to its place in reality. The best example of this is the
shantytown at the edge of the City of Hudson that looks like something
out of the Great Depression.
fit right in: the St. Rose College campus.
of Saint Rose
The Saint Rose
campus looks and acts like a neighborhood, with trimmed lawns and
clean sidewalks, nestled among old Victorians along a stretch of
Madison Avenue in Albany. We love that the college has made great
use of some existing Victorians as well, converting them into dorms
and administrative offices. What we cant figure out is why
they excommunicated the art students to downtowns Picotte
Hall. Art students are people too!
Built in 1925
as the set for a movie about life at a prestigious liberal-arts
college amid the pastoral splendor of rural western New England
. . . OK, maybe Williams really was established as a college for
its own sake, back in 1793 with funds from the estate of Col. Ephriam
Williams, who had died years earlier in the battle of Lake George
(and whose intentions for the property were much more modest, for
a small free school, but thats another story). But it could
be a movie set, if the movie called for a postcard-perfect college
campus against a backdrop of lush countryside and majestic mountains.
It really is a treat just to walk around the campusand we
hear its a pretty good school, too.
to Wander Into the Wrong Dorm When Drunk
There is something
to be said for a campus designed with all the charm of a prison
block. And that is: At least if you are too wasted to find your
way back to the dorm you will likely stumble into a dorm that looks
exactly like yours. Sure, that can lead to some awkward moments,
but sources tell us it can also lead to some interesting hookups.
So, party on, SUNYA, and think of us the next time you are drunkenly
swiping your student ID through a reader in the wee hours of a Monday
Best Mall with
will soon be ultra ritzy and feature a cinema. Being the trail-mix
hippies that we are, we have rather enjoyed the laid-back, no-frills
attitude the mall enjoyed during its renovations earlier this year.
No floors, no hassle!
Best Mall with
At Latham Circle
Mall, you can deposit your paycheck at the gigantic Pioneer Savings
Bank, get your hair done across the way, and wash those activities
down with a cold one at Malt River Brewing Companywait, they
dont even brew their own beer anymore. Wanna catch a movie?
Latham Circle still has a decent multiplex. But shopping? Pshaw.
Not here. While the mall is home to the only Burlington Coat Factory
within 50 miles, thats about all thats left.
Best Place to
Speak Truth to Power
County D.A. David Soares ripped into the Rockefeller Drug Laws and
the narco-industrial complex at an international conference north
of the border, it didnt take long for the backlash to kick
in. Mayor Jennings and Chief Tuffeyboth acting like they were
running for some as yet undeclared-for higher officewere shocked,
shocked to hear someone, even if at long distance, rip into the
scam that is much of the so-called War on Drugs. Maybe our politicians
should take more Canadian vacations.
Best Place to
See Martha Stewart
getting swanky. Our spies have spotted the Empress of the Appropriate
and Queen of Domestic Tastefulness on Warren Street more than once.
So, if you want to see Marthaand were not saying you
dodont loiter around Troy. Head south.
Best Place to
Hang Out with State Troopers
We are told
state troopers know how to party! What better way to find out than
to truck on out to Freehold? Were told it shouldnt take
long before you have a friendly trooper at your beck and call, waiting
to protect and serve you.
Best Place to
Find Employment for a Disgraced Judge
Are you an able-bodied,
recently-out-of-work judge who has been found guilty of Judicial
Ethics Code violations? If you are in the area, odds are you will
be able to find gainful employment in the office of the Troy Corporation
Counsel. While one blogger suggested the Counsels Office should
be leveled due to the citys zero-tolerance-for-code-violations
policy, we feel the counsels office is performing a public
service by keeping these nogoodnicks off the streets during their
most desperate times.
Best Place to
Find a Troy Cops House
If you think
that policing a community ought to involve living in said community,
youd be wrong. At least thats what a few cops in Troy
apparently believe. It was reported at the beginning of June, that
five members of Troys police department dont even live
within the city limits, in alleged violation of the citys
residency requirements. So we gotta ask: Whats wrong with
Best Place to
Drink With Your Congressman
body shots, alleged election heist in Florida: What can we say?
John Sweeney (R-Clifton Park) is always up for raisin hell.
For those of you who missed the end of April, the Congressman was
spotted at a Union College registered kegger April 22, apparently
after leaving Geppettos Bar. He was described as drunken and
engaging, posing for photos and chatting it up with a bunch of frat
guys. While the pictures online sure are funny, we only hope the
joke will continue to be on him come Nov. 4.
Best Place to
Put a Dump
The Pine Bush
If the mayor
says the best place to put our (and everyone elses) garbage
is in a nature preserve, then he is right. If people can live in
piles of trash, so can endangered butterflies! When has the mayor
ever been wrong? He has told us Albany doesnt have a gang
problem. He says the convention center will make money, and we all
know that to be true. And look who he has raised money for or endorsed
in the past: George Pataki and John Sweeney! And we all know how
hard those guys rock!
Best Place to
Find the Next Bill Gates
evolving technological university brings some of the brightest minds
in science, computer science, engineering, architecture and electronic
arts to the Capital Region from all over the world. The schools
hackneyed slogan, Why not change the world? is a legitimate
question for these super-bright college kids. Many of them will
undoubtedly go on to change the face of science and culture. And,
if we are destined to become Tech Valley, you can bet that RPI and
its grads will be playing an integral role.
to Smoke In
One would think,
after a night of drinking in Rensselaer County, that the Legislature
never passed the statewide smoking ban. At many bars in this county,
youll still find ashtrays readily available and smokers happily
puffing away. But we arent complaining. Even if you dont
smoke, youve got to admit it: A bar is a bar. And sometimes,
the more drunken, lewd, rowdy, and smoky the gin joint is, the better.
Plus, actively ignoring a standard-of-living law gives us subversives
a cheap thrill.
Best Place to
Get Hit by a Car While Walking
between Lark and Willet streets
Really, do you
have to speed through the perilous intersection at Lark and Madison
and race to the light at Willett? What the hells the rush?
There are two rather busy bars directly across the street from each
other on that block, not to mention a Mobil and a Dunkin Donuts,
with people crossing from side to side all day and all of the night.
Slow the fuck down, already. Stop hitting people with your cars!
Stop the madness!
Best Road to
It has been
a long day at work and you have an hourlong drive to look forward
to. The evening sun goes from blinding to hazy. You squint and shield
your eyes. The cars ahead of you are bunched up in packs of 12 and
no one seems to be doing more than 40 MPH on what is normally an
empty country road. What could be the trouble? Oh, why, its
that charming mass of bicyclists stretched out as far as the eye
can see, three to a row, chatting with each other, distracted by
their helmets, their water bottles or that icky, chaffing spandex.
A bicyclist who is staring at the ground swerves into the road straight
towards your car, you dodge and he finally looks up only to give
you that This is our road too! stare. Ah, rush hour
in the country.
10 miles south of Copake, near the Taconic State Park. We can only
imagine the frustrating conversations residents there must have
(with non-residents) on a daily basis.
the competition away this July 4th weekand that is saying
a lot. Were always mesmerized by large displays of colored
sparks, but something about Saratogas show was extraordinary.
Maybe it was that lengthy ground display of golden powder shooting
up for 10 minutes as multiple fountains; maybe the extra-large bursts
captivated the spectators. The crowd could not stop clapping and
wooingwhich normally isnt a pleasant experiencebut
this enthusiasm was felt by all those in attendance. All throughout
the parking lot you could hear, It was the best display Ive
ever seen, I mean ever!
224 S. Pearl
No one enjoys
going to the DMV; however, if youve tried reaching them by
phone, you know you might as well drive down and get in line. If
there is a pleasurable experience to be had, it is when you have
had your number called, and are being assisted by an attendant named
Dan. Youll know who Dan is, and it isnt just the likely
Hawaiian shirt or excellent mustache, its the whole experience.
Thanks Dan, for helping the majority of your customers forget that
theyd much rather be somewhere else!
and Pittsfield, Mass.
be home around 7 for dinner and . . . hello? Mom? Expect this
as you drive east on 20 through the speed-trappiest of speed traps,
Nassau. Come out the other side andwell, nothing. Right on
through Columbia County, up the side of Mount Lebanon and down the
other side, past Hancock Shaker Village. Its a half-hour of
total disconnectionfrom those on your speed-dial list, at
least. You shouldnt have been on the phone anyway.
Best Urban Fur
seen him walking down Lark and Madison, that tall guy who walks
around carrying what seems to be the harvest of a dozen-or-so jaw
traps. We have no idea of his name, his story or his skinning techniques,
but be warned: If you find out how he does it, he may have to kill
The little Lady
Liberty situated uncomfortably between these two cringeworthy acronyms
says more about the sad state of our great nation than we care to
admit. If only the DMV would allow emoticons on license plates.
Best Bar (Upscale)
Owner Matt Baumgartner
outdid himself when he converted an old fire station in the warehouse
district of Albany into a chic, high-class downtown lounge and tapas
bar. Since its opening, Noche has played host to fashion shows,
meetings, benefits and parties, maintaining a great sense of class
and service through each event. They have drink specials, too, but
instead of two-for-one Buds, they, for example, boast two-for-one
mojitos. The leather sofas, bottle service and velvet-rope entrance
all make you remember that when youre at Noche, youre
not in any ordinary bar.
Best Dive Bar
One or more
Metrolanders may have had their first drink in Iffys, and
for that we are grateful. Readers of Sleazybar.com are grateful
for other things the bar has to offer: cheap drinks, grizzled old
men, bathroom with appropriate graffiti, and a few, er . . . a lot
of other things we cant mention here.
All of them
Come on, were
tired of giving up the easy answers. Any bar is a hookup bar if
you know what youre doing, namsain?
The Ale House,
680 River St., Troy
out the appeal of a neighborhood bar quite like a good bartender.
And as anyone who has spent a quiet evening watching tennis, or
a raucous one listening to Rocky Velvet, at this down-to-earth watering
hole knows: Booie is the man. He is exactly what a good bartender
is supposed to bewise, funny, attentive. And when catching
a stupid mistake on the fake IDs of a group of teens, he is able
to mess with them, saying in earnest, Thats fucked up.
Your mom named you the same name, before kicking them out.
This is a bar for easygoing adults, and Booie keeps it easygoing.
No one really knows for sure where the nickname Booie
comes from. It depends, were told, on who you ask.
49 Grand St.,
If you want
to be doted upon, Café Capriccio is the place to go. The
theory behind Capriccios vision of service involves everyone
on the floor serving every table. And yet, communication among the
staff remains stellar: No one asks you the same thing twice, no
one spends too much time at your table, and no one gets anything
wrong. Special nod to Billy Karabin, who gave the floor its unique
identity, offering unhurried attention, an extensive knowledge of
the food and wine, the ability to sell anything to anyone, and a
sartorial style that subverted server elegance into something wonderfully
anarchic. We love the service at Capriccio, almost as much as we
love the food.
I-87 North and
Route 73 to Lake Placid
Lake George, the Northway starts to get really scenicand thats
nothing compared to the breathtaking vistas you get as Route 73
climbs up into Lake Placid, with occasional glimpses of the Au Sable
River (which looks particularly lovely in snow) and the majesty
of the high peaks towering all around you.
Route 22 runs
from the Bronx all the way to the Canadian border, the third longest
of all New York state highways. (File that away, you may need it
someday.) It takes a bit longer, with small towns popping up every
several miles, but its a much more relaxing drive than the
Taconic. We recommend hopping on somewhere in southern Columbia
County and following 22 north to Hoosick. From there you can take
Route 7 east into Vermontif you get an early enough start
and a full tank of gas.
Route 7, off
Surrounding Areas, New York
Since that stretch
of I-88 sunk into the abyss near Sidney at the end of June, the
DOT had to figure out a way to for us Capital Region peeps to get
to Binghamton. (Dont ask us why we need to go therewe
just do.) Voilá! the DOT said. We shall
funnel them through Unadilla! And Unadilla said, Oh
no! Our picturesque town will be ravaged by 18-wheelers and exhaust
and speeding highway drivers! Thus, the detour onto Route
7 from I-88 was born. The detour lasts a couple of exits, and it
winds through a few miles of road lined with produce and ice cream
stands, trimmed lawns and pretty housesand big makeshift signs
of plywood and spray-paint, reminding outsiders that THIS IS A TOWN
and REMEMBER TO GO 45!!!
Pool (Bring the Family)
not to like? Theres a kiddie pool for the little kids, water
slides for the older kids, and a main pool so huge that adults can
swim laps unimpeded at one end while children wade into the other
(yes, theres an entire end that slopes up to the edge so you
can walk in, just like a beach). There is something to the name.
Pool (Leave the Family)
other, more elegant pool is where area folks have gone for years
to sunbathe, loll in the pool or just cool their feet at the edge,
sip cocktails poolside and gaze with sunglasses-shaded eyes at all
the pretty people (legend has it that this once was a fave spot
for NYCB dancers; we dont know whether it still is). Actually,
its perfectly OK to bring kids here too, but Victoria Pool
is just way more serene and cosmopolitan than its counterpart across
Best Golf Course
is a jewel just on the outskirts of the city limits. The name is
apropos since it is in the city of the Capitol, and boy-oh-boy does
it have hills. The front nine is a bit more open and plays a little
easier, the back nine is tighter with interesting doglegs and bunkers.
The 17th signature hole is one of the best holes in the region.
Constant upgrades make this course a nice, inexpensive course especially
for Albany residents.
Best Golf Course
1849 Union St.,
courses are supposed to be beautifully maintained, play with a certain
degree of difficulty, and have the occasional hobnobbing Biff and
Muffy in plaid pants and lime green shorts. The private golf courses
in this area are very good, but year after year this course is a
notch above the rest. From the moment you head up the drive toward
the stately clubhouse, you know you have entered a real hardcore
golf palace. Tee boxes that are so perfect they look fake, tight
narrow fairways, hazards that will make you pull your hair out and
the greensoh, those greens! Do your best to get out and play
Best Golf Course
(When the boss is paying)
458 Union Ave.,
a round of golf worth to you? How much is too much? Can the novice
appreciate a $185 round of golf? The answer to these questions is
at Saratoga National. This course came on the scene three years
ago and has received acclaim from the locals and the pros that come
through town. Get out and play it now because, after next week,
this track will also be packed and youll have to wait til
September. Wetlands and water hazards in play on all 18 holes, strategically
placed sand traps, and greens that roll true with very difficult
pin placement. This course is a must-play for any avid golfer.