Tag Archives: Albany

So I kind of bought a wine bar

imageTo be more specific, my brother and I bought THE Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark. Last week. Now, you should know that this all happened very, very fast. That is, if you take away all the years I’ve worked in the business (30+), including the last 4 1/2, for which I’ve worked at this very place. An opportunity presented and with the assistance of true, but pithy phrases such as “Do what you love” and “It’s perfect for you” I made a leap out of my comfort zone.

It’s kind of scary, but more exhilarating and exciting. I know that I am going to be working very long days, but it isn’t 7 days a week and I’m healthy and strong. I estimate that I’ll be working 60 hours a week or so, but you know what? There are 168 hours in a week which still leaves me plenty of time for sleeping and loved ones and running and reading.

I’m not particularly goal oriented, I haven’t been consciously working in the hospitality industry for decades as a means of stepping towards owning my own restaurant. I did it because I loved it.  I don’t run 15 or 20 miles a week because I’m training for a marathon, I do it because I enjoy being outdoors and I appreciate my health. Because I am fairly fit and active, I can face 60 hour weeks with confidence. Maybe this venture is what I’ve been preparing myself for physically with runs and bike rides and yoga classes.

It’s going to work because I love the hospitality industry and it is the perfect venture for me.

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Filed under Albany, Lark Street, Local, Restaurants

Seen all over the TU

SilviaTUI had a pretty busy weekend. If you have any doubt of that, check out the timesunion.com homepage from earlier today.

In the upper left hand corner, there’s my Seen gallery from Friday night’s Dave Matthews Band show at SPAC. Hitting at least one show at Dave’s annual two night stop in Saratoga is a tradition for me and one which I’ve been sharing with my middle son for the past few years. A couple of days prior to the show, though, he told me he’d rather go to his uncle’s lake house to hang out with his cousins than go to SPAC. I couldn’t have been more proud of his choice. Those are good priorities.

So, off I went solo. I drove up early to avoid traffic and get my photos prior to going through the gate. For the first time ever, I rode my bike around the park snagging my pics and it was a blast. Full confession: I did not wear my helmet because I thought it would be too weird.

I did, however, use extreme caution and was never really on a road at all. 100+ photos later, extra ticket sold for slightly below face value, I made my way to my seat and got my DMB on. It wasn’t my favorite setlist ever, Bela Fleck or not, but I still had a good time.

image5Sunday I hopped back on my bike, avec helmet, and rode down to Wolff’s Biergarten to snap some Seen pics of the crowd gathered together to watch the women’s World Cup final.The Independence Day holiday weekend combined beautifully with our USA women’s team to create a festive sea of red, white and blue. The energy, as always, was contagious and the roars of the spectators were deafening with each of our team’s five goals. Phenomenal and worth waiting 16 years to see!

I took a bunch of pictures of small groups and pairs of friends. I also worked hard to get an exceptional shot of the crowd, stepping in to the position that TU photographer Michael P. Farrell had occupied during Wednesday’s semi-final game. It was a good vantage point and I got a picture that made it on to A1 of the Times Union’s print edition, which was a thrill almost equal to the first 15 minutes of that final match.

For the first time ever, the Seen gallery was accompanied by  a brief video. At an event such as the World Cup final a 12 or 15 second video conveys what’s happening beyond the power of still photos.

I mean, if a picture tells a thousand words, a video tells a million. Be sure to click on the video for a dose of competitive patriotism at its finest.

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Filed under Albany, biking, Boys, concerts, Events, family, favorites, Local, Music, road trips, Saratoga, SEEN, soccer, Summer

Let’s party like it’s 1999

imageLast night my soccer playing middle son and I went down to Wolff’s Biergarten to take in the women’s World Cup semi-final game. It was a great match up – #1 ranked Germany vs #2 USA and we, along with the majority of those present, were thrilled when our women were victorious with a final score of 2-0.

The bar was packed and the roars of the crowd were deafening. It was fantastic. There were so many familiar faces and it took both hands to count the number of former students who were present. Time does move on, doesn’t it?image

The last time our women’s team won the World Cup was 1999, the same year my middle son was born. I remember we were in Harwich Port, MA and had the game on the little television set which was in our bed and breakfast. My oldest son was two and was completely captivated by the post-game excitement emanating from that small TV perched atop the mini fridge. It was unforgettable.

If England beats Japan tonight, Sunday’s final, a USA v England match on Independence weekend promises to be epic. I hope to be with both of my big guys, Liam the Anglophile and Griffin the baby born in our last winning year, at the Biergarten. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Photos from last night’s match are here.

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Filed under Albany, beer, Boys, Events, family, Germany, Local, SEEN, soccer, Summer

Colin Hay at The Egg

Back in May, I chaperoned a middle school field trip to Montreal. It was an exceedingly long day and somewhere around hour number 16 the acoustic Colin Hay version of Men at Work’s song “Overkill” got stuck in my brain. It seemed appropriate.image

When I finally got home that night, close to midnight, the guy and I spent some time You-Tubing Colin Hay while sipping bourbons sours. As Saturday became Sunday, things began to improve and I finally felt removed from the smell of pre-teen feet, and the sound of pre-pubescent voices. I credit the guy, the music and the bourbon in fairly equal measures.

The very next week I saw that Colin Hay was coming to play in my very own pretty city. Unable to find anyone else willing or able to attend the show, I hesitated about buying a ticket solo until 97.7 WEXT offered some up with a pledge. I made a contribution  and scored a single ticket – done.

In my heart, I was going with the express hope of hearing Colin sing “Overkill,”  however I was a bit delayed in arriving at the show due to a different sort of overkill, namely of the wining and dining sort.  You see, some friends and I met prior to the show to take advantage of both the pasta and wine specials offered at The Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark.  And, we don’t like to do things halfway when it comes to terrific food and delicious wine…

So, I was about 15 minutes late in arriving at the show and, according to the ladies I spoke with later in the bathroom, Colin did “Overkill” prior to my arrival.  Despite missing my one “must hear” song, I absolutely loved the show.  Colin Hay is a very, very funny man and I spent as much time laughing at his banter as I did applauding his music.  I was completely unfamiliar with every song he played but enjoyed each of them.  I hadn’t been in the Swyer Theatre (the smaller of the two venues in The Egg) in a long time and had forgotten how good the sound is, so different from larger or outdoor venues.image

Hay signed merch (there was a good assortment of cds, vinyl and such) and shook hands post-show and the line was impressively long.  Maybe I’ll catch that song next time.  It certainly wouldn’t be overkill to see Colin Hay again.

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Filed under Albany, drinking, Eating, Lark Street, Restaurants, Wine

Taken for a ride

DSC_0003It began with a simple email. I had seen an article recently about an authentic WWII bomber plane coming to visit Albany and knew two of my three sons would be interested in getting up close and personal with a piece of history.  I forwarded the story to my 18 y/o and he immediately responded wanting to know if his 10 y/o brother could be taken out of school for the day to visit the airport.  Uh, no, but I agreed to take them both in the afternoon after school.

After checking the now updated article, we drove up to Albany International  Monday, arriving at approximately 4pm.  We immediately saw the plane on the tarmac and a crowd of perhaps 40 or 50 people.  I dropped the guys off while I parked, meeting up with them less than 5 minutes later only to learn that there would not be any tours conducted due to a “lack of time to move all the people through before 5pm.”  Apparently the plane had arrived late and had then been occupied with providing scenic and crazy expensive rides meaning we regular folks without $800 a head to spare would only experience the plane from the outside.DSC_0004

I don’t want to sound bitter or overly annoyed, but I sure am glad it only takes me 40 minutes roundtrip from my home to the airport.  I would have been pretty damn irritated if I had made a longer trip based upon the promise of being able to actually get on board this WWII relic.  The boys were disappointed but cool, in part I think, because they had toured the U.S.S Slater just 2 days earlier and had so enjoyed that experience.  FiFi wasn’t a total bomb, but, it would have truly soared if her visit had been better executed.

Did anyone else get there and have their own impressions to share?DSC_0002

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Filed under Albany, Boys, Local

Screen play

I’ve been slightly obsessed with the windows in my second story home. Many of the windows are on the larger size and Jeter likes to situate himself so his paws are propping him up on the window sill. My big fear is that he will attempt to chase something he sees outside of the window and the screen will get pushed out with Jeter to follow. Ugh. 11234002_10153291393997889_3796212111829749983_n

To lessen the chance of this frequently imagined tragedy from ever occurring, I generally only crack the lower window, opting instead to get my fresh air by pulling down the top window which is beyond Jeter’s reach. Now that I’ve resolved my own personal window anxiety inducer, I’ve cast my attention in other directions, at other screens that have caught my eye. Like the two I noticed last weekend during a walk.

The first were more an issue about a lack of screens, to be specific. As I was looking up at building near Lark Street, I noticed a 4 story building with open windows but no screens. I felt a little uncomfortable about the lack of screens, as my imagination kicked in and I started to picture small children and animals tumbling out of that gaping hole some forty or fifty feet up. Then I wondered shouldn’t there be some kind of window guards or something? You know those things that prevent a lower window from being raised beyond a certain point? I did a little research and it seems like there is an ordinance (Ordinance Number 62.81.06 ) but maybe code enforcement needs to direct some attention that way?

Jeter and I next made our way through the park and up New Scotland and over to Academy. I couldn’t help but notice a first floor window screen leaning against the front of a brick building. Naturally, my first thought was that the screen had been removed by someone either exiting or entering through the window. Is that a weird conclusion to make?

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but open windows and screens cause fear in my heart.

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, Exercise, Local, musings, Random

Albany sparkled – Champagne on the Park, 2015!

tulipsIt’s been a couple of years since I last attended this event, the official kickoff to Tulip Fest Weekend. Boy, am I glad I picked last night to jump back in! What a wonderful night it was in our fair city – the air was warm, but without humidity, the evening light was divine, the flowers magnificent and the crowd festive and decked out in their finest attire. It truly was an epic night, the sort we all long for during the short, dark days of winter.

I was so busy shooting photos and visiting with friends (so many friends!) that I didn’t nosh at all, but the local restaurants put out what looked to be a satisfying spread, particularly when paired with bubbly pink wine. Albany was really at her finest . Thanks for a great evening, Lark Street BID!

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Filed under Albany, Events, Local, SEEN, Spring, upstate New York