The 2013 word of the year (if you hadn't heard) according to Oxford dictionaries is Selfie. Now whether you love them or hate them selfies are everywhere on social media and it seems no one escapes the trend. And if you can't beat 'em, join us!
In Downtown we like to think we really put the ELF in sELFie, especially during the Jingle Elf Quest. We reward dedicated Questers for posting their sELFies to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with Elf Points and daily prizes like Downtown gift certificates and event tickets. Of course creativity always helps and nothing gets you "likes" like silly faces and holiday props.
Visit downtownalbany.org for a complete list of participating locations and rules. Find Jingle Elves, snap a picture of yourself with one and post it with the tag #jingleelf. The more you find, the more points you earn. The Quester to earn the most points first takes home the Grand Prize - a $500 gift certificate to the Downtown business of their choice (located within the BID).
So go on, get down with your Jingle sELF. And don't miss all the other holiday fun happening this month. Check out the Downtown Albany Holiday Guide available here >> bit.ly/downtownholidayguide
See you Downtown.
It was the match-up of the year as Downtown residents gathered their neighbors to take on the Business Improvement District (BID) staff in a true test of knowledge - Blue 82 Trivia Night. A short walk for all, the Downtown neighborhood filed in and grabbed a seat.
At one table Liberty Lofts assembled under the leadership of building owners Jim & Lena Hart - sharp and ready to win. At the next table a hybrid team consisting of a Monroe tenants, residents from Broadway and Maiden Lane joined together with game day faces. And of course the BID Brigade. Comprised of the intelligent minded BID office staff dressed to impress in Downtown t-shirts, defending championship trophy in hand.
As questions of presidents, sports teams, celebrities and more came and went, the BID staff sensed troubled waters. With a half-time score in the negatives, and a knowledgeable group of competitors blazing ahead it was time to put on our thinking caps.
As a last resort, Georgette yelled out, "Where's the pop culture questions?"
When that didn't work, we bet it all. Ultimately we were beaten by both teams and we handed over the coveted trophy to the night's victors - Team Liberty.
Not only do Downtown residents enjoy living just a short walk from exciting BID trivia face-offs but world-class entertainment venues, over 70 eateries, and a growing list of retailers, as well. They also enjoy the view of city skylines and the Hudson river right from their living room window. DAY Life or NIGHT Life, they're living the GOOD Life and you can too. For residential properties, events, business directory and more visit downtownalbany.org.
See you Downtown.
Have you even noticed how often we use the word check? All throughout the day - we say it, we do it, we even think about it in so many different ways.
Take downtown Albany. We check our coats when we grab a great meal and then we pay the check. We check the time to make sure we don't miss the big show and we access our checking accounts (from one of 11 Downtown banks) to pay for the event.
We cheer on the Albany Devils for checking (and boo when the refs try to keep the players in - you guessed it - check).
We check things off our to-do list - like going to the doctor for a check-up. Maybe we even play a little chess in Jim Dinapoli Park - hooo hooo - checkmate. Surely we check our email for the Downtown Links e-newsletter (subscribe here -http://eepurl.com/de2c-/) and the event calendar at downtownalbany.org.
Even when days get crazy and the holiday season rushes in, we have to remember to make time to check back in with old friends. Whether DAY Life of NIGHT Life Downtown Albany is the GOOD Life.
See you Downtown.
*Photo provided by the Albany Devils
In true #tbt (throwback Thursday) spirit the newly published Fall Downtown Digest took a look back at Downtown Retail in the 1950's & 60's. Joann Ryan, an avid supporter of the Downtown Albany BID's Sculpture in the Street program, authored a piece exploring what the streets of Downtown looked like during a very different era:
In the 1950's and 60's, Albany boasted an enviable and lively retail life in its Downtown business district. North and South Pearl Street, the side streets - Maiden Lane, Columbia and Pine bustled with shoppers especially Thursday evenings when stores were open until late into the evening. New York's blue laws closed retail on Sunday in that era The Nation, newly emerged from a war mentality, resumed commercial production with gusto to meet consumers' pent-up demand for style and personal service. Continue reading this and other great articles in the Fall Downtown Digest available online at downtownalbany.org or pick up a copy from our office at 40 N Pearl Street, Albany.
While transistor radios and girdles may no longer be on your Downtown shopping list the retail options continue to grow. From Albany's oldest store to Downtown's newest come experience the GOOD Life. There's no time like the present.
See you Downtown.
There's this thing I do with one of my friends every time we look up and see an amazing sky. Regardless of the time of day, we'll text each other random phrases such as "Monet Sky" "Dali Sky" or whatever artist we feel is being represented currently by the natural colors and cloud pattern on the global canvas.
We've done this type of communication back and forth for years. Wherever we are in the world, it has been our way of saying hello, staying connected until we meet up once again. Writing this now, I
realize how much I miss this friend lately and wish she lived nearby once again.
If she did live closer, I would suggest she come into the Capital Region for Downtown Albany' Restaurant Week, going on now through Friday, October 25, 2013. Since all the menus are online (at downtownalbany.org) in one place, it's easy to review and decide where to eat, what to order, leaving our valuable time together available for reconnection.
I'd walk her through the historic streets and discuss all the changes happening in Downtown. And then pop into a few of the apartments on the free Residential Open House tour taking place tonight (Tuesday, October 22, 2013) from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
Knowing her though, she'd want to explore the urban outdoors, the riverfront park trails and land on a restaurant with an outdoor patio. Lucky for her there are many patios - including three of the four new additions to this fall's Restaurant Week: Buddha Tea House, The Capital American Eatery and Lounge (patio), The City Beer Hall (patio) and The Olde English Pub and Pantry (patio).
After dinner, I'd take her to the local gallery, walk outside and explore restored ghost signs and join in on a walking tour about movies filmed in Downtown. Sounds like a good night.
Old friends. Dining outside with the stars. Under a beautiful Downtown sky. Now what artist is that?
See you Downtown.
We've all tuned in for at least one audition episode of American Idol. Obviously, there's just something about that side of stardom that intrigues us. Few, aside from the producers and writes among us, get the opportunity to audition people. The closest we've come is probably interviewing someone for a position, and perhaps that's brought a bit of drama, but that's beside the point.
Capital Repertory Theatre's newest and currently running show, Venus in Fur, gives us a look in at an audition that would keep even the most seasoned casting director guessing.
Enter actress Vanda (Jenny Strassburg) - drenched, late, and with an accent only a mother could love. Within seconds playwright and director Thomas Novachek (Timothy Dennihan) writes her off. But without fail, like all those seasons of reality TV have taught us, she performs - and everything suddenly changes.
Before Thomas (or the audience) knows what's happening her leather lingerie get-up (yes, this show contains adult material) is covered by a Victorian thrift-shop dress and she's reciting memorized lines in a high-class British accent. And it only gets better.
It's a play - within a play - based on a book. Actors play actors acting. Trying to understand it all may make your head spin but watching the flawless execution as Vanda pops almost effortlessly in and out of character is impressive to say the least. And the constant theme of power - well, that's perfect too.
The Tony Award winning play runs now through October 20, 2013 at theREP and tickets start as low as $20. Paired with lunch or dinner at a Downtown restaurant and a little shopping you'll be living the GOOD Life. There's always an exciting event happening or tasty meal right around the corner. Visit downtownalbany.org/events for up-to-date calendar listings and special promotions. Just like Vanda and The Voice sensations we've come to love, it may only take a few moments for Downtown to change your perspective
See you Downtown.
*Photos Courtesy Capital Repertory Theatre
If you've seen a Target ad in the last couple of years, you've already heard songs by two of the bands schedule to perform at this year's PearlPalooza - Crystal Fighters and Gentlemen Hall.
Why is that? Something advertisers figured a long time ago. Target, along with many companies like Apple, often use up-and-coming bands with inviting rhythms in their commercials, to make an emotional impact with their audiences, while strategically conveying the appearance of being hip, young and in desperate need of products available from their shops.
Crystal Fighters' music has been in the background and foreground of commercials for the likes of Puma, Google and Target as well as multiple TV shows. Click on the clips provided and see if you recognize the music in the ad.
Gentlemen Hall's song "Sail Into the Sun" has been used in a Samsung commercial and yes, a Target ad as well.
In addition to multiple regionals acts, slated to play PearlPalooza on Saturday, September 28, 2013 are Cayusco, Said the Whale and headlining it all - Portugal. The Man.
If you want to guess the line-up for Pearl Palooza 2014, start reviewing commercials from 2012 and 2013. Or listen to EQX or Alt Nation on Sirus/XM. Better yet, come to downtown Albany, where there is no doubt an up-and-coming national and local band playing in one of the venues any given night of the week. That's the power of Downtown's DAY Life and NIGHT Life.
Come Downtown and join in on the tweeting and instagramming of the event on your latest iPhones or other tech candy. Or maybe just dance around in your new Target styles.
Learn more about PearlPalooza and everything happening in downtown Albany at downtownalbany.org.
See you Downtown.
PS: Look for a couple of BID staffers out in red Downtown t-shirts during PearlPalooza. Ask us for a ticket to redeem for a cool tee of your own. Limited prizes available. First come, first serve.
There's a zombie outbreak in downtown Albany and there's no way to beat them so you might as well join them. The zombie life (or afterlife) isn't all bad, not in Downtown anyway. Tonight zombies can enjoy a stroll through Federal Park, a special showing of the 1976 Night of the Living Dead (for free), and food and drink specials at many Downtown restaurants. The living are also welcome to view the zombies safely from a quarantine zone and purchase tickets for the show at the door - $13 or $30 for a weekend pass to all three Fantacon Presents movie events at The Palace Theatre.
The Zombie Outbreak Walk scheduled for Thursday, September 12, 2013 rain or shine kicks off the Fantacon 2013 conference. The comic book, horror and fantasy convention features art, history, meet and greets and more. Don't be fooled - they're a lively bunch. In addition to filling the streets with the un-dead the conference, which returns to Albany after 20 years, is also expected to bring nearly $3 million in revenue to the area.
If zombies aren't your style don't worry. We have live music, fashion shows, craft beer tastings and more. So run, walk, limp or strut but be sure to make it Downtown tonight and every night.
Visit downtownalbany.org/events for everything happening in downtown, Albany.
See you Downtown.
It's shaping up to be a fierce competition between 10 regional Jazz acts at the 3rd Annual Downtown JazzFest. We're giving you the chance to be in the know. Wow your friends, your date, that guy at the bar next to you - anyone- with a little social chatter on the competing bands. Brush up on our previous posts, study this one and check out our Jazz previews. Come Friday you'll be fully briefed in all things JazzFest.
Blue n' Green play homage to the masters - and they're not too bad themselves. Bringing classic jazz standards to life alongside modern pop song renditions and original tunes, this act is all driven by a thumping rhythm section that sizzles and snaps. Hear the wailing sax and melodic electric guitar at Pearl Street Pub, 1 Steuben Place.
Coming to Downtown straight from Brooklyn, David Caldwell-Mason comes with an extensive performance history. From strong ties to the gospel scene, a decade on the New York Jazz Scene, and a life-long dedication to music, David creates pure, modern and accessible Jazz, hear it live at The Merry Monk at 90 N Pearl Street.
Michael Benedict has played drums and vibraphone professionally since his teenage years, toured Europe and Africa, and released two recordings to date. The Michael Benedict Jazz Vibes offer a Brazilian/Jazz sound as well a mainstream Jazz. Stop in Legends on Pearl, 84 N Pearl Street, this Friday and hear them live.
Can't get enough Jazz? Or Downtown? Luckily we've got a weekend full of fun and you can customize how to spend it. Visit downtownalbany.org for great exhibits, dining, retail and more happening this weekend and every weekend.
See you Downtown.
It's right around the corner now. The competition is all about Jazz but this year's line-up brings a little taste of everything to Downtown. Side note: What a great event to take your next date on!
One act - and only one - will perform at the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival the follow day and your vote could help them get there. But before you head to Downtown on Friday, September 6, 2013 know the whos-who of the line-up. Here's an inside look at a few more of jazz acts getting ready to compete:
Mambo Dragon Jazz Ensemble @ Franklin's Tower
If the name doesn't spark your interest, the Jazz harmonies paired with improv flare will. Mambo Dragon Jazz Ensemble combines afro-Caribbean rhythms and smooth elegant Jazz igniting toe tapping and finger snapin' in just anyone. Prepare to be transported back to cool Latin cabarets inside Franklin's Tower at 414 Broadway.
Melonious Thunk @ McGeary's Irish Pub
The Troy native quartet, Melonious Thunk, brings all styles together for their modern/pop Jazz sound. Listen as guitar, bass, drums and sax blend rock, classical, game music and more with the beats of Jazz. Catch Melonious Thunk and their melting pot sounds at McGeary's Irish Pub at 4 Clinton Square.
Jake Pinto Trio @ The Hollow Bar + Kitchen
23 year-old, Jake Pinto has performed around the globe from New York City to Italy, Brazil and beyond. Having studied with countless greats during his time in the Jazz program at New York University, Jake's piano and keyboard skills, as well as his energy and versatility, have made him steadily and highly sought after. See him in Downtown at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, 79 N Pearl Street.
Shiri Zorn @ Olde English Pub and Pantry
Classically trained pianist Shiri Zorn has studied music since the age of 6 in Israel and London. She's worked closely with many talented musicians in Seattle, Washington and now regularly performs throughout the Capital Region. Hear her vocals at Olde English Pub, 25 Quackenbush Square.
Whew - All that talent! And there is still more to come. Hear a preview of the acts below. Come back next week for all the details on the final competitors for this year's JazzFest. Visit downtownalbany.org for tours, exhibits specials and more happenings for Albany Jazz Weekend.
See you Downtown.