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The Albany Buzz

This Saturday (September 12), 2015 is going to be a busy one in Downtown - and whether you want to get an intense workout in, or sit back and enjoy some great live music (that also happens to be free), this is the place for you.

Urban Raid
10:00 AM | Times Union Center

This intense course isn't just running. It's leaping, throwing, climbing, ducking... well, it's intense. The Urban Raid takes racers past the Capitol Building, Lincoln Park, and more before hitting the finish line at the Times Union Center. Sure, it's only 3.1 miles, but we're pretty sure it feels more like the experience of a lifetime.

Limited spots are still available, and you can register online at through September 10. Registration will also be held at the Times Union Center on September 11 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM and September 12 from 7:00 to 8:00 AM. To see what's in store for you, check out a video from last year's course here.

Pearl Palooza
1:00 PM | North Pearl Street

IMG_8521.JPGIt's baaaack. The live music festival that draws thousands of people to listen to live music by local and national bands returns this Saturday. Did we mention it's FREE? Come to this year's Pearl Palooza and hear:

Better By Morning | 1:00 PM
The Moth & The Flame | 2:00 PM
Wild Adriatic | 3:00 PM
Turbo Fruits | 4:00 PM
Until the Ribbon Breaks | 5:00 PM
Eastbound Jesus | 6:00 PM
Matisyahu | 7:00 PM

Want a little VIP treatment? You can purchase VIP tickets for the show, which get you up close viewing areas at both stages and meet & greets with the bands. Tickets are $20-$25.

Riverfront Jazz Festival
1:00 PM | Jennings Landing

jazz fest.pngWhat? You want more free live music this weekend? Good news. The Riverfront Jazz Festival will be at Jennings Landing on Saturday starting at 1:00 PM. Also free, these performances are just a short walk from North Pearl Street, so why not take advantage of both? Schedule of performers:

Larry Moses' Latin Jazz Express | 1:00 PM
The Joey Thomas Big Band | 2:30 PM
Keith Pray's Soul Jazz Revival | 4:00 PM
Kate Davis | 5:30 PM
Booker T. Jones | 7:00 PM

Did we mention this festival ends with a bang? After the music is over, stick around for a fireworks show over the Hudson River to end the day.

Of course, you can view the full calendar of events for Downtown right here. See you soon!

2REZ15 twitter.jpgPeople love living in downtown Albany. And sure, we might be biased, but numbers aren't. The residential units in the Downtown Albany BID have a 97% occupancy rate, with residents ranging from millennials to retirees and everyone in between.

So what's it like to live Downtown? Come and see for yourself.

This Friday, August 7, 2015, eight residential properties will open their doors from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Participating are:

  • 17 Chapel | 17 Chapel Street
  • 23 N Pearl Street
  • Beaver Lofts | 83 Beaver Street
  • The Arcade Apartments | 488 Broadway
  • The Argus Apartments | 412 Broadway
  • Meginniss Flats | 370 Broadway
  • Park Place at 60 State | 60 State Street
  • Steuben Place Apartments | 40 Steuben Place

This FREE event is a self-guided tour, and by participating not only do you have the opportunity to see what happens when historic architecture meets modern day living, you can also enter to win a $250 gift certificate to the BID business of your choice!

See the Facebook event & read info about all participating properties.

Have you read the latest news from downtown Albany? Here's a look at the stories you might have missed - or ones you simply want to revisit.

Social Scene: Downtown Albany BID Garden Party

Were you at our Downtown Garden Party that kicked off our #captureALB exhibit?
See the Times Union photo gallery >>
Learn more about the exhibit >>

Food Market Being Developed in Downtown

A food market in the core of Downtown is being developed at 58 N Pearl Street. Called the Steuben Street Market, it is expected to open in September. See coverage:
Times Union >>
Time Warner Cable News >>

Mexican Restaurant Coming to Sheridan Ave.

The owners of several Albany restaurants expect to open their first Downtown eatery next month. Restaurant Ama Cocina will feature Mexican street fare. Learn more >>

Downtown Meets Times Union's Best of Capital Region

McGeary's Irish Pub. The City Beer Hall. Jack's Oyster House. Yono's. Hilton Albany. TheREP. These are just some of the Downtown winner's from this year's Times Union Best of the Capital Region poll. See full list of winners >>

Jonathan's Pizza Launches New Menu

From pizza (of course) to salads, hot dogs, and more, you'll find it all on Jonathan's Pizza's new menu. Find them at 31 N Pearl Street - and see their new menu >>

Albany Among Five Best Cities for Young Professionals

A recent study names Albany in the top five cities for young professionals. Noting a unique mix of residential and commercial spaces, and a cost of living just 1.5% above the national average. Learn more >>

Aeon Nexus Joins Forces with Troy Company

Aeon Nexus, an information technology and database management company that recently relocated to Wellington Row in Downtown, has joined forces with a Troy-based video production and branding company. The move is expected to provide more services to existing Aeon Nexus clients and positioning them to attract bigger customers from around the country. Learn more >>

Leading Albany Arts

The Times Union profiled Owen Smith, producing artistic director of Park Playhouse and Managing Director of the Palace Theatre; Smith was also awarded this year's Norman S. Rice Award for Arts, Education and Culture by the Downtown Albany BID. Read more >>

Mayor Sheehan Appoints Next Albany Police Chief

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced last week that she has appointed Brendan Cox, who had been acting Police Chief, to permanently hold that position. See coverage:
Times Union >>
The Record >>
Time Warner Cable News >>

First Church Offering Drive-In Service on Sundays

Every Sunday through Labor Day, The First Church in Albany offers Drive-In service at 9:00 AM. Worshipers can stay in their cars or sit in the adjacent Clee Park while the minister preaches from an outdoor pulpit. Learn more >>

KeyBank Names New Head of Retail Banking in Albany

KeyBank has named Harjit Earneset as the new head of retail banking for the Albany market. She will oversee 12 branches and is responsible for branch administration and sales management. Learn more >>

Albany County Partners with AAU

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced last week a partnership with the legislature, sheriff's office and the Amateur Athletic Union to give local children the opportunity to learn karate, lacrosse, flag football, and hockey for free. Learn more >>

Have you read the latest news from downtown Albany? Here's a look at the stories you might have missed - or ones you simply want to revisit.

Social Scene: Downtown Garden Party Kicks Off #captureALB
Were you seen by the Times Union at our Downtown Garden Party last Friday? The event served to kick off our outdoor public exhibit #captureALB.
See photos and learn more about the exhibit >> &

Youth FX Film Takes Home Prize at LA Film Festival
The team behind the Youth FX film Falling won Best Narrative in the Los Angeles Film Festival Future Filmmaker Showcase. Based in Downtown Albany, and part of the Grand Street Community Arts organization, the film was made by area teens. 
Learn more >>

Soul Kitchen Featured in WNYT Cooking Segment
Nevillene White and Stephanic Gaddy from Downtown's Soul Kitchen (153 S Pearl Street) were featured in WNYT's cooking segment over the weekend, during which they making salmon patties.
Watch the video and get the recipe >>

County Executive Recognizes Veterans
County Executive Daniel McCoy honored four Albany County veterans last week for their service and lasting impact on the community. Three of the veterans served in World War II and one served in Vietnam.
Learn more and see photos >>

ACG Hosting Art in Downtown Restaurant
Albany Center Gallery is hosting "Artist Loft" for Angelo's 677 Prime featuring work by artist Lorraine Chesin.
Learn more >>

Latin Night to Benefit Red Cross
90 State Events in Downtown will host a Latin Night from 6:30 to 10:00 PM on June 25, 2015 to benefit the American Red Cross. The event includes live samba music, food, sangria, a cigar-rolling station and more.
Learn more >>

Summer Sandwichpalooza at 677 Prime
677 Prime has launched a new summer lunch menu featuring a variety of sandwiches; a summer dinner menu should be launched soon.
Learn more >>

Now Open in Downtown
Have you read about all of the businesses that opened or expanded in Downtown recently? From a marketing firm to a new retailer in the Coliseum Mall, you can read more on Pages 8-12 in our new Downtown Digest >>

You Liked It: Storms Roll in Over the Palace
Last Friday evening we snapped this picture of storm clouds over the Palace Theatre, and you really liked it (literally)!
See the photo >>

State Museum's Renovation Includes Interactive Exhibits
The New York State Museum will undergo $14 million renovation that will dramatically re-imagine the exhibits. When completed in the next three to four years, it will represent the largest upgrade since it opened in 1976.
Learn more >>

CDTA Rolls Out Summer Fun Pass
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has rolled out its Summer Fun Pass again this year. With the pass, youths 17 and under get unlimited rides on CDTA regular route buses from July 1 - August 31 for $40.
Learn more >>


Food trucks? Vendors? Music? Oh yes.

Come out and enjoy Downtown in a new, fun way!

In conjunction with 1st Friday Albany, the Downtown Albany BID is holding the Fork in the Road food truck event in Tricentennial Park (Broadway and Columbia Street) on May 1, June 5, August 1, September 4, and October 2, 2015. On each date, the event will run from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Bring the family, relax in the park and enjoy food, and wares from vendors and artists. 

Want to make a whole night of it? Pop in at neighboring Albany Center Gallery and other 1st Friday Albany participants, or stop for a drink at one of the many Downtown pubs.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for FORKinroad mailchimp.jpgFood trucks confirmed for the May 1 event:

Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream
The Chuck Wagon
The Hungry Traveler
Sweet Mama Mia
Wandering Dago

Vendors confirmed for the May 1 event:

72 Pearls Thrift Store
Kernel Cravings
Irish American Heritage Museum
Denise Poutre (artist)
Mary Elise Rees Event Design
Meghan Ruch (artist)

If you happen to be a vendor interested in participating in future Fork in the Road events, you can find the application at

See you Downtown!  


St Peters Church2.jpgGet ready to hear a lot of bells on Sunday.

This weekend, on April 26, Albany City Hall and churches throughout the City will mark the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's funeral procession in Albany, NY.

Beginning at Noon, the venues will ring their bells for one minute and 50 seconds.

On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated in Washington D.C.; eleven days later, shortly before 11:00 PM, his body arrived in East Albany (now the City of Rensselaer). On April 26, 2015 at 1:15 AM, the New York State Capitol opened its doors to the public for mourners to pay their final respects. At noon that day, Lincoln's body was removed from the building to the sound of church bells from all corners of the city.

To commemorate the occasion, bells from throughout Albany will ring out at the exact moment they did 150 years ago. Participating places include:

  • Albany City Hall (42 Eagle Street)
  • St. Mary's Church (10 Lodge Street)
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church (107 State Street)
  • St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church (160 Central Avenue)
  • Blessed Sacrament Church (607 Central Avenue)
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church (262 State Street)
  • City Harvest Family Church (588 Central Avenue)
  • Church of the Immaculate Conception (125 Eagle Street)
  • St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church (475 State Street)
  • Our Lady of the Americas Shrine (273 Central Avenue) - please note they will be participating by ringing chimes inside the church

The event was coordinated by City of Albany Office of Special Events, Albany Archives, Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, and the Central Avenue Business Improvement District.

Warning: If you're hungry, this blog post probably won't help.

There's no doubt about it - downtown Albany, NY has some world-class restaurants. And yes, they are open all year for your dining pleasure - but one week a year you get the chance to try some great food at a price to match.

RW15 e-vite.jpgOn Saturday, April 11, 2015 Downtown Albany Restaurant Week returns (yay!). For seven days, you're invited to enjoy a 3-course meal for just $20.15 at 16 participating restaurants. This year, there's also FREE parking available! Thanks to the Albany Parking Authority, free parking will be available in the Riverfront, Green-Hudson, and Quackenbush Parking Garages.

Oh, it's food you're wondering about? OK. How about mushroom risotto, harvest short rib, duck a l'orange, lemon ricotta pasta, and grilled salmon? They're just some of the delicious dishes available this year.

Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options are available. Menus for each participating restaurant can be found on the Restaurant Week event page.

Participating restaurants are:

  • V&R Italian Ristorante
  • Taste
  • Public House 42
  • Parish Public House
  • Olde English Pub & Pantry
  • The Merry Monk
  • La Serre
  • Jack's Oyster House
  • Hudson Harbor Steak & Seafood
  • The Hollow Bar + Kitchen
  • City Beer Hall
  • Charter (Hilton)
  • The Capital American Eatery & Lounge
  • CafĂ© Capriccio
  • The Albany Pump Station

And of course, this year also brings back Student Night at participating restaurants. On Monday, April 13 students with a valid ID can get their 3-course meal for just $15.15 at V&R Italian Ristorante, La Serre, Jack's Oyster House, The Hollow Bar + Kitchen and Albany Pump Station.

Oh, and make sure you save room for dessert - because you'll have choices like Belgian sugar waffles, lava cake, gelato, and New York style cheesecake.

New this year - we take you inside the kitchen at Downtown restaurants and watch as the Chefs prepare dishes. You can view all videos on the Restaurant Week site or on our YouTube channel.

Reservations are recommended - and some restaurants require them - so make sure to act fast so you don't miss out!

Full Restaurant Week information.


You might not be tempted to pick up any trinkets or city themed items while you're out in Albany - but there is one gift you must experience this month, and it's Souvenir at Capital Repertory Theatre.

souvenir.jpgThe latest production at TheREP, Souvenir brings us the story of Florence Foster Jenkins - notoriously one of the worst opera singers to perform. And sure, hearing that as the premise you might think to yourself "Why would I want to watch someone sing horribly? I can do that at home!" (or maybe you're a great singer... I am not), but the play is so funny, so heartfelt, so entertaining that you will fall in love.

Told from the perspective of Cosme McMoon, who played piano for Foster Jenkins, the piece is a remembrance of his time with the late, not-so-great singer. As McMoon (Jonas Cohen) recounts his time with Foster Jenkins we follow along from their first meeting to their final performance.

The first time he listens to her, McMoon - a financially struggling musician and songwriter - can hardly believe what he's hearing. Initially trying to get out of playing piano for her performance, which is to be held in front of family and friends, McMoon suddenly considers his rent and agrees because "it's only one performance."

That one becomes 12 years of performing together.

As word gets out about Foster Jenkins (Georga Osborne), the number of performances grows, eventually reaching a sold out show at Carnegie Hall.

McMoon describes how hysterical audience members fill their mouths with handkerchiefs, run from their seats, and double over in laughter while she sings. For her part, "Madam Flo" doesn't hear it. In her mind, the lights glow brighter; the admiration and awe only grow.
On multiple occasions, when McMoon is fed up with how often (meaning every single time she sings) she misses notes, Foster Jenkins insists he not get upset with himself or the piano for being off key.

Performed perfectly by Osborne and Cohen, the play is a touching celebration of a woman of whom you've probably never heard - but, upon seeing Souvenir, you'll likely never forget. To be sure, the piece is laugh out loud funny, but it also pays tribute to a caring, familial relationship built between McMoon and Foster Jenkins. McMoon swings between being embarrassed for her and being her protector - much as you might feel about, say, your parents. 

The show as a whole is a wonderful experience not to be missed, but the beautiful ending might brings tears to your eyes - and, this time anyway, not from laughing.

Souvenir plays at Capital Repertory Theatre through March 22, 2015. Tickets are available at the box office (111 N Pearl Street), by phone at 518.445.7469, or online at 

Photo from Capital Repertory Theatre's Facebook page.

Calling all teen playwrights!

Downtown Albany's Capital Repertory Theatre (located at 111 N Pearl Street) is seeking entries for its inaugural Young Playwright Contest. The new program features work by teens, for teens, and starring teens.

CapRepExterior7.2008.JPGIn total, five 10-minute plans will be professionally produced on the Capital Repertory Theatre stage with costumes, props, and sets designed and built by the theatre's staff. Additionally, all plays will be directed by theREP's assistant to the artistic director, Margaret E. Hall, and performed by theREP's new Summer Stage Young Acting Company.

But that's not all!

The five contest-winning playwrights will all receive an exclusive mentorship in June 2015, during which each writer will have ample time to work one-on-one with a professional playwright.

And even that's not all!

Winning playwrights will also receive an invitation to the first read through of their plays by the acting company, an invitation to the opening night performance, and four complimentary tickets to further performances.

The small print (read: submission guidelines):

  • Playwrights must be at least 13 years old and no older than 19 years old at the time of submission, and must reside within a 90-mile radius of Albany, NY
  • Plays must be no longer than 10 minutes in length
  • Plays may have no more than seven characters and may include one - and only one - adult character. The additional characters must range from 8 to 20-years-old
  • Submissions must include the line "See, what happened was..."
  • Submissions should include the Young Playwrights Application (found here) along with the script, both in digital format
  • Submissions should be sent to Margaret E. Hall at with Young Playwright Contest Submission in the subject line by Monday, March 30, 2015.

Submissions will be evaluated on creativity, dialogue, character development, plot structure, and the inclusion of the line mentioned above. Contest winners will be announced on Friday, April 3, 2015 and production dates are August 12-16, 2015.

Good luck, all you young playwrights!

confetti.jpgBefore we get started, I have one thing to admit: While I'd heard of Waiting for Godot before I went to see it last weekend, I didn't know much about it.

I'm of the mindset that if I'm going to see something new, I don't want to do much research. So, without knowing much, I headed to the Confetti Stage performance in Downtown.
The performance space, at the Masonic Temple at 67 Corning Place, is intimate - which feels appropriate from the moment the actors step out.

For those - like me - with minimal or no information about Waiting for Godot, the play is an absurdist (focusing on characters' experiences where they can find no purpose in life) play by Samuel Beckett. Here, we have Vladimir (Patrick White) and Estragon (Stephen Henel) who are - no shock here - waiting for Godot. We don't know much about this person - nor, does it seem, do they.

In what appears to be a barren land, the two are accompanied on stage by a rock and tree. As you might imagine, it leaves little for them to discuss and conversation is strained at times. There are three other characters in the play, Pozzo (John A. Nickles), Lucky (Kasey Kenyon) and the boy (David DiPaola). When Pozzo and Lucky make their first appearance, the pair provides a much-needed distraction for Vladimir and Estragon; the boy, on the other hand, delivers the blowing news that Godot will not be coming today, but will tomorrow.

The cast is fantastic, right from the minute they start performing. White and Henel make the play feel human. Sure, maybe you've never been in a position destitute, but it's easy to think that if you were you'd act just like Vladimir and Estragon do.

The play is intense, and uncomfortable at times, but that's by design. Described as a "tragicomedy," it's an intimate look at what happens when you don't have much for which to hope. The pair goes between laughing about the good 'ole times to wishing the lone tree had branches strong enough so they can hang themselves. What you're witness to is raw human emotion - for better or worse. Vladimir and Estragon find, simultaneously, comfort and discomfort in each other.

This isn't a play that has a neat beginning, middle, and end. I left with a lot of questions and thought a lot about it after we left the venue - and that's not something that happens a lot (for me anyway) when it comes to theatre. Whether you have seen the play before, or are looking for something new to experience, I highly recommend this production.

Don't wait too long to get your tickets, it only plays through March 8, 2015. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit or call 518.460.1167.

The Albany Buzz Bloggers:

Downtown Albany Business Improvement District

Exciting Entertainment. World-Class Dining. Exquisite Art and Culture. Luxury Residential Opportunities. Since 1996, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) has worked in Albany's central business district making a direct impact through three core initiatives: business development, marketing and quality of life. From assisting developers to realize unique residential spaces to working one-on-one with business owners on their marketing plans, the BID is on the street day-in and day-out, ensuring that downtown Albany is the premier Capital Region destination for businesses, employees, residents, and visitors. Learn more about the BID at or .

Lark Street Business Improvement District

Lark Street is the vibrant heart of Albany, and known as "the village in the city" offering a one-of-a-kind experience for residents and visitors alike. From shopping to dining to nightlife to the arts, Lark Street has it all for a Live-Work-Play lifestyle. The cobblestone streets and beautiful brownstones evoke the feel of neighborhoods in New York City and the many events such as Art on Lark and LarkFEST draw thousands of visitors to this unique community and keep them coming back.

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