Best of the Capital Region
By John Gray
By now you’ve all read about all of the Best Of winners. Thank you to everyone who voted for me as a columnist or TV guy. Even if you didn’t, I still appreciate you picking up this magazine and taking a moment to peruse the last page. Each year I try to come up with my own Best Of list that’s a little different than what you’ll find in the previous pages. Just stuff I’ve noticed growing up and living in our wonderful Capital Region. See if you can relate to any of them.
Best place to kill time with a toddler when you have no money – PetSmart. They have kittens, fish, birds, spiders, lizards and people actually walk their dogs around the store.
Best place to take the whole family for old fashioned fun – Guptill’s Arena in Latham. Exercise and ice cream, what more could you ask for?
Best place to take the kids for lunch and fun – Old Chicago on Wolf Road in Colonie. Food in the front, games in the back.
Best place to go on St. Patrick’s Day – The real Chicago in Illinois. They even dye the river green.
Best place to ruin a pair of good shoes on St. Patrick’s Day – McGeary’s Pub in Albany. Trust me, half the beer in the place will accidentally be spilled on you.
Best place to see Christmas decorations in April – Four Corners, Delmar.
Best way to get sick–Send your child to daycare.
Best way to lose your mind – Trying to open the child-resistant packaging on the cold medicine while you are sick and have no patience.
Best way to learn you actually are a pretty good parent – Take your kid to the playground and watch how other people’s children behave.
Best reason to move to the Town of Colonie – The Crossings.
Best place to lose a child and find them five minutes later playing in a canoe – L.L. Bean.
Best place to go on a hot summer day when you’ve run out of ideas – Saratoga. You have the park, the carousel and Ben and Jerry’s all right next to each other.
Best place to go for a drink even if you don’t play golf – Saratoga National Golf Course. It’s breathtaking there.
Best charity you never heard of that needs your help – Shelters of Saratoga. Yes, there are homeless people in beautiful Saratoga, too.
Dating and Romance
Best pick up line for a guy – “I will never lie to you.” Um, thing is, you have to mean it though, okay?
Best pick up line for a girl – “I’m sorry I’m late, but the movie Predator came on TV and I just couldn’t turn it off.”
Best place to meet a future mate – Work.
Worst place to meet a mate if the relationship ends – Work. Now you are stuck with each other.
Best place to go for a drink if you are over 40 – J.J. Rafferty’s in Latham.
Best place to go for a drink if you are under 30 – Blue 82 in Albany
Best place to go for a drink if you are a single guy with no prospects – Graney’s Sports Bar in Albany. At least the bartenders are beautiful.
Best place to go for a drink if you are in a serious committed relationship – Your own living room. What are you doing going out?
Best place to buy clothes for your date and get a great deal – Marshalls.
Best band in the area you still haven’t seen – Sirsy.
Best new band with the cutest name – Who’s Your Paddy?
Best reason to see them – My brother Steve is the lead singer and he’s really good.
Best reason to spend an extra $10 a month for HBO – “John Adams”. Three more reasons: “In Treatment”, “The Sopranos” and “Entourage”.
Best reason to spend another $10 to get Showtime – “The Tudors”.
Best reason not to live during the time of Henry the VIII – If you so much as look at someone the wrong way they chop your head off.
Best radio station to play if you want to laugh in the morning – Fly 92.
Best radio station to play if you just got dumped and want to feel sorry for yourself – WGNA at night, Cryin’ Lovin’ or Leavin’ show.
Best radio show to learn something –The Fred Dicker show on Talk 1300.
Best song for your wedding – “True Companion” by Marc Cohn.
Best song for your wedding if one of you has a deceased parent and wishes they could share this special day – “I’m Already There” by Lonestar.
Best song to listen to if you don’t have a soldier in the family, but want to understand what military families are going through right now – “Letters From War” by Mark Schultz. It’s truly amazing.
Best music to play if your life is a complete mess and you are totally lost – Casting Crowns.
Best music to play when you are on your way to an important business meeting – Kanye West. It just puts you in a winning mood.
Worst movie made in the past 20 years – “Wild, Wild West” with Will Smith.
Best three movies of the past 20 years that you have probably never seen, but should–”Notting Hill”, “A Simple Plan”, “Meet Joe Black”. The first makes you smile, the second makes you nervous and the third makes you think.
Best line from a movie that still makes me laugh even though I’ve heard it 50 times – “Did you say Yoots?” from “My Cousin Vinny”.
Best line from a movie that still makes me cry – “Dad do you wanna have a catch?” Kevin Costner to his father at the end of “Field of Dreams”.
Beauty and Money
Best place to spend $25 on lip gloss – Sephora.
Best place for a hot shave – Rumors IV Men in Latham. Guys if you haven’t tried one yet, trust me it’s great.
Best place to pay someone to put their hands all over your body – Kimberley’s A Day Spa.
Best place to have people touch you when you’d rather they didn’t – The security checkpoint at the airport.
Best nail salon in the area – Domani on Union Street in Niskayuna.
Best name for a salon owner that’s not made up – Anita Hug, owner of Domani. No kidding, I need a hug. That’s her real name.
Traffic and Driving
Best place to spend $60 and get nothing for it – Any local gas station.
Best place to spend another $2 on a soda that’s worth $.50 cents – The same gas station.
Best way to insure it’s going to rain – Get your car washed for $8 dollars at the same gas station.
Best way to blow $2 and get upset – At the vacuum machine at the carwash. Out of 10 machines, you pick the one that doesn’t have any suction.
Best place to get stuck sitting at a red light – Route 7 between Latham and Schenectady. Twenty years ago there were two lights on that five-mile stretch, now there are 10 and they all seem to be stuck on red.
Best place to see a public embarrassment – Same road, where the old Sebastians strip club has sat vacant for years with hot pink paint and silhouette’s of naked girls painted on the outside. I can’t believe the Town of Colonie can’t find a way to tear it down.
Best place to get stopped by the cops for no reason late at night – Western Avenue in Guilderland. If it’s past midnight they just assume you’ve been drinking so DON’T.
Best way to throw away $3,500 – Be stupid enough to drink and drive and get caught. A lawyer friend told me that’s the minimum you’ll spend on attorney fees and we haven’t even talked about the fine and points on your license. Or, the fact you could kill someone. So don’t do it.
Best hamburger on the planet – Jack’s Drive-In in Wynantskill. They call them ‘sliders’ cause they slide right down. Yum.
Best onion rings – Ted’s Fish Fry. Nothing compares.
Best Cosmopolitan – Provence in Stuyvesant Plaza. Don’t know why, but they just taste better there.
Best place to order just dessert – Carmine’s Restaurant, Albany. The selection is amazing.
Best place to sit at the bar and order appetizers – Angelo’s 677 Prime, Albany. The calamari is to die for.
Best place to blow $250 on concert tickets – SPAC this summer when The Police arrive.
Best day trip for the kids – The Bronx Zoo. The gorillas alone are worth the trip.
Best thing that everyone should see at least once that’s only three hours away – The Statue of Liberty. Trust me, in person, it’s truly moving.
Best ballpark to see before it’s gone – Yankee Stadium. I don’t care how many luxury boxes they build in the new stadium, it will never be the house that Ruth built.
Best way to spend a day without spending any money – Pack a lunch and blanket and go have a picnic at the park.
Best way to get in touch with nature – On that same picnic leave the cell phone, laptop and iPod at home.
Best reason to live in the Capital Region – The people. Lord knows it’s not the low taxes.
Best reason to stay in the Capital Region your whole life – Family and comfort. I know other places have nicer weather, but it will never be home to you. Plus, we have Vermont, the Berkshires, Montreal, Boston and the Big Apple all just a tank of gas away. Not to mention Tulip Fest, Irish Fest, apple picking, great skiing, the race track, Lake George and a million
other things that makes our home town special. That’s what I think anyway.
And on that note I bid you adieu.
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org