SARATOGA SPRINGS – A request for proposals was issued by the city this week seeking a management company to study, design, implement and manage a paid parking system in downtown Saratoga Springs.
Proposals received by potential bidders are slated to be opened March 14. The awarding of a project is anticipated to take place in April and the installation of parking management equipment by late summer. The goal is to secure a parking management company to implement and manage a paid parking system downtown that will “net the maximum financial benefit to the city balanced with downtown business vitality and efficient traffic management,” according to the RFP.
Proposals are to include a detailed outline of the system that includes time limits, hourly rates - with the ability to fluctuate rates based on seasonal demand, merchant/employee parking specs and a permit system for residents and employees of the downtown core.
The approximate boundaries of on-street paid parking covers the length of Broadway – from the entrance of Congress Park to the City Center - as well as parking areas west of Broadway to Railroad Place, and east of Broadway to Maple Avenue. The study area includes multi-level parking decks on Putnam Street, Woodlawn Avenue, and Long Alley, large surface lots at High Rock – located behind the City Center and just off Spring Street; the so-called Collamer lot; the public library lot and the paved drive that passes through Congress Park adjacent to the Canfield Casino.
There are currently about 1,300 spaces of public on-street parking and 1,480 public off-street parking spaces in the city, including lots and decks, according to the RFP.
The city has explored paid parking measures in the recent past, although those efforts have been largely unsuccessful. In 2008, three developers submitted proposals for a parking plan that included the city giving developers the land rights to the High Rock and Collamer lots in exchange for the construction of a new public safety facility, parking garage and a mix of residential and commercial buildings that would include a proposed cineplex complex. Discussions about those proposal eventually fell apart, however, after merchants complained against metering Broadway, where their stores are located. By 2009, the city council remained deadlocked over a resolution that would have chosen a developer for that paid parking proposal, even as then-Finance Commissioner Kevin Ivins crafted the city’s 2010 budget to include about $1.35 million in revenue anticipated to come from a paid-parking program.
The proposition of installing a paid-parking measure on city-owned lots and on some streets off of Broadway would represent the first metered system in the Spa City since the nickel-an-hour machines were removed in the 1970s.
“We want to move Saratoga forward as a Smart City with technologies such as Smart Parking to optimize parking, reduce traffic and create a more enjoyable experience for city residents and visitors,” according to the RFP.
The proposed timeline is as follows: March 14: RFP opening; April 17: City awards project; April 18 – 20: Kick-off meeting at City Hall; April 20 – 30: Flexible time to assess City's needs & gather feedback; May 1 – July 30: Complete parking study; Aug. 7: Submit final report and presentation at City Council meeting; Aug. 14 – Sept. 14: Install parking management equipment & train staff.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The 31st Annual Flurry Festival of traditional dancing and music will take place Friday Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 18. The festival is housed in the Saratoga City Center and Hilton Hotel with satellite locations at the Saratoga Music Hall and Caffé Lena.
Dances and Workshops include styles in Contra, Swing, Latin, English Country, Squares, Vintage, Clogging, Hip-Hop, Cajun, Zydeco, Irish, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern, Asian, European, American and International Folk, Yoga and body movement and more. Beginner to experienced sessions.
Make Music and Sing sessions include: Irish, Quebecois, Southern Old-Time, African, Scandinavian, Adirondack, Gospel & Community Singalongs, Folk, Fiddle, Guitar, Banjo, Flute, Harmonica, Ukulele, voice and more.
After 14 years as program curator for the Flurry Festival, Peter Davis will be stepping down, the organization announced this week. City resident Jonathan Greene will assume the role, which includes the talent scouting of more than 300 musicians, bands and dance instructors and coordinating the massive schedule of events for the three-day festival.
“I’m excited about it,” said Greene, a professional musician and event organizer who performs regionally and throughout the northeast with the Hot Club of Saratoga, Golfstrom, Heard and other groups.
“I’ll be shadowing Peter for the whole weekend and going from event-to-event and be on-site literally 24/7. It’s going to be crazy,” said Greene, who will also be performing with the swing dance band The Piggly Wigglies in the Saratoga Hilton Hotel Ballroom and leading participants in a swing jam.
Tickets to the festival are on sale all weekend long. For a full schedule of events and more information about the Flurry, go to: flurryfestival.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – David Cassidy, the popular singer, horseman and frequent fixture of the Saratoga summer scene who died last year, will be the focus of a dedication ceremony and the placement of two benches in his honor at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
The benches, which will be fixed with nameplates, will be set in the museum’s outdoor courtyard in the spring with a ceremony tentatively slated to take place in late April, said Brien Bouyea, communications coordinator at the Racing Museum, located on Union Avenue opposite Saratoga Race Course.
The singer, who died in November at the age of 67, charted more than one dozen Top 100 hits in the early 1970s, both as a solo artist and in his role as a member of The Partridge Family - whose TV series aired on ABC from 1970 to 1974. The museum neither publicized or solicited donations, Bouyea said. That two benches will be dedicated indicate Cassidy’s wide appeal. One of the memorial benches is the result of donations received from fans around the world; the other a fruit of a collaborative partnering between horse trainer Gary Contessa – who has more than 2,200 winning races under his belt - and Columbia County based horse owner, breeder and veterinarian Dr. Jerry Bilinski.
“We wanted to do something in his honor,” Contessa said, during a phone interview this week. “There were a couple of things we could have done - we thought about naming a race, but then Dr. Bilinski said, ‘you know, why don’t we dedicate a bench to him.’
“With David, we go back 20, 30 years. I play bass guitar so we had a music connection as well as a horse connection, going back at least the early ‘90s,” said Contessa, who fondly reminisced about his first public musical performance with Cassidy.
“He was at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, at a special outdoor thing he was doing under a tent there. I was in the audience when he called me up on stage: ‘I’m going to call up my trainer.’ I was like, holy… It was totally unplanned. He said to me: let’s play a blues in the key of C. I started playing. In the key of A,” Contessa recalled, with a laugh. “All of a sudden he starts looking at me… Nobody loved Saratoga like David did. He had a home in Saratoga, he came to the races every day and he loved the horses. During the meet he could be found at three o’clock in the morning reading the racing form and smoking a cigar at my barn.”
Jeff Goodell, author and Rolling Stone contributing editor, will deliver a free lecture at Skidmore College Tuesday night.
Goodell, who traveled across 12 countries to interview scientists and leaders about climate change, will present his findings and report how climate change and sea level rise are affecting major cities, coastal villages, island nations and the military.
Goodell’s most recent book, “The Water Will Come,” was named as A New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2017 and Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2017. Goodell is also author of “Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind American’s Energy Future,” and “How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate.”
The event takes place 7 - 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gannett Auditorium in Palamountain Hall.
Who: James Mastrianni
Where: Caffè Lena
Congratulations on being elected Board Chair at Caffè Len Where are you originally from?
- Niskayuna originally. I’ve been in Saratoga Springs since 1994.
Do you recall the first time you came to the café?
- I know exactly when it was. The spring of 1990. I had a guitar teacher who was playing a show.
You play guitar?
- I’ve been a musician for 40 years, a pianist and guitarist. I’ve played with The Refrigerators, in Dead cover bands, with jam bands and duos with guitars. I have a recording studio in my house and release music of my own as well as produce other folks.
What do you think of the café since the renovation?
- It’s awesome. I think it has the chance to be one of the best listening rooms in the country - capable of attracting high caliber performers to a great sounding intimate space and in an awesome community. We also have the capability now to be a full-fledged studio and offer production services to artists – off-hours recordings, or live recordings. We can do audio. The next phase is video. If you’re an up-and-coming artist, we can create these videos that go on YouTube and can go viral. So, there’s an opportunity to be a little video production studio as well. That’s what we’re shooting for. We’ll see if we can get there.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
- A professional hockey player. I was a hockey addict from 5 to age 15 and grew up ice skating rink in back yard. But, I couldn’t do both – play piano and hockey. I was missing my piano recitals and it got to the point where I had to choose. I chose music.
If you had the opportunity to play music with anyone, who would that be?
- It’s hard to pick just one. I’m a huge fan of Lake Street Dive. And if I could hang with the guys from Snarky Puppy, that would be unbelievable.
What stands out to you about Saratoga?
- I think there are some very interesting people and businesses who are doing very interesting things. There’s a heck of a talent pool of very committed folks in this community and that’s what I like about it.
A Saratoga entrepreneur and business owner, since 2007 Mastrianni has served as president of a company that administers federally funded affordable housing programs in 11 counties. What is the vision in the near future for Caffè Lena?
- We’ve built this tremendous infrastructure and now we have a real organization to run. We have to deal with things like human resource issues and health insurance, employee handbooks and contracts. I’ve done these things my whole career - these things you do in business. It wasn’t too long ago, if we ran out of copier paper we would check the bank balance to see if we could buy some paper. We’re a very different organization now. The nuts and bolts stuff, and that’s where the café is now.
Who would play you in a film about your life?
- George Clooney, of course. I’m often mistaken for him.
Mastrianni was joined by five new Board members the famed music venue: Tom Kernan, Margo Olson, Christopher Shaw, Kevin Veitch and Joanne Dittes Yepsen. They join current Board members Kevin Bright, Eric Brodwin, Michael Eck, Wanda Fischer, Kira Karbocus, Peter Martin, Bob Rehm, George Ward and Brent Wilkes.
- The Moderne at Saratoga. Henry Street Condominiums, to be sited on a currently unoccupied lot at 128 Henry St., adjacent to the existing Four Seasons store. The condominium is slated to include 30 residential units and featuring a street-side public art gallery.
- Excelsior Park. Thirty-nine acres of land on Excelsior Avenue and Ormandy Lane in a development commonly referred to as Excelsior Park. The Special Use Permit will include a mix of residential and commercial uses, including a hotel, spa, community center and swimming pool.
Project Description, according to Engineering Report for Excelsior Special Use Permit prepared by the LA Group, November 2017: The remaining build-out covered by the Special Use Permit proposes to construct 62 three-bedroom townhouses, 76 two-bedroom apartment units, 15,640 square feet of commercial space, a community recreational facility with a swimming pool and a 60-room hotel that includes a 200-seat restaurant, banquet facility for 300 guests, spa and swimming pool. Sixteen of the townhouses include a one-bedroom apartment that could be sub-let. Included in the proposal are six short-term or guest room rentals.
- Rip Van Dam Hotel. Historic Review of expansion/new construction. (DRC Meeting/ Feb. 7).
today (image captured in November):
City Hall Meetings
Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting – 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5.
City Council Pre-Agenda Meeting – 9:30 a.m., Monday, Feb. 5.
City Council Full Meeting – 7 p.m., Tuesday Feb. 6.
Design Review Commission Meeting – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Return of the Dead
Dead & Company, featuring Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, John Mayer and Bob Weir with Oteil Burbridge & Jeff Chimenti will stage a show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on June 11. Tickets are $149.50, $99.50, $75.50, lawn - $45, and are available online at LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster.com or Charge By Phone at 1-800-745-3000.
SPAC to Host Quintet of Country Music Concerts
Promoter Live Nation has announced five country music concerts that will be staged at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center this summer, and sales of a “2018 Country Megaticket” that will allow fans to attend all five shows.
The concerts include: Keith Urban with Kelsea Ballerini on June 27; Rascal Flatts on July 7; Jason Aldean with Luke Combs and Lauren Alaina on July 15; Dierks Bentley with Brothers Osborne and Lanco on Aug. 5, and Luke Bryan with Jon Pardi and Morgan Wallen on Aug. 19.
The Megaticket sale begins Friday, Jan. 26 and goes through Feb. 24, and is as follows: Gold: $695 – Secure the same reserved seat to all five shows in sections 1-7 or 15-18 plus get one premier parking pass per show, per pair. Silver: $450 – secure the same reserved seat to all five shows in sections 8-14 or 19-30; Lawn: $159 – spend an evening on the lawn with a ticket to all five shows. Tickets available at Megaticket.com. Shows will go on sale individually at later dates. Ticket subject to service charges.
Kuinka Performs at Caffe Lena Saturday
Pacific Northwest band Kuinka performs at Caffe Lena 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27 in advance of a 17-city tour through the western states. The dynamic string band’s new EP, “Stay Up Late,” will be released June 2. Tickets to the local show are $18 general admission, $16 members and $9 students and kids.
Funkadelic George Clinton Coming to the Mountaintop for 3-Day Fest
George Clinton, Sturgill Simpson, Alt-J, and Jack Johnson lead a musical cast of dozens slated to perform at this year’s three-day Mountain Jam concert, June 15-17, on Hunter Mountain.
Mountain Jam will also feature yoga events, an Awareness Village with exhibits from not-for-profit organizations and a children's activity tent (those under 10 are admitted for free with a paid adult). Other activities include a Sky Ride offering scenic views of the Catskill Mouintains and North America's longest, highest zipline.
A three-day general admission pass is $184; a three-day pass with campground access is $219. For more information, go to: http://mountainjam.com/.
Avant Folk Duo Bringing Sound and Verse to Saratoga and Schenectady
Billed as an “avantgarde folk duo,” and sporting impeccable influences that run the gamut from Laurie Anderson and Meredith Monk to Patti Smith, Anna & Elizabeth will be stage a show at Taylor Music Center at Union College on Feb. 23 and at Caffe Lena on April 20. The duo will performs new music from their upcoming Smithsonian Folkways debut, “The Invisible Comes to Us,” which is out March 30. Tickets for the Caffe Lena show are $22 general admission/ $ 20 members, and $11 students and kids.
The Championship Tour at SPAC
Kendrick Lamar with special guests: Schoolboy Q, Sza, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, Sir, Lance Skiiwalker and Zacari, will perform at SPAC June 9. Tickets are $125, $89.50, $49.50, $39.50, lawn $35 and available online at LiveNation.com, Ticketmaster.com or Charge By Phone at 1-800-745-3000.
Sawyer Fredericks to Perform Sunday on Live TV Fundraiser
ALBANY - Singer-songwriter Sawyer Fredericks will perform live during the #518Gives televised fundraiser to benefit the Center for Disability Services on Sunday, Jan. 28.
Fredericks is scheduled to appear at 5:40 p.m. and 6 p.m. and the broadcast airs from noon to 7 p.m. from the Radisson Hotel Albany, 205 Wolf Road, in Colonie. The all live, all local show airs on WXXA/FOX23 (cable channel 8, or check listings). All proceeds support the Center and its divisions, Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center, Life Quality Solutions Incubator, Prospect Center in Queensbury and St. Margaret’s Center in Albany.
The Center is celebrating 76 years of service to the community in 2018 and offers opportunities for achievement, hope and innovation to people with disabilities and their families. Text 518Gives to 41444 to donate or give online at www.cfdsny.org. Call 518-459-7070 to make a pledge that day to benefit the Center. For more information, search #518Gives, or go to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @cfdsny.
I was 12 years old and sprawled across the back seat of the family station wagon – a big-finned, hardtop machine with wicked tail lights and heavy metal side panels painted the color of wood. Dad sat in the driver’s seat, directly in front of me, losing his mind.
My sister and I had reached the age when promises of ice cream sodas and enticement of egg creams in exchange for orderly behavior – can you just sit still, for five minutes, please! – no longer carried significance. If we were going to be bribed into silence, it was going to take cash. Five bucks apiece, to be precise. Our palms dutifully greased with paper greenbacks depicting a serious-looking Abe Lincoln, we giddily trotted into the department store. It was a momentous occasion: each of us setting out to purchase our first record album. Dad waited in the car. My sister chose an album by The Beatles: love, love, love, blah, blah, blah. I made a beeline for the new releases. The Rolling Stones. Sticky Fingers.
I cradled it in my arms, this inspired 12-inch by 12-inch platter, double-wrapped in an opaque shopping bag, the contents within filled with strut and swagger and songs about slave-owners and demon lives and drugs, salivating Pavlovian dogs, mad, mad days on the road and nightdreams of sins and of lies and living after we’ve died.
“Beatles, very nice,” said dad, during the unveiling of the albums in the family station wagon. “And you?”
He gazed over the back of the album jacket first, which was festooned with a bright sticker that depicted a big red mouth and a long unfurling tongue. It was the album’s front side that got the more immediate reaction. Here was a near life size snapshot of a human torso wearing a pair of jeans upon which was fixed a working zipper. When unzipped, the jacket revealed an inner-jacket picture of a pair of cotton briefs. To this day I’m not sure what dad said when examining the zipper-front, other than the sound of the words seemed to emanate from somewhere deep in the gut. The jargon itself was a mash-up of words that mixed phrases from the Old Country, new American slang and some otherworld language yet-to-be invented.
Of course, immediately, I was hooked.
“God knows what I’m on about on that song,” Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone magazine many years later, when asked about his lyrics for the album’s first track, “Brown Sugar.” “It’s such a mishmash,” Jagger said. “All the nasty subjects in one go.”
The Rolling Stones debuted a rough working version of “Brown Sugar” at the Altamont festival in 1969 - the first song in the setlist performed immediately after that infamous stabbing captured in the film “Gimme Shelter.” Despite the karmic baggage, when it was finally released as a single a year-and-a-half later, it climbed up the American charts and all the way to number one, displacing Three Dog Night’s six-week cling to the top of the charts - with “Joy to the World” of all things - and provided a daring counterpoint to chart-topping snoozers by Carole King - “It’s Too Late,” James Taylor -“You’ve Got A Friend,” and the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” - that would soon follow.
“Sticky Fingers” begins, as most good things do, with a succession of scything Keith-chords, adds a dose of heavy horns, and a killer rhythm section highlighted by the booming of Charlie bass-drum beats, as Mick Jagger releases the pent-up verse: Gawlko slayship bownfocottan feels/ sawld in-a-mawket-down in New Awleens…
The album was released at an important time in popular rock and roll history: the Beatles had broken up, Bob Dylan a recluse and the trippy-hippy ‘60s were over. ‘Sticky Fingers’ boasts 10 songs in all, and not a throwaway tune in the bunch. There is the acoustic beauty of songs like “Wild Horses” and “Moonlight Mile,” the Gram Parsons-inspired country-rock-and-tonk of “Dead Flowers,” the heavy horn and musical jam explorations of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and the solemn hair-on-your-neck at attention moodiness of “Sister Morphine.”
The Rolling Stones classic 1971 album "Sticky Fingers" is the focus of the next Rochmon Record Club Listening Party, which takes place Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Caffe Lena. I can’t wait to see and hear what Rochmon’s got lined up for the night. Doors at 6:30 p.m. and show time is at 7. A word of advice: If you want a seat, get there early. A $5 donation is suggested. Donations go to the restoration funds of Caffe’ Lena and Universal Preservation Hall.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – One day after being sworn in, the newly elected City Council convened for its first regular Tuesday night meeting at City Hall on Jan. 2. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the newest members of city government - Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin, Supervisor Tara Gaston and Mayor Meg Kelly, were the first to arrive.
Mayor Kelly – the 21st mayor in the city’s 102-year history and its fourth woman mayor - made six appointments to three boards: Tom Roohan was appointed chairman of the Saratoga Springs City Center Authority, Stephen “Sully” Sullivan the Authority’s vice-chair and Mark Torpey re-appointment as chairman of the Planning Board, among them.
Two residents speaking during the meeting’s public comment period. One proposed the council pursue ideas for the development of an indoor recreation facility (despite that one recently was constructed on the city’s south side); another requested specific monetary detail regarding the definition of “affordable housing.”
Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan announced the city received more than 900 property-tax prepayments (380 online and 533 in-person) totaling almost $2.9 million during the final week of the 2017 calendar year. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to take the deduction,” Madigan said. “That’s still to be determined.”
Tuesday night’s meeting ran a total of 32 minutes, which, if not an all-time record for brevity, had to be close to one. We may never see one like it again in our lifetimes.
This week at the Planning Board:
Spencer Subdivision. Belmonte Builders is proposing a 22-lot residential cluster subdivision totaling approximately 12.63 acres on property located between Arrowhead Road on the west and Kaydeross Park Road on the east. The proposed lots will vary in size from approximately 10,000 square feet to 16,700 square feet in size. As part of the proposal, approximately 5.2 acres of open space will be created - 1.1 acres located east of the proposed lots along Arrowhead Road and west of the proposed lots on Julians Way, and approximately 4.1 acres located west of Kaydeross Park Road, north of the proposed lot development. The proposed lots will be served by municipal water from the city - for which new water mains will be provided – and will be served by public sanitary sewer.
Ballston Avenue Townhouses. Ballston Ave. Partners has submitted a sketch plan for discussion regarding a proposed town house development at 96 and 116 Ballston Ave.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - A 39-year-old man, suspected of being involved in Wednesday's alleged robbery at the main branch of the Adirondack Trust Company, has been charged with felony robbery and felony grand larceny, according to Saratoga Springs Police.
The man, Anthony J. Paradise, of Ballston Spa, was taken in to custody at approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday. The robbery occurred shortly after noon, earlier that same day. Paradise is suspected of forcibly stealing in excess of $3,000 from the bank.
Police said a search warrant was executed at the Ballston Spa residence where Paradise had been staying short term, and that items were secured with potential ties to the robbery. Paradise is believed to have acted alone.