Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Amtrak Garage Closed This Weekend

WRGB CBS 6 - Rensselaer Rail Station parking garage closed this weekend

The Capital District Transportation Authority has announced the Rensselaer Rail Station parking garage will be closed this weekend for maintenance work.

Monday, June 29, 2009

19th Century Ice Technology

Local inventors were very active in railroad technology in the 19th century. Ice harvesting was also a big business, and the subject of a number of patents.

Refrigerating World, Cold Storage and Ice Trade Journal, January 1908
George A. Birch of Rensselaer, N. Y. died at his home during the week of December 22. Mr Birch was fifty three years of age and was well known to the ice fraternity of the country as a manufacturer of ice tools. He was the inventor of a snow scraper which found great favor along the Hudson River. The deceased also owned and operated one of the finest truck farms in Rensselaer County, which was paid for from the proceeds of the patent scraper. He was associated with James L. Miles in the ice tool business for a number of years and up to the time of his death.

George A. Birch, of East Greenbush, New York

Modern Methods Of Harvesting Ice (Refrigerating World, May 1908)
The most progressive ice men throughout the United States plane the ice to a uniform thickness, installing 6 knife stationary planers if necessary to reduce all ice to the same weight ... you sell more per ton harvested, if of uniform thickness. The fact that your floor in the house is level is one of the biggest items for a quick harvest.
Suppose, finally, we have 11 or 12 inches of ice we are ready to cut, and operations are frustrated by a 4 inch snow; scrape it, and scrape it quick. Do not wait until the next day, but, if possible, start while it is snowing, and the light, fluffy snow will be scraped at a much less expense than if allowed to pack.

Well stowed ice, Refrigerating World, March 1908

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 26, 1909 - Demise of Hudson Ice Harvesting

100 Years Ago: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].

Beaverwyck House Razed
The monster house of the American Ice Co., located on Beaverwyck Island, opposite Upper Rensselaer, has been razed. The company has no further use for the house, which has not been filled in two years. Successful ice cutting on the Upper Hudson will be ancient history in the next ten years.

Backstory: This Day in 1908 in The Record: Feb. 8
The American Ice Company has abruptly halted ice harvesting activity in the vicinity of Albany, putting at least 70 men out of work... American Ice was in the middle of a busy ice harvesting season, having just finished filling their Beverwyck Island ice house with 10,000 tons of excellent ice, averaging between ten and twelve inches in thickness. The stop order comes as American Ice was about to begin work filling an even larger facility, the Mould House in Rensselaer, with 40,000 tons of ice.
Agitation in favor of legislation averse to the cutting of ice from the Hudson river in this vicinity may have had something to do with bringing about the suspension of operations... Downstate consumers have criticized Albany-area ice in recent years, accusing American Ice of harvesting ice from areas tainted by sewage and industrial waste.

(Click Image to Enlarge)
H. D. Mould's House in Rensselaer, N.Y. from Refrigerating World, Cold Storage and Ice Trade Journal

Refrigerating World - April 1908, Minutes of an Empire State Ice Association meeting
Last year there started in Albany a manufacturing concern to manufacture ice for use in the city. ... They have a half page advertisement in the local daily papers which begins in the largest most bold faced type which the printer can furnish with these words "Hudson River Ice Condemned by the State Commissioner of Health". ... Well it is pretty tough business when a man or a company has to build up its business by tearing down others or by throwing mud or insinuation against another.
Refrigerating World, May 1908
None of the Albany ice dealers will probably be pleased over the recent report of the Sanitary Engineering division of the State Department of Health ... where it is alleged that the waters of the Hudson are badly polluted in the vicinity of Albany, Troy, Rensselaer, Schenectady, etc. ... There are forty one ice houses in this territory which were "condemned".

Report: Commissioner Porter on Hudson Ice Again

Friday, June 26, 2009

Music in the Park, Rensselaer

Free Live Music! Wed. evenings, 6-8 pm during July & August
Riverfront Park, Broadway and 5th Ave, Rensselaer, NY
Bring your lawn chair and dine with us in the park! Hosted by the Rensselaer Area Senior Service Center. Our heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors for making this concert series possible and special thanks to the Musicians Trust Fund and Local #14 of the American Federation of Musicians.

Jul. 1, The Reverberators, Sponsor: Walter S. Pratt & Sons

Jul. 8, Gold Standard Trio, Sponsor: AccuCare Health Services

Jul. 15, Joy Adler Trio, Sponsor: Mike Stammel, County Legislator

Jul. 22, Charlie Smith Blues Band, Sponsor: Rockefeller Funeral Home

Jul. 29, April Marie & Friends, Sponsor: Century Monument

Aug. 5, Bill Dexter Quartet, Sponsor: Realty USA - John Mooney

Aug. 12, Doc Scanlon Trio, Sponsor: Albertine Felts, 2nd Ward Alderman

Aug. 19, The Rizzo's, Sponsor: Rensselaer Senior Center

Aug. 26, Georgie Wonders Big Band, Sponsor: Lyons Funeral Home

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Roses and Thorns

Here are two extremes of the garden spectrum in the North End.

Native American Program at Crailo

A Native American program will be held noon-4 p.m. June 28 at Crailo State Historic Site, 9 ½ Riverside Ave, Rensselaer. Topics include American Indian healing practices and a beading session. For information, call 463-8738.

Man Jailed for Beating

Times-Union: Police: Rensselaer man assaults wife with pipes
RENSSELAER -- A 45-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly hitting his wife in the head with metal pipes.
Police later found Aung Soe Myint hiding in a garage and charged him with first-degree assault and two counts of criminal contempt for violating an order of protection keeping him away from his wife.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Keep Sick Kids Home

UPDATE: Times-Union: Swine flu at Rensselaer elementary school

RENSSELAER -- On the last full day of school, the city school district reported this morning that one of its elementary students has swine flu.

Times-Union: Rensselaer schools: Keep sick kids home
The city school district has no cases of H1N1 influenza but has two cases of strep throat.

Parents - please don't bring them to work with you either! (I've never understood why people think this is OK.)

Parolee Taken Into Custody

It must be tough to be a reporter trying to write shocking, sensational news stories for Rensselaer, where nothing sensational ever really happens. They gave it their best try...

Paroled killer back in custody
RENSSELAER -- City police late Tuesday took into custody a paroled murderer who had gone missing earlier in the day, sparking fears he could be mentally unstable if off his medications.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rensselaer County Farmers market

Thursdays, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Little League Park on Williams Road in North Greenbush

Rensselaer County has partnered with the Town of North Greenbush and local farmers to bring you some of the finest and freshest produce this season. This season returning farmers include Ken and Kris Johnson from the Farm at Kristy’s Barn, Herb and Elizabeth Krug from Krug’s Brookside Farm, Chris Webb from Gold Krest Farms, Joann Tarbox from Tarbox Farms Earth’s Bounty and Julie Swartz from Swartz Dairy and Produce. The market will also feature wines from Cascade Mountain Winery, goat cheese from Four Brothers’ Dairy and stromboli and tomato pie from DeFazio’s. The market will open with delicious fresh asparagus, leaf lettuces, green house tomatoes, rhubarb, radishes, scallions and strawberries as well as a wide array of hanging baskets, bedding plants and potted plants. We invite you to stop by the market, chat with the farmers and other vendors and pick up some farm fresh produce, a bottle of wine and delicious goat cheese.

The Rensselaer County Farmers’ Market is celebrating Family Fun Day on June 25th. The event will feature Rowdy the Clown, strawberry sundaes, kids’ activities and child safety with the North Greenbush Police Department.

Stimulus Funds for Rt. 4 Paving

The Record: Stimulus Funds for Road Repair


Troy-Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino has announced that two local highways in Rensselaer County will have improvements made to them as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The projects include $880,000 to be used to resurface County Route 145 (Oakwood Avenue) as well as funding resurface 9 miles of Route 4 in North and East Greenbush between State Routes 43 and 151.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Falcons Fledged

The falcon box has been empty for about a week. I never got an image of them in their full feathers, but here they were with just a little fuzz left (June 8th). The DEC site says that both chicks are males, and they were banded on June 2nd.

Friday, June 19, 2009

May 15, 1909 - Weiss Beer Soup

100 Years Ago: Since I used today's article last week, here's an odd recipe from May from The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].

A Recipe for Weiss Beer Soup

1 bottle Weiss beer; 1 small piece whole cinnamon; 1 egg, 1-2 cup of milk; 1 teaspoon sugar; bring weiss beer, sugar and stick of cinnamon to a boil; beat egg and milk together; then pour boiled weiss beer on egg and milk and serve at once with small pieces of toasted bread. One egg will also answer for two bottles of weiss beer.
As early as 1642 a brewery was in operation in Greenbush. I can't confirm that Rensselaer had a brewery in 1909, but this article shows that weissbier was an 19th century staple in Albany.

Albany Evening Journal
, Fri., Aug. 16, 1878, Lively Runaway [large PDF]

A team of horses attached to the delivery wagon of George Weber, Weiss beer brewer, while standing on South Pearl street at noon today, took fright and dashed down the street at a tremendous pace. At the corner of South Ferry the wagon ran into the curb and upset, scattering the load of bottles in every direction, breaking about two hundred bottles. The wagon, which cost $300, was badly damaged. The horses broke loose and continued on down the street, but were captured by Officer Burke at the corner of Clinton and Catherine streets. No personal injury resulted, although there were several narrow escapes.

I don't think we'll be making this soup any time soon, but we'll certainly visit Wolff's Biergarten in Albany for some weissbier. (They're finding the challenges of beer supply and delivery are a little different now than in the 1800's.)

Crailo Opening

Celebrate Independence Day with the public opening of the exhibit, "A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley" at the Crailo State Historic Site, [9 1/2 Riverside Ave., Rensselaer]. The celebration of the new permanent exhibit will feature 17th-century Dutch re-enactors, music and refreshments. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, and free for children younger than 12. For more information, call 518-463-8738

Crailo Events:
A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley, Sat. July 4 - Sun. July 5, 2009, 11am – 4pm

Rensselaer County Living History Weekend, Sat. July 11 - Sun. July 12, 2009, 11am-4pm
Crailo Harvest Faire, a festive event inspired by 17th and 18th agricultural fairs, Sat., Sept. 12, 2009, 11am – 4pm

Native American and Dutch interpretation in the park each Sunday afternoon, now through October. Free to the public. 12 noon – 4pm

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rensselaer County Garden Tour

Hidden Gardens of Rensselaer County 2009
July 01, 2009, 4-8 PM

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County will hold its annual “Rensselaer County Garden Tour” on Wednesday, July 1, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. This year’s tour will explore unique private home gardens in the greater North Greenbush area.

Maps for this drive yourself tour are $10.00 per individual OR $15.00 for 2 or more per car and can be purchased from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. the day of the tour at Robert C. Parker School, 4254 Route 43 Wynantskill, NY or First Reformed Church, 413 Main Ave., Wynantskill, NY. The tour will be held rain or shine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hiring in Rensselaer

I'm still seeing regular employment ads for Rensselaer, NY jobs during my news searches. To see who's hiring, here are a variety of Rensselaer job searches:

The Dark Side of Dutch Settlement

After the Disney-style Hudson400 celebration, these excellent (but not family-friendly) articles are a dose of reality, with a bit of dark humor:

The Morning News [online magazine]: Deadwood on the Hudson
To celebrate the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s cruise to Albany, TOBIAS SEAMON begins a new series about the Dutch colonies’ origins in America—no publicity cover-ups allowed.
Here's an earlier article by Tobias Seamon, prompted by historic documents he read while working as a tour guide at Crailo Historic Site in Rensselaer, NY:

A View From the Crow’s Wood

You would’ve paid more attention in history class if they taught you what early Dutch settlements were really like. An opportunity to sift through the artifacts at an 18th century Hudson Valley home reveals a way of life that is as odd as it is oddly familiar.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blogger Complains About Port Security

Despite his spin on why he was asked to leave the power plant construction site, I doubt "terrorism" was the issue. Descriptions and photos of the Empire Generating project are freely published.

T-U Blog - Outdoors: Rensselaer: safe from terrorists
If any terrorists are thinking about doing … well, something to the piles of scrap, chain-link fences and abandoned industrial fields of the Port of Rensselaer, think again.

UPDATE: Outdoors: Rensselaer follow-up
Just for the record, the public is welcome to come by and take pictures of the power plant now under construction in Rensselaer, the builder said. In fact, with advanced notice, tours of the site are even possible.

False Unemployment Claims

Times-Union: AG: State workers lied to get benefits
Six employees from area among 30 who allegedly got jobless pay illegally

ALBANY – Thirty past and present state employees were arrested for allegedly illegally collecting thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits while on the state payroll, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office said Monday.
Arrested in the Capital Region were Kira S. Young, 27, of Albany, a tax information agent for the Department of Taxation & Finance; Jean Davis, 53, of Albany, an information technology specialist for the Department of Health; Jamie Viola, 31, of Latham, an engineer tech for the Department of Transportation; Wayne Earing, 36, of Rensselaer, a security services assistant for the Division of Military and Naval Affairs; Deborah Girgenti, 55, Rensselaer, a secretary for the state Assembly; and Greg Askilden, 53, of Palenville, Greene County, a maintenance supervisor for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Monday, June 15, 2009

River Day Roundup

The Clearwater sails past the Albany Yacht Club in Rensselaer, where the Onrust was docked.

View of the Half Moon from River Front Park:

Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble played all afternoon (check their schedule to see them again):

The Record: River Week wraps up in Capital District
RENSSELAER — The 1930s fireboat John J. Harvey fired its water cannons high into the air Saturday as it led the way for a historic flotilla of heritage vessels as part of the Hudson River Quadricentennial Celebration.

Thousands watched from Riverfront Park as the vessels arrived in the area, sounding their horns and blasting their cannons in salute to the crowds as well as the U.S.S. Slater docked on the other side of the river in Albany.

Third Rensselaer Audit

The Record: Audit: City wrongly paying for benefits

RENSSELAER — City employees not covered by collective bargaining units received health benefits totaling $126,000 last year though there was no resolution authorizing them to receive the benefits, according to an audit by the state comptroller.

In addition, elected employees and appointed officials did not contribute to the cost of their health insurance plans and the city was unable to provide all original time records for the city’s police chief.

UPDATE: Link to third audit report: City of Rensselaer, Internal Controls Over Payroll and Personal Services

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mayor Promises City Web Site!

Last night's neighborhood association meeting was packed, and it was clear that everyone wanted to know more about what the Rensselaer City Council and Planning Board are doing. People were requesting more transparency and information available online. After repeated requests for a city web site, Mayor Dwyer promised to make the phone calls to make it happen. It can't be soon enough!

The council and board members wish more people would come to their meetings, and I think people would be more active if we could see agendas and minutes online. And it would save the City a lot of phone calls if new residents had somewhere to learn things like when leaf bags are collected, etc. Most of us don't have time during the workday to call or visit City Hall to collect this kind of information - it's much better to be able to find it online when we need it.

June 19, 1909 - Hudson-Fulton Celebration

(Almost) 100 Years Ago: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].

I'm skipping ahead one week to post an article about last century's Hudson-Fulton celebration, in honor of River Day tomorrow.



Promised at Least $5,000 When the Local Legislators Consented to Aiding the Project in the Legislature

The fact that the up-State commissioners of the Hudson-Fulton celebration commission saw fit, after a promise had been duly made to cut out Rensselaer and not give it the $5,000 appropriation that was promised, when Rensselaer had the whip hand and could have smashed pretty much all of the scheme is to be deplored. But then there is another day coming and that's another story.


Notwithstanding that Rensselaer was "done" good and hard it will still have a celebration. The Fire Board some time ago probably foresaw that the city was likely to get left while the bigger fish were scrambling for bait and they inserted an item of $250 to pay for the music and other expenses of an inspection of the fire department. This will take place just as it has been arranged and as far as the local people are concerned they do not care whether the rest of the Hudson-Fulton celebration takes place or not.


Another feature will be the dedication of the handsome monument it is proposed to build in Memorial Park at Third avenue and Washington streets and which promises to be a very fine piece of work. The parade and inspection of the department and the dedication of a monument will make Rensselaerites sit up and take notice even though some other city might, on that day, be spending the money that Rensselaer is entitled to and should have had for the main celebration.

But there is one good thing about Rensselaerites. When someone comes along with a promise and then breaks it, the Rensselaerite, if he be a true native, smiles and when his turn comes, as it usually does, be it sooner or later, he whacks back at a time when the whacks count for something.

So there will be no funeral dirge in Rensselaer because some other town will spend our $5,000, but the day of reckoning will come later on and Rensselaer will have its own celebration, not on so grand or elaborate a scale perhaps, but a celebration worthy to commemorate the dedication of the monument and to give the people of Rensselaer a chance to see the firemen at their best and apparatus which has done so much to keep down the fire loss in this city.

But Rensselaer is not the only place that has a grievance against the up-State commission or those who were responsible for cutting off Renssealer's appropriation. Castleton people are hot about it and Cohoes and Watervliet refuse to go in with anybody and will doubtless do like Rensselaer and have a celebration of their own.

Coeymans, Coxsackie, Stuyvesant, Stockport, Athens, N. Baltimore, Tivoli, Saugerties, Rhinecliffe, Rhinebeck and Fishkill would also like to know where they get off and why they were not considered. As one gentleman put it: "These other towns can sit on the dock and watch the fleet go by."
Here are some Photos of 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration, including a shot of the Half Moon accidentally ramming the steamboat Clermont in NYC. There are scans of The Hudson-Fulton Celebration 1909, Volumes I and II at the Hudson River Valley Institute (HUGE PDF files). It's worth a look at the photos of the elaborate Troy, NY celebration starting on page 1333, which is page 238 of the last PDF file. (Maybe Troy got Rensselaer's celebration money back in 1909 - I wonder whether we ever "whacked back".)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

County Stimulus Wish List

The Record: Rensselaer County's stimulus wish list
A Rensselaer County government committee will be seeking the help of higher lawmakers at the federal and state level as it works to prioritize some 250 requests countywide for federal stimulus money that are on file with the state.
The stimulus list for Rensselaer County can be read here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16088859/Stimulus-Wish-List. This list is marked as being from NYWORKS (www.recovery.ny.gov), the New York State Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet. It is a "second draft" list dated March 25, 2009. If you want a copy of this as a PDF file, please e-mail bathonhudson@gmail.com. (It's a 3.5MB file - not searchable.)

It's almost impossible to tell which city most of these are from. Some do specify City of Rensselaer, but mostly you have to guess based on street names. Many critical projects are not "shovel ready" - we would need to bond out considerable engineering costs for planning first.

Parking in Rensselaer for River Day

There are no special parking arrangements in Rensselaer for Hudson400 River Day (Saturday, June 13th, noon to 5pm). Plan to wear good walking shoes!

There are about 20 spots along 5th Ave. within Riverfront Park (including two handicapped spots). The Riverfront Park entrance is at Broadway and 5th Ave, across from Dunkin Donuts.

Another nearby parking area is further along Broadway, under the highway, on the other side of the ramp from 5th Ave. Also, there is street parking all along Broadway.

Public transportation on Saturdays is limited. You could park at Defreestville Park and Ride and take an hourly CDTA 214 Bus to Amtrak (or take the 214 from Hudson & Broadway in Albany).

The Amtrak station is a 2 block walk to Riverfront Park. From there, the Albany Yacht Club is about a half mile down Broadway, and Fort Crailo is another quarter mile further.

Rensselaer plans a real public bathroom for Riverfront Park in the near future, but be aware that this is it for now. ->

Here's the earlier post with the schedule for River Day - Hudson400 in Rensselaer, as well as a Google Map of the festivities:

View River Day, Rensselaer, NY - June 13, 2009 in a larger map

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lunch on Broadway

I'm working from home for a few weeks, so I finally get to check out some local flavor. Lunch in Rensselaer today:

P.J.'s Cafe, (full breakfast, sandwiches, and grill)
212 Broadway, Rensselaer, entrance & parking off Academy St.
Open Mon-Fri, 7am-2pm
Fax/Call Ahead and Delivery available

The "Commander" sounded great (a spiced pulled chicken sandwich for $5.75), but they had just sold out. The pulled pork sandwich was excellent though. P.J.'s is the place to find business cards for every service in town - they post three bulletin boards of them.

Old School Bakery & Deli (fresh baked goods, subs, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches)
263 Broadway, Rensselaer, at the intersection of 3rd Ave., and well hidden behind a large tree
Fax/Call Ahead, Delivery and Catering available

I didn't catch their hours, and they're not listed on the takeout menu, but they said they will be open on Saturday for River Day (P.J.'s probably won't be, unless my description of the potential crowd was persuasive.)

Old School does lunches, but I was looking for fresh-baked carbs - I'll definitely be back for more of these Radio Bars. Turns out that you can rationalize a lot of calories by saying "I'll blog about it".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Books: Library Sale, Textbook Return

The Friends of the Rensselaer City Library are accepting good condition children’s novels and paper back books for the spring book and bake sale scheduled for June 27. Books can be dropped off at the library 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 16-20; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. June 17; and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 20 at the library, 810 Broadway.

Rensselaer Public Library - Summer Hours
  • Monday 2-5
  • Tuesday- 10-5
  • Wednesday- 10-8
  • Thursday- 10-5
  • Friday- 10-5
  • Saturday- 11-2
  • Closed Sunday
Textbook Return: Rensselaer City School District residents with children attending private/parochial schools and who have textbooks on loan from the Rensselaer City School District are asked to return the textbooks 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 18, 23 and 24 at the Rensselaer Middle/High School, 25 Van Rensselaer Drive. Individual textbook requests for the 2009-2010 school year will not be processed until all textbooks for the 2008-2009 school year are returned.

River Day - Hudson400 in Rensselaer

UPDATED: 6/10/09
See also Parking in Rensselaer for River Day (with map)

River Day Schedule
, June 13 (Saturday) - flagships depart Castleton at 11am. Arrival at Rensselaer at 12:30pm for final cannon welcome and day-long celebrations.

Crailo State Historic Site will have 17th century reenactments and Dutch cuisine. Only the gift shop will be open.

The Blessing of the Fleet is at Noon at Albany Yacht Club [75 Broadway] with local clergy including Dutch Reform minister and Native American leader. Entertainment is by the Yankee Doodle Band. The Onrust, and Naval Militia will be docked.

Keith Pray's 17 piece big band will be performing at the Riverfront Park in Rensselaer and the 677 Cafe will be selling BBQ style foods in the park from 1-5pm. The Clearwater will be docked and available for touring.

Flag ships expected (as many as 200 pleasure craft may be following)
  • Half Moon, replica of Hudson's ship from his 1609 voyage [Albany]
  • Onrust, replica of Adriaen Block's 1614 Dutch ship [Rensselaer]
  • Clearwater, environmental sloop [Rensselaer]
  • Mystic Whaler, traditionally rigged schooner
  • Woody Guthrie, gaff-rigged sloop built for Pete Seeger
  • Governor Cleveland, ice-breaking tug and canal workhorse [Albany]
  • John Jay Harvey, retired NYC fireboat that returned to service on 9/11 [Albany]
  • Launch 5, lead safety vessel for Hudson400 Flotilla [Rensselaer]
Times-Union: Some rough seas for Hudson flotilla
River Day tribute to 1609 voyage moves along despite concerns about overall commemoration

Monday, June 8, 2009

North End Meeting - Last Until Fall

This Thursday June 11th at 7pm is the last North End Neighborhood Association meeting before the summer break. Come learn what's going on in the neighborhood, and find out more about the summer picnic.

Meeting are held in the basement meeting room of the First Baptist Church at 1101 Washington Ave, Rensselaer, NY. The North End Neighborhood Association covers the 8th and 9th Wards (represented by Rich Mooney and Pat Jackson).

GE Healthcare Opens Plant

UPDATE - Daily Gazette: GE unveils $165M X-ray factory [longer article]
NORTH GREENBUSH — General Electric’s digital makeover of technology that helps doctors detect and diagnose smaller tumors made its debut Friday, with a new digital X-ray factory in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Tech Park.

The Business Review:
GE Healthcare opens $165M N. G’Bush plant
GE Healthcare officially opened its $165 million mammography production facility in the Rensselaer Technology Park today.

The Record: Jobs on the way [photos]
General Electric opened its $165 million digital mammography production facility Friday, that will create some 150 manufacturing jobs.

The new 130,000-square-foot facility in the Rensselaer Technology Park includes a 60,000-square-foot “clean room” and will have a payroll of some $10 million.

Times Union, The Buzz: Business News: GE Healthcare opens $165M Rensselaer County facility
Last month, GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt was at the laboratory to announce plans to build a $100 million battery plant in the Capital Region that will employ 350 people.
A site for the battery plant hasn’t yet been announced, but state Sen. Roy McDonald pointed to vacant land across from the new X-ray plant and suggested to the crowd that GE put it “right there.”

Friday, June 5, 2009

Carillon Concert

Charles Semowich of Rensselaer will perform at 1 p.m. June 7 on the Albany City Carillon at Albany City Hall. The concert is free. Audience members are invited to bring a picnic lunch.

Charles is the Rensselaer City Historian.

June 5, 1909 - Trolleys and Cars

100 Years Ago: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].

Car Service to Electric Park Was Inadequate on Memorial Day

Crowds went to Electric Park on Memorial day and many Rensselaerites were in the number. The service was not the best it would seem for during the afternoon it was necessary for a number of Rensselaerites to stand at the transfer station while car after car loaded down to the very doors went by.

There were those in the station who would have paid their extra fare to Albany and then rode back to Rensselaer but although the cars went to Albany empty Rensselaerites were not permitted to go over.

Of course it was a rush day and many things must be considered. However, it would seem that some better arrangement could be made, such as perhaps starting a car out of Rensselaer or providing some other accommodations for local traffic. Rensselaer is one of the most important stations on the Albany and Hudson road and no community gives the company any better patronage or more loyal support than Rensselaer.

Doubtless this matter which may have escaped the eagle eyes of General Passenger Agent Deeds will not occur again.

Wikimapia: Kinderhook Lake
"Electric Park" opened in 1900 or 1901 by the Albany and Hudson Railway and Power Company. ... The park had a carousel, a merry-go-round, a roller coaster, a "Chute-The Chute," an aquarium containing fish from the lake, a dancing pavilion, and two rustic theaters offering vaudeville shows, comic operas, and bands. Fishing, boating and other watersports were available, as well as a beach and bathing suit rentals.

Herreshoff Car

Arrange for Demonstration
No better Car made at any price
Delivery ten days

BERNARD AUTO CO. 1918 Sixth Ave.


Wikipedia: Herreshoff (automobile) "The Herreshoff was an automobile built in both Detroit, Michigan and Troy, New York, by the Herreshoff Motor Company from 1909-14."

The New York Times
[December 6, 1908]: Houpt to Handle Herreshoff; New 4-Cylinder Car a Light Machine for Town or Country.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Herreshoff Advertising Images ("The smart, light cob of motor-cars.")

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Crailo and Hudson400

Times-Union: A celebration that set sail 400 years ago
Groups put focus on Henry Hudson, themselves

RENSSELAER -- As local communities start celebrating the Quadricentennial this weekend, the Crailo State Historic Site is preparing for a major change.

"We're the only museum for the Colonial Dutch in America. This is our year,'' said Heidi Hill, the site manager.

Crailo will open a new exhibit, "A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley" in July and is sponsoring Dutch music performances this weekend.
Musicians of Ma'alwyck - Sunday, June 07, 2009, 3pm. The Dutch Golden Age Concert by the Musicians of Ma'alwyck at the Presbyterian Church on Broadway (one block north of Crailo). Reception to follow at Crailo; ticket price TBA. Phone: (518) 463-8738.

Crailo State Historic Site, 9 1/2 Riverside Ave, Rensselaer, NY

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

DOE's Helicopter Drill

Here's a photo of the Department of Energy's helicopter flying a leisurely grid pattern parallel to upper Washington Ave. yesterday. My question - with over 500 people participating and a chopper burning 113 gallons of fuel per hour, just how much did this exercise cost?

In case you missed all the publicity:

All Over Albany: Albany and Rensselaer to get buzzed [with helicoptor glamour shot]

Troy Record: Mock ‘dirty bomb’ spurs drill [with helicoptor video]

Times-Union: 'Dirty bomb' scenario without the blasts [with helicoptor photos]

Capital News 9: Agencies conducting emergency response drills [with video]

Oak Ridge Associated Universities: ORAU to Serve as Principal Planner for Empire 09 Emergency Management Exercise

New York State Emergency Management Office Press Release: U.S., NEW YORK STATE & LOCAL AGENCIES CONDUCT DIRTY BOMB EXERCISE
The exercise is hosted by New York State through the NYS Disaster Preparedness Commission (DPC) and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy / National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA). Because of the complexity of Empire 09, the Federal Department of Homeland Security’s National Exercise Program has designated it as a Tier II National Level Exercise.
Participating agencies in Empire 09 include:

New York State Government: Office of the Governor, State Departments of Agriculture and Markets, Environmental Conservation, Education, Health, Labor, and Transportation; State Offices of Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Fire Prevention & Control, and General Services; State Divisions of State Police, and Military & Naval Affairs.

Albany and Rensselaer Counties: Albany County’s Critical Incident Emergency Management Unit, Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Albany County Health Department, City of Albany Fire and Police Departments, Office of the Mayor of Albany, Albany County Airport Authority, Rensselaer County Public Safety Department, Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, Rensselaer County Health Department, Albany Medical Center.

Federal Government: U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, DOD Defense Threat Reduction Agency, United States Northern Command, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Onrust Enroute to NYC

CBS6: Dutch replica ship departs Rensselaer, heads to NYC

A replica of the first Dutch ship built in America is headed to New York City to take part in an event commemorating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage.

Daily Gazette: Onrust rolls out; tears flow (with video, photos)
Volunteers weep as years of work float into reality

It floats! The ship built by locals who had never made so much as a rowboat before is now sailing the Mohawk River.

The original Onrust (pronounced AHN'-roost, Dutch for "Restless") was the first decked vessel to be built entirely in America. The reconstruction of the Onrust has been taking place over the last three years, at the Mabee Farm Historic Site in Schenectady county. Learn more about The Onrust Project at their web site, and visit her when she returns to Rensselaer on June 13 for Hudson400 River Day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Empire Generating Project Construction

Troy Record: Project generating power, jobs [Story and photo gallery]
RENSSELAER — In the summer of 2010, a once-vacant industrial site will jolt back to life to the tune of roughly 650 megawatts.

That’s how much power the Empire Generating Project, located on Riverside Avenue on the site of the old BASF plant, will be able to create once its massive turbines — and their equally colossal components — are up and running.

These images show the scale of some of the components: Construction Photos - April, 2009. Here is a PDF of their Project Timeline.

For inquiries about full time positions at Empire Generating, e-mail Careers@firstlightpower.com. Recruiting for these opportunities will begin sometime during the 3rd quarter of 2009. Current jobs (found on their Project Summary page - may be old):

Contractor CH2M HILL lists the following job openings:
(The Record article only mentions CH2M Hill's subsidiary, LG Constructors, which is doing the construction on the Besicorp/Empire project.)


Daily Freeman: Power plant that town of Ulster rejected will be running in Rensselaer next summer

Times Union:
Power plant in full swing
The "first fire" -- when the turbines will be fired up with natural gas -- will be in mid-February, with a completion date expected by mid-July next year.

Community Memorial Garden Dedicated

Thanks to David P. Moore for submitting the following story by e-mail:

First Presbyterian Church in Greenbush
Dedication of the Community Memorial Garden and Peace Pole

On Pentecost Sunday, May 31, members of the First Presbyterian Church in Greenbush, Rensselaer, gathered with members of other faith communities, government and civic organizations to dedicate its Community Memorial Garden and Peace Pole.

Though the church membership and finances are limited, the spirit of the people and willingness to trust the future to God is great.

The dedication ceremony included a reminder from the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles that the people of God were to “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

The ceremony also acknowledged the unique political context in which we live. We listened to the reading of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. “Congress shall make now law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Emphasis was placed on the fourth phrase of the amendment, but the other phrases were not unnoticed.

A funny moment happened when three police officers showed up with smiles and a digital camera drawn to take pictures of the Sergeant representing the Police Department. They usually show up with pensive faces and guns drawn because, due to human error, the security alarm has gone off.

The Peace Pole was passed down the aisle of the Sanctuary as fourteen representatives expressed their commitment to work for peace, then the Peace Pole was planted in the new garden. The participants shared the names of those to be remembered and their concerns for situations in need of peace and healing.

The ceremony seemed to touch a hunger in the hearts of members of the church and the community. At the reception people were making plans to meet together to discuss matters of concern and sharing ideas for ways that the faith community in the City could take ownership for a similar gathering on Pentecost 2010.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Falcon Chicks - Growth Spurt

Look how fast they're growing! The box is 3'x3', so they're probably almost 12" long now. And their feathers are starting to grow in too.

May 28:

May 15:

Consumer Watchdog: DMV

Times-Union Blog - The Advocate: Stories collide at DMV
Brett Carl of Rensselaer may have made a mistake, but were the handcuffs really necessary?

UPDATE: Stories collide in account of visit to DMV counter in Albany - Story with photo

Groundwater Monitoring at BASF Site

Times-Union: Never Say Dye
[Scroll down below the cotton candy story - the Rensselaer story starts at the bottom of the page.]

More work is to be done to clean an old industrial dye factory near the Hudson River in Rensselaer's Fort Crailo neighborhood, as the state Department of Environmental Conservation tries to reassure residents concerned over continuing high levels of arsenic in groundwater.

In an April 27 letter to city officials, DEC environmental engineer John Strang wrote that new wells to monitor arsenic will be installed to replace those removed from the former arsenic-tainted lagoon areas around the former BASF facility on Riverside Drive.
"New monitoring wells will be installed in locations selected by DEC to replace those wells that were abandoned, for continued monitoring and proposed treatment of the groundwater," Strang wrote. DEC will hold a public meeting in "late 2009 or early 2010," after its sampling of river water to test contamination is finished, to discuss a cleanup plan.
In 2000, the Germany-based BASF chemical company closed its dye-making plant, which had run for 117 years. The plant, which pioneered the use of dyes from petroleum-based coal tars, opened in 1883 as the Hudson River Aniline & Chemical Works, a descendant of a company founded in Albany in 1868.