Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31, 1909 - Baerena Park

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

Churches United in a Fine Day's Trip to Baerena Park
The union excursion of the upper Rensselaer churches on Saturday last to Baerena Park was one of the pleasantest events that the churches have united in in a long time... Early in the day the weather was threatening but as soon as the two barges were fairly started the sun broke through the clouds...
Image: The USS Harvest Queen in 1917, just after the un-powered barge was purchased from Baerena Park owner J.N. Briggs by the Navy, to use as a barracks. Info at HistoryCentral.

From the Albany Evening Journal, July 26, 1909 (
RENSSELAER - Two barges, Empress and Harvest Queen, with about 3,000 people on board, left the dock at the foot of Second avenue this morning at 10:30 o'clock for Baerena park. The outing was that annual excursion of St. John's parish and was the largest from Rensselaer this season. ... A feature of the morning's program was the marching of the drum corps of St. John's academy to the dock. Many of the members of the parish who were unable to leave Rensselaer this morning left this afternoon for the island in the steamer Ursula from Albany.

Baerena Park was downriver on Barren Island in Coeymans, also known as Baeren, Bearn, or Bear Island. William Wade's 1846 Panorama of the Hudson River says:
This place, the southern boundary of the ancient colony or manor of Renssalaerwyck, was fortified and garrisoned by one of the early Patroons in 1644. As the port of the colony, all traders were here obliged to stop and learn the terms on which they might proceed.
John N. Briggs, ice harvesting tycoon and founder of the Atlantic Light and Power Company owned the island.'s history of Coeymans says:
In 1879, Briggs developed an amusement park called Baerena Park on Barren Island. The park included docks, a covered dance platform, a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, refreshments and an Observation tower.
According to historic newspapers, Baerena Park was a stop for Sunday School picnics as early as 1877 and as late as 1913. Its 1879 opening was well before Electric Park in Kinderhook, though it likely didn't open with all the amusement rides (the Ferris Wheel, designed by an RPI grad, only dates back to 1893). This July 8th, 1891 ad in the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle reads:


A most delightful Pic Nic Ground, Located on Baeren Island, in the Hudson River, thirteen miles below Albany, N. Y..
Is now open for Excusions of Sunday Schools, Military and Civic Societies. The grounds are of a slate rock formation, beautifully shaded, and laid out with walks and provided with large Pavillion, Summer Houses, Refreshment Stands, Ladies' Sitting Room, and an ample supply of filtered iced drinking water....
No mud, no mosquitos, beautiful scenery, no disagreeable features or surroundings. ... A good police force. All the Popular Amusements of the day at Low Rates...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flood Delays - Amtrak Resumes

Times-Union: Amtrak resumes service in Rensselaer
Flooding concerns forced cancellation of morning trains

RENSSELAER - Amtrak resumed train service to New York this afternoon.

Trains between the Rensselaer Rail Station and Penn Station were canceled this morning because of flooding from Wednesday night's storm.
Amtrak says passengers should still expect residual delays along the route.

Khayzier Lived at St. Paul's

Times-Union: Pain, questions after death
A day after boy is killed by police vehicle, questions arise about how it happened, supervision issues

TROY – The life of Khayzier Pugh fit the pattern of a child at risk.

Both his parents were in state prison. He lived with his aunt in a homeless shelter in the city of Rensselaer.
The child had been staying with his aunt, Tonia Pugh, at the St. Paul's Center, a center for homeless women in Rensselaer, said David Rossetti, the center's executive director.
"He was just your average 5-year-old kid," Rossetti said. "He loved life and doing daily things that kids like to do."

Man accused of peeping

Times-Union: Man accused of peeping into Guilderland home

GUILDERLAND -- A Rensselaer man who is a Level 3 sex offender is accused of peeping at a woman through her home's sliding glass doors last month, State Police said.

Alvin W. Dubois, 53, of 905 Washington Ave. was charged with third-degree criminal trespass after he allegedly peeped through the woman's window the evening of June 11.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Garbage Day

The rules of Garbage Day are unwritten, which causes frustrated questions at neighborhood meetings, even from long-time residents. In response to an e-mail inquiry, I asked for more info at City Hall.

Trash: Call the Solid Waste Dept. at 462-9616 to ask when pick-up is at your address. There are no guidelines based on wards or streets. A trash can is not required, but will protect bags from crows, dogs, etc. Monday holidays may push back pickup a day.

Lawn Waste: We were told "Thursdays" in the North End meetings, but according to City Hall, paper leaf bags are not picked up on any particular day. They send someone out when the bags start to accumulate. [UPDATE 9/10/09 - pickup in the North End will be Wednesdays, "guaranteed"]

Bulk Pickup: You must call the Solid Waste Dept. at 462-9616 on a Monday to schedule collection of items too large for regular garbage. Put the items out on Thursday - they'll get them on Friday. When I did this, they said that all the items must fit in the bed of an ordinary pick-up truck. If you have more than than this, or can't haul it to the curb, I'd recommend 1-800-GOT-JUNK.
UPDATE: See Comments for more good info. on bulk pickup.

Recycling: Get a blue bin from the Solid Waste Dept. Put your plastics (any numbers) and glass in the bottom. Paper and cardboard can go in paper bags or be bundled.

Electronics Recycling: We have one annual disposal opportunity in April at Taft Furniture in Albany. City Hall will have coupons. Until then, try eLot Recycling in Troy. They also take batteries and compact fluorescent bulbs.

Household Hazardous Waste: No collection. We're outside their region, but I was able to pay to use the Eastern Rensselaer County Solid Waste Management Authority. They do collections twice a year.
Rensselaer does not have a web site, and they should. You can't find phone numbers for the City online, except in the County Services Directory. (I extracted and OCR'd the City of Rensselaer 2009 Directory.) If you take time out of your work day to call or visit City Hall for basic info that should be online, please request a web page.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Burmese Water Festival

Somehow my news and blog searches missed these posts from, until now. Check out the links for lots of photos. Looks like it was a great event.

Burmese Water Festival, Rensselaer, New York. (7/5/09)
The Burmese water festival was held in Rensselaer, New York, on the eastern bank of the Hudson across from Albany.
More Burmese water festival pictures. (7/19/09)
Here's a pair of group photos taken at the water festival in Rensselaer the other week.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday Programs at Crailo

The Record: Kids live bit of history [photo]

RENSSELAER — A handful of children gathered at the riverfront Sunday to play a variety of games — but not baseball, or soccer, or even catch. They were playing the likes of hoop & spear, ring & pin and an involved match of shinny.
Sunday’s program is a weekly one that will run through the end of October, focusing on Native American history. It is put on by Fort Crailo, a historical organization based at the former home of the Van Rensselaer family. That old brick structure is directly across Broadway from the riverfront site where the events are held.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pipeline Check

The Record: Pipeline check planned at generating project

The Empire Generating Project will be conducting a planned check on the project’s pipeline beginning on Sunday at 6 a.m. and continuing until Monday at 6 a.m.

The pipeline extends from the project site at 75 Riverside Ave. in Rensselaer to the metering station off of Route 9J in Schodack.

The First Light Power web site is down at the moment, but you can read more about Empire Generating in this earlier post: Empire Generating Project Construction

Porn Sweep Continues

Times-Union: Child porn sweep nets 11
The local suspects are Shawn Butcher, 35, of Wynantskill; Scott Purcell, 21, of Johnstown; Joshua Stanfill, 23, of Schenectady; Bruce Smith, 48, of Adirondack in Warren County; and Kevin Preston, 18, of Rensselaer.

The Record: 11 arrested in child porn probe
The 11 arrests made this week as part of the culmination of an extensive child pornography investigation is not even the tip of the iceberg, officials said at a press conference Friday. “We’ll start up again on Monday,” said State Police Capt. Frank Pace, commander of the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Crailo From the Water

Crailo neighborhood from the river, July 12, 2009 (click to enlarge).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crailo Kid-Friendly Sunday

Times-Union: Crailo event offers fun for kids
On Sunday afternoon, the Crailo State Historic Site's series of free programs at Riverside Park will feature a demonstration of American Indian toys and games by Larry Thetford.

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

8th Ward Website

Rich Mooney, Alderman for Rensselaer's 8th Ward, has just started a web site. This is great news!

Rensselaer's 8th Ward Home

I expect Rich will keep us updated about City Council business, and you should keep an eye on his site even if you don't live in the 8th Ward (the part of the North End which is south of Washington Ave.)

For instance, Rich says that on Monday, July 27 there will be a special Council meeting to try to pass the 2009-10 budget. Learn more on his Upcoming Events page.

UPDATE: Follow Rich on Twitter

Car Thief Arrested

WRGB CBS6: Albany man admits to numerous robberies [photo]
Albany Police have apprehended a homeless man who has admitted to burglarizing a house and numerous cars since July 19th.

The Record:
Arrest made in car incidents
Albany Police had Robert Paul Blacka, 32, in custody for allegedly committing a robbery in that city while driving a vehicle he stole out of Rensselaer.
Rensselaer police will file formal charges including grand larceny and a number of other larcenies for stealing items from the vehicles.

July 24, 1909 - Home Telephone

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


Work on the Submarine Cable Will Soon be Started - - Rensselaer to Have a Directory

The first of the new telephones to be installed by the Rensselaer Home Telephone Company will be working by the middle of August it is expected, and all the 'phones will be doing business by the first of September. Good progress has been made with the work and although much remains to be done, yet an official of the company stated yesterday that in his opinion the first service would by ready by next month.


It will be gratifying to Rensselaerites to know that they are to be recognized in the telephone world, for as soon as the new lines are ready, a Rensselaer directory will be issued.

There will be no central office in the city, but the lines will be carried through a submarine cable to a part of the company's big switchboard in Albany and there the connections will be made. This will provide an instantaneous service which will certainly be appreciated.

The poles are now all set but with a few exceptions and the work of laying the cables on these poles is coming along nicely. But little wire will be seen as there will be little of it, the wires being carried in the cables that reach from pole to pole. The company proposes to make its poles an ornament for they will be provided with iron steps and later on will be painted. This will make other poles look shabby in comparison.

The American Telephone Journal, 07/25/1903, COMEDIAN ADVERTISES TELEPHONICALLY
An enterprising comedian recently appeared at short notice in Onondaga a small town in Michigan where there was no newspaper to announce him. He had the operator at the telephone exchange call up every telephone subscriber and played to a crowded house.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Interactive Artist

Daily Gazette: Works at Mohawk Hudson Regional creating a tactile, emotional response
Materials grab viewer as much as themes, ideas in Regional show
This year’s Regional at the University Art Museum, juried by Matthew Higgs, has to be one of the most unusual in the history of the 73-year-old exhibit.
Inventor-artist Abraham Ferraro of Rensselaer takes a Pop Art twist with “One Morning I Woke With a Bright Idea,” an eight-foot-wide mound of bright-colored wires and flashing lights, topped with a giant, circus-like light switch.

2009 Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region
June 25 - August 8, 2009
University Art Museum, University at Albany [maps]
Hours: Tues.- Fri. 10 am to 5 pm; Sat. & Sun. 12 to 4 pm. Closed Mondays
Free and open to the public

See more interactive art at abeZart YouTube videos or this Abraham Ferraro portfolio.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blog Update


I finally found the HTML code to fix the bug in this Blogger template, without having to rebuild it from scratch. Now you can see the number of comments for each post on the main page. (Before, they were only visible if you clicked a post title and went to that individual page.) Thanks to the folks who commented anyway - here are some older posts with comments, in case you want to add to the discussion:
Comments are moderated [and require registration]. UPDATE: I removed the registration requirement. Links to more info are appreciated! Please keep it professional, on-topic, and try to add value to the discussion. If you want to impeach someone, please start your own blog.


I've been following a few Twitter feeds as part of my news-gathering effort, and was impressed with WNYT NewsChannel 13's timely coverage of the boil water order and the public hearing this week. I've added a customized news feed in the sidebar that searches WNYT's Twitter stream for "Rensselaer". This should add some timely news to the site (assuming the gadget works properly - I see it's missing one recent tweet).

Boil Water Order Lifted

Times-Union: Boil water order lifted in Rensselaer County
Residences on Glenmore Road must continue to boil water until further notice, the county said.
The boil water order was lifted for the entire city of Rensselaer and East Greenbush as well as Schodack Water Districts 2A, 2B, 5, 8, and 4; North Greenbush Water Districts 4 (RPI Tech Park), and 8, including Lumbermans and Montessori School.

Lecture - Wildlife in the Garden

“Wildlife Challenges in the Garden” will be presented by Chris Logue, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schenectady County and David Chinery, extension educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension Rensselaer County at 7 p.m. July 29 in the Demonstration Garden of CCE of Rensselaer, Robert C. Parker School, 4254 Route 43. For information, call Cornell Cooperative Extension Of Rensselaer County at 272-4210.

Whether they walk, burrow or fly, wildlife can be a challenge to gardeners. Come learn what wild critters are in your garden and what strategies exist for keeping your plants alive.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Boil Water Order

WRGB CBS6: Many Rensselaer County residents advised to boil water

There has been a large break in the water feed line that delivers water to Rensselaer, North Greenbush and East Greenbush, according to the Rensselaer Mayor.

The mayor is asking residents of those areas to conserve water at this time. He also says that the water supply to Rensselaer, North Greenbush and East Greenbush may be temporarily shut off.

The Rensselaer County Health Department has issued a boil water advisory for the following areas:

  • The entire City of Rensselaer
  • The entire Town of East Greenbush
  • Schodack Water Districts 2a, 2b, 5, 8, and 4
  • North Greenbush water district 4 (RPI Tech Park), Water district 8 including Lumbermans and Montessori School, as well as Route 4 from Yonder Farms to Jordan Road south of the Route 4 Golf Course.

Residents in these areas are advised to bring all water to a rolling boil for one minute before consumption. The boil water advisory will last until tests confirm that the water is safe for consumption.

UPDATE: Times-Union: North Greenbush water main fixed, residents should still boil water

With help from the city of Albany, workers repaired the 36-inch water pipe that ruptured Monday, threatening water service to four Rensselaer County communities.
A boil water advisory is in place for the city of Rensselaer, East Greenbush, North Greenbush and Schodack.
Richard Elder, county environmental health director, said the mandatory and advisory boil water orders will remain in effect for at least another day.

Plan to Ban Texting While Driving

Times-Union: Four months before state ban, Rensselaer moves ahead with own texting law

The statewide ban on texting while driving goes into effect Nov. 21 but that's not soon enough for Rensselaer.

Mayor Dan Dwyer said he wants to get a citywide ban on the books by Aug. 1.
The city's Common Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the issue.
The public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in the Community Room at City Hall, 62 Washington St.
You don't have to spend much time watching traffic on Washington Ave. to see that many drivers are talking on their cell phones (and not hands-free). This increased noticeably this year, and there seems to be no visible effort to enforce the existing law. There should be a team spotting these folks as they come off the I-90 ramp, and flagging them down. We'd need at least 60,000 tickets to get enough revenue to pave Washington Ave., so let's get busy!

UPDATE: WNYT News Channel 13: Rensselaer considers its texting ban

WNYT via Twitter:
Rensselaer held a public hearing on its plan to pass texting while driving ban before the state's ban goes into effect. No one showed up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Water Main Break

Capital News 9: Residents asked to conserve water

Residents in North and East Greenbush and the City of Rensselaer are asked to conserve water. There is a major water main break on Glenmore Road in North Greenbush.

For now, the mayor of Rensselaer is asking residents not to wash cars, water lawns or use any unnecessary water.

State Worker's Drug Den

The Record: State staffers linked to drug den
Louis Marciano, an Office of General Services employee who supervised the East Parking Garage at Madison Avenue and Eagle Street, and Gary Pivoda, a janitor, are accused of setting up a locked room with couches, televisions and scales to weigh marijuana, and giving others special access to it, officials said.
According to investigations, Marciano, 50, of Rensselaer, and Pivoda, 48, of Colonie, would often clock in to work at 4 p.m., smoke marijuana and sleep while other janitors cleaned Pivoda’s section of the garage.

Times-Union: State: 'Man cave' hid drug den [photos]
Two state workers have been suspended for secretly operating a clandestine party lounge called a "man cave" tucked away inside a maintenance area of the East Garage off Phillip Street, officials said Friday.

Here are all the other articles via Google News.

UPDATE: Times-Union: 'Man cave' workers got overtime
OGS duo who allegedly got high on job earned thousands in extra pay
Lee Kindlon, the attorney for Marciano, rejected the IG's allegations.

"That crew worked long hours," Kindlon said. "They had a break room -- just like every other break room in America. Any allegations of wrongdoing, I think, are far overblown."

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 16, 1909 - Last Century's Summer Reading

What were people reading 100 years ago? I found these book reviews in the July 16, 1909 Albany Evening Journal:

Forgeries and False Entries ...examining disputed writing, documents, false entries and questioned book accounts...

Miracle and Science ... Bible miracles are examined by the methods, rules and tests of the science of jurisprudence as administered in courts of justice to-day.

Grant, the Man of Mystery ... story of the life of the great Union general...
I was more interested to see an installment of Mary Roberts Rinehart's mystery The Circular Staircase.

SYNOPSIS: Miss Innes, a middle-aged spinster, takes summer house. Appearance of apparition and peculiar noises about house at night cause reign of terror. Investigation of mystery is begun and strange articles are found....
Despite that synopsis, this is a very good mystery. Rinehart's first novel was serialized in 1906, and was a bestseller in 1909.

Annual Bestsellers, 1900-1909: 1909 Fiction (read online at Google books, or download from Project Gutenberg)

1. The Inner Shrine, Basil King (e-book)
2. Katrine, Elinor Macartney Lane (e-book)
3. The Silver Horde, Rex Beach (e-book)
4. The Man in Lower Ten, Mary Roberts Rinehart (e-book)
5. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, John Fox Jr. (e-book)
6. Truxton King, George Barr McCutcheon (e-book)
7. 54-40 or Fight, Emerson Hough (e-book)
8. The Goose Girl, Harold MacGrath (e-book)
9. Peter, F. Hopkinson Smith (e-book)
10. Septimus, William J. Locke (e-book)

The Silver Horde is a novel of romance, adventure and dirty business deals in Alaska. (Netflix has the 1930 movie, an early "talkie" that looks like a silent movie.) The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is about a feud and an under-age romance in an Appalachian coal mining town. I haven't seen the 1936 movie with Henry Fonda yet.

The Albany Evening Journal is online courtesy of the marvelous Old Fulton Postcards ("Search Over 10,258,000 Old New York State Historical Newspaper Pages" at

Rensselaer Updates on FaceBook

From the Rensselaer NY FaceBook Group [684 members]: Rensselaer Singers at Stafford's

Ed Meyer and Artie Yonkers will be performing (acoustic 70s, 80s, and 90s) at Stafford's in East Greenbush at 346 Columbia Turnpke on Friday August 21st at 8pm. [Thanks to Linda for posting this event.]

Become a Fan of Fort Crailo

Fort Crailo has it's own FaceBook Page, thanks to Charlie Crowell, a direct decendant of Hendrick Van Rensselaer, who built Crailo. There are lots of great photos and memorabilia. Nice job!

St. John's Academy Alumni

The St. John's Academy Rensselaer NY Group has 230 members, but well over 1,000 photos and yearbook scans. A Class of 1964 reunion is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2009, and a second All Class Reunion is in the works.

New Rensselaer FaceBook Groups:

Cuginos Pizzaria (100 members)
Fullers Tavern (400+ members)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rensselaer, NY Crime Statistics

A few comments on other blogs have painted Rensselaer as being just as crime-ridden as Troy or Albany. I've been combing the news sites for 10 months now, and have seen little evidence to support this urban legend. Recently I noticed some Google search referrals for "Rensselaer crime statistics", so I finally dug into the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Statistics.

So, does Rensselaer really have less crime than Troy, or do we just get less attention from the newspapers? Turns out we have far fewer reported crimes. [Click charts to enlarge]

But Troy is a larger city - so how do we stack up after you compensate for population? I had to use census data from 2000 with crime statistics from 2008, but here are the Index Crimes divided by the Population for each area, giving approximate crime rates.

Not surprisingly, the City of Rensselaer has a higher crime rate than our suburban neighbors. However, we have a significantly lower crime rate than Troy or Albany, so I consider this myth busted. (But I still plan to keep my doors locked and not leave valuables in the car.)

[You can look at the 2004-2008 Index Crimes reported in Rensselaer County to see the original data (here's Albany County). "Index Crimes" are chosen by the FBI as a uniform way to monitor crime trends - see Glossary of crimes. For population figures, I used the 2000 Federal Census for Rensselaer, East Greenbush, North Greenbush, Troy, and Albany. NYS Law Enforcement Personnel in 2007 is interesting too.]

UPDATE: For perspective, the recent Forbes article, "Where To Live Cheaply", ranks the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area as 6th in "America's Best Cheap Cities", which ranks cities based on average salary, unemployment, crime rate, etc. According to Forbes, the Albany MSA ranked 26th in the nation on crime rate (they used FBI violent crime stats). The FBI has a disclaimer to address this: Caution Against Ranking - Variables Affecting Crime.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Amtrak Demolition Can Proceed

Times-Union: Green light for rail stops
RENSSELAER -- Amtrak and the Capital District Transportation Authority have reached an agreement that will allow the demolition of two abandoned Amtrak station buildings to proceed.

The buildings originally were to have been demolished five months ago, but work was delayed while liability concerns were addressed.

I hope this federal money is still on the table: Times-Union [October 1, 2008]: Rensselaer train station gets federal grant
The federal government will contribute half the cost of design and engineering for a fourth track at Rensselaer Rail Station...
Daniel Case, the copyright holder of this photograph, has published or hereby publishes it under the following license: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

UPDATE: Times-Union: State rail project priorities listed
Planners will seek $8.25 billion to fund improvements from federal stimulus program

Monday, July 13, 2009

Child Care Fund for Cappellanos

Times-Union: Injured woman is in need of aid
The family of a woman who was run over several times by a car earlier this month has set up a fund to aid in the care of her son.

Previous Post: Attempted Murder Charge

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Accountant Tax Fraud

The Record: Accountant pleads to tax fraud
A Rensselaer accountant pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns and could face three years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

WRGB-CBS6: Rensselaer tax preparer convicted for filing false returns
A 55-year-old Rensselaer man has pleaded guilty in federal court to submitting false information to Internal Revenue Services in his tax preparation business, prosecutors announced today.

John C. Sterling admitted on Tuesday to aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns while running his business, JC Sterling, Income Tax Preparation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 1909 - Rensselaer's "Liver Cure"

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


No Need to Go to Germany for Liver Trouble

It will not be necessary for Rensselaerites to
go to Germany to take the celebrated cures there for liver trouble. There is a local cure that almost everyone afflicted with the trouble can take right at home.

Perhaps some of the citizens have noticed it. Those who ride very often in the cars of the Cohoes Railway Co. over the viaduct must have given the matter some attention.

A ride over the viaduct has nothing to lose by comparison to the "Rocky Roads to Dublin." There are more bumps and much more of the sort of exercise that is recommended fo
r liver trouble than one cares to have. Two rides would doubtless cure the most obstinate case while the wonder is that some of the motormen and conductors have not taken out a patent on it before this and chartered a car only to run across the viaduct.

But that is all to be changed now for the company proposes to fix its tracks and straighten out the bumps.
The Cohoes Railway ran a trolley in Rensselaer, which went over the Broadway viaduct. In 1908 the Cohoes Railway carried 1,238,841 passengers across the Hudson to Albany (the extra toll they charged for the bridge led to a 1910 lawsuit - they were ordered to reduce the fare from 6 cents back down to a nickel).

I couldn't find references to a German Liver Cure, although there were plenty of patent medicines advertised, and mineral springs such as Karlsbad were thought to be effective. There's an intriguing listing of a 1911 silent comedy called "Brown's German Liver Cure", a British Kinemacolor film. The movie isn't available, but you can listen to the "Rocky Road to Dublin" (Click "LoFi"). Sounds like a bouncy ride!

This 1905 reference from Chambers's Journal, "A Holiday in Russian Poland" illustrates the idea pretty well
In the country people drive in a bryczka. The simplest form of bryczka is an oblong box on four wheels without springs and having two seats without backs. It is drawn by two horses. The jolting is terrible until one gets used to it and then strange to say one rather likes it. A drive in a bryczka is considered good for the liver.

New Crailo Exhibit

Times-Union: Crailo exhibit examines Dutch era [photos]
The Crailo State Historic Site recently opened a new permanent exhibit, A Sweet and Alien Land: Colony of the Dutch in the Hudson River Valley, focused on the world of Dutch colonists in the region.
The new permanent exhibit at Crailo, located at 9 1/2 Riverside Ave., is part of an investment of between $200,000 to $300,00 in the site that also included new exterior signs and other work.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rainbow Wed. - Cell Pic

Cathy Calhoun Appointment

Governor David A. Paterson today announced the appointments of Marty Mack to serve as Deputy Secretary for Appointments, Cathy Calhoun to serve as Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs and Thomas Congdon to serve as Deputy Secretary for Energy.
Cathy Calhoun has served as Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs since November 2008. In this capacity she is responsible for overseeing 11 regional offices throughout the State. Prior to this position, Ms. Calhoun was the Upstate Political and Field Director for the New York State Democratic Committee from May 2007 to November 2008. In this position, she was responsible for the strategic planning, messaging and daily operations of several field offices. Ms Calhoun began her government career in 2001 accepting a position as the Central New York Regional Director for U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. There, she spent six years representing the senator in 16 counties throughout Central New York. She resides in Rensselaer and has two daughters.

Attempted Murder Charge

The Record: Man arrested for running over woman
Nicholas Plue, 22, of 120 Third Ave. in Rensselaer, was charged with attempted murder and first and second-degree assault after he allegedly ran over the victim three times and struck another male victim with his vehicle before leaving the scene of an argument on Cliff Avenue that occurred around 2 a.m. on July 2.

WRGB CBS06: Police: Man ran over woman three times with car [photo]
Plue was arraigned in East Greenbush Town Court and remanded to the Rensselaer County Jail without bail.

Times-Union: Cops say man tried to kill with his car
Police said that at about 2 a.m. on July 2, Plue was arguing with a man in the driveway of a Cliff Avenue residence. A 23-year-old woman came outside and talked to Plue, but they began arguing.

Plue then backed up his 2006 Pontiac and ran over the woman, then ran over her two more times, police said.


WXXA-Fox23: Woman Run Down In Own Driveway [photo]
The mother of an East Greenbush woman, run over in front of her own home, speaks out about her daughter's horrific incident.
Sharron Northrup, Andrea Cappellano's mother says, "it is just unreal. How do you do something like this? It is just unreal."

Times-Union Blog - Crime Confidential: Man charged with running down woman with his car [comments]

[Nick Plue]

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yesterday's Hail Storm

Weatherization Funds

Capital News 9: Tonko discusses weatherization funds
TROY, N.Y. -- Congressman Paul Tonko is urging homeowners to take advantage of federal stimulus money to improve home energy efficiency.

Tonko says homeowners should apply for weatherization funds given to agencies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The program is available to families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $45,000 a year for a family of four.

Local Agency - Commission on Economic Opportunity: Weatherization Assistance Program
This program provides an energy audit of housing units to identify specific measures that will increase energy efficiency. Recommended energy conservation and health and safety measures are provided free of charge to income eligible customers.

If you think you are eligible, and you live in Rensselaer County, you can contact CEO at 272-6012.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thruway Accident - New Paltz

Times Herald-Record: 2 back-to-back crashes cause delays on Thruway
Michelle Cerio of Rensselaer drifted off the left lane before 7 a.m. as she was driving her Chevy Blazer northbound north of New Paltz, according to state police. She overcorrected and her vehicle overturned, coming to rest on the shoulder of the right lane. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital after complaining of back pain.

Blues BBQ Benefit

Enjoy an evening with blues musician Ernie Williams. $35.00 admission includes 2 sets. BBQ chicken, sausages, hamburgers, hotdogs, and other treats all overlooking a sunset on Burden Lake at Camp Adventure. Rain or shine event with a large pavilion on site.

All proceeds to benefit Camp Adventure, which is owned and operated by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Rensselaer County.

Where: Camp Adventure on Burden Lake (Driving Directions)
When: Saturday, July 18, 3:30-8 p.m.
Price: $35
Phone: 465-3403

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rainy Gardens - Part III

More rain is in the forecast for this week, and I'm finally ready to put gutters on the new garage and order some rain barrels.

Times-Union: Raining again? Just roll out the barrel

Last year I dug two rain gardens, to collect runoff and let it diffuse slowly into the ground (rather than forming a swamp along the back fence).

Here's how my rain garden looked on Thursday. The water had all dissipated by Sunday. I need to add some plants, since everything has finished blooming already (it has rugosa rose, siberian iris, lily of the valley, and columbine).

If you want to create a rain garden, here's a great free publication from the University of Wisconsin (3 Mb PDF): Rain Gardens - A howto manual for homeowners

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Glorious" Fourth

The Saratogian: Local soldiers’ valor on display in Great War
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Spa City knows how to celebrate the stars and stripes as well as any place in America.

One of the grandest displays in its history took place when local “doughboys” returned home from fighting overseas in World War I.
The story of Coyne’s uncle, James E. Coyne, of Rensselaer, was one of the war’s most poignant. A U.S. Marine Corps private, he was wounded at Belleau Wood. On Nov. 11, 1918, the world celebrated the end of hostilities. Three days later, Coyne’s family was notified that his wounds had proved fatal.

"The Battle of Belleau Wood (1 June 1918 – 26 June 1918) occurred during the German 1918 Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France." - The Battle of Belleau Wood, 1918
Second Division's Marine Corps, under James Harbord, were tasked with the taking of the wood. This perilous venture involved a murderous trek across an open wheat field, swept from end to end by German machine gun fire, a fact that continues to generate controversy today among some historians.

As a consequence of the open nature of the advance on the wood, casualties on the first day, 6 June, were the highest in Marine Corps history ...

The battle ran from 6-26 June and by its end saw U.S. forces suffer 9,777 casualties, of which 1,811 were fatal.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Greenway Grant for Riverfront Park New sites, grants for Hudson River Greenway Water Trail
The Hudson River Valley Greenway announced the designation of two sites and the award of three grants to expand and improve the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail at a recent Greenway Board meeting.
Webcast - meeting of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Communities Council. Choose the June 10, 2009 meeting, and click the heading "Greenway Water Trail Grants" to skip to the 75 min. mark:
"While we may be limited in terms of funding, we never miss an opportunity to make an impact... The next one is a re-scope of a grant to the City of Rensselaer. This grant will allow them to, well, will help them defray the cost of constructing a public bathroom along the waterfront; certainly an important amenity for any water trail site."
Greenway Water Trail Grants
Town of Coeymans, Albany County - $11,750
Town of Halfmoon, Saratoga County - $35,000
Re-scope-Rensselaer Riverfront Park - $6,475
Discretionary Award, OPRHP Peebles Island State Park:
Emergency public access dock repair - $1,584
The Hudson River Greenway Water Trail
On Earth Day 2001, the Greenway was awarded $1 million to establish a Hudson River Greenway Water Trail (HRGWT) stretching from the Adirondack Park in the Town of Hadley, Saratoga County, to Battery Park in Manhattan. The Hudson River Greenway Water Trail allows those with small boats to intimately explore the Hudson River’s natural and cultural wonders... While open to all boaters, the water trail is being designed and built for ... kayakers and canoeists.
The Great Champlain-Hudson Paddle 2009
The Great Champlain-Hudson Paddle is a fifteen day, 195 mile kayaking and camping trip from Fort Edward to Manhattan along ... the historic Hudson River.... The event is scheduled for August 3 to August 17, 2009.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3, 1909 - Valedictory Speech

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

Miss Mould Gave Valedictory to Class of 1909
"As dawn bids darkness fade away, bringing sunshine over the mountains and valleys, so the curtain falls upon our past school day scenes, and we look forward to the dawn of the future. But another and more glorious scene lies before our eyes. The morning of manhood and womanhood is breaking, and before us, stretch far into the distance widely diverging paths, which lead us ever onward to an unknown future.
With a last lingering look at the sunset of our High School day, shining with a tender radiance, clothing all the scene with a glorious beauty, we turn and fix our gaze upon the day just dawning."
According to the June 24, 1909 Albany Evening Journal article about the Rensselaer graduation: "Miss Mildred Mould will be valedictorian and De Witt Brougham salutatorian."

I have no idea what Mildred looked like, but I'd like to picture her attending graduation parties in a modish hat from this July 1909 millinery ad. But perhaps she was too scholarly and serious for such frivolity.

Thanks to the text search at, I found a 1903 note about "little Miss Mould's" birthday party, and learned her parents were Mr. & Mrs. Fred Mould. A month earlier: Masked Men Robbed Mould at Pistol's Point - Three Men Enter Parlor of Farmer Near Douw's Point and Hold Up Owner. Hobos were suspected: City Infested With Tramps.

I wondered how much I could learn about Miss Mould's "unknown future", and found she graduated from Vassar College in 1914. She conducted a minor study in Vassar's Psychological Laboratory, and was published in 1915 in The American Journal of Psychology ("The Influence of Suppressing Articulation on the Favorable Effect of Distributing Repetitions", By Mildred Mould, Lois Treadwell and M. F. Washburn).

In June of 1914, the
Albany Evening Journal reported "DeWitt Brougham and Miss Mildred Mould motored to Poughkeepsie today, where they will witness the boat races." (DeWitt went to Syracuse Univ. after their Rensselaer graduation, studying to be a doctor.)

In 1917 and 1918, Mildred ran summer schools (Miss Mildred Mould in Charge of Institution ... at the Presbyterian Church) and supported the war effort ("Miss Mildred Mould ... superintendent of the vacation school in the first Methodist Episcopal Church, plans to have the pupils work for the Red Cross.")

In 1918, Mildred declined a position with the National Organization of Vacation Schools, and submitted her resignation as a 4th grade teacher. By 1920 she was Mrs. Dewitt Brougham, living in Syracuse. In 1943, Dr. and Mrs. Dewitt Brougham announced the engagement of their daughter to Ensign John F. Ackerman. As of this 1953 article, Mildred had granddaughters named Susan Jane and Patsy Anne.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rainy Gardens - Part II

Here's another fabulous location from the Rensselaer County Garden Tour 2009, which is a fund-raiser for Cornell Cooperative Extension's Master Gardner Program.

This was not just a garden, but an detailed landscape. The description in the guide says this started out as a 5-acre mowed field. Of course, that was over 40 years ago, but I'm still jealous that I haven't gotten there yet with my own garden.

This garden featured lots and lots of containers (not necessarily the expensive decorative ones - many were plain plastic). These were mixed throughout the regular plantings. It looked great - I'll have to give that a try. There were also many of "antique shop" type ornaments - this is a very heavily accessorized garden!

Stimulus Funds for Broadway Sewers


Governor David A. Paterson today announced the award of over $11 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding for projects that will help to modernize New York’s infrastructure. ... The NYS CDBG awards include:
City of Rensselaer (Rensselaer County) – Broadway Infrastructure Improvements. The City of Rensselaer will use $627,224 to replace sewer lines along Broadway. The City’s population of 7,666 persons will directly benefit from the project and 56.9 percent of the population qualifies as low- and moderate-income persons. Jobs: 23

Noted in The Record: Cohoes water lines in stimulus. Follow all the awards through the press releases at

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rainy Gardens - Part I

The Rensselaer County Garden Tour 2009 required mud-boots and a big umbrella, but wet gardens are still gorgeous. I only had time to visit a few of the gardens close to Rensselaer, but it was well worth braving the rain.

Unfortunately, low light means blurry photos with my old camera. (I was rushing and forgot to take multiple pics.) I salvaged a few by shrinking them down. Click to enlarge the rectangular photos.

This garden is so much prettier than these few images show. (I didn't manage to capture any of the paths, arbors or outbuildings.)