Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Elk Sign

A tiny plastic elk pauses before a sign in an otherwise empty store window on Lark Street.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Santa Speedo Sprint 2015

Yes, it's that lovely time of year when a crowd of scantily-dressed revelers race down Lark Street for charity.  It was unseasonably warm yesterday so no one froze their unmentionables.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Fallen Tree

After a rather hectic week, I took the first opportunity to wander through the Albany Rural Cemetery on an unseasonably warm day (there were butterflies and bees out and about in mid-December).  Research and the quest for an "ancient" white oak identified on a late 19th-century map were cut short by a nearly dead camera battery, but I did manage to find the lot owned by the old Church of the Holy Innocents just beyond this massive fallen tree.

To give an idea of how big that tree is, I could've walked beneath it without grazing the top of my green cap.

This is a fairly remote back corner of the Rural;  down a grassy path where, in the summer, you'll find milkweeds, monarch butterflies, and a bit of mid.  There are several church and charity plots back here, unmarked, but interesting.

P.S. If you'd like to support the Cemetery's Annual Fund, click here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Walls Have Hats

A rather pretty doll-sized hat was fastened to the wall of a building under renovations at the corner of North Pearl and Steuben Streets.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project

This sign caught my eye recently (partly because it's affixed to my favorite store ever). 

Located on the north side of Madison Avenue between Lark and Willett Streets, the sign reads "WAYPOINT George A. Wymnan 1st Across America San Francisco to New York City 1903."

There's a lot more about the project here:

The Wayman Memorial Project

It honors George A. Wyman, the first person to cross America on a motorized vehicle between May 16 and July 6, 1903.  According to Wyman's Wikipedia entry, his motorcycle lost power near Albany and he had to make the last leg of the journey by pedaling.

The plaque is attached to Little Moon, a delightful little shop full of beautiful Tibetan clothing, jewelry, and other items.  They are so worth visiting.

Little Moon

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Downtown Hawk

A hawk was perched on North Pearl rooftop as I sat outside Cider Belly Doughnuts this morning.  Fortunately, you can't see the pigeon it was snacking on while I enjoyed my lemon doughnut below.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Fossilized Frankfurter

Two years ago, a hot dog was impaled at the corner of Spring and Dove Streets.  As of this week, it is still there.  The hapless wiener has slid down a bit (pardon the possibly NC-17 angle) and the texture has undergone quite a few changes.  It's a dark mass that looks almost like a very dark pumice stone and there appears to be some sort of mold on it now.  It's unappetizing (to say the least).

Friday, July 31, 2015

Half A Bench

Half a bench is apparently better than no bench at all.

(West Capitol Park with the Old State Education Building in the background)

Thursday, July 30, 2015


A diminutive and dramatic statue based on the hymn, "Rock of Ages," at the Albany Rural Cemetery.  It's one of two such statues on the Cemetery's South Ridge; the other is almost life-size.

For those of you with an interest in the Albany Rural Cemetery, I've added a dedicated Facebook page to my existing blog.  Please, visit and like it!

Albany Rural Cemetery - Beyond The Graves

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Words On The Dock

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself....

Someone painted the famous lines of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural speech on the dock at Jenning's Landing (a.k.a. The Corning Preserve)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Media At Albany Medical

I'm not much of a news junkie, but I did follow the recent Clinton County prison escape casually on Twitter.  It wasn't quite in my backyard, but close enough to be of local interest.

That said, I'm rather amused by the heavy media presence at Albany Medical Center where both the escapers were transported (one to the morgue, one to the trauma unit).  I took a short walk over to CVS and Starbucks this afternoon and saw about four satellite trucks and various news vans parked along New Scotland Avenue by CVS and further south by Albany Law School. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


A bit of graffiti on a wall along the Madison Avenue side of the Empire State Plaza.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Soldier's Gravestone


I spent at least part of Memorial Day weekend in one of my favorite places, the Albany Rural Cemetery.  It was a rewarding walk (despite ending up with my foot ankle-deep in the rotted stump of a tree).  Among the headstones found on this outing, a fallen Civil War soldier's marker high on the old North Ridge.  Though the name and dates are difficult to read, it is easy to recognize it as a Civil War soldier's resting place; the design includes a soldier's kepi-style cap and a shield overlapping a crossed sword and scabbard.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Another Iron Acorn

I've walked by this fence behind the First Presbyterian Church many, many times, but only just noticed this acorn final.  It probably stood out because, earlier in the day, I'd come across an iron acorn on a fence at the Albany Rural Cemetery while looking for the grave of Dianna Mingo (a former slave and centenarian who lived kitty-corner from the future site of the First Presbyterian Church)

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Boat In The Park

A post-iced coffee walk around Washington Park this afternoon (to visit the turtles) led to an unusual sight; a boat slowly cruising up and down the lake.  It appeared the boat's two-man crew was testing the depth of the lake.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Ready To Scrub

Brooms, buckets, and shaving cream tulips stand ready for the annual Scrubbing of State Street, the traditional beginning of the weekend-long Tulip Festival.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Van Rensselaer Park

A pair of old iron gates flanking an entrance to Van Rensselaer Park between Ten Broeck Street and Hall Place. 

Since this pretty little green space was once the old Colonie burial grounds, I'll probably post much more about this park at albanychurchgrounds.wordpress.com fairly soon (I've slowly expanded that blog to not only cover the Church Grounds at the Rural Cemetery, but other historic and long-gone Albany burial grounds).

Monday, May 4, 2015

Arbor Hill Door

The rear door of the 1798 Ten Broeck Mansion which hosted a very enjoyable Living History fair yesterday afternoon.  Set on a steep slope above Ten Broeck Street at Livingston Avenue, it was once called Arbor Hill (the name now applies to the much larger neighborhood itself).

Friday, May 1, 2015

They're Coming

The first of this year's tulips are beginning to bloom after a long, snowy winter and what seems like a very slow spring.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wheels Plus

Recently, I had to pick up a replacement shower hose at the Central Avenue Home Depot and decided to take the shortcut to the Westgate Plaza.  I stopped to adjust a chronically loose shoelace and looked up to see this sign.

This unassuming building which, in recent years, has been home to miscellaneous businesses such as a martial arts studio and a small theatre, was once Wheels Plus. 

It was a typically 80s roller skating rink - a place of colored lights, loud music,a DJ booth in a sort of stocky tower dead in the middle of the main, skating area, a tiny wooden skating area for little kids, and a snack bar with memorably good French fries.  I didn't go there too often, once or twice for classmates' birthday parties and at least once on a class trip.  And I was never a good skater, whether on wheels or ice.  But seeing the old sign was certainly a terrific flashback to the 80s!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lincoln's Last Journey

Civil War reenactors gather for a group photo on the steps of the New York State Capitol following yesterday's ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's funeral journey.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

The King of Washington Park Lake

Now that Spring is finally here, I've been taking walks around the Washington Park Lake to watch for turtles.  I'm rather fond of them and, so far, I've found quite a few of them sunning themselves on the matted remnants of last year's cattails.  Most of the turtles I've spotted this year are fairly small - not much bigger than my hand.  And then there is this handsome old creature; I've nicknamed it The King of Washington Park Lake.

Last August, I was standing a few inches from the edge of the water near the northeast edge of the Lake.  I was looking out over the water at nothing in particular when I got the feeling that I was being watched.  I looked down and there, not even a half foot from me, was a giant turtle.  I'm talking about a shell nearly as big as a Fiat tire.  It was floating there with its head just above the water, staring right at me.

I nearly had a heart attack and, of course, I didn't have a camera with me.

Since then, I've managed to catch sight of this huge turtle a few times.  Once, while trying to take a picture some dragonflies, it slowly swam out from behind some vegetation to watch me for a few minutes before diving away.  But I haven't been able to get a good photo of it...just some blurry shots of it floating out near the middle of the Lake.

Until yesterday morning when I spotted its peering from the matted cattails where a dozen or so smaller turtles were basking.  Such an awesome, ancient-looking face.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Confidential Destination

An empty cart with an intriguing label sits near the Justice Building at the Empire State Plaza.  Actually,  Confidential Destination sounds like a rather good title for a spy film or a mystery novel.