Posted by: David Giacalone | October 11, 2016

does a bike path make sense for Riverside Park?



  • above: Riverside Park’s only path has for decades been used for many leisurely pedestrian and passive-park purposes. (Click on the collage for a larger image.) It is only 10-feet wide, and is bordered by many trees, benches, a children’s play-lot, and the Pump Station & Esplanade.  Also, morning fog is not a rare occurrence along the Path.

riversideparkmap This evening, the Schenectady County Legislature will almost certainly pass a resolution to authorize acceptance of a grant from the New York Department of State for an ALCO Trail Extension Feasibility Study — extending the Trail from Mohawk Harbor, under the CSX trestle and through Riverside Park. Legislators have touted it as 1.5 miles of uninterrupted bike path connecting Freedom Bridge in Glenville to the Great Western Gateway Bridge (Rt. 5) and Scotia. Many people have said that it would be “nice” to have a bike path through the Park. Others see the connected trail as another way to make Mohawk Harbor more marketable as a place to live, work, shop and play.

  • My request and hope is that those conducting the Feasibility Study and the County Legislature will seriously consider what a bike trail used by commuters on bicycles, and other cyclists going at high speeds, would mean for this small gem of a park, which is often praised for its low-key ambiance, and which has but one narrow path through it, that has been used for decades by individuals, couples, and families of all ages, on foot, for multiple purposes.

Riverside Park is on the southern border of the residential Stockade Historic District, along the Mohawk River. [click to see the Google Map of the Park] It is only about 7 acres in size, a narrow wedge stretching about 0.7 miles. Indeed, for most of its length it is only 100 to 200 feet wide. The one path through the park is only ten feet wide.

dockview29apr10fresptrees . . . img_9522

. . the path is bordered by large trees and passes only a few yards from the kiddie lot . .



The letter to the left appeared in the Times Union Getting There column (Aug. 22, 2016), and is by cycling advocate Paul Winkeller, the Executive Director of the New York Bicycling Coaltion. (Click on the image for larger version.) It states his concerns about the hazards he sees as inevitable on our shared bike-ped trails without significant public safety education and enforcement. Mr. Winkeller wrote about stand-alone bike-ped trails (often constructed along railroad beds or canal tow-ways), but his concerns seem even more cogent and urgent with regard to the proposed bike-ped path through an existing, small, passive park like Riverside Park.


schdycode-bicycling PARK SAFETY. The bicycling safety rules for all Schenectady Parks appear to be reasonable and appropriate. They require that bikes only be used on Park driveways-roadways, and at a speed less than 15 mph. Similarly, citywide provisions ban those over ten years old from using a bicycle on a public footpath or sidewalk that is intended for use by pedestrians (see Code sections below). Ignoring those limitations, and indeed encouraging bicycling in Riverside Park, without at least providing a separate pedestrian path (an alternative suggested in the City Urban Bike Route Master Plan), seems inappropriate and ill-advised. “Feasibility” of the Trail extension must take into account the City’s policy for preserving the safety of its park users.

DESIGN STANDARDS.  The NYS DOT Highway Design manual for bicycle facilities (Chapter 17 Bicycle Facility Design, Revision 83, June 24, 2015) is cautious about constructing facilities that mix pedestrians with bicycles. It states that:

“Whenever possible, shared use paths that are intended to accommodate pedestrians and higher speed users (bicyclists, inline skaters, etc.) should be designed to minimize the potential for conflicts. Where separate facilities are not feasible, a shared-use path should incorporate additional width, signing, and possibly striping to minimize conflicts.”

Importantly, the DOT Design Manual states:

The Department’s minimum recommended width for shared-use paths is 4 m.

10ftpath Four meters is 13.1 feet. Another two-foot graded safety edge is recommended on each side of the path. (see this screenshot from the Schenectady Bike Master Plan.) As stated above, the paved path in Riverside Park is only ten feet wide. And, with trees lining it, and benches, and the limitations imposed by the Overlook/Esplanade and Pump House, it is difficult to envision room for a trail of adequate width, much less for safety signage needed along the trail.

dockview29apr10nofertrees Finally, the disruption of existing uses of recreational space, in addition to the possible safety issues on the mixed-use trail, and for the nearby narrow roads of an historic district, are exactly the sort of negative impacts that would have to be addressed and mitigated, in the required Environmental Impact Statement, if a proposal to extend the Trail is presented to the Legislature. The essence of Riverside Park is its beauty, relative tranquility, and the leisurely pace enjoyed along its pathway and the River, which were praised by the editor of Architect Forum as “probably the finest thing of its kind in America.” (Dec. 1961) Likewise, the Schenectady City Council stated in its 1998 Resolution that “to change its special nature would deprive visitors and disadvantage the homeowners who are the caretakers in this Historic District of national importance.” I hope that the Legislature will ensure that its Feasibility Study takes these important factors fully into account, with ample opportunity for public input as part of the Study process.

Posted by: David Giacalone | October 8, 2016

lovely morning at the Park


  • click on the collage for a larger version

My pre-coffee schlep to Riverside Park in search of morning fog on the Mohawk found only a little mist, but captured rowers, dogs and a day’s worth of beauty.


This slideshow presents some of the highlights.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | September 26, 2016

“Yuan” is back at the Rose Garden


n August 21st, we wrote of changes at the Central Park Rose Garden, in preparation for construction of a pergola in the Garden this Fall. A major change was removal of Robert Blood’s sculpture Variations on the Chinese Character “Yuan”, to make room for the pergola, with a promise that The Yuan would return. I am pleased to say that Yuan Is Back, reinstalled in a far front corner, close to the Crime Victims section, near the roundabout at Iroquois Way and Monument Hill, and across from the Dog Park.




This posting has images of the re-installed sculpture, from various perspectives. Although it is currently standing on a bare patch of crushed stone, it will again be surrounded by bushes and plantings either before winter or in the Spring. Click on the inividual photos for a larger version.

The Slideshow below has about a dozen photos. To see a larger version of a photo in the Slideshow, pause the Slideshow and right-click on the image, you can see a larger version, then choose Show Image in Separate Window.


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Here’s my favorite photo of the Yuan in its original location. It’s impressionist feel says “unfocused” to some viewers, but now it whispers “hazy memory” to me.


Posted by: David Giacalone | September 12, 2016

breezy 2016 outdoor art show a lovely treat

2016stockade-art-show-posterBelow are three slideshows featuring the enjoyable, if breezy, 65th Stockade Villagers Outdoor Art Show. The First Slideshow depicts the Awards Ceremony; the Second Slideshow has random photos taken while I strolled quickly around the Show, radiating from Lawrence Circle; and a Third Slideshow contains two dozen shots, mostly details or re-cropping of photos from the first two slideshows.  At the very bottom of this posting is a collage showing each of the pieces that were presented at the awards ceremony, at Lawrence’s Winner Circle, in the Schenectady NY Stockade Historic District.

Note: I took far fewer shots than other years, because I was holding my very first photo and photobook exhibit, inside Arthur’s Market, and needed to tend my tables. (For even more Outdoor Art Show, click here for links to prior webposts in our Outdoor Art Show Category.) I apologize if I missed your exhibit and note-worthy work.


LIST of WINNERS, from the Stockade Villagers Outdoor Art Show Facebook Page: Click on an image for a larger version.

First Place (sponsored by the Daily Gazette):

                                 Peter Watrous img_2193watrousgrandprize

breadbasketrev-raineydewey2d  Second Place: Lorraine “Rainey” Dewey (website)
 Third Place Justin Janik (websiteimg_2187justinjanik3d

The Nicholas Colangelo Award [First-Time Exhibitor]: Eileen Sammons

img_2173jared-schafer-cohenstockade The Ernest Cohen Award [Stockade Depiction]: Jared Schafer

The James Gilliland/George Weinheimer Oakroom Artists Award: Debra Dixon. This award is given by the Oakroom Artists for the body of work shown in the display.

Honorable Mention: Don Cooper, Lucy Shure, Fredda Merzon, Debra Dixon, Lynn Marie Vokatis and Fred Neudoerffer.

The People’s Choice Award went to Mary Occhiogrosso

img_2150ewilsonya1 Receiving Young Artist Awards (age 8 -18) were, Ethan Wilson (First), Mia Etkin (Second) and Sarah Grossman (Third.)

  • Judges were Charles Steckler and Sandy Wimer with Steve Kowalski judging the 8 – 18 year olds.

img_2061 The Weather was Interesting on Sunday, September 11th. It was actually the Rain Date for the Show, due to forecasts Friday evening that made rain appear very likely during the day on Saturday. Saturday turned out to be dry. Instead, Sunday started with thunderstorms, which moved out, bringing lower temperatures and a clearing sky, but also troublesome winds. Prior to calming down to a fairly calm breeze, the wind scared away some artists, menaced others, called for ingenuity (and ballast), often caused chasing after skittering pieces (see photo to the right), and did some unfortunate damage (including to the frame of one of my favorites from last year, by Linda Biggers).

 Thank you to all the artists who braved the weather and the “guests” who came to view the show. And. of course, thanks to the Outdoor Art Show committee for putting the 65th Annual Stockade Villagers Outdoor Art Show together and making it work.

Note: To see a larger version of an image in a slideshow, pause the slideshow on that image, and right click over it; then choose Open Image in New Tab (or New Window).

Slideshow One: The awards ceremony:

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img_2201susannahhandarm Please let me know if I have mislabelled an artist or work, or mis-spelled a name; and, also leave a comment or send an email with the necessary information, if yours is one of the many exhibits I could not identify. Finally, many thanks to Susannah for her help at my exhibit table. 


.. 1st Prize winner Peter Watrous’ exhibit; Peter won the Grand Prize in 2013, too . . 

Slideshow Two: Strolling the 2016 Outdoor Art Show

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afterthought: The Kids. I missed seeing some of my favorite Stockade art show kids this year, but was pleased to have many more enjoying the show (even if a little crabby at times) with their parents.









Here’s the Young Artists’ winners board from Sunday’s Show (you can see each artist and winning piece in the First Slideshow, above):



Supplement, added Wednesday, September 13, 2016:

Slideshow Three: Another Crop (two dozen added images, most of which are details or re-cropping of photos from the second slideshow)

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p.s. If I had walked all the way down to Bob Laper’s exhibit on Front St. near Church Street, I would have looked for some of these, and this little family, and smiled. Next year, for sure (if they aren’t all sold).

. . finally: below is a collage with each of the winning pieces mounted at Lawrence’ Circle . .


  • for a larger version of the above collage, click on it!
Posted by: David Giacalone | August 21, 2016

changes and perennial beauty at the Rose Garden


. . Central Park Rose Garden, 19Aug2016


Saturday’s Schenectady Gazette featured photos of “a relaxing day in the park” (August 20, 2016, C2), with a full gallery online of shots by Erica Miller, from Congress Park in Saratoga Springs. But, I am pleased to say, after three visits this week to Schenectady’s Central Park, that I only had to drive a couple miles from my Stockade home to find relaxation and beauty in a park, while avoiding racetrack traffic and parking problems. As usual, there were abundant, full arrays of roses in scores of beds, plus appreciative visitors, in the famed Central Park Rose Garden, as well as a refreshing waterfall and a charming stone bridge.

img_1996 Nonetheless, I was a bit disappointed at first on arriving at our prize-winning Rose Garden last Sunday, as I had come specifically to capture a special image or two of the Garden’s central fountain and of the Robert Blood “Yuan” sculpture. As the image to the right suggests, that goal was somewhat frustrated by an unexplained “improvement project.”


YuanGoing14Aug2016 . . YuanGone19Aug2016

. . above: [L] Yuan sculpture at construction site Aug. 14., [R] gone Aug. 19 . . 

Indeed, I learned later in the week that my visit coincided with the last day the Yuan sculpture could be found at its original location. Although the roses were again more than beautiful enough to make each trip worthwhile, I was curious about the construction and the fate of the Yuan sculpture (especially given the recent spate of sculpture thefts in the region). So, I left an inquiry at the Rose Garden’s website, which was quickly answered this morning by Sharon Gade of the Rose Garden Restoration Committee: They are building a pergola (“an archway in a garden or park consisting of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants”), and will be relocating the Blood sculpture. Here are some details:

  • “The pergola will enhance an existing thoroughfare through the garden and create a much needed place to display climbing roses. Additionally the pergola will provide an elegant and aesthetic garden backdrop to the adjoining hillside and become another beautiful place for wedding ceremonies and photo opportunities for visitors and family gatherings.” And,
  • Schenectady Rose Garden 2009 Chinese Character "Yuan" (Garden) Once its new base is constructed, the sculpture “will be featured in the far front corner of the garden near the ‘crime victims’ area where we lost a large pine tree in the microburst that went through the park in late spring.”

PergolaRendering-001. . Left: artist’s rendering of the planned pergola. Click here for more information on the Rose Garden Pergola, and here for the “pergola pledge form” .


. . above: Central Fountain, still lovely without Yuan or the pergola . .

The following Slideshow features more than a dozen images taken August 14 and 19, 2016.

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My photo shooting this week was concentrated on broader displays, rather than individual flowers or plants. But, you can see plenty of those by going to our postings memorializing a few prior visits:


Robert Blood's sculpture of "yuan" - Chinese symbol for "garden" . . sculpture of Chinese symbol "Yuan" (garden) at Schenectady Central Park Rose Garden - 31July2010

. . above and below: Robert Blood’s Variations on the Chinese Character “Yuan” [garden] at its original location . . 




Posted by: David Giacalone | July 31, 2016

Stockade Picnic: a very favorable impression


It’s a pity that the 2016 Stockade Neighborhood Picnic last Tuesday (July 25) wasn’t better advertised, because the weather, camaraderie, location, and sunlight were just about perfect. I got too caught up in just enjoying companions (and bocce competition) to take my usual plethora of pictures. But, a remarkable number of those I did take had the aura of impressionist paintings (such as Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boat Party), with the pre-sunset light making its magic.


. . click on the collage above for a larger version . . 

In addition to the image above (which also captured a picnic-crashing Pocket Monster), here’s a slideshow with a few examples:

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Posted by: David Giacalone | July 22, 2016

Jumpin’ Jack’s serves up a tardy fireworks treat

IMG_1617-001 Tonight’s postponed Jumpin’ Jack’s Fireworks were worth the wait.  The small audience at the end of Cucumber Alley enjoyed a view of the fireworks display from the Schenectady side of the Isle of the Cayugas, including the whimsical reflections they made in the Mohawk River. A gentle breeze tamed a hot and humid day, and the annual swarm of mosquitos must have headed for the larger crowd at Riverside Park.

IMG_1549 Our Slideshow offers a small taste of the sights on a pleasing Friday night along the Mohawk. For a larger image, pause the Slideshow at the desired photo, right-click on it, and choose Open Image  in New Tab.

. . you can share this post with the URL:

. . see our Jumpin’ Jack’s Fireworks category for more posts watching the show from the end of Cucumber Alley in the Schenectady Stockade




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 IMG_1705 . . IMG_1707 . . IMG_1714

.. above: fireworks seen through branches of trees at 16 Washington Ave.(click on image for a larger version) . . 


IMG_1296 p.s. If you missed last weekend’s 2016 Stockade Garden Tour, check out well over 100 photos in our posting “a garden tour for the ages.”

Posted by: David Giacalone | July 18, 2016

Garden Tour, Day Two, Part 2


“Family” by Robert Laper

  • update (July 22, 2016): The photos that had been originally found at this post have been added to “a garden tour for the ages“, in order to have our 2016 Garden Tour materials conveniently in one posting.

peace & whimsy at 142 Front Street


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