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: 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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rosegarden09yuanpose (1)


 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.

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. . 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


Posted by: David Giacalone | July 17, 2016

a Garden Tour for the ages


Jason Schultz’s “morning stretch”

 The gardens of the Stockade Association’s 2016 “Art & Nature” Garden Tour sparkled and delighted on Friday (July 15) and yesterday (July 16), enhanced by intriguing and inspiring art. Appreciative visitors came in what looked like record numbers. I want to thank the Garden Tour Committee for letting me serve as a roving photographer. I saw many lovely sites and people I would otherwise have missed this weekend.

2016-graden-tour-logoI hope the following Slideshows, and the random single photos, will capture some of the joy and beauty. Materials formerly found at “Garden Tour: Day 2, Part 2” and “2016 Garden Tour: a few stops on Day One”, have been consolidated into this posting for the viewers’ convenience.

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This first slideshow features the three gardens clustered at “Katy Lane”: Mabel Leon’s at 20 Front St., Donna Smith’s at 20 No. Church St, and Franca DiCrescenzo’s (Armida Rose) at 22 No. Church St., as well the garden of Katy Kindl (14 No. Church St.), and that of Werner Feibes (10 No. Ferry St.).

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. . .

IMG_1383-003 . . IMG_1369

. . coming soon: light & shadow on Union Street . .


The gardens of Sean and Dan Philpott-Jones (127 N. College St.) and Diane and Ron DeMeo (232 Union St.) are featured in this second slideshow.

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  • the following photos were inadvertently omitted from the above Slideshow’s display of the Philpott-Jones garden on No. College Street, which featured the art of Stockade resident Steve Kowalski:


. . click on the photos from a larger version . . 





peace & whimsy at 142 Front Street


The Third Slideshow below features images from the gardens of Donna & Chris Thomas (234 Union St.), Jorge Luis Alvarez (224 Union Street), Gloria Kishton and Bob Lemmerman (207 Union St.), and Jessica Johndrew and Charles Gelarden (112 Front Street).

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. . at 1st Reformed Church, by Phyllis Kulmatiski

 . .

img_12421 . .  . . IMG_1170

. . Steve Carberry’s “earthquake survivor” juxtaposed with a classic Bacchus-Dionysus in the Katy Kindl garden


 . . . [L] Mick Cipollo demonstrated his 3D digital scanning and sculpting in the garden at 234 Union Street. Many other forms of sculpting were on display at Garden Tour locations, such as Fredda Merzon’s botanically-inspired metalwork at the GeLarden garden, Jason Schultz’s work at “Katy Lane,” and Bob Laper’s pieces shown at the top of this posting. I’d like to thank each of the artists who gave time and talents to help make the Garden Tour a success, and my own viewing more enjoyable.


at 234 Union Street, Vintage Chic Inn


This 4th and last Slideshow features the garden at 142 Front Street, the home of Laurence James and Tina Caruso. The cliche disclaimer “last but not least” clearly applies.

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. . Tina loves pink (plastic) flamingos, too . . 


chenille-stem art by Ginger Ertz

. . above: chenille-stem (pipe cleaner) art by Ginger Ertz, at 207 Union Street.



IMG_1115 Friday afternoon, July 15, 2016, was hot and humid, with a gray overcast. Nonetheless, the streets of the Stockade were blooming with even more Garden Tour guests than Pokemon-Go players from 3 PM to 8 PM. Vowing to return Saturday [today], for the forecasted improved weather and sunshine, I visited only five of the dozen Gardens. You can see, however, from the following Slideshow images, that even under mostly overcast skies, the Tour gardens showed their uniqueness and beauty. Here are three or four photos of the five gardens I visited on Day One.

  • Want More Stockade Gardens? See our Garden Tour Preview, for a glimpse of the 2016 Stockade Gardens about a month prior to the actual Garden Tour.

200 Block of Union Street looking east

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Posted by: David Giacalone | July 15, 2016

Pokemon at the gates


On February 8, 1690, during a major blizzard, a band of 114 French soldiers and 96 Sault and Algonquin Indians entered the stockade gates surrounding the tiny village of Schenectady, burned down the village, and massacred, kidnapped, or scared away its residents. The Massacre of 1690 yielded Schenectady’s Tale of the Snowmen at the Gates.



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This past week, like innumerable cities and towns throughout the nation, the Stockade was invaded by heat and humidity, and hundreds of hunters of Pokemon Go pocket monsters. They came with GPS technology and a brand new app, taking their Pokemon skills and obsessions out into the world, staring at smartphone screens, in search of Shops, Gyms, 151 pocket monsters, and adventure. For local news coverage of this international phenomenon, see the Albany Times Union article, “Making connections amid Pokemon Go craze”. Update (Aug. 4, 2016): See “History and Pokemon Intersect in the Stockade” (Schenectady Gazette, by Brett Samuels). 

IMG_1088 The following Slideshow presents a tiny slice of the Pokemon action taking place all day and long into the night, on the streets of the Stockade Historic District (especially near Lawrence Circle and Arthur’s Market and the Historical Society), where pedestrians other than dog-walkers are usually a scarce commodity. No one knows how long the Pokemon Go fad will last. Most of us were pleased to see friendly, well-mannered hoards of youth swarming our streets, even if we scratched our heads over just what was happening and why Pokemon fever became an instant international epidemic.

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  • above: Felicia takes a PokemonGo break from her duties at Arthur’s Market

This weekend, the Pokemon armies will be vying with Garden Tour guests and Erie Canalway bicyclists for space on our streets. A bit of patience, good manners, and good attitudes should add up to an especially interesting and enjoyable summer weekend in the Stockade.


  • IMG_1047 p.s. Despite staring at their screens, and not watching their steps, I saw no bloody knees, or even errant stumbling. I guess youth has better balance than their elders traversing our historic sidewalks.


Posted by: David Giacalone | July 4, 2016

waiting for JJF 2016

JJF2015img_8177 Major thunderstorms forced Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In restaurant to postpone its annual Independence fireworks last week, and to set Friday, July 22 for the raindate. If, like the proprietor of this website, you are impatient to see JJ fireworks from across the Mohawk, from the end of Cucumber Alley, we suggest heading to our webpage at, where you will find links to our prior Jumpin’ Jack’s fireworks postings.

  •   Historic Stockade District streets signs for Cucumber Alley at Washington Ave. in Schenectady NY - 10Sep2010 Please come join us at the end of Cucumber Alley at sunset, July 22, for the 2016 Jumpin’ Jack’s Fireworks. And, don’t be discouraged by the large orange barrels that a private property owner has put across the end of the alley.  Cucumber Alley runs from Washington Avenue all the way to the Mohawk River. Although unwilling to demand that the barrier barrels and cones be removed, Corporation Counsel for the City of Schenectady, Carl Falotico [], assures me that Cucumber Alley is a public roadway, open to the public down to the River. So, park on Washington Avenue or nearby, and stroll down the Alley to see the Show.


– Cucumber Alley: open to the public, down to the River –

Posted by: David Giacalone | July 2, 2016

Stockade Garden Tour preview

2016-graden-tour-logo The Stockade Association’s 2016 Garden Tour — “Art & Nature” — will take place on Friday and Saturday, July 15 & 16, with Stockade residents opening twelve gardens to the public. For more information, go to the Garden Tour webpage, which lists Ticket Outlets and allows online purchases. Tickets for entrance to all participating gardens, valid both days, are $20 in advance, and $25 on Tour day.

  • update (Sunday, July 17, 2016): You can see more than a hundred photos from the actual Garden Tour at “a garden tour for the ages.”

The following slideshow offers a preview of the twelve 2016 Art & Nature Garden Tour locations. The photos were taken between June 15 and June 24, 2016, so expect many refinements, plus the inevitable demands of Mother Nature and whimsical touches of many artistic muses. [To see a larger version of an image in the slideshow, pause on the image, then right-click on it and choose “open image in new tab”.]

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  • There is a lot to see. Please remember to have liquids available, and consider a parasol, and perhaps spreading your visit over both days.
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  • If you appreciate the shade trees remaining in the Stockade, and bemoan the shadeless stretches of sidewalk, please help save our street trees by promoting S.O.S. Trees. It is possible, and can often be less expensive, to improve sidewalks without removing our shade trees. S.O.S. Trees is the web portal for information and links.

Thanks, in advance, to the Tour Committee members, who have been working hard to create and coordinate the event, and to all those who purchase tickets and join the Tour. Extra special thanks to the Hosts for opening their gardens, and for all their planning, planting, and tending.

Here’s a list of the participating hosts and gardens:

  1. Gloria Kishton/Bob Lemmerman: 207 Union  

  2. Jorgé Alvarez:  224 Union Street   

  3. Diane DeMeo:  232 Union Street   

  4. Donna Thomas:  234 Union Street  

  5. Sean and Dan Philpott-Jones  127 College Street

  6. Lawrence James/Tina Caruso: 142 Front St. 

  7. Charles Gelarden/Jessica Johndrew: 112 Front Street  

  8. Werner Feibes:  10 N. Ferry  #8 

  9. Mabel Leon: 22 Front St.   372-1531 

  10. Franca DiCrescenzo  22 N. Church St. 

  11. Donna Smith – 20 N.Church St. 

  12. Rosemary Harrigan: 14 N. Church St. (Katy Kindl House)  



. . a view of garden #11, 20 No. Church Street (click on it to enlarge) . .

p.s. They’re gracious in gray-tones, too:

IMG_0783-001 . . IMG_0707

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