Posted by: David Giacalone | September 13, 2017

links to hot topics

. . click these links for fast access to Hot Topics:


. . 4 Washington Avenue has been moved to its new location (13Sep2017)

Posted by: David Giacalone | September 9, 2017

2017 Outdoor Art Show shines

 . . IMG_4463

. . (above:) exhibits of Dan Predmore [L] and Kellen Riell; and (below:) Leah Bliven‘s exhibit


Below is Slideshow One, a quick preview of scenes along Front Street prior to the 10 AM opening of the 2017 Stockade Villagers’ Outdoor Art Show. Slideshow Two was added at 9:00 PM, with photos taken at the Winners’ Circle before and during the awards ceremony; it shows the winning artists and their art. Slideshow Three has over 75 images from throughout the day at the Show.

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IMG_4475-001 . . 10:00 AM, at Lawrence Circle



6:00 PM Supplement:

IMG_4614 . . IMG_4620

. . above: two views of Lawrence’s Winners’ Circle prior to award ceremony . . 

IMG_4644 . . Kerry D’Alessandro artfully announced the winners, assisted by Steve Kowalski, Zoe Oxley, Karen Johnson, Larry Schmidt, et al. . .  

WINNERS’ LIST in the order presented (images coming soon):

People’s Choice: Lori Lupe Pelish


Cohen Award (best depiction of the Stockade): Ritvik Sharma:



 . . IMG_4464  . . Gillilan Award (given by Oakroom Artists for body of work): Kellen Riell

Colangelo Award (1st-time exhibitor):Kellen Riell IMG_4631

Young Artist awards: [see Slideshow Two]

3rd place: Morgan Moser

2nd place: Mia Etkin

1st place: Sarah Grossman

Honorable Mentions:

Olivia Ortega, Val Robert, George Dirolf, Susan Edsall Nadler, Lorraine Dewey, Jen Cerutti [see Slideshow 2 for images of artists and art pieces]

Overall winners:

3rd place: David Hinchen Grand-3dDHinchen

2nd place: Lori Lupe Pelish Grand-2dLLPelish

1st place: Richard Sacchetti  grant-1strsaccheti.jpg

. . coming soon: scores of photos from the Winners’ Circle and the Art Show exhibits . .

Slideshow Two: WINNERS’ CIRCLE and AWARDS Images

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IMG_4638 . . IMG_4653

SLIDESHOW THREE: OUT AND ABOUT – four score more photos taken during my roaming and schmoozing around the Outdoor Art Show throughout the event.

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. . above: more from Leah Bliven

IMG_4684. . Stockade ally Mohamed Hafez campaigns for City Counsel seat and chats with Kim Leahey. .


Rick Leahey

Rick Leahey’s nature photography

 Timothy P. Francis . . this posting is dedicated to my good friend (since freshman year, 1967, at Georgetown U.), Timothy P. Francis, and all his kith and kin, who were gathered today, September 9, 2017, at BlackSalt Restaurant in Washington DC, to celebrate him and his life. Peace, My Friend.




Posted by: David Giacalone | September 7, 2017

quick links to current topics

 . . click these links for fast access to Hot Topics:

. . missing Loraine (and Devin) . . 

Posted by: David Giacalone | August 21, 2017

an excellent eclipse event at the Library

 . . 

What a lovely afternoon to visit the Central Library or miSci in Downtown Schenectady and share a special event with scores of fans and pilgrims of the Great 2017 American Eclipse as a community. So many families were already in line at noon at the Library that the 200+ pairs of eclipse-safe eyeglasses had to be rationed. But they were shared happily by sun-gazers of all ages, with not a bit of whining within my earshot. The only stressor was finding a cost-free parking space.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | August 20, 2017

sunset beauty before the big eclipse

This evening before the much-anticipated 2017 solar eclipse, I headed out my door a little before sunset to head over to Riverside Park. Before I got there, three teens with skateboards leaving the Park passed by; the sun playing with a lawn chair behind 10 Washington Avenue caught my fancy, and the site of the soon-to-be-moved 4 Washington Avenue distracted me.

  •  Then, as soon as I entered Riverside Park, I saw a cute little toddler, whose parent was walking away toward the Park path, trying to climb a boulder at the end of Governor’s Lane parking lot (as the “leaders” who sneaked the boulders into the Park, without any chance for neighbors to comment, should have anticipated).

Luckily, the beauty of a golden sun on the horizon, reflected in the Mohawk, demanded my attention and soothed my agitated mind. I also met a couple with cameras and tripods on a bench near the playlot; we spoke of the wonderful sunsets in this little Park, Vietnam, institutional religion, and more. You can see the physical elements mentioned above in the following Slideshow.



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Posted by: David Giacalone | August 6, 2017

favorites from July 2017

 . . 

. . above: parent and child on the Riverside Park footpath . . 

The slideshow below, and the individual photos in this posting, constitute favorite images of mine from July 2017. I hope they bring back good memories for our readers from the first half of summer 2017.





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  • Riverside-ParentChild9Jul2017 Click this thumbnail for a collage of the two parent-child photos at the top of this posting. It is formatted for a 5″ by 7″ print.
Posted by: David Giacalone | August 6, 2017

Mr. Hafez throws a party

IMG_4219a-001 . . MAHafez06Aug2017 . . . Friends of Mohamed A. Hafez look forward every year to his early-August bar-b-que picnic, which at times — like today — coincides with his birthday. Mohamed throws it on the lawn, under trees, alongside his Crane Insurance office, on Crisler Avenue. I went for the first time last year, and greatly enjoyed the people and food, and low-key, friendly ambiance, that fits so well with Mohamed’s personality. And, today was a wonderful repeat of all of these elements, with the bonus of lovely weather and sunshine that made many of my photos glow.

  • Plus, we all got free ball caps that just happened to say “Hafez forSchenectady City Counsel.” Despite the caps, there was no politicking going on; but, Mohamed did promise a campaign picnic in the near future.

 Like last year, Sonny the Macaw got a lot of attention, so you’ll see more of him in the Slideshow, in which the photos are presented in the order they were taken. I wish I had gotten there sooner, and got to meet some of the guests who had to leave early. A most pleasant Sunday picnic resulted in a rare “Visits Elsewhere” posting here at “suns along the Mohawk.”


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Posted by: David Giacalone | July 29, 2017

moving images of 4 Washington Avenue (with updates)

BIG UPDATE (September 13, 2017; 1 PM): Larmon House Movers did final preparations this morning for rolling 4 Washington Avenue to the new location on its lot. By noon, the move to the final location of the house was completed. Photos are being added to the Slideshow below, near the bottom of this posting (showing the process of this project, with images since May). The house will be jacked up in place about another foot, with “cribs” [stacked blocks] placed under it to hold it up while the foundation is being built under it.

4Wash13Sep2017Move2 . .  4WashMovedOnlookers

. . above: 4 Washington Ave. has moved to its final destination; [L] Contractor James Plowman at start of today’s move; [R] onlookers view house at final location (11:30 AM, Sept. 13, 2017); below (3PM): northeast view of house [L]; wheeled jacks removed, cribs in place:

4Wash13SepPM1 .  . 4Wash13SepPM2


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. . above: rear of 4 Washington Ave. [L] & 6 Washington Ave. during flooding post-Hurricane Irene (Aug. 28, 2011) . .  

   . . left: flood waters from Hurricane Irene at River end of Washington Ave. with #4 & #6 on left . .


 . . left: floodwaters at end of Washington Ave., with neighbors at stoop of 6 Washington Ave. (vintage photo from collection of Schenectady County Historical Society, undated)

Meredith Anker’s home at 4 Washington Avenue, in the Schenectady Stockade Historic District, was constructed circa 1820. It was built along the Washington Avenue lot line, with no front lawn, but a spacious rear and side yard that borders the Mohawk River. Flooding in 2011 due to waters associated with Hurricane Irene did dramatic and traumatic damage to the first floor of Meredith’s home. Immediately below are photos of the front of the house and its yard taken last May:

  . . 

. . above: 4 Washington Ave. & yard (May 18, 2016) . . 

    In response, Meredith has asked the Schenectady Historic District Committee for permission to raise and move the house to another location on its lot. If the current project is successful, sometime this summer (2017), the house will be elevated about 12.0 feet and set back 15 to 20 feet from Washington Avenue, in order to remove it from the River’s flood plain. See “Stockade project to move historic home from flood plain underway” (Albany Times Union, by Paul Nelson, July 20, 2017). It took the homeowner, her architect (and across-the-street neighbor) Frank Gilmore, and contractor Jim Plowman, several sessions before Schenectady’s Historic District Commission approved the lift-and-move project, which is the first such project in the Stockade Historic District, where paint colors and removal of window shutters need Commission permission. See “Panel OKs plan to elevate Schenectady home above flood zone” (Times Union, by Paul Nelson, November 17, 2015); and “Homeowner allowed to raise, move Stockade house: After nearly half a year of discussion, the Schenectady Historic District Commission reluctantly agrees” (Schenectady Daily Gazette, by Haley Viccaro, November 16, 2015; $ub. req’d). The sketch to the right of this paragraph is the rendering submitted to the Historic Commission when seeking its approval for the project.

The blank wall in the sketch represents 6 Washington Avenue, the home of Scott Andrus and Jone Jensen, who are watching the process closely, and are not sure what to expect. The Historic Commission made it clear that they have not yet reviewed or approved the final design scheme (colors, landscaping, etc.).


. . above: the rear lawn of 4 Washington Avenue, with Mohawk River on the left (photo by Peter Barber of the Daily Gazette) . . 

   Larmon House Movers is in charge of the short trip. However, the first-phase lift and shift has not yet happened, because National Grid has not yet honored the request that it turn off the gas line. According to the Times Union:
[T]he structure will remain at a temporary site for upwards of a month, which will give the crew time to fill in and shore up the foundation at the new spot, said [contractor Jim] Plowman. A one-car garage will be built into the foundation.
  • 4WashAv07Sep2017a update (September 7, 2017): I learned this morning from James Plowman, the general contractor for the project, that they have decided to move the house directly to its final location (15 feet back from the street and 20′ farther from the River), rather than risk more jostling of the old structure by moving first to a temporary location while the new foundation is being constructed. They will be bringing in dirt for fill and then the big wheels on dollies for the move, with Monday, September 11, 2017, now seeming like the likely day for the move.
   Since I first saw the large gray metal container sitting alongside Meredith’s house in early May, I have been sporadically photographing this historic process, and (if the creek don’t rise) I plan to continue documenting the move as the process unfolds — and will add images to this posting as they are taken.
    We have had a lot or rain lately, and many sidewalk kibitzers and amateur engineers have offered me and other neighbors skeptical predictions about the likelihood that the ancient structure, with its flagstone and brick foundation, can be successfully and safely moved. Like virtually all Stockade homes, the original home has had additions appended to it. Whether it is out of an abundance of caution or true necessity, yesterday (Friday, July 28, 2017), workers strung a metal cable and chain around the structure.  See the photo to the right of this paragraph.

 . . 

   At the date of this posting, the Slideshow below displays photos in chronological order, taken from May 10 through the end of July 29, 2017. As mentioned above, photos will be added as the project progresses. [followup: the Slideshow has somehow asserted a will of its own, and refuses to stay in chronological order; on the bright side, it allows the viewer to compare various phases of the project.]
  • As always, you can see a larger version of an image in the Slideshow by pausing it on the image, right-clicking and choosing See Image in New Tab.
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update (September 5, 2017): Despite all my anticipation, I missed the actual lifting of the house today, but took a few photos this evening (Tues, Sept. 5), including:
4Wash05Sep2017c . . . 4Wash05Sep2017a
. . above scene after first day of lifting (click on photo for larger version). . 
4Wash06Sep2017Chimney According to an article posted online this evening at the Schenectady Daily Gazette website, “Stockade home elevated ahead of move” (by Brett Samuels, Sept. 5, 2017), the house is about 10 feet above its foundation, but the crew will probably not be back to finish this phase until next week, when it will be moved on wheels or using steel girders to a temporary spot while the new foundation if poured, etc. The Gazette also said that they had to stop lifting to figure how what to do about a chimney that was not part of the original structure of the house, that was separating from the structure. They put some straps around it (see image at right). 



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. . above: 1-9 Washington Ave., Aug. 28, 2011 . . 



. . above: construction crew, Western Gateway Bridge, and a fancy boat viewed from in front of elevated house at 4 Washington Ave. (Sept. 7, 2017) . .


Plowman . . Plowman

. . above: Garret (standing) and Jim Plowman watch Lorman crew securing girders under the elevated house to prepare for the big move (Sept. 11, 2017)


September 13, 2017

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