Posted by: David Giacalone | April 11, 2020

Easter eve stroll



Shortly before sunset this evening, April 11, I headed out with my camera for a little pandemic exercise I call my evening stroll. It started along the Mohawk River at Cucumber Alley, went through Riverside Park, down a few Stockade blocks, and up to the corner of Union Street and Erie Boulevard, where our Lady Liberty replica statue has been exiled. [Click on a photo for a larger version.]

207 Union St - Easter Display


 . . river end of Cucumber Alley:



Along the way, I saw cattails, the new pump station’s construction site on the west lawn of Riverside Park, an early display of cherry blossoms on N. Ferry near Union Street, a crowded window sill of Easter fun, and one more bit of disrespect for Lady Liberty at her deplorable location.




. . Hi, Stockade expatriate Linda M., in Hawaii! “Your” N. Ferry Street house is still cute.



LL- Rent Strike

. . click for the Story of Lady Liberty’s Exile . .

They are almost here! Soon, glorious Stockade cherry blossoms. This tree on the Union Street end of N. Ferry has started the show.

IMG_1211  . . IMG_1210

. . finally, a sight easy to love for decades . .


p.s. I was along the River just before and just after the time when there might have been a more impressive sunset.  The collage below is my favorite set of Easter Eve Sunset photos, from the rear of 10-16 Washington Avenue, here in the Stockade, in 2016.

. . you can see the individual golden photos, and a few more, here. .


Posted by: David Giacalone | April 7, 2020

supermoon 2020 seen from the Stockade


. . from the Riverside Park play lot, through the climbing bars . .


Monday night

The big, white full moon that I saw before twilight from Riverside Park yesterday (Monday, April 6, 2020; image to left) was so clear and lovely that it raised my expectations for tonight’s SuperMoon. It would look pink or orangish and be the closest full moon of 2020. [NASA has a great explanation] Unfortunately, a hazy and mostly-cloudy sky dashed my hopes this evening for a big, clear orange ball.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the wait with the Chilton Brothers, the stroll to find more viewpoints, and the results, once discounted for clouds and clouds and clouds.

 IMG_1170 . .  a practice shot from my backyard; big, round, orange, over Schenectady . . 

It quickly got too cloudy for even tiny orange rays to pierce in the clouds. It was only about 15 minutes from my first photos of the supermoon near the Riverside Park Play Lot along the Mohawk River:



. . and looking east on Ingersoll Avenue:


. . below: seen from Front St. at Ingersoll Ave. through ubiquitous utility wires . .


. . then a S. College St. view from Holy Cross Church driveway. . 


. . after that, the moon was quickly blocked by clouds, as I sought a good spot to view it at Union St. and Erie Boulevard.

IMG_1188All and all, no celestial fireworks, but a nice lunar experience from the Schenectady Stockade. If I happen to be awake around 6 AM Wednesday morning (not likely), and there are some breaks in the clouds (also unlikely), I will shoot a few images toward the west from the rear of Cucumber Alley.


BONUS: RECALLING 2011. By the way, 2011 was a very good year to see the supermoon from the Stockade (see our coverage). Here are two examples:


. . above: Lawrence with Supermoon, late March 19, 2011; below: Gateway Landing gazebo with Supermoon, early March 20, 2011 . .


Posted by: David Giacalone | April 5, 2020

subtle sunset beauty on the Mohawk


I‘ve been neglecting sunsets for too long. This one captivated and captured my attention on my newly inaugurated daily stroll, and I simply had to stop and snap a few pictures with my pocket camera. The two photos were taken about 7:18 PM, April 4, 2020, just inside the Washington Avenue entrance to Riverside Park, along the Mohawk, looking north toward the Isle of the Cayugas, in the Schenectady Stockade.


Posted by: David Giacalone | March 28, 2020

blue sky stroll under a hidden corona








DSCF5622-001 . . Play Lot quarantined

We’ve had a great spate of lovely blue skies here in Schenectady, since the ides of March, as we adjust to the Corona-Virus crisis and social distancing. [See the Gazette article “Social walks a cure for springtime isolation“, by Jeff Wilkin, March 28, 2020.) If you haven’t been able to get out, join me virtually as I stroll from Riverside Park to the Jay Street Pedestrian Mall and back on Friday March 27, 2020, under the sun’s hidden corona.

This Slideshow follows my walk, with about two dozen images that caught my eye (and captions, where appropriate).

  • For a larger version of a slideshow image, pause on the image, right-click, choose View Image in New Window.


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  • Not seen, enjoyable conversations along with way — at a responsible distance, of course — with folks like Kathy Fitzmaurice of the Katbird Shop and Dr. Lawrence Schmidt (Tanner’s valet).

If you stroll, please take the example of Snoopy and Woodstock:


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The bloom-less view at the front of First Reformed Church, Union and N. Church Streets, reminded me that the Stockade will soon be blossoming again. In 2012, the editor here at Suns Along the Mohawk celebrated an incredible treasure blossoming at First Reformed in mid-April, with tulips, redbuds, apple blossoms and more. See “bloomin’ lovely at 1st Reformed” (April 19, 2012). Here are samples in a collage bouquet:


Posted by: David Giacalone | February 13, 2020

Lawrence’s faithful Flamingos are back for 2020



LATE NIGHT PREVIEW, Thursday February 13:


They are going to look awfully good under a blue sky tomorrow, Valentine’s Day 2020. So, please bundle up and stroll or drive to Lawrence Circle for the one-day annual Valentine visit of a flock of Flamingos (very pink and plastic) to Schenectady’s Stockade. They are at N. Ferry and Front Streets (Green St., too), and will leave after dark on the 14th.

Before noon on Friday, there will be a flamboyance of flamingo fotos right here at suns along the Mohawk. If you can’t wait, check out last year’s coverage of this happy, romantic, and mysterious Stockade tradition.

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IMG_0958-001 . . . . IMG_0960 

. . click on a photo for a larger version . . 

IMG_0944 . . like all of us, this pair can’t wait for Arthur’s Market to reopen . .


Here’s the first few of a couple dozen Flamingo photos that will soon be posted here. They were all taken between 10:30 and 10:40 A.M. under the promised blue sky, with frigid temperatures.



. . IMG_0986-001

. . Please enjoy this Slideshow trip around Lawrence Circle.

For a larger version of a photo in the Slideshow, pause the show on the photo, right-click on it, and choose Show Image in New Tab.

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. . here are a few of my 2020 Flamingo Valentine favorites . .








Check out our Valentine Flamingo Category in the righthand margin for links to a decade of Valentine Flamingo coverage. Also, please click on the image to the left for a brief introduction to the story of our Stockade Valentine Flamingos, from the title page of the book shown below.

ValFlam3Hcover And, click the following link for a full look at the 3rd edition of the very first of my photobooks: “Valentine Flamingos in the Schenectady Stockade: whimsy and mystery at Lawrence Circle” (3rd Edition, 2016). The 20-page book follows eight years of the pink flamingo Valentine tradition and mystery at Lawrence Circle in the Stockade, with 50 photos.

And, Special Thanks, once again, to my favorite weatherman (and dog-lover) Steve Caporizzo, who again featured our Stockade Valentine Flamingos on his News 10 weather segment.  [His caption aide meant “Giacalone”, of course.]


Posted by: David Giacalone | January 26, 2020

puddles of fun at the 2020 Soup Stroll

2020SoupStrollLogo . . IMG_0898-001

The 5th Annual Schenectady Soup Stroll glowed bright, despite gray skies and rain in Downtown Schenectady. Like other years, there were smiling faces and upbeat reviews wherever I brought my camera. Read about the Winning Soups as rated both by popular vote and several food experts.

IMG_0892 . .

2020SoupStroll-Tara1-001. . Above: Rick & Bonnie of Mangino’s Gourmet Bistro, came a few blocks downtown from 764.5 Eastern Ave. to the Clinton Street Mercantile; [R] while Aneesa and Muntasim at Tara’s Kitchen had a stream of happy Strollers visiting at 431 Liberty Street . . 


IMG_0847. . Strollers outside the Van Dyck-Mad Jack’s on Union Street in the Stockade

Click on any of the Square Tiles below for a larger, full version, and scroll many of the tiles for a brief caption. I’m sorry my late start today meant missing quite a few blocks and locations. I will start out earlier for sure in 2021. And, next year, I need to put my camera down and enjoy a slew of soups.




. . sheltering at the Whistling Kettle . .IMG_0895


IMG_0899 . . folks loved Katie O’Byrne’s Reuben Chowder



. . 2020Downtown-AmbitionYou can celebrate Downtown Schenectady all year long with one or more of our (free) one-page calendars featuring some of my favorite locations. .



 . . Some Soup Strollers surely wondered, while waiting to cross Erie Boulevard: “How did Lady Liberty get here?” For the long, sad story, see . .

Posted by: David Giacalone | December 27, 2019

the East Front Street trestle mural

4 Wash Av rear

This posting is for people who’ve been wondering what the mural welcoming folks to the East Front Street Neighborhood looks like and who want a little background. The mural is being paid for with grant money from the Schenectady Foundation, through the city’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge.  The first half of the project is painted on the north-side underpass wall of the Front Street C&P train trestle, and celebrates the immigrants who came to Schenectady to build great locomotives at the American Locomotive Company [ALCO].

  • EastFrontGoogleMapSat FYI: The East Front Street Neighborhood is located along a stretch of Schenectady’s Front Street just east of the Stockade district and the Front Street railroad trestle, and west of Mohawk Harbor, and includes the six adjoining streets [John St., River St., Madison St. Monroe St., and Jefferson St. and Mohawk Avenue], between Erie Boulevard and the Mohawk River.

Last month, a Gazette article told the story of the mural. “Big changes take place in tiny neighborhood: New mural and paving buoy neighborhood” (Daily Gazette, by Pete DeMola, Nov. 19, 2019). The article explains:

The completed portion depicts a locomotive and commemorates the neighborhood as a magnet for immigrants from Italy and Poland.

“A neighborhood established in the 1800s by immigrants who came to build the railroad,” reads the text.

The second phase will pay homage to the community’s home as a boxing hotbed and home to local legends like Tony Barone and Joe “Pep” Casillo, who mentored and trained generations of athletes.

. . . Additional neighborhood fixtures will be painted by the artist, who prefers to remain anonymous, including the former Mastrianni’s Bakery on Mohawk Avenue and Perreca’s, which was previously located on John Street before relocating to its present location on North Jay Street.

The mural artist is Donna Wojcik, of Schenectady. Because her name has been hard to keep secret, she has kindly allowed me to give her credit for the project, despite originally hoping for anonymity.

The photos in the following mosaic were taken yesterday, December 26, 2019. Click on an image for a full and larger version of it.


An earlier Gazette webpost, “East Front Street Neighborhood has new logo” (ELECTRIC CITY ARCHIVES, by Bill Buell, May 31, 2019), explained that:

EastFrontLogoMary Ann Ruscitto, who has lived her entire life in the neighborhood, said the project will get started as soon as some construction work in the area is complete. She has created a new logo for the East Front Street Neighborhood, which features the image of a streaming locomotive.

“We are going to use the logo on our welcome to the East Front St. banners, and we’re going to use it on our new trash cans,” said Ruscitto, who has spearheaded the project named Reawakening East Front Street.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the muralist presents key elements of the East Front Street Neighborhood and its history for the second half of this project.

. . here is an East Front Street version of my 2020 Downtown Calendar . . 


. . formatted for a 10″ by 8″ print; click on Calendar to download the full file . .

DSCF5444P.S. My photoshoot on December 26 was momentarily stymied when I came upon this frozen reminder of the infamous December 1, 2019 Not-So-Smart-City snowstorm (photo on the right), and its aftermath and uproar, with its unplowed streets, plow-created obstacles, and un-shoveled sidewalks. This particular sidewalk runs along City property (the Front Street Pool lot). I ended up crossing the street and shooting from the opposite side of the underpass. Today, Dec. 27, I sent a photo and a plea for help to Paul Lafond, General Services Commissioner. Twelve minutes later, Mr. Lafond wrote back that he sent out a crew to handle the problem. I appreciate the quick reply, of course, but do not believe residents should have to report problems that City workers and City Smart Cameras must have seen for three weeks.

Posted by: David Giacalone | December 15, 2019

celebrating our 2019 Stockade Tree


IMG_0731-003 We got an early start today celebrating this year’s Stockade Christmas Tree. It arrived on Wednesday, December 11, as we reported here. Delayed by the big snow storm earlier this month, it was worth the wait.

Today, the traditional After-glow Party at St. George’s Great Hall, morphed into a daylight, pre-lighting party, focused on activities for young children. The kids were all delightful [as one observer put if, “well-behaved and cute”; e.g.,  Xav, photo on the right]. And, there were lots of cookies and sweet things to eat and adults brimming with good cheer. Santa was also in a fine mood and stood out in red among the new white tables and chairs.

Thanks again this year to St. George’s hosting Stromberg Family; and to Tree Maven Colleen Macaulay and the Stockade Association. And, thanks to all the neighbors who contributed snacks and weathered strong winds to celebrate the 2019 Stockade Tree and Holiday Season.

  • The Slideshow is presented in the order the photos were taken. Sadly, a number of really cute or colorful photos were a bit too blurry to use (blame the photographer, not the subjects). For a larger version of an image in the Slideshow, pause on the photos, right-click, and choose Open Image in New Tab.

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IMG_0777. . IMG_0789

. . who needs focus, when you’ve got Christmas cheer? . . 

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