Posted by: David Giacalone | September 21, 2020

ending summer at the Rose Garden









Schenectady’s Central Park Rose Garden is overflowing, almost overcrowded, with beauty at full bloom in mid-summer. But, I discovered yesterday (Sunday, September 20, 2020) that a late-summer visit to the Garden has special charms and beauty of its own. Remaining blooms seem more special and the ornamental grasses are better able to shine. This posting has images taken yesterday that I hope justify my enthusiasm.




Click on any of the square “tiles” below for a full, larger version.


Robert Flood “Yuan” sculpture

This slideshow features Rose Garden roses.

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 Hydrangea fans can find a treasure-lode at the Rose Garden pergola.



Finally, you can click on any tile in this mosaic for a larger version of the ponds, boulders and ornamental grasses that add to the beauty and serenity of the Schenectady Rose Garden.

Posted by: David Giacalone | September 12, 2020

2020’s unconventionally good outdoor art show

Today’s 69th Annual Stockade Villagers’ Outdoor Art Show had special COVID-19 pandemic rules and procedures. Organizers and fans wondered whether the lack of registration, judging and awards would keep artists and patrons/browsers away, with a backdrop of virus-fueled agoraphobia. Well, we did not have to worry. Gorgeous weather, a palette-full of artists, and a robust number of masked visitors made the Show a bright success.

You’ll find almost a hundred photos in this posting, with a great variety of art and people, light and shadow.

Many thanks go out to all the organizers, artists and visitors.

. . . share this post with this short URL:

IMG_1937  . . . IMG_2002

. . Alec Acevedo was back alongside Arthur’s Market on Front Street [L], accompanied this time by a colorful exhibit of pieces produced by his parents [R] while sheltering at home during the pandemic.

Although there was no Winners Circle at Lawrence Circle as a focus, this posting has about 90 images from today’s Outdoor Art Show presented in a Slideshow, columns, and/or individual photos. As always artists may use any image of their exhibits with no need to ask permission, and all others may use the images for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to

This Slideshow has images from my first stroll up Front Street from Church St. to Lawrence Circle. For a larger version of a photo, pause the slideshow, right-click, and choose Show Image in Separate Tab.

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IMG_1956 . . IMG_1954 . . Kim Leahey was back again with a vast display of her Kilaarts art.

. . and, new Front Street neighbor Scott Friello exhibited for the first time (see below), as did a refreshing number of others, taking advantage of the waived registration fee.

Scot Friello exhibit


IMG_2014-001. . At 25 Front Street, I expected to see the art of the homeowner, Olivia Ortega. But, she and her husband Emmanuel Maillet were instead hosting the frequently-awarded art of Stockade resident Holly Van Voast. 


. . Click on a tile in this mosaic for a larger, full version:


Erik Rutnik once again brought several finished pieces, and again used his time well working on a new piece, catching the eye of Haley Viccaro:



IMG_2017 . . . IMG_2020

Above: Crowd favorite Oakley N. Lauren (L) got a lot of attention as he strolled the Show, but had quite a bit of competition in the cutest doggie contest (example on right).

This tiled mosaic has more images from the 2020 art show. Click on a tile for a full, larger version.


. . (mea culpa) I did it again: Enjoyed conversing with veteran Art Show exhibitor Peter Watrous so much early Saturday morning, that I forgot to shoot pictures of this year’s exhibit in front of 29 Front St. He brought winners from prior years, such as this First Place painting from 2013:


Stockader David Lira was also showing his stuff at 29 Front Street:

IMG_2011-001 . . IMG_2011

. .

Tireless Art Show organizer Zoe Oxley was visiting Holly’s exhibit when I took this photo:


. . and, earlier, Rick Sacchetti’s display on N. Ferry Street:



. Bright sunshine enhanced colors and shadows throughout the Show:







Finally, here’s another slideshow of images I’d like to share of the 2020 Stockade Art Show. Thanks again to all those who made the Show so enjoyable to visit and photograph.

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In mem. Ivy Yuan. Many Outdoor Art Show lovers very much missed seeing the art and energy of Ivy Yuan, the 2019 Best First-time Exhibitor. Ivy passed away from cancer at 52 in May, leaving a void in our community and the life of her friends. You can learn about Ivy and her art here.


postscript: Next year, let’s rendezvous at the new Arthur’s 1795 Market, with Haley Priebe and her crew.


Posted by: David Giacalone | August 22, 2020

at the Corner of Clinton & State

It’s temporarily a vacant lot now, but I’ve been wondering how the northeast corner of State and Clinton Streets has changed over time. (above is a Google Maps aerial shot of the location) This posting tells the gist of what I have learned.








. . (2019) empty Citizens Bank Bldg., with a For Sale Sign, looking west from Barrett St. . .







. . demolished, June 30, 2020

. . coming at 501 State St.:

The deserted Citizens Bank branch at the northeast corner of State and Clinton Streets was demolished at the end of June, 2020, to make way for a Redburn Development Partners multi-use complex with 49 apartments. There was a minor kerfuffle in June over whether the unadorned, blank-faced brick bank building was an “architectural blunder” (See Pete DeMola’s Gazette article and Letter to the Editor by Gloria Kishton). That got me wondering what had been replaced by the building designed by the local team of Feibes-Schmitt for Albany Savings Bank, when the ABS branch was erected in 1972, and how folks had reacted to the new bank building at the time.

My curiosity was more than satisfied, thanks to the insightful comments and eye-opening images presented by Carl Johnson at and by Christopher Patrick Spencer in an MIT masters thesis published at See: The Lorraine Block and a little more Stanford history” (April 17, 2019, by Carl Johnson); and Chapter 7 of  Shovel Ready: Razing Hopes, History, and a Sense of Place: Rethinking Schenectady’s Downtown Strategies , (1999, 2001, by Christopher Patrick Spencer).

  • The Johnson and Spencer pieces are so well-done, that I am reluctant to quote them at length, but urge you to click the links above for your own enjoyable edification.

Here are two images of State Street from Barrett to Clinton Streets before Feibes and Schmitt designed the replacement building for Albany Savings Bank in 1972:

 . . LorraineView1

. . above & below: the Lorraine Block prior to 1972  . . 








Before the three-story addition was created on the Barrett Street side in 1923, the corner location was graced by the original “Lorraine Block”, which was a source of much civic pride as a symbol of the City’s affluence when built in 1902 by Welton Sanford. Here is a postcard from 1907:

. . and one from 1906 viewed from the east.

For decades, the Lorraine was a premier business address. The Hoxie article by Carl Johnson gives a history of its sales and tenants, including quotes from Larry Hart. Despite a foreclosure in 1940, the sale in 1944 of the Lorraine Block, 505 State Street, made news as the “largest transaction of its kind in Schenectady in many years.” also adds details about its original owner, Welton Sanford, and his prominent family.

  • The Cowhorn Creek had to be diverted to build on that spot, causing problems for other properties.
  • For many years, it was the only structure in the downtown area with two passenger elevators.
  • It was perhaps the highest assessed building of it type for decades
  • At the time of a 1954 sale, tenants included Walker’s Pharmacy, the Lorraine Barber Shop, Debs Clothing Shop, Perfection Shoe Repair, dentists and a podiatrist, and lawyers and insurance and real estate brokers.

Adjacent to the Lorraine Block to the north, had stood the BARCLI Theater (from Barrett and Clinton Streets), which was originally called the New Strand, and had seen many famous artists in person and on film.

Carl Johnson tells of the demise of The Lorraine Block and fears for the future of Schenectady’s downtown:

“[It] went into bankruptcy in 1971 and came to an end in 1972, when the Albany Savings Bank bought the Lorraine Block, the former Illuminating Company building, and the site of the former Strand Theater [BARCLI] to build a branch office. By then, the Lorraine had fallen into the state of shabbiness that prevailed in downtown Schenectady at the time, and it must have seemed that any sort of modern building and new business was a welcome improvement.

“But, wow, what a piece of 1972 junk they built there – a faceless, brick-clad wedge in place of two of the more lovely buildings ever to grace the street. A Gazette editorial lamenting the loss of the Lorraine foresaw what was going to happen “as many old structures are either biting the dust or getting a face-lifting.”

The following collage (click on it to enlarge) includes a pointed text by C. P. Spencer about the replacement of the Lorraine Block by the new Albany Savings Bank, pictured to the right, and local reaction.




By the way, here’s a look at that corner of Clinton St. (then called White St.) and State Street before the Lorraine Block was constructed at the start of the 20th Century. As mentioned above, Cowhorn Creek had to be diverted to build on that spot, causing problems for other properties:


If the history of this one corner piques your interest, I recommend spending time with “Shovel Ready: Razing Hopes, History, and a Sense of Place: Rethinking Schenectady’s Downtown Strategies”, (1999, 2001, by Christopher Patrick Spencer). There is a lot there to contemplate as our civic leaders attempt again and again to offer solution that a promised to rejuvenate our Downtown.

Posted by: David Giacalone | August 14, 2020

images of July 2020

 . .

. . above: [R] sunflowers at 29 Front Street; [L] pump station construction site . . 

Merely looking at the photos I took during July 2020, you wouldn’t know the month occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scenes of the Stockade and Downtown Schenectady were as colorful, inspiring, and diverse, and occasionally as aggravating, as ever. The map at the right shows that the beautiful sunflowers seen above, street-side at 29 Front Street, are just a stone’s throw from the Riverside Park construction site of the often-dispiriting and disruptive new pump station project, until recently the site of a grand, century-old shade tree.

Take a leisurely stroll through July 2020 with this Slideshow. The photos were mostly taken while on my evening stroll from Cucumber Alley to Downtown Schenectady, often including scenes along the Mohawk River, State Street and Jay Street, and more. For a larger version of an image, pause the slideshow, right-click, and choose Open Image in New Tab.

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DSCF9049 . . . the Colonel gets Mill Lane competition on State Street


. . Citizens’ Bank all but gone . . 

DSCF9022 . . artist Rae’ Frasier’s addition to the Rainbow Arches at Gateway Plaza. . 

Posted by: David Giacalone | June 30, 2020

a sunset worth remembering

It is easy to get blasé about lovely sunsets when you live along the Stockade portion of the Mohawk River. But, a glance at what was happening up in the sky yesterday evening just as I was about to head home from a stroll downtown, got me to dig my little Fujifilm camera from my sack.

The results can be seen in this commemorative posting.






. . follow-up . . Then, two days later (July 1, 2020), just before sunset, a view of a very different hue grabbed my attention.




. . afterthought (August 1, 2020): And, the first sunset of August 2020 at Riverside Park gave us hope that much more beauty and inspiration is on the way.




Posted by: David Giacalone | June 27, 2020

summer brings spectacular clouds

doogiecloudSitUpDespite all the unsightly utility wires marring our streetscapes, I have been trying to look up more as I take my daily stroll around the Stockade, Riverside Park and (the real) Downtown Schenectady. One very big motivator lately: wonderful cloud arrays and display. I’ll be presenting images of them here, often in no particular order, with updates, individually and in collages. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. (click on images for larger versions; image of the Good Doggie cloud to the left was taken June 22, 2020).


StGeoRainbow25Jun2020 . . St. George’s steeple with rainbow, June 25, 2020. .




. . above: looking east on State St. from Erie Blvd. . 



StGeoRainbow2 . . June 25, 2020, at St. George’s Episcopal Church on N. Ferry Street . . 



Posted by: David Giacalone | May 21, 2020

May colors at College Row

Over the years, I haven’t gotten to North College Street and College Row as often as I should during our Stockade blossom season. This collage and the square tiles below show why I need to pay more attention to that pretty stretch of May hues.


  • Above photos taken May 12 and May 13, 2020. They are also included in the tile columns below. Click on a tile for a larger, full version.

Posted by: David Giacalone | May 10, 2020

beautifully past-peak at CGOH




The grounds of Congregation Gates of Heaven are gorgeous when the weeping cherry blossoms are at their peak. (see our collages from 2013 at the bottom of this posting). But, like many of our mothers, the beauty and character of past-peak bloom is inspiring and even heartwarming, with the visible limbs adding interesting and mystery.

. .click on a mosaic tile below for a larger version . .

. CGOH is located at Ashland Avenue and Eastern Parkway, in Niskayuna, New York.

. . 2013’s bumper crop was typical of the pink glory at CGOH. . 



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