Posted by: David Giacalone | April 27, 2018

still hopeful for cherry blossoms

cb27Apr2018Yes, our Stockade cherry blossoms are late this year, and after two disappointing years, some folks are fearing another lost cherry blossom season. But, the buds on the photo to the right, taken about noon today, on April 27, 2018, suggest we may have a good crop coming soon.

The forecast for a bit of sun and showers over this weekend, plus warm, sunny days on May 1 and 2, could mean that this year our cherry blossoms will be those May Flowers we are promised after April showers.

Below is a collage with side-by-side comparison of Schenectady scenes on April 28, 2013 and today, April 27, 2018. (Click on it to enlarge.) I do not think that Saturday April 28, 2018, will bring us a full array of Stockade cherry blossoms, but I will look out the window as soon as I awake tomorrow morning just in case.



. . above & below: Cherry Blossoms in late April 2013, on Washington Avenue. . 

cb2013-washaveve1 . . cb2013-CucEve

below: Front Street east of Lawrence Circle, April 28, 2013:


Posted by: David Giacalone | April 24, 2018

for the kids

 . . 

. . above: Monday morning, back to Riverside Park . . 

 Last Sunday, April 22, was Earth Day, which I celebrated under a gorgeous blue sky in Schenectady’s Riverside Park, along the Mohawk River.  Seeing families enjoying the day and the Park, reminded me that we need to preserve our Earth and our Park “for the kids”. Of course, as a bonus, we get to save them for ourselves, too.

This Slideshow has a few photos that made my stroll worthwhile.

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Posted by: David Giacalone | March 23, 2018

progress at the new train station

. . See our follow-up in July. . IMG_7876

. . and also the Dome and Clock, in September . .

. . and New Station Opens early (Oct. 17, 2018) . .

 . . 

. above: construction site of new Schenectady Amtrak Station . 22Mar2018

 . .  

above: [L] previous Station, demolished 2017; [R] rendering of new station, to open Nov. 2018;

[R] Old Union Station, demolished 1969 . .  OldUnionStationSchdy


The new Schenectady Amtrak Station, at Erie Boulevard and Liberty Street, has been taking shape since construction was started in January by Murnane Building Contractors of Plattsburgh, NY. The Gazette article “Work to start on train station” (by Stephen Williams, Dec. 29, 2017) reported that the project is expected to be completed in November 2018.

trainstation23Mar2018 . . view from across Erie Blvd., March 23

Click on the images in the Gallery below for larger versions of each.


Posted by: David Giacalone | March 4, 2018

first look at the new Gateway Plaza

. . click on collage for larger version; photos taken 26Feb2018 . .

Schenectady’s long-anticipated Gateway Plaza is now open to the public.  The project redesigned and expanded Liberty Park into Gateway Plaza. This posting is meant as a visual display of the project, with photos taken on February 26 (under a clear blue sky) and March 3, 2018 (with a gray cloud-cover and a blanket of snow). I did not catch every corner, space, or perspective, but I did see how many ideas we have heard about over the past several years have been implemented.

follow-up (Aug. 18, 2018): Jim Salengo, Executive Director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. [DISC], sent out invitations by email yesterday to a select group of Schenectadians, to “a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly redesigned and expanded Schenectady Gateway Plaza in Downtown Schenectady in Downtown Schenectady”, on Thursday August 23, 2018, at 11:30 AM. [Note: I learned from Mr. Salengo late in the morning on Aug. 23 that the event had been postponed, with the new date TBA.]

DetailLadyLibertySpotAs an advocate for the return of our Lady Liberty replica statue to her Park, as required in the approved Final Implementation Plan for Gateway Plaza, I was disappointed yesterday afternoon (Friday, Aug. 17), that there is no indication of preparation to return Lady Liberty. (on right, detail from one Final Plan rendering) Here are photos of the condition on August 17 of the location designated in the Final Plan for Lady Liberty’s relocation:

LLspot17Aug2018 . . GP-LLSpot17Aug2018

Also, having seen prior sculpture choices made by designer Mary Wallinger (like the Rusty Girders already in the Plaza and that Orangish Farm Implement Thingy in front of the Central Library), I had hoped for a preview of the Central Sculpture at Gateway Plaza, but as of late on August 17, there is no Central Sculpture. (Maybe Lady Liberty will go back to her true original location, which was the preference of members of the public at a Planning Workshop in 2013.):


. . back to Original Posting (March 4, 2018) . . 

This is not a design review, and visitors to this website and Plaza users should judge for themselves how well Gateway Plaza has fulfilled the primary concepts behind its plan and their own aesthetic preferences:

 . . as a Gateway Park, the space must cater heavily to both the pedestrian and the vehicular user. Another driving factor is the crucial role the park needs to play in providing connectivity between SCCC, the new student housing, Downtown Schenectady, and the historic Stockade Neighborhood. The new design for the park is therefore organized around two strong cross-axes that share a central focal point and organize the park into a series of rooms and spaces that cater to a diversity of uses.

In addition, the Conclusions portion of the GP Implementation Plan [at 25] states that “The proposed design for Schenectady Gateway Plaza should demonstrate” a long list of characteristics, starting with: 

• Function as a Gateway landmark that welcomes visitors to the City

• Utilize contemporary design to reflect Schenectady’s position as an invigorating and sustainable City

• Celebrate Schenectady’s past, present & future

• Be clean and open in appearance to improve visibility and accessibility

 You can learn much more about the project by perusing the Final Report City of Schenectady Gateway Plaza Implementation Plan (November 2012, 119 pp. pdf.)  Mary Moore Wallinger, who many of us also know as Chair of the Schenectady Planning Commission, produced the Gateway Plaza Plan while employed by Synthesis Architects, LLP.  Her LAndArt Studio has been responsible for design, construction documents and construction administration.

As you can see in the collage at the head of this posting, the drawings from the Plan, and the Slideshow below, features of the park include contemporary sculptures, rain gardens, seating terraces and a Great Lawn. The Central Sculpture has not yet been placed and, naturally, the gardens and various plantings must await Spring.

. . rendering of birdseye view of Gateway Plaza . .  

  •  For a larger version of any image in the Slideshow, pause on the chosen photo, right-click, and choose Open Image in New Tab.


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. CDTA bus shelter, sculpture pillars, modern light-poles

 . . view from urban plaza to Washington Ave.

. . above: sketch of Phase 1 & 2, with Legend . . 

GP-Rendering-LibertyDetail Editor’s Note: There is one issue I must raise, and will soon say more. It has recently been announced that the replica of the Statue of Liberty erected in Liberty Park in 1950, donated by a local Boy Scout troop, will not be returned to the new Plaza, but will be getting a new foster home elsewhere in Schenectady.   As you can see in the Legend in the above Plan drawing (item #6) and in the detail to the left from a rendering in the Final Plan, the original, announced, natural, and very popular plan was to bring Liberty back to Her Home. We should insist that this piece of the Park’s history, and our history, be given a new place of honor in her Park. Click the following link for an “advocacy collage” arguing that we must Bring Lady Liberty Home, and particularly that (despite current excuses) she is not too small to make an adequate impact at the new Plaza.

LibertyPark . . click this thumbnail for a reminder of what Lady Liberty looked like in Liberty Park . .


Posted by: David Giacalone | February 24, 2018

ice jam vigilance (with Sun. update)

 . . DSCF3769-001

. . above: Riverside Park esplanade & Mohawk R. seen [L] Feb. 22; [M] Feb. 24; and [R] Feb. 25

update (Sunday, Feb. 25): My visit before noon to the Mohawk riverbank along the Schenectady Stockade revealed that the River channel south of the Isle of the Cayugas and entire River east of Scotia’s Burr Bridge embankment was clear, with occasional small chunks of ice moving rapidly by. [see image above on Right; click for a larger version] Two other observations: First, the channel along the south/Scotia side of the Isle of the Cayugas is still clogged with ice cover and floes, basically up to the east tip of the Isle. Second, the Esplanade (like virtually all of the Park) is a muddy mess. See the next two images. And, see the Sunday Slideshow at the bottom of this posting.

DSCF3766 . . . DSCF3778

  • DSCF3748-001According to the NWS Hydrograph, the water level observation at 4:40 PM today at Freeman’s Bridge was 213.71ft, and the latest prediction has the level stay below 214 ft. for the next two days.
  • If, as of Sunday February 25, you want to see closeup large ice floes along the Stockade riverbank, you should head to the river end of Cucumber Alley. Don’t let the Stop Sign fool you, Cucumber Alley still a roadway that goes all the way to the River and is open to the public.

Original Posting

A shifting mass of ice and floes (and debris), along the Schenectady Stockade portion of the Mohawk River today (Saturday), was a good reminder that people in the flood-prone part of the Stockade, and the City’s emergency response team, need to be prepared and vigilant. The flow of the River has been quite powerful, but that is a mixed blessing if the ice cover breaks up and forms an ice dam; and, the force of the current itself can make such breaking of the ice cover more likely.

  • As of 8 PM Saturday, the water level at Freeman’s Bridge was 214 ft., with Flood Stage being 220 ft.

The pair of images at the Riverside Park Esplanade at the top of the posting shows that the broad open water along the Park on Thursday was filled today with ice floes. Immediately below is another view along the Stockade riverbank from the west end of the Park, at the Washington Avenue dead end. Click on an image for a larger version.

Footwear Alert: Riverside Park was a muddy mess today, and I hear people were losing boots and shoes. I barged toward my favorite bench near the west end entrance columns in the Park and was soon scolding myself and looking for a safe way back to reasonably dry land.

A new collection of large and scruffy ice floes appeared today at the end of Cucumber alley and the mouth of the Binnekill. Here is an example, and there are quite a few more in the Saturday Slideshow below.

This Saturday Sideshow consists of photographs taken at the end of Cucumber Alley and along Riverside Park in mid-afternoon.

  • Don’t Forget: You can see a larger version of any photo in the Slideshow by pausing the Slideshow, right-clicking on the desired photo, and choosing See Image in a Separate Tab. A lot of the images look better when larger.



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DSCF3751 . . Sunday, Feb. 25

Sunday Slideshow: images taken at the rear of Cucumber Alley and along the Schenectady banks of the Mohawk River between 11 AM and noon, on Sunday, February 25.


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DSCF3753 . . view east from rear of 16 Wash. Ave., Feb. 25

Posted by: David Giacalone | February 22, 2018

February 22 flood watch (with comparisons)

 . . IMG_6402
. . west entrance of Riverside Park: [L] 6:30 am, Feb. 22, 2018; [R] 8:46 am, Feb. 21.
The Mohawk has been below flood stage since about 2:30 am today, February 22, and was at 217.17’ at 11:45 am. Things are looking better today, with the constant caveat that the ice cover could breakup and ice jams/dams cause surges of water. The photos below show how much less water is covering various spots that were completely flooded yesterday. If important changes take place today, I will update this posting. (midnight update: the reading at 11:35 pm was 215.35 ft.


Today’s Photos [Thurs., Feb. 22] on the Left, Yesterday’s [Feb. 21] on the Right – click on an image for a larger version.

The west end of Riverside Park, at Washington Avenue:

  . . 
The roadway of Cucumber Alley:

IMG_6484 . . 


Upper part of the yard at the rear of 1 Cucumber Alley:
 . . 
Gateway Landing Gazebo
IMG_6495 . . 
Riverside Park Playlot at end of North Street: 
 DSCF3732-001 . . img_6444-001.jpg
Afternoon Report: Slideshow with Snow (Thursday, Feb. 22): Taken a day after the flooding began due to record warmth (including Albany’s second warmest recorded winter day), at the end of North Street near the Playlot, and at the end of No. Ferry Street, along the Esplanade; plus, a photo of the rear of 1 Cucumber Alley.




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 DSCF3735-001. . IMG_6433-002
 . . above: Esplanade/end of N. Ferry St.: [L] 3 pm, February 22, 2018; [R] Noon, Feb. 21.
 . . DSCF3738
. . above: Esplanade water gauge seen on Feb. 22, 2018, for the first time since Jan. 13, 2018; below: Esplanade water gauge concealed by ice floes, January 13, 2018



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Posted by: David Giacalone | February 21, 2018

Stockade stroll after the flood


west lawn of Riverside Park

As often seems to happen after a bit of Stockade flooding, the sun and the neighbors come out and made for a lovely stroll and photoshoot. This slideshow has 40 images taken on my lunchtime tour, Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

  • As always, for a larger version of a photo in a slideshow, pause on the image and right-click, then choose Show Image in New Tab

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. . river end of Cucumber Alley . . 

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Ingersoll Ave.

Posted by: David Giacalone | February 20, 2018

Presidents Week Stockade flood watch

MohawkHydro21Feb9AM  Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 1.01.56 PM Update (Wed., Feb. 21, 2:00 pm): There was a rapid rise between 10:30 AM and Noon, reaching 225.84 ft. At 12:45 pm, the water level was down to 223.98 ft; and the level was 222.64 ft. at 1:25 pm A forecast made about 11 AM predicts a crest at 7 PM today at 222.10′.

IMG_6447-001 . .  NOTE: See a slideshow with over three dozen photos taken under blues skies Wednesday afternoon, at our posting “Stockade stroll after the flood“.

Update (Wed. AM, Feb.21): The Mohawk River at Freeman’s Bridge was at 222.1 ft. at 9:10 AM. As of 7:15 AM, the Weather Service predicts a crest at 222.5 ft. at 1 PM today. [click for Hydro Chart] It is quite foggy along the River. Riverside Park is completely under water. No water yet on Washington Ave. The River half of Cucumber Alley is flooded. I will get to other streets a little later this morning. Pictures will be added here at “suns along the Mohawk” throughout the day.

. . Wednesday, 9 AM: above: 9 AM, Washington Ave. entrance to Riverside Park; below: Noon, Cucumber Alley and yard of 4 Cucumber Alley; 1 Cucumber Alley on right . .
GatewayGazebo21Feb . . Gateway Landing Gazebo, noon, Feb. 21. 

MohawkHydro20Feb9PM . . click here, or on this chart to see the latest Mohawk River level reading and hydrologic prediction at Schenectady (Freeman’s Bridge). Flood Stage is 220 ft. . . 

Record warmth on Feb. 20 & 21, with rain, is expected to melt Adirondack snow and significantly raise water levels. The 14-miles of ice cover in Schenectady County’s portion of the Mohawk is an unpredictable factor, and break-up of the floes may cause ice jams with water backing up and over the River banks.

 Feb20-3PM6PM . . Observation/Prediction Updates: At 9:15 pm, Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Mohawk River level was 220.15′. Minor Flood Stage is 220′ at Freeman’s Bridge. The forecast posted today at 7:29 pm shows the River level cresting at 220.70′ about 1 am tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 21; falling below flood stage 1 AM Thursday; and then falling to 217.50′ at 7 PM Friday, Feb. 23. [The River went up about 18 inches from 3 PM to 6 PM at the Riverside Park esplanade.]  Click for a Table showing observations and River level forecasts.

  • Click for WTEN meteorologist Steve Caporizzo’s Twitter page, to get his latest forecasts and insights on flooding in the Region.
  • And, check out the Live Webcam at the Union College Boathouse, for real-time views of the Mohawk near the CSX Trestle and the Stockade

IMG_6356 Earlier update (4:15 PM, Tuesday, Feb. 20):  The water has been rising more quickly than predicted along the Mohawk at Schenectady, and was already at 217.54′ at 3:30 PM today, past the predicted crest for tomorrow. I will keep checking for new River Level Forecasts. Photo to the Right shows Esplanade water gauge at about 3 PM Tuesday (visible for first time since Jan. 13, because the ice floe pile up has melted down). The water level level reads 220′. Although 220′ is Flood Stage at Freeman’s Bridge, flood stage at the  Esplanade (end of No. Ferry) has traditionally been stated as 222 ft. (above sea level, of course).

IMG_6352  [L] view east from Esplanade, 3 PM, Tuesday Feb. 20.

This webposting will be updated frequently to show conditions and predictions.

Here are photos from Sunday evening, February 18, which are still representative of conditions on Tuesday morning, Feb. 20, 2018. Click on a photo for a larger version.


above: view [L] west and [R] east from the Riverside Park esplanade . .

below: view [L] west end of Riverside Park; and [R] end of Cucumber Alley, where the Binnekill enters the Mohawk River

 . . 

  • To see the ice floes at the Park on January 19-20, click here.
  • Click here, to see the original flash-frozen flooding and ice floes on January 13-14.

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