Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bustling City Life in Downtown

I rarely ever have the opportunity to spend time in the city during weekday working hours. I currently work outside the city, I leave home around 6:30am and return around 4:30pm. I miss out on the flurry of day-to-day city life. Last Friday, I took off from work for a little R&R with my wife, Melissa. Before we headed out for the day I had an appointment downtown in the AM. The amount of traffic and activity I found myself immersed in was incredible. People coming and going from the restaurants, office buildings, the post office.... Now, I've lived in Troy my entire life and have been apart of the downtown hustle and bustle before, but it had been awhile. For the most part my exposure to downtown Troy is nights, weekends, and special City sponsored events. The atmosphere is completely different between working hours and non-working hours. That morning there was an energy that can't be felt during off hours. Troy was alive. Store fronts were lite and the doors were open, people coming and going. Then I thought, "where do these people go between the hours of 4:30pm and 7am?" Are they all day zombies and at night they fade into the building walls? All joking aside, what will it take to have the streets busy with activity off-hours and on the weekends?

The City and Mayor Tutunjian deserve a great deal of credit for doing a great job of promoting the city and having the many municipal festivals we hold year round. Now, due to previous successes, we are experiencing major infrastructure improvements which include outside investment and private development. With the addition of Dinosaur BBQ and the revival of the Congress/Ferry Street corridor, new and unique attractions will soon be opening that include a much in demand movie theater and retail. Additionally, all the "little" projects such as the new street signals and improvements to the sidewalk corners improve the look, feel, and safety of downtown and bigger projects such as the redevelopment of Riverfront Park and the old city hall site will all add a certain something that has been missing over the recent years. Put all these projects together, with those downtown development projects that have been previously completed, and you have something special that will draw people to Troy and give them something to do, and will draw future developers and businesses because they will see that Troy is a city on the move and is a great place to live, work, and play.

Downtown has many positive things happening in and around it. It is our economic center and home to city, county, and some state governmental offices, but it also now has the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District to serve as its stewards moving into the future. A more consistent, busy city life will return, how much of it, I don't know, but for all of Troy to be successful we need a successful downtown. We are an urban city and our downtown is where the majority of our commerce will happen (tax dollars generated). Now that downtown has been stabilized and is growing positively now the attention needs to be heavily focused on our residential neighborhoods, especially areas in Lansingburgh, South Troy, and sections of Albia, and Sycaway. This will be the focus of my next blog... Neighborhood Rebirth.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Count Down Has Begun!

We are less than one month away from the 35th Annual Uncle Sam Parade and Celebration... However the festivities are set to get underway next Saturday August 21st with the Miss Uncle Sam Pageant.

This is the last call for entrants for the Miss Uncle Sam Pageant. Alta Reynolds, director of the Uncle Sam Pageant, is now accepting applications from young ladies from Rensselaer County. The pageant will be held on Saturday, August 21, 10:00am, and conducted in St. Augustine's Hall located on the corner of 114th Street and 4th Avenue in Lansingburgh.

For brochures and more information please write to: Uncle Sam Pageant, Alta Reynolds, 8 Bank Street, Troy, NY 12180 or call Alta at 274-7294. Don't miss out on being named to the Miss Uncle Sam Court during this milestone 35th Anniversary Year!

This year's parade will feature a number of new bands and participants and there is a rumor that the US Air Force may make a quick but special appearance to mark this very special year. A fun time is guaranteed for all.

The following is a list of events leading up to and including the 35th Parade:

1. Uncle Sam Jam and Power in the Park Car Show
at Powers Park on Saturday August 28 from 2:00pm to 8:00pm

2. Annual Uncle Sam Grave Side Ceremony conducted by the Veterans of Lansingburgh.

at Oakwood Cemetery Saturday September 11th beginning at 10am

3. Annual Citizen of the Year Brunch conducted by the Uncle Sam Parade Committee
at the Veterans of Lansingburgh Saturday September 11th following the Grave Side Ceremony. For tickets call me, Jim Gordon, at 365-2270.

This year we honor John Murphy the owner of Snowman ice cream of Lansingburgh as our Citizen of the Year. We will honor our Grand Marshal Mayor Harry J Tutunjian and our Humanitarian of the Year David Hamilton.

4. 35th Annual Uncle Sam Parade
5th Avenue from 125th to 106th Streets in Lansingburgh. Parade marches rain or shine.

5. Uncle Sam Celebration
at Kinickerbacker Park, live music featuring THE HOLLIES, BADFINGER, & BILLY J KRAMER and THE DAKOTAS with Blue Hand Luke in one of their final shows together and Donny "Elvis", an international food court, rides and games for the kids, and FIREWORKS! Beings at the conclusion of the parade.

Finally on a Side Note: The Parade Committee is currently conducting a ticket raffle. For a $100 chance you have the opportunity of winning a grand prize of $10,000 or one of our eight other prizes that range from $1,000 to $250.... Only 250 tickets will be sold.... if your interested or would like more information please email me at All proceeds will benefit the 2010 Parade and Celebration.

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Night Out

Tomorrow residents across the city will be out celebrating National Night Out (NNO). NNO is an annual celebration sponsored and created by the National Association of Town Watch and designed for community members to get out into their community and show a since of unity and create a heightened awareness for crime and drug prevention ; generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

The North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch is one of the many neighborhood goups that will be celebrating the event in their community. Specifically, the NLNW will be gathering at the 112th Street Gateway Park that they were instrumental in the development of. The group work with Mayor Tutunjian to design and then build the riverfront park. While the park is currently waiting for phase two of construction the group plans to meet and do some minor park maintenance and landscaping while enjoying a bar-b-que cookout.

Additionally, the group is pleased to once again welcome Pastor Willie Bacote and the Missing Link Street Ministry. Last year the group "marched against violence" from the Harry Dahl Firehouse at 115th Street and Fifth Avenue and ended in Powers Park with a cookout.

The group is asking for plant donations to be added to the plant beds. We are also asking that you bring a friend with you. Lets use this informal setting as an opportunity to "recruit" new members for our group. Strength is in the numbers when it comes to neighborhood watch's. The more people we have scanning the street and reporting activity the greatly increase our opportunity for success.

If your free and would like to stop by our or any other groups NNO celebration, please do. For an outline of the evening events citywide, click here.