Wellington Hotel Annex, demolished, 23, August 2014

Koffeefrkeleven's Blog

I brought the new-to-me Kodak digital camera downtown today around 9 am to shoot some pictures as The Wellington Annex was demolished. The city must have thought that people were there to celebrate because they set off fireworks:

derp. derp.

 

I wasn’t there to celebrate the demolishing of the Wellington to make way for a convention center. Like many in Albany, I went downtown more with sorrow for all the historic buildings Albany has lost over the years –many of which live on in my personal collection of photos. Since at least 2003, I have been taking photos of abandoned and neglected Albany properties with a cobbled-together collection of cheap digital point-and-shoots, and 35mm film SLRs I find at garage sales. 

When I first moved to Albany, The Wellington Hotel was still standing, and preservationists were actively trying to save the building. The main building on State Street was (at…

View original post 360 more words

Advertisements

The Boys of Albany. Not Just Names on the Vietnam Wall

There are 37 names on the Vietnam Wall from Albany, NY.

USA Capt. Thomas J. Bergin, 30, 3/14/64
USAF Maj. Theodore R. Loeschner, Jr., 37, 4/24/65
USMC Pfc. Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz, 21, 4/26/66
USA Spec 4 Keith Knott, 19, 5/9/66
USA Pfc. Robert G. Burrell, 19, 8/2/66
USA Pfc. Arthur J. McNally, 23, 10/17/66
USMC Lance Corp. William F. Ditoro, 22, 1/7/67
USA Spec 4 Richard J. Mosley, 20, 1/27/67
USA Spec 4 Donald J. Sheehy, 20, 5/5/67
USMC Lance Cpl. Rich Rockenstyre, 18, 8/31/67
USMC Capt. William M. Van Antwerp, Jr. 30, 9/16/67
USA Pfc. Frank Maleca, 20, 10/13/67
USA Spec 4 Ralph J. DiPace, 20, 10/21/67
USA Spec 4 Gerald H. Slingerland, 10/26/67 (a day after his 19th birthday)
USA Spec. 4 Robert J. Winters, 22, 11/9/67
USA Spec. 4, Edward A. Finlay, 19, 12/6/67
USA Corp. Willam M. Seabast, 22, 1/31/68
USMC GY Sgt. Anthony N. Valente, 38, 2/27/68
USMC Cpl. Bertram A. Deso, 20, 3/1/68
USMC Lance Cpl. Michael G. DeMarco, 21, 4/11/68
USMC Corp. John J. Vennard, 34, 4/17/68
USA Staff Sgt, Robert J. Smith, 22, 4/18/68
USMC Pfc John C. Fiffe, 18, 5/8/68
USN, Fireman, Joseph S. Ott, 20, 7/14/68
USMC Pfc. Kevin J. McArdle, 18, 8/18/68
USMC Maj. Harold S. Lonergan, 39, 2/23/69
USA Spec 5 Christopher Brow, 23, 2/26/69
USMC Lance Cpl. Richard J. Leahy, 22, 3/6/69
USMC Pfc. 1st class, Clifford G. LaBombard, 19, 4/15/69
USA Spec 5 Charles Chandler, 20, 4/18/69
USMC Pfc. John W Gladney, 19, 7/4/69
USA, Spec 4, Thomas K. Ryan, 18, 8/2/69
USA 1st Lt. Stanley A. Brown, 23, 11/1/69
USA Spec 4 Lewis C. Ouellette, 19, 4/13/70
USA Corp. Samuel W. Williams, 21, 7/26/70
USA Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Nye, 25, 11/28/71
USN Lt. Ralph P. Dupont, Jr., 24, 5/16/72
USMC Lance Cpl. Ashton N. Loney, 5/15/75

They came from all neighborhoods – Pine Hills, Arbor Hill, North Albany, West Hill,  New Scotland and the South End. They lived on  Myrtle Ave, Livingston Ave.,  Clinton Ave., Second Ave., Emmett St., Madison Ave.,  First St., Washington Ave., Lark  Dr., Magnolia Terrace, Hunter Ave.,  So. Main Ave. and Ontario St.

A very small number were college graduates.  Most had just completed high school when they joined the service – they were graduates of Albany High, Philip Schuyler, Milne, Cardinal McCloskey, and VI.

Most were impossibly young… 18, 19, 20. (There is an old Bellamy Boys lyric, “..they sent him off to Vietnam on his senior trip”.)

Some enlisted, some were drafted and, and in the time honored Albany tradition, several had brushes with the law and Albany’s justice system offered them the “choice” – jail or the Army.

Their deaths span 11 years.  The first to be killed was an Army captain “observer” who died in 1964.  One was an MP  who died defending the US Embassy during the Tet offensive of 1968.  Most died  in the harsh and unforgiving provinces of Vietnam during the War’s brutal years of 1967 -1969. The last one to die  was a Marine killed  in the Mayaguez “Incident” by the  Khmer Rouge in 1975. His body was never recovered.   He was not even a US citizen (he was from Trinidad, but his mom lived on Lark Drive).  His name, as well as the others killed in the “Incident”, are the last names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

An astonishing number died within their first 4 months in Vietnam. Johnny Gladney, who was a year ahead of me in Jr. High and High School,  was killed after being in Vietnam less than a month – on the 4th of July.

During  the 10 months of my junior year in high school, 15 boys died.  This is Smalbany, so you always knew the boy, or you knew his sisters/brothers  or  his cousins, or a friend of a friend.

The City moved on, but underneath, people felt a sadness and then  they went numb – just like the rest of the country. The killing seemed inexorable.  There was no way to stop it – it went on and on and on.

They are more than names.. each one has a story.  One was a long distance runner who could fly like the wind.  One was an avid reader; he won a Boy’s Club prize for  reading the most books when he was  11. Another was fascinated by flying, so he became a helicopter pilot. Some were quiet and reserved, some were outgoing and  boisterous.

8  boys were from the same class in Albany High and all members of the same Hi-Y club,  They all enlisted  in the Marine Corps.  The bond between 2 of the boys was so strong, that after the death of one, the other, sensing his own imminent death, begged to be buried next to his buddy when his time came.  They rest together in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery – one Catholic and one Protestant.  A third boy from that same group died a year later.  ( See Semper Fi – In life and Death for the store of Rich and Mike.)

Here are pictures of some of the boys/men.

Christopher Brow
Christopher Brow
Ashton Loney
Richard Rockenstyre
Richard Rockenstyre
Bertram Deso
Bertram Deso

Vietnam sheehy1967 Grayscale - 4777veitnam OTT 1968 - 7093

Theodore Loeschner
Theodore Loeschner
Lewis Ouellette
Lewis Ouellette
Clifford LaBombard
Clifford LaBombard
Michael DeMarco
Michael DeMarco
Donald Sheehy
Donald Sheehy
Edward Findley
Edward Finlay
Gerald Slingerland
Gerald Slingerland
Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz
Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz
Harold Lonergan
Harold Lonergan
John Fiffe
John Fiffe
John Gladney
John Gladney
Keith Knott
Keith Knott
Richard Mosley
Richard Mosley
Ralph DiPace
Ralph DiPace
Robert Smith
Robert Smith
Stanley Brown
Stanley Brown

RIP Pat Rocco Albany Chef and Artist Extraodinaire

Yesterday (2/24/14), Albany lost a legend – Pat (Pasquale) Rocco, chef extraordinaire and all around mensch.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 Pat started out with a small restaurant on upper New Scotland Ave. 

zzzzzzzzzz
1950s

Pat  then went on to become  the Executive Chef at the legendary Ambassador Rstaurant – first on State St. and then on Elk St. when it was forced to move by  South Mall demolition.  

ambassador 3

rocco

After  the Ambassador closed, he  served as executive chef to Governors Carey and Cuomo.  Chef Rocco was instrumental in the development of the pastry department of the well-known culinary division of  Schenectady County Community College.  Pat subsequently  moved to Las Vegas  and worked his magic there, before returning to Albany.

Pat was perhaps most known for his magnificent  and spectacular sugar creations; extravaganzas of pastillage. Pastillage is  the art of creating decorations and objects from sugar dough, and dates back to perhaps the 16th century.

Pat was the master.  He  exhibited at the International Culinary Food Show in NY, Societé Culinaire Philanthropique, for many years.  In 1972, he won the silver medal in the pastillage category in the World Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany.  His pieces were amazing!

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz 1

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

zzzz

Pat  literally wrote the book, in 1998.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

He was an astonishing talent, in addition to being a much beloved husband and father.  

Pat Rocco Obituary

Albany Business College Albany N.Y.

The Albany Business College was a private, for profit  educational insitution and  was a maintain of the city for over a century.  It was established in 1857  as a subsidiary of Bryant and Stratton in 1857 by C.E. Prentice, John Carnell and Benton Hoit.   In later years it severed its affiliation with Bryant and Stratton and was privately owned.

It was originally located at 51-53 North Pearl St.  In 1889 it moved into a grand building, designed by Edward Ogden at  the corner of North Pearl and Columbia Streets in downtown Albany.  

The College moved  twice more in the 2oth century; first to Washington Ave,. 19 133 and then to Central Ave outside the City limits,  to an old Vallee’s restaurant site in the 1970s.  It closed in 1988, and was purchased by Bryant and Stratton, coming full circle.

ABC, as it as known, was sort of a family tradition. A great grandfather from Cohoes attended in the 1880s, a great uncle graduated in 1890, a great aunt in 1918 and another  uncle in 1956.

9641966130_a6fecaed58_z

9638724663_8361fb7c58_z
c 1915
K91929
C, 1895
9331503378_068c9216ba_z
c. 1910
9328700531_3a6d47d38f_z
c. 1910
9088605404_bb8ea9c568_c
c 1920

9651756814_0561634896_z

9666019467_01f17a979c_z
c. 1905
abcl 1909 - 3221 collge tailor
1909
9331497138_9ab2476f2d_z
c. 1910
9331501198_ab80d9e307_z
c. 1910
1912_Employment_Desk_Albany_Business_College
Employment Desk 1912
9331499280_b02e4dc9ea_z
c 1895

abc 1927 - 6667 1

abc1936 - 3073 1

abc 1967 - 0008

If you are on Facebook, consider joining “Albany.. the way it was.”, a FB Group devoted to memories of Albany, NY.  Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/375351089205442/606197369454145/?notif_t=group_comment

Echoes of Pine Hills/Madison Ave Albany NY

9666020899_6b7a0ba7c3_z
Corner of Madison and Partridge c 1973
Dutch Oven Bakery   1938
Dutch Oven Bakery 1938
9088580024_1f4ee7bf18_z
Lake and Madison c 1920s

9623623504_3340a7061b_z

9106156716_06188be814_z
School 4 Madison and Ontario
9651772886_f490947597
c. 1953
9669334308_a96a6bf94f
Madison looking east near Ontario, Vincentian on right and School 4 on left
9106229380_006f20ae25_c
1950s

9131052374_6796728c55_z

9131892270_91e0ba93d2_c

9103845763_0fa7991efe_z
Steamer 10
9082388880_3697323e13_z
1940s
1915
1915
9641884572_4fdfacfe3d_z
1967
9397758474_0d24c4cb9a_z
c. 1955
9080137027_9510053f16_z
early 1950s
9080106999_a6845e21b6_z
Mike Flanagan.. second owner of Petit Paris Restaurant mid 1960s and musician extraordinaire.
The Westerly Apts.. S. Main Ave.  Constructed in the early 1900s
The Westerly Apts.. S. Main Ave. Constructed in the early 1900s
The Betty Schuyler Restaurant
The Betty Schuyler Restaurant 1940s

 

Joe's Maitre'D
Joe’s Maitre’D
9163219352_55a7802594_z
c 1959
Madison between Quail and Ontario, north side c 1973

9617157088_9d4f9be017_z
Service station/Garage corner of W.Lawrence and Madison 1930s

9082306052_00b34ab0f7

Walter's  c. 1958
Walter’s c. 1958

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Old NYS Museum Albany NY

large_2031_ny-1102-StateEducationBldg

The old NYS Museum in the wonderfully iconic State Education Building was a garden of earthly delights. Tens of thousands of  NYS school children visited  the museum during its 60 some odd years, until it closed when the “new” Museum in the Cultural Center in  the Empire State Plaza opened in the 1970s.

9353424451_b4ce44d14f_zBut for the children of Albany, especially the baby boomer kids of  the ’50s and ’60s,  the Museum was special. It was a source of infinite wonder; it was our own very, very  cool playground.   The Museum was on bus lines; it  was located within walking distance of  two ethnically diverse neighborhoods, Arbor Hill and the South End,; both teeming with children.  And it was free.   When kids in Albany sighed, “I’m bored”,  many an Albany mother replied, “Go to the Museum”.  That was  the big deal about the old Museum.. it was kid friendly.

Rotunda NYS Education Building
Rotunda NYS Education Building

The Museum was on the 5th floor; to get there you passed though the grandeur of the State Ed Building.   The exterior of the building is magnificent and imposing with its massive 36  Corinthian column colonnade.  But it’s even more  gorgeous inside.  The scale is part of it; but it’s also a stunning example early 20th century Beaux-Arts architecture. The central rotunda with a barrel vault ceiling and stupendous chandelier are awe-inspiring. It never failed to take my breath away.  Even the rowdiest kids calmed down, lowered their voices and stopped fidgeting,  sensing they were in the presence of something special. 960x540 (1)

When you reached the Museum floor, the first thing  you saw was a replica of the Gilboa prehistoric forest, filled with ancient fossilized tree stumps and  wonder of wonders, a waterfall.  I don’t know about other kids, but for me, it was so peaceful, it was the equivalent of a Zen garden.

Picture-23-600x364But then the fun began.  The old  Museum was really a museum of natural history. Just up the street was the Albany Institute of History and Art. It had an excellent collection of old Dutch paintings, china, furniture and artifacts, and 2 Egyptian mummies!  But other than the mummies, the Institute held little attraction for most of us kids.  So when I think about the old Museum,  it’s impossible not to think of the movie, Night at The Museum.

Where you went next depended on your mood.. did you want to go visit the Iroquois Indian diorama exhibits?  I remember the first time I saw them; I swear it was if the pages of a National Geographic had come alive. There were Native American artifacts… huge pots and best of all, arrow points and arrowheads. Arrowheads were part of our Akbany childhood. Between digging in back yards and playing in the residential, commercial and public constructions sites that dotted the city for 2 decades, kids were always finding, them.  They were a staple of school “show and tell”.  But the Museum placed them in context.. you  understood that cool thing you found dated back thousands of years.  And then you looked back at the Iroquois exhibits and began to have a better understanding of the people who used them.

$(KGrHqFHJFQFEMbLcnqJBRDtyM8oBg~~60_3

$(KGrHqIOKo8FGKL,7oYzBRpNumh7ZQ~~60_57

$(KGrHqJ,!qQFG(HjmMsgBRqOGfLKew~~60_57

$T2eC16ZHJGkFFm9)Lmo-BRyiF-nsmg~~60_3

$T2eC16ZHJIIE9qTYLS8qBRpOcrkpRQ~~60_1

9080006067_9a432d8955_c

9177894907_a331d186bb_z

9180101472_076113ba00_z

You could visit the huge Cohoes mastodon; one of three on display. or maybe a stroll through the  taxidermy  animal collection (which I found sort of creepy.)  The paleontology collection was amazing.. rows upon row of cabinets of miilion year old fossils,  There were botany and biology exhibits; beautiful illustrations of the birds, flora and flowers we saw in our yards and park, and those funky mushrooms we saw growing in the woods.

mastdon

9292027374_4fb5b04c13_z

9289246569_1b0a832e58_z

The fossilized sea life and shells were pretty nifty. I  still love a curvaceous wentletrap or a nautilus.

wnetletrap

NautilusCutawayLogarithmicSpiral

G-11366Every time I visited, there seemed to be something new.. or something I’d missed. I first fell in love with

Pyrite
Pyrite

sedimentary rocks; fascinated by the layers and strata in limestone and shale.  But there were so many choices.. the sparkling Herkimer Diamond, the “man made diamond”, iridescent quartz of all hues, meteorites, minerals and rocks that shimmered like gold or looked like coral.

The was a tall (maybe 4′)  pillar of rock salt that showed the tongue depressions of decades of New York school children who had licked it.  And we licked it too, just like our parents and aunts and uncles had done before, (I always called it Lot’s Wife.)

There was a bunch of rocks that glowed in the dark in a small room.  Recently someone said that the State Museum was the perfect “group date” for young teen kids in Albany.  You could go into the little dark nook and steal a first kiss.  The Museum had it all.

9568027590_90ca0d2434_z

9574218020_005752fd68_z

A friend’s father was the building superintendent of the State Ed Building; I’m still jealous.

If you are on Facebook,  you might want to join the  Facebook Group, “Albany …the way  it was”, to share  your memories of Albany, NY with others. Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/375351089205442/606197369454145/?notif_t=group_comment

The Altamont Fair – Albany Agricultural Society

The first Fair was sponsored by the Albany Agricultural Society in 1813.

From then until 1892, fairs were held in Albany and other surrounding towns, including Bethlehem Center and Slingerlands.

The Altamont Driving Park and Fair Association was incorporated on May 20, 1893. The Board of Directors voted to establish a grandstand (which would be the first permanent structure on the fairgrounds) and also instructed him to draw up plans for a front gate.

Within a month the Board of Directors also approved the purchase 24.5 acres of land in Altamont originally owned by George Severson now held in trust by Isaac Reamer to be known as the “Altamont Fair Grounds.” This is the site of the present fairgrounds.

The first fair to be held at the Altamont location was from September 12 through 15, 1893. Admission was 25 cents for adults, and the net receipts for the four days was $884.13. A racetrack was built in front of the Grandstand, and horse racing was held at the first fair and continued at the Altamont Fair until the mid 1990’s.

In 1896 the Board of Directors appointed a committee to travel to the Cobleskill Fairgrounds to obtain plans and cost estimates of duplicating Cobleskill’s two story Fair Building to be used at Altamont for the “exhibition of Domestic, Manufacture Art and Fancy Work and Fruits and Vegetables.” On August 26, 1896 the Board examined the completed Exhibition Hall and voted to approve and accept the structure, which thy felt had been built with “superior workmanship.” This building is now known as the Flower & Fine Arts a Building and has recently been named to the State and National Register of Historic Sites.

In 1897, the Altamont Driving Park and Fair Association changed its name to the Albany County Agricultural Society and Exposition. Over the next 20 years, more property was acquired and more buildings were constructed, including the Poultry Building in 1899  and a Ladies’ Building (now the Vegetable Building )

In  addition to the the  agricultural, animal  and domestic arts competitions and  exhibitions, the Fair has, through the years, incorporated other attractions. Auto racung was started in 1915 and continued through the 1990s.  Other feature events included wrestling, boxing, a rodeo, a fall out shelter exhibit in the 1960,  dramatic  readings  and plays, an Atlas Missile exhibit in 1962 and, in 1964, a raffle for a house.  Of course, Fair queens have been crowned. Here’s smattering of Fair ads from the 1920’s through the 1960s.

9621781971_810540792b_b
Altamont Fair 1927
9580941378_8cddde0563_o
Altamont Fair 1937
9620580947_9c24dea3ba_c
Altamont fair 1950
9594524021_985df022a5_b
Altamont Fair 1951
9597309832_010178f384_b
Altamont Fair 1959
9580941340_b84cc9b51a_b
Altamont Fair Fallout Shelter Display 1960
9613146916_b59f521bfd_b
Altamont Fair 1962
9621780381_3166a09f86_b
Altamont Fair Home Giveaway 1964
9594523985_921ef3f4ce_z
Altamont Fair 1965
altamont1968 - 8105
Miss Altamont Fair 1968

 

If you are on Facebook,  you might want to join the  Facebook Group, “Albany …the way  it was”, to share  your memories of Albany, NY with others. Here’s the link.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/375351089205442/606197369454145/?notif_t=group_comment