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. One was a medic who went borrowed a gun and went into save other men. 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.)
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.
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.
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.
But 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.
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.
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.
But 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.
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.
The fossilized sea life and shells were pretty nifty. I still love a curvaceous wentletrap or a nautilus.
Every time I visited, there seemed to be something new.. or something I’d missed. I first fell in love with
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.
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.
The Billiard Ball factory was in my neighborhood when I was growing up. It was located on Delaware Ave. just south of Whitehall Rd. There’s a strip mall today. It was a fixture of my childhood, belching smoke (God only knows what was in it.)
John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1920) was the inventor of the celluloid billiard ball. Celluloid, besides being the base of photographic film, was a substitute for ivory, long the prime substance in billiard ball manufacture. The Hyatt “composition” ball, with a celluloid base, dominated the sport until the 1960s.
It went out of business in the mid 1980’s.
Early Photo of Factory
Women inspecting and packing billiard balls in the 1930’s.
The Colonie Summer Theater was THE place for summer entertainment in the Albany area in the 1960’s. It went by many names over the years: the Colonie Musical Theater, the Colonie Summer Theater, the Colonie Colosseum, and the Starlite Theater, but to locals, it was always “The Tent”. It was the place many baby boomer kids saw their first theater production or professional musical act. It was theater in the round .. there was a sense of intimacy. When it opened, there were only about 2,000 seats. It was summer theater at its best.
Some nights it was hot and steamy and still, but there always seemed to be a slight breeze blowing through the flaps of the brightly striped orange and green iconic tent. Other nights, the excitement of the show vied for attention with the crashing and booming of thunder and flashes of lightning.
My family went to the Tent at least 3 or 4 times each summer. The memory of the sights and smells of The Tent are right up there with Coppertone, swimming pool chlorine and orange Popsicles when I think of summer.
I was raised in a family with a love for theater, especially musical theater.My brother and I were weaned on Rogers and Hammerstein LPs and gorgeous Technicolor movie musicals. But nothing prepared me for the my first real musical theater at The Tent. It was thrilling and exciting,,, there was a sense of immediacy that was wonderful. The actors and actresses entered down the aisles… right next to where you were sitting. In that small venue, it was almost like they were performing just for me. The sound of the pit band was bright and clear.
The Tent was started by Eddie Rich, a New York City producer, in 1958. He created a venue that brought headliners and somewhat past their prime headliners from all over, and from all aspects of show business; actors, singers, dancers, musicians. The first production was Damn Yankees. We went. I remember being gob smacked, and wandering around the neighborhood for at least a week singing “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets, and little man, Lola wants you” at the t0p of my lungs, anywhere and everywhere.
My most vivid memory is a performance of Brigadoon, the Lerner ad Lowe musical about a small village in Scotland that appears magically, once every 100 years, and then vanishes again. There is a chase scene in Act II. When it began in the Tent… the performers used very inch of the theater, running up and down the aisles; we became part of the performance. It was if there was no distance between us.. we, the entire audience and the actors were one. For an 11 year old, it was one of the most thrilling experiences, something only avilable in such an intimate setting.
Rich died in 1968, but the theater continued. Joe Futia took over operations and built a new, permanent structure in 1969 that replaced the old tent, but it was still theater in the round. Even in the new building.. the farthest seat was just over 50″ from the stage. The actual “theater’ events became fewer over time,- but I recall seeing Gypsy and The Solid Gold Cadillac with Martha Raye in the 1970s. Futia was terrific at booking the hottest bands and comedians of the time, at the peak of their celebrity.. Blood, Sweat and Tears, Eddie Murphy, Iron Butterfly in one night gigs, but there were also Las Vegas style acts, like Wayne Newton, Tom Jones and Jerry Vale, with week-long runs.
In the late 1970s, a revolving stage was constructed. The acts started to change – a lot of country/western; there were boxing matches. There were no more week-long productions. I think the headliners were getting ‘bigger” and didn’t want to play a smaller venue.
And then abruptly in the late 1980’s The Tent closed its doors.. mid-season. The operators at the time canceled all remaining shows – leaving angry ticket holders. It re-opened for the 1988 season.. under the aegis of Northeast Concerts. The first act was a double bill – Three Dog Night and America. The Tent was now the Starlite Theater.
But the next decade was a struggle – there were several owners and it never managed to become financially feasible again. The halcyon years of the 1960’s and even the 1970’s were gone. The baby boomers were occupied elsewhere.. with children and mortgages, and there were other options fro summer entertainment throughout the Capital Region and the Berkshires.
The last season was 1997; the Starlite never re-opened. It fell in to sad disrepair and was finally demolished in November 2012.
Notices and memorablia from some of the Tent performances: 1958- 1971.