Yesterday (2/24/14), Albany lost a legend – Pat (Pasquale) Rocco, chef extraordinaire and all around mensch.
Pat started out with a small restaurant on upper New Scotland Ave.
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.
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!
Pat literally wrote the book, in 1998.
He was an astonishing talent, in addition to being a much beloved husband and father.
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.
In the early 1800’s Albany’s open air public market was located at the intersection of State and Market Street (now Broadway).
Over time the market are moved north, as real estate in the City center became more costly. By the early 1880s it was held once a week and located at the top of the State St. hill, just below Eagle St. and the State Capitol.
By the late 1880’s it was re- located near the base of the Madison Ave . In the early 1890s, over some opposition who wanted located closer to the Hudson River and railroad lines, it was relocated to the Lyons Block. This was a large open area below the Lyon’s Printing Company Building. It was bounded by Grand, Hudson, Beaver and Daniel Streets. In the early 1930’s, there was again sentiment to move the market farther south,closer to the River. Those efforts were unsuccessful, and in the mid 1930’s the market was enlarged, through the demolition of buildings on Philip and Grand Streets. The market remained in that location for about 30 years. However, the Lyons Building was demolished in early 1964 to make way for construction of the Empire State Plaza, and the land around it appropriated for the same purpose.
I think my last visit to the Market was in 1963, when I went with my grandfather to buy flats of petunia to plant for my grandmother for Mother’s Day. I was about 12, and had no idea I would never see it again.
Here’s a reminiscence by Charlie Mooney, a columnist for the Albany Knickerbocker News, about the old Public Market.
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.
Marker Identifying site of factory.