I received the honor earlier this summer to have Jonathan Greene and Dale Willman of Saratoga Wire, Saratoga Springs' new news web site which will be focusing on local news, approach me and ask me to write for their new endeavor. I have been wondering for a few years now what to do with this web site Funsaratoga.com. I have appreciated the positive feedback and incredible number of pageviews, not to mention the Saratogian's best blogger award in 2010, but I knew for the past few years I needed to either bring this blog to the next level, find a partner to create something new, or abandon it and move on.
I hated the idea of abandoning this web site, which I have been operating for almost 6 years. I had other very important professional pursuits ensuring police officers were effectively represented by honest and effective unions (read: my day job), so it made sense to join on with something that required only limited time from me and was aiming for something big. Saratoga Wire is something big, and I am thrilled that they asked me to blog for them.
I will be writing at least once weekly for Saratoga Wire, and you can read my first entry here which will also give you my overview of just what is happening at the Saratogian's first true competitor in several decades.
I am simply not sure what I will do with this blog, which I truly love writing. I will continue this rewarding hobby over at Saratoga Wire, and perhaps I will supplement my work for that site with other entries on my Funsaratoga.com site. Or not. Perhaps I will just soley blog on Saratoga Wire and shut this blog down. Time will tell. Please check on Saratoga Wire regularly for my submissions, give me feedback, and I will try to figure out the future of this blog in the coming weeks. It's all good - Take care folks.
Well the Travers was sure fun, but man Sunday's crowd on a sunny and hot (but not sweltering) day sure seemed very light. In any event I'll stay with the positive and compliment NYRA with a great Travers Day and a historic dead heat.
The biggest rip-off at the track is the "Freshly Squeezed" Lemonade. It's flavored sugar water with a big slice of lemon in it. I miss the old vendor who truly made freshly squeezed lemonade right in front of you.
Last weekend's Arlington Million sure had plenty of Saratoga Jockeys showing up. That was good to see, especially when Ramon Dominguez took the big prize. Damn he had a good eight days there - winning two million dollar races plus many more in between.
The peaches at the Farmers Market sure are delicious. I don't even remember what vendor I bought them off of, but they sure remind me of this Seinfeld seen: http://youtu.be/P-sfk3PGQDg (embedding was disabled but that will link it).
It's still sad to see the empty Borders, Beverly's, Grey Gelding - not to mention most of South Broadway (especially the diner). On the other hand, the Bonacios new cinema excites me.
I want to go to Saratoga Polo - but it's tough to go to the races all day and then want to go see polo in the evening. Too much of a good thing.
At one point when I wasn't looking the "Toga Tattlers" went from four to three. Did I miss some drama?
Again when I wasn't looking NYRA changed the 17-minute bell to the 16-minute bell. C'mon NYRA I can't take the volatility!
What happened to Alan Garcia? Just a couple of years ago he was winning NYRA meets and riding horses in Triple Crown Races - and winning the Belmont Stakes aboard Da' Tara in 2008. In this year's Saratoga meet he has nine wins on 69 mounts - which places him at 13th on the list.
I think NYRA is way off base charging $100 for the New Owners luncheon. Charge them $20, fill up the room and dare everybody to dream, and consider it a loss-leader for the good of not just NYRA but the whole industry. I think you'd get a lot more potential owners that way.
Can we come up with an ordinance that says there will be no Halloween items out for sale until after Labor Day?
Speaking of local laws, the 4am bar closing time issue seems to be quiet lately. But now that I said that there will be three articles on it this week.
OK folks that's it for now. I will be writing something later in the week - perhaps with some news about the future of this blog. Have a great week!
Heeere's Johnny Track season! And here's what I'm thinking near the eve of the 144th meet of the Saratoga Race Course:
If you love Saratoga a fraction as much as I do, then give a hand to John Morrissey, whose vision a century and a half ago to make Saratoga Springs a horse racing center (OK, a horse racing and gambling center) really made the Spa City what it is today, and ultimately saved us from becoming another Amsterdam, Utica etc. Without John Morrissey (and William R. Travers, John R. Hunter, and Leonard Jerome) we likely would not have a track season in Saratoga. If you don't know who John Morrissey is, then I'll link a Wikipedia entry on him here. That entry doesn't do him justice - and he wasn't all good - but he sure was a thinker and a doer, not to mention a great boxer.
The Saratoga Race Course meet may be starting on July 20th, but NBC's TV coverage of Saratoga won't start until three weeks into the season, on August 11th when the NBC Sports Network broadcasts the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap. That's a big difference from last year, when NBC was covering races starting on July 23rd. Tell me again why Time-Warner doesn't carry HRTV?
Virgin Alexander, the movie filmed in and around Saratoga Springs, gets released on Amazon today, and presumably will also be available on Netflix as well. Margarita and I saw it last year at the Spectrum, and you can read my review that I wrote about the movie here. I'll also post a video of the trailer below - note that the opening scene is Gardiner's Alley behind Uncommon Grounds above Putnam Den.
Damn they did a nice job on the Route 9P bridge over the Northway. It looks clean and modern - not to mention roomy enough for bicyclists and pedestrians.
If you were wondering what happened to Jamie Munks, who recently left the Saratogian, she is now writing for the Post-Star, which I believe is where she originally was working. She wrote this article this week about the upcoming track season.
Here's a Forbes article about Philanthropy in Saratoga Springs. Don't worry, I didn't read it either.
So is Siro's Restaurant ever going to acknowledge on their web site that their original restaurant, you know, the one that's been around since World War 2, is located in Saratoga Springs - and not Manhattan? Other than the music calendar and some historical references, you'd never know there is a Siro's in upstate NY. Ditto Siro's Facebook page, which is all about Manhattan - just three days before track season.
Speaking of NYC, a reader alerted me to this New York Times article about Genting's Aqueduct Casino, which of course affects NYRA and therefore Saratoga directly.
It's summertime, summertime, sum sum-summertime, summertime, summertime, sum sum...you get the idea. Here's one Saratogian's thoughts a third of the way through July:
Damn can you believe track season starts at the end of next week? I'm excited, albeit a bit concerned with how summer is flying by. I took this pic below off of NYRA's Facebook page.
I hate to see SPAC reduce the NYC Ballet's residency here to just one week. I enjoy going, and I enjoy the fact that our city is about more than just horses. The Saratogian had a good editorial on that important issue here.
Elizabeth's Table has its outdoor patio set up. I stopped in with my father-in-law on Saturday for a great lunch.
It seems like the Great American Grill restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn is actually trying to be a....restaurant. I keep seeing signs out there advertising breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I think I saw some advertising in the Saratogian. It just doesn't feel like a dining place that can get traction from much other than the hotel's guests.
I guess it was pretty obvious that the Post-Star had given up on reporting Saratoga Springs news when they let Tom Dimopoulos go. If there were any lingering doubts, they were erased when I noticed that the Saratoga Snippets blog is no more. It only made sense, since Dimopoulos left there was no one left to keep it updated.
The Firecracker 4 was certainly a success this year. Both Margarita and I, not to mention my sister-in-law and father-in-law, ran it. Looking forward to the Silks and Satins.
It's blueberry season at the Saratoga Farmers' Market. Don't forget the market is also open from 3-6pm on Wednesdays. Also don't forget you can take the Saratoga Springs Food Tour at 12:30 from the Saturday market - damn I keep forgetting about that.
Saratoga Springs Supervisor Matt Veitch was quoted in yesterday's Times Union about his appreciation for the Louden Trail, in Wilton, just outside the city limits. It was a nice article that asked "three long-time Saratogians about their favorite Summertime Pursuits", but I can't find a link. The piece also included answers to that question from City Center President Mark Baker and Hatties Owner Beth Alexander (who incidentally did not list the Race Course Carousel as one of her favorite Spa City places). In any event the article prodded Margarita and I to trek out to the country, strap on the high-end hiking gear (old running shoes and cotton shorts), spray on liberal doses of bug spray, and go on a long journey to find the Louden Trail. The reality is that it was about 10 minutes away off the BJ's parking lot, but what a great little trail it was. We enjoyed our 1 mile hike through the woods - where it was hard to believe that there was a shopping mall just hundreds of yards away. It's a nice little gem and Matt Veitch should be proud of his accomplishment in getting that trail built. If you haven't checked it out it's worth going to.
Margarita and I also made hopped on the Congress Park Carousel. No matter how old you are you should take a few rides per summer on the historic carousel, which is so perfectly situated in the park off of Springs Street.
Margarita and I also stopped out to the Ice House Saturday night and danced a little to Garland Nelson and Soul Session. That's a great band and! The Ice House used to seem so obnoxious to me (read: crowded) but that place is starting to grow on me.