Page 1

Your secret Google searches pg.69

Is Troy the new Brooklyn? pg.41


The bathroom, your cellphone and you. pg.35 AUGUST 2014

The Capital Region

BY THE NUMBERS pg.24 Compliled by Katie Pratt, Janet Reynolds & Brianna Snyder

bite-sized lessons Too hot to cook tonight? Hot summer days call for easy meals that don’t require much effort in the kitchen or turning on the stove. Try this tasty chilled soup for dinner. It’s packed with flavor – plus a hefty serving of vegetables.

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Marianne Romano, MPA, RD, CDN Colonie Hannaford 96 Wolf Rd. Marianne is available: Tuesdays, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Patty Wukitsch, MS, RD, CDN Delmar Hannaford 180 Delaware Ave. Patty is available: Mondays & Fridays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Select Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

2. Process 1 cup of mixture in blender until smooth; pour back into soup and stir. 3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Recipe adapted from Nutritional Information: Serving Size, 1 serving: Calories 100, Calories from Fat 50, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Trans Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Total Carbs 11 g, Dietary Fiber 3 g, Sugars 6 g, Protein 2 g

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Janet Reynolds Executive Editor Brianna Snyder Associate Editor Katie Pratt Editorial Intern

Contributing Writers

Kristi Barlette, Steve Barnes, Chris Churchill, Laurie Lynn Fischer, Jennifer Gish, Alistair Highet, Tyler Murphy, Akum Norder, Katie Pratt


Tony Pallone Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn Designers Dave Jacobs Design Intern

Contributing Photographers


Sun Damage Treatment


Vincent Giordano, Alistair Highet, Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Tyler Murphy, Tony Pallone


Kurt Vantosky Sr. Vice President, Sales & Marketing Kathleen Hallion Vice President, Advertising Tom Eason Manager, Display Advertising Michael-Anne Piccolo Retail Sales Manager Jeff Kiley Magazine Advertising Manager


Todd Peterson Vice President, Circulation Dan Denault Home Delivery Manager


Nick Gagliardo Chief Financial Officer



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518Life is published monthly. If you are interested in receiving home delivery of 518Life magazine, please call (518) 454-5768 or e-mail For advertising information, please call (518) 454-5358. 518Life is published by Capital Newspapers and Times Union 645 Albany Shaker Rd., Albany, NY 12212 518.454.5694 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2014 by Capital Newspapers. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher. Capital Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.

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10 12

What’s Online Editor’s Note

Up Front 14 18 22 74

Trending Where & When In Other Words FYI with Heather Horwedel

Features 46 51

35 41 8     518 LIFE

A Waterford home gets a unique update

Clean Sweep What you need to know about chimney care before the season’s first fire


On the Hillside


The Great Outdoors


Drinking in San Sebastian


The Lovin’ Spoonful

Who are we? What do we believe in? How do we get to work? How many parks are in our towns? A comprehensive breakdown.


Learning the Lunge

Smartphone Smarts


pg. 41


Our House

By the Numbers

Our survey suggests Cap Region residents need to put down those phones

Under Construction Is Troy the new Brooklyn?

The Troy boom is happening.

Don’t let the landscape stop you from planting a gorgeous garden Dining al fresco abounds in the Capital Region Txakolina, and other whites from Spain What your sleeping pattern says about your relationship With Lori Whelan

Secret Searches We asked doctors your embarrassing questions

On the Cover Cover design by Emily Jahn

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ONLINE Check out the after photo on

pg. 46

On the Edge blog.timesunion. com/ontheedge What we’re talking about in the 518.

YouTube TimesUnionMagazines Watch our video supplements to this issue’s stories!

Twitter @518LifeMag The best tweets this side of the Hudson. (Either side, really.)

On the Hillside

Old and New

See more photos of this vertical garden masterpiece on pg. 54 and (even more) online.

Freddy Ramirez and Sean Carter restore a childhood home. See more befores and afters online!


Facebook 518Life Pictures and events and videos and more!

On your Smartphone m.timesunion. com/518life Flip through our online extras from your cell phone!

Spotify spotify518 Land that Lunge

Smartphone Smarties

We’ve got tips for you lungers on pg. 67, and a video tutorial on our website.

Sex or cellphones? See what you said on pg. 35. And get the full survey results online.

10     518 LIFE

Ring out summer with our awesome playlist




Children whose sleep was affected by breathing problems like snoring, mouth breathing or apnea were 40%-100% more likely than normal breathers to develop behavioral problems resembling A.D.H.D. —The Journal Pediatrics, April 2012

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Editor’s Note

I’ll Take Two, Please


y colleagues have always thought I was crazy for having two smartphones: one for work and one for the rest of my life. Why, they said, would I want that hassle? Part of the choice stemmed from a basic paranoia that has since been proven correct (take that, ye who mocked me!): If you use your smartphone for work, i.e. have your work email on your personal smartphone, the company has the right to see what else is on there. That would be as in all your fun Facebook posts and family photos, not to mention your Pinterest faves and your personal Twitter account. Thanks but no thanks. But my other reason for wanting the two to

be separate is that I actually do turn work off occasionally. It is not only OK to disconnect from the office; it is essential to both my wellbeing and my job performance. I am a better employee if I take the occasional break. Not many employees agree with me, according to our survey about cell phone use. Nearly 70 percent of respondents answer emails and texts during vacations. I would be in the 30 percent. You can discover more of our smartphone foibles on page 35. Send me an email and let me know your thoughts. I’ll respond after my vacation.


Three things you’ll learn in this issue: 1.Twenty-five percent of us would rather give up sex than our smartphones.  2. A woodstove chimney can reach a temperature of 1,000 degrees.  3. Forty-nine percent of us sleep on our sides.


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By the Books

“Vaping” Marijuana

Wondering where the Capital Region shows up in literature? Here are a few references we found.

It seems as if legalizing medical marijuana in New York state was a long time coming. But last month Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally signed a bill allowing people suffering from chronic and debilitating conditions such as epilepsy and cancer to get access to pot. Patients won’t be rolling joints, though; they’ll be taking pills, consuming plant oils, or most interestingly, “vaporizing” the drug. Under the law, smoking marijuana, even for medical reasons, remains illegal, restricting users to joint-less ways of ingesting. Although experts say that vaporizing cannabis is probably healthier and less irritating to the lungs than smoking it, researchers know far less about the longterm effects of “vaping” in comparison to smoking the plant. “We don’t have the same safety data for extracts as we do for the flower,” the part of the plant most often smoked, says Mitch Earleywine, a psychologist and marijuana researcher at the University at Albany in New York. While it seems to be an obvious health move given that burning marijuana produces hundreds of cancercausing compounds, the physiological effects of “vaping” could differ from typical inhalation. In a study on the benefits of vaporizing marijuana conducted by Dr. John Malouff, a researcher at the University of New England in Australia, many users reported that “vaping” made the drug feel much more potent, and some even think it could increase withdrawal effects.

1. Daisy Miller, the title character of the 1878 novella by Henry James, hails from Schenectady. Daisy’s little brother, Randolph, explains, “’My father ain’t in Europe; my father’s in a better place than Europe…my father’s in Schenectady. He’s got a big business. My father’s rich, you bet.” 2. Francis Phelan, the alcoholic protagonist of local author William Kennedy’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Ironweed, left his family and hometown of Albany after accidentally killing his infant son while he may have been drunk. 3. The Garrahans — featured in MacArthur (“Genius”) Grant recipient Alice Fulton’s debut novel The Nightingales of Troy — are a resilient Irish Catholic family living in — obviously — Troy. The 10 short stories chronicle their family history throughout the decades of the 20th century. „  Snoop Dogg Double G series microG Herbal vaporizer

4. Syracuse author Stephen Dobyns began his multibook detective series in 1976 with Saratoga Longshot. The star is ex-cop, stable guard and Saratoga gumshoe Charlie Bradshaw.

5. Adorned with mechanical appendages, Doctor Octopus, a Marvel Comics supervillain who becomes one of Spiderman’s greatest foes, was born in Schenectady. (See tinyurl. com/litcharacters518)


Summertime Rock

Here at 518Life we’re always on the lookout for new music. So this month we made a Spotify playlist to chronicle some of our favorite summertime tunes. Here are a few from our 518Life End of Summer playlist. Check out the rest on Spotify. And let us know a few of your faves on Facebook.

“Lazaretto”  Jack White “Summertime”  The Skins “So Blonde”  EMA “Waking Light”  Beck “Blue Collar Jane”  The Strypes

Who Wants a Cookie? Dessert lovers you’re in luck. The Cookie Factory, currently located at 520 Congress Street in Troy, is expanding, according to the Albany Business Review. Owned by brothers Chris and Joe Alberino, the factory will have some new additions by the end of the summer with a new bakery at 4161 River St. in Troy and another 1,300 square foot store in Loudonville next to the Price Chopper — part of a recently secured deal with the supermarket chain in which the factory’s cookies are shipped to the warehouse in Rotterdam and then distributed to more than 100 stores. Sweet deal!

14     518 LIFE

Music illustration: 13spoon/GettyImages. Photos: Vaping, courtesy Ariel Zambelich/Wired magazine; Cookie Factory, Paul Buckowski/Times Union archives.


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Fear-monger Factor

ast month, the Times Union reported that three Rotterdam Highway Department employees were struck by lightning during a violent storm. Thankfully, they were not seriously hurt. So we got to worrying: What are our chances of being struck by lightning? Do most people live when they’re struck by lightning? How do you even avoid being struck by lightning? The answers are: better than you think (1 in 3,000!); yes (only 10 percent die); and: stay inside. No, seriously. When it’s thundering out, get thee to a sheltered area, wrap yourself in wet fleece and crawl under your bed to wait out the storm. The National Weather Service uses this handy-dandy slogan: “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Also: stay indoors for 30 to 45 minutes after the thunder subsides. And you don’t really need to wrap yourself in wet fleece. … Probably.

Veg Heads Rejoice!

restaurant people don’t order when they go out

The general formula for restaurant pricing is 33 percent, meaning the menu price of a dish should be three times the cost of the ingredients, for a markup of 300 percent. To offset loss leaders like steak and luxury seafood dishes, on which restaurants typically break even or lose money, they charge disproportionately more for other fare. The items below typically are marked up 500 to more than 1,000 percent.


· Summer Squash · Brussels Sprouts Sweet Corn · Tomatoes · Carrots Cabbage · String Beans Snap Peas · Zucchini

Appetizers like bruschetta and nachos. Even if the portion is big, the cost is a pittance.


Transportation Committee is paying just under $50,000 to the Buffalobased organization to station 25 bicycles throughout the 518’s metropolitan areas. While riders will be required to

register and leave credit card information before using a bicycle, the service is free of charge. “This is only a trial, so we’re not charging anything,” Michael Franchini, the executive director of the CDTC, told the Times Union. “We’re just trying to offer the public more transportation options.” Participants will be asked to complete a short survey after their ride to determine how the Capital Region takes to public bikes. Keep your eyes out for the free wheels during August in Saratoga Springs and Albany (Troy and Schenectady’s trials took place in July).

Mussels. The markup on these is often more than 750 percent.

2 Green salads. A bowl of lettuce and vegetables costs you seven to eight times what the restaurant pays for the ingredients.

1 Nonalcoholic beverages. $2.50 soda or cup of coffee or tea typically costs the restaurant 5 cents to 20 cents. — Steve Barnes

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Photos: Lightning strike, Philip Kamrass/Times Union archives; Veggie baskey, YinYang/GettyImages; Bicycles, Will Waldron/Times Union archives.



The Capital Region is about to get a taste of bike-sharing, courtesy of Buffalo Bike Share. The Capital District


Pasta. Unless it’s loaded with expensive seafood, you’re getting ripped off.

It’s easy to get your local veggie hit in August when, according to GrowNYC, a nonprofit Greenmarket based in the Big Apple, nearly 30 vegetables locally grown in New York State are ripe for the eating. Here are 10 to get you started:

Summertime Cycling


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Bend This

Here at 518Life we’re always game to watch people contort themselves into backbonebending positions. So we perked up about Cirque Éloize’s return to the Proctors mainstage for two weeks, performing the international hit, iD. This Quebec-based, contemporary circus troupe will inspire some serious flexion envy to the backdrop of a vibrant, futuristic city. Add acrobats, break dancers and contortionists and let’s call it a pretty good party.

Shop This

You just got out of your movie at the Spectrum, and you want to kill some time on Delaware Ave. Pop into the small, but stylish Fort Orange General Store, nestled between Tierra Coffee roasters and the New World Bistro Bar. Newly opened by friends Caroline Corrigan and Katy Smith, the shop is carefully curated with an emphasis on the artistic and handmade — beautiful home goods, stationery, accessories, kitchen items, natural beauty products and so much more line the minimalist walls and tables. FORT ORANGE GENERAL STORE, 296 Delaware Ave., Albany, 18     518 LIFE

Eat This

Meals on wheels anyone? The annual Food Truck Showcase of Upstate New York rolls into town on August 26 at the Saratoga Eagles Club. This event features some of the Capital Region’s best food trucks, meaning you’ll get to gorge on everything from smoky BBQ sliders to spicy mini tacos. The event is kid friendly and free, but doesn’t scrimp on the adult amusement: There’s beer, wine and live music all night. FOOD TRUCK SHOWCASE, August 26, 5-9 p.m., Saratoga Eagles Club, Saratoga, event/72905

Photos: Cirque, valeria_petrini/Flickr; Circque logo, Tadson Bussey/Flickr; Fort Orange General Store, John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives; Food truck, Paul Barrett.

CIRQUE ÉLOIZE iD, August 1-3 and 8-10, Proctors, Schenectady,

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Get Brave at This

What do Bernice Johnson Reagan, Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean, Ani DiFranco, and Bob Dylan have in common? Besides being some of America’s most loved songwriters (Dylan!), they’ve all played at Caffè Lena. This legendary Saratoga coffee house and music venue (the oldest continuously operating in the U.S) has been a heavy hitter and archivist of the folk scene for over 50 years. In line with its long history of showcasing new artists, the Caffè hosts an open mic night every Thursday featuring intimate music and spoken word performance, including poetry, storytelling and comedy. Acts go on at 7:30. OPEN MIC NIGHT, Caffè Lena, Thursdays, Saratoga Springs,

Gaze at This

Having a hard time seeing the stars from underneath suburban streetlights or city high beams? Make up for the light pollution at the Museum of Science and Innovation’s Planetarium in Schenectady. With shows like Night of the Swan, which explores the summertime constellation Cygnus, cycling roughly every hour until 3 p.m., you can enjoy a high-def look at everything you might miss out on from your backyard. THE PLANETARIUM AT THE SCHENECTADY MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION, Schenectady,

Play This

In 2008, British artist Luke Jerram installed 15 pianos on the streets of Fierce Earth in Birmingham, UK. Over the course of three weeks, roughly 140,000 people played or listened to music from the pianos. Since then “Play Me, I’m Yours” has reached over 6 million people

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worldwide with some 1,200 installations in cities such as Paris, Melbourne, Munich and now Albany! Be on the lookout for 13 street pianos decorated by local artists and community groups in the city’s parks and public spaces. Share your films, photos and stories about the pianos on PLAY ME, I’M YOURS,

Photos: Caffe Luna, John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives; Planetarium, Philip Kamrass/Times Union archives; Piano, Andrew Sober/



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In Other Words


Landing the

AKUM NORDER Akum Norder is an Albany writer.



ow old were your kids the first time you left them home alone while you ran out for a gallon of milk? How about the first time you sent them to the store to pick it up for you? How old should they be to walk themselves over to a friend’s house? To ride their bikes alone to the park? To take a city bus? To borrow the car? My husband and I want to raise children who are confident, savvy, perceptive, able to make decisions, careful but unafraid. We’ve realized, slowly, that in order to do this we’re going to have to let them leave the house. Without us. Deciding how much freedom to give our children depends on the kids, of course: their abilities, their maturity. It depends on the situation. And it depends more than a little on the age-old parenting strategy of “making it up as we go along.” But the first hurdle to jump is our own fear. When the kids were younger, I would allow them to walk to the neighborhood donut shop once in a while to buy a treat. (Rumors of the mom-shaped shadow lurking half a block behind may or may not be true.) Then I discovered I could run up to Price Chopper alone and be back before the house burnt down. Eventually, it occurred to me that our daughter didn’t need an escort to walk to a friend’s house two blocks away. Later, it stretched to four blocks away. How did something so ordinary come to feel so subversive?

22     518 LIFE

This is the part of the story where we all chances to engage with the world. say, “When I was a kid …” And whatever it So she rides a CDTA bus home from middle is we used to do, we probably don’t let our school, which requires her to pay attention to children do it. I was running to the store for my I’m not so sure it’s the world that mother when I was 8. When my husband was has changed. I think it’s us. 7, he’d leave the house on a summer morning and not come back till her surroundings to know when to call for her lunchtime. And we all shake our heads and stop. Not a bad skill to learn. She was nervous say, “We don’t live in that world anymore.” at first — “What if I don’t know when to get But I’m not so sure it’s the world that has off the bus?” “You can handle this,” we told changed. I think it’s us. her. And she discovered we were right. We let her walk by herself or with friends e’re more aware of danger — not be- to some of her extracurriculars, girded with cause there’s more of it, but because it’s parental lectures: When you cross a major better publicized. Living in the age of click- street like Madison or Delaware, wait a few bait media and the 24-hour news cycle stokes seconds after your light changes while people our fears that molesters and abductors lurk finish running the red. And check behind you around every corner. to make sure someone’s not turning into your That’s the subversive part: rejecting the path. I chant these protective incantations at fear that we’re told we’re supposed to feel least once a week. She tries to keep the eyeevery minute of every day. rolling to a minimum. My husband and I believe people are the When we think about the terrible stories same as they’ve always been: preoccupied we read in the news, we want to clutch our with their own lives but mostly well-inten- daughters tight to us, and stand between her tioned. Very few are actually evil. We make and every dark thing, forever. But her dad an active, daily decision not to let our fear of and I know that ultimately that wouldn’t be those few people control our lives. good for her. Or for us. It’s not always easy. OK, it’s never easy. So we send her to pick up Indian takeout Our older child is entering her restless or go to the movies with a friend. And when years: Sometimes she asks to go out for a she texts me from the bus, “Can I stop by the walk around the block, just to take in a lung- library with Cici before I come home?” I take ful of universe. I remember that feeling. She’s a breath, and I text back: “Yes. Be careful.” a conscientious kid, and we try to give her And I practice letting go.






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Restaurants per capita. Saratoga Springs is tied with San Francisco!


Schenectady’s General Electric plant has the zip code 12345.



Troy’s Kate Mullaney organized the first all-female union.


1851 - The auger bit Invented

Caffè Lena in Saratoga is the oldest continually operating coffee house in the country.

11 Counties


Sam Wilson, a meatpacker from Troy whose caricature Uncle Sam came to personify the Unite States, is buried at Troy’s Oakwood Cemetery.

Albany is also known as the Cradle of the Union



Schenectady is featured in Dr. Seuss’s “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.”


ACRES - Siz Empire Plaz

Compiled by Katie Pratt, Janet Reynolds & Brianna Snyder

Albany is the oldes continuou settlemen in the original 1 English colonies.

Infographics by Emily Jahn

Emma Willard started the first female school for higher education


umbers start mattering the minute we leave our mother’s womb. How much do we weigh? How long are we? What was our Apgar score? In recounting the birth, a mother might talk about her hours of labor, what time her contractions started, how much weight she gained. And so the tally of our lives begins. From heights and weights to incomes and expenses, we measure and compare ourselves day in and day out.

67 farmers markets

24     518 LIFE

Numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course. With each event our story expands. Numbers may remain the nucleus — the nouns and verbs if you will — but the story grows increasingly complex with the rich adverbs and adjectives that become our experiences. We decided to look at what the Capital Region looks like if we strip away the nuances and just look at the numbers. It’s not the complete story, of course, but we hope it’s a tale you find interesting. „

Find all sources at Icons by lushik/GettyImages.

ps lead to the Capitol’s western ntrance, onoring he year 1777

length (in miles) of the New York State Thruway

The oldest pulpit in America, which was carved in Holland in 1656, can be found at the Dutch First Reformed Church in Alban

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WHO WE ARE Population by county | 2013 Census Albany




pop. 306,945

pop. 223,865

pop. 159,918

pop. 155,333

5.2% Under 5 years

19% Under 18 years

14.9% 65 years and over

61.1% Between 18-64 years

58.1% Between 18-64 years

21.4% Under 18 years

15.3% 65 years and over

50.6% Female

51.7% Female

5.4% Under 5 years

59.4% Between 18-64 years


0.4% Other 2.5% Two or more races 5.5% Asian alone 5.5% Hispanic or Latino 13.5% Black/ African American

91.7% White alone

0.8% Other 3.4% Two or more races 4.3% Asian alone 6.4% Hispanic or Latino 11.1% Black/ African American

84.8% White alone

76.1% White alone

ny is th lba



26     518 LIFE


0.3% Other 2.3% Two or more races 2.3% Asian alone 4.3% Hispanic or Latino 7.2% Black/ African American

56.7% Between 18-64 years 51.4% Female

49.6% Male

Here are the most commonly reported ancestries in the Capital Region. Russian 2.1%

most gay-friendly city in America Los Angeles is


Madison, Wisconsin is


Other 13.4%

Dutch 2.9%

Irish 24.2%

American 3.5% French 5.7% Polish 6.6%

Italian 17.0% English 8.4%

We’re Above Average



74.5% White alone

15.4% 65 years and over

We’re not from here Rensselaer

1.8% Other 1.7% Black/ African American 2.3% Asian alone 2.8% Hispanic or Latino

14.8% 65 years and over

22.1% Under 18 years

49.5% Male

Diversity by county | 2013 Census Albany

20.4% Under 18 years

50.5% Female 49.4% Male

48.3% Male

5.8% Under 5 years

The United States IQ average worldwide is ranked at #24 with an average IQ of 98.

German 16.2%

The following US States have an average IQ rating of: 104.3: Massachusetts (#1) 100.7: New York (#26) 94.2: Mississippi (#50)

Find all sources at Icons by lushik/GettyImages.

5% Under 5 years

What we name our babies

What we love

(in NYS, 2013)


Which is your preferred spirit?

Girls 1. Sophia

2. Michael

2. Isabella

3. Ethan

3. Emma

4. Liam

4. Olivia

5. Jayden

5. Mia


farms in Saratoga County


It’s summer. You’re driving. The windows are down. You are blaring … NPR, cranked Classical 1% to 11 Eclectic Jazz 1% 6% Indie rock 10%

Yankees!!! 52%

farms in Schenectady County

Hip-hop 12%

The football jersey I wear is one belonging to …

the markets as Portland, Oregon

… places that are included on lists of America’s top 10, 20 or 50 cities for food culture and dining, which Albany never is.


We declare our faith but … Schenectady







Jewish 6%

Methodist 4%

say they are religious

say they are religious

Jewish 5% Other 26%

Methodist 9%

Jewish 1.1%

say they are religious

Methodist 13%

Jewish 3.4%

Other 20% Other 21%

Catholic 74%

Catholic 69%

Catholic 71%

Star Wars! 61%

... we’re not particularly religious

of Americans say they are religious

Albany say they are religious

Star Trek! 39%

A different team that I hate you for not listing. 44%

the Giants, duh 35%

’90s! 21%

Pick one cult-fav sci-fi franchise:

the Jets! 9%


Classic rock 37%

’80s! 12%

None of those. I march to the beat of a different baseball team. 17%

The cities of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady are home to at least 30 farmers markets. The 11-county Greater Capital Region boasts 67 markets and a population of 1.16 million, or one market per 17,000 people. The ratio gives our region (per capita):

Other 20%

Rum 21%

Mets!! 16%

farms in Albany County

the markets as San Francisco

Pepsi! 28%

Red Sox!!! 15%

farms in Rensselaer County (which just edges out …)

I don’t drink that stuff! 30%

Coke! 26%

Which baseball team do you cheer for?

… and their markets!


Vodka 36%

Whisky/ Whiskey/ Scotch 20%

There are …


Dr Pepper. Obviously. 16%

Tequila 12%

We like farmers! …


The best soda is …

Gin 11%

1. Jacob


(based on polls taken on On the Edge)

Catholic 66%

Considered themselves “very religious” 17%

Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont


Santa Rosa-Pealuma, California


Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York


Buffalo-Niagra Falls, New York


Charleston, West Virginia


Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia


Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama


Provo-Orem, Utah 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     27


Capital Region



Which counties are healthiest






These rankings are based on lots of factors that can affect health, a handful of which are represented on these two pages. All measurements are by county.


Least Healthy

#BR6ON2X Social Economic Factors Albany Saratoga Rensselaer


(Adults with a body mass index greater than or equal to 30)

27% Schenectady

Physical inactivity (The percent of the adult population that did not participate in any physical activity or exercise in the last month.)









Access to exercise options (The percent of the population that lives close to locations for physical activity, including parks or recreational facilities.)









28     518 LIFE

Unemployment 7.0% Saratoga




Schenectady Rensselaer

Education Albany Schenectady Saratoga


High School Graduation*





Some College





*(rate of graduation within 4 years)

Children In Poverty In Single Parent House













Find all sources at Icons by lushik/GettyImages.

Diet and Exercise Adult obesity


Health Outcomes


Ranking out of 62 counties SARATOGA

Quality of life

#15of life Length SCHENECTADY

(How people feel overall — physically, mentally)


(Premature death, before the age of 75)



#8 BEST!






#10 #31 ALBANY

#1 #18NASSAU











#62 BRON









EnvironmentalSCHENECTADY Factors Air pollution





(The average daily measure of fine particulate matter in micrograms per cubic meter)


10.9 Rensselaer



Saratoga Albany


#62 Clinical Care BRONX

#10 ALBANY Drinking-water violations (Percent of the Albany population getting Schenectady 0% drinking water from public water systems with at Rensselaer least one healthBRONX 9% Saratoga based violation)





Tobacco, Drug & Alcohol Use

Uninsured 9% Albany 8% Saratoga






11% Schenectady

10% Rensselaer

Ratio of general population to doctors

Primary Care Physicians


Mental Health Providers

1,069:1 - Albany

1,322:1 - Albany

444:1 - Albany

1,292:1 - Saratoga

1,365:1 - Schenectady

700:1 - Schenectady

1,348:1 - Schenectady

1,700:1 - Saratoga

887:1 - Saratoga

1,898:1 - Rensselaer

2,511:1 - Rensselaer

1,017:1 - Rensselaer

Adult smokers (Current smokers who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime)

16% Saratoga 17% Albany 18% Schenectady 19% Rensselaer

Excess drinking (The percent of adults that report either frequently drinking a lot at one time or frequently having more than one drink a day)

22% Rensselaer 20% Saratoga 19% Albany 15% Schenectady

Alcohol-impaired driving deaths (Percent of driving deaths where alcohol was a factor)









County Health Rankings & Roadmaps | A Robert Wood Johnson Program 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     29

HOW WE LIVE Education

High school graduate or higher

of people 25+ 2008-2012 Census

Bachelor’s degree or higher No High School or College Degree



Arts & Entertainment

of the Household 2008-2012 Census

(based on figures gathered at press time)

Albany County

High School Graduation Rate Best: North Colonie 92.4%


$59,359 Tax Burden $3,692

Worst: Albany 53.8%

Albany County



Colleges and Universities

303 Full Service Restaurants 31

Galleries and Museums


Performing Arts Venues

21 Parks

27.9% High School Graduation Rate Best: Averill Park 94.2%


$58,959 Tax Burden $3,826

Worst: Troy 71.8%

Rensselaer County

Rensselaer County


Colleges and Universities


Full Service Restaurants


Galleries and Museums


Performing Arts Venues

25 Parks

High School Graduation Rate Best: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 94.9%


$67,712 Tax Burden $3,528

Worst: Corinth 65.8%


Colleges and Universities

195 Full Service Restaurants 36

Galleries and Museums


Performing Arts Venues

17 Parks


High School Graduation Rate Best: Duanesburg 96.1%


30     518 LIFE

Worst: Schenectady 64.5%

$56,445 Tax Burden $4,075

Schenectady County

Schenectady County


Colleges and Universities


Full Service Restaurants


Galleries and Museums


Performing Arts Venues

15 Parks

Find all sources at Icons by lushik/GettyImages.


Saratoga County

Saratoga County

We’re pot-friendly Did you know that in 2011 Albany was ranked the seventh most potfriendly city in America by the Daily Beast? The rankings were based on arrest and usage data compiled from federal statistics as well as an assessment of “local pot culture.”


#1 Tallahassee, Florida

#12 Providence, Rhode Island

Albany, New York

#3 Portland, Oregon

Commuting by county

#8 Manhattan, New York

#28 Buffalo, New York

#33 Newburgh, New York

#22 Ithaca, New York

The cost of living here ...

Mean travel time to work

Albany metro





Home price

20 minutes

22.6 minutes

Apartment Rent





22.3 minutes

25.2 minutes




Peaches (1 lb)






Hamburger (1 lb)


Rensselaer 28%


Lipitor (30-day) Gas




Buying power

3.8% Worked at home

$3.69 $205.85



ALB’s average fare



National average fare


88.2% Drove a Car, Truck or van

by county | from 2007 census

Retail Sales per Capita

Total Retail Sales

Accommodation & Food Services Sales

Homeownership Rate (’08-’12)





















3.7% Walked

0.9% Rode at taxicab, motorcycle, other

$3.35 $156.58

Albany International Airport ranked in the nation for highest average domestic roundtrip airfare among the top 100 busiest airports during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to numbers recently released by the federal government.


We love to drive

3.2% Took public transportation

#40 Jacksonville, Florida

... and leaving here


30+ min drive to work

#36 Syracuse, New York

0.3% Rode a Bicycle

When we leave for work 1.7%

of people leave for work between 12am - 4:59am


of people leave for work between 7am - 7:59am


of people leave for work between 5am - 5:59am

8.6% of people leave for work between 8am - 8:59am


of people leave for work between 6am - 6:59am

26.1% of people leave for work between 9am - 11:59pm

Geography quick facts

by county from 2010 Census





Land area in square miles





Persons per square mile







Stuff – important and otherwise – that was invented here Who’s got more patents? New York is

Early 1800s - The Potato Chip Fed up with a customer complaint that his french fries were “too thick,” George Crum, head chef of Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs apparently decided to get even by slicing potatoes super thin, frying them to a crisp and overloading them with salt. Though Crum meant this as a culinary insult, the customer loved it and Saratoga Chips (later potato chips) were born.

1827 - The Detachable Shirt Collar

California is

#2 in the nation with

253,443 total patents

In 2000 NYS granted In 2013 NYS granted

#1 with 576,836 patents (more than twice as many)

6,086 patents 8,489 patents

2008 - airbnb

Hannah Lord Montague of Troy came up with the idea in the early 19th century after she got tired of washing her husband’s shirts just because the collar was dirty.

1840 - Machine-Made Railroad Spikes And Horseshoes Invented by Henry Burden in South Troy created a machine that produced a million horseshoes a week for the Union Army during the Civil War.

The popular website for booking rooms, apartments and houses around the world was co-founded by Niskayuna native Brian Chesky in 2008.

1983 - Bruegger’s Founded by Nord Brue and Mike Dressell in 1983 as a bakery in Troy.

1932 - Preshrinking Cotton Fabrics

Ransom Cook of Saratoga was apparently inspired by observing the jaws of a beetle through a microscope. He is also credited with inventing the art of stenciling.

1855 - Power Knitting Loom

Early 1900s - Sound Machines & Knitting Machine Invented by Henry Miller of Waterford, Saratoga County’s most prolific inventor with over 100 patents.

Timothy Bailey of Ballston Spa.

1894 - The Club Sandwich

1856 - Upright Rotary Knitting Machine Clark Tompkins of Cohoes.

1867 - Celluloid In 1867, Albany resident John Wesley Hyatt, developed celluloid, the first commercial plastic. It was patented in 1870.

1871 - Perforated Toilet Paper! Seth Wheeler of Albany invented perforated toilet paper in 1871. In 1889 he patented the idea to have it wrapped around a tube. His company, Albany Perforated Wrapping Company, was founded in 1878.

1893 - The Ferris Wheel Invented by George Ferris, a graduate of RPI class of 1881. The ride opened to the public in 1893.

1888 - Ironing Machine Thomas Wiles of Albany.

1885 - Refrigerated Casket

1882 - Winding Bobbin Machine George Campbell of Cohoes.

„ 32     518 LIFE

The most popular theory is that the sandwich first appeared in 1894 at the famous Saratoga Club House, an exclusive, gentlemen-only gambling house in Saratoga Springs. Originally called Morrissey’s Club House, the elite spot allowed neither women nor locals in the gambling rooms.

The casket invented by Ebenezer Holmes from Saratoga was used to preserve the body of General Ulysses S. Grant when he died on Mt McGregor in 1885.

Photos: Bruegger’s and Saratoga Chips, Wiill Waldron/Times Union archives; Ferris wheel, Wikipedia; Patent illustrations, Google Patents.

Invented by Sanford Cluett of Troy.

1851 - The Auger Bit „

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Smartphone Smarts

Our survey suggests we have a bit of a smartphone problem. BY JENNIFER GISH


Your Smartphone and You A Times Union WorkLife/518Life online survey of 548 readers showed we’re right on track with the way most of America uses them. Among the findings:

47 percent have the phone at their bedside table. Forty-one percent of them do it because only phone in the house; 69 percent because it’s their alarm clock and 44 percent so they can check email in the middle of the night. Nationally, 54 percent check phones while in bed, either before they go to sleep, after they wake up or in the middle of the night, according to a study by Lookout Mobile Security, a smartphone and tablet security company.

For the complete survey results, go

to or see the WorkLife section of the TU on July 29.

36     518 LIFE

25 percent would rather go without sex than their smartphone. Not the majority, but a sizeable chunk of the population that would rather do without the human touch than their touchscreen. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 people nationwide said they’ve used their phone during sex, according to a 2013 survey conducted by pollsters Harris Interactive. Curiously, only 12 percent of those who make their iPhone the third leg in a threesome, said it gets in the way of their relationship.

53 percent use their smartphones in the bathroom. Nationally, the Lookout survey says 40 percent use their phones from the toilet, and we suspect Capital Region folks are just more truthful about it.

69 percent answer work emails/texts during vacation. 56 percent don’t feel guilty about using their smartphone in front of their kids. And national numbers show that parents of children under 18 show a higher than average usage of smartphones for mapping/navigation, social media, finding restaurants, watching videos and purchasing goods and services.

A national survey by TeamViewer, a company that provides remote control and online meeting software, showed 67 percent of vacationers say they expect to use a device for work-related purposes and 40 percent of those said their smartphone was the device of choice.


e know by now that the smartphone isn’t the George Foreman Grill. They aren’t the item in every home that will be part of everyone’s garage sale in 10 years. They’ve changed us, all 56 percent of us American adults who own smartphones (a total of 91 percent own some kind of cellphone, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey). They’ve changed how we talk to each other, how we wake up, how we listen to music, and the way we drive. They’ve enabled workaholics, turned others into them and left us constantly connected, whether to an office or our 13-year-old son who is texting for yet-another ride. There’s no more being unable to get to the phone — and that’s what the kids call smartphones because it’s the only phone they’ve ever known — because it’s always by your side.

Photos: GettyImages. Background frame, artvea; Icons, lushik.


rian X. Chen, a tech journalist, discusses the pros and cons of this shift in his book Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future — and Locked Us In. He writes: “With the tap of a download button, your iPhone can become a flute, a medical device, a high-definition radio, a guitar tuner, a police radio scanner, and 400,000 other ‘things.’ With the iPhone and the App Store, Apple unlocked what I call the anything-anytimeanywhere future, which has far-reaching implications for everything. If we have accessible data everywhere, then the way we learn in classrooms, treat medicine, fight crime, report the news, and do business are all going to have to transform. ... But there are consequences, such as censorship, digital conformity, and loss of freedom and privacy. Clearly, because it’s impacting every facet of our lives, the future of anything-anytime-anywhere is unavoidable, making this a terrifyingly beautiful and exciting time to live.” The question of whether this is good or bad for society is more philosophical than psychological, and it certainly isn’t black and white, says George Bizer, professor of psychology at Union College in Schenectady. There may never be another bar argument about who won the 1982 World Series because it’s so easy to Google on the spot and declare victory, and we may never stop in a gas station again, helplessly asking for directions to our hotel. But in handing those tasks over to a 5-by-2-inch electronic, we have to acknowledge we’ve lost something. “It’s the question of tradeoff. If you want to delegate those mental capacities to technology, feel free to do so,” Bizer says. “Just realize that you’re dedicating it to them. ... If you want to delegate, that’s great, but you have

to understand that with that comes a lack of ability to do it on your own in the future.” Wondering what that means? Just ask a GPS-raised 22-year-old how to read a road map. “We’re changing,” Bizer says. “GPS usage is beginning to dull our senses of direction. When you start relying on these technologies to replace what used to happen in your brain, the brain stops functioning as well in those areas.” And the research shows that we do lose a bit when we outsource to technology, Bizer says. Much is yet to be known about the impact of the smartphone, which really became popular when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007. But we do know from other studies that technology isn’t always the savior we thought. Bizer says a study of laptop use in the classroom for note-taking showed less long-term retention of the information than when students took notes by hand.

“We hear a ding, we look. We have to put that thought in our mind: Not right now.” But it also makes life easier. Take, for instance, he says, that he can deposit checks with a smartphone or tablet without having to go to the bank. There are no lollipops at the teller window for his young son anymore, but his son loves to help him with the task, and the boy is learning about finance in the process. As much as texting is sometimes vilified as the reason an entire generation will be unable to hold eye contact and face-to-face conversations, it also opens up a path to communicate for those with social anxiety or developmental disorders that make social interactions challenging (such as autism spectrum disorder). Video call applications such as FaceTime also can help decrease isolation for the elderly population, says Claudia Lingertat-Putnam, associate professor of counseling and the Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership chair at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. She sometimes asks students in her graduate classes to research information on their phones as a way to add to the discussion in real time. And for every time you shake your head seeing a teenager out to eat with his parents, his young eyes locked on a tiny screen, know that often parents say they talk more than ever with their kids because texting makes it easier. (And kids: If your parent was generous

enough to give you a smartphone, just know that they could be tracking your whereabouts with apps such as Life 360 and Securafone. Thank goodness for our adolescence lived in the pre-smartphone era.) “There are definitely people that think [technology] is ruining us, and there are people who are embracing it,” Lingertat-Putnam says. “Being a counselor I’m always looking for balance. … It’s really about individualizing the experience for people and what they need. Do I think that people should be waking up in the middle of the night and interrupting sleep to answer work emails? Probably not. Because we need our sleep, and we need good sleep hygiene.” There have always been workaholics, she says; now it’s just easier for them to constantly be on with smartphones. In the Times Union/518Life survey, 48 percent said they look at their phone hourly and 19 percent check every 10 to 15 minutes. And then there’s the 27 percent that keep their phone by their bedside so they can check email first thing in the morning. Although this seems as if it should be a boon to worker productivity, a study published in 2014 and led by a University of Florida researcher showed late-night smartphone use hurt sleep quality and quantity and left employees more depleted and less engaged at work the next day. “Although smartphones enable us to access work email and files from anywhere and at any time, their late-night use also interferes with our ability to sleep well and to recover from a long day,” wrote Klodiana Lanaj, the assistant professor of management at University of Florida who was the project’s lead author. “Indeed, smartphones backfire in that using them for work at night renders us less engaged in the office the following day.”


growing body of research in psychology is focused on technological addiction, where people don’t know how to hit the Do Not Disturb setting on their iPhone. But even if someone isn’t addicted, there’s the matter of learning to be present in a moment. There’s a middle ground between embracing the technology and refusing to let it override the simple experience of living. In the Times Union/518Life survey, 57 percent said they’ve considered “going dark” from email and social media. But it’s not easy. Already, Lingertat-Putnam says, most of us our trained to check every time we hear our smartphones, so we have to think hard about not giving in to the Pavlovian response. “We hear a ding, we look. We hear a ding, we look,” Lingertat-Putnam says. “We have to kind of put that thought in our mind: Not right now.” 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     37


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Under Construction Is Troy the new Brooklyn?



42     518 LIFE

or so, when Manhattanites, at least, viewed Brooklyn as a post-industrial backwater, while much of the rest of the country associated the borough with crime and the ills that bedeviled urban America. Crooklyn was dangerous, or so the perception went — not as bad as the Bronx, for sure, but not anywhere you’d want to be. Then, everything changed. As Americans rediscovered cities, Brooklyn led the way. Families found Park Slope and its neglected brownstones. Hipsters found Williamsburg’s bleak industrial landscape charming, or at least affordable. Neighborhood after downtrodden neighborhood went upscale. Gentrification was a blessing or an evil, depending, largely, on the size of your wallet. The old, sorry Brooklyn acquired a shine and became the New Brooklyn. The borough was about potential and possibilities and reinvention. It was the place where neighborhoods were reborn, seemingly overnight. It was where a Manhattan family could find a cheap (by New York standards) brownstone, where struggling artists could find reasonable studio space. It was where it was possible to open that wine bar or yoga studio or vegan bakery — with an ever-grow-

ing influx of people willing to support it. So when people say Troy is the new Brooklyn, they’re suggesting the city has potential, just as Brooklyn had. They’re saying Troy is rife with possibilities, a city where you don’t need to a trust fund to open a business, buy a rowhouse, or just generally take a chance on a dream. They’re saying you can almost sniff reinvention in the air. Or maybe they’re just saying that a lot of hipsters seem to be walking around.


o doubt, the transformation taking place in Troy is remarkable. Every day, it seems, brings an announcement of a store opening, a company relocating from Albany or Clifton Park, or a building that’s set to be rehabbed. Downtown sidewalks hum, raising a question: Where are all these people coming from? Long-standing eyesores, such as the old Proctor’s Theater building, vacant since 1979, are being remade. You can barely escape the pounding hammers, the screaming saws — the sounds of rebirth. It’s all this that gives rise to the comparison. Yet Troy is not the only new Brooklyn. A few minutes on Google reveals that Oakland, Philadelphia, Camden, Cleveland,

Photos: “Enjoy Troy” graffiti (opening page), Washington Park brownstones by Tony Pallone.


n some quarters in Troy, it’s repeated like a mantra. Troy is the new Brooklyn. Troy is the new Brooklyn. Troy is the … well, you get the idea. To some of you, the sentence may seem patently ridiculous. It is ridiculous if you take it literally. One city cannot become another. And Troy, a city with just under 50,000 people, can only have so much in common with a sprawling New York borough of 2.6 million — large enough to be the country’s fourthlargest city, if it stood on its own. Yet if you spend enough time in Troy, especially in any of the new restaurants, bars, bakeries and stores that are transforming the city’s downtown, you’ll hear it. Troy is the new Brooklyn. “I hear it every day,” says Vic Christopher, whose Charles L. Lucas Confectionary and Wine Bar is often cited as a leading example of how Troy is like that certain borough. Guess where Christopher was raised? Brooklyn, of course. Marine Park, more specifically, with the accent to prove it. To understand what this Troy-is-thenew-Brooklyn thing is about, you have to know something about Brooklyn and how it changed. You have to go back 20 years

Brownstones along Washington Park.

Want to experience the Brooklyn side of Troy? Check out these restaurants and shops:   Lucas Confectionary 12 Second Street

X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery 97 Fourth Street

Wine bar and eatery owned and operated by Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, with an interior mostly comprising reclaimed materials.

Treats without the animal products. Who needs butter?

The Grocery 211 Broadway

Newly opened craft brewery, with beer served fresh in its taproom.

Christopher and LaVine’s second business. Mostly highend foods, including hard to find meats and cheeses.

Naturally Grown 282B River Street

DeFazio’s Pizzeria 266 Fourth Street

Photos: Lucas Confectionery, Lori Van Buren/Times Union archives; The Placid Baker, John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives; The Brown Bag, Tony Pallone.

A mainstay of Troy’s Little Italy, it’s more old Brooklyn than “new Brooklyn.” Small restaurant with just a few booths. DeFazio’s Imports, a small grocery, is right next door. Carmen’s Café 198 First Street The epitome of a casual neighborhood joint for the South Central neighborhood, except the tapas-style food draws people in from much farther afield.   The Placid Baker 250 Broadway Bakery selling what might be the region’s best baguettes. Great sandwiches and soup, often locally sourced, with hot coffee always at the ready. The Ale House 680 River Street

Rare Form Brewing Co. 90 Congress Street

A boutique selling eco-friendly and often organic items for babies, including cloth-diaper accessories. Troy Cloth & Paper 291 River Street Eco-friendly custom printing shop that sells totes, prints, T-shirts and greeting cards. Good place to pick up art that proclaims love for Troy. Henry Loves Betty 195 River Street Boutique for the pampered pet. Custom-made sweaters (yes, really), treats, toys, etc. River Street Beat Shop 197 River Street Sells large discs called “records.” Apparently you can somehow get music from them. Also sells cassettes, CDs, DVDs and posters. Weathered Wood 13 Second Street

A Troy institution. Good food barstyle food (wings are a specialty), great beer — and live music too.

Art and used furniture store across from the Confectionary where most items are made of, yes, wood. Its items spill out onto the sidewalk on warm days.

  The Brown Bag 156 Fourth Street

Ekologic 1 Fulton Street

The place for a late-night burger, as it’s open until 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Popular with RPI students.

Retail space for clothing design and manufacturing company that creates hand-stitched and sewn items from discarded materials.


Yonkers, Detroit, Louisville, Baltimore, Buffalo, Austin, Harlem and the Bronx have all been described, at one time or another, as the new Brooklyn. The entire Hudson Valley has been compared to Brooklyn — and it isn’t even a city. But Troy’s grip on the claim is bolstered by so much of it looking like Brooklyn. Walk south on Second Street, in the elegant, brownstone-laden neighborhood immediately south of downtown, and you might swear you’d been transported to a quieter version of Cobble Hill. Christopher noticed the similarities immediately when he first drove into the city a decade ago. It was obvious, he says now, that Troy was real — a diverse, sometimes gritty, but endlessly interesting city. A place with street life, where you didn’t necessarily need a car. A place that felt like a piece of a much larger city. “In my mind, Troy is like a neighborhood in Brooklyn,” Christopher says. “It has always felt like home to me.” Christopher’s unconventional


year of the purchase, Christopher and LaVine had opened an upscale food market on the building’s ground floor, next to an existing newsstand, and they plan to open a tavern/restaurant in an adjacent storefront later this year. “It’s about real estate per square foot and buildings that are affordable for people,” Christopher says. “That’s what inspires creativity. People need space to do cool stuff.” The narrative — out-of-towner arrives, can’t believe the prices and decides to stick around — is familiar in Troy. My first two landlords in the city did just that. They came north from New York City looking for the freedom that comes with a more affordable life. There wouldn’t be a need for a new Brooklyn if there weren’t a problem with the existing Brooklyn. Truth is, the borough’s success has made it prohibitively expensive for creativity, or any activity at all short of owning a hedge fund. Consider: When appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real

I think Troy can be the new Troy.

By contrast to 2006 (top), a far more colorful Carmen’s Café graces 1st Street in 2014. 44     518 LIFE

career path in many ways embodies the possibilities available in a city where real estate is cheap. He came north to work for the ValleyCats, Troy’s minor league baseball team, before taking an economic development job with the city. Then, Christopher and his wife, Heather LaVine, bought a Second Street building for $155,000 and painstakingly renovated it — apartments on the upper floors, and they opened their wine bar down below. Let’s pause for a minute to consider what $155,000 would buy in New York. A closet, perhaps? With bedbugs. Flabbergasted New Yorkers may have trouble absorbing this next fact: Christopher and LaVine paid just $80,000 for their second building, a three-story landmark on a downtown block. Sure, the building was a wreck. But still … cheap is cheap. And within a

— Suzanne Spellen

Estate began tracking Brooklyn rents in 2008, the borough’s median rent was $1,100 cheaper than Manhattan’s. Today, the spread is just $300 — and the median Brooklyn rent for a onebedroom apartment is a staggering $2,747. Ouch. “We could never, ever have accomplished in Brooklyn what we’ve done here,” Christopher says. “There’s no way.”


rownstoner, the website, has chronicled every step of the Brooklyn renaissance. It celebrated the new restaurants, the condo conversions, the rehabs — every troubled neighborhood that was ultimately remade. And for years, Suzanne Spellen was one of Brownstoner’s most prominent authors. She still writes for the site — from her home in Troy. Spellen was priced out of the borough after losing her Crown

Photos: Carmen’s Café (2006), Luanne Ferris/Times Union archives; Carmen’s Café (2014), Tony Pallone.

Photos: DeFazio’s, Tony Pallone; Proctor’s, John Carl D’Annibale/Times Union archives.

Heights home to foreclosure. Her experience is a reminder that sweeping gentrification has winners and losers, and that a city’s newcomers sometimes arrive at the expense of existing residents. “The new Brooklyn is people with piles of money,” Spellen says. “It changed so fast.” So will Troy become unaffordable, too? Not anytime soon. The city’s fade was lengthy, and, so far, the revival is primarily a downtown phenomenon. Away from the wine bars and yoga studios, more than 40 percent of the city’s children still live in poverty. Down in South Troy, beyond the renaissance belt, activist Sid Fleisher says he’s seeing little evidence of change, not in a neighborhood still peppered by vacant buildings and overgrown lots. At the very least, a city with a longstanding inferiority complex has acquired new status and confidence. “I have a cousin in

Brooklyn,” says downtown resident Duncan Crary. “For years he would ask me, ‘When are you going to move to Brooklyn?’ — as if I were wasting my life away in Troy. Now, I’m bugging him and asking, ‘When are you going to move to Troy?’” The changes in Troy have led to new comparison that, I swear, has actually been uttered by living human beings: Cohoes is the next Troy. This forward-looking culture of ours doesn’t exactly embrace the moment. We need to know what’s next, before the present has even been settled. But if Troy is the new Brooklyn and Cohoes is the new Troy, wouldn’t that make Cohoes the new Brooklyn? Is Watervliet then the Bronx? But isn’t the Bronx also the new Brooklyn? Maybe these comparisons aren’t such a good idea. “One Brooklyn’s enough,” Spellen says. “I think Troy can be the new Troy.”

Photo captions go here

Exterior of the century-old Proctor’s theater on 4th Street in 2011, before renovations began. 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     45

Our House

… is a very, very, very fine house



nless they’re crashing with their parents, not many people live in the house in which they grew up. But when Sean Carter’s parents put their Waterford house up for sale so they could move to Florida, Carter and his husband, Freddy Ramirez, bought it and now they’ve renovated Carter’s childhood home into their own adulthood home. “They [Carter’s parents] are very happy that we’re making it our own,” Ramirez says. “And this will always be partly their home and they’re always welcome to stay here whenever they need to or want.” The first room the pair tackled was what they now refer to as The Blue Room (they’ve painted it blue). It was also Carter’s room when he was a kid. “When we purchased the home, Sean’s parents still stayed with us for a little bit while they were waiting for their home [in Florida] to be built,” Ramirez says. “So we did that — fixed it up — and moved into that room and continued to work on the rest of the house. Then when [Carter’s parents] got their apartment, we redid the master and moved into the

master bedroom. And from that point on we started room by room, going down. We went to the bathroom, stairs, went to the living room, dining room, and so on.” The first to go was the carpet, which had been covering beautiful hardwood floors. Then they took down the wood paneling, followed by the fluorescent lighting in the kitchen. “I call it Hell Week,” Ramirez says. “It wasn’t just taking the wood paneling down that was the issue. The issue was filling in the holes pulled out of the wall by the glue, sanding it down and then discovering that the dust had traveled everywhere, in every crevice in every part of the room. It managed to get everywhere. We had to clean three times.


At left, Freddy Ramirez sits on the windowseat he spent all night building himself. He did most of the work on the house on his own.

48     518 LIFE

See more photos of the Carter/Ramirez home, including before shots from the renovations, at

My eyes were white with sawdust, all of every inch of me.” Ramirez, a professional dancer and choreographer (a recent project was choreographing Gypsy at Capital Rep), is also a self-taught handyman. “I pulled up all the carpeting, painted, fixed moldings, rewired electrical, put in new light fixtures, a brand new huge window seating bench built from scratch,” he says. “I designed and built it myself.” And, in fact, he was up till 4 a.m. finishing the window seat for our photo shoot the following day. “I’ve always been handy,” he adds. “When I was a kid I used to build model airplanes and stuff. I was always really anal about all the little details. I think it’s carried on to now in my life. I think details are what make it a little more special.” The couple faced the unique challenge of making such a familiar place into a new but still familiar home. Ramirez says the home

when it was owned by Carter’s family was “lovely.” “Coming to visit Sean’s parents, it was their home feel,” he says. Now, they’d like to cultivate their own home feel. “I’m from New York City, so, I don’t know if modern is the word, but it’s definitely a little more sleek and clean-lined.” It’s true: the house is minimally furnished, augmenting the rooms and bringing in lots and lots of natural light. And they left some things intact: The kitchen cabinets are original, with some updates and modifications. Soon, they’ll also update the appliances and add a kitchen island. “When we bought this house we knew that we had to make it our own, still keeping the integrity of the house. And so we decided room by room what needed to happen so it wasn’t an overwhelming task, and with a budget,” Ramirez says. “We always communicate because it’s not my house and it’s not his house; it’s our house.”


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Clean Sweep What you need to know about chimney care before the season’s first fire


Photo: David Papazian/GettyImages.


ight a fire under his backside! In Victorian England, this threat was used to motivate orphan boys who’d been pressed into servitude, says Adam Hanlon, owner of Over the Top Chimney Services, based in Schenectady. “Chimney sweeps were the reason why there are child labor laws,” he says. “It was not at all like Mary Poppins. They were 9 or 10 years old. They would only feed them so much so they’d still fit [in the chimney]. Do you know where the top hat and tails came from? They’d clean the crematorium and take the leftover clothes. My chimney rods take the place of the little kid.” There’s more to chimney safety than just cleaning, though. Everything from the soundness of your masonry to the dryness of the wood you burn can be cause for concern, Hanlon says. Ignore them, and you risk losing life and property.

Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 people perish in fires each year in the United States, according to Guy Swartwout, branch chief in the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. In 2013, Saratoga County reported nine fires that definitely originated in fireplaces or chimneys; Rensselaer County reported two, Schenectady County reported one and Albany County reported none, he says. “The fact that people don’t have working smoke alarms is a contributing cause to injury and death in fire,” he says. “Make sure there’s one at every level and one in every bedroom.” Sometimes, people have a chimney fire without realizing it, says Hanlon. Chimney fires often sound like freight trains, says Gary Menia, owner of United Specialists, Inc., a

Slingerlands-based chimney inspection, restoration and cleaning business. “I have hundreds of customers who have had chimney fires,” he says. “The fireplace starts draw-

The odds of a chimney fire occurring depends on a combination of factors. ing in lots of extra air. You have air getting sucked right in at 200 miles an hour. They tell us during training that a chimney fire can actually lift a 200-pound cast iron wood stove right off the ground.” The odds of a chimney fire occurring depends on a combination of factors, including frequency of use, type and age of the heating system and location of the fireplace, furnace or woodstove, Menia says. For instance, he says, a woodstove chimney — which can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees — is at 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     51

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higher risk of an unwanted fire than a fireplace that has been converted to a gas log system. Chimneys in historic houses sometimes need stainless steel liners, he says. “The older chimneys really are kind of a time bomb,” says Menia. “Chimneys prior to 1910 had no clay liners. Back in the 1800s, the chimneys would actually support the wood framing of old colonial houses. The chimney gets hot enough to transfer the heat through to catch that wood framing on fire. The wood pyrolyzes and will actually go through a phase change where it will ignite at lower and lower temperatures. Basically, repeated exposure turns it to charcoal.” In the 1960s, builders began erecting exterior rather than interior chimneys, Menia says. “Ninety percent of the chimneys built today go up the outside of the house,” he says. “Codes have changed to make chimneys safer. They used to say one inch of air around the flue. At this time, they used terra cotta tiles. Now, the distance has to be a full two inches. With a brand new chimney, if it’s built to today’s codes, you could have a fire every day and never catch the house on fire.”

Photo: Alexander Klemm/GettyImages.


he flue — also referred to as the “throat of the chimney” or “smoke chamber” — is generally the most vulnerable part of a fireplace, woodstove or furnace system, says Hanlon. Three out of five chimneys he inspects have problems, he says. “A lot of issues stem from masonry,” Hanlon says. “It could be missing mortar. Deterioration from not having a cap — that’s a big one. Usually what creates that issue is burning wet wood.” Not having a fireplace cap can also increase the likelihood of masonry damage. While a fireplace is in use, rising heat can melt roof snow, which drips down the chimney, Hanlon explains. Later, the water freezes and expands, creating or enlarging cracks in the masonry, he says. Putting a cap atop your chimney can prevent this scenario, says Hanlon. A cap also deters critters from making your chimney their home. Chimney swifts are migratory swallows that will hatch their young in the same chimney year after year if you let them, says Hanlon. “It can be pretty dangerous healthwise,” he says, due to “droppings and debris.” Hanlon has also removed ducks, snakes and raccoons from chimneys. Covering the opening prevents animals from getting in, he says. Burning green, or unseasoned, wood can also be problematic. When the moisture content is too high, tar accumulates in the chimney, narrowing the opening and blocking heat from escaping, Hanlon says. To avoid this problem, he says logs should ideally dry for at least three years before they’re used as fuel.

Do Your Homework Not just anyone can take care of your chimney needs, our experts say. Be sure to hire someone reputable to inspect, clean or repair your chimney. “Some companies in the area, every single chimney they see they condemn as being unsafe,” Menia says. “There are some companies who are going to red flag everything and say, ‘You’re going to die tomorrow if you burn this fireplace.’ They’re charging

$7,000 and $8,000 for things that don’t need to be done at all. With the typical customer, they put a camera up and find minor voids and things that aren’t perfect. Ninety percent of those are safe if the customer burns four or five times a year. If it’s an airtight woodstove, I would say it’s unsafe.” Hanlon warns about companies that lack insurance or “don’t even go on the roof” during inspections. “Look at Angie’s list,” he suggests. “Go off Internet reviews and the Better Business Bureau.”


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ary Devane’s hillside garden is steep. When walking down the adjacent driveway, you have to lean back on your heels so you don’t go tumbling down the slope. But walking up and through the garden is a different story. Devane added winding pathways between her garden’s many plantings and suddenly every lovely flower and hosta is accessible and easy to get up close to. Devane started her Averill Park garden in 1996, mostly with perennials. Now, you’ll find a mix of plants, most of them shade plants. “This garden revolves around when I get sun,” she says. “I was going for color and texture.” To account for the steepness of the hill, Devane took a “terrace” approach to her paths and rocky steps. “I had a hill so I worked with a hill,” she says. “It’s my heart-healthy hill.” 

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The Great Outdoors BY STEVE BARNES

Photos: Prime, courtesy 677 Prime; Glen Sanders, courtesy Glen Sanders; Maestro’s, Rob Spring Photography.

Dining al fresco abounds in the Capital Region


ometimes an outdoor dining space is a small, added amenity for a restaurant, a few sidewalk tables squeezed in where they fit. And sometimes the restaurant wouldn’t exist without its patio/porch/deck/terrace. “It’s the reason we’re here. I wouldn’t have taken the space without it,” says John LaPosta, chefowner of Maestro’s at the Van Dam in Saratoga Springs.

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When LaPosta opened the first location of Maestro’s in 2006, he began coveting the raised porch that ran along the front of the historic Van Dam Hotel, located a few doors down Broadway. Set back from and higher than the street, it offers a view unique among outdoor dining spaces in the Spa City, and it spurred LaPosta to pester the building’s owner about leasing the first-floor space connected to the porch.

After the financial-services firm that had occupied the first floor closed its office, LaPosta pounced. Maestro’s at the Van Dam, four times larger than the original, opened in 2011. The porch adds 65 seats to the 90 available inside, and such is its appeal that on summer evenings people will wait an hour and a half to sit outside. (Reservations are accepted for the dining room but not the porch.) At the end

Restaurateur David Zecchini carries a tray of basil plants out to the gardens at his DZ Farm in Galway, NY. The 3,200 square-foot garden will supply produce to Zecchini’s restaurants — Chianti Ristorante, Forno Bistro and Boca Bistro in the Spa City, Pasta Pane in Clifton Park. (Photo by John Carl D’Annibale/ Times Union Archives)

of that first year, because temperatures on Dec. 31 were mild, LaPosta served al-fresco New Year’s Eve meals to 75 diners. During most winters since, on the occasion of the first snowfall, LaPosta offers what he calls the Klondike Special — half-price bottles of wine — for anyone who sits outside. Dozens of people, snug in winterwear and nestled beneath patio heaters, always take advantage of the promotion. As demonstrated at Maestro’s, although outdoor seating is associated with warmer weather, many Capital Region residents are willing to stretch the season, and thus restaurants find their outdoor tables occupied from April through October or longer. That’s the case even when the space isn’t especially desirable. The high-end steakhouse Angelo’s 677 Prime, located at the base of Albany office tower, has a classy, big-city feel inside. The patio, in contrast, though covered and made welcoming with tables and couches and a fire pit, faces a parking lot and is in the shadow of a busy highway access ramp. “It’s out there, under the trestle with all those cars going by, but people still love it,” says Angelo Mazzone, owner of 677 Prime’s parent company, the Scotia-based Mazzone Hospitality. Mazzone has the opposite situation at 677 Prime’s northern sibling, Prime at Saratoga National, which boasts a beautiful outdoor space that overlooks the golf course and can host 275 people. During at least three seasons, an estimated 90 percent of people who book wedding receptions and other private parties at Prime at Saratoga National want some sort of outdoor component to their event. Mazzone plans to build a permanent outdoor structure, with a roof and open walls, which should be ready for next spring. At Mazzone’s headquarters, Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, at least

Some al-fresco options: Chianti il Ristorante 18 Division St. Saratoga Springs Forno Bistro 541 Broadway Saratoga Springs Glen Sanders Mansion 1 Glen Ave. Scotia Lucas Confectionery 12 Second St. Troy Maestro’s at the Van Dam 353 Broadway Saratoga Springs The Olde English Pub & Pantry 683 Broadway Albany Prime at Saratoga National 458 Union Ave. Saratoga Springs The Wine Bar and Bistro 200 Lark St. Albany

Outdoor dining hotspots (from top): Prime at Saratoga National, Glen Sanders Mansion and Maestro’s at the Van Dam.


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Photos: Lucas Confectionery, courtesy Lucas Confectionery; Forno Bistro, courtesy DZ Restaurants; Biergarten, Cindy Schultz / Times Union archives.

Outdoor dining hotspots (clockwise from left): Lucas Confectionery, Forno Bistro, and Wolff’s Biergarten during World Cup season

50 percent of wedding groups want to be outdoors for part of their special day. “It can be a hassle — taking the furniture in and out, dealing with the weather if it changes, all the setup — but it’s so very important to people that it’s just a part of doing business,” says Mazzone. “You give people what they want.”


he Lucas Confectionery in Troy added two-thirds more year-round seats when owners Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine installed a retractable glass roof to the wine bar’s rear patio. Customers enjoy watching snowfalls through the glass roof in the winter, and during the summer the patio is home to the wine bar’s weekly Yappy Hour, which attracts dozens of dogs and owners. The space also connects the Lucas Confectionery to the rear of Christopher and LaVine’s other businesses, a gourmet market called The Grocery and The Tavern, a new restaurant due to open in the fall. Both have entrances around the corner, on Broadway, but share a common back area with the wine bar. “It gives us full connectivity with all of our places,” says Christopher. “It’s key to what we’re doing.” On Albany’s Lark Street, at the Wine Bar

and Bistro, owner Kevin Everleth estimates his walled-in back patio adds 15 to 20 percent to his annual revenue. He also considered adding a retractable glass roof to make the space usable year-round but opted not to because he doesn’t own the building and the price tag was an estimated $75,000.


You give people what they want.  — Angelo Mazzone, owner of Mazzone Hospitality

Still, he says, for at least six months of the year, “When people are out there, it’s like they’ve been transported out of Albany. It’s a private, secluded space.” A large outdoor area suitable for patio seating was a key factor in the site selection for the under-development Schenectady location of Wolff’s Biergarten, at 165 Erie Blvd. It is due to open in the fall. “It’s a huge space — at least the size of the building — and that was so important for us,” says Mark Graydon, who is general manager of the original Wolff’s, in Albany’s warehouse district, and co-owner of the Sche-

nectady Wolff’s. (He is also a partner in The Olde English Pub & Pantry, at the historic Quackenbush House, which features a back garden that Graydon says is “the best outdoor space in Albany.”) To further the beer garden’s brand, Wolff’sSchenectady will, like the Albany location, have garage doors across the front and picnic tables inside and out. “That’s really part of our identity,” says Graydon. “People are going to love it.” David Zecchini, whose company, DZ Restaurants, owns four Saratoga County eateries, has made a connection to the outdoors the focus of his latest project, the 65-acre DZ Farm in Galway. The property includes a 2,000-square-foot house, garage with commercial kitchen, fields, woodlands, koi pond, horse barn, walking and hiking trails and a beaver pond. Its 3,200 square-foot garden will supply produce to Zecchini’s restaurants — Chianti Ristorante, Forno Bistro and Boca Bistro in the Spa City, Pasta Pane in Clifton Park — and it will be the site of large outdoor private and public events this summer. “Everybody talks about farm-to-table restaurants,” says Zecchini. “We’re doing the [reverse]: bringing the table to the farm. People will be coming back to the farm to eat.” 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     61

Sporting Wines


Drinking in San Sebastian Txakolina, and other whites from Spain


ext year, the small northern Span- brellas shielding their little darlings from the ish city of San Sebastian will be the sun. Expensive baby-clothes stores were evofficial European Capital of Cul- erywhere. Clearly proudly promenading your ture, but I get the sense that this baby is just what you do in San Sebastian. will entirely fail to impress the inhabitants of That, and eat. It has the highest concentrathis jewel of a municipality — basically a per- tion of Michelin-starred restaurants in the fectly formed conch-shell-shaped beach that world. And this is really where tapas comes opens on to the Bay of Biscay. Culture they from — the Spanish tradition of bite-sized have in abundance. delicacies served on a piece of fresh white This is the Basque country, just a quick bread. Here they are called pintxos. What drive from the French border, and I traveled you do between 8 and 10 in the evening is there on a five-hour journey from Madrid walk in and out of bars, have a pintxo — recently. It was striking to leave the red clay some specialize in octopus, or foie gras, or soil of the heart of Spain and climb into the anchovies, or the acorn-fed ham — and a green hills of the north. The style of build- drink. Then you go to the next one and reings change immediately — flat farmhouses peat. And then you go and have dinner. It’s and dry fields give way to steep green hills not a bad way to live. and the broad square houses of the Basque The wine of the region is called Txakolina region, a defining architecture. At one point, — pronounced Checoleena — and it is a loveour train was greeted by thousands of people ly, and profoundly unusual, wine. The grape holding hands and cheering and waving flags; is Hondarrabi Zuri, which seems to thrive in they stood along the railway tracks for miles. the wet, rocky hills. The result is a very tart It was an astonishing site. I read the follow- white wine, with a taste of sour apples and a ing day that we had witnessed a demonstra- slight fizz. The bartenders pour the wine from tion for those seeking an entirely indepen- shoulder height into flat-bottomed glasses dent Basque nation. As it stands, it is one of to bring out the pop and sizzle. It stands up Spain’s autonomous regions, but the Basque beautifully to anchovies in vinegar and the — who have their own language that bears no char of braised octopus. When I got back to relation to any European language — want to the states, I missed it. I bought a bottle of Aizbe on their own. purua. B Getariako Txakolina ($17), and sat So a proud people then, and St. Sebastian is out on my deck with some olives and tinned a city to be proud of. Grand, sandstone hotels mussels, and it brought the sea air of the Bay line the beachfront. There is a broad and long of Biscay rushing back to me. boardwalk along the beach that is the city’s main attraction and from which you look out at the Bay of La Concha and the once fortiAlistair Highet is a former editor, fied hills at the mouth of the bay. I’ve never restaurant manager, and vine dresser, and seen so many women pushing such elabohas written about wine for over 20 years. rately decorated prams in my life, with um-

Here are two other Spanish whites I had on my trip, both worth having: Rafael Palacios Sabrego (Valdeorras DO) Godello, 2013 ($15) This wine is from the Valdeorras region in Galicia, along the coast from San Sebastian toward Portugal. This reminded me of a balanced, unoaked Chardonnay or a Gavi — almonds, lemon, orange, on a vibrant base of minerals. Delicious.

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Moralia (Castilla) Verdejo, 2013 ($13) This is the white wine you drink around Madrid and it is so refreshing — crisp, with grapefruit, green melon, lime, and Granny Smith apple.

Lovin’ Spoonful The

What your sleeping pattern says about your relationship


f spooning and cuddling in bed are signs of new love and romance, does moving to your side of the bed — or even to another bed or room — mean the relationship is dead? The answer, say the experts, is a definitive maybe. None of us sleep the same way our whole lives. Diehard stomach sleepers move to their sides during pregnancy and never go back. Side snoozers may move to their backs thanks to that sore shoulder. Add in snoring, hot flashes, and opposite work schedules, and it’s surprising anyone sleeps in the same bed after a certain number of years with the same partner. The potential issue in where we spend our nights seems to depend on how a couple perceives the sleeping arrangements. A study from the University of Hertfordshire of 1,000 people found that 94 percent of people who maintained contact throughout the night said they were happy with their relationship. The happiness factor dropped to 68 percent among those who maintained a distance while sleeping. The

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study also found that 86 percent of couples who slept one inch or less from each another declared themselves to be “happy,” compared to 66 percent of those separated by a distance of 30 inches or more, according to a summary of the study on During the early stages of a relationship, couples often want to be close throughout the night, says Kathy Nickerson, an Orange County, Calif.-based licensed clinical psychologist, author and nationally recognized expert on marriage and relationships. As the relationship becomes more established and secure, a couple may feel less need to stay in physical contact during the night. They may get into a routine of how they sleep together — a routine based on comfort and habit. For example, you and your partner might go to bed together, cuddle for a few minutes and then each move to your “spot” to sleep for the night, Nickerson says. “The bottom line is that sleep position does not indicate the health of a relationship: there

are healthy marriages where the couple sleeps without much physical contact and there are some destructive relationships that involve close sleeping arrangements,” Nickerson says. That said, sleeping in separate bedrooms may be cause for concern, says Diane Lykes, owner of Synergy Counseling Associates in Albany. “As a therapist, I know sleeping together is one of the most intimate things you can do. It’s a real bonding time,” she says. The bed is often the place where people talk about their day, their dreams and even what may be bothering them. “Couples who move into different rooms and never go back seem to grow apart.” About half the patients of Dr. Howard Weiss, a doctor of osteopathic medicine from the St. Peter’s Sleep Center, are in his office because sleep issues are affecting their relationship. In general, he says, his patients who have gone their separate ways in the bedroom, so to speak, are older — and have been together a while. Older people, he says, are more willing to

Photo: Janet Kimber/GettyImages.


I sleep on …

How We Sleep Readers of the Times Union’s On The Edge blog give us a look at the sleep habits of people in the Capital Region:

How old are you? 31-40 (34%) 21-30 (24%) 41-50 (20%) 51 or older (20%)

My side (49%) My side, back and stomach depending on my mood (34%)

If you live with your partner, how do you sleep?

My stomach (12%)

We share a bed (82%)

What time do you go to bed?

We sleep in different rooms (17%)

My back (5%)

After 10, but before the latenight news (52%)

20 or younger (2%)

We sleep in separate beds in the same room (1%)

What do you wear to bed?

How large is your bed?

Pajamas (52%)

A queen for me (62%)

My underwear (29%)

It’s got to be a king (23%)

Nothing but skin (19%)

A full bed (13%)

The party doesn’t get started till after midnight (8%)

A twin is all I need (2%)

I work nights (2%)

I stay up for Letterman/Fallon and then it’s bedtime (15%)

How do you feel about spooning?

My partner’s most-annoying sleep habit is that he/she

Love it. I’d spoon on the street if it wouldn’t get me weird looks (56%)

Snores (47%)

The only spoon I favor is the one I stick in my ice cream (23%) If he/she is into it, that’s fine, but I don’t particularly care for it (21%)

Is a bed/cover hog (15%) Likes the room much colder/ warmer than I do (12%) Other (11%) Tosses and turns (8%) Likes noise/silence and I do not (7%)

accept a lack of closeness, if that means getting a better night’s sleep. “Sometimes people are perfectly fine sleeping in separate bedrooms,” says Weiss. “They say, ‘she sleeps comfortably, I sleep comfortably, and we have breakfast together in the morning and are perfectly fine.’ Others see it as a rift in the marriage and will come to me with the goal of getting back in the bed together.” So what can you do to regain physical closeness in bed, if that’s what you seek? If it’s snoring, or some other medical condition, see a professional. Sometimes medication or a change in lifestyle can be all it takes to tweak the issue. Tools — such as a larger bed (or one with separate firmness adjustments on each side), a “cooling”

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During primetime TV (23%)

pillow, a fan or white noise machine or earplugs — can also help. And sometimes all you need is a little understanding about yourself and your relationship. “While much more research needs to be done to explore the connection between sleep position and marital satisfaction, we can surmise that many people who are happy with their relationships like to have some physical contact with their spouse while sleeping,” Nickerson says. “Although 66 percent of those who sleep further apart are happy with their relationships — so it’s best to conclude that sleeping position might be an indicator of emotional closeness — it’s certainly not the only or most important indicator.”

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Trainer Tips


Learning the LUNGE DON’TS: DON’T Allow your forward knee to extend beyond your toes; it will put too much stress on the joint. DON’T Tilt your head down. Once you get the hang of it, keep your chin up and your head and back aligned. DON’T Let your hips start to sway and become uneven. Keeping your upper core slightly tense and in place is an important part of the exercise; it helps focus the workout on your legs.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Check out Lori’s video on the lunge and more, online at TimesUnionMagazines.



Lori Whelan


TO START THE LUNGE, find an area with ample room. The space in front of you should be at least equal to your height. To begin, stand straight, arms down, head facing forward, with your feet hip-width apart. Relax your shoulders and keep the chin up.


STEP FORWARD WITH ONE LEG, lowering the hips but keeping them even. The forward foot should land with the knee directly above it, forming a right angle with the leg. Don’t overextend your foot ahead of the knee or bend the joint past the ankle. Your back foot rolls forward onto the toes. The back knee should end up below your hips pointing at the ground with the calf parallel to the floor, forming another right angle.


PUSH OFF THE FORWARD LEG using the heel and pull back to the starting position. Keep your posture straight and try not to let your hips sway. Alternate legs and repeat the exercise.


STRIVE TO COMPLETE THREE SETS with 20 alternating lunges for each. Remember to always engage your core — the shoulders should be back and the chest slightly puffed-out with the torso staying perpendicular to the ground. Lori Whelan is a certified personal fitness and Pilates trainer. She’s owner and head instructor at FIT ENERGY in Clifton Park, where she teaches several fitness classes and schedules one-onone training sessions. One of her most popular programs is Lean and Mean, an eight-week fitness challenge.


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We asked local doctors those embarrassing health questions you secretly google BY BRIANNA SNYDER


t’s hard not to Google every single question that enters your brain, especially if that question is kind of embarrassing. Like: Why does my butt itch? Why do my feet smell? Why do I have to go No. 2 when I go running? To help ameliorate some of your anxieties about these icky questions, we called a couple of local doctors for you — Dr. Kathleen Zabinski-Krameri of Albany Medical College and Dr. Victor L. Tulchinsky, of Pine Hills Family Medicine, both in Albany — and got explanations for some normal weird body stuff. But — and this is important — we say if you’re really worried about something, put down your tablet and pick up your phone. Tulchinsky says, “There could be 100 explanations” for any one symptom you’re experiencing, and you need a licensed, educated, experienced professional to look at your history and other symptoms to make a determination about why you’re experiencing discomfort or pain. So we present these answers to some frequently-asked embarrassing questions with the caveat that this is very general information that shouldn’t be taken as direct medical advice. But we hope it helps.

Photo: deliorimanli/GettyImages.

WHY DO I NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM WHEN I GO FOR A RUN? “That usually has to do with pressure on the muscles that may be controlling the bladder,” says Zabinski-Krameri. “So when you run there’s increased pressure. It’s just a mechanical kind of issue.” And what about the No. 2 problem? “That’s fairly common,” Zabinski-Krameri says. “A lot of marathon runners feel a need

wash your feet and change your socks, your feet are going to stink,” Tulchinsky says. You might want to even bring extra socks out with you and change them midday, which can prevent smelliness, he says.


to do that. It’s just a mechanical pressure causing that urge. And obviously when you run, things jostle around. It’s not an uncommon side effect.” She recommends going to the bathroom before you go out running and try to schedule runs around your usual No. 2 time.

WHY DO MY FEET STINK? For stinky stompers, Tulchinsky says you might want to see if you have athlete’s foot. But also consider your footwear: You should be wearing breathable shoes if possible so the foot can stay dry. Also: proper hygiene. “If you don’t

Zabinski-Krameri says chafing happens when your thighs are rubbing together, especially on a hot, sweaty day. She says it could also be caused by too-tight clothing. She recommends over-thecounter powder products made just for this problem or cornstarch, “which absorbs moisture nicely,” she says. Or wear looser clothing. One thing, though: “You want to make sure it is chafing and not a fungal infection,” she says. “If it’s itching, it could be jock itch.” Look for a well-defined border, which usually signals an infection.

WHY IS MY BUTT ITCHY? Careful: Tulchinsky says an itchy anus — known as “pruritus ani” — could be a sign of an infection or of a systemic disease such as diabetes or a condition such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Another option? “You, shall we say, were a little too aggressive with wiping,” he says. That can cause irritation or even hemorrhoids. But if it’s itching badly and for longer than a day, you might want to talk to a doc. 518LIFEMAGAZINE.COM     69

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A head HOW DO I GET RID OF A SKIN TAG? (AND WHAT’S CAUSING THEM?) “We don’t really know what causes skin tags,” says Zabinski-Krameri. “Usually, older people tend to get them.” She adds that skin tags are harmless, and also might show up in places where there’s a lot of rubbing, like on your neck where your necklace rubs, or your armpits. “They’re not dangerous really,” ZabinskiKrameri says. “They only need to be removed if they’re causing problems like getting caught on chains or if they tend to bleed.” You can find skin-tag-removal ideas online — such as tying it off with a piece of floss or just snipping it off with scissors — but all kinds of sanitary problems come up there, plus, if you try to do it yourself, “you might leave a stump,” Zabinski-Krameri says. The doctor will use a sharp scalpel and get the whole tag, or they’ll use nitrogen to freeze it off.

Photo: image source (c)/GettyImages.

WHY DOES MY DEODORANT STOP WORKING? Body odor is caused by excess sweat. The first thing you want to look at is your deodorant: Are you using something that masks or neutralizes the smell of your B.O. (deodorant) or are you using something that blocks the pores that cause sweat (antiperspirant)? You might find an antiperspirant works more effectively than deodorant, so look closely at your bottle, Zabinski-Krameri says. She also warns of a condition called hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating. For suffers of this condition, doctors have special prescription antiperspirants to help. So if you’re

B head

sweating through all your shirts and your deodorant stops working after 10 minutes, you might want to go check in with your doctor.

MY STOMACH GROWLS REALLY LOUD. WHY? “That could be caused by many different things,” says Zabinski-Krameri. “Sometimes it’s as simple as being lactose intolerant and not recognizing it, in which case you get a lot of gas, or celiac disease, which can cause a lot of bloating and noisy stomach.” Other things that contribute to tummy rumbles are drinking out of straws or chewing gum (which causes you to take in a lot of air). Some antibiotics also can cause stomach disruption and rumbling. Zabinski-Krameri recommends avoiding dairy products, not gulping your drinks, and loading up on fruits and veggies if your gut is noisy. Fiber can slow everything down and reduce the grumbles. “If that fails, we recommend probiotics, which help populate the stomach with good bacteria,” she says.

WHY DO MY HANDS SWELL WHEN I EXERCISE? When you exercise, your blood starts to pump harder (hence why we say “get your blood pumping” when referring to a workout). So the blood can pool in the veins, says Tulchinsky. “When you exercise, muscles contract and relax to assist the circulatory system to move blood back to the heart.” Sometimes this can signal a problem with the way your veins are functioning, so you might want to just chat with your doctor if this is a regular problem.

AM I HAVING AN ANXIETY ATTACK OR A HEART ATTACK? “That one can be tough,” Zabinski-Krameri says. The first thing she considers is age. If the person in distress is in his 20s or 30s, it’s probably not a heart attack. And the symptoms of a heart attack are pretty wide-ranging: nausea, lightheadedness, generally not feeling well. Anxiety presents more as flushing, shortness of breath and chest tightness not just limited to the heart area. But some symptoms of anxiety attacks and heart attacks overlap, so “sometimes it can be very difficult to tell” what’s happening. “We generally tell people, especially if they’re older, they really should be seen by a doctor,” Zabinski-Krameri says. “And if it’s something you can generally calm yourself down from within 10 minutes, it’s probably anxiety.” To reduce anxiety, avoid stimulants such as caffeine and smoking.

IS THIS A BLOOD CLOT OR IS MY LEG SORE? “Blood clots typically occur in the calf area and a lot of times that area is going to be swollen as well as just having pain,” Zabinski-Krameri says. The area might be hard and have “a constant throbbing type of a pain.” Blood clots usually occur after you’ve been immobile for a long time — such as on a long car or plane ride. So, if you have pain and swelling in your calf area and you haven’t been exercising or moving, “I’d be more inclined to think it’s a blood clot,” says Zabinski-Krameri.



Have you heard about this new technology that is FDA cleared, and non-surgical treatment for back and neck pain?

Herniated Disc?

Non-surgical spinal decompression may be the last back or neck pain treatment you will ever need. And you may be able to forget the pills, getting endless shots, struggling through exercise programs...and...risky surgery...because with this amazing new technology...if you are a candidate... they may be a thing of the past. You’re about to discover a powerful state-of-the-art technology available for: Back pain, Sciatica, Neck pain, Arm pain, Herniated and/or Bulging discs (single or multiple), Degenerative Disc Disease, a relapse or failure following surgery or Facet syndromes. Best of all -- you can check it out yourself for FREE! CALL 518-300-1212


magine how your life would change if you discovered the solution to your back or neck pain. In this article you’ll discover powerful new back or neck pain technology that has the potential to be that solution for you. This incredible technology is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and the DRX 9000. Here’s the amazing story how it was discovered and why it has a chance to help YOUR back pain...

How Science Helps Back and Neck Pain The lower back and neck is a series of bones separated by shock absorbers called “discs”. When these discs go bad because of age or injury you can have pain. For some the pain is just annoying, but for others it can be life changing...and not in a good way. It has long been thought that if these discs could be helped in a natural and non-invasive way, lots of people with back and leg or neck and arm pain could lower the amount of pain medication they take, be given fewer epidural injections for the pain and have less surgery.

Recent medical breakthroughs have led to the development of advanced technologies to help back and leg pain and neck and arm pain suffers!

Through the work of a specialized team of physicians and medical engineers, a medical manufacturing company, now offers this space age technology in its incredible DRX 9000 Spinal Decompression equipment.

The DRX 9000 is FDA cleared to use with the pain and symptoms associated with herniated and/or bulging discs. . . even after failed surgery. What Conditions Has The DRX 9000 Successfully Treated And Will It Help YOU? The main conditions the DRX 9000 has success with are: • • • • • •

Back pain Sciatica Neck pain Arm pain Spinal Stenosis Herniated and/or bulging discs (single or multiple) • Degenerative disc disease • A relapse or failure following surgery • Facet syndromes A very important note: The DRX 9000 has been successful even when NOTHING else has worked. Even after failed surgery. What Are Treatments On The DRX 9000 Like?

After being fitted with an automatic shoulder support system, you simply lie face up on the DRX 9000’s comfortable bed and the advanced computer system does the rest. Patients describe the treatment as a gentle, soothing, intermittent pulling of your back. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment. The really good news IS... this is not something you have to continue to do for the rest of your life. So it is not a big commitment. Since offering the DRX 9000 in my Colonie office, I have seen nothing short of miracles for back and neck pain sufferers who had tried everything else. . . with little or no result. Many had lost all hope. Had herniated disk operation 8 years ago another disc became herniated. Doctor wanted to operate have arthritis from 1st one (did not want to go under knife again) very grateful to DRX9000 (thank you Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC) Very happy camper. Raymond F Niskayuna, NY Age 55 This treatment was a miracle for my cervical disk herniations. Only other alternative was surgery, which I no longer have to face. William I Schenectady, NY Age 63

I was told by a doctor I wouldn’t be able to work. I cannot afford to not work so I tried Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC, and not only did the pain go away but I never missed a day at work. Rick S Clifton Park, NY Age 42 I would love to shake the hand of the person who invented this machine. It was a life saver for me and a lot better than going under the knife. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with chronic back pain. Dawn H Colonie, NY Age 49 Before the DRX 9000 treatment. I had no quality of life. Couldn’t do anything for myself. Thank God for Dr. and the DRX machine. I can live again. Yvette K Schenectady, NY Age 47 I suffered for three years, before I received treatment on the DRX 9000. Today, I can sleep and get out of bed like a normal human being. Before, I couldn’t even drive my car because the pain in my hips, legs and feet were so bad from the sciatica nerve being pinched by my Herniated Disc L4 and L5, which also prevented me from sitting in a chair or even using my computer lap top at any time. Today things have changed due to advance technology therapy on the DRX 9000. They always try


to regulate the treatments that work. What is up with this taught process???? The world is changing and so have I. Frank A Troy, NY Age 52 Before receiving the DRX treatments, my quality of life was very poor. I could hardly do anything other than going to work and going to bed. After the DRX treatments my quality of life has improved 90% which has resulted in me being able to go for long walks without a cane and go shopping. Anne P Burnt Hills, NY Age 70 I am so appreciative of this method of therapy because when I came to the office I had to use a cane and had muscle pain in walking. After 2nd treatment sciatica nerve pain was gone in my left leg. Judith W Albany, NY Age 64 Prior to this treatment my only options appeared to be invasive pain management, or surgery. After receiving 24 sessions on the DRX, I am markedly improved, relatively pain free and am able to function as I had in previous years. Highly recommend to anyone with disc issues. Alan P Scotia, NY Age 53 I would choose this therapy again! Painless treatment that gets your life back to

normal. Stick with it-it works! Linda G Broadalben, NY Age 53 I am so happy I came to Dr. Guerra. I was in a lot of pain and after being on the DRX I tell you I do not have pain. I feel wonderful and the staff are very nice. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is wonderful. If you are in pain try the DRX it really helps. Edith C Schenectady, NY Age 71 I think more people should know about this procedure before considering any surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t cure the cause. I am back to my old self again. Lorraine B Scotia, NY Age 78 I highly recommend this machine. I had my doubts but it really and truly works. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is a wonderful doctor and his staff is great too. Linda D Clifton Park, NY Age 46 I was extremely skeptical at the beginning of treatments - Progress was slow in coming - But... then it worked! What a relief!!! Joan K Delmar, NY Age 71 I had no where else to go with this problem. The DRX 9000 was just what I needed. Many thanks! Burton S Mechanicville, NY Age 50

I would definitely refer people to your office. Dr. Guerra and his staff have made this experience a pleasure. Ed H Hoosick Falls, NY Age 70

ification consultation. It’s absolutely free with no strings attached. There is nothing to pay for and you will NOT be pressured to become a patient.

Pain free, numbness in the left foot is gone. DRX 9000 is GREAT and does work. Sal L Niskayuna, NY Age 50

Here is what you will receive:

I’m able to go on long walks and get all night sleep (I’ve had 3 surgeries since 2006) Without the DRX I would be in for a 4th back surgery. I’m getting back to doing activities with my 10 year old son. Lisa V Catskill, NY Age 45 I wish to thank you very much for all the help I received with the spinal decompression therapy. Your entire office was very helpful and compassionate. No longer do I sit at night with my heating pads, moving them from sore spot to sore spot. My knees are no longer on fire and I’m able to go up and down the stairs much easier than before. Mable D Ballston Lake, NY Age 68

SPECIAL OFFER Call Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC’s office at 518-300-1212 and mention to my assistants that you want a FREE back or neck pain/DRX9000 qual-

• A consultation with me, Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC to discuss your problem and answer the questions you may have about back pain or neck and the DRX9000 • A DRX9000 demonstration so you see for yourself how it works! Due to current demand for this technology, I suggest calling today to make your appointment. The consultation is free. We are staffed 24-hoursa-day, 7-days-a-week. Call 518-300-1212 right now!

It’s absolutely FREE with no strings attached. There is ONE Big Problem: My busy office schedule will limit how many people I’m able to personally meet you will need to act fast. Call 518-300-1212 right be sure you are among the first callers and we will set up your free consultation today. We have the phones answered 7 days a week 24 hours a day so call now... 518-300-1212. (Free consultation is good for 45 days) 2016 Central Ave., Colonie Like us on Facebook: Healthsource of Albany North

FYI with

Heather Horwedel



our years ago, the Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern New York (SBANENY) was looking to start some kind of an event to raise awareness about the condition — a congenital disorder affecting the spine — and the organization’s presence locally. So, in 2011, Heather Horwedel took charge and made an event happen: the first annual Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida. The fourth walkathon was just this past May. The now-26-year-old Horwedel, who lives in Schenectady, had been a volunteer with the organization and was excited to put the event together. She’s a lover of all things outdoorsy and sporty. She also interns at the New York National Guard’s family programs office. She was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth and relies on a wheelchair to help her get around. When she’s not organizing walkathons and working, she’s playing games, hanging out with her friends and drawing or painting. We asked her a few Proustian questions. What’s your favorite color? I have two answers for this one. [Laughs.] Blue and purple. Any reason why? Those just have always been my two favorite colors. What about your favorite flower? Lilacs. Do you have a favorite artist? I don’t know. The guy who paints the cottages? Oh, Thomas Kinkade? Thank you. What do you like about him? I just like the different paintings that he’s done. You paint too. Do you try to work in his style? Not really. I’m not really that into it. It’s just something that I enjoy doing. Do you have a favorite musician? My favorite type of music is country. What is your favorite quality in a person? People who are nice and genuine. What do you appreciate most in your friends? They’re just always there. And they like a lot of different things. Your biggest flaw? Probably when I first meet people, how shy I am. Your idea of happiness? To do the things that make you feel good and being able to be yourself. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? Anywhere that has the same seasons that we have around here. As much as I don’t like cold weather, I love the changing seasons. Do you have a hero? My parents. How come? Because they’ve always been there. Actually, my

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sister too. They’ve always been there. They’ve always taught me that no matter what the situation is there’s nothing that we can’t do. Even if you’re doing something and you have to do it differently, it’s not impossible to do. That’s an important lesson. Your favorite food? Either pizza or chocolate. [Laughs.] Weird combination, I know, but those are my top two and I don’t know if I could pick one or the other. Your biggest pet peeve? Would probably be intolerance. Intolerance for what? Really anything, whether it’s what somebody thinks, even if you don’t agree with something someone is saying — you should be accepting. Unless somebody’s getting hurt. Something you wish people knew more about? Spina bifida. Or at least willing to learn more about it. And what do you think they should know about it? The biggest thing is that a lot of people don’t know that there are different types [of spina bifida] and even within the same type it doesn’t affect people the same way. There are some people who have the spina bifida I have but they can walk with braces. They don’t have to use a wheelchair. But I have to use a wheelchair. Have you always had to use the wheelchair? Yes. I’ve been able to walk short distances around my house with walking braces. You said you like playing sports. What sports do you play? I used to be involved in a dance group. I also played tennis and basketball. I used to play tennis with the Spina Bifida Association. That’s how I got started in basketball. But now I just play with friends and family. How come? Just because of time constraints. I don’t have a lot of time to be able to do those things. But I do a zumba class currently. I used to ski, too. I’m too scared to go skiing. I use something called Intolerance a mono ski. It’s a seat on one ski is her and then I use something called biggest pet outriggers, basically like crutches peeve. on either side. Sounds like you’re really passionate about being active and physical. Yes. It’s one thing I’ve always liked to do. Just to stay active. It helps keep me fit.



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518Life August 2014  

News, trends, culture — Everything you want to know about in the Capital Region.

518Life August 2014  

News, trends, culture — Everything you want to know about in the Capital Region.