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References & Testimonials
May 14, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry O’Brien, 518-874-1734
Everyone to “Eat Crow” at Trojan Hotel Opening Party, May 20
Internet Restaurant Doubter Foots Bill for O’Briens Public House Celebration
TROY, N.Y. (5/14/14) — The new owners of a historic downtown hotel will serve up a special treat this May 20: crow.
Technically, a crow-shaped cake. The special confection is a playful wink and nod to those who doubted they would succeed in their restoration efforts. The party is being paid for by one of their harshest online critics.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears to get this beautiful old building back open,” said Terry O’Brien, who purchased the 19,269 square-foot building last fall with her husband, Donald O’Brien.
“Some people didn’t believe we’d be able to do it. The Internet comments got pretty nasty for a while, but those only motivated us even more to see this through.”
The family team did much of the restoration work themselves on the 19th century building and its circa 1901 hotel addition.
This March, they opened a first-floor barroom and dining area called O’Briens Public House at the Historic Trojan Hotel. In April, they began kitchen service, and work is already underway to restore and re-open the spacious ballroom in the hotel’s rear annex.
A TONGUE – IN – BEAK RESPONSE TO CRITICS
Complimentary Drink to the First 40 Party Patrons
Although the Trojan Hotel is one among many historic building rehabilitations underway in the celebrated revival of downtown Troy, this restoration effort was not without its doubters along the way.
But one of the harshest online critics of the effort has kept good on his public offers to buy a round of drinks for the house if the family succeeded in opening. The skeptic, who wishes to be identified as a “local facebook loudmouth,” has paid the bar $200 to help provide one complimentary drink (beer, wine or regular drink) to the first 40 people who attend the Tuesday, May 20 opening party, starting at 5 p.m.
So, in the spirit of fun and redemption, the O’Briens will serve up slices from a lifelike crow-shaped cake, made by Troy confectionery artist Susan Dunkel of Sweet Sue’s, 203 River St.
“Eat Crow” is an American idiom that gained wide-usage after it appeared in an 1850 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. The story, which is set in the Hudson Valley, ends with a farmer reluctantly eating a cooked crow after boasting that he “kin eat anything.” The flesh of crow is considered to be foul tasting, hence “eating crow” is used figuratively when one is proved wrong after taking a strong position (because admitting being wrong is equally as “hard to swallow”).
“Everyone can relate to having to put their foot in their mouth or ‘eat crow’ at some point in their life,” said Donald O’Brien. “This isn’t about sticking it to those who didn’t believe in us — it’s all in good fun after a lot of hard work.”
The O’Briens say they are grateful to all those who helped and supported them during their restoration work, including city officials, their construction crew and personal friends.
The drink specials during the evening will also include a “Humble Pie” cocktail special, which is another British idiom of similar meaning.
HOURS, KITCHEN HOURS, MENU
Monday through Wednesday, 4 p.m. till close (kitchen 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.); Thursday through Saturday, noon until close (kitchen noon until 9 p.m.); Sunday, noon until close (kitchen noon until 8 p.m.).
The menu features pub fare and entrees, ranging from $8 to $16, including: Shepherd’s Pie; Crab Cakes; burger; Reuben; spinach dip; potato cakes with smoked salmon; and salads.
Revolving specials include: Corned Beef and Cabbage; Sausage and Mash; Smothered Pork Chop; and Rasher, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches — an Irish “BLT” (price). All items are made from scratch.
The O’Brien family — Donald, Terry, Ali and DJ — ran O’Briens Public House for 20 months at 443 Fifth Ave. in Lansingburgh until closing last June. The family now works together to operate their newest business, O’Briens Public House at the Historic Trojan Hotel, at 43 Third St. in downtown Troy.
COMING NEXT – GRAND OPENING OF BALLROOM
This summer, the O’Briens plan to re-open the first floor ballroom, which is located in the hotel annex and is accessible from the first floor bar area. The 1,200 square-foot ballroom will be used as a dining room and multipurpose events space for music, theater, lectures, movie screenings private parties, weddings and showers. It features a stage area, an original maple floor, the original molding, wainscoting, and lathe and plaster walls. It will also feature a display of historic memorabilia from the various businesses to occupy the building — some of which was discovered during the restoration and some of it donated by Troy residents.
After that, the O’Briens will begin work to reopen the Trojan Taproom, a rathskeller in the building’s lower level that was once popular among city leaders.
They also intend to restore the upper floors of the front building as a private residence.
ABOUT THE TROJAN HOTEL
Built in the 19th century, the building originally served as a bar, ballroom and residence. In the late 1800s, it was opened as a hotel. The name was changed to the Trojan Hotel in the early 20th century, when a 5-story addition was built in the rear, facing Franklin Alley. The building and popular taproom have changed hands several times throughout its history.
The DeGiorgio family ran the taproom from 1969 until 2003, when the city foreclosed on the building. They had stopped renting rooms several years earlier.
In 2004, Anthony Prezio, a relative of the DeGiorgios, wrote and performed and recorded an original musical, “An Evening at the Trojan Hotel.”
For a screenshot of the online comments that inspired the “Eat Crow” party and historic photos of the Trojan Hotel and what it looked like before rehab, visit:
May 5, 2014
For Immediate Release
Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723
Troy Puts on the Red Light – May 5
“Cinco de Mame” is tongue-in-cheek tribute to Troy Madam
TROY, N.Y. (5/5/14) – May 5 is best known as Cinco de Mayo. But tonight’s festivities in Troy will have an added local twist: a tribute to Collar City Madam Mame Faye, who died on May 5, 1943.
Several “watering holes” in that city will be giving a nod to its seedier past tonight by turning on red lights. Until the 1940s, Troy’s “Famous Red Light District” was known far and wide for its look-the-other way attitude towards the “oldest profession.”
Though brothels were technically illegal, there were once five “houses of ill repute” on 6th Ave. in Troy along the train tracks. Several police officers from the nearby police station are said to have worked there as bouncers when off duty. And a newspaper advertisement from the 1930s advertised:
Red Light District
Known Coast to Coast Satisfaction Guaranteed – $2.00
Catering to Your Every Whim
Do it or Have it Done
Pitch ‘Til You Win for a Duce
Special Attention Given to High School Boys and Traveling Salesmen
1721 – 6th Ave. — FRANKIE MASON’S 3 Ring Circus
1723 – 6th Ave. – MADAM LOUISE’S Crab Orchard
1725 – 6th Ave. – MAME FAY’S Notchery
1733 – 6th Ave. – LOTTIE DENVER’S Cupcake Revue
1737 – 6th Ave. – MIDRED HAMILTON’S Sandwich Shoppe
(Note: Mame Faye’s name was often spelled with variations.)
For one night only, the following Troy bars will be displaying red lights and serving up naughty-named cocktails in memory of Faye:
Lucas Confectionery,* 12 Second Street
Bootlegger’s on Broadway, 200 Broadway
Finnbar’s Irish Pub, 452 Broadway
Ryan’s Wake Public House, 403 River Street
Brown’s Brewing Co., 417 River Street
The Ruck, 104 3rd Street
O’Briens at The Trojan Hotel and Trojan Taproom will be closed tonight but will display two red light bulbs as part of the tribute.
* Lucas Confectionery will offer half-price bottles of Red Wine during “Cino de Wino” and will screen the documentary film about Faye, “Sittin’ on a Million,” by Penny Lane and Annmarie Lanesey in the rear patio area.
Local author and history buff Duncan Crary arranged the low-key tribute after other residents of Troy expressed interest.
“We’re not advocating for illicit activities tonight,” Crary said. “The infamous red light districts in Troy, Albany and Saratoga were shut down long ago, and probably for good reason. But they are a real chapter in our history. And it’s interesting to remember the shadier episodes and figures from our past.”
Like other figures of questionable character in this region — i.e. Jack “Legs” Diamond, Bartholomew “Bat” Shea, John “Old Smoke” Morrissey — Faye had some redeeming qualities, Crary said, noting her reputation for donating some of her ill-gotten funds to charity.
“Lots of Trojans still have stories to share about Faye, either from direct experience or through their parents or relatives,” Crary said. “Be sure to ask around about her.”
Mame Faye is buried at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in South Troy (her tombstone reads: Mary A. Fahey Bonter “Mame Fay” 1866 – 1943). An operating Troy-based tugboat is named in Mame Faye’s honor.
For information about Faye, visit:
* Best interview opportunities with locals will be at Ryan’s Wake Pub at 5:30 p.m. Best bet for photo ops will be outside Bootlegger’s on Broadway or in the rear patio of Lucas Confectionery. Finnbar’s Pub is located the closest to the former Red Light District.
CONTACT: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723 DCC@DuncanCrary.com