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November 12, 2014


Filed under: Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 3:44 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Erin Pihlaja 518.779.3451

Downtown Troy, NY is a “Mall-Ternative”

Business District Back With a Boom (Literally)

Shopkeepers Turn on “The Green Light District”

TROY, NY (11/12/14) — Downtown Troy will kick off its “Mall-ternative” holiday shopping campaign tomorrow (Nov. 13) at noon with a ceremonial cannon blast* at Monument Square.

“If you look at all that’s going on downtown, why would you go to a shopping mall?” said Erin Pihlaja, executive director of the Downtown Troy Business District. “We’re not trying to emulate Crossgates. We are an alternative to the mall.”

The Mall-ternative campaign is an initiative of the Downtown Troy BID, with funding from I Love NY and support from Rensselaer County Tourism and the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market. Its advertisements feature a floor plan of the upper and lower levels of an “average local mall” superimposed over a map of downtown Troy. Visually, the graphic shows downtown Troy is roughly the same size, with equivalent parking and amenities.

Mall-Ternative Graphic

The graphic also lists a number of upcoming downtown holiday events, including:

Nov. 13 – Start of Extended Holiday Hours Downtown
Nov. 15 – Mall-ternative Artisans Market in the Atrium
Nov. 27 – The Troy Turkey Trot
Nov. 28 – Troy Night Out “Green Light District
Nov. 29 – Small Business Saturday
Dec. 4 – 7 – 58th Annual Green Show
Dec 7 – Victorian Stroll

Historic Flag Hoist & Cannon Blast Ceremony, Noon Nov. 13

This Thursday, Nov. 13, will be the first night that many downtown stores will hold extended evening hours to accommodate holiday shoppers on Thursday and Friday evenings, as well as during the days on Saturday and Sunday.

A special 12 p.m. ceremony at Monument Square will kick off the new downtown store hours, and will feature a flagpole hoisting of an “OPEN” flag, a symbolic cannon “blast” and the ringing of an historic bell.

The noon gathering revives an old Troy custom, which was discovered by organizers researching primary source materials. In his personal writings of life in Troy during the 1800s, historical figure Nathan Dauchy recounts:

“Washington Park where the monument now stands the center of it was enclosed with an Iron Fence. Charles L. Richards had charge of it. When the First Steamboat in the spring came to dock, he hoisted the Flag and fired a cannon to let the people know the river was open.”

Old Cannon at Monument Square

Note: Before erecting the monument, Monument Square was known as “Washington Square” and before that “Cannon Square.” The first building erected on the square is still known to this day as “Cannon Place.” Photo, showing the old cannon, from the collection of Tom Flynn.

* More specific details about the cannon blast ceremony will be announced via media advisory tomorrow morning (or later today). For questions concerning that aspect of this release, contact Duncan Crary 518-274-2723

Troy is Now a Destination

One local shopkeeper is leading the effort to make the extended holiday hours a permanent feature in downtown Troy.

“I get a lot of visitors at my store who travel specifically to Troy after reading about all the exciting things happening here. We are really becoming a destination,” said Debra Lockrow, owner of Artcentric Gallery at 266 River Street. “But they get here and tell me ‘Nothing’s open,’ because they’re arriving on weekends or after normal 9 to 5 work hours.”

Lockrow recently announced new 7-day per week store hours at her own Artcentric Gallery, including Thursday and Friday 12 p.m to 7 p.m. hours. She is asking others shopkeepers to join her in offering permanent hours that can better accommodate the needs of customers who typically work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I’m not asking stores to keep longer hours,” said Lockrow. “I’m asking them to keep smarter hours.”

In the past, efforts to keep downtown shops open later haven’t kept up the momentum after the busy holiday season, but Lockrow thinks this time will be different.

“The new shopkeepers get it: they need to be open when people get out of work and want to shop,” she said. “It’s a matter of getting everyone on board at the same time.”

Earlier this year, Lockrow already took the initiative to personally design, print and distribute a tri-fold “Enjoy Troy Sundays” brochure listing all the restaurants and shops that are already open on Sunday. She plans to reprint an expanded edition soon with more participating businesses and hours listings.

TNO Launch Friday Nov. 28

The Mall-Ternative campaign is also calling for Troy shopkeepers to display green decorative light bulbs this Troy Night Out, Nov. 28, to signify they will be keeping later hours. Organizers call it “The Green Light District,” in another playful nod to Troy’s colorful history. (Troy’s “Famous Red Light District” was allegedly known “Coast to Coast” until it was shut down in the 1940s.)

“I think Troy’s Green Light District could be even more famous,” Pihlaja said. “But in order to be a shopping destination, people have to know we’ll be open for business when they arrive. Green means we’re ‘good to go.’”


Enjoy Troy Totes for Small Business SaturdayThe Troy Mall-ternative campaign will also be participating in the American Express Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29, a national effort to encourage Americans to shop local.

Those who purchase special reusable shopping tote bags, with the “enjoy troy.” symbol, will receive discounts at participating downtown retailers during the day. Details to be announced.


To download a copy of the Mall-Ternative graphics, photos of “enjoy troy.” tote bags, and an historic photo of the cannon in “Washington Square”, visit:


For information, visit


Erin Pihlaja 518.779.3451

Debra Lockrow 518-691-0007


This press release was prepared and issued for the Downtown Troy BID by Duncan Crary Communications.


October 31, 2014


Filed under: Business,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 11:40 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Linda Passaretti, 518-461-9159

Tom Reynolds, 518-669-9713

Enjoy Troy Co. Launches Internet Store in Time For Holidays

Homegrown “enjoy troy.” Symbol Promotes Laid Back Renaissance in Troy, New York

TROY, N.Y. (11/03/14) — If you’ve spent any time in Troy during the past decade, you’ve seen it all over town: a cheerful oval around the words “enjoy troy.”

Tom Reynolds & Linda Passaretti Enjoy TroyNow the creators of this beloved icon of civic pride have launched an online store in time for the holidays, with a complete line of merchandise sporting the laid back message.

The website,, features stickers, glasses, coffee mugs, t-shirts, hats, pins, patches and plaques sporting the now classic “enjoy troy.” symbol. It also includes a blog, a brief history of the symbol and information about the various retail locations in downtown Troy that carry an expanded line of merchandise.

“Enjoy Troy is sort of a counter culture response to branding,” said Linda Passaretti, who created the symbol in 2003. “It is a mandate. It’s an order: enjoy troy period.”

Though it is ubiquitous throughout Troy — on banners, brochures, business plaques and on storefront windows — few people actually know where the “enjoy troy.” symbol came from, or who created it.

“That’s about as grassroots as it gets,” Passaretti said, comparing her creation to a “meme,” which is a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to describe “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” And like most memes, this one took off by surprise.


Enjoy Troy Merchandise at ArtcentricIn 2003, Passaretti needed a theme for a small party in Troy’s Washington Park neighborhood. But she had no money for decorations. So she printed sheets of address labels with the statement “enjoy troy.” on them, then stuck them on plastic cups and other items around her house. It was a hit.

After that, she designed more professional-looking oval decals that she passed out around town to friends and business owners. Next, people started asking for hats and shirts with the symbol on them, so she had those made, too.

A few years later, Passaretti partnered with Tom Reynolds to establish The Enjoy Troy Company. A commercial lending officer, Reynolds is the craftsman behind the company’s handmade plaques, custom tables and other specialty items featuring the “enjoy troy.” symbol.

“As soon as I saw the sticker, I wanted to help spread this message,” said Reynolds. “Even the font that Linda chose is a happy font.”

But, while the “enjoy troy.” design is officially trademarked and the company’s array of merchandise is available through the website and at Artcentric Gallery at 266 River St, the partnership isn’t motivated by money.

“This has always been about making something to bind and build the community,” Passaretti says. “When all these people start to see this community as worthy, that is my payment.”


It’s impossible to know what effect “enjoy troy.” has had on the city’s rebirth, but perceptions of Troy have changed since Passaretti first arrived in 1980 as a freshman at Emma Willard School.

Enjoy Troy Symbol“People were down on Troy when I was a kid,” she said. “Everybody at school would say Troy was the armpit of the world.”

Now the city’s renaissance-in-progress is the talk of the region and was recently reported on by the New York Daily News in 2013.

“Ten years ago, Troy didn’t have the same offerings,” she said. “But in terms of the quality of the people who are trying to make the city go, it’s been here all along — people who’ve committed their lives to making the city work in a positive way.”


One of the top selling products of The Enjoy Troy Co. has an ironic twist: handmade wooden “Troylet” bathroom plaques. Starting in the 1960s, the expression “Troylet” (a combination of the words “Troy” and “toilet”) was a common put down for the city and people who lived there. But during the past two decades, as the downtown Troy resurgence is becoming a role model for urban revitalization, many residents repeat the pejorative today with tongue in cheek, and chuckle at those who didn’t see the charm that was there all along.

Enjoy Troy Merchandise at Artcentric


For high resolution publicity images of Linda Passaretti, Tom Reynolds and an extensive line of “enjoy troy.” merchandise, visit:

For information, visit:


Linda Passaretti, 518-461-9159

Tom Reynolds, 518-669-9713


October 8, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 4:33 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Ciaravella 518-217-8282

Evil Dead, The Musical Plays in Troy, Oct. 24 – Nov. 9

Singing Zombies and Gore Overrun Uncle Sam Atrium in Troy

TROY, N.Y. (10/08/14) — Zombies will sing and gore will splatter this Oct. 24 as Troy Civic Theatre stages the regional premiere of “Evil Dead, The Musical” at The Uncle Sam Atrium.

Evil Dead: The Musical, Troy Civic TheatreBased on Sam Raimi’s 1983 cult classic horror movie and its sequels starring Bruce Campbell, “Evil Dead, The Musical” has been called “The Next Rocky Horror Picture Show” by critics. The musical tells the tale of five college kids who travel to a cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force. As his friends turn into Candarian Demons, one boy fights until dawn to survive. True to the movies, the horror-comedy includes geysers of stage blood and as musical mayhem descends upon this sleepover in the woods, “camp” takes on a whole new meaning.

“It’s campy and gory, so the first few rows have their own splatter zone. This is not your traditional musical,” said Michael Ciaravella, Managing Artistic Director, of Troy Civic Theatre. “We’re thrilled to stage this in an actual shopping mall building, which will no doubt remind people of another famous zombie movie, Dawn of the Dead.”

The Uncle Sam Atrium Building was built in 1979 as an indoor urban shopping mall with retail, restaurants and a movie theater. Though no longer a shopping mall, the building is still occupied and provides a home to several offices, businesses, as well as the Winter Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

Bringing culture into an non-traditional performance space in the heart of historic downtown Troy fits with the purpose of Troy Civic Theater, Ciaravella said. Earlier this year, the group staged a performance of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in downtown Troy’s underutilized and somewhat troublesome Barker Park, at the intersection of two busy streets.

The Troy theater company secured the regional premiere for this production, which first appeared in Toronto. The group expects to attract fans – including “Zombie Squad” groups and college students — from as far away as Syracuse, New York City and Boston.

“Cult musicals have cult followings,” Ciaravella said. “So we strongly recommend purchasing tickets now before we sell out.”

The show was chosen by Troy Civic Theatre from among more than 40 submissions after director Erin Giacomino submitted it for consideration. Though the shift from Shakespeare to a horror comedy musical may seem incongruous at first, Ciaravella says that theater companies like to mix up their offerings with classics, pop culture hits and experimental works.

“I think everybody in theater wants to do something different, that you wouldn’t see otherwise,” Ciaravella said. “This might be a once-in-a-’lifetime’ experience.”

Evil Dead: The Musical, Troy Civic TheatreCAST

Ash – Conrad Browne Lorcher
Linda – Melinda Richner
Cheryl – Lauren Kerr
Scotty – Stephen McCauley Jr.
Shelly – Megan Morse
Annie – Krista David
Ed (Oct 24 & 25) – Brian McBride Land
Ed (Oct 31 – Nov 9) – Nick Casey
Jake – Ian M. Politis
Prof. Knowby/Ensemble – Scott Caldwell
Moose/Ensemble – Jack Shaefer
Ensemble – Megan Vallee


Performance dates for “Evil Dead, the Musical” are scheduled for Oct. 24, 25, 31, Nov. 1, 7 and 8 at 8 p.m; and on Nov. 2 & 9 at 2 p.m.

Location: The Uncle Sam Atrium, Troy NY 12180

Ticket Cost: $15 General Admission, $13 Student & Senior


Tickets are available for purchase the night of performances and in advance online here:


For information about this performance or the Troy Civic Theatre, call 518-217-TCTC (8282) or visit:


The Troy Civic Theatre Co. officially formed in October 2011. In March this year, the organization received its official 501(c)3 status as a public charity. All donations are tax-deductible.

Troy Civic’s budget is about $25,000 per year. The organization aims to own its own theater space somewhere in the next five to ten years.

Troy Civic is one among 72 community theater groups in the great Capital Region — excluding college theater — from Hudson to Glens Falls and from to Utica, to Pittsfield.


Evil Dead: The Musical, Troy Civic Theatre

For publicity images pertaining to Troy Civic Theatre’s productions, visit:

For information about Troy Civic Theatre, visit:

For information about “Evil Dead, The Musical,” visit:

Contact: Michael Ciaravella 518-217-8282


September 24, 2014


Filed under: Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 1:57 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Lewis 518-429-3909

Troy Transit Activists Offer Slate of Bicycle & Kayak Events

Sept. 26 & 27 Collar City “Pre-Ramble,” Bike to Work for City Bike Racks

TROY, NY (09/23/14) — A group of transit activists are hosting a weekend long slate of bicycle and kayak related events in Troy.

Collar City Pre-Ramble“The PreRamble is a celebration of human-powered transportation in Troy,” said organizer Jim Lewis. “Everyone should have access to the streets, not just those who drive but also those who can’t — or chose not to — drive. Troy could be a lot more friendly to people who walk or cycle. We all love Troy, so of course we want it to be better.”

The events kick off at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26 during Troy Night Out when organizers will work with volunteers to help chalk artwork in a downtown intersection and lay out ten blocks of temporary lane markings for bicycles. Those lanes will show cyclists what the soon-to-be-constructed Riverfront Trail will look like as they tour through streets and alleys on Saturday.

Lindsey Zefting, a traffic engineer working for Alta Planning+Design, will lead a group of volunteers to do these markings, which are intended to illustrate potential bike lanes and routes through Troy. Zefting is an RPI graduate who lives in Troy.

During Troy Night Out, city planning board chair Barb Nelson and the Alley Action Project will lead a volunteer team to create intersection art where two alleys meet First Street.

“These chalk murals will show how it is possible to mark where a bike path crosses a street,” Lewis said. “Putting a trail through the alley is one good way to keep bicycles away from traffic. Placing artwork on the street where the alley crosses the street, is one way to alert motorists to the crossing. It’s important to remember: the lanes are pretty safe, but accidents happen where you cross traffic.”

The Saturday-long awareness campaign and event will also feature: museum tours, walking tours of historic sites and parks, a storytelling festival, concert, community meal and kayak rentals at the Ingalls Ave boat launch provided by Upstate Kayak Rentals. (See below for a full schedule of events.) By signing up for the Ramble Challenge, a bike-to-work event to earn bike racks for Troy, participants get a chance to win a free kayak paddle.

Last year over 400 people participated in the first Pre-Ramble, with approximately 60 people on the bike tour Organizers expect a much greater turnout this year.

“The Ramble Challenge”

An anonymous donor has promised $1,000 to pay for bike racks in Troy if 50 people bike to work during the week of Sept. 29 to Oct. 3. Participants can sign a pledge form at the Transport Troy booth at the Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Sept. 7, or they can pledge via email by contacting Andrea Daley at:


On Thursday, October 2 at Noon, Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia will lead a free 45 minute bicycle tour around the city, leaving from Monument Square.


Volunteers for all aspects of the Pre-Ramble are sought. To volunteer, contact Jim Lewis at Jim Lewis 518-429-3909 or report to the Transport Troy booth at the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market.


The Collar City Ramble is the name of a proposed network of trails — for bicycles, skateboards, hikers and those in wheelchairs or scooters — connecting the Menands Bridge in South Troy to the Uncle Sam Bicycle trail in Lansingburgh. The proposed network of trails and paths also connects several historic, natural and business attractions throughout the city.

For information, visit:


Transport Troy is a group of community stakeholders with an interest in alternative transportation that formed during the winter of 2013. From that group, the mayor appointed a committee of eight people, the Transport Troy Citizens Working Group, charged with producing a report on alternative transportation for the city of Troy. Earlier this year, the committee submitted a 45-page report which included a Complete Streets Ordinance that was unanimously adopted by city council.

The committee also succeeded in getting a $1.4 million bond passed to fund the local map for a bicycle trail connecting existing trails in North and South Troy. The proposed route would begin initially with lane markings on existing streets, with off-street trails added in the future.


Jon Flanders ( ) has made available, for media use, a selection of professional quality, high resolution photos from last
year’s “Pre-Ramble.” To view and download those images, click here

Collar City Pre-Ramble

(Events free unless cost is listed)

Troy Night Out, 6 p.m.
Friday Sept. 26

Traffic engineers lead volunteers to help chalk downtown intersection
art and lane markings for bicycles.

Farmers’ Market, 10 a.m to 2 p.m.
Saturday, Sept 27
(Centered at First and River)

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Bike safety course from the Troy Police Department
Free bike helmets for kids who need them, while they last

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Complete Streets Tours leaving from First & River.
Borrow a bike if you need one.

10 a.m. to Noon
Bicycle tune up station by Troy Bike Rescue

10:30 a.m.
Walking tour “State and Second” by the Rensselaer County Historical
Society leaving from the Transit Troy Farmers’ Market Information Booth.
Led by Stacy Pomeroy Draper. Cost: $5

Walking tour of Washington Park by the Washington Park Association
leaves from the Transport Troy Booth at First and River. Led by Lynn
Kopka. Free.

Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Self guided tours of the Burden Iron Works Museum, foot of Polk Street.
Get maps at the Transport Troy Booth at First and River

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Kayak rides at the Ingalls Ave. Boat Launch by Upstate Kayak Rentals.
$10/hr. Maps available at the Transport Troy Booth, First and River.

1 p.m.
Call for kayaks and canoes: meet on the water at the Ingalls Ave. Boat
Launch. Paddle Troy, help the newbies, make human-powered boating a
presence in Troy

3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Story Harvest: Free concert by Nation Beat & Alex Torres and his Latin Orchestra, Freedom Square (101st & 6th Ave.) Stone Soup: Community Meal prepared by the Chef’s Consortium. All free. Maps available at the Transport Troy booth, First & River


General: Jim Lewis 518-429-3909

Traffic Engineer: Lindsay Zefting, (518) 584-6634


September 18, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 4:02 pm

For Immediate Release


Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274 2723

Mayor Proclaims: Troy NY is “Ginger City, USA” Oct. 1

League of Extraordinary Red Heads Summons All Carrot Tops to Upstate City

TROY, N.Y. (Sept. 18, 2014) — A small upstate city will have a new moniker this fall, by mayoral proclamation: on Oct. 1, Troy, NY shall be known as “Ginger City, USA.”

Night of the Walking Red 2 PosterThe date marks the second annual “Night of the Walking Red” event at Brown’s Brewing Co. designed by The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, a highly visible collective of red-haired denizens headquartered in the small Hudson River city.

“The City of Troy embraces its diverse population and fun-loving characters,” said Mayor Lou Rosamilia. “We do seem to have an unusually high number of red heads in our midst here, and they certainly brighten up the place.”

The fiery festivities of Oct. 1 feature an autumnal rite at Brown’s Brewing Company, known as the “Toast of Coppertops,” during which members of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads raise glasses of locally crafted Pumpkin Ale from the first batch of the season. As is their custom, the League will also discuss the items on their concise meeting agenda: “1) Us. 2) Them.”

Though the highly visible group assembles suddenly in public spaces, not much is known of the inner workings or its true purpose. It purports to be “a social get-together for those with reddish hair” and those who love them, but some suspect it may be a secret society with plans for world domination. These conspiracy theories are bolstered by the fact that red heads comprise only 2 percent of the human population, and yet — for scientifically unexplained reasons — their ranks include a disproportionally high number of prominent figures, including world leaders, famous authors and celebrity actors.

“Because we always stand out, red heads can never hide in a crowd or at the back of the classroom,” said Duncan Crary, founder of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. “So we learn to have fun under scrutiny. Some people call that being ‘fiery,’ and we do tend to be an excitable bunch. That may be the reason why so many prominent figures in history have had crimson locks.”

The League of Extraordinary Red Heads formed in a flash in Troy on Jan. 30, 2013 and quickly earned the rank of No. 7 in the world for “Best Redheaded Gatherings of 2013″ according to social media website, BuzzFeed. Crary said each of the League’s previous three gatherings attracted more than 120 red-haired participants. Gatherings are always social, though one featured Scotland-based filmmaker Scott Harris for a screening of his smash hit documentary film “Being Ginger” in April, 2014.


Night of the Walking Red 2013This Oct. 1, The League hopes to attract the largest attendance yet.

“If a thousand gingers descend upon dear old Troy, we’ll be ready for them in ‘Ginger City, USA,’” Crary said.

One downtown hotel, Franklin Square Inn and Suites, is even offering a special $99 room rate for redheaded travelers on Oct. 1. (Ask for the Red Head Rate.) And participating local businesses will be offering “Ginger Discounts” for those brandishing League of Extraordinary Red Heads “Member” cards (which are distributed free during events). Brown’s Brewing Co. will be serving “Wholly Moses Pumpkin Ale” brewed locally with pumpkins from the Moses Farm (as in the family of the late American painter “Grandma Moses”) of Eagle Bridge, N.Y. There will be a special ginger and pumpkin themed menu. Other features will be added and announced on the fly.

Those planning to attend are encouraged to “join” the facebook event so organizers can better prepare for the expected crowd.


The League of Extraordinary Red Heads Presents:
“Night of the Walking Red” & “Toast of the Coppertops”
An Autumnal Rite with “Wholly Moses Pumpkin Ale”
Oct. 1, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. Start | Free Admission
Brown’s Brewing Co. 417 River Street, Troy NY


High resolution photo graphs, logos and League related publicity images can be downloaded here:



Proclamation Ginger City

WHEREAS The City of Troy embraces its diverse population, and the contributions of its characters; and

WHEREAS the City equally, and without grudging hesitation, embraces its red head denizens as among some of the most colorful characters in our midst — both in the hue of their fiery follicles as well as in their soulful personalities; and

WHEREAS, red hair can be found sprouting from the scalps and chins of folks around the globe, regardless of race, nationality or creed; and

WHEREAS only a mere 2 percent of the human population is naturally red haired, yet their gloriously blazing ranks include some of the greatest leaders in our history such as George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Kris Kringle, Lucy Ricardo (née Lucille Esmeralda McGillicuddy), Carol Burnett, Agent Dana Scully, Bozo the Clown, and, of course, Helen of Troy; and

WHEREAS, with their skin so fair and easily pinked by the sun, red heads have been fallaciously believed to be on the verge of extinction; though we all joyously know the contrary; and

WHEREAS the City of Troy is home to the esteemed international headquarters of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, whose highly visible gatherings brighten our streets, public houses and retinas; and whose annual autumnal rites include a public Toast of Pumpkin Ale, locally crafted by Brown’s Brewing Company; and

WHEREAS said League embraces the terms “Ginger,” “Coppertop” and “Daywalker” with glowing pride and cites them as affectionate and favorable monikers befitting their illuminating personas;

Now, therefore, I, Lou Rosamilia, Mayor of the City of Troy, do hereby proclaim that, on Oct. 1, 2014, our fair city shall also be known on this day as GINGER CITY, USA, a Shangri-La or Brigadoon for red heads around the world to visit and “kick back in,” not be kicked.

Signed: Louis A Rosamilia
Date: Oct. 1, 2014

[ To view a scan of the original, visit: ]

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723


September 17, 2014


Filed under: Author,Events,Features — duncan @ 2:48 am

For Immediate Release


Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274 2723

Author Tells “Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woe”

Damon Stewart Writes Short Stories of Ordinary Lives Gone Awry

ALBANY, N.Y. (09/17/14) — A local author explores the experiences of those who surrender to their character flaws in a new collection of short stories.

Damon Stewart: Interesting Tales of Other People's WoeDamon Stewart’s “Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woe” (162 pages) presents 12 stories written over the span of 15 years, some previously published in various literary magazines.

The stories in “Woe” provide a glimpse into lives that have gone off in unpredictable directions, both bad and good.

“Not all the tales are truly about ‘woe’ — some characters find hope, even contentment, in this collection,” said Stewart. “But we can relate to all of them, or at least get a sense of our neighbor’s fear or wonder. Sometimes it’s not about where you end up, but how you got there.”

In “Deja Vu, You Too, Champ,” the author explores the concept of reincarnation and what would happen if one remembers all one’s past lives.

In “Fall Harvest,” Stewart makes the case that those awkward reencounters with long lost friends just don’t have to be that awkward. In other stories, we see the consequences of decisions we might have made but (fortunately) didn’t— e.g. what if you did run off with the that person you were infatuated with, leaving spouse, children and all trappings of your former life behind? What if your rage at a betrayal was given full rein? What if you did have that one-more-for-the road, after you’ve had one for the road?

“Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woe” is about roads to “getting there”, both the paved and the rough path. Seven of the stories first appeared in the following literary journals: Word Riot, Salvage, Big Toe Press, Hobart, Amoskeag, Full Circle, and The Morpo Review.

“Woe” is available through Amazon in paperback and ebook editions. For information, and to read a sample story, visit:


The author will host a book publication party for “Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woes” this Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen at 79 North Pearl St., in downtown Albany. The party is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The author will also lead a “Toast To Bad Decisions” (yours and others’). Improv performers from the Mop & Bucket Co. will riff on passages from the book. There will be drink specials inspired by the seedy characters who haunt Damon’s sordid imagination, as well as free finger foods. The band Hard Soul will perform a tribute song to the author and play a set during the after party.


Damon Stewart: Author

Damon Stewart lives in New York’s Capital Region. He has published short stories in several literary journals as well as travel and outdoor articles for national and regional magazines and newspapers. He is the author of “Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woe,” a short story collection published in 2014.

In 2007, he wrote and co-produced a pilot for a reality series, “The List.” In 2009, he wrote, produced and starred in a short film called “Shot Through The Heart.” His screenplay, “Termini Station,” was a finalist in the Fall 2011 Buffalo-Niagara Screenplay Competition.

He is seeking publication for a recently completed novel.

His website is


For high resolution author photos and publicity images, visit:


To request a review copy of “Interesting Tales of Other People’s Woe” or to schedule an interview with Damon Stewart, contact Duncan Crary at 518-274-2723 or


September 4, 2014


Filed under: Business,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 1:40 pm

For Immediate Release


Michael Burns, (518) 248-7430

Night of Improv at Lucas Confectionery Sept. 10

Grilled Cheese, Beer and Laughs at Troy Wine Bar

TROY, N.Y. (9/4/14) — A Troy wine bar will host an evening of improvisational laughs, grilled cheese and beer next Wednesday.

MopCo at Lucas ConfectioneryThe Mop & Bucket Company (MopCo) is the Capital Region’s premiere improv comedy group. On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the group will play at two-act show in the garden patio of Lucas Confectionery.

Audiences can expect an evening of short form improv games and scenes and music based off of suggestions they write down or call out. They will also be able to create Play-Doh figures for a Play-Doh theater segment that works like shadow puppets on a screen. Michael Burns, artistic director of The Mop & Bucket Company describes the skit as “television you won’t get on your cable box.”

Improv has gained mainstream popularity with shows like “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” but the performance art form is also the most accessible and communal theater, according to Burns.

“We’re co-creating an evening of laughter with our audience,” said Burns. “We’re saying ‘Yes’ to their ideas, and delighting with them with the results of our collaboration.”

MopCo will perform two sets on the garden patio at Lucas Confectionery, on September 10 at 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Both unique shows are free, and patrons are welcome to attend one or both sets, but seating is limited and on a first come, first seated basis. The indoor/outdoor space has a retractable glass roof, and connects to the Lucas Confectionery wine bar at 12 Second St. and The Grocery at 207 Broadway. Patrons will be able to order wine, beer and food from either business but are encouraged to arrive early for “Grilled Cheese and Beer Night” at The Grocery, starting at 5 p.m.


Vic Christopher, co-owner of the Lucas Confectionery, The Grocery and the in-progress Tavern Restaurant, said the improv performance is a good fit for the venue, which is constructed using reclaimed materials in an improvisational style.

“Spiritually, improv is a good fit for our space because it’s all about working with what you’ve got and making it up on the fly. That’s pretty much our construction style through the use of reclaimed materials,” said Christopher.

Christopher and his wife Heather LaVine opened Lucas Confectionery at 12 Second St. in November 2012 as a community gathering space featuring rare and unique wines by the glass and bottle; along with craft beer, artisan coffee, cheeses, small plates, confections and desserts. In November 2013, the couple opened The Grocery, in an adjacent building at 207 Broadway. The Grocery is a micro neighborhood grocery shop featuring artisanal cheeses, meats, fresh local produce and draft beer. Wednesday nights at The Grocery feature grilled cheese and beer specials.


In the tradition of Second City, the skilled improvisers of The Mop & Bucket Company create stories, scenes and songs based on audience suggestions. Think “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Because the ideas come from the audience, each show is totally fresh.

MopCo delights audiences every Friday night at the Underground at Proctors in Schenectady. The company also teaches classes on improv for performance, business, writers and educators and for creativity in everyday life.

[Note: This Sept. 18 through Oct. 9, The Mop & Bucket Company will be teaching Improv basics in a weekly Thursday night class at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy. ]

What people are saying about MopCo:

“If you’ve never seen a mop & bucket performance, be assured they’re laugh-to-you-cry funny.” — Kristi L. Gustafson, Times Union

“From its humble beginnings, this troupe has morphed and grown into a top-notch unit capable of all kinds of theatrical gamesmanship, much of their own invention.” — Michael Eck, Albany Times Union

“I have seen improv before and I’m sure you have too, but these actors are ready for prime-time. Have you ever watched a performance so brave that you wanted to shake the performer’s hand or kiss her cheek after the show? That’s how i felt…” — Susan Arbetter, WCNY radio

For information about The Mop & Bucket Company, visit

For information about Lucas Confectionery & The Grocery, visit:


To download high resolution publicity images, visit:


Michael Burns, (518)248-7430,


August 18, 2014


Filed under: Features,News — duncan @ 1:00 am

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Wolcott, 518-465-8930

Researcher Pinpoints Long Lost 1614 Albany Fort

Map Sleuth John Wolcott Reveals Exact Location of Fort Nassau

ALBANY, N.Y. (08/18/14) — A local historian released his findings today, pinpointing the exact location of a 1614 colonial fort in Albany.

“Fort Nassau” is North America’s oldest Dutch trading house, built in 1614 near the present-day Port of Albany. But the precise location of the ruined structure was forgotten over time as the natural and built environment changed during four centuries.

“Fort Nassau is very significant to American, Dutch and Indian history,” said John Wolcott, historic researcher and cartographic sleuth. “But its exact location had been lost over the years. Not only has the geography changed, but the latitude readings provided by early maps have to be adjusted for problems caused by being inland using instruments of the time.”

After pouring over maps and charts spanning the 17th to 21st centuries, Wolcott is confident he has rediscovered the spot where Fort Nassau once stood and that there may be “artifact laden strata and articulated features” left to uncover.

According to Wolcott, the fort was located in what is today the northern end of a side spur of the Kenwood Rail Yard (Port of Albany) close to the present day intersection of Church St. and Broadway. The site is across the road from a small riverfront park and a vacant grassy lot.

Fort Nassau Site Today, Map positioning copyright John Wolcott 2014


The property is owned by Global Companies, a unit of Global Partners, based in Waltham, Mass. This January, the company announced plans to build a 2,600-square-foot facility at the port’s rail yard to heat and transfer crude oil arriving by train.

At the same time, Wolcott announced in a press release that he was working to pinpoint the exact location of the Fort Nassau site in the vicinity of the proposed oil boilers. That news was reported locally, nationally via the Associated Press, and internationally in major Dutch publications including the March 15, 2014 edition of Elsevier Magazine.

Since then, Global Companies has opted for another location for those facilities, Wolcott noted. This month, Wolcott completed his research.


“If we can test the site, and if it’s proven that some serious history can be uncovered, then the property should be acquired by the public or an academic institution so that a careful archaeological excavation can be conducted without a construction deadline,” Wolcott said. “It could be an excellent site for further study as well as a tourist attraction of international multicultural significance.”

Based on a contemporary record when the fort structure had been constructed, Wolcott says the dimensions of Fort Nassau are 58 feet across the quadrangle, surrounded by an 18-foot moat. That poses higher probability of finding something, he said.

Fort Nassau Site Today, Map positioning copyright John Wolcott 2014


Fort Nassau was constructed in late winter or early spring 1614 during a trading expedition for the Amsterdam Van Tweenhysen Company, commanded by Captain Adriaen Block.

The fort was located on “Castle Island,” which has since gone by several other names (on the Hudson River, which was then called the “North River”), and was later buried under silt and earth. Fort Nassau became the focal point for the North American fur trade in the Northeast, where the Dutch and indigenous peoples traded goods for fur. It also became the staging point for expeditions to seek out mineral deposits and other natural resources for exploitation.

After several washouts by the Hudson River spring floods, and a final severe flood in 1617, the Dutch moved on to the mainland and built Fort Orange, which in 1970 was partially excavated before an exit from I-787 was placed on top of it.

“Fort Nassau didn’t turn out to be a permanent settlement, but it was the beginning of it all here in the Northeast,” Wolcott said. “Let’s finally save one of these amazing colonial sites.”

In 1969, Wolcott pinpointed the exact location of Fort Orange using an obscure manuscript map. A year later he was hired as a field worker for the State Historic Trust to help prove his findings were true. They were.

Historical Map: Fort Nassau Albany, N.Y.


A map attributed to Johannes Vingboons, titled “Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt,” shows a reddish-orange smudge on the north tip of Castle Island. The Library of Congress dates the map as “1639?” but Wolcott believes the map was probably created in 1626 or 1627. In a more recent book, Shirley Dunn, former curator of Fort Crailo in Rensselaer, noted that the smudge represented the ruins of Fort Nassau.

In the early 17th century, Dutch historical and geographical writer Joannes de Laet provided a description of Fort Nassau’s location with latitude that Wolcott analyzed for problems caused by instruments of that time.

Wolcott next found an 1863 U.S. Coast Survey of the Hudson River that includes a square piece of land in Island Creek that conforms to the dimensions of the fort and to the reports of historic washouts.

Finally, he used a 1910 map with a street pattern to link the 1863 map to existing landmarks today and transferred the location of the fort to a modern satellite image of the site.

“I call that 1910 map my ‘Rosetta map,’” Wolcott said, in reference to the Rosetta Stone that helped scholars crack the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphics. “I used the Albany and Greenbush ferry slips at the end of the streets as anchors for positioning.”

Fort Nassau Site 1863 Detail, courtesy John Wolcott

1910 chart John Wolcott


This Sept. 20, The New Netherland Institute will host its 37th New Netherland Seminar in the Huxley Theater of the Cultural Education Center in Albany, NY. The program will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the construction of Fort Nassau on Castle Island in the port of Albany. “1614” will feature five speakers who will offer arguments for its probable location on the island.

Wolcott is not among the invited speakers.


Local historian and archaeologist Don Rittner supports Wolcott’s work.

“John Wolcott is very good at reading old maps, old measurements, old triangulations,” said Rittner. “If John tells you something’s in the ground, I’ll put money on it.”

Rittner believes there may have been three forts built on the same island before the Dutch abandoned the project to erect Fort Orange on the mainland in 1624. See: Preserve Fort Nassau, and Fort Nassau 2, and Fort Nassau 3, and………, Times Union blog, Aug. 15, 2014.


John Wolcott has written a 560 word essay regarding his research which may be quoted by reporters or reprinted in full by newspapers, magazines and blogs with attribution.

By John Wolcott
Aug. 17, 2014


For high resolution images of Wolcott’s cartographic findings and positioning of Fort Nassau, visit:

Note 1: Possible photo ops include Wolcott in his study with the original map documents, or traveling to the site of the Fort Nassau ruins.

Note 2: L.F. Tantillo created a speculative history painting of Fort Nassau, however his depiction probably does not reflect how the fort actually appeared. Only a full excavation could show for sure.


John Wolcott, 518-465-8930

Don Rittner, 518-378-9256



Filed under: Author,Features,News — duncan @ 12:32 am

The following is an essay which may be reprinted in newspapers, magazines and blogs with attribution. For an accompanying press release, see: Researcher Pinpoints Long Lost 1614 Albany Fort, (Aug. 18, 2014).

Contact: John Wolcott, 518-465-8930

Pinpointing Fort Nassau 1614 (Albany)

Location of long lost fort, at long last

By John Wolcott

Fort Nassau: the first Dutch trading house built in North America, was constructed on Castle (Westerlo) Island on the Upper Hudson where Albany, N.Y. is. It was but a small redoubt yet deemed the acorn from which sprouted the American Middle States. This trading post lasted only three years and was badly damaged by a spring freshet and abandoned. Eventually even its ruins were silted over and forgotten.

Historical Map: Fort Nassau Albany, N.Y.In 1796, Albany contemplated a plan to acquire patents for water lots and extend South End streets opposite the north end of Castle Island, out into the Hudson River. It was similar, on a smaller scale, to the way Manhattan expanded out into the Hudson and East Rivers. In the course of finally implementing this in the 1840s, dredging was found necessary to adjust the upper end of Castle Island and Island Creek to accommodate the plan.

At some point, as an incidental result of this dredging, the north side of Fort Nassau’s moat was broken into. This in turn, apparently caused a large washout area to the west and south of the fort’s remains. This temporary re-exposure of Fort Nassau was recorded on a survey of the Upper Hudson conducted in 1861 by the U.S. Coast Survey and printed by them in 1863. I have the good fortune of owning one of these scarce charts. By the way of some slightly painstaking intermediate measures, I transferred the fort’s quadrangle from the 1863 printed chart onto a current satellite image. The little orange square on this satellite image is about 60 foot square, which squares with the only contemporary source for the fort’s quadrangle plan. It’s in a text block on Adriaen Block’s “NIEUNEDER LANDT” chart of 1614. This reads: “Fort van Nassauen is binnen de wallen 58 voeten wydt in’t vierkant.” This will I English as: “Nassau’s Fort has within its walls a 58 foot quadrangle.” This is the little “lump” with a sort of wedge or tail below it on the detail enlargement of the 1863 chart. Close to 60 feet English (American) measure would be 58 feet Rynland Measure.


Don Rittner, archaeologist and president of the Onrust Project, suspects two additional Fort Nassau about half a mile south of that which I have pinpointed – these would be opposite the Normans Kill which flows into Island Creek from the west. One spot of Don’s is on the west bank of Castle Island, there. The first spot seems to be indicated on Block’s Nieuneder Landt chart as referenced to above. The second is on a chart of 1616 two years later. So there could be not one but three sites, although only one is now pin pointed and should be tested A.S.A.P.

Why are we, here, met with such seeming anomalies? I can’t really say considering the paucity of contemporary written sources in this case. Strata, features and artifacts can be “read” in many a good site. Once my pinpointed site is archaeologically tested and explored and the other two suspected places searched, perhaps a nagging and persistent local legend might be affirmed or denied. This legend has it that a French Chateaux was built on Castle Island in 1540 and that Fort Nassau was constructed atop the ruins of the Chateaux.

John R. Wolcott
August 2014

Contact: John Wolcott, 518-465-8930

For a full press release regarding these findings, see: Researcher Pinpoints Long Lost 1614 Albany Fort, (Aug. 18, 2014).

Maps of Fort Nassau

Courtesy of John Wolcott

Map: Fort Nassau Site Today, by John Wolcott

To Download Image (3.6 MB), right-click this link: FortNassau-JohnWolcott.jpg

Graphic: Fort Nassau Site Today, based on John Wolcott’s Findings

To Download Image (2.5 MB), right-click this link: FtNassauGoogleEarth.jpg

Caption: An illustration showing location of Fort Nassau site, based on John Wolcott’s findings.

1614 Chart

Caption: This 1614 chart, attributed to attributed to Adriaen Block, positions Fort Nassau at 43 degrees north latitude. The writings of Joannes de Laet also support this: “On the east lies a long broken island, through which several creeks find a passage, forming several islands, extending nearly to the island on which the fort was erected, in latitude 43˚.” John Wolcott analyzed this early latitude for problems caused by instruments of that time to pinpoint the location on later maps and charts.

Map Detail: “Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt”

To Download Image (156 KB), right-click this link: FortNassauMap01.jpg [To download the entire map at full resolution, visit:]

Caption: Map by Johannes Vingboons, “Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt,” showing location of abandoned Fort Nassau and Fort Orange on the mainland. The Library of Congress dates the map at 1639. John Wolcott believes the map was actually created earlier, probably in 1626. Image courtesy of Don Rittner.

Map: Fort Nassau Site 1863 Detail, courtesy John Wolcott

To Download Image (2.5 MB), right-click this link: USCoastSurvey-Crop-Detail-CourtesyJohnWolcott.jpg [To download full original map (339 MB), USCoastSurvey-Full-CourtesyJohnWolcott.tif

Caption: Detail showing site of Fort Nassau Courtesy of John Wolcott, from: “Preliminary Chart of Hudson River Sheet No. 3 From Poughkeepsie to Troy New York. From a Trigonometrical Survey under the direction of A.D. BACHE Superintendent of the SURVEY OF THE COAST OF THE UNITED STATES. 1863”

1910 Chart (John Wolcott’s “Rosetta Map”)

To Download Image (2.7 MB), right-click this link: 1910Map-Wolcott.jpg

Caption: John Wolcott used Joannes de Laet’s description of the island fort at “43 degrees” to locate it on an 1863 hand drawn copy of a 1614 map attributed to Adriaen Block. He then analyzed this early latitude for problems caused by instruments of that time to pinpoint the location on later maps and charts.

For a press release regarding Wolcott’s findings, see: Researcher Pinpoints Long Lost 1614 Albany Fort, (Aug. 18, 2014).

July 20, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Author,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 6:04 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

The Legend of Major Duncan Campbell, “Ticonderoga” July 1758

A Spirited Re-Telling of New York’s First World-Famous Ghost Story, 7/24

TROY, N.Y. (7/21/14) — The Scottish spirits will haunt and flow in Brown’s Malt Room this Thursday night.

A Ghost Story With Whisky - Duncan Crary at Brown's Malt Room, July 24, 2014 - 6 p.m.On July 24, at 6 p.m., Troy storyteller Duncan Crary will spin a candle-lit account of the legend of Major Duncan Campbell of the Black Watch, a Scottish highlander who met his eerie fate during the failed British attack on Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) in upstate New York, July 1758.

According to legend, a ghost foretold of the major’s death many years prior at his home in Inverawe, Scotland.

“Robert Louis Stevenson made the story of Major Duncan Campbell world famous in his 1887 poem, ‘Ticonderoga,’” said Crary. “But it was already well-known in these parts, and in the west of Scotland, for more than a century before that.”

The evening will also feature:

  • Soothing tunes on the Scottish small pipes (what Crary calls “indoor bagpipes”), played by Alex Bartholomew of New Paltz;
  • A free tasting of single malt scotches, by West Highland distiller Jura;
  • Fine Scottish small plates prepared in-house.
  • Menu:

    Scotch Egg – $8

    Roast Cornish Hen with Scottish Black Pudding – $14

    Venison Pasties – $10

    Traditional Scottish Gladloch Sausage – $12

    Smoked Scottish King Salmon – $13

    Bread & Cheese: Scratch made bread with a selection of Windsor Red, Cahill Irish Porter, Cypress Grove Midnight Moon cheeses – $13

    (Sorry, no haggis).

    Admission and Scotch samples are free. The Malt Room opens at 5 p.m. Music will begin at 6 p.m. Crary will tell the story shortly after, when the crowd is ready.

    The Malt Room is located at 425 River Street in downtown Troy (in the basement of Revolution Hall). The entrance is in the rear, immediately north of the Brown’s Brewing Co. taproom deck.

    From the West Highlands to the Adirondacks

    Major Duncan Campbell was a real figure in both Scottish and North American history. Laird of the Scottish House of Inverawe, he served as an officer in the 42nd (Highland) Regiment — a famously fierce military unit in Scotland, known as the dreaded “Black Watch.”

    The Grave of Major Duncan Campbell, Union Cemetery.In 1756, the Black Watch was dispatched to North America, by the British crown, to fight in the French and Indian War. In the spring of 1758, Major Duncan Campbell and the Black Watch marched north from Albany to attack the French-controlled Fort Carillon (later named Fort Ticonderoga) on Lake Champlain.

    There, the battle that ensued on July 8 was the bloodiest and most dramatic of the war, with more than 3,000 total casualties estimated by historians. The Black Watch suffered the heaviest of all military units on either side, but the mounting deaths of their comrades only fueled their fury on the front lines.

    About half of the 1,000 Black Watch soldiers in action that day were killed, and many more were wounded — including Major Duncan Campbell who died 9 days later. He was buried in a relative’s plot at Fort Edward. Later, Campbell’s remains were moved to Union Cemetery between Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, where they are now located in the Jane McCrea lot.

    One year after the battle, the British finally captured Fort Carillon and renamed it “Ticonderoga,” an anglicized Iroquois word meaning “it is at the junction of two waterways.”

    Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

    “No ghost story is more widely known or better authenticated than that of Duncan Campbell of Inverawe,” writes Frederick B. Richards in his circa 1910 publication, “The Black Watch at Ticonderoga and Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe.”

    The Grave of Major Duncan Campbell, Union Cemetery.The widely circulated legend of Major Duncan Campbell says a desperate man came knocking wildly on the doors of the house of Inverawe one night. He had blood on his hands and kilt, and begged for sanctuary — a sacred oath of protection granted in the Highlands of Scotland.

    Duncan vowed to shelter the man and swore on his dirk, a traditional and ceremonial dagger worn by Highland Scots.

    Soon after, a group of men arrived at Inverawe to inform Duncan Campbell that a highwayman had murdered his cousin, Donald Campbell. The men had last seen the murderer heading that way. But Duncan had already given his word that he would shelter the very same bandit, and so he concealed him from the gang.

    Twice, the ghost of Donald Campbell visited Duncan Campbell, and twice demanded that his death be avenged by his kin. But Duncan kept his oath, and on the third visit the apparition warned him: “Farewell Inverawe. Farewell till we meet again at TICONDEROGA.”

    At the time, neither Duncan nor any highland Scots he consulted had ever heard the strange word. From that day forth, it haunted and perplexed him — “Ticonderoga” — until many years later on the march north from Albany, New York to the French-controlled Fort Carillon. The British were joined during that campaign by their Iroquois — or Haudenosaunee — allies, whose name for that place was tekontaró:ken, which sounded very much like “Ticonderoga.”

    Sure enough, on the eve of battle the ghost of Donald Campbell visited the tent of a terrified Major Duncan Campbell to give one last word that Duncan would soon pay for his betrayal.

    The following day, as the battle raged in North America and the brave Black Watch soldiers were cut down by the French, it is said in Scotland that the clouds over the House of Inverawe took the form of the soldiers and re-enacted the futile assault … until the blow was delivered that would end the life of Major Duncan Campbell.

    “An old sailor friend of mine in Glasgow, Scotland once told me to ‘Never let the facts get in the way of a good story,’” Crary said. “I’ll give a proper history of the old Major and the Black Watch, but I won’t be letting those pesky facts get in the way of this ripping good yarn, either.”

    ** End Spoilers **


    The renowned Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson contracted tuberculosis in the late 19th century and headed to the Adirondacks of New York State to take the cure at the famous Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake. It’s there he first heard the tale of Major Duncan Campbell from the locals who knew it well. In December of 1887, Stevenson published the tale in Scribner’s Magazine as the poem: “Ticonderoga a Legend of the West Highlands.” It was an instant and global success.

    Illustration of Major Duncan Campbell, Scribner's 1887.“Stevenson made a few mistakes in his account — most notably, he named his character ‘Duncan Cameron,’” said Crary. “Sure, there were Camerons on the battle pitch that day, but this ghostly tale belongs to none other than Duncan Campbell of Inverawe, Major of the Black Watch.”

    This Thursday night, Crary will spin his own version of the tale, building upon Stevenson’s poem, historical accounts and his own family’s contributions. One element Crary will give more prominence to is the role of the Mohawk allies of the British and their special relationship to the Scots Highlanders they fought alongside.

    Crary’s full name is Duncan Campbell Crary. And while Duncan Campbell is one of the most common Scottish names, his parents named him after Major Duncan Campbell in particular. The family’s Scottish ancestors, both Crary and Campbell, settled upstate New York during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

    “What is a Scotsman without his word? Aye, but what is a Highlander without his kin and clan to count on?” Crary asked. “This is the predicament our hero found himself in, with no way out.”


    To download high-resolution publicity images, including an event poster, a recent photograph of Major Duncan Campbell’s grave and an image from Stevenson’s 1887 poem in Scribner’s magazine, visit:


    Brown’s basement Malt Room bar is a refined space offering 3 cask conditioned ales from its copper top bar as well as nearly 40 single malt scotches, 20 small batch bourbons and a variety of well crafted proper cocktails. A menu of light tapas changes weekly. Located beneath Brown’s Revolution Hall, the Malt Room is open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 pm until close.

    For information, visit:


    Storyteller Duncan Campbell Crary, pictured at Brown's Malt Room

    Duncan Crary is an author, storyteller, podcaster and events organizer in Troy, New York. He wandered the empty nesses of Scotland, alone, when his worldview was still forming. His website is:


    Duncan Crary, (518) 274-2723,
    Gregg Stacy, (518) 698-8330,

    enjoy mactroy. symbol