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June 3, 2014


Filed under: Business,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 10:03 am

For Immediate Release

Contact: Gladys Hirsch (518) 461-6813

Troy’s Enchanté Exhibits Paintings by French Lovers

Opening Friday, June 13 at 6 p.m., Artists Travel From France to Troy

TROY, N.Y. (6/3/14) — A Troy tea house and gallery will exhibit a series of enchanting paintings by French lovers this June.

L'Un n' empêche pas l'Autre“L’Un n’ empêche pas l’Autre” (One does not exclude the Other) runs from June 13 through Aug. 31 at the Way Back Gallery in Enchanté Tea House, located at 169 River Street in downtown Troy. The exhibit features the collaborative paintings of Delphine Cossais and Mika, two very different professional painters in love. The couple will travel from their home in Nantes, France to attend the opening in Troy this June 13 at 6 p.m.

A native of France herself, gallery owner and curator Gladys Hirsch has been collecting works by Cossais, her friend, for many years.

“First, when she told me she was painting with her boyfriend I thought ‘How is this going to work?’ Because they have such different styles,” Hirsch said. “She’s very feminine, classic beauty. He’s very primitive — bright colors, thick features. He has an almost a tribal style.”

But the couple was committed to painting together, in spite of their seemingly incongruous artistic sensibilities. So they they put their canvases back to back, and set parameters to work within: a limited palate of colors, words and objects. The resulting paintings complimented each other so well, they evolved to painting together on the same canvas. Though they set out with an agreed upon theme in mind, such as a song lyric, each artist would contribute their own interpretation to that theme with feelings, sounds and colors. And the results are stunning: colorful, playful, intriguing.

“This show is so unique — if you talk to any artists working together it’s so hard because you come from such a different place and in your head you have so many ideas, but there’s the other you have to make room for,” Hirsch said. “There’s a certain artistic ego. You have to compromise and it’s hard to compromise in art and still get your artistic vision across.”

Somehow Cossais and Mika manage to make room for each other artistically, in a true celebration of their love story, Hirsch said.


Delphine Cossais, 42, was born in Paris, France. The world she creates through painting is extremely feminine and full of intricate patterns, rich texture, subtle hues and dreamy girls in poetic settings. Her imaginary characters have captivating expressions, intense glances, yet always soft and tender, reflecting the soft-hearted painter that she is. Her website is:

Mika, 40, was born in Pas-de-Calais, France. He first trained himself drawing landscapes and portraits. The world he creates through his art is inspired by both punk music and French poetry. His work is spontaneous and naive. In the course of his experimentations, as a self-taught artist, Mika confirms his style playing with shapes to build his characters and combining vivid colors to give them cheerfulness and spirit to his everyday life scene. He relishes mixing colors and shapes in a fantastically unbridled production full of energy.


The Way Back Gallery and Enchanté Tea House are located at 169 River Street, a rehabbed 19th century historic warehouse in downtown Troy. Hours are: Friday nights 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and by appointment or chance.

The gallery is dedicated to one artist at a time, with rotating exhibitions every two months. The front of the house is a boutique, featuring more artworks and tea. Enchante offers its own line of 12 blends of tea, crafted exclusively by a tea master in Massachusetts.

“This is an art gallery where you can drink tea,” said Hirsch. “I have 12 blends of tea and that is the height of my ambition. I don’t want to try to compete with any restaurant or tea place in Troy. But if you want to have a cup of tea with me and talk about art, OK I’m here.”

Hirsch said she usually only books artists she knows and has a relationship with, because that allows her to speak knowledgeably about their art when they’re not present.

“People are very interested in the narrative behind the artwork, anecdotes. They feel more connected to the piece that way,” Hirsch said. “I don’t think I can sell art if I don’t know the artist. So if you’d like to show your work in this space, come here, hang out with me and we can become friends. Then I can sell you.”

Enchanté and the Way Back Gallery are also host to the monthly “Between The Lines” open mic poetry night on the second Friday of each month (except for gallery openings).

Though the charming gallery and tea house have been open for several years, Hirsch said it’s remained one of the best kept secrets in downtown Troy because of its limited hours and location. But that’s all about to change.

“I used to say I’m the last post on the street, because most people just didn’t seem to walk past State Street,” Hirsch said. “But it’s very exciting to have all this business opening across the street at River Street Lofts.”


Hirsch owns 169 River Street with her husband Robert Hirsch. The 10,000 square-foot building is for sale for and includes a street level storefront space, two basement spaces, a 2,000 square foot loft and a duplex, all overlooking the Hudson River. For the listing and images, visit:

“As much as I enjoy doing this, the building is for sale,” Hirsch said. “I can always find another space in this city to run the gallery.”

Hirsch lives with her husband and two children, age 5 and 7, on First Street. They moved to Troy in 2004 and are self-described “Troy lovers.”


For high resolution images of artwork by Delphine Coassis and Mika, the Enchante/Way Back Gallery and of 169 River Street, visit:


For information about Enchante and the Way Back Gallery, visit: or

Contact: Gladys Hirsch (518) 461-6813


June 2, 2014


Filed under: Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 11:00 am

For Immediate Release

Contact Jesse James Synder, (518) 331-1742

Troy, NY: New Orleans Jazz Giant Glen David Andrews, June 9

Concert Feat. Songs from New Album “Redemption” @ Bootlegger’s

TROY, N.Y. (6/2/14) — New Orleans musical giant Glen David Andrews will bring an authentic slice of the Crescent City to the Collar City next week.

Glen David AndrewsAndrews, who has appeared on the HBO series “Treme,” will play songs from his new album “Redemption” at Bootlegger’s on Broadway, located at 200 Broadway in downtown Troy, this Monday, June 9. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 at the door only.

“Glen David Andrews exemplifies what New Orleans is in such an energetic way you can’t help get caught up in it,” said Jesse James Snyder, who booked the act through personal connections for the Troy venue. “He’s got such a great appreciation for such a wide variety of music that he mixes it up with funk, jazz, blues, gospel, soul and Dixie in a way that’s uniquely New Orleans. Plus, he’s got a voice like Louis Armstrong.”

With Redemption (Louisiana Red Hot, April 2014), singer/songwriter/trombonist Andrews stands up for cultural preservation and his own salvation at a time when indigenous traditions in New Orleans are being threatened. The centerpiece of the new album is “Surrender,” a deeply personal song about acceptance which he wrote in rehab.

“Redemption is about my journey back from the living dead,” Andrews said. “I woke up from a nightmare, in a cold sweat. I realized that I had been given an opportunity to change my whole outlook on living.”

The 10-track album features Andrews’s core band and a few chosen friends who’ve played a part in his spiritual recovery. Ivan Neville lays down gritty grooves on a humming Hammond organ and a badass clavinet, the history of modern funk percolating in his fingertips. Jamison Ross, winner of the prestigious 2012 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition, brings his own brand of bonhomie, singing, arranging and playing various instruments. Guitar god Anders Osborne contributes two searing solos. The album also features a surprise — a sample of the radiant voice of the Queen Mother of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson — on a rousing version of her joyous hymn, “Didn’t It Rain.”

Snyder, 39 of Albany, booked the act for Troy after getting to know several musicians on the New Orleans scene while living there. He still keeps a room in that city and returns about 5 times a year.

“Glen David Andrews really knows how to get the crowd into the show, but he also challenges them in a fun way,” Synder said. “The callbacks aren’t always simple or straightforward.”

For those who want to come ready to party, Snyder encourages show goers to check out Andrews online beforehand.


Andrews was born in the historic Tremé neighborhood, which many consider to be the oldest black community in the United States.

The New Orleans neighborhood is an important center of the modern brass band tradition and is the setting for HBO’s series “Treme.” A September 2012 episode of “Treme” titled “Knock With Me, Rock With Me,” featured Glen David Andrews and the Lil’ Rascals Brass Band performing their song of the same name.

“Jesus was born in a manger,” Andrews said. “I was born in a second line.”

Transfixed by the magic and mystery of the city’s second-line parades, Andrews and his older brother, Derrick Tabb of the Rebirth Brass Band, along with their younger cousin Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, soaked up life’s musical lessons by learning the history of the brass band tradition from iconic figures like Tuba Fats.

Andrew’s showmanship has long endeared him to audiences on New Orleans’ fabled Frenchman Street.

“Glen is one of the giant talents of New Orleans music,” said Quint Davis, fest producer for the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Larry Blumenfeld stated: “Onstage and off, electrifying club audiences and street scenes, speaking his mind at civic rallies, Glen David Andrews perhaps best embodies what David Simon, creator of the HBO series Treme meant when he said, ‘Culture is what brought New Orleans back.’”

“Life is hard,” Andrews said. “After Katrina, my Tremé will never be the same. But New Orleans culture is a permanent part of me. The gift of my sobriety is in my music now. I want to share my Tremé — my New Orleans — with the world.”


For information, high resolution publicity photos and an album cover, visit:

Contact Jesse James Synder, (518) 331-1742


May 14, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Business,Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 12:59 am

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.

Local Facebook Loudmouth“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.

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.


Trojan Hotel (early)O’Briens Public House is open seven days a week, during the following hours:

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.

For weekly menus, visit: or


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.


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.


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:

For information, call the restaurant at 518-874-1734 or visit: or


May 5, 2014


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

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.

Newspaper Ad for Troy's Red Light DistrictSeveral “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

April 29, 2014


Filed under: Events,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 3:39 pm

For Immediate Release

Kathleen Tesnakis, 518-867-1864

Buddhist Teaching World Tour Comes to Troy May 2 – 4

Erik Drew Jung to Teach Happiness Through the Buddhist Path

TROY, N.Y. – The 2014 Dzogchen Buddha Path Teaching Tour stops in Troy this weekend.

Sustainable clothing designer Kathleen Tesnakis, of ‘e ko logic, is hosting Buddhist Monk Erik Drew Jung for a three-day teaching retreat starting this Friday May 2.

The events around downtown Troy are open to the public by donation. Reservations are encouraged.

Buddhist Monk Erik Drew Jung wears 'e ko logic hatJung, of Dzogchen Shri Singha of Portland, Ore., will lead sessions teaching Buddhist tools for successful meditation, reducing stress, improving heath and vitality. He returns to Troy for the second year in a row, after a world-teaching tour through the United States, Russia, Finland and Estonia.

“It’s really amazing to have a full-on Buddhist retreat right here in our community, and to offer it by donation-only,” Tesnakis said. “Erik fell in love with our city and community during his last visit. He can tell we have incredible vibrancy. We come together and we grow good things.”


During his world travels to teach happiness through the Buddhist Path, Jung has brought a piece of Troy, N.Y. with him: a custom ‘e ko logic onion top hat, made with re-purposed saffron yellow and burgundy cashmere, with a skyblue accent and white yarns on top to signify eagle feathers traditionally worn by Buddhist monks.

“My design for the ‘e ko logic onion top hat was inspired by my childhood in the Himilayas,” Tesnakis said. “Buddhist monks wear traditional clothing and my hat was approved and blessed by Erik’s lama.”

Today, there are 27 other monks of Dzogchen Shri Singha who travel the world wearing the made-in-Troy hat by ‘e ko logic.


Introduction to Buddhist Fundamentals
With 30-min. Q&A

Friday, May 2
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Meet at Heart Space Yoga
10 2nd Street, Troy, NY

Tools for successful meditation: Learn how easy it is to meditate

Saturday, May 3
10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location to be determined based on class size.

Buddhist principles of Dying, Death and Rebirth

Saturday, May 3
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location to be determined based on class size.

Morning Buddha Path Practice with Erik

Sunday, May 4
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Meet at the ‘e ko logic studio
1 Fulton Street, Troy, NY
Bring pillow and a blanket for meditation

Tools for reducing stress and increasing health and vitality

Sunday, May 4
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
& 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Meet at Heart Space Yoga
10 2nd Street



Erik Jung is a monk and authorized Dharma Teacher of The Buddha Path under the guidance of H.E. Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche. A lifelong Buddhist practitioner, Erik has spent more than nine years studying closely with Khen Rinpoche. He is a passionate and inspiring teacher in the Dzogchen Longchen Nyingthig Lineage of Mahayana Buddhism and has taught extensively throughout the United States and Europe.


Buddhist Monk Erik Drew Jung wears 'e ko logic hat


Dzogchen Shri Singha of Portland is a non-profit organization whose mission is to spread authentic Buddhist teachings and to support the enlightened Dharma activity of Great Perfection of Wisdom lineage holder Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Rinpoche was born in the holy Dzogchen region of Tibet, where he began training in Buddhism at the Dzogchen Monastery at the age of five.



‘e ko logic is a designer of “green” clothing worn around the world. Established in Portland, Ore. in 1996, ‘e ko logic uses recycled cashmere and post-consumer fabric to create one-of-a-kind hats, scarves and sweaters for men and women. They also make cashmere dresses and skirts.

Since 2003, ‘e ko logic has been based in Troy, N.Y. This October, the husband-and-wife owned company opened a retail shop and atelier in the historic Frear Bazaar building at 1 Fulton Street in Troy.



For photos of Erik Jung wearing his ‘e ko logic onion top hat and traditional monk’s attire, click: here and here.


For media, contact: Kathleen Tesnakis at 518-867-1864 (mobile)


April 24, 2014


Filed under: Business,Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 9:39 am

For Immediate Release

Vic Christopher, 917-693-7430

“The Tavern Restaurant” to Re-Open in Troy After 20-year Hiatus

Seeking Memories of Storied Troy Dining Spot, 1933 – 1993

TROY, N.Y. (4/24/14) — “The Tavern Restaurant” was a popular mainstay for 60 years at 211 Broadway, from 1933 to 1993. Now, the legendary downtown dining spot is re-opening and co-owners Vic Christopher, 38, and Heather LaVine, 36, are asking anyone with memories or memorabilia to share them as they re-envision the space.

Historic Tavern Restaurant Postcard“When Troy was doing good, this was the place to go. Then things fell apart, and so did The Tavern,” said Christopher. “We’re bringing it back.”

This week, Quality Glass of Troy installed windows in the recently restored cast iron tavernfront. The windows include a series of customized bifold glass doors that can remain in the open position to allow for open air alfresco dining in warm weather. This installation was the first of its kind for Quality Glass, a three-generation family business established in Troy in 1940. The cost for the materials and installation was $12,500.

Following many months of structural work in the 1,500 square-foot tavern space, Christopher and his Confectionery Construction, LLC have started the detail phase of the project.

Some original elements are still intact, including a section of the floor with a tile mosaic spelling out “THE TAVERN.” Wall tiles from the former kitchen and other traces will be preserved and enhanced. The team is utilizing structural steel to support a marble bar top, which was reclaimed from an old Troy soda fountain.

“This building was full of debris and crazy stuff and we’re re-purposing everything we can,” said Christopher, who describes his construction process as freestyle reclamation. “We even reused the plywood that boarded up the windows for the last 20 years.”

Christopher and LaVine are aiming to open The Tavern Restaurant before the end of the year.

“We are developing a menu that will be unique to the region,” said LaVine.

The husband and wife team are currently inviting anyone who experienced The Tavern Restaurant in any of its incarnations to share memories and historical descriptions of the establishment and its various layouts. They have already acquired some memorabilia, including a Tavern Restaurant matchbook and postcard, which can be viewed online at:

Kathryn Sheehan, Rensselaer County historian, remembers joining her grandfather for lunch at the Tavern Restaurant as a young girl.

“The Tavern was the first place I had a club sandwich, and a Shirley Temple. It made me feel very adult like,” Sheehan said. “Gramma was a teetotaler and Grandpa had a great sense of humor, so after lunch he would always give us a wink and tell us not to tell Gramma where we ate lunch. She would not have approved.”


The Tavern Restaurant is located on the street-level of “The Clark House,” a four-story, 10,900 square-foot building at 207-217 Broadway that was constructed in 1876. It was once home to a boarding house and hotel, as well as many industrial, manufacturing and retail tenants through the years. By 2013, the sole remaining tenant was Broadway News, which opened in 1934 and continues to operate today.

Christopher and LaVine purchased the building for $80,000 in March, 2013. At the time, the historic structure was considered one of the most endangered buildings in downtown Troy. This October, after stabilization and restoration, the couple opened “The Grocery” in the center storefront. Once “The Tavern Restaurant” opens, the building’s first floor will be fully re-activated.

In November 2012, Christopher and LaVine opened Lucas Confectionery wine bar at 12 Second Street. That business is connected to The Grocery and The Tavern Restaurant by a rear enclosed garden patio with a retractable glass roof.


For images and information about the Tavern Restaurant, past and present, visit:

See also:

Contact: Vic Christopher, 917-693-7430


April 22, 2014


Filed under: Features,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 8:57 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lynn Kopka 518-274-6434

Neighbors Re-Tree Troy Street For Arbor Day, April 25

Friends of Washington Park, Students to Plant Trees on Adams Street

TROY, N.Y. (04/22/14) — This Friday on Arbor Day, Troy neighbors and students will join together to plant trees along Adams Street, on a section between First and Second streets that is nearly bereft of trees.

Rendering: Adams Street After Tree Planting (North Side)At 2 p.m., April 25, more than 40 seventh grade honor students from Troy Middle School will join Friends of Washington Park in Troy to plant trees on the north side of Adams Street, one block from the park. Urban Forestry education will be an important component of this tree-planting project.

“City trees have a long list of benefits, from aesthetics to cooling effects to increased property values,” said Lynn Kopka, president of the Washington Park Association. “Right now, Adams Street is a heat island where the sun glares off brick and concrete. We want to teach the participating students that trees are just as important in the city as they are in the forest.”

Friends of Washington Park obtained $1,000 from National Grid to fund the planting. Located between Troy’s historic downtown and the South Troy neighborhood, Washington Park is distinguished by the presence of stately Maple and Cottonwood, as well as smaller specimens like Flowering Cherry and Eastern Redbud.

The trees to be planted Friday are Serviceberry, a native, small, flowering tree that develops berries favored by birds. The tree species was selected for its size, beauty and wildlife value following National Grid’s guidelines for planting the “right tree for the right place.” National Grid’s publication, “How to Avoid Tree & Utility Conflicts When Selecting and Planting Trees,” provides guidance on balancing the benefits and beauty of trees with reliable electric service.

“Maintaining the environment is an important part of National Grid’s stewardship and commitment to the communities that we serve,” said National Grid Manager of Community & Customer Management Michael DiAcetis. “National Grid is proud to support the Friends of Washington Park and their efforts to plant trees for this Arbor Day celebration. The students will learn a hands-on lesson on the importance of planting and maintaining trees in urban settings and the trees will help combat the effects of carbon emissions and enhance the beauty and significance of this neighborhood for generations.”

Troy Councilman Gary Galuski secured assistance from the city’s Department of Public Utilities for the event. Students will accompanied by their science teachers Celine Boule and Paul Dunleavy.

“The tree is a symbol of life,” said Boule. “By inviting our students to see and participate in the planting of trees along our city streets, we are giving them the opportunity to be a part of the revitalization of our community while learning about the role that nature plays in it.”


The following are some statistics, provided by the Arbor Day Foundation, on just how important trees are in a community setting.

“The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.” –U.S. Department of Agriculture

“A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” — Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers

“In one study, 83 percent of realtors believe that mature trees have a ‘strong or moderate impact’ on the salability of homes listed for under $150,000; on homes over $250,000, this perception increases to 98 percent.” — Arbor National Mortgage & American Forests

“Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent” and “There are about 60 million to 200 million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year, and saving $4 billion in energy costs.” — National Wildlife Federation

“Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 percent in energy used for heating.” — USDA Forest Service

“Trees can be a stimulus to economic development, attracting new business and tourism. Commercial retail areas are more attractive to shoppers, apartments rent more quickly, tenants stay longer, and space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent.” — The Arbor Day Foundation

“Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value.” — USDA Forest Service

“The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams.” — USDA Forest Service

“In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension.” — Dr. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University

“Nationally, the 60 million street trees have an average value of $525 per tree.” — Management Information Services


The Washington Park neighborhood is modeled after the private residential green squares of 19th Century London. It is often compared to New York City’s famous Gramercy Park. Washington Park and Gramercy Park are the only two privately owned and maintained parks of their kind in the state.


For renderings of where the trees will be planted on Adams Street, visit:

For information, contact: Lynn Kopka at 518-274-6434 or


March 15, 2014


Filed under: #TroyCrazy,Events,Features,Troy NY — duncan @ 4:39 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723

“Being Ginger” Documentary to Show in Troy

League of Extraordinary Red Heads Hosts Filmmaker Scott Harris

April 2, 6:20 p.m. to 7:40 p.m.
@ The Arts Center of the Capital Region

TROY, N.Y. (03/14/14) — Filmmaker Scott Harris will present his documentary about life as a red head looking for love this April 2 in Troy.

'Being Ginger' Movie PosterHumorous and heartfelt, “Being Ginger” follows the trials and tribulations that Harris, 33, has endured in the dating world as a red haired American living in Edinburgh, Scotland, “the redhead capital of the world.”

“Having bright orange hair makes you stick out, and when you are a kid the last thing you want is to stick out,” said Harris. “I’m fairly well adjusted now that I’m an adult, but people still say random things to me about my hair all the time, and some of it’s shocking.”

One of Harris’ personal challenges is overcoming a general perception that fair skinned red haired males are less attractive than other types of men. During one of the more outrageous scenes in his film, Harris interviews a young Scottish woman on the street who openly shares her unflattering thoughts about red haired men. “You’re like an orangutan,” says the woman, who has dyed blond hair. “You’re not just ginger, you’re like the joke ginger.”

To attract a woman, she advises him to remove as much of his red hair as possible to “try and limit the ginger to be as ginger-less as possible.” She also recommends he stick to dating red haired women to “keep the genetics together …just keep ginger on ginger and not on other people.” The cavalier exchange is as funny as it is shocking. Harris handles it with calm bemusement on camera.


Though the movie offers many rarely seen glimpses into the peculiarities of life as a redhead — one of the smallest segments of the human population, at around 2 percent — its true intent is to speak to a universal audience.

“I’ve used dating as a subject in the film because the quest for love is something that everyone can relate to,” Harris said. “It might be more accurate to say that the film is about the quest to be accepted. This is a film for anyone who has ever felt different, for any reason. In my case, it just happens to be the color of my hair that sets me apart, and the way people treat me because of it.”

The 69-minute film will be screened in the black box theater at The Arts Center of the Capital Region, located at 265 River St, in downtown Troy, N.Y. Afterwards, Harris will answer questions from the audience before joining The League of Extraordinary Red Heads for a free after party open to the public, 21 and over, at Lucas Confectionery wine bar, located at 12 Second Street. The post screening party will feature a red wine special and a hard apple cider seasoned with ginger, made by Albany-based Nine Pin Cider Works (“Jonagold Ginger” made by fermenting Jonagold apples with ginger).


Tickets are $10 ($11.34 w/service fee) and can be purchased online at: or at the Arts Center just prior to the screening. One hundred tickets will be available for the 6:20 p.m. showing.

For information call Duncan Crary at 518-274-2723 or


League of Extraordinary Red Heads LogoHarris, an Austin Texas native now living in Scotland, has shown the film at the “Irish Redhead Convention” and “The Redhead Days” in the Netherlands, which are the two largest redheaded gatherings in the world with about 5,000 redheads in attendance. Now on a 30-city tour in the U.S., his film screenings are creating min-gatherings of redheads wherever he goes.

“After spending my whole life as the only ginger I knew, I can’t explain how nice it is to sit down for a drink and swap stories with a bunch of other redheads,” said Harris.

The April 2 screening and after party are hosted by The League of Extraordinary Red Heads, a social club for red haired people and those who love them. Founded in Troy, N.Y. in January 2013, The League of Extraordinary Red Heads attracts about 100 people at its semi-regular gatherings.

“Contrary to urban legend, red heads are definitely not going extinct,” said LoERH Founder Duncan Crary, 35. “And after watching this movie, it’s clear to me that we never will never go extinct, because you can’t help but love gingers and our special brand of humanity.”


Following the screening in Troy, the film will open for a week long run in New York City at the Quad Cinema at 34 W 13th St., and the film will be available to purchase and download.


For information about “Being Ginger” and to watch a trailer, visit:


Publicity images:

For information about the League of Extraordinary Red Heads, see: League of Extraordinary Red Heads Forms in Troy, NY, Jan. 30 (01/11/13) and visit:

**Media can request a special password to preview the film online in advance of the screening. **


Find The League of Extraordinary Red Heads online at:


Duncan Crary, 518-274-2723, | Scott Harris,


March 13, 2014


Filed under: Business,Events,Features — duncan @ 11:55 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Corey Aldrich, 518-928-4622

Electric City Couture Fashion Show Highlights Regional Designers

April 26, 8:00 p.m. Fundraiser at Universal Preservation Hall, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (03/13/14) — The Capital Region’s largest, original juried runway fashion extravaganza will be happening this April 26 in the Spa City.

Electric City Couture and Universal Preservation Hall are proud to present the “5th Annual Electric City Couture Fashion Show — Saratoga Edition,” featuring both established and up-and-coming regional fashion designers in a juried, pure runway experience.

The evening will showcase signature collections of six regional designers and will include roughly 55 male and female models on the runway. Targeted proceeds from this year’s show will go to the ongoing restoration work of Historic Universal Preservation Hall, a year-round arts and community events venue located at 25 Washington St. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

2014 Electric City Couture Designer Showcase Shoot - Shrine of Fashion. On location at Historic Preservation Hall in Saratoga. Photo Credit: James Pickett

“Universal Preservation Hall is a beautiful venue to showcase Upstate New York’s burgeoning fashion scene,” said Dorothy ‘Teddy’ Foster, director of Universal Preservation Hall.

The Electric City Couture mission is to provide a platform to increase awareness for regional fashion designers and fashion support industries to stimulate a regional fashion based economy.

“It is crucial that our communities show support for small business in all industries, including the arts and fashion,” said F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). “We support Electric City Couture’s goal of connecting local retailers with local designers to contribute to the creative economy of our region; which also supports these small business owners.”


Designers participating in the show include:

- Kim Vanyo of Khymanyo Studios (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)
- ‘eko logic (Troy, NY)
- Jane Wilson Marquis (Valley Plains, N.Y.)
- Behida Millinery (Hudson, N.Y.)
- Kristina Collins Clothing (Saratoga, N.Y.)
- Gamakache Black by Margaret Persaud (Queens, N.Y.)


A new edition to this year’s show format will be the ability to “buy it off the runway” in a retail sales area that will be available both after the show on Saturday for show attendees and on Sunday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the general public. This year’s show will be a partnership between Proctors of Schenectady, N.Y., Universal Preservation Hall and Electric City Couture. It is designed to highlight the strengths of the regional creative economy.

The Honorary Chair for the event is Julie Bonacio.

Electric City Couture is a 2440 Design Studio production.


Live DJ music will be provided by Albany-based, Nate da Great. Special entertainment features include appearances by vocalist Jill Hughes and producer/rapper John Brown aka JB Dirty Moses.


Event tickets can be purchased in advance through the Proctors Theatre Box Office starting April 1 at 432 State Street, by calling (518) 346-6204 or online at:

General admission is $15.

Special seating is available to media and fashion industry professionals including independent boutique owners with RSVP. Contact:


Partnership support will be provided by Proctors Theater, a founding partner of the show.

This year’s show is sponsored in part through the generous contributions of Sonny and Julie Bonacio, Keeler Mercedes, Skinny Girl Vodka and Lifestyles of Saratoga.


Founded in Schenectady in 2010, Electric City Couture is designed to celebrate the art of fashion, providing a platform to exhibit up-and-coming designers of the Northeast. Since its inception, the fashion organization has hosted events through New York’s greater Capital Region.

Combining entertainment and serious fashion business, the event showcases Signature Collections from up and coming Fashion Designers. It is also a regional showcase for aspiring Models, Jewelry and Accessory Designers and Hair and Makeup professionals.


Built in 1871, the Universal Preservation Hall is one of the earliest examples of High Victorian Gothic architecture anywhere in the country. It was designed by famous architect Elbridge Boyden. Its 129-foot steeple, with a giant Meneely bell forged in Troy, N.Y., is one of Saratoga Springs’ highest spires. The building is located in one of Saratoga Springs’ National Historic Districts. In 1999, in recognition of its significance, the building was designated as an “Official Project of Save America’s Treasures” by The White House Millennium Council. In 2006, it received nearly $200,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Because of its importance, many luminaries attended, spoke or preached in the Hall including Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Henry Ward Beecher, Frederick Douglass and William Howard Taft. The building was formerly known as the Universal Baptist Church, an historically African-American congregation. This unique association with the church provides an on-going connection with this under-served population.


For high resolution publicity images, visit:

Additional publicity images can be provided upon request.


Contact: Corey Aldrich, 518-928-4622 |


March 11, 2014


Filed under: Business,News,Troy NY — duncan @ 8:47 pm

For Immediate Release

Contact: Contact: Vic Christopher, 917-693-7430

Rensselaer Co. Legislature Passes Resolution to Oppose “Cork Tax” on Wine

Upstate County Against Proposed New York State “At Rest” Legislation

TROY, N.Y. (03/11/14) — The Rensselaer County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution tonight opposing a state law that would potentially raise prices and reduce the selection of wine now available to consumers in New York state.

A proposed New York law (A5125-2013 / S3849-2013) would require that wine and spirits sold in within the state must be warehoused “At Rest” in New York state for at least 24 hours prior to delivery. Currently, these products stop first in New Jersey warehouses.

“We thank the Rensselaer County Legislature for supporting our efforts to oppose ‘at rest’ legislation,” said Vic Christopher, co-owner of Lucas Confectionery & The Grocery, a Troy wine bar and adjacent micro-market both specializing in boutique wines. “Our business is based on natural and hand-made wines. The passing of this state law would adversely impact hundreds of New York retail shops and restaurants like ours.”

For a .pdf of the resolution, which passed 19-0, visit:

The text is as follows:

Resolution No. P/137/14


WHEREAS, This Legislative Body has long endeavored to protect the health, safety, quality of life and economic interests of those who live and work in Rensselaer County; and

WHEREAS, For generations, residents of this State have enjoyed wine, and there are numerous establishments in Rensselaer County serving wine to many customers on a daily basis in accordance with the laws of the State; and

WHEREAS, Establishments serving wine have contributed to the ongoing revitalization of the downtown of the City of Troy, attracting patrons from throughout the region; and

WHEREAS, There is currently legislation sponsored in the State Legislature to change the method of transport and storage of wine in New York State which would potentially raise prices and reduce the selection of wine now available to consumers in the State; and

WHEREAS, Under the Legislation, wine would be required to be warehoused in the State for at least 24 hours before being brought to establishments for sale; and

WHEREAS, This proposed Legislation is seen as favoring only a select number of large distributors, as smaller distributors that serve establishments in the State and this County would be forced to secure warehouses in the State, adding considerable expense and disruption to existing business plans and methods of distribution; and

WHEREAS, There is no apparent benefit to State commerce, or to the health, safety and quality of life for consumers of wine in the State, or employees of establishments that lawfully serve wine, and a number of County businesses and the New York State Farm Bureau oppose this measure; now, therefore, be it

Resolution No. P/137/14

Page No. 2 of 2

RESOLVED, This Legislative Body opposes the proposed change in State law, known in some quarters as the cork tax or “At Rest” Legislation, regarding the distribution and warehousing of wine for sale in the State, to support numerous businesses, residents and customers; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of this Legislative Body is hereby directed to transmit a copy of this resolution to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Kathleen Marchione, Senator Neil Breslin, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin and Assemblyman John McDonald.


For an earlier press release with quotes by Capital Region area restaurant owners and distributors, see:

Albany Area Restaurants Oppose NYS Cork Tax Legislation
Restaurants serving boutique wines would be hurt by “At Rest” law

ALBANY, N.Y. (02/06/14)

Contact: Vic Christopher, 917-693-7430