Category Archives: Uncategorized

Can Solar Roadways Transform Our Lives?

I came across this post the other day about Solar Roadways.

I’m intrigued, but also skeptical at the same time. I love the idea of not having to shovel snow anymore, as is currently a luxury of the wealthy in Manhattan. These solar roadways would essentially do the same thing, but from solar power.

As with most great sounding ideas, there are many technical challenges ahead. We can certainly dream though, right?

Mexican Radio may be good, but it’s not the first

I was dismayed to read the article in Tuesday’s Gazette about Mexican Radio opening in Schenectady. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see the restaurant open, and based on the buzz, it sounds like a great addition to the restaurants downtown.

What bothered me were the quotes from area residents.One Scotia resident said she currently goes to La Fiesta in Clifton Park or Chili’s for Mexican. It’s a shame because Schenectady already has an excellent Mexican restaurant right on State Street. That restaurant is La Mexicana. The tacos remind me of the ones I would have in California. I’m particularly a sucker for the carnitas. Just a simple soft tortilla with meat, onions, cilantro, and radishes with a lime on the side. These tacos are fantastic!

Not to mention the connected grocery has anything you need to make delicious Mexican food at home.

I will definitely eat at Mexican Radio…probably sooner rather than later, and I think it will be a great addition to downtown, but I’ll be back at La Mexicana soon, too, because I can’t get enough of those tacos.

What flavor is Schenectady?

I came across a short article in the June 16-29 edition of NY Magazine discussing an ice cream flavor at Ample Hills Creamery that consisted of a dark chocolate with white-chocolate pearls to represent the oysters being re-introduced into the canal in Gowanus. On a sticky night heralding the start of summer, it got me thinking…

If we were to make an ice cream flavor that represented Schenectady, what would it be?

Perhaps it could represent our relationship with the river (or canal) and have streaks of chocolate fudge in an almond ice cream (a reference to the many delicious almond cookies available in Little Italy and elsewhere (e.g., Civitello’s).

Or, perhaps, the ice cream should pay tribute to the great inventors who lived in Schenectady such as Langmuir or Steinmetz, but how do you capture the subtlety of a Langmuir Isotherm in a food like ice cream? Or a locomotive? With such a long history of building trains, even one that participated in the golden spike ceremony of the trans continental railroad, maybe the ice cream should be grander…showcasing Schenectady’s role in a burgeoning nation. Perhaps a Dutch chocolate (in honor of the Dutch heritage and to symbolize the coal used in operating steam locomotives) with a crunchy toffee as the golden spike is the appropriate choice?

Obviously, the options are endless with each person generating their own idea as to which ice cream flavor will reign supreme.  I have focused on history, but perhaps a flavor reflecting contemporary Schenectady is more appropriate?

How would you express Schenectady as an ice cream flavor? While you discuss, I’m going to cool off with a scoop (or two!) from Stewart’s.

A casino opponent’s lament

I am opposed to the Rush Street Gaming Casino being proposed at the former ALCO site in Schenectady, and following the city council meeting on Monday in which they voted 5-2 in favor of the casino proposal I found myself deeply agitated by the outcome…an outcome that was predetermined.

But why?

I know that casinos are not the economic panacea the supports claim them to be, and the upstate casinos are no exception. And yet at the same time, the negative effects espoused by the opposition are also overblown with most of the effects being felt locally by residential areas. My home is far enough away from the casino to significantly minimize any negative effects, but still I found myself upset.

Part of my opposition may be due to the council’s decision to completely ignore public input, but Ms. Perazzo is correct – a public hearing would not change the outcome and are often a nuisance more than an effective means of soliciting public input. The council meeting in which the vote took place is a prime example. A quick look around the room demonstrates that the typical Schenectady resident was not represented.

The audience at the council meeting about the casino
Is this audience only 60% white?

But how the council should solicit public input is a topic for another post, and I won’t dwell on it here except to say I don’t usually get upset with the ineffectiveness of these hearings for other matters.

So why did I get so upset about the casino? I have gambled before and do not have a moral opposition to it, but I do believe society has a responsibility to care for the most vulnerable citizens.

What bothered me most was the loss of such a great site to improve the quality of life for residents and build upon a plan that people would want to live near and be a part of. The plan has not always been static, but I was really excited to see the development of a family friendly waterfront that was integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown. This plan had a great potential to attract residents to live downtown and continue the economic development that has slowly been taking place in Schenectady over the past decade. I fear that most people do not want to live near a casino and downtown development will be stymied.

ALCO brownfield site, June 2014
I hope this ALCO site will be great

It’s like watching a recovering alcoholic start drinking again. The loss of so much potential is heartbreaking. This regret is what made me so disappointed at the vote on Monday.

If Schenectady is chosen for the casino, I’m sure that in its first several years we will hear a lot of positive press. We may even receive that promised tax break. But long term, the benefits are questionable, the lives damaged difficult to quantify, and the lost potential of the ALCO site the most regrettable of all.