And now I’d like to do the year 2012 in review. Just kidding, it seems like every article in every newspaper in the past week was some sort of different angle on the year in review. Here’s what I’m thinking a few days into the New Year.
* As reported here on Saratoga Wire, First Night sure was a success – and the weather mostly cooperated. It seems like every year I only get to about 1/3 of the First Night festivities I intend to, and this year was no exception. I ran the 5K – a blazing 32:18 thank you – and made it to just two musical events. Imagining Lennon and McCartney was a real nice show, and the two musicians looked and definitely sounded like the two Beatles, plus they were kind of funny. Alex Torres & his Latin Orchestra also was great. We tried getting into the 10pm Spirit of Johnny Cash show at the City Music Hall, but that venue was filled to capacity and we were turned away at the door.
* The midnight fireworks were great, and we should thank the private donors who saved the event after it was initially cancelled. Did you notice the perhaps not so coincidental fact that one of those donors was John Baker (owner of Gaffney’s) and the Caroline Street Association? The very same group that was fighting Commissioner Mathiesen on his ill-conceived early bar closing time – yes, the same Commissioner Mathiesen who announced the oh-so-unpopular deletion of fireworks from the festivities. Ahhhh, you’ve got to love the stories behind the goings on here in Saratoga. Anyway, the laser light show was fine, but it would have been a poor replacement for the very popular fireworks. Of course the ducks, geese, and other wildlife that were obviously scared out of their wits and scattering in all directions may not appreciate my sentiments about the fireworks. I’m not a card carrying member of PETA, but I have to admit, seeing those birds flying scared in the dark gave me pause.
* Speaking of donors, please note Price Chopper’s significant involvement in First Night. I can’t quantify how much they donated, but their presence was substantial right from the 5K on. I do occasionally shop at the Schenectady-based supermarket chain’s competitors, but I will try to show my appreciation of their good corporate citizenship by shopping at Price Chopper, which has two stores within the Saratoga Springs city limits, even more often than I presently do. I encourage you to do the same.
* It looks like NYRA is going to raise the Saratoga Race Course admission price on Travers Day, and perhaps will be adjusting the prices on reserved seating for at least some of the meet dates as well. I don’t know that for a fact, but feel that way after gleaning information off NYRA’s web site, namely the parts that haven’t been changed for years (until now) indicating admission prices. That section of the site has had the same prices since I can remember - $3 general admission, $5 Clubhouse, and $5 general admission and $10 Clubhouse on Travers Day. The $3 and $5 prices are still listed, but under Travers Day (8/24) the site indicates prices “TBA” – a sure sign an increase is coming. Same thing with reserved seating prices, to which the NYRA site indicates “Have NOT yet been determined”. My guess is the (higher) prices have indeed been determined, just not announced. I could understand raising reserved seating prices on Travers Day and other big stakes days, but it would be nice and make sense if they lowered those prices during the week, when the grandstand is ¾ empty. Also, they apparently will only have one Twilight Racing day (aka “Party at the Spa”) on July 26th, rather than the two they usually hold both early and late in the season. You heard it here first.
* Sticking with the Race Course theme, I missed this Daily News September review of the Manhattan Siro’s. I have been to the city at least twice in the past 6 weeks, but both times I forgot to get to the newest Siro’s to check it out. It doesn’t seem like I am missing much – the review slammed the Saratoga-themed, celebrity-owned eatery in numerous ways – calling the atmosphere akin to “languishing in a tennis club” and concluding “you and your money should gallop elsewhere.” Yeesh!
* Things sure seem to be heating up around SPAC, with this coordinated criticism printed in Sunday’s Saratogian.
* A couple of weeks ago I linked to a post from the Saratoga Mama blog which listed places in Saratoga County to go ice skating. Someone tell me why the middle of Congress Park isn’t on that list. There is a large flat piece of open land in the center of the park to the west of The War Memorial that would be perfect for a good size skating rink. It would not only add to the allure of the park in a time of the year when it is underutilized, but it could even be an economic development tool to bring more people downtown during the long winter. Just a thought.
Around and about:
* Interesting job opportunities: The Saratoga Auto Museum is looking for a marketing coordinator, Stewarts is looking for a videographer, and Todd Pletcher is looking for 45 grooms to start this April.
* The Saratoga YMCA January Newsletter is out.
* DZ Restaurants has a $20.13 off deal going until January 8.
* The Times Union Table Hopping blog has the info on Hattie’s Mardis Gras fete to benefit SPAC
* Saratoga Chowderfest is less than a month away.
If you would like for me to include your restaurant or other organizational information in this weekly column, please email a web site or Facebook page link to me at Dan@SaratogaWire.com.
ON THE WIRE