proud chef: Dan Spitz and his bistro.
photo: Alicia Solsman
artists on Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs get a place
to eat, and so does the community
is not the typical Saratoga Springs street. Its longest-established
business, Bart’s Shoe Hospital, is housed in a ramshackle
building that seems to list to one side. A Do Not Cross yellow-tape
strand serves as the railing to its cement porch; a tipped-over
For Sale sign guards the entrance.
Sabino, who has lived in the neighborhood all his life and
inherited the business from his father, sits behind a cracked
wooden counter that is littered with cans of shoe polish and
plastic supermarket bags filled with splintered loafers. He
recalls that Beekman has seen better days: “There were businesses
throughout this area. This was a community inside of a community:
We had a bakery, a cheese shop, all the stores we needed.
There was a movie theater down the street, there were five
restaurants, and we had great artisans, craftspeople. Then
one by one they went away.”
According to Sabino, during the ’80s and ’90s the street was
overtaken with crime and drug dealers. But, of late, he says,
those elements have become few and far between; if Beekman
has seen better days, it’s also seen worse.
Beekman Street sits just a few blocks down from the tip of
Broadway that has been overrun by franchises. What has become
known as the “starving-artist section” of Saratoga is only
blocks away from McDonald’s, Boston Market, Pizza Hut and
Stewart’s—shops that serve as symbols for both Saratoga’s
success and its struggle to maintain its character.
There is development taking place on Beekman Street, too,
but it’s not the kind that has become typical for Saratoga.
Tim Meaney stands on the unfinished porch of his bistro on
Beekman Street amid the hum and twirl of sanders, saws and
drills. Dressed in white shorts, a Cake band T-shirt and a
baseball cap, Tim hardly looks like the owner of a hip new
bistro in Saratoga’s artist district. “We’re going to try
to keep it local, keep it fresh and buck the system and corporate
America,” he says, then he turns the handle on the door and—just
like that—the dust and grime of the construction gives way
to dark polished wide-board floors that are covered with welcoming
tables and surrounded by intricate pottery.
According to Beekman Bistro chef Dan Spitz, the idea behind
the bistro is to “use what’s in our backyard. These farmers
out here have to go to New York City to sell their products.
You will never see a Sysco truck in front of our place.” Spitz
is working with more than 20 local farms, and explains that
“some farmers don’t want to work with chefs because of our
demands, because of quantities; some things aren’t available
all the time. But I’m going to change my menu with what is
Another Beekman business, Gotchya’s Trading Co, also opened
its doors about two weeks ago after two years of renovations
on buildings that are centuries old. Michael Pape and Michelle
Corbett’s café and art gallery—along with Meaney and Spitz’s
bistro—has given city residents reason to visit Beekman Street,
besides the galleries. And it’s becoming harder to buy the
designation of Beekman as the starving-artist district. Especially
since Meaney and Spitz held two parties to announce their
opening, at which they served six-course dinners to invited
local artists and residents—for free.
Spitz points out that while the area is known as the starving-artist
district, “the artists don’t create much of a buzz. They are
inside making art seven days a week. So we are bringing more
people in. We help them out by hanging their work and they
have been helping us out by sending people down.” According
to Meaney, the bistro’s official opening was held without
advertising except for a small mailing to local artists. In
keeping with the theme of integrating the restaurant into
the community, Spitz has designed the portions and atmosphere
of his restaurant to promote long stays, to make people feel
comfortable to sit and chat. “This isn’t one of those unbutton-your-belt-when-you’re-done-with-your-meal
places,” he says.
The opening of Gotchya’s was also held without advertising.
Gotchya’s offers a different sort of fare from the Beekman
Street Bistro. Gotchya’s has one room dedicated to serving
café-style drinks and a whole other room dedicated to a one-artist
gallery. The cafe also features a stone patio. “I think people
are getting sick of corporate,” says Corbett. “This is the
last vestige of the real Saratoga,” adds Pape. They note that
their building has enjoyed a rich history and has been visited
by famous jockeys and gangsters alike. The building that was
once home to a distillery and was likely a speakeasy now is
home to the couple’s second-story clay-working gallery.
The couple also would like to get involved in film and have
spoken to the Film Forum about holding showings in their gallery.
According to Corbett, she has heard from local artisans that
they feel there is an impending shift in Saratoga from the
focus on the track to a focus on the arts. While she certainly
would not mind seeing that shift, she thinks for now the two
can coexist and feed into each other. Corbett sees the Beekman
district functioning akin to Christo’s The Gates:
“If something like that can happen at a small level here in
Saratoga, I think things will improve for everyone.”
Nick Sabino is excited about the new development on Beekman,
despite the fact that he has been forced to sell his property
and close Bart’s Shoe Hospital due to health reasons. “I don’t
see any reason it can’t happen here,” he says. “They can revitalize
the street. They can hold back the development. If they stick
together they can do it, but it will take time like everything
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (Saratoga State Park, Saratoga
Springs, tickets: 476-1000). 8/7: the Backstreet Boys.
MUSEUM (Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga
Springs, 580-8080). Fri: Sonny and Perley.
ALLEY BAR (Long Alley Road, Saratoga, 587-9766). Tue:
karaoke with Mark the Shark.
(Phila and Putnam streets, Saratoga Springs, 583-6060).
Thu: Juan and Corbin. Fri: Bobby Dick and the
Sundowners. Sat: Rich Ortiz. Sun: Chuck Kelsey.
THAN TOAST (454 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, www.thefarmtomarket.com).
Sun: Death Vessel and Tom Leach.
BOBBY BROWN’S ROCKIN BARBEQUE (Saratoga Lake, 584-2446).
Sat: E’Town Express. Sun: Marie Taziki and
BRINDISI’S RESTAURANT (390 Broadway, Saratoga Springs,
587-6262). Sat: Bluz House Rockers.
LENA (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-0022). Thu:
open mic (7 PM). Fri: the Rowan Brothers. Sat: Susan
Trump CD release party. Sun: Brian Gibney. Tue:
Utah Phillips & the Rose Tattoo.
CAFÉ (392 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 583-1106). Fri:
DJ dance party. Sat: karaoke with A-Man Productions.
Wed: Garland Nelson, Soul Session.
CAROLINE (13 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 580-0155).
Thu: karaoke. Fri: DJ. Sat: DJ. Tue: karaoke.
CLUB HOUSE (30 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 580-0686).
Fri-Sat: DJ Daniel Van D, hiphop, club mixes.
(411 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs, 587-9478). Fri: Sonic
O’DWYER’S (15 Spring St., Saratoga Springs, 583-6476).
Thu: Soul Session. Fri: Hot Buttered Rum String
Band. Sat: Brothers Past.
(16 Caroline St., Saratoga Springs, 587-7359). Thu: Bluz
House Rockers. Fri: Don Hommel and friends. Sat:
Rick Bolton and the Dwyer Sisters. Sun: Jeff Brisbin.
INN (1 Gridley St., Saratoga Springs, 587-4909). Sat:
Blue Hand Luke.
TAVERN (241 Union St., Saratoga Springs, 584-9643). Fri:
Catacomb Gypsy Vagina, Valley, Lucia
Lie. Sat: Vesper, Going Nowhere.
MAPLE AVENUE (9 Maple Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-CLUB).
Fri: Camille Morin Quartet. Sat: Keith Pray
(14 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, 583-3209). Fri: Danny
Garcia and Katy Dwyer. Sat: Mary Migliozzi
PANZA’S RESTAURANT (Route 9P, Saratoga Lake, 584-6882).
Thu: Noreen Pratt. Fri, Sat: Colleen Pratt,
PARTING GLASS (40-42 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs, 583-1916).
Thu: the Redeemers. Fri: Bluz House Rockers.
Sat: 2096 the Band.
SPORTS BAR (Phila Street, Saratoga Springs, 583-4214).
SARATOGA CITY TAVERN (Caroline Street and Maple Avenue,
Saratoga Springs, 581-3230). Thu: Rick Bolton.
Fri-Sat: DJ Chris. Tue: Dark Day Blues, George
Fletcher’s Bourbon Renewal. Wed: Jeff Halstead.
(168 Lincoln Ave., Saratoga Springs, 584-4030). Fri: Electric
City Horns. Sat: the Burners UK. Sun: Scotty
Mac. Mon: Big Medicine. Wed: Bluz House Rockers.
Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga
Springs. 8/4, 8:15 PM: The Philadelphia Orchestra, with violinist
Lisa Batiashvili, will perform works by Ravel, Sibelius and
Dvorák (Symphony No. 9). 8/5, 8:15 PM: Marvin Hamlisch
will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in a pops program
featuring the music of Richard Rogers. With tenor Mark McVey.
8/6, 8:15 PM: Violinist Gil Shaham joins the Philadelphia
Orchestra in works by Fauré, Debussy and Brahms (Violin
Concerto). 8/9, 7:30 PM: Boys Choir and Girls Choir of
Harlem in concert. $15, $8, free lawn admission for children
12 and under. 8/10, 8:15 PM: The Philadelphia Orchestra will
debut Ranjbaran’s Saratoga, and also perform works
by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. With pianist Emanuel Ax. $60-$15.
Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga
Springs. 8/7, 2:15 PM: Saratoga Chamber Music Festival presents
Gil Shaham (violin) and ensemble in works by Ranjbaran, De
Falla, Boccherini and Brahms. 8/9, 8:15 PM: Emanuel Ax (piano)
joins members of the Philadelphia Orchestra in works by Ranjbaran,
Mozart, Ravel and Martinü. $34.50-$29.50. 587-3330.
Center Gallery, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 584-4132.
Saratoga Inside Out. Through 9/3. Receptions 8/4, 6-9
PM, and 9/1, 6-8:30 PM.
Café, 392 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 583-1106. Works
by Pierre Bellocq. Through 9/5.
Congress Park, Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 584-4132. Art
in the Park I. 7/31, 10 AM-4 PM. Also, Public Art Works,
featuring works by Lee Nicholls, Bill McTygue, and Michael
L. Noonan. Through 12/31.
100, 445 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-0818. Photographs
by Phillip V. Caruso. 8/4-28. Reception 8/6, 6-8 PM.
Trading Co., 68 Beekman St., Saratoga Springs. 584-5772.
Truth Be Told, paintings by Chris Murray. Through 9/2.
Museum of Dance, 99 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 584-2225.
Dancing Rebels, an exhibit highlighting the work of
the New Dance Group. Through May 2006.
Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, 191 Union Ave., Saratoga
Springs. 584-0400. Peb: The Art of Humor, featuring
cartoons and caricatures by Pierre Bellocq, celebrating horses
and racing personalities. Through 12/31. Also, 11th Annual
Horsing Around with the Arts student art show. Through 9/30.
Also, Golden Memories: Fifty Years of the Racing Hall of
Fame; also, paintings from the Charles H. Thierot Collection.
New York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga
Springs. 581-5100. New York’s Fighting Zouaves. Through
Oct. 2005. Also, Battleground for Freedom: New York during
the Revolutionary War. Ongoing. Also, To the Standard:
Civil War Cavalry Flags from the NYS Battle Flag Collection.
Saratoga Automobile Museum, 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga
Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs. 587-1935 ext. 20. East
of Detroit, and New York Racing exhibit. Ongoing.
County Arts Council, Member Exhibition Hall, 320 Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. 584-4132. Works by Paul Arnold. Through
Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St., Saratoga Springs.
584-7860. Works by Monique Lemaire. Through 8/31.
Visitors Center, 297 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 587-3241.
Works by Robert Ewell. Through 8/29.
Skidmore College, Schick Art Gallery, 815 N. Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. 580-5049. Anything But Realism, group
exhibition. Through 9/22.
Street Gallery, 110 Spring St., Saratoga Springs. 587-6433.
Pathways, paintings by Joanne K. Murphy. Through 8/31.
Teaching Museum and Gallery, Skidmore College, 815 N.
Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-8080. Weapons of Mass Dissemination:
The Propaganda of War. Through 10/30. Also, Opener
9: Michael Oatman. Through 9/5.
Farmers Market, Dave Meager Community Center, Route 9,
Malta. Tuesdays, 11 AM-2 PM.
Saratoga Farmers Market, High Rock Park, High Rock Avenue,
Saratoga Springs. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM; Wednesdays, 3-6 PM.
Mountain Bike Association. Informal rides Tuesdays 6 PM,
Sundays 10 AM. 788-0847, www.saratogamtb.org.
Polo Association, Bloomfield and Denton roads, Saratoga
Springs. Matches every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday through
9/4, weather permitting. Gates open 4 PM, start time 5:30
PM. Post-game dinners 7:10 PM. $8 per person or $20 per carload.
Under 16 free. Season passes available. 584-8108, www.saratogapolo.com.
Stryders. 2005 Camp Saratoga Fun Run Series, Wilton Wildlife
Preserve and Park’s Camp Saratoga, Scout Road (off Route 50),
Wilton. 8/8, 8/22: 6:15 PM. Tony Mangano, 584-3488 or www.saratogastryders.org.
John Velazquez tosses his whip to a handler upon entering
the winner's circle on board Flower Alley, winner of the Jim