2. The Cheesecake Factory
3. Albany Pump Station
times like these, there’s nothing more American than comfort
food; that’s what winner T.G.I. Friday’s offers. (That, and
tchotchkes.) The runners-up specialize in two other comforts,
dessert and beer. (Mmm, beer.)
2. Lombardo’s Restaurant (of Albany)
3. Caffe Italia
and Schenectady may have Little Italy neighborhoods, but your
two favorite Italian dining spots are just around the corner
from each other in Albany’s Mansion Neighborhood. (And just
down the hill from Metroland, for which we are thankful.)
2. La Serre
3. Nicole’s Bistro
won handily in this category for serving up fine French fare
in its Stuyvesant Plaza setting; downtown Albany stalwart
La Serre finished a respectable second. And the late, great
Nicole’s Bistro finished third—her restaurant will be missed,
but French-food lovers should also note that the culinary
tradition lives on in the same building.
Reel Seafood Company
2. Red Lobster
3. Jack’s Oyster House
we’re a bit shocked to see Red Lobster squeezed in there between
two of the area’s finest seafood shanties, we’re pleased to
report that Reel Seafood Company (not the chain, mind you)
won by leagues and leagues.
2. Plum Blossom
3. P.F. Chang’s
reliably good Chinese and Japanese fare has solidified its
place in the hearts and palates of local diners; surprisingly
close was the way-out-on-Hoosick Street Plum Blossom, still
loved by those in the know. And the new chain in town, P.F.
Chang’s, has made a good first impression.
Koto Japanese Steakhouse
3. Hana Japanese Steakhouse
finished a close second, but Koto has made its name with excellent
sushi, tempura, bento box lunches and the like, and the tastiest
habachi-table entertaining around.
2. Van’s Vietnamese Restaurant
3. Sushi Thai Garden
Linh wins again. Talk about an institution.
2. El Loco Mexican Café
3. Pancho’s Restaurant
Mariachi has great food, and also three locations. Reliable
El Loco has great food in one location. And Pancho’s brings
the Southwest to the suburbs.
Southern/ Soul Food
2. Magnolias on the Park
3. Capital Q Smokehouse
wasn’t close at all; Saratoga institution Hattie’s won big.
Props to Magnolias, though, and that temple of barbecue on
Albany’s Ontario Street, Capital Q.
Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant & Grocery
2. Caribbean First Choice
3. Kenneth’s Taste Bud
could really go for a heaping plate of jerk chicken, ital
stew, calalloo, rice and cabbage right about now (drool),
and these three—Henry Johnson Boulevard neighbors Roy’s and
Kenneth’s and Troy staple First Choice—serve up the best of
those rich island flavors.
is a local favorite for curry and korma, with Sitar close
behind. And relative newcomers Karavalli have made a big impression
in the past few years, on critics and conissuers alike.
A Taste of Greece
3. Grecian Gardens
Taste of Greece is the clear winner in this one, scoring more
than twice the votes as its runner-up. Be proud, Taste.
2. Four Seasons Natural Foods
3. The Deli at Honest Weight Food Co-Op
say tomato, I say tomahto. But almost everyone seems to agree
that Antipasto’s is the place to go for vegetarian cuisine.
Your second and third place picks offer café and deli eats
in market settings. Next time you’re picking up a sack of
quinoa, treat yourself to a bite.
2. Yono’s Restaurant
3. BFS Restaurant
is a nice upset for Avenue A. Over the past couple years,
you all have chosen Yono’s as your No. 1. This year, Avenue
A won by a hefty margin. Savor the victory.
Angelo’s 677 Prime
2. Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse
3. Outback Steakhouse
677 won handily (prices aside, we’ve heard scant few complaints
about the steaks themselves), though the old-school institution
Delmonico’s made it a race. And you frequent mallgoers love
the Outback chain.
2. (tie) Giffy’s Bar-B-Q/Capital Q Smokehouse
Bones was opened by the folks who own Olive Garden and Red
Lobster, and was recently aqquired by the owners of Big 10
tires, Boston Market and Lillian Vernon (to name a very few).
We concede your selection. Now we recommend that you go suck
some meat off some bones at local barbecue legends Captial
Q and Giffy’s and get back to us next year.
Brew Pub: Brown's Brewing Co.
Brown’s Brewing Co.
2. Albany Pump StationWell,
if we know one thing it’s that our readers like their beer.
Lots of votes in this category, and we mean lots. Brown’s
and the Pump Station craft their fine brews for Albany and
Troy respectively, and both top it off with tasty pub fare.
Mahar’s Public Bar
2. Brown’s Brewing Co.
3. Albany Pump Station
may not brew its own, but the Madison Avenue landmark is a
beer lover’s paradise. Don’t sidle up to this bar for a martini.
They serve beer, and only beer, offering a rotating selection
of hundreds of international bottles—enough that they offer
a world tour of beers—and around 30 beers on tap, including
imports, domestic craft beers and cask ales, which are pumped
authentically by hand. And, of course, your brew-pub winners
place again in this category.
Latham 76 Diner
2. Gateway Diner
3. Metro 20 Diner
we love all diners, but we love Latham 76 the most—though
Gateway’s sleek new look made this a horse race.
Gershon’s Deli & Caterers
2. The Deli and Brew
3. Maurice’s Pearl Street Deli
anyone in Schenectady: Gershon’s is the real deal. This was
2. Gideon Putnam Resort
Gideon Putnam has long had the reputation for doing the best
hotel-style brunch, while Sunday eggs, hash and bloodies at
Justin’s have long cured the hangovers of those who closed
the bar the night before. But it’s Café Madison, with its
many gourmet twists on classic breakfast fare, that won easily.
Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In
2. Lanie’s Café
3. El Mariachi (Hamilton Street)
you couldn’t find three more different dining experiences
than in this close race. Jumpin’ Jack’s Drive-In is a Scotia
landmark for a riverside picnic of burgers and fries. Lanie’s
Café offers bistro Italian on its Loudonville patio, and El
Mariachi doles out top-notch Mexican at its Center Square
Bombers Burrito Bar
2. Gus’s Hotdogs
Burrito Bar is a Lark Street staple and perennial cheap-eats
winner for basement-rolled burritos the size of a newborn.
Gus’ grills up burgers and Troy’s famous little hot dogs in
its Watervliet weiner shack, and McDonald’s, well, we’ll chalk
that up to the economy.
Glen Sanders Mansion
2. Old Daley Inn
3. Classé Catering
one was neck-and-neck, but Glen Sanders eeked out another
2. Red Robin
3. Sutter’s Mill & Mining Co.
one was even closer, with Red Robin and Five Guys two votes
apart. So close. Remember, people, your votes make a difference!
Wings Over Albany
2. Bombers Burrito Bar
3. Ale House
in the sky, they’re hot, greasy, and guaranteed to soil your
power tie. Wings Over Albany soared to first place, while
Bombers proved that pizza isn’t the only food wings go with,
and the Ale House reminded you all that chicken goes best
with cold libation.
I Love NY Pizza
2. Paesan’s Pizza
3. The Fountain
Love NY Pizza remains your pie in the sky.
2. Uncommon Grounds
3. Price Chopper
there is arguably no fresh New York- or Montreal-style bagel
to be had around here, Breugger’s hardly disappoints: It outpolled
its nearest challenger, big-fat-bagel specialists Uncommon
Grounds, by more than 275 votes. meanwhile, the fresh-baked
bagels at certain Price Choppers are one of the region’s best-kept
2. Debbie’s Kitchen
3. Mr. Subb
Avenue favorite Debbie’s Kitchen is . . . ahem . . . sandwiched
between the two big chains. Jared’s been stuffing the ballots
2. Ben & Jerry’s
3. Cold Stone Creamery
remains a favorite for the wide variety of quality ice cream.
The shingled shoppes have been an integral part of the Capital
Region’s character for generations. Ben & Jerry’s rich
concoctions came in a close second, with Cold Stone Creamery’s
custom creations pulling up the rear.
3. Uncommon Grounds
gentle reminder: The category is best coffee, not most pervasive
coffee. Congrats to Uncommon Grounds to showing in a mega-chain-dominated
The Cheesecake Factory
2. Villa Italia
3. Bella Napoli
votes for best dessert seemed to roll in like pastries on
a conveyor belt. We suspect that Cheesecake Factory may have
streamlined public opinion, not unlike the product. Congrats
to Villa Italia and Bella Napoli for being so darn Italian.
Wine Bar & Bistro
2. Vin Santo
3. The Ginger Man
with the “Best Wine Bar” category in People & Places,
the tallying was muddied by the fact that a number of people
voted for “The Wine Bar” without specifying whether they meant
Albany or Saratoga. However, enough voters did specify the
Lark Street bistro to make it a clear winner in the wine list
category, with Latham’s Vin Santo and Albany’s Ginger Man
2. Villa Italia
clear leader in this pack, there is nothing—nothing—that we
want more right now than a pastry from Bella Napoli.
hometown favorite edges out the national chain in this category.
Capital Buffet (Wolf Road)
2. Dragon Buffet (Central Ave)
3. Golden Phoenix (Niskayuna)
one was a barn burner, and we’re willing to bet it all came
down to whose crab rangoon was more real. Capital Buffet edged
Dragon Buffet by one dumpling, but good fortune surrounds
the Golden Phoenix, whose lucky numbers are 27, 4, 16, and
Restaurant to take a Date
2. Angelo’s 677 Prime
3. The Melting Pot
don’t suspect that any of this year’s winners offer tableside
accordian players, but Justin’s has the lockdown on dinner
jazz, Angelo’s 677 Prime has swank in abundance, and the Melting
Pot lets you gaze deep into your date’s eyes while you dip
stuff in other stuff.
Restaurant to Take the Kids
2. Red Robin
3. Chuck E. Cheese
think Friendly’s might actually be the best place to take
someone else’s kids. That way you can drop them off
before the strawberry-caramel-gummybear- sundae and cotton-candy-soda
uber sugar high kicks in.
Restaurant for a Power Lunch
Angelo’s 677 Prime
2. Jack’s Oyster House
3. Panera Bread
completely understand the close race here between 677, where
the hefty prices and stately surroundings demand that your
business proposal be taken seriously, and the venerable Jack’s,
where you can almost hear the whispers of O’Connell, Corning,
et al., deciding the fates of Albany. But we can only scratch
our heads over what a power lunch at Panera would look like.
2. Midtown Tap & Tea Room
3. Apertivo Bistro
trendy tapas craze that never really took hold in Albany did
manage to leave in its wake these great restaurants and their
small-plate offerings. Good.
Best Place to Eat at 3 am
2. Bob’s Diner
3. Latham 76 Diner
face it, if you’re trolling for a bite at 3 AM, your palate
is not going to be—how you say—discerning. Diner food tends
to do the trick, so we suppose one Denny’s is as good as the
next for late-night munchies. Bob’s and Latham 76 will stuff
your gullet but spare you the pleather booths.
2. Café Madison
3. Bob’s Diner
Madison and Bob’s Diner are well-loved and have turned up
in multiple categories; here, though, where the question is
about basic eggs, bacon, pancakes and toast, Denny’s rules.
Empire Vision Centers
2. Dinapoli Opticians
eyes . . . er . . . ayes have it. Empire Vision Centers wins
2. Best Buy
Now we know where to get the perfect chest freezer for our
Aunt Katie’s Attic
2. Bournebrook Antique Center
3. At the Warehouse
eclectic selection of exciting locations to unearth that ancient
Barnes & Noble
3. The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza
no longer shout at each other from across Wolf Road, but the
competition beetween Borders and Barnes & Noble is still
fierce, and only three votes separated them in this poll.
Pulling a very respectable third place was your favorite indie
bookstore, the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.
Coulson’s News Center
2. Westmere News
Coulson’s has managed to build a loyal client base over the
last 114 years.
Runner High Speed Online obliterated the competition yet again.
Hewitt’s Garden Centers
2. Faddegon’s Nursery
went out on a limb (yeah, ouch) for Hewitt’s once again.
2. Lark Street Flower Market
3. Emil J. Nagengast Florist
think perhaps our readers do not differentiate between a “florist”
and a “place were you can buy flowers.” So we’ll toss our
plug to third-place florist Emil J. Nagengast. Five generations
of Nagengast florists have been helping the Capital Region
say it with flowers for 99 years.
3. Radio Shack
Buy for the camera and computer, Hippo’s for the custom home-theater
system. Radio Shack for, um, the remote-control dragonfly?
Different Drummer’s Kitchen
2. Bed Bath & Beyond
Drummer’s Kitchen ran away with this one, which makes us smile
because it’s the only non-national chain in the group; three
of its four stores are in our distribution area (Stuyvesant
and Newton plazas and Lenox, Mass.), and the fourth is in
our day-trip fave city Northampton, Mass.
Taft Furniture Warehouse
2. Old Brick
3. Huck Finn’s Warehouse
drive from miles around to vist the state’s largest furniture
showroom—Taft—right here in our backyard. Old Brick holds
strong again at No. 2, but this year Huck Finn snuck into
third place. Is it the beguiling TV spots, or the bargain
Pet Supply Store
3. Benson’s Pet Center
big two top the list again, but we implore you readers: Take
a spin through local chain (and close-third) Benson’s Pet
Center. You may find yourselves converted.
2. Wit’s End Giftique
3. Pearl Grant Richmans
is a perennial favorite, packing a surprising selection in
the Lark Street walk-up. Wit’s End is the Clifton Park wonder
emporium of gifts, and Pearl Grant Richman’s at Stuyvesant
Plaza delights the gift gourmand.
2. Exit 9 Wine & Liquor Warehouse
3. All Star Wine and Spirits
their second year of eligibility, the folks at Empire Wine
clawed their way to the top of this category, using that rare
combo of wine knowledge and good bargains to edge Exit 9.
The always- dependable All-Star finished a close third.
2. Salvation Army
guess when you’re 14, Abercrombie’s Fall 2007 collection seems
“vintage,” but if you can legally purchase alcohol, may we
suggest the thrift-store standbys.
2. Ann Taylor
3. JC Penney
is no surprise that Macy’s tops your pick of best clothing
stores, with regular sales and top-quality wares, we know
that it is hard for us to stay away.
2. JC Penney
sales are the stuff of legend.
Children’s Clothing Store
2. The Children’s Place
them started early and they’ll be shopping at Gap Senior one
Women’s Shoe Store
2. Shoe Depot
No.1 is always our first stop on any trip to Crossgates, because
rows and rows and rows of gleaming, tasty and affordable shoes
are too hard to resist.
Men’s Shoe Store
3. Shoe Depot
never fails to provide awesome shoes for even awesomer prices.
2. (Tie) The Closet Shop
Fifi’s Frocks & Frills
Closet swept this category with its trendy, gently-used styles
for the youth set. Or, if you’ve outgrown the tweener look,
take a spin through the Closet Shop and Fifi’s Frocks &
Frills and try to break the tie.
Jean Paul Salon
3. Fantastic Sams
heard dern good things about Jean Paul Salon and Rumors, but
we’d put the office Flowbee up against Fantastic Sams any
2. Sports Authority
3. Goldstock’s Sporting Goods
again, big-box stalwart Dick’s knocks this category out of
the park. But if you’re looking for that human touch you can
find only in a locally owned store, Goldstock’s still has
it after all these years.
2. Northern Lights Smoke Shop
3. Shining Star
know nothing about this, so we guess we’ll have to take your
word on it.
Holistic Shop: Peaceful Inspirations
2. Honest Weight Food Co-Op
your top pick’s name puts us at peace.
Arlene’s Artist Materials
3. A.C. Moore
and forever, Arlene’s.
Downtube Cycle Works
2. Plaine’s Bike Ski and Snowboard
3. Freemans Bridge Sports
year by a landslide. It’s like racing a LeMond against a Big
Toys ‘R’ Us
2. G. Willikers
3. KB Toys
‘R’ Us, everybody’s favorite toy chain, won this in a landslide;
KB Toys, now in its death throes, finished a distant third.
But a small, local store with lots of personality, G. Willikers,
managed a respectable second.
climbs a notch to No. 2 and Blockbuster tumbles, as we continue
our slow farewell to the age of video rental.
2. Tom Spaulding Tattoo Studio
3. Dead Presidents Lounge
Tattoo remains, far and away, our reader’s favorite place
to get inked, but stalwart Spaulding and Dead Presidents’
fresh talent earned top rankings.
you hear me NOW beeatch? Also: We wonder if the iPhone has
anything to do with AT&T’s runner-up status?
Northeastern Fine Jewelry
2. Hannoush Jewelers
3. Glennpeter Jewelers
we really don’t know much about the shmancy jewels, but we’ll
trust your picks. This one was a close race.
Kimberly’s A Day Spa
2. Jean Paul Spa
3. Complexions Spa
readers can pamper themselves with the best of ‘em. And according
to you, Kimberly’s is the best of ‘em. Enjoy your hot stone
Musical Instrument Store
2. Guitar Center
3. (TIE) Hermies Music Store and Drome Sound
happy to see local favorite Parkway pull ahead of music mega
store Guitar Center this year, while Hermies and Drome Sound
continue to bring the beat.
Indian Ladder Farms
2. Goold Orchard
3. Bowman Orchards
crisp apples, the pastoral heldeberg setting, the petting
zoo, shop, café and bakery, and the doughnuts, oh, the doughnuts,
make Indian Ladder Farms the top pick by a landslide.
Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market
2. Saratoga Farmers’ Market
3. Schenectady Greenmarket
to choose among these three? They’re all great, and they all
provide a fun and healthy way to spend a couple of weekend
hours stocking up on fresh food and catching up with the neighbors
in a pleasant setting. But our readers did have a clear preference:
Troy won this by more than 200 votes.
3. Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market
improvements to Price Chopper’s produce sections in recent
years paid off with our readers, who “picked” them by a more
than 2-to-1 margin over Hannaford.
Place to Buy A Computer
2. The Apple Store
Buy boasts rows and rows of computers, and now that it also
offers Apple products, no wonder it is the leader.
Place to Service A Computer
Best Buy Geek Squad
2. The Apple Store
3. Capital Systems Integration
isn’t called the Geek Squad for nothing.
2. Mohawk Commons
3. Newton Plaza
Plaza triumphs again, with its winning mix of independent
shops, spas eatieries and boutique chains. Mohawk Commons
is a big-box shopper’s heaven, and Newton Plaza offers a little
bit of everything.
2. Crossgates Mall
Center pulled ahead of Crossgates this year by a significant
margin. Guess the massive renovations paid off.
3. New York City
Springs—its thriving shopping district contained within a
pleasantly walkable, several-block-square area—seems a no-brainer.
Albany, whose downtown business district is not exactly a
shoppers’ mecca, does have a lot of interesting stores spread
out in several neighborhoods, and our readers obviously like
this. And every year, a bunch of you have to write in “New
York City” with smirks on your faces. When high-speed rail
makes Manhattan that much closer, maybe we won’t groan so
Prime Outlets—Lee, Mass.
2. Factory Outlets of Lake George
3. Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
don’t know who doesn’t like outlet shopping, or who wouldn’t
be satisfied at any of these three. We think pure geography
may be at work here, as these were ranked neatly in descending
order of travel time from Albany.
3. Honest Weight Food Co-Op
fierce divide exists between Price Chopper and Hannaford loyalists,
making it a farily close call. As always, we’re happy to see
Honest Weight bringing up the rear.
Health Food Store
Honest Weight Food Co-Op
3. Green Grocer
here, Honest Weight shines in a clear victory. As always,
there’s no better place for the conscientious connoisseur.
Record Store (used)
3. The River Street Beat Shop
two locations, both worn in like a favorite pair of jeans,
this annual winner is holding strong in the digital music
revolution—a true last Last Vestige for vinyl lovers.
Record Store (new)
2. Best Buy
3. Last Vestige
was the clear winner here, but it was a close race for second
and third. Hit the box chains for your bargain shopping. Last
Vestige stocks an array of albums by local musicians, and
an impressive collection of new music on vinyl.
2. Thacher Park
3. The Crossings
Park won this by a big 150-vote margin. That said, these are
three very different parks (urban, rural, suburban) with distinct,
and wonderful, qualities.
2. Washington Park
3. Central Park
kids will love playing at any of these parks. But there’s
something about the size and newness of the playground at
the Crossings that just dazzles.
2. New York City
3. Thacher Park
you all like big lakes more than you do big skyscrapers? While
we can’t exactly agree with you there, we can agree that a
lazy day of boating sounds about perfect right now.
Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail
2. Corning Preserve
3. Thacher Park
is just no topping the Mohawk-Hudson trail for ease and access,
for sure. And don’t panic about riding under the Twin Bridges—you
probably won’t get hit by anything thrown from the cars above.
2. Mohawk-Hudson Bike Trail
3. The Crossings
tell us all the time that running is great exercise, and addictive.
We’re going to have to take their word on it.
2. Five Rivers
3. The Adirondacks
very much enjoy the lovely and varied hiking at Thacher Park,
which won by more than 50 votes. And we also love hiking the
trails at Five Rivers. And for those who can’t narrow their
favorite spot down to a manageable several hunderd acres,
there’s always No. 3: the Adirondacks. We’re sure there’s
some good hiking to be had in there somewhere.
Albany’s Indoor Rock Gym
2. The Shawangunk Ridge
3. Electric City Rock Gym
have never understood the desire to climb up big rocks, but
we know that if we one day had that desire we’d rather do
it inside than outside. Seems like there must be less chance
2. Gold’s Gym
what life would be like on Planet Fitness. Healthy. Happy.
Annoying? Nah. Getting fit is the best thing you can do for
yourself. So go, now.
2. Mary Panza
3. Chris Minehan
our aching shoulders. Our twitchy hamstring. We’ve never been
fortunate enough to sample the talents of your top three favorites
(hint, hint), so we have to take your word on this. But the
top practioners in this category are people we’d like to know.
2. Orenda Yoga & Healing Arts
3. Albany Pilates Center
we all agree. The trainers from HeartSpace graced our cover
this year, and you obviously really, really like them. Yay.
Saratoga National Golf Club
2. Town of Colonie Golf Course
2. Oasis Family Fun Park
3. Pirate’s Cove
edged its way into the top three this year, but Hoffman’s
is still the reigning champ.
2. Jiminy Peak
skiing, one very close (Jiminy), and the other not all that
much farther (Gore).
Empire State Plaza
3. Swinburne Park
will take the victory of the ESP rink as a protest against
its closing for budgetary reasons. Are you listening, Gov.
2. Sunset Lanes
3. Spare Time
’em up, and knock ’em down. Another strike for the Playdium.
Diamond 8 Billiards
2. Golden Cue
3. Trick Shot
wouldn’t hustle ya, Diamond 8 is at the top of their game.
Bar: Tess' Lark Tavern
Tess’ Lark Tavern
2. The Bayou Café
3. Lionheart Pub
Collins took an Albany institution and has made it even more
popular than it was before. The Bayou Café brings a touch
of Louisiana to the North Pearl Street strip and the ’burbs,
and the Lionheart Pub remains a Center Square favorite.
2. The Bayou Café
3. Café Hollywood
2. The Waterworks Pub
of course, is an institution in Albany, and easily wins this
category year after year.
The Wine Bar & Bistro
2. (tie) Wine Bar Saratoga and Vin Santo
you crazy nonspecific readers. You see, there are two
“Wine Bars”: the Wine Bar in Saratoga and the Wine Bar &
Bistro in Albany. Unfortunately, many of you wrote in, simply,
“The Wine Bar.” Fortunately, enough of you did make a distinction
that gave the Wine Bar & Bistro an insurmountable lead.
Meanwhile, our mathematical projections on splitting the nonspecific
votes leave second place, between Saratoga’s Wine Bar and
Latham’s Vin Santo, too close to call.
Happy Hour Bar
Tess’ Lark Tavern
2. Lionheart Pub
3. Bombers Burrito Bar
can feel and hear it when you walk in the door at Tess’ Lark
Tavern—happy people. The fact that the two runners-up are
also Center Square mainstays means Albany’s Lark Street is
your go-to destination for after-work libations.
2. Night Moves
3. Double Vision
wasn’t even close. DiCarlo’s won by more than 100 votes. It’s
the gentleman’s club’s gentleman’s club.
Kevin McLaughlin, Potter’s Tavern
2. Jamie Brill, Delmonico’s
3. Michael Callagan, The Mill at Round Lake
your big winners this year with a generous tip.
Michael Callagan, The Mill at Round Lake
2. Marshall Morgan, 1228 Grill
that most people couldn’t remember their server the second
after leaving the restaurant, your top picks must be hella
likable, and lucky.
2. Kirsten Gillibrand
3. Jim Tedesco
this is an election year, Albany’s mayor can’t help be happy
with this result. He finsished about as far ahead of Gillibrand
as she finished ahead of the man trying to replace her in
2. Kirsten Gillibrand
3. Barbara Smith
Green is the face of advocacy in the Capital Region.
Two elected officials, our new U.S. senator, Kirsten Gillibrand,
and Albany Common Councilwoman Barbara Smith, finished well
Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society
2. Steve Caporizzo
Barker would be so proud.
Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society
3. Ronald McDonald House
in times like these, charitable giving is essential. These
three organizations provide very different, very valuable
2. Lake George
3. Grafton Lakes State Park
prefer the lakes to swimming pools, cause our idea of a good
swim involves beer. Wonder if you all would have voted differently
in the summertime?
Lake George State Campground
2. Thompson’s Lake State Park
3. Moreau State Park
guess that having “campground” in your name counts for something.
Barkley at Brunswick Harley
2. “The Dog” at All Star Wine and Spirits
was a wee bit of confusion over this category, as we were
looking for specific critters that serve as in-store pets,
not conducting a poll as to which kind of critter makes the
best in-store pet. (We got a lot of votes for “dog” and “cat.”)
No matter, because Barkley won in a landslide!
WNYT News Channel 13
2. Capital News 9
3. WTEN News 10
without the much-loved Lydia Kulbida (see below), WNYT won
this category comfortably. “Weather on the nines” Capital
News 9 remains popular for its reliability and (it’s no sin)
predictability. WTEN repeats as number three, not far behind
its cable-based rival.
News Anchor: Lydia Kulbida
2. John Gray
3. Liz Bishop
wasn’t much of a gap between the top vote getters, and three
conclusions can be gleaned from your picks. One, you are still
mightily pissed that NewsChannel 13 let Lydia Kulbida go.
Two, John Gray absolutely did the right thing leaving that
same station for Fox 23. Three, WRGB bosses better hang on
to Liz Bishop, or the wrath of the Capital Region will be
on them, too.
2. Steve Caporizzo
3. Paul Caiano
close contest between WNYT’s Kovachik and WTEN’s Caporizzo;
both have won the category in past years, and they’re clearly
the region’s favorites. We’re glad Paul Caiano made the top
three because he’s terrific, but also so that we could apologize
for hideously misspelling his name last year. (Our offense?
“Pail Caino.” We’re pretty sure we were drunk—or at least,
isn’t it pretty to think so?)
2. Doug Sherman
3. Joe Calderone
13 has a deep bench; sportscaster Rodger Wyland, who won this
by a wide margin, is one of the reasons the station still
wins Best TV News. WRGB’s Sherman and Capital News 9’s Calderone
clearly know their way around a diamond (and green and field
and court and rink), too.
won with a comfortable 100-vote margin over WGY, which in
turn led WROW with an almost equally cushy 80-vote margin.
The difference is obvious: WAMC has quality news all day;
WGY has quality news in the morning, before syndicated talk-radio
blowhards take over; and WROW still hasn’t snapped back from
its previous successes.
3. 104.9/The Edge
result actually helps us. One, it reinforces our own belief
that Vermont’s WEQX is still the best commercial radio station
in the area. Two, the second place finish by WGNA tasks us
to maybe think about country music more often than we do.
Three, the third place finish by the Edge (not so far behind
WGNA, actually) lets us know you still like it hard. Rock
2. Kevin Richards
to you, discerning readers, for keeping it loud and local
in honoring Ralph Renna (and his Sunday night stint on the
Edge) in this category. Renna had a comfortable—but not too
comfortable—lead on WGNA’s Kevin Richards and WEQX’s Darwin.
2. Times Union
3. Daily Gazette
shucks . . . you guys really are the best.
2. Times Union
realize these surveys went out mainly to Metroland
(print and Web site) readers—so we know beter than to gloat
over these landslides—but we’re still flattered. Thanks again.
2. Fred LeBrun
3. Greg Haymes
Times Union scored a hat trick with these three very different
writers: Grondahl’s got a way with long-form journalism like
nobody else in town; LeBrun casts an impassive eye on the
local scene from a columnist’s perch; and Haymes is a thoughtful
critic and observer of the music scene.
2. Martin, Harding & Mazzotti
HUGE, Billy Fucillo, scored a HUGE victory in this category
for his auto commercials over legal “heavy hitters” Martin,
Harding & Mazotti and Koto, the ads for which make viewers
crave Asian culinary delights.
Web Site (news)
2. Capital News 9
one wasn’t close: the Times Union is the clear go-to place
on the Web for up-to-the-minute local news.
Web Site (community)
2. All Over Albany
category produced a sobering result, in that it was one of
the least voted on categories. Capital Region Web users
seem to lack enthusiasm for any of these sites.
Web Site (arts)
2. Times Union
3. 518 Fever
seen the Web page view totals. We know what you mean by “arts”—Metroland’s
online movie schedule. Those responsible for creating this
page thank you very much.
Web Site (music)
3. 518 Fever
is an acronym that’s too long to write out, mainly because
we want to save room to praise the site for its scope and
quality. We were close behind them in votes. (Thank you.)
As for 518 Fever, they are doing their best to be the home
of the hotness.
All Over Albany
2. Table Hopping
3. Sirsy (on the Times Union site)
newcomers All Over Albany managed a one-vote victory over
Steve Barnes’ savvy restaurant blog, Table Hopping. As for
the third-place winner: You people love Sirsy.
Spectrum 8 Theatres
2. Regal Colonie Center Stadium 13
3. Regal Crossgates Stadium 18
winners Spectrum 8 Theatres won again, this time edging their
nearest competitor by 200 votes. (Almost as big as Al Franken’s
current lead over that worm Norm Coleman!) The surprise is
that the new—and quite wonderful—Regal Colonie Center multiplex
thumped its nearest mall rival by a wide margin, too.
New York State Museum
2. Albany Institute of History & Art
3. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
New York State Museum won this in a walk—by an over-200-vote
margin, to be exact. Why not? It’s a history museum, an art
museum, a children’s museum and a nature museum. The AIHA
remains the closest local fave; MASS MoCA’s strong finish
proves you dig the modern art—and a nice drive.
Albany Institute of History & Art
2. Upstate Artists Guild
3. (TIE) Clark Art Institute and Amrose Sable Gallery
head-scratcher of a result, which means it’s our fault and
we need to refine the category. These are fine institutions
all, but the Clark and UAG don’t exactly have a lot in common.
Local Performing Arts Organization
Capital Repertory Theatre
2. Saratoga Performing Arts Center
3. New York State Theatre Institute
Rep has been keeping professional theater alive on Pearl Street
for decades; SPAC has showcased arts high and low for decades;
NYSTI has been making great theater for decades. You like
Children’s Arts Programming
Steamer No. 10 Theatre
2. Albany Art Room
3. RPI Young Actors Guild
to our friends at Steamer No. 10, who make great kids’ theater
(and are a parent’s godsend with their school-vacation-time
programming). The RPI Young Actors Guild came within one vote
of tying newcomer Albany Art Room.
Local Visual Artist
2. (TIE) Tommy Watkins and Samson Contampassis
N Soul’s Janet Tanguay is not only a visual artist, but an
educator and life lecturer. She slighty edged out former Local
Hero Watkins and Samson Contampassis.
Live Theater Venue
2. Capital Repertory Theatre
3. Palace Theatre
verdict is in: You love the kind of big Broadway shows that
the Proctors expansion made possible; Schenectady’s grand
venue won by a big margin.
2. John Sayles
3. Sean Cranston
natives Mike Feurstein (eScape, the Lost-like
film series about a group of lost kids) and John Sayles were
a close one and two; may we gently suggest that Sayles is
no longer a “local filmmaker” and plead with y’all not to
vote for him anymore?
2. Dan Wilcox
3. R.M. Englehardt
up any open mic in town and you’re likely to see one of the
above, if not reading then organizing the whole shebang. These
three are, indeed, the word on the street. Rest assured, there’ll
be no bad blood here.
2. James Howard Kunstler
3. Vincent Zandri
ye any doubt? Kennedy’s pretty much immortalized Albany in
his work, and you all never seem to forget. Kunstler’s cultural
criticism and Zandri’s crime fiction seem to have earned their
Local Solo Musician
2. Sean Rowe
3. Kevin McKrell
Mike Grosshandler just edged soul man Rowe and local Celtic-music
icon McKrell for this honor.
Live Music Venue
2. Saratoga Performing Arts Center
3. Northern Lights
sound and great beer in a great space beat out big names under
the stars for this one. And handily, we might add. They’ve
had a rough go of it these past couple years, but Northern
Lights won’t stay down, and for that you all seem grateful.
2. Lark Tavern
3. Caffe Lena
winner in this catergory proves that legacy only goes so far
when it comes to the amateur showcase. Caffe Lena can boast
a pretty impressive list of visiting songwriters, but the
Muddy Cup and the Lark Tavern consistently take it into the
2. Bourbon Street
willing to bet that “More Than a Feeling” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”
sound just about the same at all of the above, but karaoke’s
not about how you sing, it’s about who you subject to your
howling. Evidently Oh Bar’s the place for the sympathetically
Dance Club/ Night Club
we’ve heard tell about this Fuze Box. Friends of friends have
whispered about Jillian’s. All that carousing, cavorting,
bumping and grinding . . . it’s indecent. But if you must
gyrate, we guess it’s best that you not do it in the street.
Back 40 Band
2. Loose Cannons Live
3. Aged in the Hills
we asked for the best country band, you didn’t give us no
namby-pamby indie alt-country outfit. Back 40 Band are the
true red-white-and-blue, boots-and-spurs, countryfest-rocking
Local Blues/ R&B Band
2. Foy Brothers
3. Solid Smoke
gonna take more than 80 years of experience to edge out Ernie
Williams for this honor. You all understand that blues is
not a democracy. The Foy Brothers and Solid Smoke sure get
around, but Williams is like royalty.
Local Jazz Band
2. Adrian Cohen
3. Keith Pray
(already) been a big year for Brian Patneaude, so he’s earned
his landslide victory in this catergory. The guy’s a mainstay
. . . but then so are Cohen and Pray. Good thing jazz music’s
nothing like wild-west gunfighting. This town’s big enough
for the three of them.
Local Rock Band: Ten Year Vamp
Local Rock Band
Ten Year Vamp
2. The Velmas
3. Super 400
years is starting to seem like a modest amount of vamping
time, judging by the number of times these guys have taken
top honors. The Velmas were a close second this year, though.
And it must be something about that power trio thing that
earned Super 400 the bronze. Oh yeah: They rock.
Local Hip-Hop Artist
3. Oddy Gato
been seeing those Oddy Gato stickers all over town, but the
only votes we’re counting are the ones we got in the mail.
That’s why top honors go to Broadcast Live, the socially-conscious
group who just celebrated their second CD release.
Local Punk Band
2. Kode Blue
3. (TIE) Blasé Debris and Bulldog Courage
contest can be the kind that ends in black eyes and bloody
noses. Society High are the last band standing this time,
but more surprising is the tie at third place. Can we propose
a little merger, though: How cool would a band called Blasé
Debris and Bulldog Courage be?
Local Alternative Band
2. Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned
Sirsy—it wouldn’t be a readers poll without you. If Albany
had a house band, Sirsy would be it. Sgt. Dunbar are a scrappy
lot though, and—dude—there’s like 80 of them. Even if they
all just voted for themselves, Dead-Lift still wouldn’t have
stood a chance.
Metal/ Hardcore Band
2. Last Call
3. Brick by Brick
for their looting, pillaging, horns and exceptional chest
hair, Viking reign supreme here—was there any doubt? In a
town that’s about as hardcore as they come, though, it’s still
a big honor.
Local Cover Band
2. Soul Session
exactly does one determine the best local cover band? Largest
repertoire? Best Axl Rose impression? That’s for you to decide
and us to report. However you sliced it, Audiostars lived
up to their name, burying the competition.
Local Club DJ
2. DJ K-oz
3. (TIE) DJ Turnstyle and Lady Luck
going to yield to your good judgement on this one (that’s
what this whole poll’s about, anyway), and straight-up admit
we’ve lost track of who’s mixing what where. We’ve come a
long way since our days as a disco rag, but so long as Dread
spins the Bee Gees from time to time, we’re sure it’s awe
Use of Public Funds
Public libraries; New York State Museum; SPAC; public parks;
Alive at Five; public transportation; animal shelters; fixing
potholes; food stamps; snow plowing
Misuse of Public Funds
Ghost tickets; Albany Convention Center; anything with Joe
Bruno’s name on it; no-show state workers; charter schools;
legislative salaries; BrunoMobile; Gov. David Paterson; Schenectady
Way to Lure People to the Capital Region
AMD; better schools; more live music; autumn; pie; Albany
Aqua Ducks; don’t tell them about the weather; ether; fenced-in
dog parks; cut government and lower taxes; high-speed rail;
Time to be Had in the Capital Region for Under $10
Washington Park; New York State Museum; Troy Night Out; Victoria
Pool; Corning Tower observation deck; 50-cent skating at Swinburne
Park; Spectrum 8 Theatres; poetry open mics; 1st Friday; Thatcher
Park; Albany Art Room; LarkFest; roller derby; Indian Ladder
Farms; Valley Cats at the Joe; Sirsy
Place to See and Be Seen
Alive at Five; Lark Street; SPAC; lunch vendors at Empire
State Plaza; Angelo’s 677 Prime; Pearl Street; Saratoga Race
Course; Bayou Café; Vapor; Crossgates Mall; Colonie Center;
Jillian’s; Lake George; Saratoga in the summer
Thing That Could Happen to Albany
A new mayor; convention center; no convention center; no more
crime; Trader Joe’s; more parking; better public transportation;
ghost tickets for all; reopen churches; fund schools; develop
waterfront; demolish I-787; high-speed rail; lower taxes;
more jobs; Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Thing That Could Happen to Troy
A new mayor; get rid of Bob Mirch; continued small-business
growth; reopen library branches; a grocery store; widen Hoosick
Street; lower crime; lower taxes; fix and open Proctor’s;
better snow removal; free STD screening for hookers; Dinosaur
Thing That Could Happen to Schenectady
Better police department; less crime; lower property taxes;
more jobs; redevelopment grants; move Schenectady Museum downtown;
GE would develop alternative energies; GE comes back; a decent
train station; oil deposits discovered under the vast tracts
of vacant property
Thing That Could Happen to Saratoga Springs
Improved parking; extended racing season; moratorium on condo
building; hoof-and-mouth disease; better shows at SPAC; sudden
virus that attacks yuppies; affordable housing; high-speed
rail; Trader Joe’s; nothing—they got the life of Reilly up
Thing That Could Happen to the ’Burbs
Reliable public transportation; sidewalks; diversity; Democrats;
light rail; bike path to downtown; Sabrett Hot Dog Carts;
the realization that voting Republican is stupid; your lazy
neighbor mows their unkempt lawn; Dirk Diggler
Evidence That the Great Depression II Is Upon Us
Center Square hoboes are happy with a quarter; Mary Lou Whitney
canceling her gala; 6-year-old girl clutching the bars of
the closed Libby Lu store . . . no makeover for her; foreclosures;
layoffs; supply crisis at food pantries; my 401K; I am filling
out this form on a Saturday night; Latham Circle Mall; I can’t
afford to shop or eat at any of the “best” places I just listed
Evidence That the Region Is Looking Up
AMD; Jennings is being primaried; Bruno indictment; I don’t
hear Troy referred to as “Troylet” as much; Downtown Schenectady;
home values are stable; gas prices are going down; two Indian
restaurants in Clifton Park; New World Home Cooking is coming
to Albany; ROLLER DERBY!
Local Celebrity Whom You’d Like to Marry for Their Money
Mary Lou Whitney; Alan Chartock; Shirley Ann Jackson; Joe
Bruno; Rachael Ray; Benita Zahn; E. Stewart Jones; Yolanda
Vega; Bob Kovachik; Mona Golub; Liz Bishop; Chet Hardin
Secret in the Capital Region
Cohoes Falls; our daughter Hannah, national dance champion;
Palace Theatre movie nights; first-rate music program at Albany
High; Stephen Leon’s millions; Crandell Theatre in Chatham;
Schenectady Greenmarket; Peace Pagoda; that brothel in Troy;
I’m Batman; I’m a lesbian