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[Editor's note: April Fools!]

We’ve Got Games

The Washington Avenue branch of the YMCA gets a new lease on life—as an arcade

After months of speculation about the fate of downtown Albany’s Y, and a week or so of assessments by the city, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings announced that, with the support of the city and the membership, he will be converting the Washington Avenue branch of the Capital District YMCA into a video game arcade, in order to “fully meet the needs of a multigenerational community,” he said.

Recognizing this transformation as a sure way to boost finances enough to support the building, Jennings announced, “Video games are the future. In the past few months, we’ve been concerned for the children. This is what the children want.”

Thirteen-year-old James Hendricks said it would be “pretty sweet” to have an arcade to go to after school, where he can hang out with friends and meet new people.

The building, centrally located in the city, will undergo downsizing to cut maintenance costs, since “we don’t need that much space for a bunch of games,” according to Jennings. But some of the locker room space will be retained and retrofitted for Laser Tag, and when asked what would be done with the swimming pool in the building, Jennings responded, “bumper boats.”

Many popular games, including Street Fighter, Call of Duty, Time Crisis, and Time Crisis 2 have been donated by defunct arcades, and a collection of classics like Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Pong were purchased by self- proclaimed “avid gamer” J. David Brown, president and CEO of the CDYMCA.

“I want to apologize to the community,” said Brown, “apologize for not thinking of this first.” Brown went on to say that he is “ecstatic for the next generation, who will be able to grow up in a place like this.”

Current members are looking forward to the new developments.

“I’ve always wanted an arcade nearby,” said Chris Mercogliano, one of the leaders of the task force to save the Y. “And this is the best thing that could have come out of this situation.”

Ever since the arcade in Crossgates Mall closed unexpectedly, there has been a palpable void in the city.

“When that happened, I lost hope,” said Marcus Townsend, a senior at Albany High School, who is ready to have a new arcade in town. “I’m just glad that the city has someone like Jerry Jennings, who totally understands the plight of the modern gamer.”

Though playing video games is often viewed as a solitary activity, “we’re going to get as many multiplayer games as possible,” claimed Jennings. “That way, more people have the chance to get involved.”

Brown said the repurposed Y will be a perfect fit with the organization’s mission to serve the inner-city community, and said he expects a surge of interest in the facility’s new after-school gaming program. And the gang-prevention programs the Y has been hosting will continue—with Friday night Super Street Fighter 4 parties. “Why rumble on Albany’s dirty mean streets when you can get the same thrills in a much nicer, more controlled environment?” Brown asked. “And with complimentary chips and soda, at that.”

Mercogliano, who has been fighting to save the Y since Brown announced its imminent closure, said “this just solves everything. The kids are happy, the parents are happy, and the Y is working with the city in perfect harmony.” He has plans to go up against Brown in the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution, as soon as it’s delivered.

“He’s going down,” said Mercogliano.

—The Intern

Tough Act to Follow

Albany County politicians are sent reeling after their Rensselaer County counterparts learn shame and disband legislature


The Capital Region was stunned last week when the Rensselaer County Legislature abruptly, and without warning, voted unanimously to disband the 40-year-old legislative body, replacing it with a board of supervisors.

In a meeting that lasted only 35 minutes, the somber and at times emotional politicians listened as a few befuddled speakers stammered out their confused thanks then held a voice vote on Resolution 2.3024, which stated in part, “Whereas, we recognize that the greatest evil can sometimes appear in the most seemingly benign exploitation. . . . We can no longer continue to participate in this costly, inequitable charade of ‘useful’ county government.”

The next morning, the full body of the legislature sent out a joint press release apologizing for the years that they “suckled unproductively at the teat of the great mother sow called government.”

“We recently have come to the terrible realization that profiting from the exploitation of our fellow man is wrong. We now realize how shameful we have behaved, and we are truly sorry. We beg your forgiveness. We hope that by dissolving the legislature, we can now begin the slow process of healing. Please do not murder us in our sleep, as we richly deserve,” read the melodramatic release, ending: “May God have mercy on our souls.”

Calls to the majority office have gone unreturned.

When reached by cell phone at his beachfront cabana in Florida, Bob Mirch, who until recently ran the Rensselaer County Legislature through a mixture of deceit and intimidation, said that he was equally “as surprised as everyone” by the move. “I didn’t have any idea.” When asked what he thought could have prompted his former colleagues stunning realization of shame, he said that it sounded to him like his former colleagues must have “turned into a bunch of pussies or something” after he retired.

Mirch isn’t the only one who has failed to appreciate this humble attempt at humanity. Here in Albany County, the move instead has caused a near-panic among the 39 part-time legislators. Chairman Dan McCoy began the recent monthly Democratic caucus by cautioning his colleagues not to be fooled by the public outcry demanding the Albany County Legislature follow suit, telling them instead to “hunker down. . . . This will all be forgotten by summertime.”

Yet while McCoy counseled decorum, many of the legislators expressed outrage.

Legislator Gil Ethier was incensed, he said, by the “shortsightedness” of the Rensselaer County Legislature, saying, “I certainly hope that the good citizens of Albany County don’t expect us to follow the lead of a few irresponsible, demented politicians across the river. I mean, if it wasn’t for me coming to this noble chamber once a month for the past 83 years, I can promise you that every man, woman and child in the great city of Cohoes would have fallen victim long ago to an epidemic of painful bacterial lesions spread by an outbreak of overgrown diseased vermin!”

Legislator Gary Domalewicz warned that without the county legislature there would be nothing stopping Executive Mike Breslin from kidnapping and shipping every elderly man and woman in the county to Mexico, while Legislator Chris Higgins threatened in a breathless screed to run outside and self-immolate on the front lawn of the state Capitol “right now” if one more person even suggested that the legislature wasn’t doing a “super job.”

“I’ll give you the lighter,” someone in the audience whispered, causing widespread snickering.

The ever-thoughtful Phil Steck stood to question the “mindless allegations and insinuations being repeated in the press,” suggesting that his colleagues “in the pantheon of selfless public service have fallen victim to an unfair and extortionate opprobrium.”

“They [the public] have no idea how hard we must work to take away their right to eat whatever they want,” he complained, prompting a man in an NRA cap to shout Steck down, calling the Loudonville lawyer a “no-good Nazi Marxist ‘Obamanik’ scum-sucker.”

The man was quickly removed.

After the meeting, a clutch of legislators was spotted huddled over a mushroom pizza at a popular Lark Street bar, and it appeared that some were still shaken by the recent events. One of the legislators was heard lamenting over “the good old days,” before he had let his base ambitions and ego “strangle [his] soul.” Another of the legislators, Brian Scavo, was overheard telling Frank “the Godfather” Commisso that he would be willing to consider disbanding the Legislature, but only if he could find another part-time job that pays $21,000 plus benefits.

—Cooter Pemiscot


Albany High School Announces Closure

Named in a recent report as one of hundreds of failing public schools across the state, Albany High School will be shut down at the end of the current school year, according to the Albany School Board. Faced with the choice of firing half the faculty, converting to a charter school or closing, the board chose the latter. Students currently enrolled or scheduled to enter the high school in the fall will have three choices: Enter a lottery for 24 available “visiting scholar” spaces at Niskayuna, Shaker and Bethlehem high schools (Shenedehowa refused to accept Albany students unless they agreed to wear identifying orange bracelets on their wrists); stay back and repeat 8th grade at Hackett or Myers middle schools; or agree to home schooling.

Times Union Newspaper Sells Naming Rights

Times Union editor Rex Smith made the surprise announcement on WAMC’s The Media Project Monday that his struggling parent company, Hearst, had put the naming rights for the daily paper up for bid. Dismissing a pointed rant by the show’s host, Alan Chartock, that the paper had finally succumbed to obsolescence, Smith blamed an economy “crippled by a recession— which is now over I might add.” Smith bravely continued to downplay the gloomy implications of the deal. “This is a fantastic opportunity to give the community a chance to really shape the newspaper that comes into thousands of homes everyday.” So far, Price Chopper and Fuccillo Automotive have both expressed interest in purchasing the rights, Smith said.

Mayor Trades Troy For Shiny New Beads

Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian announced that he has struck a “monumentous” deal with RPI president Dr. Shirley Jackson. In exchange for all of the land west of RPI’s campus to the Hudson River, Jackson has promised the beleaguered city 13 full trunks of shiny glass beads. “Imagine all of those beads! And what great arts and crafts we will be able to make,” an ecstatic Tutunjian said, holding up his first beaded bauble: a friendship bracelet that he crafted as a peace offering for his longtime political rival, Democrat Bill Dunne. “This is the dawn of a new day for Troy.”

Man Performs Emergency Self-Appendectomy

In Schenectady, Herbert Shitezel, 43, began to suspect he was suffering from appendicitis after he collapsed in agony at his job as an associate fry cook at Wendy’s. Uninsured and unable to afford a large medical bill, Shitezel instead bought an Exacto knife and a bottle of vodka and performed the tedious surgery to remove his infected appendix himself, with a little help from his 5-year-old daughter and Wikipedia. The Independence Party in the county hailed Shitezel’s initiative to “not become a burden on society.”

Loose Ends

-no loose ends this week-

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