Way to Albany
aspirant hopes his ambitious walk will lead to the governor’s
Joel Tyner set out from Wall Street in Manhattan on June 26
to promote his gubernatorial bid with a 150-mile walk to Albany.
And he nearly made it, too. For the last 10 miles, he said,
he called a cab. He has made a few of these kinds of journeys,
including walking 14 miles to win support for a local pesticide-spraying
bill and 20 miles to draw attention to the call for a moratorium
on hydro-fracking, he said, “but I’ve never done a 150-miler.”
He’s never run for governor before, either. And this year
he has chosen to do so against the practically anointed Democrat,
Wearing sturdy walking shoes that he had borrowed from a man
in the Hudson Valley (he had set out in Converse Chuck Taylors),
the four-time Duchess County legislator arrived in Albany
Wednesday to hold a press conference, in a nearly empty LCA
press room, outlining his progressive platform.
main issue that I am running on is that by 4 to 1, New Yorkers
are for a millionaire’s tax,” he said. “There are schools
that are closing down in my town. We are turning into a Third
World country. A lot of politicians on both sides have told
us that they are cutting our taxes, and they have, but they
have cut income taxes primarily for the wealthy people who
are funding their campaigns.”
Tyner is critical of Cuomo as well, saying that his budgetary
goals of cutting funding across the board and staying taxes
sounds “like a Republican. He should be ashamed of himself
for trying to lead the Democratic Party, especially if he
is going to be like Paterson and be so ridiculously right-wing.”
didn’t get us out of the depression with budget cuts, layoffs
and union busting,” Tyner said. “And all due respect for Mr.
Paterson, Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Lazio, it seems like all three
of them are battling for the title of Herbert Hoover of the
line: Joel Tyner and his boosters Wednesday at his sparsely
attended press conference.
pieces of city legislation could have an impact on Albany’s
Street bar and restaurant owners have long known that their
sidewalk café customers linger outside their buildings even
after the chairs have been put up on the tables at the mandatory
11 PM closing time for outdoor dining and drinking.
Now those same sidewalk customers can instead linger in their
seats for another hour over a late meal or a glass of wine,
under an ordinance that the Common Council is likely to approve
at tonight’s meeting (Thursday, July 8). The ordinance would
allow sidewalk cafés in the Lark Street Business Improvement
District to continue serving food and drink until midnight
Friday and Saturday. The change would take effect immediately,
for an initial trial period through next April.
Restaurant and bar owners see the change as a way to draw
customers during tough times, said Gerard Aumand, owner of
the Lionheart Pub on Madison Avenue and a member of the Lark
Street BID board of directors. Proponents also say that more
customers on the street later at night would lessen the opportunity
for street crime and that longer seating would mean less congestion
city welcomes sidewalk cafés because of the energy it gets
on the street,” Aumand says.
Bill Pettit, president of the Washington Park Neighborhood
Association, says Lark Street area residents could do with
a little less energy and a lot more quiet.
The Washington Park Neighborhood Association has mixed feelings
about the extended sidewalk café hours, but is very concerned
about another proposal before the Common Council that would
require businesses such as bars and restaurants to get entertainment
licenses before they could offer live music. Residents fear
the ordinance would have the unintended effect of encouraging
businesses to offer live music, because it would set out a
clear process for them to do so.
think the city is attempting to help the Pearl Street venues,
without taking into account the density here in the Lark Street
area,” says Pettit, who notes that “the noise and complaints
from the Lark Street restaurants and bars have escalated in
the last few years.”
Richard Conti, the 6th Ward Common Council member, said although
the proposal is not exclusive to Lark Street, it has received
particular scrutiny there and will undergo more discussion
before the council votes on it. Center Square President Kelly
Bush said she has not seen the latest draft, but that “just
about everyone I spoke with about it when it first appeared
on our radar screens was opposed to it.”
The proposed ordinances are being debated as Lark Street businesses
ride out the recession, some more successfully than others.
But Lark Street BID executive director Mary Spinelli points
to many longtime businesses and says turnover or slow starts
in such tough times are to be expected.
we have a few businesses that have moved out, but we have
others coming in,” she says. The Art on Lark festival June
26 held steady with 115 vendors, she said; last year, there
Central Art Supply at 292 Lark will close Saturday (July 10)
and consolidate with its location on River Street in Troy,
adjacent to the Arts Center of the Capital Region. Central
Art Supply owner Robyn Diaz sounded wistful about leaving
the original location she loved.
past year was our slowest year since we started,” she said.
“And we didn’t want to leave because we have a lot of customers
who come to us weekly or more than weekly.”
But the Good Leaf Gourmet Tea Company shop at 274 Lark hardly
missed a beat as it took on a new name, new owner and new
menu while keeping the original furnishings. It’s now Lil’
Buddha Tea. Good Leaf owner Michelle Marks will still sell
her products online, while Lil’ Buddha owner Victoria Lucian,
an Albany native, will continue to sell Good Leaf tea blends
and hopes to still draw Good Leaf customers.
And then there’s the Lark Tavern on Madison Avenue, still
boarded up two months after a fire. Tess Collins, who owns
the business but not the building, says she can’t move forward
until insurance claims are settled.
can’t look at any other places yet until I resolve what’s
going on there—although everyone in the Capital Region has
called me with a space,” she says. “I’m in the same spot I
was a month ago.”
Charles Tallent, the attorney representing building owner
Michael DiNapoli, says that his client “would love to have
the Lark Tavern up and running yesterday.” Complications involving
separate insurance policies—DiNapoli’s for the building, and
Collins’ for the business—have caused delays. Tallent also
says Collins failed to carry adequate coverage for her portion
of the fire insurance. When asked why DiNapoli did not discover
this until after the fire, Tallent replied that DiNapoli “believed
in good faith that [Collins] was complying with the lease.”
Collins says moving back to the Madison Avenue building is
still her first choice.
would prefer to be there with my people—my same staff,” she
says. “I miss my customers so much.”
loose ends this week-