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Readers Poll: People & Places

by The Staff on April 10, 2014 · 3 comments


Best Park

1. Washington Park

2. The Crossings

3. Thacher Park

Beautiful Washington Park, with its scenic events and playhouse, swept the ballots, with suburban, recreational The Crossings coming in at a respectable second.

Best Playground

1. The Crossings

2. Central Park

3. Washington Park

For playgrounds, the relatively new (compared to the competition) Crossings in Colonie won by far more than a swing vote.

Best Day Trip

1. Lake George

2. New York City

3. Thacher Park

Lake George, with its mix of outdoor recreation and a bustling village with nightlife, beat out both the Big Apple and the geologic scenery of Thatcher Park

Best Bike Ride

1. Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail

2. Corning Preserve

3. Zim Smith Trail

The Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail, which is both scenic and a long-distance two-wheel corridor, won best ride by a mile.

Best Running Trail

1. Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail

2. Corning Preserve

3. The Crossings

As a running path, the Mohawk Hudson came in a single vote ahead of its downtown component, the Corning Preserve, with Colonie’s Crossings hot on their heels in third place.

Best Hiking/Nature Trail

1. Thacher Park

2. Five Rivers

3. Tie: Plotterkill Preserve and Peebles Island

Thatcher Park in Altamont towered above the competition for best hiking in a natural setting.

Best Rock Climbing

1. Albany Indoor Rock Gym

2. The Edge

3. Thacher Park

Old-school gym AIR takes the win again this year while the Edge is increasing its regional profile with a series of big competitions. Meanwhile, this is actually first year climbing has become legal in Thacher Park. Let the development begin.

Best Gym

1. Planet Fitness

2. VENT Fitness

3. No Limits Fitness

National chain Planet Fitness pushed to a single-vote lead over Vent Fitness’ local gyms, but all three contenders must be doing things right, judging from the number of overall votes for this category.

Best Tattoo Artist

1. Eric Browns (Impulse Tattoos)

2. John Hopkins (Spaulding’s)

3. Lark Tattoo

Readers inked in Eric Browns as the clear winner.

Best Yoga

1. The Hot Yoga Spot

2. Heartspace Yoga

3. No Limits Fitness Yoga

With a big old billboard on I-90 and a pair of locations, Hot Yoga Spot is bringing this popular variety to the masses. Meanwhile, Heartspace has branched out with a new studio in downtown Troy.

Best Golf

1. Saratoga National

2. Capital Hills

3. Orchard Creek

Luxurious Saratoga National won by more than double over the closest competitor to make the cut.

Best Mini Golf

1. Oasis

2. Pirate’s Cove

3. Hoffman’s

Mini putting at Oasis Family Fun Park came out a few strokes ahead of Pirate’s Cove.

Best Skiing/Snowboarding

1. Gore Mountain

2. Jiminy Peak

3. West Mountain

Gore Mountain’s four peaks in North Creek towered over Jiminy and West.

Best Ice Skating

1. Empire State Plaza


3. Swinburne Park

Skating figures show that the Empire State Plaza is the readers’ favorite rink by a geometric margin.

Best Bowling

1. Playdium

2. Uncle Sam’s

3. Spare Time

Playdium in Pine Hills strikes again as the winner. Maybe the retro-neon sign has something to do with it.

Best Pool Hall

1. Trick Shot Billiards

2. Golden Cue

3. Diamond Eight

For popularity with readers, Trick Shot is the pool shark.

Best Bar

1. Bootleggers on Broadway

2. (tie) Barrel Saloon and The Ruck

Readers really like all these watering holes–and like Bootleggers just a little bit better than the others.

Best Hook-Up Bar

1. Bootleggers on Broadway

2. The Ruck

3. Lionheart

Bootleggers bagged it. (We have no comment. We know nothing of such things.)

Best Gay Bar

1. Oh Bar

2. Waterworks Pub

3. Rocks

Oh my, how popular you are, Oh Bar.

photo by Ann Morrow

Best Wine Bar

1. Lucas Confectionary

2. Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark

3. (tie) Mio Vino and The Wine Bar (Saratoga Springs)

Enthusiasm for Troy’s Lucas Confectionary has been meteoric–it blazed to first place in its first year on the ballot.

Best Happy Hour

1. Bootleggers on Broadway

2. The Ruck

3. McGeary’s

Bootleggers totally kicked it in this category.

Best Bar Staff

1. Bootleggers on Broadway

2. McGeary’s

3. The Ruck

Best staff was a much closer race between Bootleggers in Troy and McGeary’s in Albany, with Bootlegger’s edging ahead of McGeary’s and McGeary’s vaulting past the Ruck.

Best Strip Club

1. DiCarlo’s

2. Nite Moves

3. Double Vision

Classy is where it’s at, apparently, as DiCarlo’s Gentleman’s Club took the top honor in toplessness.

Best Comedy Club

1. The Comedy Works

2. Comedy Club

No joke, there was no competition for top banana in comedy: the Comedy Works had this slot almost to itself.

Best Drive-In Theater

1. Malta Drive-In

2. Jericho Drive-In

3. Hollywood Drive-In

Malta Drive-in has been in continuous operation for more than 50 years, during which it has built a very loyal fan base.

Best Sports Venue (spectator)

1. Joseph L. Bruno Stadium

2. Times Union Center

3. Glens Falls Civic Center

It’s smaller, it’s newer, and readers like it better: “the Joe” scored big.

Best Bar Restaurant to Watch a Game

1. The Recovery Room

2. Bootleggers on Broadway

3. Wolff’s 111

The winner is: TV sports therapy at the Recovery Room

Best Public Official

1. Kathy Sheehan

2. Paul Tonko

3. Jerry Jennings

New mayor Kathy Sheehan is off to a good start in the No. 1, Paul Tonko made a solid showing for second, and former mayor Jerry Jennings got the sentimental vote.

Best Citizen Advocate

1. Kirsten Gillibrand

2. (tie) Duncan Crary and Alice Green

When it comes to advocacy, Kirsten Gillibrand is the man.

Best Animal Advocate

1. Steve Caporizzo

2. Brad Shear

3. Out of the Pitts

Steve Caporizzo’s pet connection connected strongly with voters.

Best Local Charity

1. Mohawk Hudson Humane Society

2. Ronald McDonald House

3. Food Pantries for the Capital District

Animal care came first: HMHS won by a slight margin.

Best Swimming


2. Grafton Lake

3. Victoria Pool

The YMCA pools are year-round. They win.

Best Campgrounds

1. Thompson’s Lake

2. (tie) Moreau Lake State Park and Lake George

3. Alpine Lake

If it has a lake, you like it (Thompson’s Lake won by a ripple).

Best Suburb

1. Delmar

2. Colonie

3. Guilderland

Delmar is by far the preferred zip for ’burbanites

Best Downtown (Living)

1. Troy

2. Saratoga Springs

3. Albany

Going by these numbers, every urban dweller in the region is moving to Troy.

Best Downtown (Partying)

1. Troy

2. Saratoga

3. Albany

And everyone who moved to Troy moved there for the partying.

Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

1. Troy

2. Delaware Avenue

3. Schenectady

Though not quite as small as a neighborhood, Troy won, and by a massive margin



Goods & Services




Jeff April 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Best “grocery” is The Grocery hands down.

john hopkins April 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

best tattoo artist at #2 should read john hopkins ( spaulding’s tattoo world) completely different business

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