Category Archives: Albany

Now, I'm a REAL Albanian

I was at a party in Albany, NY in the early 1980s. Someone commented how difficult it was to be considered “from Albany” if you weren’t born here, or had not been here “at least thirty years”. And I always remembered that.

Well, finally, I am real-life, dyed-in-the-wool person from Albany, with all the rights and privileges that come with it. Especially the right, nay, the obligation, to make fun of people on commercials who say Al-ban-y (like the guy’s first name) instead of ALL-BAN-Y .

I moved to Albany in 1979. So I didn’t remember, I was not present for:
*When WRGB moved from Channel 4 to Channel 6
*TV children’s entertainer Freddy Freihofer
*What Albany looked like before it was torn up to build the Empire State Plaza

But I HAVE been here long enough to remember:
*When Erastus Corning was mayor
*When the band Blotto was on MTV (Worst video? NO WAY!)
*When the band Fear of Strangers was the Units; own a Units single
*When the Spectrum Theater in Albany was the Third Street Cinema in Troy
*The Honest Weight Food Co-op, two addresses ago
* Metroland, a half dozen addresses ago
*Justin’s, a couple owners ago
*When Phil Jackson coached Albany Patroons, who played in the Washington Avenue Armory, and won the 1984 Continental Basketball League title
*The 1986 Albany Tricentennial Celebration
*The October 4, 1987 snowstorm
*When they filmed Ironweed in Albany; had a Jack Nicholson sighting at the Palace Theatre
*When the Knickerbocker Arena (or whatever they’re calling it now) was built
*When Jerry Jennings ran for mayor as a progressive
*The July 15, 1995 derecho; woke me out a sound sleep with 70 MPH winds rattling my bedroom windows at 7 a.m.
*Albany First Night

I should note that I did, in fact, live in Schenectady for a year and a half before moving to Albany. But everybody knows that, except for going to work or for special events (going to the Troy Music Hall, Proctor’s in Schenectady, the Palace Theatre in Albany, e.g.), travel between Albany and Schenectady, or Albany to Troy, for that matter, is strictly prohibited, enforced by the barbed wire at the borders. Likewise the cities and the suburbs.

I’m a homeowner now, but I was a renter for a number of years. As a result, I have lived on a number of streets in Albany, including: Hudson Avenue, Madison Avenue, Morris Street, Lancaster Street, Manning Boulevard, North Allen Street, Ontario Street, Second Street, and Western Avenue. Though I’ve been in the same place for the last nine years, I’m convinced that my friends still write my address in their address books in pencil.

In the last primary election cycle, one of the candidates indicated in the literature being born in Albany, while the opponent came here only in 1991. Is that 30-year rule is breaking down? If I’m remembering correctly, the transplanted candidate won.

Photo from the NYS Education Department

A few days in the life

Apparently, there are actually blogs that do nothing but note all the things that happen in people’s lives. I’ve been resistant to that, but I’m inclined to note the last few days in some detail. I suppose I could have made these many Twitter posts – and be mocked – but frankly have been too busy.

After racquetball, go to the dentist. He’d put a crown in last fall, but he was dissatisfied with the spacing between my teeth, where food would get caught, so he’s doing a redo gratis. It may be free, but it’s not free of discomfort. Also takes longer than planned and I miss my bus – another one doesn’t come for 2.5 hours, but my colleague picks me up.
End of the day, wife drops off daughter at my work to take home, so wife can go to meetings, one work-related, the other at church. Unfortunately, she can’t find the first meeting and the second one is canceled.

Father-Child Pancake Breakfast at daughter’s daycare. That was nice, but I had to break up a couple boys who were literally about to come to blows over toy dinosaurs. A friend of mine that I’ve only known since 1958, whose birthday is today, BTW, suggested over four years ago that it’s probably a good thing I had a daughter rather than a son. I didn’t understand at the time, but I think I do now.

FINALLY take items to the post office. This was something I was going to do on December 20, along with finishing the Christmas letter; the wife had edited what I had wrote. But I NEEDED just that one day, and when I ended up taking care of my sick child instead – and into the evening, because the wife had a meeting – not only did the window of opportunity go away, but so did a whole bunch of my holiday mojo. I was actually quite melancholy over it for weeks. I never did complete the letter – that weekend was impossibly full, and the presents, bought weeks before, never got sent. So, on this day, packages to my mother and sisters, plus some other items to Eddie, Tom the Mayor, Scott and a woman in Canada finally went out the door. (I STILL haven’t sent to Lefty Brown’s friend Anthony, because I don’t have his address.)

Take bus downtown. At my stop, Washington and Lark, is a fire truck, with an EMT truck pulling up. There’s a guy they need to defibrillate sitting outside the kiosk; it’s cold – could they not have done this in a vehicle? While this was going on, an ambulance and another fire truck stop a block away at Dove and Washington. What’s going on there?

My bus shows up, but not a half block on my journey, a car pulls out of its parking space and hits the bus I’m on. No one was hurt; in fact, I barely noticed. But the bus driver had to wait for the police and the CDTA supervisor. Fortunately,the bus company sent another vehicle less than 25 minutes later to finish the trek.

That evening, a first rehearsal with our new church choir director, Janet Davis, followed by a gathering at the home of the interim director, Chris, who lives in this quite historic house (once the home of the Albany Conservatory, and before that, a Presbyterian manse).


I heard that on the news that Albany High School will be delayed two hours because of the presence of Fred Phelps, who I mentioned here. This is actually something I’ve known for over a week ago but was told not to report, lest Freddy and the schemers be tipped off. So after I dropped off Lydia, I did what I suggested others not do – go to the high school. Across the street from the school there were the Westboro people well outnumbered by he counterdemonstrators. Most of the good guys were well behaved and spoke on their megaphones about Christian love.

Then people went in two different directions. Some, including me, went downtown to SUNY Central to rally where Phelps said he’d be on his website; evidently, he finally figured out that this WASN’T the campus and didn’t show. Still about 150 people (way more than the 50 the Times Union reported) made some noise and got lots of support from the passersby.

Meanwhile, the others went uptown at the not optimal (read: busily dangerous) Fuller Road and Washington Avenue, where the Phelps people ended up. That also went well, according to reports. Incidentally, there was ALSO a fairly large rally Thursday night in front of City Hall, where the mayor – who’s running for ere-election this year, unsurprisingly – showed up.

[We interrupt this blog to note End the Lies, a a new website showing some of the worst perpetrators of lies about GLBT people. Now back to the narrative.]

I had received a $50 gift certificate from the Downtown Business Improvement District in a drawing I barely remember entering for a place called Salon 109 at 109 State Street in Albany, so I opted to get a massage there. It was…WONDERFUL. Later, had lunch with my wife – this almost never happens – as we partook of an especially very good buffet of Indian food.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7 (yes, it was my birthday)

Very busy time in my house, with one person, John, fixing our oven that’s been out six days and our hall lights that had been out for over six months, someone else, Bonnie, cleaning the house, and lengthy conversations with both of my sisters and aforementioned old friend – HB, Sara Lee).

Played backgammon for an hour with the Hoffinator and a couple games of hearts with her and friend Orchid; I shot on the last hand to win the second game. Game playing – just what I wanted as a present. The Obama speeches book, the racquetball equipment and the Clapton 2004 DVD were just bonuses.


Church youth did Godspell Jr. It was excellent; surprisingly moving.
The weather is warming and I took Lydia to the playground for the first time this year. The ground is muddy, but the wood chip base around the slides is absorbent and not too bad.

That’s enough.


Q is for Quadricentennial

Q turned out to be one of the easier letters for me, for 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of a trip taken by Henry Hudson which directly led to the founding of Albany, NY, where I’ve lived for the past 29 years. In 1609, Hudson was looking for an easterly passage to Asia, commissioned by the Dutch East India Company.

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, his vessel, the Halve Maen (Half Moon), after first sailing down to the Chesapeake Bay with a sister ship, eventually traveled into New York Harbor and proceeded up what is today called the Hudson River. It made it about 150 miles, as far as what is now Albany before he was forced to turn around by waters that were too shallow. He realized that the river that would come to eventually bear his name was not a westerly passage to Asia.

Eventually, on the western shore, a settlement was established in what became the cqapital of New York State.

But this is not just a celebration of one city but of an entire region. Check out this site, or better still, this one for a list of events during the upcoming quadricentennial year. Also, check out this video, which will explain things somewhat.


Mud pie

So I needed a hook, and one was provided to me.

On Monday, July 21, I went to pick up a newspaper called The Capitol, a free monthly newspaper covering what passes for state government in Albany. It was located in one of those blue boxes not unlike those you’d find when one is buying a daily newspaper. Sitting on top of the pile of papers inside the container was an aluminum pan filled with what was meant to look like manure. At least, that’s what I hoped, since I didn’t bother studying it too closely. I took a copy of The Capitol, wrapped it around the pan, and threw it away in the nearest receptacle. But I needed to wash my hands right away, It was evident that the individual putting the pan in expected someone to reach in lazily and get this substance on his or her hand.

About three days later, I’m telling this story to a white male person of my acquaintance. I added that I wondered if the act was in any way racially motivated. I based it on two facts: 1) the cover story was about Barack Obama, or more correctly, which NY state legislators might become Presidential timber like former Illinois state legislator Obama did; 2) the box was located in front of a black-owned business. He said, “C’mon, that’s a stretch”, and I dropped it for a time. Later, though, I mentioned it again, and he wondered why. But a couple minutes later, he had an epiphany. “Oh, but why WAS that pan placed there?”

That was primarily what I was really trying to say; the thing was there for SOME reason, and curious librarian minds wanted to know if it was merely a random prank or something more significant.

Bringing up race – or the possibility of racism (or sexism or homophobia) is fraught with danger. Some will suggest that one is/I am looking through a prism of race; quite possibly true. Just mentioning race, some will suggest, IS the problem, a position that I do not ascribe to; the current presidential campaign suggests that does not work, at least not yet. Sometimes you have to talk about it anyway.

As Jay Smooth put it: “Race: the final frontier”

A gay pride march

Back on March 9 of this year, there was this story in the Times Union by Jennifer Gish titled “Humanity in ‘Laramie’: High school actors project offers lesson on more than gay tolerance”. It was about Bill Ziskin, a teacher at Schenectady High, directing his young actors in Moises Kaufman’s “The Laramie Project.” Gish writes: The play is based on interviews conducted by New York theater students with the townspeople of Laramie, Wyo., after the 1998 ultimately fatal beating of gay college student Matthew Shepard. Because of its mature nature and strong language, Ziskin did
run the idea by school administrators before going ahead with it… Today, it’s hard for some of the kids to imagine that kind of brutality.
One of the actors was quoted as saying, “When they told us about it I thought it was something that happened a while ago, like the ’70s or the ’80s.”

Ah, the optimism of youth. Earlier this year, though the stories I read were about a month after the fact, a Gay California student’s slaying sparks outcry, and “Activists demand that middle schools do more to teach tolerance.” Lawrence King — Student Who Was Murdered For Being Gay — To Be Honored With National Day Of Silence. I heard there was a similar case in Florida recently like the California case cited.

As for that day of silence, in some places such Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, WA, it was anything but, as I read this Seattle Times account Lynn Thompson. Unfortunately, I actually sort of know one of the people protesting against gay acceptance.

As New Yorkers almost surely know, the governor of the state has ordered government agencies to recognize gay marriages that were performed in states and countries where they are legal. While, for at least one of my gay blogging colleagues, marriage is not such an overriding issue, for others ,it is of paramount importance.

I note all of this as my church plans once again to participate in the gay pride parade next Sunday. that same gay blogger I know opined that the idea of a march might have been diluted by corporate interests. I think we agreed that MAYBE in locations with a large gay population, such as New York City and San Francisco, it has lost its urgency. I’m convinced, however, that it still has meaning and efficacy in places like Albany, NY.


Snow emergency

I hate being wrong. Sure, most people do, I suppose, but the librarian in me specifically hates giving out wrong information, especially when it’s not my fault.

We’ve been having some nasty weather around Albany recently. The snow and ice storm that came on Thursday meant that after-school activities were called off, my Bible study and choir were canceled, and it took forever to get home, as one totally full Western Avenue bus drove right by me before I caught another. Generally, Albany calls a snow emergency when the snowfall hits six inches, which involves alternate side parking and towed cars. It was 6.4″ at the airport, but the city demurred, probably in anticipation of a second storm Saturday into Sunday.

So, how does one find out about these snow emergencies? You have to dial (518) 476-SNOW when it seems that conditions are likely. So 11 a.m. Monday, I called and got the recording that there would be an emergency starting Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. This was VERY unusual, for while the city’s webpage said that it COULD start snow emergency at 8 a.m., I have no recollection of this taking place in my 28 years in the city; snow emergencies always started at 8 p.m.

So I sent a blind e-mail to some Albany folks to let them know. One writes back, “How do you know? The 476-SNOW number’s not working, and nothing’s on the city page.” So, I called the main number of the Department of General Services around 11:30 a.m. and the woman I spoke to said that she knew that 476-SNOW wasn’t working, that they were working on it, but that the snow emergency would take place Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. I sent an e-mail to this effect to a couple of the TV stations’ websites and posted it on a blog.

About 12:45, I check the Channel 13 website, and it’s stating that there is a snow emergency in Albany starting at 8 P.M. ON MONDAY. What? I called 476-SNOW, and that’s what the message now said. Sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., someone in the Albany bureaucracy CHANGED his or her mind? This meant that I had to re-send an e-mail to everyone I had previousdly sent an e-mail to, with the new information.

Did I mention that I hate being wrong?


Sometimes, in anticipation of a big snowstorm such as the one we got yesterday (at least 6.4″), with a worse one’s supposedly coming tomorrow night – I get this unfocused feeling of anxiety. External things going on tend to fuel this feeling. Note to dumb driver yesterday: honking at me while I’m trying to cross the street without falling down will not get me to move faster.

*ITEM: A couple folks in my organization are leaving. For one, it’s good thing, as he cuts his commute in half and gets “a few extra shekels each week.” For the other one, not so much.
*ITEM: At some point between 12 noon and 1:30 pm Wednesday, someone sprayed pink silly string all over the men’s bathroom on the office floor I work on. In addition, paper towels were put in at least some of the urinals in an apparent attempt to clog them. The bizarre things about this: 1) I was most likely in there at some point during that time period, and 2) only department heads were told about the incident until Thursday morning. The chance to catch the perpetrator would been a whole lot better had we all been given more information sooner. It’s that top down management style that’s so broken.
*ITEM: My computer at home had mysteriously stopped working. Or more specifically, it was as though the keyboard was longer responding. Removing the keyboard, reattaching and a soft boot didn’t work, but doing the same with a hard boot (no, I didn’t kick it, though I thought to) finally did the trick.
*ITEM: Roger Clemens was implicated in former U.S. Senator George Mitchell’s report on steroids. I had suspected as much, but it’s still unfortunate. If Barry Bonds’ record-breaking home-run ball literally gets an asterisk, what of Clemens’ Cy Young-laden records?
*ITEM: Peg Moore died during Wednesday night/Thursday morning. She was the wife of Stan Moore, the pastor of the first church I joined in my adulthood back in the early 1980s. She was also a fellow choir member, an alto. Before Lydia was born, I’d see Stan and Peg at Capital Rep, the Equity theater company in Albany.
*ITEM: Some high school kid jumped to his death from an interstate ramp yesterday. It was only a couple miles from my office and my house.
*ITEM: There was a fire on Madison Avenue, about a mile from my house, early Tuesday morning, and the historic building will be likely torn down by now. Someone who works in the school at which my wife teaches lost everything, including pets, in that fire. The school is taking up a collection of household items for her.
That fire affected my bus commute not only Tuesday morning, but also Tuesday and Wednesday nights in a way not unlike how a snowstorm in Chicago affects a New York to Miami airline flight.

So, it’s a bit of ennui, mixed with a taste of dread. This too shall pass.

Is junk media making you sick???



The Snowstorm of October 4, 1987

Times Union, The (Albany, NY)
October 4, 1997
Author: MARK McGUIRE Staff writer

It was more than a storm; it was a touchstone. The Capital Region has endured its share of severe weather, from blizzards to severe windstorms to even the occasional tornado and hurricane. This one wasn’t even the worst.

Certainly more snow has fallen at one time than the 6 inches that came down on Albany on Oct. 4, 1987. But the damage it caused, and its totally unexpected fall arrival, left a mark on the region and its psyche.

But we don’t have to tell you: You told us.

The Times Union solicited readers to send in their stories from the storm. And you did, in the form of hundreds of e-mails, a likewise number of calls, a letter from prison, even a drawing from a then-5-year-old.

The stories are uniform and unique, of weddings canceled, cars destroyed, days without power, food spoiled, babies born and camping in living rooms. These tales almost invariably start with disbelief, then spiral into different recollections of perseverance and hardship and compassion and humor.

“The snowstorm was one of those events, not unlike one of those national tragedies (JFK assassination, Challenger disaster) in that, if you were there, you remember,” Roger Green of Albany wrote. “I’ve been to many parties where people compare their snowstorm stories.”

Everybody does have a story. Here are but a few:

Here’s mine – I was living in the West Hill section of Albany, on Second Street, between Ontario and Quail Streets. Since I was home on that Sunday morning, watching CBS Sunday Morning, I must have been having one of my periodic spats with the pastor [who is NO LONGER THERE]. Suddenly, the power went out, and immediately after I got outside, I could tell why. A branch on a tree landed on the power wire leading to my house was pulled out, fortunately along the side of the house so I wouldn’t accidentally get electrocuted.

Later that day, I walked to work at FantaCo, which, a dozen blocks away, never lost power. The weird thing about that storm is that lots of people never lost electricity at all, or only for a few minutes, while some people were without it for days, or even a couple weeks.

Sunday night, I stayed at a friend’s house.

Monday, walking to the store, there was this beautiful disconnect. Sunny weather, this foreign white stuff on the leafy trees. And steam – lots of steam. I remember thinking at the time that it had what I imagined was rather post-apocalyptic. I wish I had taken pictures, for I found it eerily beautiful.

I bought the local newspaper, which looked…different. The Times Union building on Wolf Road lost power because of the wet heavy snow, so the TU and sister paper The Knickerbocker News put out a joint newspaper out of the Troy offices of their rival, the Times Record (now the Record). It was in the Times Record fonts. I still have that newspaper, somewhere in the attic.

Monday night, I stayed at home. By then, I had put my perishable food in the snow outside, and fortunately, the gas stove was working, so I ate some of the food I had purchased only the day before the storm. I listened to TV via my battery-powered radio by candlelight. One revelation: the TV show Cagney and Lacey depend on visuals, as well as dialogue.

Tuesday, after work, I stayed with another friend, and Wednesday, after work, with the first friend.

Thursday after work, I was increasingly excited to see that the light at Central and Quail was finally working, and Clinton and Quail, and Second and Quail. YES! Power was restored to my house! My perishable food was ruined, since it had reached 70 degrees outside, but at least I could safely buy more.

The strange thing about this storm was that it was highly localized. Some of the surrounding area had more than a foot of snow and a federal disaster declaration was issued. Ask people in Syracuse or New York City about this storm and they have no idea. It was more like the Buffalo snowstorm of 2006.


Shared Roadway: HA!

If I’m ever ever on my bicycle and get into an accident with a car, this is the most likely scenario: I’m riding as far right as possible, with traffic, as the law requires. I go straight, while the car next to me makes a right turn so that I plow into the side of the vehicle, which did not have its directional signal on. I say this because it’s almost happened more than once, or a close variation. Just last week, this variation. Car is at the red light. I pull along side of it. It starts to turn right, heading toward me – we weren’t even in the intersection yet, so I guess he wanted to hug the curb. I say, very loudly, “WHOA!” And he stopped. No, he did not have his right directional on. If he had, I would have held back. The apparent optional nature of the right directional signal makes it very difficult, not only for bicyclists, but for pedestrians as well.

Now do I always obey the laws of the road while on the bike? I do not. There are certain places in Albany (New Scotland near CDPC, Western Avenue between Pine and Manning, much of Lark Street) when I just don’t feel very safe on the narrow roadway, when cars have come dangerously close in the past. And, in these cases, I head for the sidewalk, always yielding to the pedestrians, as it is THEIR turf. When I’m on the roadway, however, I do the right things; I signal, I stop at red lights and stop signs, etc.

There’s a traffic circle around the Harriman Campus and also at Corporate Woods that have signs reading “Shared roadway”. This is peculiar in that most roadways, with the exception of the Interstates ARE – supposedly – shared roadways.

In re: this, three items caught my attention. The most direct is the death of a young woman on her bicycle in Albany. The usually mild-mannered Daniel Van Riper scolds the media and others for blaming the victim in his June 10 and 21 posts here. The second is a piece ADD wrote about the environmental impact of the automobile. The third is the widely-noted Vatican rules of the road:
1. You shall not kill. OK, stolen from the “other” Ten Commandments, but a good idea.
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm. By “communion, I don’t think the Vatican meant giving someone the finger.
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events. Why, oh why, do people speed up to a red light?
4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents. Some time ago, I had read this theory that all of those steel tanks on the road somehow isolate us from each other.
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin. Sin in a car? Why, whatever did they mean?
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so. This could cover everything from drunken driving to the road raged to those who’ve lost the ability to drive due to age.
7. Support the families of accident victims. Amen.
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness. Interesting. I’m a big fan of true reconciliation.
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party. YES! That means all up and down the chain, from trucks watching for cars to bicyclists watching for pedestrians.
10. Feel responsible toward others. Ultimately, what it’s all about.

(DVR and the Vatican in the same post. Will wonders never cease?) ROG

It's the Law

This is National Bicycle Month. Dan over at Albany Weblog has been rightly nagging about the need for bike lanes in this town.

Also, the Bicycle Commuter Act (H.R.807, S.2635) is before the U.S. Congress right now. If passed, the bill would provide a tax benefit to employers who offer cash reimbursements to employees to defray costs of riding to work. All it requires is an amendment to the Transportation Fringe Benefit of the tax code to extend the definition of “transportation” to include bicycles. Employers are given the flexibility to set their level of benefit payments, and the bike commuter can use the money to pay for a bicycle, accessories, safety equipment, insurance, and locker or shower fees. Click here for more information.

And there’s a new magazine out there dealing with practical cycling, with a free subscription. From the website: “It’s bicycling for transportation, be it on the daily commute, the run to Costco, or a trip around the world. . . We’re convinced it was a mistake to relegate the most efficient means of transportation devised by man to the aisles of recreation and sport alone.”

But that’s not (exactly) what I’m going to write about.

I came across a while back the Municipal Codes on the Internet for 20 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. OK, that may be overstating it a bit. For Illinois, there’s just the city of Crystal Lake; in Nebraska, Papillion; North Carolina, Henderson County; Tennessee, the city of Memphis; Wyoming, the city of Evanston.

Anyway, the city of Albany is there, and I was interested to see what laws apply to bicycles. Some are fine; some, ?

Chapter 246: NEWSRACKS
A newsrack placed in accordance with this chapter shall not be installed or maintained:
J. Near any bicycle rack if such placement interferes with the use of such bicycle rack
Hear, hear!
§ 251-5. Rules and regulations. [Amended 12-19-1983; 3-3-1986]
4) All persons are forbidden to drive over the paths devoted to pedestrians; to ride bicycles or tricycles on the paths or walkway; or to trundle barrows or obstruct the paths in any manner; or to ride, drive, propel or operate any wagon, vehicle or motor vehicle on any of the driveways of such parks, boulevards and avenues at a rate faster than fifteen (15) miles an hour.
Though, in fact, many of the paths are dual use, for people and pedalers.
§ 255-25. Public places.
It shall be unlawful for any person to ring any hand bell, beat or strike any pan, pail or other like article or sound any gong or blow any whistle or horn or other than musical instruments when used as part of a band of music except to give necessary signals upon a street car, motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or similar vehicle or to hawk, cry or call out the sale of goods at auction or otherwise or to gain passengers for any cab, hack, taxi or other vehicle or to make, aid, continue, encourage or assist in making any other or unusual noise upon any street or other public place or in close proximity thereto so as to be distinctly and loudly audible upon any such street or place in the City of Albany.
I love the specificity of this.
ARTICLE I Bicycles and All Motor Vehicles [Amended 8-7-1995 by L.L. No. 6-1995]
§ 359-1. Alarm bells for bicycles.
All persons riding or propelling with the feet a bicycle, tricycle, velocipede or other vehicle of propulsion on the public streets or avenues or in the parks of this City shall attach to and carry on such vehicle an alarm bell, which said bell the persons shall ring or sound on approaching and within 30 feet of the intersection of any street or avenue proposed to be crossed.
A velocipede?
§ 359-2. Speed limit for bicycles.
No person using a bicycle, tricycle, velocipede or other vehicle of propulsion on the public streets or avenues or parks of this City shall propel such vehicle at a rate of speed greater than eight miles an hour, and all such persons shall observe the law of the road.
Eight miles an hour? Downhill?
§ 359-3. Number abreast limited.
No greater number of persons than two abreast shall parade or ride in the streets or avenues or parks of this City at any time on such bicycles, tricycles, velocipedes or other vehicles of propulsion.
§ 359-4. Riding on sidewalks prohibited; exceptions.
No person shall ride any bicycle, tricycle, velocipede or other vehicle of propulsion on or over any footpath in any of the parks, or on or over any of the sidewalks of any of the streets or avenues in this City, except if it is to go into a yard, lot or building; provided, however, that the foregoing provision of this section shall not apply to children under 10 years of age; and provided further that this section shall not be so construed as to prohibit the riding of any bicycle, tricycle or similar vehicle upon or over the unpaved portion of the sidewalk of any such street or streets outside of the thickly settled part of the City as shall be designated in writing by the Mayor. Every designation so made as aforesaid shall be filed with the Chief of Police and may be revoked by the Mayor at any time in his discretion.
I avoid riding on the sidewalk except when feeling imperiled. The aforementioned bike lanes would help.
This also shows the awesome power of our mayor.

Then, there’s this lengthy section 359-5. Operation of vehicles generally.
A. It is required that all vehicles operated within the City of Albany be in good and safe operating condition, and each shall be operated only:
(1) While having a valid New York State Certificate of Inspection affixed on the vehicle in the proper location.
This suggests, at least, that I need to get a sticker.

I love the law.
I don’t believe this (exactly), but it is interesting:

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.
Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man.
And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became.
Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it,
and of no harm or irritation to others.
Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.

~Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills