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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Central Avenue

A drive down main street: After dropping SJC off down at the county courthouse this morning for jury duty, I needed to stop and pick something up at Colonie Center. So I took the opportunity to drive Central Ave. all the way from downtown out into Colonie. A selection of my streaming thoughts, in order, as I drove:

#1(beginning of central) - So that's where Gandhi is located. I'll have to return soon. I don't get off of Lark street enough when I'm downtown for dinner. I wonder where Shalimar is located?

#2(30 yards later) - Even in Albany, Mike Brown stands out as a hack politician. It makes me sad to look at his campaign posters. I don't know if it's disturbing or reassuring (probably the former) that those who represent the least well-off in society are as hackish as those who represent the middle class. God, I hope he loses tomorrow. I wonder if Ellis can beat him...

#3(corner, central and quail) - I can't believe that once upon a time - about 7 or 8 years ago - I frequented Pauly's hotel and thought it was a trendy bar. I can't believe that once upon a time - about 2 or 3 years ago - I frequented Ichiban and thought it had good sushi. Did Pauly's really have a "$2 all you can drink" deal back in the late 90's? Were the rolls at Ichiban always that bad? At least that new sushi place on Lark is good, from what I hear.

#4(corner, central and everett) - It really is great to see hummer after hummer sitting unsold on the central auto super mile. Almost as enjoyable as a Geoffrey Holder commerical.
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At 11:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Boy do I love they way your mind works. I can't believe how many times I have driven on Central Avenue and thought random things like that.....one positive The pie at Gandma's is still as good as it gets if it's not homemade    

At 12:07 PM , Blogger Matt said:

It's really funny you mention that, because Grandma's was one of the places that I thought about on my drive but didn't include in the post (I wanted to keep it to 4 thoughts). I agree with you about the pies - i hadn't had one for years and then someone brought one over to our place when we were having guests for dinner. Just excellent.

Other places I thought about but didn't include in the post: Bob and Ron's, Little Anthony's, the establishment that replaced Beff's on Watervliet Ave., that store across from Mobil near everett that sells "gaming supplies" like poker and foosball tables, and the Swinbunre skaiting rink.    

At 3:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

I never fail to be amused by the Sham retail empire on lower central. Sham Groceries, Sham Clothing...

And what about that Italian coffee place--Elena's? It's on the corner of Central and Lexington. Who goes there? Is it really a local mob hangout?    

At 6:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm surprised you missed Shalimar. It's on Central Avenue only a few storefronts away from the intersection with Henry Johnson, and there are vertical strings of lights filling the window... I live a block away and eat there (and Clayton's Caribbean Restaurant, which faces Shalimar from Washington Avenue) at least once a week.    

At 9:11 PM , Anonymous Becky said:

I can't believe you didn't mention how bad Central is getting on the Albany end. I drive down around there almost everyday to Saint Rose, and can't believe how ghetto it's become. I guess you drove that area in the morning though. Try afternoon until dark.....wow. 2nd shooting in a week on the corner of Lexington. Gang retalliation for the 17yr old or random violence??    

At 12:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Isn't Shalimar a couple of doors down from Gandhi? I'm not sure, though -- I always go to the one in Troy.    

At 10:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sasso has great sushi. The only think in Ichiban's favor is that it delivers.

My new favorite is Sushi House on lower New Scotland, another down on its heels neighborhood.    

At 10:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anon at 3:10 .... Do you have some basis for your asinine leap of logic that requires Italian and mob to be in the same paragraph?    

At 11:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anon at 10:58: I cannot claim the "asinine leap of logic" as my own as I am only repeating rumors I've heard over the years about the place. And btw, I'm half Italian and appreciate my non-mob-related heritage. Your comment reminded me of the character of Jennifer Melfi's ex-husband on the Sopranos.    

At 1:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

So being half Italian means you have special license to peddle "rumors" you've heard?

I'm all Italian, so I guess that gives me twice the right to take umbrage at misplaced and unfounded stereotypes.    

At 2:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anon at 1:20 p.m.: Yes, you're quite good at the umbrage. You've got me there.

And thank you for setting me straight. There are no Italian-Americans involved in organized crime. And, if there are, they don't hang out in small groups and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Grazie!    

At 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Most estimates put the number of Italian-Americans involved in organized crime at about .002 percent.

But, hey, at least they're easy to identify since they hang out in small groups drinking coffee.    

At 6:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

hey, ive heard the same thing about that coffee place...    

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