Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Literacy Race Happening This Weekend:

I'm a firm believer that an idea is only a simple thought unless you move into action and make it a reality. In 2007, a group of School 12 teachers made their idea a reality. They established the School 12 Running Club. Through hard work and determination, were able to develop their idea into a tradition.

On May 3rd, 10:30 p.m. at the Joe Bruno Stadium, the 2009 Literacy Run/Walk will take place. Pre-registration for the 5K race is $15, with the fee increasing to $20 on the day of the race. The Children Fun Runs ($6) begins at 9:30 a.m. and the Youth Mile ($10) begins at 10 a.m. Registration forms can be downloaded at, www./, or by calling Literacy Volunteers at 274-8526.

The School 12 Running Club has two purposes. One is to get students moving and to introduce them to a healthy lifestyle. The other is to give the children something constructive to be involved in, helping to keep them off the street. I encourage anyone reading the Blog to support this wonderful project. Kudo's to the students and teachers who make this happen!

My Personal Stimulus Package In Action: Tasty Pizza

Over the past few weeks, I've been practicing what I've been preaching in regards to buying locally. Living in the 'Burgh gives my family plenty of choices to choose from when it comes to food. Pip's, Ted's Fish Fry, Chubby's, Snowman, Badass Burrito, Mr. Subb, Sunny Wok, Jimmy's Pizza, Anthony's Pizza and Testo's have all received some of my disposable income recently.

Being I love pizza and try to spread my business around the 'Burgh, I tried Tasty Pizzaria for the first time the other day and was really impressed. I needed to share this with you because the pie reminded me of my fathers pizza, which was the best I've ever had. The dough is made on premisis, and the sauce was delicious! Just like my dad's, who used only quality ingredients for his pizza, I could taste the difference. It brought back some pleasant memories of my father making his pizza for my family on a Friday night.

I spoke with owner Rick Castiglia, and was not surprised to hear that he's had successful pizzaria's in other locations. One of which has been around serving another local community for 25 years. Rick is a great guy, who located Tasty on the corner of 122nd St. & 5th Ave, the former home of Fishers, who also made an amazing pizza. Tasty has an impressive menu, with decent prices in my opinion. Do yoursef a favor and check the place out. If you don't like it, yell at me on this Blog -- but I really doubt you'll be disappointed. If Italians know one thing, it"s food!

Supporting our local eateries is very important to their stabilty and success. Keeping your dollars in your own city is not only a good idea, but the right thing to do.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Loose Cannon Live Headlines Earth Day Festival:

We hope you join us for the big Earth Day Festival happening today, April 26th. Loose Cannon Live frontman, Greg Simmons, is ready to pull out all the stops in the Cannon's first return to Troy since opening for Jimmy Wayne last September at the Chowder Fest. The country powerhouse is gearing up for next months Ford Country USA Maximum Country Music Festival in Oshkosh Wisconsin, where they will be sharing the stage with the biggest country stars in the country.
Food, sweet treats, and crafts will all be available, with the event beginning at 1 p.m. It's going to be a beautiful day, so drive up to the Knickerbacker Ice Rink, located on 103rd St. & 9th Ave. Remember to bring your old paper documents for free shredding services (up to 50 lbs. per household).

Join us and celebrate Earth Day, and Enjoy Troy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth Day / So Far So Good:

The annual ritual of distributing materials for Earth Day is a tradition in Troy. Today more then 30 neighborhood groups, and private citizens looking to help out, were given volunteer tee shirts, recycle bags, and gloves for tomorrows annual city wide cleanup. It was a great way to catch up with community leaders who I rarely get a chance to speak with.
Claire Davis, the Queen of the Osgood neighborhood, walked into the Knickerbacker Ice Rink and immedietly informed me that the door of the facility contained words with improper apostrophe useage. Jim Shepard filled me in on the work being done at the Uncle Sam Trail. The lovely Thila Bell, of the South Lansingburgh N/hd Assoc. is still going strong, even though she's over 50 now! Mary Ann Conroy, who's material order I totally botched last year, received Gold Membership treatment this year -- and walked away happy. Her group, the Frear Park Conservatory, does an incredible job at helping to beautify the historic park.

Tomorrow, groups will be out in force cleaning things up, with city workers picking up the bagged debris. Groups needing city assistance may call Joe Alborelli at, 701-1247. If anyone would like organic material for your gardens, feel free to help yourself at our composting mulch mountains located by the North Lake Ave entrance of Frear Park. The Alamo will be accepting light bulbs, household batteries, flouresent bulbs & tubes, computer equipment, and televisions (one per household please) ,free of charge for Troy residents. You must show proof of residency for this service.

Join us Sunday at the Knickerbacker Ice Rink for the annual Earth Day festival. The event will run from 1 - 4:00 p.m. Food, sweets, treats, face painting, great music, and the projected summer like weather, all add up to a wonderful afternoon for your family. Country sensation, Loose Cannon Live will be appearing. This group has shared stages with some of the biggest country stars today, and will be donating their services for this great cause. To get to the Knickerbacker Ice Rink facility, take 103rd St. to the end, and it's on your left hand side - YOU CANNOT MISS IT! Also, we will have a shredding truck on site that day, and will accept up to 50 lbs. per houshould for Troy residents.

I just pray that tomorrow and Sunday go as smoothly as today did.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Troy's Little Italy - Thatsa Nice!

Troy's Little Italy neighborhood group should be a model for anyone starting one up or currently running one. Movie nights, winter carnivals, bocce, bingo, and let's not forget the food.
This weekend they'll be hosting their second stickball tournament. If you've never played or watched a stickball game, after you clean up you neighborhood on Earth Day, take a ride down to 'The Market' and check out the festivities. The venue has hosted literally thousands of stickball games over the years. I have many fond memories of playing ball there as a boy, with vivid memories of watching the older guy's slam a 'spaldine' off the back of Carlo's Grill on short 5th Ave.
The tounament will benefit the local food pantry's , and is being billed as, "We Play for Food!" Games will begin at 11:00 a.m on April 25. Teams will compete over the course of the weekend with the champion receiving a large bag of meatballs made by Rocco DeFazio -- just kidding! 'The Market' is the old Troy public market place on Hill & Liberty St. Our home town Tri City Valley Cats are also involved with the event. My pal Vic Christopher, assistant GM of the ballclub is always a sure bet to make things interesting. The man is a true showman, and a master of promotion -- and does a mean Elvis impersonation to boot!
Do yourself a a favor, and take the time this weekend to make a trip down to Little Italy for the fun. Read Mike Esposito's Troy Treasures column (April 19) in the Record's archives for more information. Thanks to all involved for helping to revitilize the neighborhood. Benvenuti Little Italy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Schedule:

It's going to be a busy weekend in Troy. Earth Day kicks off this Saturday with groups from around the city cleaning selected area's of their choosing. This year, 31 groups have registered projects with the city for the yearly mass cleanup.
Bags and volunteer tee shirts will be distributed on Friday (4/24), at the Knickerbacker Ice Rink, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for pre-registered groups.
The Earth Day clean up will begin bright and early on Saturday, April 25. For those who will need additional compostable bags, or a trash pickup, I'll be providing a contact phone number on this blog later in the week for groups to call. Residents of Troy may bring light bulbs, batteries, computer components, and televisions to the Alamo in South Troy, on Main St, near the county jail. This service is free of charge with proof of residency. If anyone is in need of wood mulch, residents are invited to go to Frear Park, at the North Lake Ave. entrance on the 25th, and take what you need. There are three Fucillo HUGE piles composting, just waiting for someone to work them back into the Earth!
On Sunday, April 26, the annual Earth Day festival will be held at Knickerbacker Ice Rink, from 1 - 4:00 p.m. This long standing tradition features a day of music, food, & eco friendly products. A face painter will also be on hand for the children. A performance by East Coast country sensation, Loose Cannon Live will highlight the afternoon. This 10 piece country horn bands leader, Greg Simmons has been a longtime eco-sensitive, vocal proponent for a 'greener' Earth.
Residents may also bring up to 50 lbs. of paper products to the festival for security shredding. I hope you will join us for the work & fun this weekend.

For additional information, e-mail me at,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Uncle Sam Fundraising Event a Success:

The Uncle Sam Parade Committee put on a wonderful party last night at the Lansingburgh Motor Boat and Canoe Club. Performers Al Bruno, and Little Elvis both put on amazing performances for the large crown who attended. The boat club donated the room free of charge, as did both singers, along with sound technician, Rocco Mazzarello who had as much fun as anyone. The event was supported by every restaurant in the 'Burgh, who donated gift certificates for the raffles, as did a multitude of other shops in the community.
Special thanks go out to all involved with the planning of the event. The parade will be celebrating it's 34th anniversary this year. Committee Chairman Jim Gordon did a great job in pulling it all together.

Troy Restaurant Stimulus Package:

With the nations economy tanking, many small businesses are in serious financial distress these days. Many are closing, leaving vacant storefronts throughout our city's. We as residents of Troy can help to try and stop the bleeding. This is a task that can be accomplished, one neighborhood at a time.
I'm proposing a Troy Restaurant Stimulus Package. If everyone of you the next 4 times that you dine out patronize a Troy establishment, then maybe we can help keep our fine lineup of eateries alive and well. Our neighborhoods and the downtown business district are loaded with some of the best food around, all at family friendly prices. From Italian, to Chinese and traditional American cuisine, Troy has it all.
Take Lansingburgh for instance, when I'm not cooking my own Italian food, my family can choose from Testo's, or Verdile's. Want seafood, Trader Ed's is the ticket. Traditional Americana is covered well by both Pip's and MJ's.
The breakfast crowd has a choice of Sue's on 2nd Ave, or Grahams Lansingburgh Cafe. Want a fish fry, try Ted's, or OB's. And plus, there's pizza a-plenty with Jimmy's, Anthony's, Tasty, Pizza Hut, and Liberty Pizza. Outside the box, you can try Badass Burrito, or Delectabulls Delicatessen.
Everytime you take your dollars over the river, you cause yourself to lose money. Sending your tax revenue away from Rensselaer County only hurts you and your family in the longrun. If we, as residents of Troy can better support are restaurants during these tough times, then maybe doing this together we can prevent a vacant storefront on the block where you live. So the next 4 times you go out to eat, keep your dollars closer to home. Support your Troy eateries!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Welcome to Community Thoughts

I'd like to welcome everyone to Community Thoughts. We'll be chatting about what's happening in the neighborhood's around Troy. This will be a positive Blog, with hopefully, no banter regarding Troy politics. I'll leave reporting and discussing the blood sport that is Troy politics to Franco and Caprood.

If you have anything at all coming up in your community, contact me at,
I'll be happy to post your events, or discuss any issue which is effecting your community in a positive manner. I'm thrilled the Record has asked me to join their Blog Team., and I hope you'll enjoy what I have to offer up. This will be a people page, talking about what you the citizens who make up our wonderful city, are doing, saying, and making happen.

A bit about me now. I've lived in Lansingburgh with my family for 18 years, and have been a community advocate and organizer for the past decade. My ramblings have appearing in the Record for 7 years in the form of a Troy Treasures column. I previously was a reporter with Empire News Exchange for 5 years. I've lived in Troy for 49 of my 52 years on this Earth, and have a passion for the city.

I hope you enjoy what I'll offer up, and I'll ask that we keep the discussion positive and productive.