Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SPAC Ballet attendance figures for 2008, Albany Times Union

Attendance, revenue drop at SPAC ballet

Staff reports
Last updated: 3:53 p.m., Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The New York City Ballet's residency at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center ended its 2008 season with a 6 percent drop in attendance from last year, according to preliminary figures.
SPAC Executive Director Marcia J. White said in a written statement that audiences were still enthusiastic about the ballet this year, crediting promotions like "American Girl Night" and "Sports Night" for bringing in spectators. This year's season ran from July 8 to 26.

"Yet, impacting our bottom line was the fact that high gas and food prices have left many people struggling financially," White said. "That is a reality that is affecting virtually every segment of our economy and the arts are no exception."

Overall, attendance at the ballet was 42,354, and the total income was $1,176,442, a 2 percent drop from last year.

Despite the down figures from last year, White did find successes in the season.

Due to the ``Free Children on the Lawn'' program, SPAC saw a 64 percent jump in children attending performances, resulting in 1,162 kids in total taking in classical ballet. Also, ``West Side Story Suite's'' attendance neared 10,000, making it the highest-attended event of the season.

All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2008, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hail to the King, Saratogian, 7/27/08

Victoria Pool king reigns
Stanton Williamson, known to all his friends as "King of the Victoria Pool," was feted July 13 on his 75th birthday at the pool by the Save the Victoria Pool Society and many other fans.

Everyone feasted at lunch, which was preceded by hors d'oeuvres, assorted cheeses and fruits, catered by society board members. Also served was everything from crabmeat and shrimp salad to assorted wraps, finished off by a large birthday cake with an edible picture of the "king."

Faces in the crowd included board members: Louise Goldstein, Andrew Jennings, Tom Marino, Rick Nacy, Doug Jasinske, Maureen O'Connell Godlewski and Barbara Proctor. Former Saratoga Springs mayor J. Mike O'Connell and his wife Betty were also in attendance, along with Williamson's oldest friend Billy Farrell, who now lives in Florida.

Jasinske and Sebastian Medina-Tayac came from Takoma Park, Md. Others were here from New York City and the |Capital District.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Everything is beautiful at the ballet"

Big night at the balletJuly 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm by Susan Mehalick, Executive Features Editor

(Photo credit: Beth Arnold)

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is reporting that last night (Thursday) attendance at the New York City Ballet performance was 4,200 — the best turnout of the year. The big draw for the night, no doubt, was “West Side Story Suite,” which has popular audience appeal. John Hendrickson, Saratoga socialite Marylou Whitney and New York City Ballet’s Peter Martins, above, were together at a preperformance party.

If you haven’t been to the ballet yet this season, you have three more chances. Tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) at 8 p.m. and tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon at 2 p.m.

Tonight’s performance features mixed repertory: Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (Brahms/Balanchine); Rococo Variations - A SPAC PREMIERE (Tschaikovsky/Wheeldon); Brahms/Handel (Brahms/Robbins & Tharp)

Tomorrow’s matinee is a Jerry Robbins fest: “Goldberg Variations,” which clocks in at 1 hour and 20 minutes. (TU dance critic Joseph Dalton told me it was the best dance on the SPAC schedule this season.) And “Western Symphony.”

Tomorrow night: “West Side Story” is on the program, along with Robbins’ “The Four Seasons” and his silent dance “Moves,” with made its SPAC debut this summer.

Posted in General |

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Peerless Pool given OK to open
Delayed capital work to be done in time for Friday

After a three-week delay, Peerless Pool is finally expected to open Friday.
Saratoga Spa State Park’s largest pool got the OK Tuesday from the state Department of Health to reopen after a $168,000 renovation project set back the start of the season.
The pool originally was scheduled to open June 28 along with the Victoria Pool, but wet weather in June and this month made it difficult to complete the work.
“It was a very complicated project because it involved the restoration of the concrete structure and the application of a rubber membrane system,” said Alane Ball Chinian, regional parks director.
Although the main pool will be open, the adjacent slide pool and kiddie pool won’t be open for about another week because work is still being done on them, Chinian said.
“We’re really sorry about it and trying to minimize it as much as we can,” she said of the closures.
Victoria Pool has been better attended than usual, she said, and swimming lessons usually held at Peerless have been moved to the smaller Victoria Pool.
The 21 lifeguards that were hired for Spa State Park now rotate between the Victoria Pool and either Grafton Lakes State Park in Rensselaer County or Moreau Lake State Park, said Patricia Forward, who oversees the water safety program for the Saratoga region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Most lifeguards work 40 hours a week, starting at $10.35 an hour and getting a boost to $12.47 if they come back for a third year.
Forward said there are usually two or three lifeguards stationed at the Victoria Pool and at least 15 at Peerless when the water slide is open.
On weekends, a group of lifeguards carpools to Grafton in a state vehicle, Forward said. But on weekdays, they’re on their own to drive and pay for the gas.
Grafton is a 40-mile trip one way, or nearly an hour drive from Saratoga Spa State Park, while Moreau Lake is 21 miles from the park.
The Grafton beach has been seeing greater attendance than usual this summer, so the lifeguards are needed there, Chinian said.
“We’re going to be stretched pretty thin when the Peerless does open,” she said.
Hiring lifeguards is always difficult, since other summer jobs can pay just as much but require fewer skills and training, Chinian said.
The delay also is likely to mean less revenue for the state park, Chinian acknowledged, since swimmers at Peerless not only pay a fee of $3 per adult or $1.50 per child, but also pay $6 to drive into the picnic area of the park where Peerless is located.
She’s not sure how much money the state lost from the delay. “We won’t know that until the end of the month.”
Still, the park won’t charge more to swim, Chinian said.
She said state park officials preferred to wait for the right conditions to complete the project rather than rush it. “This is a capital improvement that we don’t want to make every year.”
Three layers of the rubber material had to be applied and then a special paint to top it off, and the application required several consecutive days of good weather.
“You could only really work when you knew you were going to have a stretch of really good weather.”
The pool renovation is part of a $132 million capital program that the state Legislature and governor approved in the budget this year.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peerless Pool, Post Star, 7/14/08

SPA: Pool opening expected Friday
July 14th, 2008
The folks over at Save the Victoria Pool Society are more than a little perturbed that Saratoga Spa State Park’s Peerless Pool remains shuttered halfway through the summer.

But park manager Michael Greenslade said today the group will be able to rest, er swim, a little easier come this weekend.

Parks staff are planning to open Peerless’ large pool — but not the slide or kiddie pools – on Friday, assuming water tests come back OK, he said.

So far, the Victoria Pool – the small, historic pool down the road – has reached capacity only a handful of times, Greenslade said.

“People have been bearing with it and taken it pretty well,” he said.

– Drew Kerr

Posted in Saratoga Snippets | No Comments (Add a Comment) »

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sorry, please resend comments if not posted in 2 days.

Folks, we are very grateful for your comments and had a computer glitch yesterday, Wednesday, 7/9/08. If your comment has not been posted in 2 days please resend. We welcome all your thoughts including constructive criticism which always promotes growth.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rumors run rampant in Saratoga in the Good Ole' Summertime

Rumor has it that the Contractors working on the Peerless Pool do not begin working till 3 PM so let us hope it will reopen by the end of the week as predicted.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Peerless Perils Continue, Schenectady Gazette, 7/3/08

Pool won’t open by the Fourth Peerless closed Victoria usable
BY LEE COLEMAN Gazette Reporter

The Peerless Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park won’t be open July 4, but renovation work should be complete and the swimming pool opened late next week, a state official said Wednesday.
“It’s still a work in progress,” said Michael Greenslade, park manager. The pool had been scheduled to open June 28.
Contractors are finishing a $168,000 renovation of the pool’s surface using a rubber compound that requires a period of dry weather to cure. The onand-off rain in the past month has delayed the work that was started May 15, according to park officials.
Greenslade said the final coat of epoxy paint was applied Wednesday to the surface of the Olympicsized pool in the southwest corner of the park.
“It’s a four-step process,” Greenslade said.
The steps include the application of a primer, the application of a rubber-based filler, a topcoat of rubber membrane material over the filler and a final coat of epoxy paint.
“It has to cure five days,” Greenslade said. He said Wednesday’s sunny, dry weather was a good start for the new surface.
“We hope the surface lasts for years to come,” Greenslade said.
The old surface had started to deteriorate and develop leaks. The new surface is also expected to improve swimmers’ footing around the pool and improve the pool’s appearance.
Park employees will wait for fi ve days for the surface work to cure and then start filling the pool as soon as possible, Greenslade said.
The Peerless Pool, the largest of two pools in the state park, underwent a major renovation in 1996-97. A kiddie pool and a slide pool were added to the complex at that time.
Greenslade said the main pool will open first and the slide pool and kiddie pool somewhat later.
“We want to focus on the main pool first; it will open first,” Greenslade said. He estimated that the main Peerless Pool would be able to open July 10 or July 11.
He said the pool chemicals and all of the people who work at the Peerless Pool are lined up and ready to go when the signal is given.
The Victoria Pool, the park’s other pool, located near the 18-hole championship golf course, opened last Saturday and remains open for swimming from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
“Today we reached capacity,” Greenslade said about the Victoria Pool on Wednesday. Capacity is 350 people using the pool at any one time. When people leave the pool after swimming, others are allowed in to replace them.
The cost to swim at Victoria Pool is $6 for adults and $3 for children.
The cost to swim at Peerless Pool is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children. However, the Peerless Pool is located in an area of the 2,200-acre park that requires a $6-per-car entry gate fee.
The state park will issue a public announcement as soon as an opening date has been determined for the Peerless Pool.
For additional information, contact the state park office at 584-2000 or visit the state parks Web site at

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Flapjack flap continued

Hold the ‘pancakes’ design at SPAC

Since the change in management a few years ago, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center not only is doing better financially, it has come a long way in terms of openness and public relations. After unveiling a new design for the amphitheater, and seeing it mocked by some bloggers, SPAC officials say they are considering going back to the drawing board. Good idea.
Unlike a bad show, which is here today and gone tomorrow, a bad-looking building will be there to get bad reviews for a long time. And with the new facade proposed as part of a $2.5 million renovation, this would be a bad-looking building.
The problem is those horizontal wavy layers that would cover the outside, which the bloggers likened to a “stack of pancakes.” The waves are supposed to evoke the contours of the SPAC lawn; and the material, beige-colored recycled paper and forest products, is supposed to remind people that this is a “green” building. “It’s a balance of trying to retain the feeling of the past but trying to move forward into the future,” said Executive Director Marcia White.
But what the new design would do is make a delightfully open, angular place look closed in and bowl-like. There is nothing wrong with the muted brown of the spaced vertical boards now covering the outside — other than that they are rotted. The building, which was constructed in 1966, is already modern in the best sense of the term: light, airy and tasteful. There is no need to make it look futuristic just for the sake of “moving forward.”
The interior of the amphitheater needed a good makeover, and has gotten it. As for the outside, leave well enough alone.