Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Save the Victoria Pool Society

[edit] "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day," by Lydia Maria Child
This Thanksgiving song originally appeared as a poem written by Lydia Maria Child in Flowers for Children, volume 2, in 1844. Lydia Maria Child was a novelist, journalist, teacher, and wrote extensively about the need to eliminate slavery.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood -
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding",
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood -
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood -
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Investing in NYS Parks a wise idea in tough times, Times Union

print story
Parks called a sound investment
Group urges Paterson to allocate $100M in budget for improvements

By CASEY SEILER, State editor
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ALBANY — A consortium of environmental groups is calling on Gov. David Paterson to include $100 million in capital funding for New York's state parks in his 2009-2010 budget.
Representatives from Parks & Trails New York, Scenic Hudson, the state chapter of the Audubon Society and others held a press conference Monday morning to make the case for a broad program of revitalization — most of it administered by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Setting aside the environmental arguments for the upgrades, the advocates focused on the economic benefits to be derived from investment in the parks system. Individual projects cited by the group ranged from the new "Walkway Over the Hudson" pedestrian bridge — slated to open next year outside of Poughkeepsie — to more pressing work on dams, landfills and water and sewage systems serving parks.

The state committed $75.5 million in bonded capital for park improvements in the 2008-2009 budget. Those funds and additional state monies went to 201 current projects, including everything from improvements at the Peerless Pool in Saratoga Spa State Park and the reconstruction of the boardwalk at Jones Beach.

Tim Sweeney of Parks & Trails said a similar commitment next year would be a "second installment" on more than $650 million in proposed upgrades to state parks identified in a study completed by Parks Commissioner Carol Ash, who was appointed by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Sweeney emphasized that many of these projects brought jobs to "areas of the state that have few other economic drivers."

Sweeney noted that the parks improvement initiative should continue to be a bonded effort as opposed to a direct obligation by the state's general fund, which is facing a widening deficit due to Wall Street's collapse and the general economic slowdown.

He added that parks improvements are the sort of infrastructure improvements likely to be favored in a federal stimulus package being designed by the incoming Obama administration. The nation's parks, Sweeney noted, still reflect the work done under the auspices of the federal Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.

Sean Mahar, legislative assistant for Audubon New York, said the downturn actually makes the parks improvements even more pressing due to the increasing number of cash-strapped New York families who are vacationing closer to home.

"The more we wait to make this investment, the more the costs increase and the benefits decrease," Mahar said.

Parks & Trails has collected more than 4,000 postcards asking Paterson to maintain the funding in next year's budget, which the governor is slated to release on Dec. 16.

Several state parks have already seen scaled-back services due to the governor's request for all state agencies to trim 10 percent from their operating budgets.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservations oversees 178 parks and 35 historic sites.

Casey Seiler can be reached at 454-5619 or

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spa Park capital improvements continue despite economy

Spa park capital improvements start
Continued master plan work uncertain
Sunday, November 16, 2008
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Marc Schultz

Saratoga Spa State Park is going through renovations around the park. New sidewalk pads are being paved and completed seen here in front of the Gideon Putnam Hotel.Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Despite financial cutbacks at parks across the state this fall, work on a master plan for Saratoga Spa State Park’s next 20 years continues.

“What’s nice about the master plan is that it really gives us an opportunity to think ahead,” said Alane Ball Chinian, the new regional director of the Saratoga-Capital District Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Such planning includes possible new capital projects and improvements at the park. But it also includes fiscal and energy sustainability programs that will serve the 2,200-acre state park well in the coming years, Chinian said.

Saratoga Spa State Park is the first in the state park system to start a new master plan. The decision was made in 2007, before the state and national financial meltdown began.

This past June, state park officials held and informational hearing at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in the park to start the master plan work. More than 200 people attended this meeting and made dozens of suggestions.

Everything from a fenced-in dog park to better grooming of the park’s cross country ski trails was discussed.

Chinian said work on the master plan has been ongoing since that time. It is coordinated by the park system’s planning office in Albany.

master plan work

Park Manager Michael Greenslade said local park staff and state planners meet every other week to discuss master plan work.

He also said that park renovation and maintenance projects approved and funded in the 2008-09 state budget are being completed, including the renovation of six “comfort stations” in the Spa State Park’s picnic areas.

Chinian said three special studies are being conducted as part of the master plan work.

One of these studies is an in-depth, extensive scientific study of the popular State Seal water that flows under a relatively new pavilion across Avenue of Pines from the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

“We know it’s safe,” Chinian said about this sparkling clear water that has little or no mineral taste. “But I encouraged a more in depth study of the water. It looks good, but not all the results are in.”

This water is being studied because it is used heavily by the greater Saratoga Springs community.

“It is truly a 24-7 operation,” Chinian said about the popularity of the State Seal water.

People bring large jugs and other containers at all time of the day and night so they can bring home the clear, fresh-tasting spring water.

The testing is for hundreds of minerals that could possibly be in the water.

A new traffic study is also being conducted, including the Avenue of Pines that runs through the park between Route 9 and Route 50.

“We are not sure of the use [of the avenue] for non-park purposes,” Chinian said. Traffic counts are currently being taken on Avenue of Pines to determine its use and which vehicles are park patrons or employees and which cars and trucks are just cutting through the park.

The third master plan study is on possibilities for new and better signs at the park entrances and inside the park.

weighing in

A group called the Saratoga Spa Park Partners Forum has been created. This group includes representatives of all the amenities offered in the park: Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the golf courses, the auto museum, the dance museum, Gideon Putnam Hotel and Conference Center, the Hall of Springs and the privately-operated restaurant that serves the park’s championship golf course.

“In these troubled times we meet and discuss ways in which we can support each other,” Chinian said.

She said the forum members want signs to indicate that the park can be a one-stop destination for tourists and other park patrons.

She said those various entities located within the park want to be able to market themselves more effectively with a better system of signs that are informative yet tasteful and in keeping with the park’s overall style.

At present there is a temporary banner that hangs below the main park sign on Route 9. Organizations such as SPAC or the Automobile Museum or the Lake George Opera Festival are all eager to hang their banner in this location to advertise their events and programs.

plan timetable

The first draft of the completed master plan is on schedule to be released in June, Chinian said.

As far as the coming winter is concerned at Spa State Park, park manager Greenslade said the basic park programs such as cross country skiing and ice skating will be offered.

The Spa State Park will not be closed during the winter months, for financial reasons, like some of the smaller parks in the state park system will be.

“We plan to do all the things we have done in the past,” Greenslade said. He said there have been some park staffing cuts, especially seasonal workers.

Chinian said the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has made two rounds of budget cuts this summer and fall. She said Gov. David Paterson has not called for additional budget cuts this fiscal year.

“What’s been done is done,” she said.

She said Schodack Island State Park in Rensselaer County has been closed for the winter and the state boat launch on Saratoga Lake and many state campgrounds were closed earlier than usual this year.

Yet despite all the cutbacks, work continues on some projects at the Saratoga Spa State Park and the Moreau Lake State Park, according to Kurt Kress, engineer for the Saratoga-Capital District Region.

Kress said that an additional $75 million in renovation and maintenance money for state parks was included in the 2008-09 state budget. Some $12 million of this was earmarked for the Saratoga-Capital Region parks.

He said engineering plans were prepared and contracts issued before the onset of the current national and state financial meltdown. That may offer some assurance that those projects will be completed.

“The contracts were let before the financial crisis,” Kress aid.

These projects include the six comfort stations in the Spa State Park’s picnic areas and another seven comfort station restorations at the Moreau Lake State Park.

Another Spa State Park project is the improvements to the bike and pedestrian paths. The biking and walking path along Avenue of Pines was paved this summer and fall. Other trail improvement work will be done in the spring, Kress said.

Kress said the bathrooms at the Moreau Lake State Park haven’t been renovated since they were opened in the 1960s.

He said contractors for the state will work through the winter to upgrade these bathrooms so they are ready for the 2009 camping and park season.

Kress said the parks region had to make a 10 percent reduction in funding this fall like every other state agency because of the current recession.

“What next year’s budget will hold, nobody knows,” Kress said about the state’s 2009-2010 budget.


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

We strongly support designating some of Saratoga Spa State Park as "forever wild"

Publication:Schenectady Daily Gazette; Date:Nov 15, 2008; Section:Saratoga; Page:47


Parks’ status to be studied

‘Forever wild’ rule at issue


The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will study whether eight state parks near but outside the Adirondack Park — including part of Saratoga Spa State Park — should be treated as having constitutionally protected “forest preserve” status.

The parks will be studied in the next year as part of a settlement between the state and three Adirondack environmental groups, the groups announced Friday.

They had raised alarms about the Saratoga County Water Authority building a water line in Moreau Lake State Park, charging the work violated Article 14 of the state constitution.

That amendment declares state forest lands in 12 Adirondack counties “forever wild.” The Association for Protection of the Adirondacks, Adirondack Mountain Club and Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks contended the “forever wild” rule applied at Moreau Lake, even though it is outside the Adirondack Park. The state disagreed.

Under the settlement, the state will look at whether state parks in the designated counties, but outside the Adirondack Park, contain lands that should have forest preserve protection.

Article 14 applies to state lands in Hamilton, Essex, Clinton, Franklin, Fulton, Herkimer, St. Lawrence, Warren, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga and Washington counties.

State parks spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee said the study doesn’t guarantee the parks will be treated as forest preserve.

“We have in essence agreed to disagree,” she said. “We have agreed to do a study and consider whether they should be treated as though they were forest preserve.”

The Adirondack groups said the agreement is a victory.

“It puts down in writing that [state parks] is a major player in state land, and that some of them have great wild character, and that they are willing to study them to determine if they should be in the forest preserve,” said David H. Gibson, executive director of the Association for Protection of the Adirondacks in Niskayuna.

The eight state parks to be studied are Crab Island, Cumberland Bay, Higley Flow, Macomb Reservation, Pixley Falls, Point Au Roche, Saratoga Spa and Whetstone Gulf.

“A lot of those are state lands that are undeveloped now, and likely will remain that way,” Larrabee said.

She said that study won’t apply to the already-developed sections of Saratoga Spa State Park, where the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Hall of Springs, golf course and other facilities are.

Gibson said the undeveloped parts of Saratoga Spa State Park to the south, between the main access road and the Kayaderosseras Creek, may qualify for treatment as forest preserve, or at least some form of further protection based on their wild character.

“Having the parks agency recognize that they indeed own and have responsibilities over forest preserve land is a victory for all of us,” said Michael Washburn, executive director of the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks.

In October, the county Water Authority approved making a $10,000 payment to the groups in return for their not filing a lawsuit. However, the three groups only recently signed final papers with the state parks agency, agreeing not to sue the state in return for the study and other measures.

Moreau Lake itself is not covered by the settlement. Larrabee said the state remains of the opinion the sprawling 4,100-acre park isn’t classified as forest preserve.

But the settlement calls for the state taking a number of actions at Moreau Lake.

Among those provisions are enhanced landscaping around the water authority’s water intake on the Hudson River, the state spending $300,000 on stewardship and education projects at the park, and that the state acquire three new acres — preferably at Moreau — for each acre that was disrupted by the water authority project.

The environmental groups said they’re confident the settlement means projects like the water line won’t happen in the other parks in the future, so a lawsuit wasn’t needed.

Yaddo Exhibit at New York Public Library in New York City is a joy to behold

New York Public Library Exhibition Explores the Far-Ranging Influence of a Fabled Artist’s Retreat

Yaddo: Making American Culture on view October 24, 2008 – February 15, 2009

New York, NY, October 24, 2008 - The iron gate that has welcomed generations of artists to Yaddo is now welcoming guests of The New York Public Library to a new exhibition about the fabled artists’ retreat, Yaddo: Making American Culture.

Founded more than a century ago on a wooded 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York, Yaddo has nurtured the creative work of some of the nation’s most distinguished writers, composers, performers and visual artists, while fostering a multitude of friendships, rivalries, collaborations and cross-influences. Artists who have worked at Yaddo have garnered 63 Pulitzer Prizes, 58 National Book Awards, 25 MacArthur “genius” awards, 8 Emmy Awards, a Nobel Prize, and countless other honors. By making a multigenerational community out of these artists, Yaddo has helped to forge a distinctive American tradition in the arts.

Now The New York Public Library explores the far-ranging influence of Yaddo, and opens a window onto some of the most significant events in twentieth-century life as experienced by its artists, in this richly detailed multimedia exhibition. The free exhibition is on view from October 24, 2008 to February 15, 2009 in the D. Samuel and Jeane H. Gottesman Exhibition Hall (First Floor) of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Sociologist and cultural critic Micki McGee, Fordham University, has served as the Spencer Trask & Co. Curator for Yaddo: Making American Culture.

Through a lively mixture of letters, papers, photographs, books, artworks, film clips and sound recordings Yaddo: Making American Culture offers a rare glimpse into the workings of this most private of institutions, revealing how it has hosted such luminaries as James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Philip Guston, Patricia Highsmith, Jacob Lawrence, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor and Sylvia Plath. At the same time, the exhibition provides a new perspective on public events throughout the period. The economic and social turmoil of the 1930s, the destruction and displacements of World War II, the paranoia of the McCarthy era, the strife born of resistance to Jim Crow segregation, and the rise of the feminist and gay rights movements are among the developments that shaped Yaddo, the lives of the artists who sought shelter there and the works they produced. As a result, the exhibition gives an intimate yet panoramic view of American culture, from Yaddo’s first official season in 1926 through 1980.

The exhibition showcases extraordinary materials from the Yaddo Records—the retreat’s uniquely fascinating archive, which reveals the story of Yaddo and its artists. Since 1999, the Records have been a part of The New York Public Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division, which makes them publicly accessible to researchers and preserves them for future generations. Additional installments to
the Library’s holdings from Yaddo’s ongoing records will be made through 2026, the hundredth anniversary of Yaddo’s first official season for invited guests. Joining the wealth of materials from the Yaddo Records in the exhibition are exceptional items from other NYPL collections, from Yaddo’s holdings of rare books and artworks and from other lenders.

“The Yaddo Records are a prized holding of The New York Public Library,” stated Paul LeClerc, President of the Library. “We take great pride in being able to offer the public access to materials that were once only accessible by a few. Our collection of Yaddo materials and the exhibition itself will be an exciting and eye-opening experience for anyone with an interest in American culture and the arts.”

“We are honored that The New York Public Library has chosen to make Yaddo the centerpiece of its fall and winter exhibition program,” stated Elaina H. Richardson, President of The Corporation of Yaddo. “Thanks to the Library’s enthusiasm, the cooperation of the lenders to the exhibition and the expert curatorship of Micki McGee, Yaddo: Making American Culture will initiate a festive celebration of Yaddo, in New York City and around the country.”

Plan of the Exhibition

Yaddo: Making American Culture unfolds its story in seven sections, organized according to the overall themes of what is given at Yaddo, and what is made.

Visitors enter the first section, What Is Given, through the actual Yaddo gate—brought to the Library for the exhibition—and are immediately surrounded by the atmosphere of the estate in its early years. Here visitors learn how the wealthy Spencer and Katrina Trask acquired Yaddo, remade it over the years and eventually resolved to convert it into a retreat for artists. Among the rare materials in this gallery is a portrait painting of Katrina Trask by Eastman Johnson, photographs of life at Yaddo taken by Spencer Trask, and a hand-drawn map of the grounds by artist Philip Reisman.

Refuge examines the different functions of Yaddo as a safe haven: from the bustle of city life, from the economic pressures of the Depression, from political persecution during the rise of European fascism. A stained-glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany offers a pastoral view of the Yaddo grounds. Pictures by artists such as Louis Lozowick reflect the turmoil beyond Yaddo’s gate in the 1930s. Correspondence from Newton Arvin to Truman Capote tells the story of how Yaddo gave a place in America to the Danish novelist and political refugee Karin Michaëlis.

Running down the middle of the exhibition hall is Community. The centerpiece of this section is the Yaddo dining table, around which the resident artists gather every day. Projected onto the table are the names of artists, both celebrated and obscure, who were guests at Yaddo during the time period of the exhibition, from 1926 to 1980. A wall projection at the far end of the gallery displays maps of the social networks developed and fostered at Yaddo. Other highlights of this section include a colorful selection of handmade holiday cards from Yaddo artists.

Contention shows how Yaddo has been not only a refuge from the world’s conflicts but also a place where they have been played out. Compelling letters, photographs, books, press clippings and documents from the 1930s through 1960 reveal the struggles at Yaddo over admitting African American artists such as Langston Hughes and James Baldwin; the clash over accusations of covert Communist influence at the retreat; and the tragic outcome of the police persecution of Newton Arvin—literary scholar, long-time Yaddo advisor, and lover and mentor of the young Truman Capote—because of his homosexuality.

In contrast to the conflicts seen in Contention, Collaboration concentrates on the artistic partnerships that have emerged among Yaddo’s guests. Outstanding among these were the highly influential music festivals (later known as the Music Periods) that Aaron Copland originated in 1932, and that continued through 1952. At audio stations, visitors are able to hear historic recordings from the Yaddo festivals, as well as examples of collaborations among Yaddo’s writers and composers, including Ned Rorem’s settings of poems by Elizabeth Bishop.

Recognition explores how the reputations of Yaddo artists have fared over the years and considers the role of Yaddo in raising or lowering the barriers between high art and popular culture. Books, papers and other materials in this section reflect the diminishing fame of once-celebrated authors such as Evelyn Scott, James T. Farrell and Josephine Herbst; document Yaddo’s decision in 1967 not to admit sculptor Eva Hesse (now seen as one of the key artists of her generation); and provide insight into the careers of Yaddo authors such as Mario Puzo and Irving Stone, who gained popular success but paid for it with a loss of critical esteem.

The final section, Made at Yaddo,is devoted to a summary of the work that has been produced thanks to the retreat, which according to John Cheever has “seen more distinguished activity in the arts than any other piece of ground in the English-speaking community or perhaps in the entire world." In this section, visitors may listen to excerpts of music by composers including Marc Blitzstein and Leonard Bernstein; see original works by visual artists including Milton Avery, Clyfford Still, Philip Guston, George Rickey and Anne Truitt; view a montage by artist Shelly Silver, developed from films based on the works of Yaddo authors; and stand at the foot of a towering pile of more than a thousand books, representing only a fraction of the works published by authors within five years of their residence at Yaddo, 1926-1980.

Major Companion Volume to the Exhibition
Yaddo: Making American Culture, edited by exhibition curator Micki McGee, offers a fascinating glimpse into Yaddo and the lives and historical circumstances of the artists who lived and worked there. Richly illustrated with photographs, prints, intimate letters, documents and ephemera, primarily from archives and collections at Yaddo and at The New York Public Library, the volume includes essays by Marcelle Clements, David Gates, Allan Gurganus, Tim Page, Ruth Price, Helen Vendler, Barry Werth, and Karl Emil Willers; an introductory overview by Micki McGee; and a Yaddo timeline. Published in cloth and paperback by Columbia University Press in association with The New York Public Library, the book is available in The Library Shop.

Free Public Programs - Yaddo: Making American Culture

Curatorial Lecture

Humanities and Social Sciences Library

Celeste Bartos Education Center, South Court

Wednesday, January 14, at 6 p.m.

Repeated Tuesday, February 10, at 2 p.m.

An illustrated lecture by exhibition curator Micki McGee about the themes and content of the exhibition.

Film Programs

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Bruno Walter Auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza

Yaddo Authors on Film

Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m.: January 6, 13, 20, 27; February 3, 10

Film adaptations of works by Yaddo writers in residence, including Patricia Highsmith, Carson McCullers, John Cheever, Flannery O’Connor, Walter Mosley and Raymond Carver.

Yaddo Filmmakers

Fridays at 2:30 p.m.: January 9, 16, 23, 30; February 6, 13

Special screening of The City, with program following: Wednesday, February 11,
at 6 p.m. at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library

Works by filmmakers who have had residencies at Yaddo, among them Laurel Chiten, Shelly Silver, Su Friedrich, Abigail Child and Ralph Steiner.

Special Screeningof The City

A special screening of the 1939 documentary The City in the South Court Auditorium on Wednesday, February 11, at 6 p.m. will be followed by a conversation between Joseph Horowitz (Artistic Director, Post-Classical Ensemble), who prepared liner notes on the Aaron Copland score for the new Naxos DVD release of the film; and documentary filmmaker/scholar George Stoney. The City (screening only; no program) will also be shown on February 13 at the Library for the Performing Arts.

These programs are free on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about these and other Library programs and classes, pick up a copy of the Now brochure, available in Astor Hall, or visit or

Panel Discussions

Fordham University, Lincoln Center,

Pope Auditorium, 113 West 60th Street

The Lowell Affair: Catholics, Communists, and Yaddo’s Red Scare

Wednesday, October 29, at 6 p.m.

In February 1949, poet Robert Lowell ignited controversy and created dissent in the ordinarily quiet community of Yaddo with allegations that the renowned artists’ retreat had been harboring Communists. The ensuing imbroglio, known as "the Lowell Affair,” has since become the stuff of literary legend, as anti-Communist Catholics, including Lowell and Flannery O'Connor, faced off against members of the literary Left. Months before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s nationwide campaign made the “Red Scare” the central preoccupation of America, Yaddo served as the stage for the culture war to come.

Hosted by the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, this panel discussion on the Lowell Affair will include speakers Paul Elie, author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own; Saskia Hamilton, editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell; Steven Axelrod, author of Robert Lowell: Life and Art; Vince Passaro, Yaddo’s director of special projects; and guest curator Micki McGee.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged. To make a reservation, or for additional information, e-mail or call 718.817.0662.

College of Arts and Science at New York University
100 Washington Square East

A series of three panel discussions organized by Matthew S. Santirocco, Seryl Kushner Dean of the College of Arts and Science at New York University, will use the experience of Yaddo to explore questions of High and Low Culture (November 12, moderated by Marcelle Clements), Arts Patronage and Social Policy (December 4, moderated by Rick MacArthur) and Culture Wars from the 1930s Until Now (February 4, moderated by Marianne Weems).

Docent Tours

Free public tours of the exhibition are conducted Monday through Saturday at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. All group tours, including school groups, must be scheduled well in advance. Unauthorized tours are not permitted. To schedule a tour, call 212.930.0650. Group tour fees are $7 per person ($5 for seniors); there is no charge for full-time students.

Exhibition Support
For their support of the exhibition, The New York Public Library is grateful to The Corporation of Yaddo and its donors: The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, Spencer Trask & Co., Mary H. White and J. Christopher Flowers, the New York Council for the Humanities, public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, George Rickey Foundation, Inc., Harold Reed, Allan Gurganus, Peter C. Gould, Anthony and Margo Viscusi, Susan Brynteson, Nancy Sullivan, Bruce and Ellen Cohen, Rick Moody, Barbara Toll, Rackstraw Downes, Matthew Stover, Van der Veer Varner, Gardner McFall and Peter Olberg, Joseph Caldwell, John Ashbery, Geoffrey Movius, Patricia Volk, and two anonymous donors.

Support for The New York Public Library's Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani and Adam Bartos, Jonathan Altman, and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

Yaddo Exhibitions Around the Country
In celebration of Yaddo and the presentation at The New York Public Library, libraries and archives nationwide will present fifteen exhibitions in 2008-09, showcasing Yaddo artists for whom they hold papers. The participating institutions are the Grolier Club of New York; the Saratoga Springs Public Library; the Houghton Library at Harvard University; the University of Maryland Libraries; the Green Library at Stanford University; the Hayden Library at Arizona State University; the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin; the Eudora Welty Education and Visitors Center of The Mississippi Department of Archives and History; the Northwestern University Library; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the Pennsylvania State University Libraries; the William Allan Neilson Library at Smith College; the Flannery O’Connor Collection at Georgia College & State University; the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University; and the University of Delaware Library.


Timed to coincide with the presentation of Yaddo: Making American Culture, Yaddo has launched Yaddocast, a multimedia podcast series that explores the history, culture and artistic achievements of the acclaimed artists’ retreat and its artist guests. Written and maintained by noted podcasters Shannon Clute and Richard Edwards, Yaddocast episodes are available for download at through February 2009, and indefinitely for download through media players such as iTunes or Juice, and through the video-sharing website YouTube. For more information, visit: and click on the “Looking for Yaddocast” icon in the top left corner of the home page.

About Yaddo

Yaddo is an artists’ community established in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1900 by the financier Spencer Trask and his poet wife, Katrina, to offer creative artists the rare gift of a supportive environment with uninterrupted time to think, experiment and create. Over 200 artists are invited each year for residencies lasting up to two months, and their accomplishments in all fields are a testimony to Yaddo’s long and distinguished history as one of America’s most important cultural institutions. Over the years, Yaddo has welcomed more than 5,500 artists working in one or more of the following media: choreography, film, literature, musical composition, painting, performance art, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video. The guests have included such notable men and women as Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Elizabeth Bishop, Truman Capote, John Cheever, Aaron Copland, Philip Guston, Ulysses Kay, Langston Hughes, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Katherine Anne Porter, Clyfford Still, Virgil Thomson and William Carlos Williams.

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers—the Humanities and Social Sciences Library; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library—and 87 branch libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items, including materials for the visually impaired. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, beginning genealogy classes and English as a second language. The Library serves some 16 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 25 million users internationally, who access collections and services through the NYPL website,

Hours and General Information

The exhibition is open during regular Library hours: Monday, Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Tuesday–Wednesday, 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1–5 p.m. Closed federal holidays and Sunday, December 7. For more information on hours, current and upcoming exhibitions, programs, and services at The New York Public Library, call 212.592.7730 or visit the Library’s website at


Contact: Nadia Riley | 212.592.7177 |

Contact: Amy Wentz | Ruder Finn A&CC | 212.715.1551 |

nr: 10.24.08:nypl

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Congratulations America!

This ain’t your father’s revolution
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
A swelling crowd of 200 to 300 people came together to form a loud, jubilant street walk down Broadway at midnight on Tuesday to celebrate the victory of Barack Obama.

They wore American flags, pounded on snare drums and chanted the new president’s name as they crowded onto the down-sloping hill of Caroline Street.

City Police arrived on the scene and closed off the street for the young revelers, who expressed their joy and quickly dispersed, walking back up the hill and onto Broadway, where they were last seen headed in the northerly direction of Skidmore College.

Post Star, 11/5/08

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rejoice in your vote and Weep for the Ballet and SPAC, Saratogian, 11/4/08

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center will cut back the season of the NYC Ballet, seen here performing in July, from three weeks down to two next year due to economic pressures. The Saratogian/File photo
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The New York City Ballet will be spending only two weeks at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center next July, instead of the usual three.

The decision, announced Monday at a SPAC board meeting, followed a great deal of soul searching, said Ken Tabachnick, the NYC Ballet general manager.

"It is necessary for us to be realistic," Tabachnick said.

The reality is in good years the New York City Ballet and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center each lose about $1 million a year to bring the ballet to Saratoga Springs for three weeks each summer. So, while he said the ballet remains firmly committed to its residency in Saratoga Springs, the decision was in the ballet's best economic interest.

The reduction helps cut SPAC losses, too.

"Overall we are optimistic that this change will be a net positive for both SPAC and the NYCB. We believe that a shorter season will not only reduce expenses, but encourage higher attendance at each performance, which is a goal that we both support," said William Dake, the SPAC board chairman.

SPAC has seen a decrease in attendance for the ballet in the past few years, a statistic on par with national figures.

Dake said he sees the shortened NYC Ballet season - from July 7 to 18 - as an opportunity to broaden the SPAC programs with some other form of dance for the third week, likely a group of national prominence. SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia J. White declined to offer suggestions to the board as to what might replace the ballet's third week. She said ideas are being discussed and SPAC is open to ideas from the public, but directed the conversation about a possible replacement to occur at another meeting.


Monday's announcement came as a surprise to local officials. "This is precisely why our community fought so hard to get a city representative on the SPAC board," said Saratoga Springs Supervisor Joanne Yepsen when called for comment. "Whenever decisions have significant affect on our local economy it is important to work closely with the host city."

A few years ago, a bombshell announcement by the SPAC board that it would be dropping the NYC Ballet caused an uproar, which contributed to a turnover of SPAC management and an almost entirely new board.

This time, a reduction of the residency is not likely to cause such a stir.

"It is certainly unfortunate that the season will be cut back, but it's a sign of our tough economic times," said Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson. "If people want a three-week ballet season, they need to support the ballet more when it's here. Attendance has been down. Whenever you have tough economic times, the arts are the first to suffer."

White called SPAC a cultural icon and a cultural hub, which the state considers at budget time.

"We are an economic engine bringing in $30 million to the immediate community," she said.

The board of directors received a brief overview of the organization's financial situation at the meeting, which took place in Albany. SPAC is projected to end the year "slightly in the black," but the organization's investments are down 16 percent.

The 2009 budget is still being worked on, with a draft form expected at the end of November. Board members will likely have the draft to review the first week of December and the matter introduced at the scheduled Dec. 12 board meeting.

White said ticket prices and membership prices will remain the same as this year. Although state money has been earmarked for the rehabilitation for the exterior of the SPAC amphitheater, some of those funds have not yet been received. The $2.5 million project will remove the exterior siding and replace it with a new façade - the look has been a subject of controversy and is being redesigned - as well as putting in new railing, lighting and sound systems.

While Dake said the organization seems to be in a "stable position," he reminded the board that most not-for-profits depend on half of their revenue coming from contributions and support. The 2009 season will be the last season for a number of endowments created after a state audit in 2004 resulted in a complete overhaul of the board of directors as well as the firing of the previous SPAC president.

"I don't want to be as dependent as we have been," Dake said of the endowments. He suggested some of the benefactors may opt to continue their gifts.

In addition to the ballet, SPAC's summer season also features the Philadelphia Orchestra. When asked whether the orchestra will also be looking to reduce its time in Saratoga Springs, Dake said, "As far as we know it is not on the table at this point."

"People are more amenable to making changes in these tough economic times," Dake said. "This may be an opportunity to create a greater interest in some areas."