Saturday, January 30, 2010

Slots operator picked for Aqueduct at last!

State picks VLT operator for Aqueduct racino
Saturday, January 30, 2010

By PAUL POST, The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The state’s long-awaited selection of an Aqueduct Race Track gaming operator is finally over.

Gov. David Paterson announced Friday that Aqueduct Entertainment Group has been awarded the 30-year contract to operate the downstate track’s 4,500 video lottery terminals.

The facility is expected to provide millions in new tax revenue to the cash-strapped state and give New York’s thoroughbred industry a major boost. Most importantly, Friday’s decision should prevent any threat of a racing shutdown, because AEG is obligated to give New York Racing Association funds to keep operating until the racino comes on line.

“AEG has both the financial viability and ability to pay the required up-front licensing fee,” Paterson said. “AEG complied with every request made during the review process and addressed satisfactorily all matters related to licensing ability. All of the groups have valid proposals, but AEG presented a comprehensive bid that enjoys community support and also offers strong marketing appeal.”

NYRA is slated to get 7 percent of racino revenues — 4 percent for capital improvements, 3 percent for operations. NYRA has already announced plans for $100 million worth of improvements at aging Saratoga Race Course, which could produce significant local construction during the next few years. Priorities include new restaurants, new backstretch worker dorms and major infrastructure overhauls in the grandstand such as plumbing and electrical work.

NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Plans call for 3,000 VLTs within six months of AEG’s signing a memorandum of understanding with the state, AEG spokesman Davis Hodge said. The remaining 1,500 machines would come on line within a year’s time.

Larry Woolf, former head of MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, is one of AEG’s lead partners. He is currently head of the Navegante Group that runs Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Other members of the AEG coalition are GreenStar Services Corp., Turner Construction Co., Levine Builders, The Darman Group Inc. and Empowerment Development Corp., PS&S Design, Siemens AG and Clairvest Group Inc. Navegante or its partners currently operate other casinos in Nevada, Wisconsin, Taiwan, Chile and other Canadian sites.

Paterson’s budget called for a minimum up-front payment to the state of at least $200 million from the winning bidder. However, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said Friday he would only support Paterson’s selection if the up-front payment is increased to $300 million.

AEG could not immediately be reached for comment to see if it could provide the extra

$100 million.

AEG was one of five firms competing for the gaming contract. Others were Delaware North Companies partnered with Saratoga Gaming & Raceway, The Peebles Corp. and MGM; SL Green Realty Trust/Hard Rock Entertainment and Penn National Gaming.

Trainer Linda Rice hailed Friday’s announcement as a step in the right direction for New York racing. Many breeders have left New York for Pennsylvania, attracted to that state’s higher purses fueled by lucrative new casinos.

“I’m delighted that we can at least move forward,” she said. “I’m relieved to hear they’ve finally named someone. We’ve been waiting too long already. Hopefully we can regroup and pull things back together.”

Barry Ostrager, president of Saratoga Springs-based New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc., said, “We hope the implementation process is swift and uneventful. The announcement was certainly a long time coming and the state government has literally deprived the citizens of the state of a billion-plus dollars in revenue with the unnecessary delays that have attended this process.”

However, prominent Saratoga Springs horseman Jack Knowlton said, “Given the history of this, it may not be over yet.”

Penn National on Wednesday blasted Paterson and charged the state with a midstream change in the selection process rules. Penn National was the apparent high bidder with a $301 million up-front offer.

“We were extremely shocked and dismayed by the governor’s announcement, given we offered over $100 million more to the state than AEG in our bid,” said Eric Schippers, Penn National senior vice president. “In addition, our proposal complies with the conditions outlined by the speaker for the winning bidder. We remain committed to this project and will await further details about the selection process before commenting further.”

Some observers have speculated that one or more firms might sue the state.

Paterson, Silver and Senate Conference Leader John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, were charged with making the decision. Firms submitted bids last fall, but the selection was marked by one unexplained delay after another.

In addition to the extra

$100 million up-front payment, Silver said his support is contingent on several other items. They are:

ä Require use of existing approved footprint for a timely SEQRA approval. Any future development would be subject to the normal SEQRA process. No waiver requests or requests for expedited approval will be permitted.

ä All investors at any level, partners, directors, managers, contract holders and principal and other selected employees must obtain a license from the State Division of the Lottery. Anyone who has been denied a gaming license in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world, or convicted within the past 15 years of a felony or any other crime or offense involving fraud, larceny of any sort, theft, misappropriation or conversion of funds, or tax evasion is prohibited from obtaining a license.

ä Throughout the final approval process, all changes in the proposal including but not limited to partners, investors at any level, management, development or principal employees, and contracts must be reviewed by the Division of Lottery and approved by the three leaders prior to the conclusion of the approval process.

SL Green spokesman Rick Matthews said, “We question whether AEG can meet such conditions. We are awaiting word on that. We stand ready to re-engage state officials should AEG fail to meet conditions outlined by the speaker.”

Originally, Delaware North was chosen to run Aqueduct’s racino in October 2008. But when the economy collapsed, it couldn’t come up with the financing for a $370 million up-front pledge and the deal fell apart. Paterson announced last spring that he was starting the selection process over. Six firms submitted bids, three more than the first time. However, casino mogul Steve Wynn dropped out last fall because of ongoing delays, leaving five firms to choose from.

AEG partner Jeffrey Levine, founder and CEO of Levine Builders, said, “Aqueduct Entertainment Group is honored to have been selected to operate the video lottery terminals at Aqueduct racetrack. We look forward to completing the memorandum of understanding and beginning construction.”


© 2010, a Journal Register Property

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fasig-tipton pavillion work underway

Fasig-Tipton work on show pavilion gets under way
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Work is beginning on the second phase of improvements at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion.

On Wednesday, contractors removed ground-level windows slated for replacement at the pavilion at 251 East Ave. The horse auction company decided in November to scale down, scrapping bigger expansion and facade plans because they aren’t needed, Fasig-Tipton attorney Michael Toohey said in a letter to the city Planning Department.

The first phase completed this summer — especially the walking ring that improved visibility for patrons looking at horses — proved so successful that more people view the horses outside rather than crowding into the pavilion.

“Many patrons, who previously preferred to participate inside the pavilion, now utilize the wonderful areas near the horse ring and exterior areas,” Toohey wrote.

“Our client believes the full expansion of the building is no longer necessary.”

The smaller — 450-square-foot, two-story — expansion will extend from the pavilion toward George Street, creating a new handicap-accessible entryway. Most of the work that was planned for the cedar-covered curved facade that faces East Avenue has been scrapped. Some of that work included a walkway to the back of the building, which the company found isn’t needed. The previously-proposed windows and awnings on the second floor are being eliminated as well, the plans state.

The Lexington, Ky.-based company still plans to build a landing inside the 1967 pavilion’s entrance for people with disabilities.

In November, Fasig-Tipton told the city it planned to scale down the project, which was approved in December 2008.

Other renovations completed last summer included sprucing up the bathrooms, creating an outdoor restaurant and relocating a snack bar.

Fasig-Tipton, the country’s oldest thoroughbred horse auction company, holds a yearling sale on the grounds in August. This year, the Select Yearling Sales are slated for Aug. 2 and 3.

Last year, the sales started an hour earlier than the traditional 7 p.m., with the on-site restaurant, Man O’ War, serving dinner to patrons.

Fasig-Tipton is owned by Synergy Investments Ltd. of Dubai, which is headed by Abdulla Al Habbai, a close associate of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and an avid horseman.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Yaddo recovery nearly complete

Yaddo’s recovery is nearly complete
Sunday, January 24, 2010
By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Marc Schultz

Quick Response Restoration employees, Evan Leggett, right, and Steven Nadeau,left, move books into the library space in the building at Yaddo that has been restored and refurbished after a smokey fire two years ago.Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Twenty months after a fire damaged Yaddo’s office building, the nonprofit artist retreat is still getting itself back together.

The $1.8 million restoration is nearly complete, with some refurnishing left and recovering items in storage. Work is expected to be totally finished by mid-March.

The changes improve handicap accessibility and modernize the building while still keeping its original atmosphere.

“I think people that were guests at Yaddo before will have that same feel when they walk into the building,” said Yaddo spokeswoman Lesley Leduc. “The building still looks the same from the outside.”

All artist services have been moved to the ground floor of the office building, a former garage for the Yaddo estate. An elevator — required by the building inspector and paid by insurance — makes the building handicapped-accessible for the first time ever.

The May 10, 2008, fire in Yaddo’s basement started with a riding lawn mower and spread to storage materials. An alarm alerted the fire department.

No one was in the building on that weekend night except the resident cat, Mr. Pink.

The cat was rescued unharmed and the fire extinguished before it could travel to the first floor.

But smoke permeated both upper floors, saturating the library’s 6,000-plus books, employees’ paper files and furniture.

Everything was taken away by fire recovery company Quick Response, passed through an ozone chamber to neutralize the smell or stored in trailers on the Yaddo property.

“They were the furthest from the fire,” Leduc said of the library books, which were all written and donated by Yaddo artists. “Nothing of historical value or significance was lost.”

That’s a small miracle, considering the treasure trove of information stored at Yaddo about resident artists and historical information about Spencer and Katrina Trask, who lived at the estate before their deaths.

Artist guests in the last year and a half missed not being able to use the library, Leduc said, but overall, artists weren’t affected by the fire.

At that time, Yaddo was weatherizing the mansion kitchen so it could be operated in the winter, so guests have been fed there since the fire. Before that, the office building’s second floor housed the “winter kitchen,” because the airy mansion was too difficult and expensive to heat in the winter.

Staffers were put out by the fire, and moved into the mansion’s music hall, working in close quarters right after the blaze.

Then they moved back into the office building, working off folding tables and with improvised lighting.

Even now, employees are just beginning to get their furniture back.

The trying time has inspired kindness from the Yaddo artist community, Leduc said. One former guest donated money for adjustable library shelves.

“Our librarian is ecstatic,” she said of volunteer librarian Susan Brynteson, who comes once a year from Delaware to catalog and shelve books.

Of the $1.8 million in work, $1.4 million was covered by insurance, and the rest are voluntary upgrades, such as bringing undamaged wiring up to today’s standards in the 1910 building and making the heating system more efficient, Leduc said.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Interesting how many of SPAC Board are Bruno's strongest supporters including Marcia White his former Press Secretary.


Mrs. Marylou Whitney
Honorary Chair

William P. Dake

Marcia J. White
President & Executive Director

E. Stewart Jones, Jr
Vice Chair

Edward J. Lewi

Abraham M. Lackman

Matthew Bender IV
Meyer S. Frucher
John J. Gilbert III
George R. Hearst III
Daniel J. Hogarty, Jr
Larry King
Heather Mabee
I. Norman Massry
Donald J. McCormack
Ed Mitzen
Eleanor K. Mullaney
John J. Nigro
A. John Popp, M.D
Susan Phillips Read
Arthur J. Roth
Dolores Sarno
Nancy Touhey

print story
Bruno: 'I live life a day at a time'

Fundraiser draws loyalists of convicted former state senator; protest outside

Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

COLONIE -- Roughly 200 supporters, including bankers, lobbyists and area business leaders, turned out for a fundraiser Tuesday evening for Joseph L. Bruno, the former state Senate majority leader convicted last month of felony corruption charges.
Bruno arrived at the Desmond Hotel near the Albany International Airport just before 6 p.m. flanked by attorneys E. Stewart Jones of Troy and Stephen Coffey of Albany.

"The system is what it is," said Bruno, who faces possibly multiple years in prison at his sentencing, scheduled for March 26. ""I lived within the system. I thought I was getting the proper advice. I live life a day at a time. I have faith in the Lord … I'm not projecting too far out."

John Nigro, a commercial real estate developer who is also a state Legislative Ethics Committee member, joined in organizing the event.

Among the notable attendees were banker Daniel J. Hogarty Jr.; Price Chopper President Neil Golub, who like some others, entered through a side door; lobbyists James Crane and James Featherstonhaugh, who was the first witness called by the government at Bruno's trial; lobbyist David Dudley, a former Rensselaer County Republican chairman and former Senate counsel to Bruno; Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola; and ex- state Sen. Mike Hoblock.

Also present were: Robert Mujica, a Senate budget specialist; former Senate counsel Michael Avella; Abe Lackman, an ex-state Senate finance secretary under Bruno; state Senate GOP spokesman John McArdle; ex-Senate secretary Steve Boggess and Jack Casey, a Senate lawyer.

"He's a lifelong friend," Merola said.

Frank MacKay, state chairman for the Independence Party of America, which has endorsed Bruno over the years, said he drove up from Suffolk County because Bruno "is a friend forever."

Jerry Bilinski, a Columbia County veterinarian and Bruno friend, also attended. Bilinski owned and bred horses with Bruno. Those dealings were the subject of a portion of the indictment against Bruno, whose conviction included one count related to his horse breeding interests.

There were also several employees of CMA Consulting Services, which cut ties to Bruno, who was CEO, after his conviction last month on two counts of theft of honest services mail fraud.

James Barba, the head of Albany Medical Center, attended.

A.J. Sperrazza Jr., chairman and CEO of a Troy-based company that makes bearings, said he attended because Bruno has been a great leader who has done a lot for the community and upstate.

"I recognize astuteness and getting to the point and accomplishing something," Sperrazza said. "The man has gotten a lot done for people in this state."

The fundraiser's invitation indicated the price to attend the short cocktail reception ranged from $250 to $1,000. The event took place in a courtyard conference room inside the hotel and many guests left quickly after Bruno made a few remarks to the crowd.

Security at the hotel was tight and private hotel security officers closed the doors to the spacious conference room when Bruno addressed the crowd. Organizers declined to allow reporters inside the conference room.

MacKay, who heard the remarks, said Bruno joked "people usually like to be introduced … this is where everyone asks me to not introduce them."

Outside, 16 protesters stood in the rain at the edge of the hotel parking lot holding signs and banners that said: "Felon Joe Fundraiser," "Bribes Accepted," and "Money Out Of Politics."

The protesters were comprised of an informal coalition, said organizer Joseph Seeman, from groups such as Citizen Action,, Tea Party Patriots and the Green Party.

Town police officers monitored the protesters without incident.

Bruno, who has received financial help from the community since being indicted on eight federal felony charges a year ago, told reporters gathered outside that he did not want to discuss his personal life. He said the event was organized by others and that he was told legislators were not invited.

Bruno declined to discuss the role of Nigro, whose post-conviction support of Bruno has received criticism by some government watchdog groups due to his role as a member of the Legislative ethics panel. Nigro testified for the defense at Bruno's trial as a character witness for the former senator.

Jones, who is part of a group called "Lawyers for Bruno" that formed last year, characterized Bruno as a decent man.

"This is not as much about the senator … this was to tell him how much we care about the senator," Jones said. "In the history of our region no one has had more impact on this region as Sen. Bruno. … Not since Gov. Rockefeller … has anybody come into this region and impacted it as much as Sen. Bruno. We could be another Detroit if not for this man."

Coffey said Bruno is a decent man who has treated people with respect. He added Bruno has endured intense pressure, public ridicule and depression from the ordeal.

A guest who attended the event said not everyone in attendance was required to pay. Some had contributed earlier to Bruno and were invited to Tuesday's event.

Bruno did not testify at his trial. He was convicted of corruption charges that alleged he used his political muscle to secretly enrich himself during a 14-year reign as majority leader.

Bruno's campaign funds, which once topped $1.5 million, were drained to pay for his trial costs. His attorneys said they will appeal the conviction.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

corporate sponsor naming SPAC for 1st time ever.

HSBC to underwrite SPAC season
Classical shows get title sponsor
Saturday, January 16, 2010
By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the first time ever, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s entire classical season will be named for a corporate sponsor.

HSBC Bank USA is the title sponsor for the summer season, and SPAC is the recipient of the global banking company’s largest arts sponsorship this year in the U.S.

Never mind that HSBC has no branches in Saratoga Springs — the closest location is at Target on Route 50 in Wilton. HSBC calls itself “the world’s local bank” and has more than 470 bank branches in the U.S., including over 370 in New York state.

The bank has offered to pay SPAC an undisclosed amount to have its name appear on all materials associated with the season. “The HSBC Classical Season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center” will bring artists to SPAC including the return of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet.

“This sponsorship represents an opportunity for HSBC to expand its commitment to the Capital Region and to celebrate the classical season and artistic excellence of SPAC with our customers, employees and the rest of the community,” said Andrew Ireland, executive vice president and regional president for upstate retail banking.

The banking company approached SPAC about being a title sponsor, said Marcia White, SPAC president and executive director.

“I think they identified with us because they have a world-class identity and global vision,” she said.

SPAC officials are clearly thrilled about the sponsorship, especially as donors cut back on their support of the arts nationwide.

“People may feel that they’re not in a position to personally support the arts to the extent they want to,” White said.

HSBC asked SPAC not to divulge how much the bank is paying for the sponsorship. Overall, SPAC earned $561,000 from corporate sponsorships last year and aims to hit $625,000 this year.

A company that wants to sponsor one night pays $8,500, White said. “We have an array of different kinds of sponsorships,” she added.

Board chairman William Dake noted that SPAC is faring better than many arts organizations during the economic slump.

“It is the old story of people seeking association with success,” Dake said.

He said HSBC wanted to sponsor more arts events after being affiliated more prominently with sports.

“I think we offer both a strong image in the greater Capital District but also in the city [New York] as well.”

Corporate sponsors help cover the cost of classical performances, since ticket sales cover only half of the cost of bringing the acts to SPAC.

Dake said SPAC creates a world-class atmosphere that draws people to move their businesses here, retire here or have a summer home.

“The psychological impact of having a cultural center instead of a cultural wasteland has a tremendous amount to do with the success of the area,” he said.

Programming for the HSBC Classical Season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center will be announced in the coming weeks. Updates will be available at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hoosick removes senator bruno from town park, Times Union,1/1/10. Will Saratoga follow suit at the spring in the State Park?

Down goes the name

Well before the results of our little poll were in, the Hoosick Town Board was already moving away from Bruno.

While other organizations have balked at stripping Bruno's name from public facilities, on Tuesday night the four Democrats and one Republican on the board voted 5-0 to drop the ex-senator's moniker from the town park and re-christen it the Coach Ken Baker Memorial Sports Center.

While Bruno may have held the key to the state's treasure, Baker held the hearts of the Hoosick Falls community.

Baker, who died Jan. 2, 2008 at the age of 69, was a successful football and wrestling coach at Hoosick Falls High School as well as Columbia and Cambridge high schools. He also was a lifeguard and taught swimming at the pool in the park.

"People had talked about it. It's named after a person who was part of the park,'' said Supervisor Marilyn Douglas, a Democrat whose last day in office was Dec. 31.

The name change came at the last meeting before the Republicans take a 4 to 1 majority on the board. Administration changes seem to have an impact on the park's name. Prior to Douglas taking over in 2000, the outgoing administration named the park for Bruno.

Is it us or is $70,000 for a study of Saratoga Spa State Park traffic a little excessive in these difficult times?

.Saratoga Snippets
Blog updates are now on Home » Blogs » Saratoga Snippets
Transit officials want input on Route 50
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
State and local officials announced on Tuesday that they will be undertaking a $70,000 study to examine how the Route 50 corridor adjacent to the Saratoga Spa State Park can be improved.

The study, paid for by the Capital District Transportation Committee, will look at the roadway between East West Road, at the southern end of the state park, and the New Street intersection, where Espey Manufacturing is located, officials said (map).

One of the primary goals of the study is to find a way that pedestrians and bicyclists can enter the state park from Saratoga Springs without having to travel on Route 50.

Saratoga County’s Zim Smith Trail could eventually provide access to the park from the south end, but exactly how that path could be continued north into Saratoga Springs remains undetermined. Finding a way to link the park to the existing Railroad Run trail — which begins on Circular Street and ends on New Street near the entrance to the Saratoga YMCA — would be ideal, officials say.

Transportation officials will also look at how pedestrians and bicyclists can be ushered across Geyser Road into the state park as part of the study. A new trail along Geyser Road remains under development, and there is a hope that either an overpass or demarked walkway can be used to connect its eastern terminus with the state park.

Officials have long discussed such improvements because pedestrians and bicyclists entering and leaving the state park from the roadway often commingle with vehicles traveling at high speeds and trucks visiting the Grande Industrial Park on Geyser Road.

The study will also explore ways to beautify the corridor so that it more closely resembles the South Broadway entrance to the city, officials said. Similar efforts are being considered on the Route 50 entrance to Saratoga Springs from Wilton.

To help craft their plan, state and local officials have scheduled a “public workshop” for 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Gideon Putnam Hotel, located in the state park.

Officials involved with the study said they hope the study will allow them to eventually produce a formal proposal that they could then bring to the state Department of Transportation for funding in the future.

Photo: The South Broadway entrance to Saratoga Springs. Transportation officials say they hope the Route 50 entrance to the city from Milton can be redesigned using some of the same elements to become more inviting.

– Drew Kerr

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Enjoy skating in front of Victoria Pool without ugly fencing as seen below.

Ugly orange fencing all over Saratoga Spa State Park and trees cut down to keep golfers happy mar beauty for the rest of us.

Spa State Park a draw despite deep freeze
Sunday, January 3, 2010
By Jessica Harding (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Barry Sloan

Tina Purdy of A Time to Remember Carriage and Sleigh Rides guides her horses toward the Gideon Putnam Resort to pick up passengers in Saratoga Spa State Park on Sunday.Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Jerry Todd of Saratoga Springs walked his 8-year-old Shetland sheepdog Kayla in Saratoga Spa State Park Sunday afternoon as a light snow fell. He periodically had to stop to remove ice from the pads of Kayla’s paws. “She doesn’t like it when that happens,” he said.

Despite the below-freezing temperatures Sunday afternoon, the state park was still bustling with activity, from cross-country skiers to snowshoers and ice skaters. People don’t stay away from the park, even in winter.

Temperatures on Sunday did not get above 14 degrees, according to Hugh Johnson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. Average lows for this time of year are 15, he said.

On top of the chill, winds gusted between 20 and 30 mph all day, making it feel like it was between minus 5 and minus 10 degrees outside.

Regardless, Todd said he tries to get out to the park every day, no matter what it’s doing outside. He said he’ll spend an hour at least walking Kayla around the park. Todd said he likes the way the park looks in the winter, covered in snow, and how peaceful it is.

“I love it out here. It’s so nice. It’s cold, but once you start going you warm up,” he said. Peace and quiet is also what draws Hilarie and Jene Beach of Saratoga Springs to the state park most days. They were bundled up for a walk to the tree farm Sunday afternoon. Jene Beach said he likes the fact that no one else is around and it is often quiet enough to spot a deer, fox, or rabbit among the trees.

The couple said they don’t mind the cold for an hour or so and like to get outside for fresh air even when the temperatures are in the teens.

Jim Stegman of Saratoga Springs was skating alone Sunday afternoon on the skating pond in front of the Victoria Pool.

Stegman said he skates on the pond as often as he remembers to. He said the skating pond isn’t a highly publicized activity in the park, so he sometimes forgets about it.

Stegman said he likes being outside skating because he likes feeling like he is doing a traditional Northeast activity.

“Skating is good exercise. It’s cheap to do. All you need is a pair of skates that, if you’re an adult, could last you a lifetime, and it’s a classic outdoor activity,” he said. “It almost takes you back in time.”

A new winter activity in the Spa State Park also attempts to take participants back in time.

Tina Purdy has begun to offer horse-drawn carriage rides in the park through her new business A Time to Remember Carriage and Sleigh Rides. Purdy began offering carriage and sleigh rides

on Christmas Eve and said they have become another popular attraction for the state park.

Her two black Percheron horses, Ivy and Leah, pull the carriages through the park each weekend to take riders on a half hour trip.

A Time to Remember Carriage and Sleigh Rides has been a dream of Purdy’s for years, she said Sunday.

Purdy, who lives in Hudson Falls, has three Percherons along with a bunch of riding horses.

The carriage rides are popular, especially in the evenings when the carriage is lit up with a string of Christmas lights wrapped around garland. The park is lit by rows of torches, which adds to the romance, Purdy said, and riders curl up under thick blankets.

However, carriage rides were not too popular Sunday afternoon in the cold weather. Only two people went for a ride in the 14-person carriage. Purdy said she had a lot of cancellations.

Purdy books appointments and bases her operations out of the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Conference Center.

Her daughter, Kara Moak, who helps run the business, said the rides are popular with couples, but also with families. A carriage ride costs $25 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under and children under 3 years old ride free.

Those who revel in outdoor winter activities will feel a bit more comfortable outside this week as temperatures begin to climb into the 20s and 30s. According to Johnson, temperatures will be in the mid-20s today and Tuesday with less wind. Temperatures should reach the 30s by Wednesday and Thursday before taking another dive into the teens for the weekend.