Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Air Conditioners Running Full Blast – Waste at the Saratoga Spa State Park

Your State Tax Dollars pay to have the Victoria Pools entrance hall cooled. Two large "heat pumps" run all day to keep an open hallway cool. This building has multiple sets of double doors, open from 10am to 6pm.
Our Tax dollars are going out the door !!

go to and vote for Saratoga Spa State Park.

The comment on the above picture bears repeating: everybody vote early and often. $100,000 for Saratoga Spa State Park from Coca Cola would be very nice.

"VictoriousVictorian said...
Go to the coca cola website and vote for the favorite NYS park. I heard the most votes per states gets money. How wonderful it would to have outside funding to improve saratoga spa state park and the Victoria Pool. (*shh you can vote multiple times)"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Country club chic vs family friendly"

2 Spa Park pools: Country club chic vs. family friendly
Saturday, July 17, 2010

By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Bruce Squiers

Gracie Dube, eight, of Glenville, hits a pool of water after a trip down the water slide at Peerless Pool in Saratoga Spa Park.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Victoria and Peerless pools are less than a mile apart at Saratoga Spa State Park, but to hear fans of each pool describe them, they may as well be in separate worlds.

Cooling off, catching rays and relaxing are the goals at both pools, but the atmospheres are different.

Peerless has its big grass yard and a few shade trees, its zero-depth entry, kiddie pool and water slides that attract youngsters and their parents. It’s noisier, faster and the lifeguards blow their whistles more.

Victoria’s charm is in the architecture, the arched promenades that surround the pool, as well as the chaise lounges and attached bar and restaurant. The pace is slower, and although children are welcomed, they’re clearly in the minority.

One Peerless fan described the difference as “country club” versus “public” pools.

Terry Avery, of Corinth, prefers the down-to-earth Peerless Pool, where she takes her 9-year-old granddaughter, Bernice Avery, about once a week.

Bernice loves the water slides at Peerless. “It’s just fun because you can go on it fast, and you can race people,” she said. She especially enjoys racing her cousins to the bottom, and paddles with her hands to go faster.

Patty Burnham was just an energetic preteen herself when her parents started dropping her and her younger brother off at the Victoria Pool while they golfed at McGregor Links in Wilton.

Now 67, Burnham still goes frequently, and said not much has changed in more than 50 years, other than the removal of diving boards.

“It’s just as beautiful now as it was back then,” the Corinth woman said.

“I could swim the length of the pool underwater,” she recalled. “We were just two little fishes.”

The Victoria Pool is still something of a secret, said Burnham’s daughter, Laurie Macara of Saratoga Springs. “I’ve talked to people that live here, that have moved here [who] don’t even know it exists,” said Macara, 48. She urges them to visit the pool she considers one of the most beautiful places in the city.

“It’s like being in Europe, I think. It’s like being on vacation.”

Many Victoria regulars like the crowd that shows up there.

Becky Miller of Saratoga Springs said she meets all different types of people at the Victoria Pool. The outgoing 24-year-old Saratoga native met visitors from New Jersey and New Hampshire there on a recent visit, and saw friends and acquaintances.

“It’s restaurant people, it’s locals, it’s tourists,” she said. “It’s representative of Saratoga, because that’s what Saratoga is.”

Miller works at The Mexican Connection in the evenings, but she and two coworkers chill out at the pool when they can on weekdays.

The trio stood in the shallow end and perused a gossip magazine that Jessica Bellon, 20, held above the water.

Off-duty lifeguards also frequent the pools.

Three Grafton Lake lifeguards on their day off soaked up sun at the Victoria Pool while visiting friends who worked there.

“On our days off, we’d rather be at the pool than at the beach,” said Jen Villanova, 22, of Clifton Park, who was evening out her lifeguard tan lines.

“It’s a different crowd here,” she said, adding she prefers the Victoria Pool to Peerless, where she used to work. “It’s just a pretty place.”

Victoria devotees know they have to get to the pool early to get a good spot, and score the coveted chaise lounges.

Sisters Bonnie Prescott and Kathy Blair said a 9:30 a.m. arrival is best, half an hour before the pool opens.

Visiting the pool just about every weekend is their treat after working all week.

“I work all week long; I deserve one day,” said Prescott, 60, of Clifton Park. “We love it. It’s convenient.”

Blair, 55, of East Greenbush definitely likes the Victoria Pool better. “That’s too big over there,” she said of the Peerless Pool.

Prescott used to frequent Peerless.

“When my kids were younger, we used to go to the Peerless Pool.”

save the pool

The Victoria Pool even has its own grassroots group, Save the Victoria Pool, formed several years ago to urge the state park to fix problems at the pool. More recently it has lobbied to open the pool before the traditional late June start date, and voiced concern for the pool’s fate during this year’s state budget crisis.

But Peerless has its fans too, though they may not be as public or as vocal.

A Rotterdam couple was sold on the pool during a visit on a recent Wednesday, because it offered an inexpensive day out as they had a picnic lunch under a shade tree.

Jeff and Tammy Hodder hadn’t been to Peerless many times before. But they hope to come more often this summer because Jeff, 54, discovered he gets relief from a painful back injury in the water.

“I get in the water here, and I’m pain free,” Hodder said. “This is the best I’ve felt in a long time.”

They have visited the Central Park pool in Schenectady, but find it even more hectic than Peerless, which during the week is packed with children attending summer camps.

“We love the park,” Tammy Hodder said. “This is one of the nicest parks around.”

A few people lay in the very shallow end of the zero-depth entry at Peerless, soaking in some water and basking in the sun. Unlike at Victoria Pool, few people sat on the concrete pool deck at Peerless. Everyone had their chairs and blankets spread out on the grass, some under shade trees.

Tara Doria likes the wide-open space at Peerless, where she takes her 4-year-old son and an 18-month-old boy she watches. “There’s a lot more grass space,” the Ballston Spa woman said.

The Peerless Pool complex consists of an Olympic-sized main pool with zero-depth entry, a separate slide pool with a 19-foot double slide and a children’s wading pool with mushroom fountain. The “deep end” is 31⁄2 feet.

The capacity for the Victoria Pool is 344 swimmers, while Peerless Pool can hold more than twice that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

faucet keeps running while lion's heads not being allowed to flow this year?

If it is too "expensive" to turn on the beautiful historic Lion's Heads at the Victoria Pool then why has this faucet been running for months needlessly?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The great New York City Ballet opens season 45 at SPAC gloriously.

New York City Ballet’s Opening Night @ SPAC 7/6/10
July 7, 2010 at 1:03 am by Joseph Dalton
By JOSEPH DALTONSpecial to the Times Union
SARATOGA SPRINGS – With a roll of the snare drum and a cartwheel by a dancer, the New York City Ballet’s summer season got off to a fast start. Tuesday night’s program at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center opened with “Fancy Free” the loveable 1944 tale of three sailors in a hurry to have some fun. Played with ample swagger by Tyler Angle, Joaquin De Luz and Amar Ramasar, they set the bravura tone for the entire night.
Ballet master in chief Peter Martins said in a curtain speech (which has become a hallmark of the Marcia White era) that because it was still, almost, the Fourth of July weekend he had decided to go all-American.
That theme allowed for plenty of diversity.
After the first intermission came “Red Angels,” the seldom seen 1994 creation by Ulysses Dove. The late choreographer’s roots in modern dance showed through in every angular pose and rippling undulation by the six dancers in red leotards. Tight overhead spotlights kept them from getting lost in the same red lighting that filled the stage. Richard Einhorn’s score resembled drums and rock guitar, but it all came from an electric violin, played by Cenovia Cummins.
Modern and ballet styles were put in more sharp relief in Peter Martin’s Barber Violin Concerto. Megan Fairchild and Charles Askegard represented proper tradition, while Sara Mearns and Jared Angle danced barefoot. Though neither pair began their partnering work very smoothly, the soaring music infused everything with some meaning and purpose.
Despite the title and light Gershwin score, Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” (the finale) allowed for plenty of serious dancing, especially from its three ballerinas. Sterling Hyltin had a deceptive grace and ease, especially in contrast to the more composed, if not pent up, Ana Sophia Scheller, though her fouette turns flowed with easy dispatch.
If there was a star of the night, it was Tiler Peck, who joined the company just five and a half years ago and was named a principal during the fall. In “Fancy Free,” she acted as the easy-going all-American girl. During “The Man I Love” in “Who Cares,” she moved with a larger than life confidence yet was still seductive and alluring. Later she seemed to create her own rhythmic field, projecting the idea of speed or the halting of time without ever falling out of synch with Balanchine’s larger universe.
Joseph Dalton is a local freelance writer who contributes regularly to the Times Union. He blogs at:
New York City BalletOpening Night
When: 8 p.m. TuesdayWhere: Saratoga Performing Arts CenterDuration: Two hours, 50 minutes with two intermissions.The crowd: 1,564 devoted fans, all ages.

Gideon Putnam Hotel sprucing up.

New owners putting millions into Roosevelt Bath and Gideon Putnam
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Jason McKibben - Gideon Putnam Resort concierge Diane Dodd speaks with a customer on the telephone from the lobby of the hotel Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Delaware North Companies, which was awarded a 20-year lease in 2008 to operate the hotel and the Roosevelt Bathhouse, will spend $20 million as part of a 20-year plan to improve the buildings on the state-owned 2,300-acre Saratoga Spa State Park.

SARATOGA SPRINGS Inside the house that Roosevelt built, a $20 million renovation is under way.
“When you first come into a property, there are enhancements you want to do from the get-go,” said Tom Wysocki, director of sales and marketing at the Gideon Putnam Resort.
“The beauty and the battle of a historic hotel is you open up one area and you discover another area that needs work,” he said.
In January 2008, Delaware North Companies was awarded a 20-year lease to operate the Gideon Putnam hotel and the Roosevelt Bath in the state-owned 2,300-acre Saratoga Spa State Park.
The company committed to a multiphase project to spend $20 million refurbishing the 120-room hotel, conference center and Roosevelt Bath.
The company has already invested “a few million” in upgrades, Wysocki said, which include renovations to the hotel lobby, the bath house and the Georgian Room restaurant, which has been remodeled and renamed Putnam’s Restaurant and Bar.
The restaurant seats 68 diners inside with an outdoor patio that features live music on weekends and seats an additional 60 people.
D├ęcor and ambience have also been changed, from white-tablecloth traditional dining to a more regional contemporary style, said executive chef Brian Sterner. The restaurant employs a kitchen staff of about 25 plus another 40 who work as service staff.
Sterner said the upscale-casual restaurant services a diverse clientele, from the business traveler and leisure golfer to the concertgoer attending a show at the nearby Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Sterner said he works with regional farms, from the Catskills to Vermont, who supply food to the restaurant, as well making use of a new in-house herb garden.
The hotel features a new fitness center and a remodeled lobby. Renovations to the kitchen will begin soon, and the refurbishing of guest rooms will start early next year, Wysocki said. The hotel will remain open during the renovations.
Work is also under way at Roosevelt Bath & Spa, where the 42 treatment rooms have been augmented by a “relaxation room” with a 10-foot-tall waterfall where visitors will be able to enjoy downtime in between spa
“It’s a little area to relax,” Wysocki said. “The park setting is a big aspect of it. You’re minutes from downtown, but you feel as though you’re almost in a different world here.
“Occupancy is up this year over last year. We have a balance: we do a lot of corporate and state association groups as well as leisure travel,” he said.
“Our groups have increased considerably. Leisure travel has stayed stable,” he said.
The poor economy has hurt travel to the Saratoga region and its 2,200-plus rooms and so has the uncertainty surrounding the summer racing season, said Cynthia Hollowood, general manager of the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs and vice chairwoman of the state Hospitality and Tourism Association.
“The first six months this year have been better than the first six months of 2009,” she said. But, “with the uncertainty of whether there would be racing at Saratoga and the downward trend of the stock market, we’re somewhat behind where we would like to be.”
Normally, summer weekend room rentals are sold out by early May. That’s not the case this year, she said.
Posted in Local on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 1:00 am Tags:

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Saratoga Spa State Park attendance up 55% over last year!

Spring attendance soars at state parks
Agency says closure controversy appears to have boosted interest

By KENNETH C. CROWE II, Staff writer Click byline for more stories by writer. First published: Thursday, July 1, 2010
ALBANY -- Even bad news about closing parks can be great publicity -- attendance soared this spring at the Capital Region's 23 state parks and historic sites.
More people found their way to local state parks as attendance regionwide jumped an average 37 percent, led by Grafton Lakes State Park at 70 percent, according to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
"We had great weather and parks were in the news," said Eileen Larrabee, a State Parks spokeswoman.
The news wasn't always good this spring.
Gov. David Paterson's proposal to close 55 parks and historic sites in May to save $6 million angered many residents. They rallied to call for the reopening of the closed facilities.
The closing of the parks for much of May is considered to have played a role in getting people out to visit them when they reopened in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The continuing poor economy also is believed to be a factor in rising attendance.
The 37 percent increase in the Saratoga-Capital District Region attendance this spring compared with spring 2009 was more than three times greater than the statewide increase of 11 percent.
From April to the third weekend in June of each year, attendance statewide increased to 13.2 million from 11.9 million.
The 23 parks and historic sites in the Saratoga-Capital Region had 958,516 visitors this spring, an increase of 257,199 over the 701,317 visitors in the same time period in 2009.
Not every park showed an increase. Schodack Island State Park, one of nine area parks and historic sites that were shuttered, had a 33 percent drop to 19,632 visitors this spring from 29,467 in 2009. Attendance at the park on the Hudson River likely was hurt because it was closed during this spring's striped bass season.
Larrabee said the state parks in the region reporting strong attendance.
The good weather predicted for the three-day Fourth of July holiday weekend is expected to further boost the number of visitors. Larrabee said 90 percent of the parks' campsites are reserved for the weekend.
State Parks also is promoting different parks at its website and has a Facebook page.
During the park-closing controversies, park advocates used Facebook to promote activities and keep people informed.
Kenneth C. Crowe II can be reached at 454-5084 or by e-mail at
These state parks showed the largest percentage increase from 2009 to 2010. The numbers are for the period from April to the third weekend in June each year.
State Park 2009 2010 % increase
Saratoga-Capital Region 701,317 958,516 37
Grafton Lakes 32,456 55,018 70
Saratoga Spa 383,502 594,931 55
Moreau Lake 69,837 90,986 30
John Boyd Thacher 53,870 64,538 20
Source: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
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