Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tin and Lint and "american pie" question in nytimes.

American Pie’ Still Homemade, but With a New Twist
Published: November 29, 2011

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CloseDiggRedditTumblrPermalink SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — To step into the Tin & Lint bar here is to be surrounded by stories. Carved into the wooden walls, booths and benches are 30 years of names, dates and declared loves: Mike was here; Don loves Joanna 4EVER; Amy and Jennifer, 1989.

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Associated Press
Don McLean, seen in 1972, said contrary to the legend, he did not write “American Pie” in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
A plaque at the Tin & Lint bar in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., claims Mr. McLean wrote the lyrics to “American Pie” there in 1970.
But the biggest story, nearly as much a part of this upstate city’s lore as its racetrack and mineral waters, is revealed on a small, worn plaque above the third booth from the door: “American Pie written by Don McLean, Summer 1970.”

With its low tin ceilings and stained-glass lamps, the bar seems like the type of place where Mr. McLean would have written his generational anthem of rock’s lost innocence.

Or, maybe not.

Mr. McLean put the legend to rest last weekend in an article in The Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y. He also debunked a parallel tale that claimed he first performed the song at Caffè Lena around the corner from the Tin & Lint.

Mr. McLean, 66, speaking from his home in Maine, laughed when asked about the story.

“ ‘American Pie’ is a little bit like the Mayflower,” he said on Monday. “Everybody’s on it.”

In the 1960s, Mr. McLean regularly performed at Caffè Lena, which nurtured the early careers of folk artists like Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie.

This much is true.

The rest of the story holds that one evening in 1970, after a late performance at the cafe, Mr. McLean retired to the Tin & Lint and set to work writing “American Pie.” In some versions, it was in a notebook; in others, on bar napkins. All end with Mr. McLean’s leaving the notes behind.

Jim Stanley, the Tin & Lint’s current owner, was the bar’s doorman in 1970. Mr. Stanley, 63, said he believed that another employee, a Skidmore College student known as Sloth, grabbed the notes and followed Mr. McLean to the street to return them.

“I agree — he didn’t write it all here,” Mr. Stanley said. “But I do believe he started it here and maybe finished it someplace else.”

Mr. McLean has heard the Saratoga story for years, and while he has tried to correct it — he said he wrote the song in Cold Spring, N.Y., and in Philadelphia — people hang on to their version.

On Monday night, patrons at the Tin & Lint insisted that the beginnings lay at the booth across the room. Mr. McLean said the stories did not bother him.

“People have claimed that song in many places, including New Rochelle, my hometown, but I’m really sure I remember where I wrote it,” he said. “I have vivid memories because I was working so hard on it.”

Sarah Craig, executive director of Caffè Lena since 1995, said, “The ‘American Pie’ story was taken as fact” at the cafe for many years.

“It was one of three things we told people to give them a sense of the place,” she said. “It’s the longest-running folk club in the country. True. It was Bob Dylan’s first gig outside of Greenwich Village. True. ‘American Pie’ debuted on this stage.”

She laughed and said, “O.K., not true.”

Five years ago, the cafe took that story off its Web site after learning that Mr. McLean had disputed the song’s Saratoga Springs debut. He said this week that the song made its debut at Temple University, while he was opening for Laura Nyro.

But the facts should not diminish the importance of Caffè Lena, Mr. McLean said, which, he added, was “like Greenwich Village up the Hudson.”

“Maybe that story isn’t the truth,” he said, “but I would’ve been a lot worse off without that place to go to. It was a stopping place for me at that time in my life.”

At the Tin & Lint, the plaque will remain. The song, No. 83 on the jukebox, will continue to play. And the Saratoga Springs story of “American Pie” might stick around, too.

The city historian, Mary Ann Fitzgerald, likened it to Saratoga Springs’s best-known bit of unproven yet long-believed lore: that potato chips were invented in the city.

“I think people will hold onto what they believe, documentation or not,” Ms. Fitzgerald said. “Although I don’t know if anyone can truly argue with Don McLean himself.”

A version of this article appeared in print on November 30, 2011, on page A33 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘American Pie’: Still Homemade, but With a New Twist.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saratoga's beloved "shirley's" to get a French twist.

Shirley’s Restaurant gets sold out of the family: Saratoga staple on West Avenue to feature new entrees
Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011

0diggsdigg ShareThis3By SUZANNA LOURIE

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Shirley’s Restaurant on West Avenue was recently sold. (ERICA MILLER,

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After renting the 74 West Ave. building for their seasonal hot dog stand, Doggie in the Window, Pete and Shirley Bishop purchased the property on the corner of Washington Street in 1961 where they then opened Shirley’s Restaurant.

Shirley’s son, Leland Bishop, took ownership in 1968, keeping the restaurant and its famous homemade pies in the family for 50 years until recently when Bishop sold the restaurant — effective Nov. 15 — for approximately $295,000 to the space’s new owner, Jean Pierre Lareau.

“My father was going to retire and my mother’s health isn’t in the greatest shape so when he got the offer, he decided to take it and retire now rather than wait around for a better offer,” said Jess Bishop, Leland’s son and current restaurant manager.

Jess Bishop and one of his three sisters continue to work at Shirley’s, keeping a strong presence of third-generation Bishops at the restaurant, which locals have come to know and love for its family-owned traditions, menus and friendly service.

Restaurant regulars won’t have to fear any of those traditions disappearing under Lareau’s ownership. The Montreal native is committed to maintaining the business the way it was, but with a few new twists.

“I started looking for a business to buy and I went to 30 or 40 businesses, but I fell in love with little Shirely’s because it was family-oriented and has a great reputation,” Lareau said Friday. “I made my due diligence — I talked to a lot of people and it has a great reputation, it’s a part of the history of Saratoga and I bought it from a great family.”

Lareau, a former president of Montreal’s now-closed harness track, Blue Bonnets Raceway, had been visiting Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Race Course each summer for more than 30 years. About a year ago, he decided to plant his roots in the community he had grown to love throughout the years.

The horse-racing enthusiast also has extensive experience as a restaurateur, owning a five-star restaurant in Montreal and having managed multiple concessions at Blue Bonnets Raceway.

“We’re keeping the same family-oriented business at Shirley’s — the same chef, the same type of food and the same dirt on the floors. We’ll bring a little newness, but we are keeping what makes Shirley’s great,” Lareau said. “I see a lot of potential for the future in bringing some special foods from Montreal, like poutine.” Poutine is a French-Canadian dish of french fries, gravy and cheese curds.

Although Leland Bishop could not be reached for comment, he had just been by Shirley’s for lunch and is still involved in the restaurant his parents built and with his loyal regulars and longtime employees. Jess Bishop also confirmed Lareau’s commitment to tradition and said no changes have been made thus far. Continued...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the continued neglect of our parks and heritage is a real tragedy.

Ignore our parks, neglect our heritage
paul braY
Published 08:55 p.m., Saturday, November 12, 2011
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A great thing about America is its parks, their diversity and their endurance. Communities proudly have parks, as do states and the nation. Those parks preserve natural and cultural assets for future generations, offer places for recreation and provide civic identity.

New York's state parks and historic preservation system began with acquisition of Gen. George Washington's Revolutionary War headquarters in 1850 and the preservation of natural and historic treasures like Niagara Falls.

Later came the Robert Moses era, which was intended to assure outdoor recreational opportunities within reasonable distance for all New Yorkers. Urban and regional state heritage areas broaden that mission explicitly to include sustainable economic development.

New York courts have protected parks with the public trust doctrine that requires legislative approval before discontinuing or compromising a municipal or state park.

Sadly, for the first time the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is walking away from responsibility for heritage areas.

These parks, created in our time, were put in jeopardy by former parks Commissioner Carol Ash during the Paterson administration. In 2008, her deputy wrote to heritage area directors declaring that the "agency's approved Financial Management Plan for this year includes the end of agency staff support and technical assistance for the Heritage Area program."

Current Commissioner Rose Harvey has shown no will to change course.

With strong support from state legislators, local officials and many other public and private leaders, most state heritage areas have managed to survive in hard times made harder by the parks agency. Some have done better than survive like the Susquehanna Heritage Area. It recently expanded from two cities and village to include more than 35 towns and villages in Broome and Tioga counties.

In the early 1980s when the state heritage area law was enacted and in the early 1990s there were recessions and cuts in state and federal funds. But state participation in the heritage area partnership continued. In the face of 1981 cuts, then-Commissioner Orin Lehman stated that the heritage area concept "will remain valid and achievable". He did not walk away, as Carol Ash did.

At a 1991 National Park Service conference on "Partnerships in Parks & Preservation" in Albany, heritage areas were referred to as "partnership parks." New York has 18 state heritage areas and 49 national heritage areas.

At that conference, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo said "government -- be it state, federal or local -- cannot by itself assure that our most precious historic and natural resources will survive."

He added, "we now recognize that an entire area or region, like our Hudson River Valley, the Adirondacks or what we now know as the Hudson-Mohawk Urban Cultural Park (known as the Riverspark heritage area) can constitute in its totality a resource of pre-eminent importance."

By law, the state parks agency was to be the leader of a heritage area system with local governments and private organizations playing significant roles in organizing and managing their heritage areas. State agencies were to assist heritage areas as they pursued their integrated goals of conservation, recreation, education and sustainable development pursuant to management plans approved by the state parks commissioner. Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and the Riverspark (including Troy, Cohoes and five neighboring communities) are state heritage areas.

Throughout New York history, the ball has not been dropped as it was by the state parks agency in withholding support and jeopardizing the continuance of something as important as the state heritage program. It should not get away with this dereliction of duty and tradition.

Paul M. Bray was the founding president of the Albany Roundtable. His email is

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

victoria pool in fall.

sorry we've taken a little post pool closing break but we're baaacck! lots of saratoga news: Brindisi is closed, adelphi hotel for sale for $4.5 mill

Saratoga Springs' Red Villa sold for $1.98 million
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Red Villa, the 795 N. Broadway mansion once owned by the flamboyant socialite Molly Wilmot, has been sold for $1,982,500, a local Realtor said Monday.

The nine-bedroom house, sometimes called Redstone, is a combination of Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles. It was built in 1883, according to city records.

The 7,000-square-foot building has eight bedrooms and eight baths.

“You couldn’t build it for three times that amount today,” said Realtor Tom Roohan, owner of Roohan Realty in Saratoga Springs. “It’s just a classic house.”

The house was sold by Mildred Ruth Moorman to Redstone Saratoga LLC this summer.

Molly Wilmot, who died in 2002, owned the house during the 1990s. She sold it to Stonebridge Farm LLC in 2000 for $900,000, according to information on file in the city assessor’s office.

Mildred Ruth Moorman acquired it from Stonebridge in 2006. No price is listed for that transaction.

“It was completely renovated and updated,” Roohan said.

Wilmot, who also owned a large stately home at 659 N. Broadway in the 1980s, did some extensive renovations of her own to the Red Villa before she moved in.

Wilmot spent her summers in Saratoga Springs for decades. She also owned an oceanfront house in Palm Beach, Fla., and a large apartment in Manhattan. She was a friend of socialite Marylou Whitney and other wealthy enthusiasts of thoroughbred horse racing and horse ownership.

She gained even more celebrity the day after Thanksgiving in 1984, when a rusty Venezuelan freighter was washed up onto her sea wall in Palm Beach during a storm.

The nearly 200-foot-long ship, the Mercedes, got stuck there. The photo and story about the grounded freighter and the wealthy socialite who welcomed the crew into her lavish home and gave them coffee and sandwiches made news around the world. Wilmot’s Palm Beach home was next door to the estate of Rose Kennedy, mother of former President John F. Kennedy.

Roohan said the person or persons who bought the Red Villa saw an opportunity. Interest rates are low, he said, and “It’s a good time to invest [in a house].”

James K. Kettlewell, a retired Skidmore College professor and author of “Saratoga Springs, An Architectural History,” said Redstone is a “remarkable variant of Queen Anne style.” He said the red brick material and terra-cotta porch columns contain elements of both Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival.

Kettlewell praises the “terra-cotta treatment of the porch and the wonderful way the front chimney cuts straight through the central gable, where it is flanked by windows.”

The house had been on the market for a little less than a year.

Roohan said he did not know the party or parties associated with Redstone Saratoga LLC.

Two other large mansions on North Broadway have been sold over the past 15 months, Roohan said. These include 655 N. Broadway, purchased in late 2010 for $2.1 million, and 743 N. Broadway, purchased in the summer