The Cop Who Dared Ticket A NYS Gov

By Daniel T. Weaver

Around 11:50 a.m. July 26, 1912 City of Amsterdam police officer, Charles A. Davis, spotted a touring car tearing down East Main Street at nearly 30 mph. He pursued the vehicle on his Indian motorcycle, overtook it on Guy Park Avenue and notified the driver he was under arrest for speeding. In 1912 speed limits were so low that driving in excess of 30 mph for more than a quarter mile was presumptive evidence of reckless driving. The speed limit within the city at the time was 15 mph. Continue reading “The Cop Who Dared Ticket A NYS Gov”

Death of Marcus Mendel and the Founding of Temple of Israel Cemetery

By Peter Betz

On May 31st 1887, referring to a major Little Falls fire, the Utica Weekly Herald noted, “There has been no similar excitement in that village since the death of Mark Mendel, the Amsterdam fireman, accidentally shot during a target practice on the flats at a fireman’s tournament.” My curiosity was naturally aroused by this casual observation. Continue reading “Death of Marcus Mendel and the Founding of Temple of Israel Cemetery”

Christmas Memories

During Christmas week 1967, my sixth grade teacher told me and a few other students to stay after class. Teachers in other classes told select students, including my brothers and sisters, to stay after school. A little later, someone told us we were going to McDonalds. That was when McDonalds’ hamburgers were 20 cents each, and the company advertised you could get a meal for a dollar and get change back. Continue reading “Christmas Memories”

British PM Boris Johnson & Donald Trump Have New York Roots

Both the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and the prime minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, have roots in New York State. Both men were born in New York City. Trump was born in Queens in 1946 while Johnson was born in Manhattan’s upper East Side in 1964. Johnson’s father, Stanley, was studying economics at Columbia University when Boris was born. Continue reading “British PM Boris Johnson & Donald Trump Have New York Roots”

Congressman Paul Tonko Votes Against USMCA Trade Agreement

Upstate New York Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-20) voted yesterday against H.R.5430, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act, citing its failure to address the growing threat of climate change. The Agreement, also known as “NAFTA 2.0,” was first announced by the President in September 2018 and, according to Tonko provided a number of damaging proposals for working Americans, doing little to prevent job outsourcing while including benefits to pharmaceutical industries. Continue reading “Congressman Paul Tonko Votes Against USMCA Trade Agreement”

Discovering Melville in Gansevoort, New York

By Daniel T. Weaver

Note: This is the last of a series of articles celebrating the 200th birthday of New York State writer, Herman Melville.

When I started my used and antiquarian business, the Book Hound, in 1993, one of the first upstate New York booksellers I heard about was John DeMarco in Saratoga Springs. I got to know DeMarco a little as he purchased a number of beautifully bound sets of books I had for his clientele, many of which were part of the carriage trade. DeMarco established Lyrical Ballads on Phila Street in 1971 and quickly established himself as one of the top booksellers north of New York City. What clinched his reputation as a top bookseller was his involvement in 1983 in the discovery and sale of 30 pages of the first draft of Herman Melville’s Typee in Melville’s handwriting, a few pages of The Confidence Man and more than 400 letters to and from Melville. Continue reading “Discovering Melville in Gansevoort, New York”

Roaring 20s Gloversville Stolen Car Ring Helped People Turn Cars Into Cash (History)

By Peter Betz

During the summer and fall of 1924, more than a few automobiles began disappearing from the streets of Gloversville, NY. In all, before a local car theft ring was broken, fourteen cars went missing, some with the connivance and blessing of their owners. The Gloversville car thieves were wrong, however, in thinking neither the insurance companies nor the police would notice the increase of auto thefts and the insurance claims that rapidly followed. Continue reading “Roaring 20s Gloversville Stolen Car Ring Helped People Turn Cars Into Cash (History)”

“Underwear, Underwear, Send a Pair.” Brief History of Chalmers Knitting Mill.

By Daniel T. Weaver

Once upon a time, both men and women wore long underwear. These were in the form of one piece “union suits” and were often uncomfortable. There lived in Amsterdam a man named Martin J. Shaughnessy, not to be confused with the notorious saloon keeper by the same name, who invented a revolutionary knitting process that left small holes in the material used for underwear which allowed a person’s skin to breathe. Continue reading ““Underwear, Underwear, Send a Pair.” Brief History of Chalmers Knitting Mill.”

Analysis of Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project. Part Two – Why Workforce Housing?

“My first thought was to put a hotel at Chalmers,” Mayor Michael Villa told me in a sit down interview on July 17, 2018. I had interviewed Bill Teator of DEW Ventures, a partner with KCG Development in the Chalmers Mill Lofts project, the day before. On July 18, I sat down with Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort and Ken Rose, CEO of the Montgomery County Business Development Center to discuss the Chalmers project. The purpose in conducting these interviews and in reaching out to other people by phone and email was to try to determine how decisions were made and who made them in the process that took a six story eyesore on Bridge Street on Amsterdam’s South Side to an empty lot with a plan for a multiple story workforce housing development with a separate restaurant and banquet facility. Continue reading “Analysis of Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project. Part Two – Why Workforce Housing?”

Analysis of Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project. Part One – Why Not Luxury Housing?

by Daniel T. Weaver

In 2008 the City of Amsterdam made its first serious attempt to redevelop the Chalmers Mill site on the city’s south side. Since then, two city administrations have made at least four major attempts to develop the site during an eight year period. Two guiding principles emerge from interviews, numerous published studies and other documents concerning attempts to redevelop this site. The first principle is—is the proposed project viable or can it succeed. The second principle is—will the proposed project stimulate additional economic growth. Continue reading “Analysis of Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project. Part One – Why Not Luxury Housing?”

If You Oppose Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project, You Might Be An Elitist (Opinion)

Sometimes we say things and don’t realize what we have really said. Such is the case with those in the City of Amsterdam who oppose the Chalmer’s Mill Lofts workforce housing project because they say the plot of land the housing project will be built on, the site of the former Chalmer’s Knitting Mill near the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge, is prime real estate better suited to luxury housing. What these opponents are really saying is working people don’t deserve to live on prime real estate or on waterfront property and that property should be reserved for people with money. Continue reading “If You Oppose Amsterdam’s Chalmers Mill Lofts Project, You Might Be An Elitist (Opinion)”

Herman Melville & the White Whale That Swam to Albany (History, Literature)

By Daniel T. Weaver

Herman Melville, one of New York State’s greatest authors whose 200th birthday we are celebrating this year, had multiple sources to draw from for his greatest work, Moby Dick. One was the sinking of the Essex, a whaling ship, by a whale. Another source was an aggressive white whale known as Mocha Dick. A third inspiration for his novel may have been the story of a white whale that swam up the Hudson to Fort Orange, now the city of Albany, New York. Continue reading “Herman Melville & the White Whale That Swam to Albany (History, Literature)”

Winston Churchill’s Upstate New York Ancestors (History)

By Daniel T. Weaver

Sir Winston Churchill’s maternal grandfather, Leonard Jerome, studied law for three years with Marcus T. Reynolds, an attorney born in Minaville, NY. Reynolds, a Union College graduate, was the first person to practice law in Amsterdam before moving to Albany where he became one of New York State’s top attorneys. Before studying law with Reynolds, Churchill’s grandfather attended Union College in Schenectady, graduating in 1839. Continue reading “Winston Churchill’s Upstate New York Ancestors (History)”

When Guy Johnson Drank Everyone Under the Table & Other Stories From Stone Arabia (History)

By Daniel T. Weaver

It was a summer night in 1765 at a tavern in Stone Arabia (now the Town of Palatine, New York), and Guy Johnson had drunk all his companions under the table. One of them, Capt. Cornelius Cuyler, was so drunk he “gott into bed with the Landlady…She Cryed out—alarmed the Family—& sett us all a going!” So wrote Lord Adam Gordon in a letter to Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Division, on July 2, 1765, in which he apologized to Johnson for the behavior that had occurred. Johnson was there but slept through the “riotousness.” Continue reading “When Guy Johnson Drank Everyone Under the Table & Other Stories From Stone Arabia (History)”

Cuomo Should Emulate Rather Than Ignore Trump Tax Break That Benefits NYS (Opinion)

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stance on the Trump Administration’s cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions has placed him in a strange position, in which the self styled progressive governor is suing the federal government because he believes the rich are being unfairly penalized by the tax cap. Of course, that’s not the way Cuomo writes the narrative. The governor is not going to admit he is fighting for tax breaks for the wealthy, even though that is what he is doing. Continue reading “Cuomo Should Emulate Rather Than Ignore Trump Tax Break That Benefits NYS (Opinion)”

Made in Canada: Schenectady’s Historic Colonial Era Cannon Silent Witness to History

By Neil B. Yetwin

One of the most enduring and intriguing of Schenectady’s many antiquities is the mounted cannon at the end of North Ferry Street in the Stockade’s Riverside Park. For nearly a century this imposing piece of ordnance has stood watch eastward over the Mohawk River as if expecting to defend the city against any who threatened the peace and security of its inhabitants. Schenectady historian John J. Birch suggested in 1961 that the cannon’s history “is a mystery which undoubtedly will never be solved.” Yet physical clues and scattered anecdotal evidence might shed light upon those mysteries that have shrouded the cannon for more than two centuries and perhaps help restore it to its proper place in Schenectady’s history. Continue reading “Made in Canada: Schenectady’s Historic Colonial Era Cannon Silent Witness to History”

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