Category Archives: First Friday

1st Friday Gallery Spin – Live in Albany!

With renewed effort by the Capital Cyclist Meetup Group coordinator and the new 1st Friday director, several riders enjoyed a balmy fall ride through the welcoming streets to tour the art sites.

Per custom, we met at the 1912 Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Washington Park and then headed out for the ride’s traditional start at the Upstate Artists Guild for the Grey (or “Gray”) show. The always-elegant ladies of UAG greeted us warmly as the gallery filled with other art aficionados. After being joined by another rider and some chitchat on the crowded sidewalk, it was off to the College of St. Rose student gallery on State St. to view some excellent studio work. With wonderfully pleasant evening weather wise for riding, we took a cruise through Center Square and Washington Park over Lake Ave. to the Opalka Gallery at Sage College. The show – a knock off on the 1913 New York City Armory Show is not to be missed. Local artists Ken Ragsdale has outdone himself – better check it out. Another rider joined us here for the best hors d’oeuvres in Albany and packed gallery.
GS 10-4-13 COMP

A new venue, Overit (web design and development), in the former St. Teresa of Avila Church down the street on New Scotland Ave. featured “art by musicians” – showing clearly the multiple talents of our local performers/artists. (As a side note, Overit has done a wonderful conversion of a 1920s ecclesiastical building into an open space work area. In the redesign, they incorporated many of the remnants of the church into walls, worktables, and desks – all very tasteful and, one might guess, comforting to the former parishioners. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same for the out-of-place, garish “Allstate Insurance” sign plastered on the front of the former rectory – YIKES!)

At this point, two riders headed off to meet another at Franklin Towers with the remainder going to Crisan pâtisserie for some “edible art” (their tag line). We enjoyed pastry, gelato, and late evening coffees in this bright and cheery Albany venue. If you have not been to Crisan, you have not lived a full life. It will be one of the cornerstone destinations when the City of Albany converts Lark St. into a pedestrian walkway/mall a la Burlington or any other advanced city. Can’t wait!

While in Crisan, we waited out a brief, cleansing rain shower by solving many cycling issues (electric bicycles, crazy drivers/riders, road design, going to Europe, traffic safety, etc.), planning Bicycle Expo 2014, and enjoying good company.

As a closing note, one of our first-time riders used a combination of his neat-o touring bicycle and CDTA’s bicycle buses to join us from Cliflton Park. It is riders like this who will help Albany become a truly bicycle friendly community.

The next 1st Friday will be on November 1, 6-9 PM with many post-event entertainment, socializing, and dinning opportunities. Why not “get off that couch,” grab your lights and helmet, and join in? Even if you are not a big art fan, this is a great way to enjoy the city and its opportunities for riding as well as being with some nice people (with our without bicycles).GS 10-14-13 COMP

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Filed under City Review, Comings and Goings, Events, First Friday, Local Bike Rides, Rides

Art and (Bicycle) Access

Art and (Bicycle) Access – 1st Friday Gallery Spin and Bicycle Boulevard Mapping  – A number of new 1st Friday Gallery Spin riders plus some regulars departed the Soldiers and Sailor Monument in Washington Park for the traditional first stop at the Upstate Artists Guild.  The show there, “Fashion and Art,” was a real treat with live models/mannequins showing off some of the wearable entries.  There was a nice array of fashion-themed 2-D art in the main, back, and side galleries, all augmented by a DJ.

We next zipped out Delaware Ave. (love those shared lane makings and signs!) to disrupt the diners at Mingle  by examining an impressive mix of paintings and photographs (including one bicycle-themed piece).  On the way, we waved to baby Indiana and her parents, Laura and Perry, longtime cycling advocates.

We were then off to the Opalka Gallery for a must-see show featuring John Van Alstine, “Arrested Motion/Perilous.  Do not miss this one (ends 10/14/12).  Our last gallery visit was the Massery at College of St. Rose for the closing night of the Art and Design Faculty Show.  As one of our riders expressed interest in displaying his art in Albany, we checked out the Madison Theater windows  where the theater and the Beautify Upper Madison Avenue Project sponsors installations by local artists.  There we saw Matt Ramsey’s commissioned piece for the Upper Madison Street Fair, “When We Destroy the World Around Us, We Destroy Ourselves” and an installation by Kimberly Marks of College of St. Rose student entries to the Street Fair poster contest.  (As a side note, the Upper Madison Street Fair – 2012 will feature an Exotic Bicycle Exhibit .

As an add-on to this 1st Friday Gallery Spin, we were committed to reconnoitering Berkshire Blvd. and connecting city streets.

Berkshire Blvd. is designated officially in the Albany Bicycle Master Plan (page 39) as a “neighborhood bikeway.  Our interest was to explore the possibility of its being the main spine of a bicycle boulevard connecting the western extremes of the city to downtown.  As a bicycle boulevard, this would be a low-volume street optimized for bicycle travel by traffic calming and diversion, signage and pavement markings, and intersection treatments.

Bicycle boulevards are shared roadways that are comfortable and attractive to cyclists with a range of abilities and ages.  Ideally, they are inconvenient as through routes for automobiles.  Bicycle boulevards serve major origins, destinations, and travel corridors and should be as direct and intuitive as possible.  As a residential roadway, Berkshire Blvd. already has low motor vehicle volume and could serve well as a bicycle boulevard. As with many bicycle-focused improvements, there would be spillover benefits to the Berkshire Blvd. community – less speeding, more quiet, enhanced walk-ability.

If it were so designated, some low-cost treatments could include the following:

  • Prioritizing bicycle movement with stop signs that favor the bicycle route
  • Reducing motor vehicle speeds by traffic calming
  • Reducing motor vehicle volumes by traffic diversion
  • Providing crossing improvements at intersections with major streets (refuge islands, signalization, or curb extensions)
  • Helping cyclists find and use the facility with pavement markings and signs with both directional and destination information, which are likely to be destinations

After circling one of Albany’s gens, Buckingham Pond, we headed out Berkshire, crossed Russell Rd., wound through Albany’s 15th Ward, rode trough parts of Bethlehem, and ended up in Guilderland looking across Western Ave. to the glare of Crossgates Mall.  The route we rode – which avoids the high volume/high speed Western Ave. completely – presents political challenges (impact on motor vehicle traffic) and jurisdictional issues (it encompasses streets Albany, Guilderland, Bethlehem, a town park, and some private property).

Our Riders were Sebastian, Jim, John, Filipe, Keith, Paul, and Lorenz.

More to follow . . .

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Filed under Activism, Bicycle Boulevards, City Review, First Friday, Local Bike Rides, Rides, Support the Cause

Gallery Spin – 1st Friday, February 3, 2012

It was a little chilly, but clear and dry for February’s 1st Friday Gallery Spin bicycle ride. Lark Street was humming with lots of walkers and gawkers and some great exhibits. Albany Bicycle Coalition’s own Bob Anderson was the featured artist at the Upstate Artists Guild gallery with his photography exhibit of rescued puppies and dogs. UAG generously made this a 50/50 benefit split between Out of the Pits  and the gallery. Bob had some captivating photos of the dogs and it was great to see his efforts in supporting the cause. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Call of the Wild exhibit at UAG, try to catch it (Thr & Fri – 5:30-8:00, Sat & Sun – 2:00-6:00, 247 Lark St.).

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Filed under Activism, First Friday, Fundraising, Local Bike Rides, Support the Cause

MoHu Motion – Gallery Spin – 1st (2nd) Friday Art Ride

Local cyclists helped the MoHu Festival ( toward its goal of 50,000 visitors. MoHu is a 9 day-long arts festival of happening all over Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, and Saratoga counties. It features theatre, dance, music, visual, and random acts of art.

The two riders started out with a pre-ride visit to the Ultra Violet show the Upstate Artists Guild and then cruised back into the Park to pick up late comers (of which there was none). We lucked out by hitting the outstanding Underground Artist exhibit “Athletic Annex” during the downpour. Once again, the Underground Artists mounted an innovative and exciting show spread through three floors of the handball courts at the University Club on Dove.

We next visited the Trifecta Pop-Up Gallery on Hudson, the Opalka Galley on the re-paved (thank you Albany) New Scotland Ave, and ended up at the Massery Galley on Madison Ave. (hopefully soon to be three lanes with bicycle lanes).

Written by Lorenz Worden

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Filed under First Friday, Support the Cause

First Friday Ride Rescheduled

Sorry guys. The fan belt was broken on this blog and I had to order special parts from a small mountain town in China which I had to go retrieve myself to get this thing repaired. The trek was long and I’ve gotten mugged more than a few times, but I am back no worse for the ware.

Lame fake excuses aside here we go. *Turns ignition*

The First Friday Gallery Spin has been rescheduled for today as it usually falls on the First Friday event that happens in Albany every, you guessed it, first Friday. Stan Lee type alliterations aside, the reason for this change was that MoHu Fest, whatever that means, is happening this weekend. So instead of our usual activities we present to you a super charged day of cycling and art as you have never seen before.

“2011 marks the inaugural outing of this annual 9 day-long arts festival to be held every October in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. MoHu features theatre, dance, music, visual and random acts of art throughout the region.”

I like that phrase “random acts of art.” It makes it seem like the greasers are going to come by and paint the Mona Lisa on any blank surface they can paying attention to the intricate brush work with the skill of a master artisan.

Written by Chris Belsole

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Filed under Article, First Friday