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.
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).