Thomas Dimopoulos

Thomas Dimopoulos

City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
Contact Thomas

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Roots scholar, multi-instrumentalist and Caffè Lena favorite Michael Eck will be staging his 60th Birthday celebration at Caffe Lena on April 19, and he’s bringing a full band AND a brand new album along with him. 

Eck, who first debuted at Caffè Lena in 1990 will be joined by an all-star ensemble featuring Rosanne Raneri, Kevin Maul – who’s flying in from Florida for the show, and Sten Isachsen and Bob Buckley of Jim Gaudet & The Railroad Boys. 

“A nifty little ensemble to accompany me on an evening of original chestnuts, new compositions and classic folk songs at my favorite venue,” Eck says. 

The new album is titled “Fermata,” and will be released in conjunction with the show. 

“A fermata is a musical notation. It looks like a bird’s eye and is sometimes called a hold. It allows the player discretion regarding the value of a note or a rest. To me, it speaks of freedom in music,” says Eck, who will spend the earlier part of the show date getting the design tattooed on his back. 

“Each of the characters singing these songs, whether myself, an addict in Kentucky, an old coin, a bereft wife or a bullet in a revolver, has been thrown an unexpected pause—a hold. And I know from pauses,” he says. 

Eck’s musical legacy in the region is lengthy – breaking in with the Albany punk scene of the early ‘80s with Glaze, to more recent collaborations with Ramblin Jug Stompers and Lost Radio Rounders. The release of Fermata comes 30 years after Eck’s debut, Cowboy Black, and along the way he has served as curator and host of WAMC’s American Roots Series at The Linda; assistant producer of the Music Haven Concert Series, and producer, host of fundraising concerts, and longtime board member at Caffe Lena, alongside among many other accomplishments. 

“It’s a celebration of my 60th birthday, and I hope you’ll join me,” says Eck. “I’m not old, I’m seasoned!”

The special Michael Eck and Friends performance will be staged 8 p.m. Friday, April 19, at Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs. For more info, go to:

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A collaborative effort between the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and the recent purchaser of an Excelsior Avenue property is being hailed as a success in preserving the city’s landscaped heritage. 

Located at 182 Excelsior Ave., the property was sold by Louisiana Management, LLC - which acquired the 2.5-acre parcel in 2004, to Excelsior Ave Property Owner LLC for $1.35 million on March 20, according to Saratoga County Land Records. 

The LLC that acquired the property is associated with brothers Brian and Gregory Green, whose initial plans called for wholesale demolition of the historic buildings on the site. 

Upon learning about the plans for demolition and subsequent research of the property, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation reported it learned of the significance of the 1869 Henry Lawrence House beyond its Gothic Revival architecture. After sharing this information with the new owners, they began to re-evaluate development plans to see if it was possible to retain the structures as part of their plan to construct apartments, according to the Foundation. 

“Many developers would have held forth on their original plans or walked away from the project - Brian did not.  He was willing to work on a creative solution that allowed for the development of apartments and the preservation of the buildings,” Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Foundation said, in a statement. 

Henry Haydock Lawrence acquired the Valley of Ten Springs, land that extended from what today is Loughberry Lake to Lake Avenue, in 1829. By 1858, Lawrence’s son, also named Henry, retubed and bottled the waters from Excelsior Spring and was selling them worldwide. In 1869, he built the distinctive Gothic Revival residence at the corner of Excelsior Avenue and Excelsior 

Through a series of meetings, a tentative agreement was made to would allow for key elements to be preserved. It required a reduction in the number of apartments built, significant changes to the site plan, and the subdivision of the property to allow the historic buildings to be made into six condos to make the project financially feasible, to ultimately move the project forward. 

“We at Green Springs Capital are tremendously excited to begin construction on the new 182 Excelsior Avenue,” Brian Green said in a statement. 

“It has been quite a journey the past two years as our team has worked diligently to carefully design a development that will provide homes with exceptional quality while ensuring we honor Saratoga’s storied history. The process was not without its challenges, but in the end, we believe the project will be a huge success,” Green said. “The Lawrence House will be fully restored with six new condominiums and the newly constructed apartments will be home for 36 families. We are very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making this vision a reality.”

The Foundation added that it believes the final agreement and Planning Board approval will result in the long-term preservation of the 1869 Henry Lawrence House and its carriage house for generations to come. 

Wilton —­ A new 125,000-square-foot medical center and a 130-unit apartment and commercial development are under consideration on Maple Avenue/Route 9 in Wilton. 

The medical center would be sited at 612 Maple Ave. on property featuring 13.66 acres. The proposed two-story building would house multiple medical and surgical practices with a total floorspace of 120,000 square feet - 60,000 square feet per floor. 

The mixed-use development would stand at 631 Maple Ave. on 15.78 acres and include 17,800 square feet of commercial/retail space and 136 apartment units, according to documents submitted to the town of Wilton Planning Board. 

The project is awaiting final approval from the Wilton Planning Board in the next few months, after a public comment period and final traffic reports, according to a published report by Chelsea Diana, of the Albany Business Review. 

The Wilton Planning Board next meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 at the Wilton Town Hall, 22 Traver Road. 

WILTON — A man of many talents, it is his passion as an avid mountain climber for which Wilton resident Ray O’Conor will be featured in a documentary that will broadcastWednesday, April 24.

The film - “An Above Average Day” - tells the story of Ray O’Conor and Joe Murphy, two hikers who after a chance meeting forged a close and lasting friendship that has inspired them on a series of wilderness adventures. 

“My good buddy Joe and I have done a lot of hiking and climbing over the last 15 years. We hiked more than 400 different mountains, most of them together and more than 5,000 miles of trail,” told Saratoga TODAY as the film was nearing its completion last year. 

O’Conor was contacted several years ago by Veda Films company co-founder Katera Kapoor who told him she’d been following O’Conor’s adventures with his buddy and was interested in putting a documentary film together.  Katera and her husband Aviral subsequently began following O’Conor and Murphy on their hiking journeys capturing footage and conducting interviews. 

The film celebrated its debut screening last year at Saratoga Arts Center and on Wednesday, April 24 will be streamed into homes. The broadcast debut will take place at 5:30 p.m. on WMHT/ PBS. 

“If you had told me five years ago that the founders of Veda Films, Katera Noviello-Kapoor and Aviral Kapoor, would produce and direct a film in which my buddy Joe and I would co-star and that it would be broadcast on WMHT / PBS… I wouldn’t have believed it,” O’Conor said. 

“There are two sides to the story,” O’Conor explained. “One is the adventure side about hiking and mountain climbing. The other is about the relationship between Joe and I,” said O’Conor, whose lengthy  resume includes work as a financial consultant with a Wall Street investment firm,  a United States Border Patrol Agent and a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Defense, local bank CEO, Wilton Town Councilmember, and author of the book ‘She Called Him Raymond.’

“One of the focal points is the relationship between these two guys who met by chance and spent a lot of time together over the past 15 years on mountains and on trails.”

O’Conor’s fondness for hiking was born during an early morning climb in the late 1980s at the urging of Roy McDonald when O’Conor decided to run for the town board in Wilton, and McDonald – who later would be elected to the state assembly and senate – was town supervisor. 

Since that time he has climbed the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks, the 32 mountains between the Catskills and the Adirondacks that have fire towers on them, and journeyed to the Lake George 12ster, the Saranac Lake 6er and the Northeast 11, while working his way through the 50 highest points and peaks in the country all across the United States. 

The rewards are many. “It’s as good for the mind and the soul as it is for the body,” O’Conor said. “There’s something special about being out in the wilderness. The Japanese have a term they call it: Forest Bathing. Being out in the woods, on the trail, in isolation. Getting away from all the world’s troubles is magical.

“An Above Average Day,” a Veda Films documentary, will broadcast on WMHT/PBS at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. 


Image: Details of the seasonal paid parking program.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs City Council on April 2 unanimously approved the establishment of a seasonal paid parking program. 

The program will run from Memorial Day through Labor Day and affect six city-owned, off-street parking facilities. 

The paid parking program will be in effect in three parking garages - Walton/Woodlawn Parking Garage, Woodlawn Ave. Parking Garage, and Putnam St. Parking Garage, and three city surface parking lots – specifically located at Woodlawn Ave., Spring Street, and High Rock. Times of operation and parking permitted levels will vary. 

To park in any of the six facilities, fees up to $2 per hour will be charged. City residents with proof of residency may apply for a permit to park free of charge at the six facilities. An online portal where residents and downtown business owners may apply for permits is anticipated to roll out by the end of April. 

As it currently stands, downtown workers with proof of regular employment as verified by their employer, may apply for the free parking permit if their business is located in the city’s “Urban Core” District, as defined by the city’s Zoning map.       

“Registration will occur online or by working with staff at City Hall,” said DPW Business Manager Mike Veitch. “The permits themselves are linked to license plates as is when you pay for a space. It’s linked to your license plate – that’s how the system will track.” Pay stations are expected to be installed some time in May. There will be no traditional parking meters.    

The program was developed by the city’s Department of Public Works under Commissioner Jason Golub and has been scaled back from an initial plan floated last December that proposed converting more than 1,300 on-street and nearly 800 garage parking spaces into either “permit” or “paid” spots for a five-month period beginning May 1. On-street parking will remain free of charge for all, as it currently is. 

The city estimates the plan will generate a gross revenue of just under $1.6 million this summer. “It is additional revenue coming into the city,” said Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi, reasoning that numerous nearby tourist-friendly cities are already running paid parking schemes. 

Subtract from the estimated gross revenue about $450,000 in expenses to run the program in 2024 – this includes a one-time pay station installation cost of about $125,000 – resulting in an estimated net gain of just over $1.1 million.

The city says it will invest $100,000 of revenue gained in the DBA (“a dedicated marketing professional for the Downtown Business Association”), $50,000 into Parking Structure Capital Reserve, $75,000 into a Downtown Improvement Reserve, and $40,000 into a Recreation Parking program. There was no documentation presented this week regarding where the anticipated more than $850,000 in additional annual revenue may be spent.   

“We have a three-month period here to see how it works and I think it’s worth doing,” said Mayor John Safford, adding that some of the revenue generated will be earmarked to help resolve homeless issues, although how much of or where those funds would be applied was not specified. 

The City Council’s 5-0 vote in favor of the plan followed a 65-minute Public Hearing on the matter attended by more than 60 people at City Hall. Approximately 20 people addressed the council during the hearing, expressing a variety of opinions: a handful in favor of paid parking, a slightly higher number of people opposed, and some who voiced an expression akin to “let’s try it for three months and see how it goes.”

A reduced rate parking permit for Saratoga Springs School District taxpayers which would benefit those in nearby municipalities is also expected to be optioned-in at some point. The city school district stretches south to areas of Milton and Ballston Spa, west to Middle Grove and Lake Desolation, north to Porter Corners and Wilton, and east along Route 29 on the road to Schuylerville. 

ALBANY — Scene One Entertainment is slated to reopen the Spectrum 8 Theaters in Albany this month, the company announced this week. 

Joe Masher, owner and CEO, Scene One Entertainment, opened Scene One Wilton Mall Cinemas at the Wilton Mall in Saratoga last month. The company also operated Movieland in Schenectady.

Spectrum 8 Theaters first opened in 1983 and for decades screened independent, upscale programming of avantgarde, foreign, independent, and widely-released features. Originally a single-screen theater known as The Delaware Theater that opened in the early 1940s, the Spectrum has been a mainstay of the Delaware Avenue neighborhood.

“The overwhelming response to the theatre’s closing last month prompted me to move faster with the building’s owner to get the cinema reopened. I’ve been working very closely with (Spectrum co-founder) Keith Pickard to bring the heart and soul back into the Spectrum. The art gallery will be reactivated and the calendar that was published monthly will return,” Masher said in a statement. 

Scene One will restore the selections that made the Spectrum’s concession stand a treasure: locally-sourced cakes, pastries, cookies, gluten-free delights, real butter on fresh, hot popcorn, and mint brownies.

“I’ve been attending the Spectrum since Keith and his partners opened it in 1983. I saw its first film, ‘Lianna’, when it was a one-screen cinema. I’ve been a giant fan of their operations since their start at the Third Street Theater. I am honored that Keith and his partners have selected me to carry on their tradition,” Masher said. For more information about Scene One Entertainment, visit

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Updated sketch plans have been submitted to the city by the Tree House Brewing Company for the proposed development of an eating and drinking establishment at 3376 South Broadway. 

The business would be located between Saratoga Honda and Homewood Suites on the east side of Route 9 upon currently vacant land and would include micro-production of alcohol and outdoor dining, as well as site work associated with the venue. 

The application is currently under consideration for Site Plan Review by the Saratoga Springs Planning Board. 

The Planning Board will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 at City Hall. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS —Yaddo’s annual Summer Benefit will take place on the grounds of the historic artist retreat at 7 p.m. on June 20. 

Heralded as The Party of the Season, this year’s event features singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega in a performance under the stars.

Vega last performed in Saratoga Springs in April 2023, kicking off her U.S. Northeast tour at Universal Preservation Hall where she performed an 18-song set that included “Luka,” “Small Blue Thing,” “Marlena on the Wall,” “Left of Center,” “Tom’s Diner,” and a poignantly beautiful “Walk On The Wild Side” encore, featuring all of Lou Reed’s original words.

The annual summer benefit champion artists and Yaddo’s crucial role in culture. Tickets and information go to: 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A summerlong paid parking plan, scaled back from the initial “tourism parking program” first floated late last year, will be presented during a 60-minute Public Hearing at City Hall this week. 

The Public Hearing will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, and a vote regarding the proposal is anticipated to be held during a meeting of the City Council later that same evening.    

The initial proposal pointed to converting more than 1,300 on-street and nearly 800 garage parking spaces into either “permit” or “paid” spots for a five-month run that was to start this May. 

Following a presentation in February to more than 50 people, most of whom were downtown business owners and managers, the plan’s title, its time period in effect, and the breadth of the proposal’s reach were rolled back in what the city reported as “streamlined adjustments in response to great stakeholder feedback.” Plans for on-street paid parking has also been altogether eliminated, with city streets continuing to offer free parking for both residents and visitors.

The new seasonal parking plan is proposed to run from Memorial Day to Labor Day and include both free permit and paid parking in city-owned garages and surface lots. Visitors can pay $2 an hour to park in the garages and surface lots. 

“As a government we must identify new revenue streams to offset the increased costs of city services, downtown investment, and the maintenance necessary to support our nationally celebrated downtown,” said Department of Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub.  “This streamlined parking approach will be less disruptive to implement and will allow for a measured approach of paid parking downtown.”

Additional amenities of the program include directional signage to assist visitors toward available parking in the garages and lots where they will have the option to pay via their mobile device or a nearby pay station. 


Residents and any downtown business employers can obtain free parking permits to park in the garages and surface lots for themselves or their employees. Registration will be provided with proof of residency via an online portal or with assistance from employees at City Hall. The permits will be linked to vehicle license plates. Ticket forgiveness will be provided to residents and employees if they park in a lot and were eligible for a permit but did not have one at the time of the violation.

Revenue and Expenses 

Forecasting the utilization of spaces at a conservative 33% (a figure well-below what was observed in studies), the anticipated seasonal revenue for 2024 is expected to be approximately $1.6 million. 

Expenses are estimated at about $450,000, which includes the costs associated with program administration, equipment for the installation of paystations and enforcement, contract attendants to work at the garages, and additional parking enforcement. 

The proposal envisions re-investment of revenue generated into Saratoga Springs’ downtown. 

This would include a dedicated marketing professional for the Downtown Business Association, capital reserves for the parking structures and downtown improvements, and funds allocated for the recreation department. The proposed re-investment will be $225,000 for downtown and $40,000 for recreation in year one and will be annual. 

Following the establishment of the seasonal program, a plan allowing school taxpayers in the Saratoga Springs City School District to park at a reduced rate permit may be optioned.   

“There have been a few business owners that expressed fair concerns about customers in surrounding towns facing a barrier due to parking fees. Once the program is set up, we’ll work toward creating a reduced rate permit for school district taxpayers,” Golub said. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Each year, the state sends funding to cities, towns and villages as part of its Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) program. The amounts sent have largely stayed stagnant for more than a decade, however, and now some municipalities – Saratoga Springs among them – are appealing to the governor to increase those annual payments. 

“In Saratoga Springs, aside from changes for two years during the pandemic, this aid has remained flat for over a decade. Effectively, this is a budget cut for our city,” city Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi said this week.    

in 2013 AIM funding to Saratoga Springs was 4.25% of the city budget, but by its 2024 comparison it measured only 2.7%, said Sanghvi, noting a March 5 city resolution unanimously approved by the council that calls upon legislators and the governor to increase in AIM funding from New York State. Legislators have since picked up the baton. 

In addition to proposing an overall $210 million increase in AIM funding, the New York State Senate recommended the establishing of an AIM Redesign Task Force. The Assembly proposed a $100 million overall increase in AIM funds. 

“The Senate and the Assembly have come up with their budgets and have added AIM funding in there for all of us,” Sanghvi said. “Of course this is not the final budget, so, I applaud the efforts of the New York State legislature to increase our AIM funding and I hope the governor’s office budget will match New York State legislature’s commitment to the New York State municipalities. “ 

According to the state, AIM payments to the city of Saratoga Springs in 2023 were just under $1.65 million. Comparative to geography, Albany received just over $12.6 million, Cohoes $2.7 million, Glens Falls $1.6 million, and Mechanicville $662,000.   

AIM is provided to all of New York’s cities, towns and villages, outside of New York City. 

Elsewhere in Saratoga County, town data shows the town of Clifton Park received just over $98,000, Ballston $49,000, Malta $25,000, Saratoga $31,000, and Wilton $25,000 (all umbers rounded off). For a spreadsheet of amounts received by all cities, towns and villages, go to: 

When Gov. Hochul released her Executive Budget proposal in January for the State fiscal year 2024-2025, the proposal held AIM funding for cities and villages at previous year’s levels. 

Page 1 of 102


  • Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office  CLIFTON PARK — The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Extra Space Storage in the town of Clifton Park for a report of a suspicious vehicle. Investigation into the incident resulted in the arrest of the following persons for burglary in the 3rd degree (class D felony), criminal possession of stolen property in the 5th degree, and petit larceny (class A misdemeanors): Michael J. DeMartino, Jr., 40, of Stillwater, and Kristin M. Frisch, 41, of Gloversville. DeMartino and Frisch are alleged to have made unlawful entry into the Extra Space Storage and to have stolen property from…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Anthony Iaia sold property at 1477 Saratoga Rd to Ulfat Ali for $340,000 Adesh Budhraj sold property at 97 Midline Rd to Joseph Cade for $550,000 CORINTH Santos Real Property LLC sold property at 400 Palmer to William Oakes for $135,000 GALWAY Nancy Winkler sold property at 1399 Kania Rd to Jessica ONeil for $200,000 GREENFIELD Alan Van Dyk sold property at 337 Daniels Rd to Anna Gaffney for $375,000 Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP LP sold property at HLW/North Shore/ Rd/ Fox HlRd/Horse Hl Rd/ to Northway Forests LLC for $2,346,842 MALTA  Luther Forest Corp. sold property at 1-18…
  • NYPA
  • Saratoga County Chamber
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Discover Saratoga
  • Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association