Written by Kit Haynes on March 2, 2021
As I walk the streets of this town I am often taken unaware by a memory associated with a past incarnation a particular block had been. I’ve seen buildings come down and buildings go up in the spaces created like the filling of gaps in an adolescent’s mouth. A few weeks ago, walking past the steps that lead to a basement bar where I worked I recalled champagne-tripping down the stairs in high heels, panty hose shredded. To this day I remember overhearing a friend telling someone, “Kit thinks she can fly whenever she drinks champagne.” Too many glasses of champagne and the six inches from sidewalk to road can feel like a runway or a landing strip. It could go either way.
My apartment is a little more than 650 steps to an ex-lover’s apartment. I’m not a stalker – he no longer lives there but we had some good times in that place. I enjoy remembering them. Like a lot of folks, I walked a good deal during the first months of COVID. It helped combat the tedious restlessness that accompanied the seclusion of quarantine. After a while I extended my walks to include other parts of my past. The stoop where I had my first kiss is, according to Google maps, 12 walking minutes away from my current address. That three-story tenement no longer exists, it’s now an entrance to a parking area. The traffic on that block used to head south now it goes in the opposite direction. But the shadow memories are still there.
I still frequent the bars I was going to 35 plus years ago. When you’re a years-plus regular the bartender already begins to pour my drink before I sit down. It’s hard to say no to the beer even though I was in the mood for, say, a bloody Mary. The trials of being a regular. Some of these bars have changed ownership and with it, the name. But they are still populated with many lively people. Many are the same people from those past years and some strangers yet to become friends.
Part of my reason for wanting to create this column is to give a tip of the hat to a fine journalist who wrote a column for the Troy Record many years ago, John Scanlon. A lot of you may know or have heard of him. He made the rounds in Troy. Generally, John’s gig was to write about the goings-on about town. He accomplished this by making his rounds through Troy. Stopping for drinks, chatting up the bartender and patrons, telling horribly lame jokes, moving on to the next bar until it was time for a ham sandwich and a nap. He’d wake and resume his loop around the city. He was one of many colorful people who inhabited my life. Here’s a few off the top of my bean.
Whether you’re still living in your home town or have adopted a new city as your home you’ll make or recall memories, create stories, meet people, kvetch about what the mayor is doing, you’ll applaud or bitch about how the city workers plowed (or didn’t) your street. You’ll meet friends at your local watering hole or that little diner just up the road. Tell us a story about your local drinkery or the funny guy at the bodega that sells the best subs in town. We want to hear these stories. Xperience is a 518-local paper and we’re hoping you’ll take the opportunity to send us those stories and make the other readers want to tell their local town stories. We’re calling out for stories from your neighborhoods. Albany has so many diverse neighborhoods with cool stuff happening all the time. I spent a lot of time there in the 80’s – heard some great bands at JB Scotts, The Chateau (would love a piece about the bathrooms in that place) and QE2, Rocky from the Palais. Cohoes you’ve had some great shows at the Music Hall. Tell us about them. And I know you’ve got some great little bars of your own with your own group of scintillating regulars. And Waterford, with the farmer’s market and there’s some little diner I went to years ago that was great. To all the waitresses and bartenders reading this – you must have some great stories. Let’s hear them. And this isn’t only city-minded. Is there a favorite fishing hole somewhere in Ravena? City, suburb, rural-roll it out for us. Tell Xperience readers about your quirky, seedy, funny, experiences in your neck of the woods. It is now more important than ever to express our love for LOCAL.
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