DOMINICK CALSOLARO (above)
At a time when opposition to the incumbent Albany mayor has boiled down to yelling and cynical posturing it is instructive to look back at Calsolaro’s time on the Albany Common Council. He played foil to former Mayor Jerry Jennings for years, and rather than shout he produced plans and policy. He organized, joined forces with other members, compromised and shifted public opinion. Calsolaro’s impact on how the city approached gun violence is incalculable. His stances on the convention center and the city’s trash problem proved prophetic. Dom is retired now and yet he’s still at public meetings, still involved in the neighborhood and still inspiring young people to get involved in politics. He’s also trying out a new career as a political columnist.
2ND ANASHA CUMMINGS
Best Local Nonprofit
Dedicated to defeating food deserts and feeding the underserved, Capital Roots does what needs to be done and continuously improves access and food quality.
2ND (TIE) ALBANY BARN, DAMIEN CENTER
Best Community Gathering Place
Even when city events and parades pack in visitors, there’s always plenty of room to wander and, more often than not, bump into friends.
2ND ALBANY PUBLIC LIBRARY
3RD SANCTUARY FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA
Best Elected Official
Yes, he kisses babies and hugs his constituents – but far beyond that he is a ceaseless advocate and a reputable politicians his colleagues stand next to proudly.
2ND SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND
3RD MAYOR KATHY SHEEHAN
Best Local Celebrity
Tess has told us our future, read our energy, analyzed our state of mind, set us straight, propped us up, consoled us, and given all of us direction. She’s right every time.
Its wide fields are used for concerts and sport, its duck pond and yawning bridges for revelers, its fountains for children to play, trails to run and hunt elusive Pokemon — Washington Park is woven into the very fabric of the Capital Region.
2ND THACHER STATE PARK
3RD MOREAU LAKE STATE PARK
Best Hiking Trail
Featuring the famed Indian Ladder Trail and over 25 additional stunning miles of hiking and biking trails and jaw-dropping views, Thacher was a clear winner for our readers.
2ND INDIAN LADDER TRAIL
Best Biking Trail
MOHAWK-HUDSON BIKE/HIKE TRAIL
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my biiiiiike – from Albany all the way to Buffalo!
2ND ALBANY COUNTY RAIL TRAIL
3RD COHOES BIKE TRAIL
Best Place to Run
Nothing but trails and fresh air – smack dab in the middle of Albany.
2ND MOHAWK-HUDSON TRAIL
3RD BUCKINGHAM TRAIL
GRAFTON LAKES STATE PARK
Locals have been coming here for decades to take a dip and it’s just as magical as it ever was.
2ND LAKE GEORGE
3RD LINCOLN PARK
Best Local Gym
Clearly some of our readers work out because this category was swole with participation.
Best Road Trip
Great concerts and world-class beer. Yeah – worth a trip.
2ND LAKE GEORGE
Best Theme Park
THE GREAT ESCAPE
What kid can resist the Steamin’ Demon, Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade and everyone’s favorite ice cream of the future, Dippin’ Dots?
Best College or University
UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY
Go Great Danes!
2ND SIENA COLLEGE
3RD (TIE) HVCC, SCCC
Best Recording Studio
BLUE SKY RECORDING
It’s a recording studio, instrument supply store and music instruction facility all tied up in one. What a steal.
2ND OVERIT STUDIOS
Best Yoga Instructor
NIKKI ROGERS AT HEARTSPACE
Nikki has devoted the past decade of her professional life to promoting the health and well-being of our community. Namaste!
Best gym, best CrossFit. CrossFit for the CrossWin!
Best Local Parade
CAPITAL PRIDE PARADE
Albany comes out in force for Capital Pride. We are immensely proud to have marched in this year’s parade.
2ND TROY FLAG DAY
3RD ALBANY ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Best Historic District
New York state’s first historic district, this beautifully preserved and maintained residential area charms anyone lucky enough to spend an afternoon – or a lifetime – on its cobbled streets or in its gorgeous Riverside Park.
Trinkets and treasures around every corner await you in Hudson.
2ND HISTORIC ALBANY WAREHOUSE
Best Flea Market
As if Troy needed another reason to stroll around the riverfront! But it has one, and it is one of the wildest things the city has to offer.
Best Local Sports Team
We love the idea of cats playing baseball. That’s actually what we imagine when we attend ValleyCats games. It’s highly recommended.
Best Sports Venue
JOSEPH L. BRUNO STADIUM
He beat the charges, wrote a book, and his name is still on the stadium.