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At Least They’re Trying

May 6, 2013

Kudos to Troy for Saturday’s awesome Food Truck Festival.  The location was excellent and the turn-out, spectacular. It’s a shame Albany couldn’t get its act together and take advantage of this kind of event. So good for Troy – it’s trying. Maybe that should be Troy’s new slogan – ‘at least we’re trying!’. And while Troy is trying, Albany is missing the boat big-time. It’s like Albany can’t get out of its own way politically and it’s suffocating the city.  Our schools have been destroyed by the failed charter experiment.  First our kids suffer and then our community starts to crumble. No one wants to move to an area with failing schools, an old political machine and crappy, old restaurants. It’s not like all of our restaurants are crappy – some are great, fresh and new – but there isn’t a lot of competition in the way of actual quality restaurants.

My friend and I showed up at the Food Truck Fest close to 1PM.  At that point it was already packed solid. It was a gorgeous day and the vibe was pretty laid back. The saddest part of the event was, after nearly an hour in line and having only moved a dozen feet, my companion and I had to bail. I was getting sunburnt and both of us were melting in the heat. We went over to Dinosaur BBQ which was handling some of the spillovers like us – and while there was still another 45 minute wait there – at least we could do it inside and off our feet.

We were pretty sad we had to abandon the festival – but at the same time, I’m proud of our community for the incredible turn-out. I think this shows you that the people of the Capital Region have a strong desire for a more vibrant food and event culture. We want more! We’ve all seen these Food Network and Travel shows where they show parks full of food trucks on nights and weekends.  We’ve seen the specialty diners and exciting, fancy restaurants.  And what do we have to fulfill that need in the Capital Region?  We have NWBB and, if we’re lucky to work in an area that’s food truck friendly, some of us can occasionally experience the joy that is food trucks between 11 and 2 on weekdays.

Can you imagine a Washington Park that, during the nights and weekends, had relaxed live music and food vendors?  That’s the kind of thing that’s going to draw people to our down-town.  And Albany, if we don’t act quickly, Troy is going to beat us to it. Instead of Albany being a great go-to, we Albanians are going to demand more bus service between Troy and Albany so we can leave town and Enjoy Troy on the weekends. The best case scenario would be that Albany and Troy BOTH work to bring in exciting entrepreneurs who want to IMPROVE our cities with independent retail and restaurants. We have to get rid of the favorites system in Albany, our city is never going to flourish if it only rewards the politically connected. Once we start working on these issues maybe we can talk about a light rail system between Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga.  THESE are things that will make our cities a destination for tourists and residents. Duh.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2013 3:15 pm

    Hear hear!

    Heck, even Hudson has a food truck park with live music in the summer. It ain’t so hard, Albany.

    • May 6, 2013 3:36 pm

      Right? It seems so easy, but Albany is either so overwhelmed by bureaucratic red tape or entrepreneurial apathy or both, we have nothing of the sort.

      Even with that sort of thing in place on a regular basis, a food truck festival would still be incredibly successful. But right now it’s a novelty so it became a little ridiculous with the lines on Saturday. Sure, I planned on standing in long lines, but I can only tolerate so much before it’s no longer worth the wait. I had such high hopes. I planned to spend lots of money and leave with a substantial food baby and neither of those things happened. :-(

  2. May 6, 2013 5:40 pm

    Valerie-
    First of all thank you for attending the food truck festival and writing about it in your blog. Townsquare media and the City of Troy did a fantastic job organizing the event from the food trucks to the music and beer. It was a great event to raise awareness about local food trucks in the Capital Region. From the sounds of it you didn’t get to try any grub at the festival so I encourage you to visit your local food truck during the week for lunch or dinner. Please note that the Capital Region food trucks would like to have a more prominent presence in Albany and we are working with the city and county to establish new food truck vending laws. Should you or your readers want to support the movement we encourage you to contact your local councilperson and express your opinions. In the meantime, if you would like to try the Wandering Dago Food Truck, you can always find our truck schedule and menu online at http://www.wanderingdago.com
    tinyurl.com/Wandering-Dago

    http://fr.twitter.com/WanderingDago

    Best-
    Andrea & Brandon

    • May 8, 2013 2:26 pm

      Thanks for your comment. It’s a good point that we should contact our councilperson on these issues.

      I work out of town so I’ll have to look to trying you guys out at some evening or weekend event – hopefully soon!

  3. May 8, 2013 1:59 pm

    Yes yes yes!!
    Anyone who was in Washington Park during this past week of gorgeous weather can tell you it was PACKED with people strolling, taking pictures of tulips, enjoying the lake, letting their kids and dogs run free. Many brought their own picnics. Food trucks in the park would thrive, it would benefit residents and businesses in the area, and bring visitors downtown.

    My husband and I say it all the time- Troy and Schenectady are both doing things right and at least *trying* — and most of the time succeeding. Albany? Disappointing. Frustrating. In its own way. Many of us love it here, we want to stay, we want our city to act like they want us here.

    Does anyone at City Hall hear what we’re saying?

    • May 8, 2013 2:37 pm

      Maybe we can use Albany’s new app to report a lack of food trucks in the park! :-)

      I’m an Albany resident but live closer to the uptown SUNY campus, so if I go down to the park I need a reason…having a little more to do (or eat!) would definitely draw me downtown more frequently.

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