At Least They’re Trying
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.