Riverlink Park

Skeeter Creek at Riverlink Park


Amsterdam, New York has a beautiful asset on the Mohawk River in the form of Riverlink Park. Called the best boat docking site on the Mohawk River, it offers such amenities as a restaurant, electric hook ups, pump out station, laundry and showers for boaters. One of the best features is the Riverlink Park Concert Series organized by the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation. The free concerts originally scheduled for Saturday evenings during the months of July and August, have expanded to June and September adding more concerts and events down by the riverside. For a schedule of activities please visit the Riverlink Concerts website. While you’re there, please donate to help the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation to continue to present these wonderful concerts for the public to enjoy.

Skeeter Creek, voted the best county artists in the Capital Region, played last evening.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , ,

Tropic Rhythm at Riverlink Park


Saturday night Riverlink Park took a trip to the Caribbean Islands with the traditional sounds of the Hispanic Culture as Tropic Rhythm made a repeat performance. Tropic Rhythm is a Latin American Band based in Albany, New York whose musical repertoire includes an arrangement of Bolero, Merengue, Salsa, Rock and Roll, Oldies (50’s & 60’s), Motown, R & B, and Jazz. There was a good crowd gathered to enjoy this popular band and the angelic vocals of Dashira Cortes.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , , ,

The Riverlink Concert Experience


With a first class boat docking facility, restaurant and beautiful scenic grounds, Amsterdam’s Riverlink Park on the Mohawk River in upstate New York hosts an annual concert series presented by the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation.  Every Saturday evening during the months of July and August you can enjoy free concerts. Yesterday was the 6th annual Jamboree with bands Dark Don’t Catch Me Here, Locust Honey and the Nellies. For more information about the concert series please visit the Riverlink Concerts website.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Tyrant that is Thane


The City of Amsterdam, New York was invigorated by a newly elected Common Council this year. The citizens, not happy with the way taxes were going up and spending was increasing, elected conservative representatives who wanted to make a change. With a highly critical state financial audit, finances are in shambles and our elected officials still do not know how much money is in the city fund balance. Despite these facts Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane continues to increase spending, raising salaries and creating new staff positions at City Hall. Not happy with the take charge attitude of the new Council members, Thane took them to court and sued to get a ruling in her favor about the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course Pro Contract. She continually vetoes any legislation proposed by the Council even if it has unanimous support. This effectively delays the passage of all legislation. She gets on local radio and makes press statements that berate and belittle Council members and anyone who gets in her way.

The public, embarrassed and humiliated by Thane’s behavior, went to the Common Council asking to revise our city charter changing ambiguous wording to prevent misinterpretation and added costly court proceedings. The Common Council appointed a Charter Review Committee (of which this blogger is a member) who would study and recommend changes. Thane stated that a Charter Review Committee was not necessary, that there were more important things to do.

“The mayor agreed with the commission idea in the beginning, but she does not agree with the appointments. What do you do when you have a mayor for six years and she’s relentless? She does not give up; it has to be her way or no way.” — Alderman Diane Hatzenbuhler

Corporation Council Gerard DeCusatis who by law is supposed to support and advise the Mayor and Council, only does so for the Mayor. Soon after the Council appointed Charter Review Committee had its first few meetings, the Mayor appointed her own Charter Review Committee, who she insinuated in The Recorder were more intelligent than the Council appointed committee.

“What I’m looking for are intelligent people to weigh in on a document that’s affected the community for a long time.” –Mayor Ann Thane

This derailed weeks of work already accomplished by the dedicated committee appointed by the Council. As  explained to me, the Mayor’s Committee takes precedent over any other Charter Review Committee who, with this action, can not send any Charter related questions to the ballot for referendum vote in the 2014 general election. Attorney Peter Califano, Chairman of the Mayor’s Charter Review Commission, cited this 2008 NYS Supreme Court decision as the standing ruling on the subject.

After exchanging emails with Peter Califano, I discovered that both of our Committees had a common goal, to strengthen the separation of powers by removing the Mayor as presiding officer of the Common Council.  The Mayor presiding over Council meetings, promotes arguments and obstructs the flow of governance. For Ann Thane who tries to micro-manage every aspect of city government, it only increased her already over-inflated ego.

As many of you know I was an active member of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation, whose mission was to fund and organize concerts at Riverlink Park that are free to the public every Saturday evening during the months of July and August. Our Committee consisted of four dedicated members who give a lot of time and effort for Riverlink Concerts. I donated a few hundred photos and designed hours worth of advertising design that appeared as posters and ads in local and regional newspapers. All of that has come to an end as I resigned from the Foundation a few weeks ago. Mayor Ann Thane could not keep her control-freak hands off of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation as she held a secret meeting with Congressman Paul Tonko, Amsterdam Economic Development Director Rob von Hasseln, Grant Writer Nick Zabawski and Waterfront Foundation President Paul Gavry. It seems despite the spin put on the situation, the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (Pedestrian Bridge) is way over budget and Gavry was told that the Waterfront Foundation would seek grants to fund the 1.6 million dollars of artwork a select committee decided should go on this bridge. In order to carry this out, five new members that they selected would be added to the board of the Waterfront Foundation. This effectively weighted our vote, giving the Mayor control of the Foundation. Of course when we were seeking funding for concerts or wanting to increase our membership for the past two years these people were nowhere to be found. Neither Congressman Tonko, Mayor Thane or the five new Waterfront Commission members came to support the Riverlink Concert fundraiser held at the Amsterdam MUNI Clubhouse on June 13th. They did not consider the impact this new fundraising project would have on grant applications to fund the concert series.

I really loathe politicians, they chew you up and spit you out. It seems my every attempt at civic duty was derailed by this Mayor. It’s been over three years since I sat on the committee to update the Zoning Code along with Montgomery County Planning who were paid by the City to write the new code. The Mayor’s Corporation Counsel DeCusatis sat on the document for over two years for a “legal” review. Alderwoman Diane Hatzenbuhler had me review the document with the codes department earlier this year to get their advice. We are now 6 months into the new Council’s administration and this document still has not been presented to the Common Council for a vote. It increases the area of what is considered Amsterdam’s downtown core and eases restrictions making it much more business friendly. A little follow through and cooperation would really help our local government instead of the costly and obstructionist display of power and disrespect flaunted by Mayor Ann Thane who feels free to lambast and personally attack others when they disagree with her.

Overpriced art pieces Ann Thane insists must go on the pedestrian bridge:

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Categories: Amsterdam, Equality, Law, Politics, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , ,

Tropic Rhythm at the Amsterdam MUNI Clubhouse


It was Friday the 13th and we were on our 3rd day of continual rain. The flood alert issued by New York State for Montgomery County didn’t stop the dedicated fans of music, dance and great food who did attend the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation Fundraiser held at Amsterdam’s Municipal Golf Course Clubhouse. The rain did force the celebration indoors where the Clubhouse concessionaire and chef extraordinaire Laura Elmendorf served a most delicious pig roast with all the fixings. Tropic Rhythm donated their time and talent to aid Riverlink Concerts. Their most wonderful combination of Boleros, Merengue, Rock and Pop tunes kept the well-fed attendees on the dance floor all evening. The combination of music, food and great conversation made us all forget about the torrential downpour outside.

Those that missed the chance to hear Tropic Rhythm and the angelic voice of lead singer Dashira Cortes will have another chance as they perform in the Riverlink Park Concert Series on August 2, 2014.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Music, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , , ,

A Walk in the Park


It was too nice of a day to stay indoors, so I walked down to Riverlink Park. On the way there I saw the True Value Hardware store was converted to Ace Hardware with the entrance moved to the North side of the building, blocking what was a drive thru from Liberty Street to Church Street (You can still drive around through the parking lot). Riverlink Park was closed for construction recently but with the official opening of the Erie Canalway last week, I figured it would be open. It was open but there is still a lot of construction to be done. A generator is providing power at this point and both of the towers on the other side of the walkway are in the middle of some concrete work. Handicap access to the elevator is still closed off. The park still has a long way to go before it is fully operational. I walked under the rt. 30 bridge on the Mohawk and found a new dirt roadway to the Eastern bank where the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook is being built. I still can’t get used to that name and I’m afraid no one else will either. They will continue to call it the Pedestrian Bridge or the Bridge to Nowhere. Steel rebar is in place where I assume concrete will soon be poured for a bridge support on the East bank next to where the Chuctanunda Creek flows into the Mohawk. You can see the cranes in place working on the South side section. I continued taking pictures on my walk back until the light started to fade into a bright magenta sunset.

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Categories: Amsterdam, History, Outdoors, Photography, Riverlink Park | Tags: ,

Meet Laura Elmendorf


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The Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course has been local news for the past few months. A new Common Council with a supermajority vote and a Mayor used to getting her own way have stalled contracts for both the golf pro and the concessionaire at MUNI.

Laura Elmendorf is the concessionaire without a contract who has successfully run the restaurant and bar at the golf course.  Still negotiating her contract, Laura is busy planning for this year’s events.  Although the concession used to be open on weekends during the winter, this year it is closed because a contract was never negotiated or signed last year.

As a board member of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation, this blogger had the opportunity to meet and talk with Laura while planning a fundraiser to be held at MUNI in June. Every year the Foundation is tasked with raising money, organizing and presenting Riverlink Concerts to the public free of charge. Laura is very pleasant, knowledgeable and personable. She seems much wiser than her years. My visit to MUNI was to get a better idea of the layout and space. The AWF fundraiser will be announced as soon as we have a firm commitment, that being easier said then done.  Laura was ready with menu choices, reasonable prices and suggestions. The venue was larger than I imagined and the views were gorgeous, even in the winter!

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I sincerely hope the responsible parties take care of these contracts soon before scheduling opportunities are lost.

Categories: Amsterdam, Business, Celebration, Entertainment, Outdoors, Photography, Politics, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , , , ,

Tropic Rhythm


The Albany based Latin-American band Tropic Rhythm closed out the 2013 Riverlink Park Concert Series with a repertoire of Boleros, Merengues, Salsa, Rock and Roll, Oldies (50’s and 60’s), Motown, R&B and Jazz.

The rain did come down as soon as the band set up their equipment under the bandshell saturday evening, but the storm blew over and the sun peaked through the clouds as the concert began. Although the rain and Memorial Day weekend may have kept the regular Riverlink Concert crowd away, those that did attend were in for a real treat. Tropic Rhythm is composed of Eduardo Nieves/Lead Guitar, Joseph Carrick/Rhythm Guitar, Dave Andrews/Bass Guitar, Roberto Rodriguez/Congas-Bongos-Percussion, Manny Grau/Timbales-Congas-Percussion and Dashira Cortes/Lead Vocals. Last night we had Leo in for Dave on Bass and Alex on Keyboards.

The star of the show was Dashira who has an amazing voice with a huge range. Whether a Spanish ballad, a current pop song or a 50’s song, Dashira can sing it, hitting all those hard to reach high notes with ease. I must say she is the most talented vocalist that performed at Riverlink Park this year by far! I did record a few videos of last night’s performance that I will post as soon as I get them processed. For now I have these images from our last concert of the season.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , , ,

The Greater Amsterdam Riverlink Park


A formal acknowledgement of accomplishment celebrating the conceptualization, design and implementation of Riverlink Park, is what the email invitation described. On Wednesday, August 20, 2013, at 11am, elected officials and representatives from local organizations celebrated the fruition of 30 years of planning and development resulting in Amsterdam, New York’s beautiful Riverlink Park.

Like proud parents seeing their child off to college, Congressman Paul Tonko and Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane were beaming with smiles as they talked about the hard work involved in turning a brownfield contamination into the Jewel of the Mohawk River. Phase one and two of the park development are complete and soon phase three construction will begin. The third phase is the much debated curved pedestrian walkway that will span the Mohawk River as a park lined with benches, plantings, trees and pictographs describing the history of Amsterdam.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Outdoors, Photography, Politics, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Chronicles


Voted Metroland’s Best Jazz Band for 2013, the Chronicles entertained at the Greater Amsterdam Riverlink Park last night. Daniel Lawson, Jeff Nania, Tyrone Hartzog, Bryan Brundige, Andrae Surgick and Justin Henricks make up the Chronicles, whose soulful-jazz and syncopated rhythms joined the old with the new for a refreshing change in musical style.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Entertainment, Music, Outdoors, Riverlink Park | Tags: , , , ,

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