What's New in Saratoga

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Did you know that the Oscar winning film '12 Years A Slave' is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northrup who was born in Minerva and later lived in Saratoga Springs? Northrup worked as a free man at several Saratoga hotels, including the Grand Union as a stand-out violinist before he was captured and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

The great-great-great granddaughter of Northrup, Melissa Howell of Seneca Falls, is petitioning President Obama to posthumously award the former Saratoga Springs man the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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If you have ever walked along bustling Broadway on a warm spring or summer evening, more likely than not you have come across the wizardry that is Steven Brundage. You may know him as the guy who got out of a speeding ticket by enchanting the police officer with his famous Rubik's Cube trick (Saratoga.com was treated to this magic trick a couple months ago when Brundage visited our office and I am still mind blown.) 

Next week, on Monday, July 6th, Brundage's sorcery will be televised nationwide, and you can watch! 

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A new attraction at Saratoga Race Course this year gives local racing honorees a place of their own: The Saratoga Walk of Fame. The new structure houses plaques for individuals who have been influential in the advancement of Saratoga Race Course, making significant contributions to the sport of thoroughbred racing.

"The Saratoga Walk of Fame is our way of acknowledging and recognizing these individuals for their dedication to the sport with a place to publicly enshrine their accomplishments," said New York Racing Association CEO and President Chris Kay. "We hope our guests will enjoy Saratoga's newest attraction which is designed to highlight the contributions of our industry's leading pioneers and achievers for decades to come."

The Saratoga Walk of Fame is a new covered structure, located near the carousel, that features an historic design in the classic Saratoga style, right down to the iconic turrets crowning the roof.

Saratoga Walk of Fame

Even in its first year, the attraction will already have 6 plaques on display, with 2 more lined up to be added this season. This because, although the Saratoga Walk of Fame is new this year, it is the culmination of a tradition that actually began a couple years ago.

With Saratoga's continued growth, nobody is denying the growing need for downtown parking solutions. There is some disagreement, however, in the best way to go about adding it.

The City Center has proposed plans for a 5-story High Rock paid-parking garage to replace the free parking lot behind the City Center. With the capacity to hold 480 vehicles, this new $10.4 million structure would be single use, offering parking only, which many citizens feel doesn't make economic sense for Saratoga.

"We continue to look at our project, and are assessing the design and components to see what it is we can do to be responsive, if possible," City Center President Mark Baker was quoted by the Times Union. "What we have proposed to date is not the finished product."

Opponents of the current proposed plan argue a giant concrete parking garage and connecting pedestrian bridge over Maple Ave would be an eyesore misaligned with the historical integrity of the city when that space could be better utilized while still adding much-needed parking.

Public Forum About High Rock Parking
Citizens discuss High Rock parking at public forum, photo courtesy of Citizens for High Rock, used with permission

It's a dream come true for Saratoga native Pantelis Kodogiannis who landed the lead role in a movie about politics and art called "The First Line" which is now being screened around the country with a worldwide release to follow it's premiere in London in June.

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photo credit: Parthenon via photopin (license)
Sawyer Fredericks, Fultonville's hometown hero and winner of NBC's "The Voice" who took the country by storm this past season will be returning to the Capital Region to perform at FLY 92.3's Summer Jam

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Visiting Saratoga for the weekend and not sure where to stay? Take a look at The Westchester House Bed and Breakfast. I recently had the opportunity to speak with one of the owners, Stephanie Melvin, who provided me with the rich history of The Westchester House. From its beginnings nearly 130 years ago to Stephanie and her husband, Bob's, complete restoration project, the house is truly one of Saratoga's treasures.

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Nearly 238 years later, an often overlooked hero of the Battle of Saratoga has become the subject of a new Revolutionary War biography.

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The hype surrounding the long-awaited Winds of Winter continues. But could there be an end date in sight? 

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Bruce Piasecki, president and founder of Ballston Spa's AHC Group, Inc. and best-selling author of Doing More With Less has published a memoir, Missing Persons: A Life of Unexpected Influences, that has been in the works for 17 years.   

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