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The Bridge on Broadway

April 18, 2018

What does kippered herring have to do with Downtown Albany?

Nothing. I’m sorry. Sometimes I set out to create theme weeks and fail on the very second post. It happens. Especially when I’ve got a big Yelp event the very next day. But today I’m climbing back up on that horse, because last night’s Official Yelp Event was a lot more than just fun and games. It was important.

How can hanging out, drinking craft cocktails, and eating nibbles from Ama Cocina be important? And what does this have to do with Downtown Albany? Well, I’m glad you asked.

For those who may not have read Monday’s post, my definition of Downtown Albany is broader than most. Still, what I did not include on the map I drew of downtown was the Warehouse District.

Conceptually, it’s still part of the ascendant downtown community. However, as Matt W. commented via Facebook on Monday, “Getting from Point A to Point B without there being anything in between is a problem in Albany.”

In Albany, Broadway is the north-south corridor that connects the Warehouse District to the rest of Downtown. It’s pretty much a straight shot. There’s just one problem. Train tracks bisect these two hotbeds of activity.

The rail line actually forms a bit of an overpass, while Broadway itself dips beneath the tracks. Going under the tracks can feel a little sketchy. While I’ve never had a problem, it’s the least pleasant part of the walk. Surely, it discourages foot traffic. As does the lack of any activity within blocks on either side.

Until now.

Albany Distilling Company’s new space on Livingston Avenue is equidistant from theREP in downtown and Wolff’s Biergarten in the Warehouse District. And actually, theREP is going to be moving right around the corner. Soon, this corner of the city—in the shadow of the Ten Broeck Mansion—is going to be hopping.

More than anything, I hope this will bring more life and activity to Broadway, and helping to create a new kind of bridge from the Warehouse District to Downtown Albany.

This was approximated last night when we drank a cocktail at Albany Distilling Company called the Warehouse District, made with Nine Pin Ginger Cider which is brewed just up the street, and paired with albondigas from Ama Cocina in the heart of Downtown Albany.

My job was to get fifty active local members of the Yelp community there on a Tuesday night, and show them how much fun a destination this place can be.

And now I’m going to return on Saturday for the finals of Albany Distilling Company’s cocktail competition, which starts at 7pm. It’s open to the public, and it’s a rare chance to see some of the best cocktail makers from around the region compete head to head.

Not only is it free to attend, but you get to sample the drinks they produce. If you’re interested, you can find all the details here.

Ama Cocina will not be there with tacos, tortilla soup, ceviche, albondigas, or tacos. But you can grab some before walking over. Seriously. It’s a ten minute walk. It’s half a mile. At 7pm. You can do it!

Baby steps.

You don’t even have to go under the bridge. And you’ll be helping to create a different kind of bridge. Every step you take helps to blaze the trail. Over time, others will follow in your footsteps.

Before too long, you just might find yourself making it past ADCo and come to realize that the railroad bridge is more of a psychological barrier than anything else.

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