The Week: What Caught Our Eye

October 12, 2019

Boat Houses along a lake with mist over the water

HE COLORED OUR WORLD: Neil Montanus was the top photographer in the photography capital of the world, the home of Kodak, Rochester, N.Y.  He discovered his passion at 10 in his hometown Chicago when he won a newspaper contest with his shot of a tiny kitten inside the bell of a tuba. For Kodak, he shot photos in 32 countries and exotic locales, including with a head-hunting tribe in Borneo, pioneered underwater photography, and produced official portraits of Walt Disney and Gerald Ford. His “crowning achievement” was his work on the Kodak Colorama Project, the advertising campaign that defined the company from the 1950s to the 1990s:  warm, wholesome scenes celebrating happy, post-war Ozzie and Harriet families in prosperity and at play, massively splashed across the walls of Grand Central Station. One memorable photo depicted a seaplane moored near a colorful Adirondack boathouse on a sunny morning in 1966. Neil Montanus died September 9, and in a tribute to his Dad, photographer Jim Montanus, a gifted photographer in his own right, returned to the Adirondacks to find that beautiful boathouse and capture it once more.
Image of a seaplane pulling up on a lake near a boat house
The late Neil Montanus' 1966 Adirondack boat house photo, part of Kodak's Colorama project, as shown at The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, earlier this year.

ONCE NEWS, NOW BREWS: Even before horse racing found a home in Saratoga Springs (1863), The Saratogian was publishing a daily newspaper (1855). Its journalistic alumni – like the beloved New Yorker humorist and national treasure Frank Sullivan — would find it rich that their old Lake Avenue haunt, a historic brick redoubt keeping watch over City Hall, is soon to be a place for the things all great newspapers run on – beer and coffee and, occasionally, poetry.

NEW LIFE FOR A LAKE:  “Acid Rain Imperils Adirondack Fish,” was the unhappy weekend-eve Page One headline in The New York Times of July 7, 1988. Nearly a quarter of the lakes in the Adirondacks were so acidic they could no longer support fish, a new state report showed. Now, 31 years later, one of those fishless water bodies, 38-acre Lake Colden in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness, has been found to contain a reproducing population of brook trout.

NOW, YOU CAN GET THERE FROM HERE: The landmark Champlain Bridge that connects Addison, Vt., and Crown Point, N.Y., stood for 80 years until, time having taken its toll, it was closed and demolished ten years ago. The bridge was far more than a means to a destination: It was a symbolic and practical connection with deep emotional resonance in the community. The original Charles Spofford bridge was an engineering marvel, and the new bridge is no less. It was designed by Queensbury native and MacArthur (Genius Award) Fellow Ted Zoli.

AVACADO TOAST AND TOGETHERNESS: You gotta have a good breakfast, the famous nutritionist and garbage-cooker Uncle Buck once advised. And who better to share your Fruit Loops and Cocoa Pebbles with than family? Dinner is difficult with complicated schedules, so some families are making breakfast the main family meal of the day.

TO THEIR RESCUE: Victims of persecution, torture and other abuses seeking sanctuary in the United States are three times more likely to be granted asylum if they are evaluated by medical professionals and can provide an affidavit in court. Now, students at Albany Medical College are coming to their aid.

Adirondack Life Magazine shown on a chair near fall mums
LIFE BEGINS AT 50: Its beat, as one early editor put it modestly, is no less than the “five million uncrowded acres between Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River, Saratoga and Canadian Customs.” Adirondack Life, the stalwart chronicler of the life, lore, legends and labors of the Adirondacks, is turning 50 this year. In stylish middle age, it’s still a beautifully designed, photo-rich, well-written tribute to the best of the Adirondacks with a national readership of 40,000. What’s not well known is the Adirondack Life began as a humble newspaper insert in 1962 backed by some Adirondack journalism legends named Hall and Denton.

TRAIL OF TWO CITIES: Imagine this: You live in Saratoga Springs and bike to work in Glens Falls. No, not along the Northway or Route 9. You pedal in the sun-dappled shade of a bucolic wooded trail that runs from Skidmore College through Moreau Lake State Park, over the Hudson River. Someday you might even be able to journey into the Adirondacks. Recreation and open space advocates are looking for new ways to make the trail happen, including using revenue from businesses set up to serve walkers and riders. Think bike shops, brew pubs and ice cream stands.

AT WALL AND JOHN: An 1860s former bank and doll factory has been transformed into a hip boutique hotel and restaurant in Kingston, part of an emerging neighborhood hospitality complex that will include four lodging venues, three restaurants and retail space in what was once New York’s capital.

THEIR MAGIC MOMENT: Sometimes on the back roads of Sullivan County you’ll still see the stone pillars, silent sentries to another age. The great buildings are mostly gone, but the memories of the 500 hotels and 50,000 bungalow colonies, the grand resorts of the Borscht Belt, remain. In their heyday, Ulster and Sullivan counties were the beloved summer retreat for thousands of Jewish families from the East Coast. “Dirty Dancing,” remember? Now, as an eco-tourism revival begins in the Catskills, a new book takes a look at the ghosts of Grossinger’s and other resorts.

HOTEL HONORS: Conde Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards are the oldest and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry. This year a record 600,000 travelers voted. Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid ranked as the #1 resort in the Olympic Village and #2 overall in the Atlantic Region. Also honored: The Sagamore in Bolton, Lake Placid Lodge, Whiteface Lodge, The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles, and the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz.

WORLD COMING TO LAKE PLACID AGAIN: Lake Placid is among only a handful of cities in the world to have hosted two Olympics Games. Now, New York is preparing to spend $1 million on a global ad buy to lure the world’s best college athletes to Lake Placid for the 2023 Winter World University Games. The 11-day competition is second in size only to the Olympics and will feature Alpine, freestyle and Nordic skiing, biathlon, speedskating and hockey.

Sunrise showing through a tree near Lake George​​​​​​​Short and sweet, Autumn’s days are numbered.  While Bolton Landing still has brilliant colors, Whiteface Mountain and Mount Mansfield reported the first snow the season last week. Killington is making snow.

INSIDE YADDO: Leonard Bernstein roamed these halls. Saul Bellow, Aaron Copeland and Truman Capote, too. And David Foster Wallace and Sylvia Plath. The artists who found inspiration at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs produced 77 Pulitzer Prizes, 31 MacArthur Fellowships, 69 National Book Awards, and a Nobel Prize. Now, Saratoga Living provides a rare glimpse of the surroundings that inspired them.

SOUL ROCKS THE RAILS: Remember TV’s Soul Train, the dance program that aired for 35 years and featured R&B, soul, dance/pop, hip hop, funk, jazz disco and gospel? It once claimed to be the longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in American television history. Now, It’s back, and it’s running on a real train. In Utica.

BREW YORK: Hangin’ with the Guv? Don’t be surprised if he offers you a cold one from Lake Placid Pub and Brewery. Its Ubu Ale was chosen as the Governor’s Best in Brew at the first-ever I Love NY Adirondack Oktoberfest. It will be on tap in the Governor’s Mansion in Albany for the next year.

NO-SEUM: The Newseum is making the wrong kind of news. The Washington, D.C.-museum that honors the First Amendment and explores the historic and contemporary role of the news media in America is closing, another victim of the financial pressures confronting the industry that supported it. If only this were Fake News.

TELL A STORY OR JUST THE FACTS: If you want people to retain important information, the long-held view was to tell them a memorable story. Consider the Parables. But when the facts are strong and persuasive, a story may be a distraction.

WOW IS RIGHT: Pure Wow, the digital lifestyle magazine, urges its readers to come to Lake George to enjoy a rustic cabin or The Sagamore, shop at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls, and sample the local fare.

MURDERS REVISITED: In the 39 years since her murder in Saratoga Springs, no one has figured out who killed Sheila Shepard. She was 22, married but separated, trying for a fresh start. On November 25, 1980, she was found dead in her apartment, naked, bound with shoelaces, gagged with a terry-cloth robe. The five-inch steak knife protruding from her abdomen was not the murder weapon. Saratoga Springs Police have reopened the case, and now a national murder mystery podcast is taking note. Meanwhile, a true-crime podcast launched by WGY in Schenectady last year is back with a second season, this time focusing on a pair of 1960s-era unsolved murders of two other Capital Region women.

THE BUS CAME BY AND HE GOT IN: The black Cadillac SUV pulled up alongside him on Main Street in Cortland. The driver and passengers were late. Needed directions. He said he could help, so Tim Lord climbed in and went for a wild ride.

R2D2’S RINGIN’ YOUR BELL: To overcome labor shortages, China’s biggest food-delivery company is having robots deliver fast-food in offices and hotels. In Japan, robots are delivering food to offices and college campuses. Your gonna love the Welsh Robot.

WRONG BAG: Brian Gundy had just given a presentation at Martin Luther King Library in Downtown San Jose last Saturday. He went to grab his car and left his duffle bag curbside. That’s where the thieves grabbed it. Big mis-snake.


“And how solemn it is to move all day through a majestic colonnade of trees and feel that you are in a boundless cathedral whose organ notes swell and die away with the passing wind like some grand requiem. Still more exciting is it to lie at midnight by your campfire and watch the moon sailing up amid the trees or listen to the cry of the loon, wild and lonely, on the wild and lonely lake, or the hoot of the owl in the deep recesses of the forest.”
 — Joel Tyler Headley


THE HOME FRONT: It’s not easy to concentrate on a war when there are little people on the Home Front expecting attention.

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THANK YOU to our contributors: John Brodt, Bill Richmond, Bill Callen, Lisa Fenwick, Colleen Potter and Tina Suhocki.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. 

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