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  1. Marylou Whitney is the Greatest

    March 12, 2015 by saratogasam

    Marylou Whitney is the Greatest Gal


    Hob-Knobbing with the Swells – Our Most Read Story By Far


    Yes. This is our official blog.


    Read the story….then watch the video !
    Marylou Whitney in the Travers Day Parade on Broadway in Saratoga Springs – Circa 1985

    The “Grand Dame” of Saratoga Springs, Marylou Whitney !

    by EvilDoer


    It was a dark and stormy night. Whoops….wrong story. It was the early 1980’s and my girlfriend and I at the time were hanging out a lot with our good friends Rick and Shawna, the original owners of Madame Jumels restaurant.


    I’m not sure what’s there now, but Madame Jumels was at the bottom of Caroline Street and quite the popular place in it’s day. I was a big fan of the early morning radio show on WPYX hosted at that time by Bob Mason and Bill Sheehan, a gnarly pair of shock jocks known for their over-the-top pranks. (It is now known as the Wakin’ Up With the Wolf show, hosted by Bob Wolfeld.) They came up with the idea of having a Marylou Whitney look-alike contest.

    For the ill-informed, Marylou Whitney is the widow of millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and a local celebrity, socialite, philanthropist, and all-around nice gal. The thought of spoofing her in a look-alike contest was more than I could stand. I set out to talk my friends into joining the contest.

    Rick and Shawna were more familiar than I with Mrs. Whitney as they also ran a horse-drawn carriage business that Marylou had used the services of. The event was to take place at Siro’s, a popular upscale restaurant and watering hole near the Saratoga Racetrack. Everyone agreed this would be a blast. As seasoned veterans for several years at the infamous Bolton Landing Bed Races on Lake George, we had a fair idea on how to make headlines while having a good time. It’s kind of a Ratpack thing. Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson; we had learned from the best. Back when men were men…and booze was your buddy. Growing up in the sixties surely had it’s benefits. We set about making our strategy.
    It was decided the horse and carriage would help make our entrance memorable. As Rick and Shawna would be manning the carriage and I was ugly enough as a man, let alone the well-preserved Whitney, that left my girlfriend to be Marylou. The girls came up with a flashy gown as one might imagine Marylou dressing up in for one of her annual soirées at the Canfield Casino. Rick and I decided on leotards (kind of a court-jester look) and long trumpets as part of our garb and props for our parts as “Her Majesty’s” entourage. It was also decided that “our” Marylou wear a blond wig and gold tiara, as well as a garbage bag “slicker” to mimic a press clipping of the real Marylou wearing the same during a rainstorm at the Saratoga Racetrack. We enlisted a few family and friends as “press agents” sporting fedoras and press passes. We also equipped my nephew Ken with a VHS video camera, a bulky contraption back then as you virtually had to carry an entire VCR on a shoulder strap. With our costumes complete, it was time for the big day.


    Our gig officially started at 6 a.m., coinciding with the WPYX 6 to 10 a.m. morning drive show. We decided to arrive fashionably late (or maybe it was a hangover). Anyways, our timing turned out to be impeccable as we were, as I recall, the last contestants to arrive. Our horse and carriage pulled up in front of Siro’s with as much fanfare as we could conjure. The grounds were packed with spectators as well as various guys and gals dressed as Marylou. Rick and I jumped off and rolled out a red carpet for our celebrity. We did our best trumpet rendition of the opening racetrack riff and held “our” Marylou’s hands up as she descended the steps of her carriage. The crowd went wild. All the local TV news cameras rushed up to record the spectacle. We escorted “our” Marylou through the crowd as she pressed the flesh and threw fake money into the air. Rick, Shawna and I remained dutifully in character as we tended to “our” Marylou and fended our way through a sea of people and inside Siro’s. The reporters scrambled for interviews and “our” Marylou had them eating out of her hand as she recited: “Trash, flash, cash …..nobody rides for free.”


    We were led to the table with the D.J.’s as a side-splitting back-and-forth ensued between the good-natured Mrs. Whitney and our imposter. The judging began and in spite of the many outrageous and wonderful costumes, we won hands down. No brag….just fact. Mrs. Whitney graciously invited us to stop by her box seats at the track later in the day where we were promptly thrown out for improper attire but not before we were introduced to a few of Marylou’s friends. Our reward? Two all-expense paid airline/hotel tickets to Universal Studios in Los Angeles and the L.A. Coliseum for Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA tour under a warm and moonlit night.


    Marylou Whitney…one hell of a sport.

    Make Sure to Watch The Video – On The Interwebs Since 2004

    Medieval & Gothic Collectibles

    #granddame  #marylouwhitney  #brucespringsteen  #bornintheusa  #madamejumels



  2. Jersey Memories of Old Saratoga

    March 11, 2015 by saratogasam

    New Jersey Man Has Fond Memories of Old Saratoga Springs.


    I used to come up to Saratoga Springs with my family to visit relatives when I was a kid. One fond memory was of the Grand Union Hotel, the last of the grand hotels. Torn down after the 1953 season. It had a big long porch across the Broadway street side.

    I was downtown with my Dad. I guess the ladies were off shopping somewhere and Dad and I went strolling down the street in front of the Grand Union. The porch was above street level, and under the porch there were stores. They were all having Going Out of Business sales. We went into one that was kinda like a doo-dad store. Lots of random stuff for the house that you don’t need. Maybe like an antique store. Anyway, I don’t know if my father had seen something he liked in the window or if we went in there to just kill time, but he bought a couple of things really cheap.


    The only one I remember was a porcelain statue of stampeding horses. About a foot and a half long. It was black. It sat on our television set for awhile. I think it might have been like the “Leg Lamp” in that movie “A Christmas Story.” My mother suffered in silence, then one day it was gone.

    I remember when we came back to visit in Saratoga later in the winter, probably for Christmas, the hotel was gone. You know what they built in it’s place, don’t you? A shopping center with a Grand Union supermarket as the anchor. Irony of ironies!

    I also remember that downtown Saratoga Springs went through tough times, and the malls in Wilton didn’t help. But Saratoga re-invented itself somewhere along the line and somebody deserves a lot of credit.

    I remember the A&P on Broadway. It was below street level and we used to take my grand-mother shopping there. I recall the wood floors, the smell of the coffee grinding machine and the conveyor to transport your grocery bags up to street level as parking was in the back.

    broadway parade

    From the Stan Eddy Collection


    I also have one celebrity story. Do you know who Bud Colyer is? Or are you too young? He was host of “Beat the Clock” on TV. Also, he played Superman on the radio. One Saturday we and some relatives went out to dinner at a restaurant west of town. A turkey farm I think. I don’t remember the name.

    When we went in, they didn’t want to serve us because they had a big party that night. It was “Dad’s Weekend” at Skidmore College and there was a father / daughter dinner at the place. But we were early so they sat us and served us dinner. As we were finishing, fathers and daughters started to come in and Bud Colyer was one of them. He daughter attended Skidmore. I got his autograph on a napkin, but it’s gone now.


    Saratoga Springs, New York; great memories of a great town.

    Jersey Jim

    And if you’re into even more nostalgia

    Jersey Jim also Maintains the Web Site Wistful Radio Chronicles

     #jersey  #grandunionhotel  #skidmore

  3. Bottles of Beer

    March 11, 2015 by saratogasam

    How Many Bottles of Beer on the Wall

    A Tale of One Man’s Yeast Affection


    by DocSnookers


    So, where does an Irish family go on vacation? Answer: A different bar. (I slay myself.) An old joke to be sure, but if you’ve ever been to the Parting Glass Pub in Saratoga, you know why an Irish tavern is such a great hang.


    Back in the early to mid 1980’s a few of my friends and I entered the Beer Tasting Club (which would account for my haziness of specific dates in time) at the Parting Glass Pub on Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs. One only had to “sample” in the neighborhood of 200 beers in an approximate 10 month period and grade it on a scorecard. If you could preview 2 to 3 beers a night, 2 to 3 times a week, this great gift to mankind was very do-able; without requiring emergency room treatment. And do it we did.


    What a great time we had sampling beers from all over the world. From little 7 ounce Pilsners to the 25 ounce Fosters Lager can, we finished the important job with time to spare. We built many bridges and solved many problems of the world sitting in front of that wonderful bar. One night, during a heavy snowstorm, I actually skied down with my faithful dog Rocky from my apartment off north Broadway; refusing to let Mother Nature sway me from my dedication to important matters concerning the human condition.


    After the in-depth study of the beverages were completed, the “Glass” threw a swell party for those that made the measure. Many of the beer vendors donated nice gifts of beer memorabilia for the qualifiers. The owners mounted a plaque on the wall with all the Beer Tasters engraved on it; something I’ve dragged many new friends in to see. The last time I stopped in, the plaque was nowhere to be found. The barmaid told me someone had stolen it (no doubt someone I had shared space with on the wall trophy – oh, the inhumanity). She also said they were thinking about starting the Taster’s Club back up, so go check it out and keep me posted.


    The Parting Glass Pub is located on Lake Avenue in downtown Saratoga Springs. A short distance east from Broadway, it is down the hill from the Police Station, a couple of doors before the Fire House and kiddy-corner to the Armory. They host a lot of great bands and it is a frequent stop for a popular local Irish group know as the McKrells. The famous Saratoga Racetrack is not far away.
    As a kid I remember it as Rocco’s Italian Restaurant and recall they had the finest thin crust pizza in town. When it was Rocco’s, the booths were across from the bar and the dining room was in a separate room. When the Parting Glass took over in 1981 they removed the wall and opened up the bar to the dining area. The booths were separated and moved to the outer walls of the dining area. Over the years they have purchased adjoining real estate and have expanded quite a bit to accommodate another larger dining / music area. The joint has some really nice vintage woodwork and a great ambience.


    The Glass also has an excellent dart room with several dart boards and a nice selection of custom darts and dart accessories for sale. At one time they also owned a pub called Cohans (I believe that was the name) in Ireland and used to have dart competitions between the two establishments; keeping score by fax machine. I always enjoyed the fact that the place was family owned and patrons could feel a part of the family as the girls and their mother poured beers, mixed drinks and waited tables.


    With everything from pizza and wings to steaks and lamb stew, the menu is first-rate and quite varied. I am especially fond of the sweet potato fries and the Shepherds Pie. Parking is pretty good compared to Broadway and there is a parking garage a short distance away, making it a good meeting place for newcomers to busy downtown Saratoga Springs. Of course, The Parting Glass is “the” place to be on St. “Paddy’s” Day with plenty of live music, dancing and lots of Guinness on tap. Delicious corned beef and cabbage specials are served on the week leading up to, and including, the big event.


    You can visit their website at:
    Owner Joan Desadora is said to have named the pub after the Irish song of the same name. Following are the lyrics:


    Of all the money that e'er I spent 
    I've spent it in good company 
    And all the harm that ever I did 
    Alas it was to none but me 
    And all I've done for want of wit 
    To memory now I can't recall 
    So fill to me the parting glass 
    Good night and joy be with you all 
    If I had money enough to spend 
    And leisure to sit awhile 
    There is a fair maid in the town 
    That sorely has my heart beguiled 
    Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips 
    I own she has my heart enthralled 
    So fill to me the parting glass 
    Good night and joy be with you all 
    Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had 
    They're sorry for my going away 
    And all the sweethearts that e'er I had 
    They'd wish me one more day to stay 
    But since it falls unto my lot 
    That I should rise and you should not 
    I'll gently rise and softly call 
    Good night and joy be with you all
    #partingglass  #pub   #dining  #nightlife