April events with Historic Albany Foundation

Saturday, March 28
A Moveable Feast
5:00 – 10:00 p.m. // Formal Invitation & Details to Come
Historic Albany’s signature event celebrating historic architecture, fabulous food, and beautiful homes.

Wednesday, April 22
Walking Tour: Lustrons
5:30 p.m. // Meet at Eight Jermain Street
$5 Members // $10 General Public
Lustron houses were used to provide inexpensive housing for veterans returning home from World War II. Walk along this row of prefabricated homes and learn about their unique history and construction. The row that you’ll see on Jermain Street is the largest group of Lustrons in New York State still intact today.

Saturday, April 25
Walking Tour: Avian Haunts
8:00 a.m. // Meet at the Intersection of Englewood Place & State Street
Join the Audubon Society of the Capital Region and the Washington Park Conservancy in Washington Park for a special “Birding and History Walk” of Washington Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Bring your binoculars! This walk’s Albany Birder, Tristan Lowery, will help our group track down urban migrating and resident Avians of Albany’s premiere park, while Dr. John Pipkin of the Washington Park Conservancy (a birder himself) will elegantly fill in some intriguing history surrounding Washington Park Haunts. This event is co-sponsored by Historic Albany Foundation, Washington Park Conservancy, & Audubon Society of the Capital Region.

Space is limited and reservations are required. RSVP by contacting Nicki at info@historic-albany.org or (518)465-0876, ext. 10.

Aunt Katie’s Attic


Thanks to Metroland for alerting me to yet another colorful kitchy vintage shop in the region, Aunt Katie’s Attic in Scotia.  Owner Kate Halasz has been collecting and selling for 19 years and specializes in kitchen items, though clothing and furniture are also part of the mix in the 2-story shop.

Her customers range from young girls looking for retro fashion to married couples outfitting their suburban house as a country cottage, to “older ladies who just want an old cookbook.” Katie’s attic also does a brisk business with burlesque performers and fans. “The pin-up girls want to wear authentic clothing,” she says. “A lot of them furnish their homes in that era, and they’re looking for an old vanity,” or aprons or oven mitts, because according to Katie, “Fifties Housewife is the hottest thing going now, and these girls live it head to toe.” From Bettie Page to Betty Draper to Betty Crocker, Aunt Katie has been ahead of the curves. – Ann Marrow, Metroland, March 20, 2014

Fiesta Waretable and chairs

On Saturday, June 7th, Katie’s hosting an out-door vintage flea with multiple vendors!


An Armory Show at Opalka Gallery

It would be easy to start recommending lots of local gallery shows on this blog but arts coverage is a different livelihood for me.  Yet this exhibition at Sage College’s Opalka Gallery is a particularly clever and ingenious. Organized by Michael Oatman and Ken Ragsdale, it includes many of our region’s finest working artists (several represented in my own collection).  Plus, two of the spaces feature some nice mod furniture.  The cool lights, by the way, are by Lightexture of Troy.

Armory show 2Armory show 1

Russel Wright exhibit at NYS Museum

Before there was Ralph Lauren or Martha Stewart, there was Russel Wright (1904-1976) who designed product lines that added style and grace to the American home.  On view through the end of the year at the New York State Museum in Albany, “Russel Wright: The Nature of Design” traces his entire career, and includes plans for his own home, Manitoga, which is now a museum in the lower Hudson Valley.  Don’t miss the gift shop on the way out, where Wright books are available as well as some of his china, recently reissued by Bauer Pottery.

Historic Albany’s Fall Events

The emphasis is, appropriately enough, on the historic. But there’s more than a touch of recent historic too.  Following are two events that in my datebook.

Saturday, October 5 – do.co,mo.mo_US Tour Day 2013
Rocky-afeller and the Bulldozer: Lecture and Tour of Empire State Plaza

Historic Albany Foundation was founded in 1974 to advocate for the preservation of Albany’s historic neighborhoods threatened during the construction of Wallace K. Harrison’s massive mid-century modern Empire State Plaza, through which half a neighborhood, 1,500+ historic homes were lost. To celebrate 40 years of successful advocacy, Historic Albany pays tribute to the neighborhood that disappeared and welcomes the newest architectural ‘child’ on the preservation scene, mid-century modern.

Thursday, October 10, Albany Medical Center, History & Architecture


This members only tour will start with an overview of the history of Albany Medical College and Hospital from its origins in the mid-19th century in downtown Albany to the relocation to the present site on New Scotland Avenue.  That’s followed by a tour of select buildings including the addition by Henry Blatner and the new Patient Pavilion, which just opened in 2013.

Full schedule of events and ticket information at: www.Historic-Albany.org

Coming to Troy: Modern on the Hudson

As recently reported in The Troy Record and the Times Union, three new retail businesses are coming to the historic Frear Building in downtown Troy: Trojan Horse, an antique shop that’s moving and expanding from its location on River Street; the clothing manufacturer Ekologic, which uses recycled fabrics, and… a mid-century furniture shop, Modern on the Hudson!

Local mod fans will remember the proprietors of Modern on the Hudson, Judy Engel and Frank Daley.  Their previous retail venture, Vintage Vogue, started in Saratoga Springs and relocated to River Street.  While the retail portion of their business closed some 10 years ago, they’ve remained active vendors of mid-century furniture, selling wholesale to retail accounts, primarily in New York City.

In a brief recent phone conversation, Engel said that business is flourishing and the new store-front will simply mean that their inventory is on public display.  “When we started this 20 years ago,” said Engel, “nobody understood what we were doing.”  Businesses in the Frear are expected to open in October.  


Another modern auction at Stair

Time for another 20th century auction at Stair Auctioneers & Appraisers, which is at 549 Warren Street in Hudson.

“Modernism:  Furniture,Decorations and Works of Art” is on preview all this week.  The auction itself starts at 11 a.m. Saturday July 13.

Lot 77: Set of Six Modern Nickel-Plated Side Chairs
Estimate $ 800-1,200

Lot 12: Vladimir Kagan Walnut and Avocado Green Laminate and Perspex Cabinet Unit.
Enclosing shelves and cupboard doors. 87 1/2 x 84 x 20 in.
Estimate $ 1,500-2,500

Lot 15: Jean Royère (1902-1981), Blue Glass and Fruitwood Low Table.
Provenance: Sold at Drouot-Richelieu, Thierry de Maigret, Paris.
Estimate $ 3,000-5,000

Contemporary Auction in Hudson, February 2

About once a year Stair Antique Auctioneers and Appraisers in Hudson has a contemporary sale and it’s coming up soon – on Saturday February 2.  Stair has a prominent storefront on Warren Street and it’s always interesting to just go and preview the goods, which include furniture, art and objects. But you can also check out everything online.  Here are a few choice items…

Frank Gehry Maple Cross Check Armchairs, Manufactured by Knoll

Philippe Stark Driade Mahogany and Aluminum Dining Table

George Nelson Fruitwood, Ebonized and Metal Dressers, for Herman Miller

Reproduction Rietveld Red and Blue Chair, Manufactured by Cassina