Removal of the Philip Schuyler statue

gift from George Hawley

One of the big local stories recently was the removal of the Philip Schuyler statue from the front of Albany City Hall early Saturday morning, June 10.

If you know who Philip Schuyler was, one or more of three things are likely. 1) You are or were from New York State’s Capital District, 2) you are a Revolutionary War buff, and/or 3) you are deeply familiar with the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Schuyler was given the rank of major general on June 19, 1775. “This made him third in command under George Washington and commander of the Northern Department of the Continental Army. But his military prowess was, at best, a mixed bag.

From Wikipedia: “He planned the Continental Army’s 1775 Invasion of Quebec, but poor health forced him to delegate command of the invasion to Richard Montgomery. He prepared the Continental Army’s defense of the 1777 Saratoga campaign.

“When General Arthur St. Clair Stir abandoned Fort Ticonderoga in July, the Congress replaced Schuyler with General Horatio Gates.” Schuyler helped the army from his mansion in Albany by forwarding supplies and encouraging reinforcements northward.


Gates “accused Schuyler of dereliction of duty. In 1778, Schuyler and St. Clair faced a court of inquiry over the loss of Ticonderoga, and both were acquitted. Schuyler resigned from the Continental Army in 1779.”

His second child, Elizabeth, married Alexander Hamilton, the future Secretary of the Treasury, in 1780.

Schuyler served as a New York State Senate member from 1780 to 1784, 1786 to 1790, and 1792 to 1797. He was New York State Surveyor General from 1781 to 1784. “In 1789, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York to the First United States Congress, serving from July 27, 1789, to March 3, 1791.” He lost his bid for re-election to Aaron Burr but “was selected again to the U.S. Senate and served in the 5th United States Congress from March 4, 1797, until his resignation because of ill health on January 3, 1798.”

He died in 1804, the same year Alexander Hamilton was killed.


The New York Almanack tells more of the story.

“Philip Schuyler and his family, like many New Yorkers in the Colonial and Early Republic years, relied upon the enslavement of men, women, and children of African descent as a basis of their wealth. Enslaved people cleared land, harvested trees, planted and harvested crops, fished, tended livestock, cooked, cleaned, served food and drink, and a myriad of other tasks.

“As Philip Schuyler developed his inheritance starting in the 1760s, he also used enslaved people in his industrial developments, including sawmills, a grist mill, and a linen mill. Between the Saratoga Estate and the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, there were typically 2-3 dozen enslaved people at any one time. Schuyler reported 14 enslaved people at the Saratoga Estate to the first federal census in 1790.”

The statue

A bronze statue by sculptor J. Massey Rhind of Major General Philip Schuyler was erected outside Albany City Hall, dedicated on June 25, 1925. It is “approximately 114 in. tall and has a diameter of 65 in. The statue rests on a marble base which is approximately 87 in. tall and has a diameter of 115 in.” George C. Hawley presented it “in loving memory” of his wife, Theodora M. Hawley.

Interestingly, there was a push to move the statue before. “It has long been criticized for its placement in the middle of a busy intersection.  Seventy years ago, a plan to relocate the statue ‘where the public could have a chance to admire, without dangerous jaywalking’ was ‘meeting with favor among influential persons,’ according to a report in the June 1, 1952 Albany Times Union.”  This assessment continued to be true until the day it was removed. I never read the inscription because I was too busy ensuring I wasn’t killed by an automobile.

Changes in attitudes

In June 2020, Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan, who is white, first called for its removal “in the wake of reforms following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.” It wasn’t until March 2023 that she announced it would be taken down in weeks.

As it turns out, it was relatively easily moved because it “was not anchored to the plinth, and only gravity has kept it in place.” Fortunately, no one tried to topple the statue. “It likely would have taken as little as a pick-up truck and a strong enough chain or strap placed around the top of the statue to topple it.”

There is a vigorous debate about where the statue should be relocated. One suggestion is “the Schuyler Mansion, located in Albany’s South End. The Mansion, built for Schuyler in 1763, was where he and his wife, Catharine Van Rensselaer, raised eight children.

“Another option, raised by colonial historians, who generally support the statue being moved, is Saratoga National Historical Park. The park, managed by the National Park Service, preserves the site of the Battles of Saratoga, the first significant American military victory of the American Revolutionary War. “

A time capsule!

The removal of the statue revealed a time capsule. “Letters, an atlas, medals, and a 48-star American flag were among the contents.  A  sealed deed signed by  George Hawley… directs the contents be given to the current mayor to placed “‘in the custody of a historical society of the city of Albany which in his best judgement shall be best fitted to use and preserve the same.’”

“’To be placed by him’ — how cute,’” Kathy Sheehan said.

Several people, some of whom I know, believe the removal is “treasonous” and  “obliterating Albany’s history.”  Nope, I don’t buy it. Ultimately, I’m happy it’s being moved, less for historical reasons and more for the safety of pedestrians and for the sake of the statue itself.

June rambling: quoting Hitler?

100 years of the Albany Public Library

Moms for Liberty’s Hamilton County (IN) chapter apologizes for quoting Hitler in newsletter

Southern Baptists say no to women pastors

Terrible news about the submersible. Still, but Behan Communications noted “the disparity in how the news covered that search vs. the attention given to the sinking of a packed migrant boat that one European official said may be ‘the worst tragedy ever’ in the Mediterranean.”

Sam Alito: yet another corrupt conservative justice

Global network of sadistic monkey torture exposed by BBC

The Story We’ve Been Told About Juneteenth Is Wrong. The real history is much messier—and more inspiring

SCOTUS Rejects Theory That Would Have Transformed American Elections. The 6-3 majority dismissed the “independent state legislature” theory, which would have given state lawmakers nearly unchecked power over federal elections.

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, dies at 92

Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick, who wrote ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ dies at 99

Glenda Jackson: Oscar-winning actress and former Member of Parliament dies aged 87

The Federal Trade Commission filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit challenging a district court ruling that invalidated a key anti-discrimination rule in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

A montage of clips from The Dick Van Dyke Show

Kelly does a quiz and closes tabs

Now I Know: A Tree* Grows* in Brooklyn* and The Invisible Eyelash Bugs That Can Trace Family Histories and The Language Designed to Protect the Nuts and The Norwegian With The Magical Beer Tap? and The Digital Version of Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?

Albany Public Library

Join the Friends and Foundation of APL in celebrating 100 years of the Albany Public Library at the Centennial Celebration, which will take place on Saturday, October 21, 2023.” Honorary Committee Tickets can be purchased here. Regular Tickets can be purchased here

Tuesday book talks at noon at the Washington Avenue branch:
July 11 | Book Review | Black, Blind, & In Charge: A Story of Visionary Leadership and Overcoming Adversity by David Paterson.  Reviewer:  Hon. Corey L. Ellis, president, Albany Common Council.
July 18 | Book Review | Engaging Students With Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen.  Reviewer:  Carol Green, MS-TESOL, retired teacher of English as a new language, and program director, The Wizard’s Wardrobe.
July 25 | Book Review | Hickstown from the Heart: A Family Memoir edited by Antoinette Joyner.  Reviewer:  Reverend Antonio Booth, MATS, co-pastor, Riverview Baptist Church, Coeymans and member, UHLS board.
Getting geeky

The U.S. Census Bureau: Data from the Business Trends and Outlook Survey (BTOS), a survey that measures business conditions on an ongoing basis. Also, the United States’ median age increased by 0.2 years to 38.9 years between 2021 and 2022, according to Vintage 2022 Population Estimates. Median age is the age at which half of the population is older and half of the population is younger.

NYS population is declining, down by 2% from 2020 to 2022. The percent of the population age 65 or over increased from 16.9% in 2020 to 18.1% in 2022, and the median age increased from 39.2 in 2020 to 39.9 in 2022.

Math and reading test scores among US 13-year-olds declined significantly since 2019, according to figures released from the National Assessment of Education Progress, also known as the “Nation’s Report Card.” Observers claim pandemic school closures likely accelerated what was already a decade-long downward trend in basic academic benchmarks.

The Global Liveability Index 2023. The Top 10 metros: Vienna, Austria;  Copenhagen, Denmark;  Melbourne and Sydney, Australia;  Vancouver, BC, Canada;  Zurich, Switzerland; Calgary, AB, Canada; Geneva, Switzerland; Toronto, ON, Canada; Osaka, Japan; Auckland, New Zealand

Citizen Archivist Missions. Click on a topic that interests you, and it will bring you right to those historical records in our Catalog.


When I read the guy is screwed, I am wary. Sure, as indictments pile up,  Senate GOP skeptics multiply as the man blows a gasket, even complaing that FOX News is “prejudiced” against him.  Check out the YouTube channel MeidasTouch

But he still could win the Republican nomination and even the election. Half as Many Republicans Call Jan. 6 an ‘Insurrection’ Compared to 2021. Garland’s Inaction on January 6 Gave Him Breathing Room. The RNC is stipulating that any one candidate who wants to be on the debate stage this summer must vow to support the eventual 2024 nominee—which could mean backing a convicted felon.

Moreover, 12 million Americans believe violence is justified to restore him to power (The Guardian), with folks such as as Kari Lake leading the charge. Stefanik and MTG want to  expunge his impeachments as though they never happened.

Andrew Coyne of the Toronto Globe and Mail, indicating that djt can’t win the federal case against him, worries that it makes him more dangerous. djt’s “response is not to cop a plea… It is to bring the whole U.S. justice system down around him… It is the reaction not of a criminal but of a revolutionary nihilist, someone who is not interested merely in breaking the law but dismantling it.”


Some folks running for President believe that djt deserves a pardon in order to “heal the country”. Since I expect that he will never acknowledge even a modicum of responsibility for his crimes, that’s a non-starter with me.

Matt Gaetz accused John Durham of being “part of the cover-up” when Durham’s 300-page final report that he submitted to the House Judiciary Committee acknowledged that Russian election interference in 2016 was real. Durham failed to validate the conspiracy theories exonerating djt or to “prove” the absurd fantasies of a Deep State conspiracy against 45. The facts just don’t matter.

Ultimately, what hit me is a video that Plastic Mancunian posted. It was James O’Brien’s evisceration of Boris Johnson; you don’t need to know the particulars of British government. Compare it with how djt not only survives but thrives, with the mainstream media’s inability to respond effectively to the lies of either bdj or djt.


Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? by composer John Adams

Randy Rainbow for President; Donald In The John with Boxes – Randy Rainbow

Do You Love Me? from  Fiddler on the Roof 

Coverville 1446: The Todd Rundgren Cover Story II

Hey Bulldog – Fanny

Green Tambourine– the Lemon Pipers

Ladies of the Canyon – Annie Lennox

Faninitza by Franz von Suppe

Wheels of a Dream – Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell from Ragtime

 FlyDrew Holcomb and the Neighbors 

Note: the photo is one I took in Paris in May 2023 on my cellphone, sticking my arm between an iron gate, and fearful that the device would slip from my hand.

Utica: The Last Refuge

Refugee and Immigration Support Services of Emmaus

On World Refugee Day, June 20, my wife and I, along with dozens of others, went to the Olpalka Gallery at the Sage College in Albany, NY, to see the documentary film Utica: The Last Refuge.

Utica is a Rust Belt city about an hour from Syracuse and an hour and a half from Albany that had seen better days. I remember my family trekking up there when I was growing up because my godparents, the Whitfields, lived there for a time.

So how did Utica, cold, sometimes snowy Utica, become a new home for a refugee family of four from Sudan? “The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees (MVRCR) is regarded nationally as a model agency for how refugee resettlement is done, for how they guide Utica’s refugees into comfortable jobs and lives.” 

However, the process suddenly became more complicated in 2017 by political decisions that would impact the MVRCR budget.

A boon

The film began answering these questions: “Will Utica’s economic turnaround be slowed by a drop in incoming refugees? As refugee resettlement agencies across the country are forced to close their doors, will MVRCR survive? Will the Azein family find a way to support themselves? While much media attention is focused on where refugees first land, on beaches and in camps, Utica: The Last Refuge looks at why the future is so bleak for most refugees: the system is backed up.”

This program has been a success story for the community. “While the population is still only about 62,000 [from a high of over 100,000 in the 1960s], nearly 20% are now refugees and their children. Local politicians, from the Mayor on down, extol the virtues of Utica’s diversity. The refugees, they say, are hardworking and dedicated.”

As for the movie, “The Last Refuge team is a group of issue dedicated vérite filmmakers, many of whom came together as alumni of Hamilton College, which neighbors Utica.”


The two showings at Olpaka constituted a fundraiser for RISSE, the Refugee and Immigration Support Services of Emmaus, “a family-based center that supports newcomers in building sustainable lives in the United States,” located in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Albany, not very far from my home.

“RISSE was founded in 2007… The initial goal was to help these refugees find housing, jobs, and resources and to advance their education. An after-school program was established for children; then came English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults.

“Volunteers, many of them immigrants… played a key role in the early success of RISSE… An early partnership with The College of Saint Rose and its art education, counseling, literacy, and community service programs provided expertise and volunteers that supported the growth of RISSE services.”

Several other entities offered literature at the reception that took place between the 3 pm and 6 pm showing. One was The USCRI Albany Field Office “Newly arrived refugees receive a comprehensive set of services including housing placement, cultural orientation, school enrollment, coordination of initial health appointments, referrals to ESL classes and employment preparation and placement.”

A short film

Related, I saw mention of the short film Translators. Here, director Rudy Valdez talks about the new film “and the overlooked experiences of child translators within immigrant families. The two-time Emmy Award winning filmmaker talked with AL DÍA ahead of the film’s June premiere at the L.A. Latino International Film Festival and Tribeca.

And here, “Valdez and Virginia Vasquez, a translator for her family featured in the documentary, joined New York Living. PIX 11.”

Watch Translators here.

Jeopardy Masters

Beatrice and Benedict

I received this question last month from my friend Catbird.

What do you think of the Jeopardy Masters?

At the time I was asked this, I had seen ZERO episodes because I was either preparing to go to France or was there or was recovering from being there.

Honestly, I wasn’t all that excited. Seeing these same six people AGAIN was not that interesting to me. But seeing the relationships that developed among the six, especially between Sam Buttrey and Matt Amodio, was fascinating. When Mattea Roach’s father, Phillip, died at the age of 57 from a brain aneurysm, their tribute to dad was touching.

I do NOT want to see where the DDs are, BTW, and I think this is going away, except maybe on an app.

In general, I like it, but sometimes I start wondering if SONY recognizes J as its one sure thing and is squeezing every last bit of revenue out of it.

I think this may be the case. But JEOPARDY Masters had good ratings for ABC. Moreover, extending the brand made sense with the proliferation of social media with Inside Jeopardy.

 I also wonder what the story is with Mayim Bialik: After all that fuss about sexual harassment, did she get the host job, or not?

She and Ken Jennings, to the best of my knowledge, will continue to share the hosting duties.

Why does KJ get all the special (and probably higher-ratings) shows?

MB got the Celebrity JEOPARDY shows that did fine in the ratings.

Does “creepy guy” MR still haunt J culture?

The former executive producer and, briefly, host,  Michael Richards, is gone, gone, GONE.

Is she too Jewish? Is it her two X chromosomes? 

Maybe, and maybe.

KJ is better

But I contend that Ken Jennings is also better at the job because he’s a student of the show. He prepares like Trebek prepared.

The time for the host to acknowledge the correct answer still takes longer with her. She STILL doesn’t tell the contestant with a low or negative score that they can bet up to the maximum value of the clue on the board, $1000 in the first round, and $2000 in Double JEOPARDY.

And she made an egregious error in the game on May 31. in the category of Presidential Doin’s:

“Had a cold, went out to buy veggies anyway; got pneumonia, died before 31st full day on the job.” She accepted Harrison; it was William Henry Harrison, but it could have been Benjamin Harrison.

But a few minutes later:

“Made Henry Clay Secretary of State; 2 years after the White House, settled into a new House (of Representatives).” To their response of Adams, she correctly requested more information. John Adams was wrong; John Quincy Adams was correct.

One ALWAYS asks which president when it’s Adams, Harrison, Johnson, or Roosevelt. It’s JEOPARDY Hosting 101.

Is KJ  being greedy?

IDK what this means.

Sometimes I overthink things.

What’s your take on the current incarnation of J?

They’re bringing back all of the Season 39 winners that didn’t make it to the ToC to have some play-in thing so that someone WILL make it to the ToC. It diminishes the product, IMO.

I will always root against the person who’s been on for more than five days. But I still watch, and ASAP because my newsfeed often tells me info first thing the next morning.

Billy Shakes

Kelly took great umbrage regarding a ruling in the Final JEOPARDY of May 23.

“The names of these two lovers are taken from Latin words meaning ‘blessed.’

“Ben… got the right characters: Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing. But wait! He spelled them Beatrice and Benedict, which was enough for the judges to rule him incorrect. His wager was big enough to drop him into second place, and off the show (until he comes back for the Tournament of Champions, so all isn’t lost for Ben).”

I disagreed with him in the comments. Still, he responded that “Maybe that’s how they’ve always done it, but honestly, as a casual viewer, I still think it’s BS.”

So I asked a list of former JEOPARDY contestants, who are not casual viewers, the question. I mean, I know this like I know that in baseball with two outs the run does not count if the batter is put out at first, EVEN if the runner crosses the plate before the batter makes the out. It just IS.

The responses:

Of course, it was decided correctly.

Absolutely correct. It wasn’t that it was a spelling error…he changed the name.

Decided correctly. Changed the name AND the pronunciation.
The ruling was correct. That’s how Shakespeare spelled it, so you can’t allow any variations. If you do, where does it stop?
Agreed – as soon as it showed up, I said out loud, “No, that’s not right.” I can see if he hadn’t spelled it with the ‘k’ at the end, but adding a ‘t’ makes it a different name.
Given that the show has also noted the decision was correct, I stand by my thoughts on this.
Conversely, I KNOW Kelly could have answered this item: Stephen Sondheim composed most of the score of “A Little Night Music” in 3/4 time, also known as this dance “time.”
It was one of 23 clues that were Triple Stumpers on June 7, 2023. No one answered them correctly. It WAS painful.
BTW, “What is waltz time?”

Lydster got a summer job

better than refolding clothes

Yay. Our daughter got a summer job!

When she was home for spring break, her mother suggested to her that she ought to apply for jobs for the summer. This mildly bugged the Daughter because she was already thinking about doing this.

Apparently, a lot of this process is now done online. She may have started the process slightly early, but it’s better than the opposite, when her search last year was too late to secure employment at all.

She was able to get a job at a clothing store in a local mall where she has shopped in the past. This was, as you might imagine, both a benefit and a curse. It was beneficial because she was familiar with the merchandise. The problem is that she had to restrain herself from buying a whole wardrobe with her employee discount.

I understand this tendency. When I worked at FantaCo in the 1980s, I was more likely to pick up more comic book issues and books than I would have if I were buying at retail.

Our daughter likes her job. She gives us the blow-by-blow of her day, both the occasionally annoying customer and her success in selling the product. Because she is the only non-manager employee who is over 18, she was able to pick up additional hours that the high schoolers working there could not.

New attitude

The job has totally changed her perspective. Before, when she and I, or she and her mother, would go into a store and needed to ask a question, she always wanted her parent to ask. Now, at work, she enjoys being the one answering questions, in part because she appreciates the break from refolding clothes that customers tried on but did not purchase.

More interestingly, she’s been nagging her bestie, K to get a job over the summer. I told my daughter I would hire K to work on some projects, but that idea was rejected. “She needs to work with people she doesn’t know!”

She likes ringing in sales, something she had never done before, and learning what to look for regarding potential shoplifters.


My daughter has always had a strong sense of style. I discovered this even more on Father’s Day. The three of us and my MIL were going to Catskill to meet my BIL, his wife and one of their daughters. My daughter overslept and didn’t have to put on makeup.

My daughter and I sat in the back seat while she explained her cosmetic choices.  The colors on her face match her daily wardrobe in very subtle ways. She explained the use of concealer and the other items in her packet. It was far more interesting to me than I would have imagined.

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