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Friday, October 31, 2014

What's Going On At Rotterdam Square Mall?

Over the last five years, or so,
Eric & I have noticed more
empty stores at
Rotterdam Square Mall.

A visit on a quiet afternoon shows little activity at this mall.

I parked near the entrance to
Ninety Nine Restaurant
& Pub.

It's a popular place
to dine.

This is only remaining
Kmart Store left in the 

The Kmart in Colonie closed in December 2013.  Kmarts in Clifton Park, Latham closed in May, 2014.  The Kmart in  East Greenbush closed in June, 2014.  

going out of business.

Other stores in the area
are liquidating their
stock too.

On November 17 Eric and  I noticed that Yankee One Dollar is now selling its merchandise at twenty five cents per item.

The busy side of the
Food Court

The majority of the mall has open stores.  But seeing a string of empty store fronts leaves me wondering about Rotterdam Square Mall's future will be.

Let's see what the current map of the mall stores are listed as occupied and what stores are currently vacant.

The former McDonald's

The bank moved out.

There is now comfortable
seating where kiosks
once stood.

While looking for news stories about Rotterdam Square Mall, I found out that it was scheduled to be sold at auction in December 2013.  The auction wasn't held.  Kohan Retail Investment Group bought the mall in January 2014.  The new owners purchase under-performing malls.  The first thing Kohan Retail Investment Group planned to do was to request a tax assessment reduction from the Town of Rotterdam.

The Post Office is next
to an empty store.

According to a February 2014 Daily Gazette article, 21% of the mall is vacant.

Kiosks are waiting
for vendors.

Journalist Kathryn Vasel wrote an article on the current state of American malls.  The outlook could be described as "just pink."  The viability of a mall depends on the mix of stores it offers and the area it serves.  

The fountain has been 
covered over.

Children will be visiting
with Santa near the
Christmas Tree.

Empty stores, Lens Crafters
& Macy's.

Empty stores

Unlit lighting fixtures

 TJ Maxx closed in March, 2014.

The unocuppied rate rose above 21% after TJ Maxx, the fifth anchor store, left Rotterdam Square Mall in March 2014.

It's pretty lonely down by
the Sears Store.

I looked up to see many
of the recessed lights
are not working.

The Schenectady Theater for Children isn't open every day.

There will be more shoppers at the mall as the holiday shopping season gears up.  Like others, I will be watching developments at Rotterdam Square Mall.  My hope is that new stores will reinvigorate this 26 year old mall.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Decorations in Jerry's Neighborhood

Some houses have a
pumpkin, or two.

Some houses have scarecrows
guarding the door.

This front door is guarded
by a large pumpkin.

The side door has pumpkins
& a wreath on the door.

I walk around Jerry's neighborhood everyday.  I was surprised to see how many houses had no seasonal ornaments.

Cobwebs crisscross
this large porch.

An ancient cemetery
sits behind an iron
railed fence.

A pumpkin leaf bag
is the only decoration
at this house.

The friendliest Ghost Rider
I've ever seen.

A giant spider climbs
the wall of this house.

This house has ghosts,
pumpkins, scarecrows... 

Spiders crawl on the
inflatable skull.

A specter hovers above
the cemetery.

Jerry's front porch before she
adds one last decoration.

Ghosts leap out of the
pumpkin to greet visitors.

Jerry donated lights &
the pumpkins to our
Halloween display.

Eric and I bought candy to hand out tomorrow.  I hope someone will walk up the driveway and visit our motorhome looking for treats.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Preview Party at Wolff's Biergarten in Schenectady, New York

While revisiting Wolff's Biergarten on Erie Boulevard in Schenectady, I met one of the owners, Matt.  He invited me inside to take pictures and invited Eric and me to the Biergarten's Preview Party.

Eric & I arrived at
7:30 pm.

The parking lot was full.  Street parking along the recently reconfigured Erie Boulevard was pretty full too.  

The Preview Party was
in full swing.

There was plenty of seating
available at the picnic tables.

A spot at the bar opened up
& Eric ordered Chimay
Tripel for us.

Eric and I sat down at one of the picnic tables and joined the celebration.   I saw photographers with long lens cameras taking shots of the crowd.

Some of the pictures are

Congratulations Matt!  You and your partners are bringing an exciting new venue to Schenectady.  Soccer fans, beer fans and German pub food fans will find a warm welcome 
at Wolff's Biergarten.

the Preview Party.

I look forward to reading about Wolff's Biergarten's opening day in the local media.

****Matt Baumgartner continues to challenge himself and look for business opportunities. 

Welcome Back: Morrette's King Steakhouse Grand Reopening on October 28,2014

During our travels, I keep up with events in Schenectady.  In May, 2014, I read that Morrette's King Steakhouse, a favorite Schenectady restaurant since 1947, was closing.  Current owner, Micha Pasquariello, hoped to sell the restaurant to new owners.  The sale fell through and Morrette's closed.

Thankfully, Frank and Kathleen Martin bought Morrette's and the region patiently waited for this beloved restaurant to reopen.   The Grand Reopening was set for October 28, 2014.

 is covering the Martins'

Eric & Jerry at the reopened
Morrette's King Steakhouse.

A bouquet of flowers with best
 wishes for the Martins.

The interior, including the
photos are the same.

A steak sandwich at Morrette's
in 1947 cost 35 cents.

The wall art in the rear
of the restaurant remains
the same.

We have Morrette's Fry
Sauce & Steak Sauce for
 our fries & sandwiches.

My Queen Sandwich
with American Cheese.

Eric, Jerry and I were very happy to attend the Grand Reopening.  We reminisced as we ate our sandwiches and French Fries.  Jerry and waitress, Ellen Norton, were happy to see each other again. They spent a few minutes catching up on their families' news.

I asked the Time Warner Cable News reporter and camera man if they were going to cover Wolff's Biergarten's upcoming opening.  The reporter told me that they are tracking alerts on Wolff's Biergarten and plan to report on their opening.

on the return on Morrette's
King Steakhouse.

It is a warm, welcoming

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Late Lunch at Giffy's Bar-B-Q in Clifton Park, New York

Eric wanted to try
Giffy's Bar-B-Q
for a second time.

He went here for lunch with a friend several years ago.  Since then, we've eaten barbecue in Knoxville, Tennessee, McKinney, Texas and more recently, at The Wagon Train BBQ in Rotterdam. We decided that we prefer dry barbecue.  Eric wants to refresh his memory about Giffy's Bar-B-Q and I want to taste Giffy's signature Pulled Pork.

The bar

I like the casual

It's 2:00 pm and Eric and I chose the buffet.

There are a lot of sides
to choose from.

Eric & I made Pulled
Pork Sandwiches to
eat with our sides.

Giffy's Bar-B-Q makes a wet Pulled Pork.  This is not our favorite style of barbecue.  I'm glad we went to Giffy's because I now know their barbecue style.

Eric and I agree that our favorite barbecue in the Capital District is Wagon Wheel BBQ.