Yesterday, as we drove to pick up a friend, Lacey pointed out that we hadn’t until then left the house.  Oops.  Not sure how that happened or how it escaped my notice, but there it was.  I was glad to be outside, headed to Troy Night Out.

Our mission was to see some of the Breathing Lights art installation.  My cousin, who spent a great deal of time and energy helping with this project, was stationed for the opening at Collar Works Gallery, so that’s where we started.

What a gallery!  The entrance is in the back of a beautiful industrial building on the Hudson River which has been repurposed as the Hudson Arthaus Apartments.  They accept dogs [heart].  The gallery’s new exhibit, Reclamation, was opening that night.  Guest curated by Ian Berry, Director of the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, the show dovetails nicely with Breathing Lights.  From the curatorial statement:

Artists see through everyday and discarded things accessing dormant stories within. The inventive artists in Reclamation are joined by a keen ability to refocus our world and make us aware of new possibilities. Like the creators of Breathing Lights, these diverse artists shine a light on what is usually passed by.

Reclamation is up until October 22, 2016.  Go!

Breathing Lights!  Windows in homes in neighborhoods with high vacancy rates have been illuminated from within.  The lights slowly pulse to suggest breath.  The effect is very engaging.  It stays with you.  Conversations are started.  bl1

Spread across three cities in the Capital Region, it isn’t an easy art project to take in.  Check out the map below.  Grey dots are vacant homes.  Yellow dots are vacant homes illuminated in connection with the project.  That’s a lot to see!img_4834

Walking tours seemed most promising, but inclement weather steered us onto a trolley.  The trolley stopped at three points to collect viewers, Collar Works Gallery, The Arts Center of the Capital Region and The Center for Independent Media.  Breathing Lights homes were pointed out in route.  Sad that the trolley didn’t even slow.  We’ll have to try again.img_4823

Projects funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, like Breathing Lights, hope to enrich communities and attract visitors.  Second first.  This project will attract visitors.  It already has and will continue to do so.  However, I think the project will do even more to enrich the communities in which the homes are located.  Where there is breath, there is life.  The locals know their neighborhoods are alive, but having a major art initiative moving in next door, next door for so many families, should feel good.  The glowing lights are nurturing.  Like a warm hug.  We all need more warm hugs.  Huge thanks to Breathing Lights!bl2

Next up, dinner.  Lacey suggested a local treasure, Lo Porto Ristorante.  So many folks list it as their local favorite, but until last night we hadn’t been.  It is a delight.  The space, the staff and the food are all top notch.

I assumed the place was small and no tables would be open.  Lacey called from the trolley to ask for a table an hour hence.  No problem.  We arrived 30 minutes early, menus were picked up and we were taken to our table.

We walked through the fully packed front rooms into a long back room.  Three of the roughly fifteen tables were occupied.  Terrific murals lined the walls, but the lights were too bright (my looks improve as lights come down).  After the three other tables left, we asked our server if the lights could be dimmed.  Absolutely!  She also asked if we would enjoy having the ceiling fans turned off.  Yes!  Now the room was ours–cozy and dim.

The food!  Vegans will work to find critter free menu items, and I expect the choices narrow further if too many questions are asked, but we had been cold, tired and hungry and found dishes that worked for us for the evening.  Not only worked, but deeply satisfied.  Lettuce greens were crisp and dressed right.  Peppers and artichokes, too.  Three different plates of pasta were enormous but so delicious I wanted to make all three go away.  My fork wasn’t “minding its own business.”  As it is, the pasta remaining from my dish will be the centerpiece for three upcoming meals at home.  On our next visit we’ll order less and work harder to find fully critter free dishes.  I am confident the servers and kitchen will be happy to help.

We were the last table in the place when we left around 10:00.  I try hard not to be that table.  Keeping staff waiting to do their final chores doesn’t sit well with me.  Still, every single member of the staff gave us a very warm goodbye on our way out.  That says it all for me.  Five stars!

Time to go outside.  Enjoy your weekend.

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