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Monday, April 15, 2024

Besties 2014: All of the People and Places Category Winners

CRL reveals all of the top places and people in the Capital Region voted on by you!


Best Afternoon Anchor
Subrina Dhammi,
News Channel 13
Well-spoken, smart, attractive and pleasant.  These are just a few of the characteristics of Subrina Dhamm, who fills the anchor chair with grace and ease.  She started her career with NewsChannel 13 nine years ago, just two weeks after graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  She was the first Berkshire County Bureau Chief, responsible for covering news in Berkshire County, MA and Bennington County, VT.  Within a year, she moved over to the main station in Albany, where you can catch her at 6am and Noon.

Best Evening Anchor
John Gray, Anchor,
Fox23/News 10
A winner, yet again, in our survey, John Gray appeals to the masses as he hosts the 6pm news on News10 and the 10pm news on Fox23. “This is my 25th year on TV in Albany and as silly as it sounds, I’m still as excited and honored to do this as I was my first day on the air,” said Gray. His talents span the media scene, as his weekly column in The Record and Saratogian newspapers and his monthly column for CRL are local favorites. Congratulations are also in order for Gray’s recent ‘Best Columnist’ award from the New York News Publishers Association and an Emmy Award for his television work.

Best Meteorologist
Steve Caporizzo, Chief Meteorolgist, News10
Steve Caporizzo discovered his passion for weather at the young age of nine. In the business for 35 years, he has been delivering the forecast in Albany for 25 years and this year marks his seventh Best Of win. “I want to thank everyone! I’m living my dream job of forecasting weather for almost 35 years, and even more importantly, helping our homeless pets through Pet Connection.  It doesn’t get any better than that!”  In addition to forecasting weather, this popular meteorologist helps cats and dogs find forever homes with his Pet Connection segments.  Over the past 18 years, he has helped more than 2,300 dogs and cats with adoptions.  It’s no wonder you voted him as the best!

Best Morning Anchor/Team

Phil Bayly/Paul Caiano/Subrina Dhammi, News Channel 13
Many of you set your alarm to this trio for a complete rundown of the day’s news and weather, as they chatter effortlessly and pleasantly while delivering the news. Bayly, in the business for nearly 40 years, has been on the team since 1986 and has become a local legend with legions of fans. Caiano joined as meteorologist in 1993. When he’s not on set predicting weather storms, you might find him out in the middle of the actual storm itself!  Dhammi, also voted your favorite “Afternoon Anchor” completes the morning team.  They bring the news to us at a vulnerable hour in the morning and make it sound pleasant…because it is coming from people we view as friends.

Best Sportscaster

Roger Wyland, NewsChannel 13
When you want the local scores, you tune in to NewsChannel 13 for the highlights from Roger Wyland.  He started as a weekend sports anchor/sports reporter at NewsChannel 13 back in 1986. Today, Wyland is the Sports Director, anchoring the sportscast during the 6pm and 11pm news. He also hosts Big Board Radio Sports Talk on Fox Sports 980, and is the play by play announcer for UAlbany Football and Basketball.

Best TV Newscast

WNYT, NewsChannel 13
If multiple wins by the anchors at NewsChannel 13 is any indication, it’s a no-brainer that you’ve also selected NewsChannel 13 as winner of “Best TV Newscast.”  Their reporters and anchors are seasoned and professional.  Their newscasts are polished and informative.  When you want today’s headlines, you tune in to NewsChannel 13 as your first choice for local news.

Best Music Radio
Fly 92.3 FM
Home to the popular Fly Morning Rush, this station keeps you pumped all day long.  They fill your car, office, and home with today’s latest hits and keep you on the edge of your seats with the hottest contests, and up-to-date information on upcoming concerts.  Fly 92’s Summer Jam is a must-see concert every year.

Best News Radio
WGY News Radio 810 & 103.1
Politics, sports, entertainment, and news… WGY has you covered, no matter what you’re in the mood for. Hosts range from locals like the popular Chuck and Kelly, also winners for “Best Radio Personality”, to national talents like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.  WGY is certain to keep you educated, informed and entertained whether you’re at work, in the car, or listening from home.

Best Radio
Personality (Tie)
Brian Cody & Chrissy Cavotta, Fly 92.3
It’s “game on” for this team, who makes waking up just a wee bit less painful. Brian Cody and Chrissy Cavotta have a natural rapport as co-hosts on the Fly Morning Rush, broadcasting live weekday mornings on 92.3, for nearly eight years. They’re consistently number one in the ratings for their key demographics, in addition to the 25-54 year olds, which are a bit older than the typical top 40 listeners. Brian says it works because, “Our show is based upon a lot of our own personal observations, our own humor, and insights. We do funny song parodies, we talk about pop culture and current events and our lives. We just try to be an honest and real show.”  This duo is clearly a hit at spinning the hits for you!

Chuck and Kelly, WGY News Radio 810 & 103.1

Delivering the latest breaking news, weather, traffic, exclusive interviews, and fun, Chuck Taylor and Kelly Lynch can be heard weekday mornings between 5:30am-9am on WGY.  Their chit chat is clever and entertaining. “Thank you for voting us “best of”. It means Kelly hasn’t offended everybody in the Capital Region…yet!” said Chuck.  Kelly, former local news reporter, said, “I love this show because I can wear yoga pants to work and not do my hair.”  Well, it sure works for listeners…and CRL readers, too

Best Print Journalist
Paul Grondahl, The Times Union
A writer for the Times Union, Paul Gondahl covers everything from hard news to feature stories.  His work has been recognized with numerous awards and he is the author of Mayor Corning: Albany icon, Albany Enigma and I Rose Like a Rocket, a biography about Theodore Roosevelt.

Best Blog
Benita’s Health Blog
Offering healthy tips on just about everything – from “Eating for your heart’s health,” and “Making the whole pot of coffee,” to “When someone suffers a seizure,” Benita Zahn tells it to you straight, providing the facts while offering her own opinion. “I am honored for my work to be recognized and I look forward to sharing more thoughts and hearing from my readers,” said Zahn. When she’s not blogging, Zahn is filing health reports for NewsChannel 13 and co-anchoring NewsChannel 13 Live at 5 and 6.

Best Author
William Kennedy, Novelist, Playwright, Screenwriter
Best known for his book Ironweed, which was turned into a movie, William Kennedy’s most recent book, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes, was published in 2011.  No surprise that Kennedy’s books are set in Albany, since that’s where he grew up. He’s received many literary awards and honorary degrees, won a Pulitzer for Ironweed, served as professor at local colleges, and has been the subject of several films.  Looks like he adores Albany as much as our readers adore him!

Best Artist

Frankie Flores
Famous locally for his glamorous paintings of horses and racing, Frankie Flores calls both Saratoga and New Orleans home, with a gallery in Saratoga Springs.  Down to earth, even with his success, Flores still stretches his own canvas, builds his own frames, and mixes his own paint.  His clients include Donald Trump, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Connick Jr., Jenny McCarthy, and the Dave Matthews Band.  He is extremely generous, frequently donating his work to benefit charity.  He has won more than 50 professional awards honoring his achievements.

Best In-Store Pet
Amber the cat, The Sweater Venture, 700 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush
Like most girls, Amber loves being told that she’s pretty, and like most cats she’ll exchange a sweet “purr” for a pat or two on the head. She’ll even post shopping recommendations in the front window of The Sweater Venture in East Greenbush, where Amber lives amongst the sweaters and other pretty things.  The store’s owners rescued this friendly feline when she was just a stray. She quickly rose through the ranks and currently claims title of “manager” and is the official greeter.
Seamus the Greeter Dog, Tattered Pages, Glenmont Center Square, Glenmont
Slater the Great Dane, Drue Sanders, 1675 Western Avenue, Albany


Best Antiques
Hudson Antiques Dealers Association
When you’re in the mood for antiques, you don’t just head to one store – you take a trip to Hudson in Columbia County and hit up the many antique shops, art studios and vintage shops, where knick knacks, furniture, and accessories abound, making it nearly impossible to peak into every nook and cranny in just one day. No worries, because it’s so close a return visit is a must!
Coxsackie Antique Center,
12400 US 9W, West Coxsackie
Dater House Antiques,
567 Brunswick Road, Troy

Best Apple Orchard

Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Road, Altamont
Nothing signifies the perfect fall day like a trip to the apple orchard. Reaching for the perfect fruit, sipping on hot cider and biting into a cider donut are quintessential fall experiences. At Indian Ladder Farms, you can do all of that and have peace of mind, knowing the apples have minimum pesticides on them. So you can take a big bite out of that juicy fruit, knowing an apple a day… really WILL keep the doctor away!
Goold Orchards,
1297 Brookview Station Road, Castleton
Altamont Orchards,
6654 Dunnsville Road, Altamont (Farm Market Location); 691-699 New York 146 (Pick Your Own Location)

Best Bargain Shopping

Finders Keepers Consignments, 1603 Route 9, Clifton Park
Who doesn’t love a good bargain? At Finders Keepers, there’s always something on sale. Finders Keepers is an eclectic consignment shop with a mission to provide upscale clothing at bargain prices. With more than 1,300 consigners, it’s like treasure hunting for fun, funky clothing!  Just make sure you schedule enough time to shop; you could easily spend a couple of hours here.
Something Olde, Something New,
1969 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands
Trendy Tots: A Modern
Children’s Consignment Store,
906 Woodland Avenue, Schenectady
Chain: Ocean State Job Lot

Best Bike Shop
Steiner’s Sports,
329 Glenmont Road, Glenmont; 3455 Route 9, Valatie; 301 Warren Street, Hudson
Bicycle season is rolling on in, so now’s the time to start tuning up!  Whether you’re renting or buying a bike, need a pre-season tune-up, or are shopping for accessories, Steiner’s is the place to go.  Road bikes, comfort bikes, and mountain bikes for men, women, and kids line the walls.  If you don’t quite know what suits you best, the staff knows bikes and will steer you in the right direction.
Mad Dog Bicycles,
561 Delaware Avenue, Delmar
Elevate Cycles,
1581 Route 9, Clifton Park

Best Book Store
Market Block Books,
290 River Street, Troy
Book lovers will agree that there is nothing like stepping into a bookstore; the smell, the rows of books, author book signings and more. Market Block Books in historic downtown Troy allows your imagination to run wild, featuring a full line of adult and children’s books, literature, travel, cooking, and a large history section.  Sister to the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza, Market Block Books has been hosting readers for 10 years. The books are inviting – what are you waiting for?
Northshire Bookstore,
424 Broadway, Saratoga; 4869 Main Street, Manchester Center, Vermont
Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza,
1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany
Chain – Barnes & Noble

Best Bridal Shop

Angela’s Bridal,
126 State Street, Albany
Just about every little girl dreams of her wedding day – the dress, the attention, the romance. Our readers choose Angela’s Bridal to help make their dreams come true. You’re sure to find the perfect dress hidden amongst their fantastic selection, with such designers like Lazaro, Jim Hjelm, Tara Keely, and Alvina Valenta. Call ahead so the staff is ready to make you feel like a princess while you’re shopping!
The Bridal Gallery by Yvonne,
895 New Loudon Road, Latham
3991 New York 43, West Sand Lake
Chain:  David’s Bridal

Best Car Dealer
Keeler Motor Car Company, 1111 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
Cruising in just the right auto can make or break that daily commute. Want to feel like a rock star?  Like to ride with the top down?  Need a vehicle that will haul the entire family to sporting events and on vacations?  Keeler has it all.  From the free car washes to coffee in the lounge, you rate Keeler number one!  Keeler boasts more than 40 years of providing customers with a selection of new, used, and certified pre-owned models from Honda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, MINI, and Sprinter.
Latham Northway Toyota Scion,
727 New Loudon Road, Latham
The Lia Auto Group,
1258 Central Avenue, Albany

Best Chocolate Shop/ Candy Store (Tie)

Uncle Sam’s Candy,
2571 Albany Street, Schenectady
Walk inside Uncle Sam’s and you’ll feel like a kid again. The array of jelly beans, candies and chocolates is enough to overload your senses. Using the same ingredients and recipes since the 1930s, Uncle Sam’s still cooks up The Original Nut Bark, adding flavors like Sea-Salted Bark and 72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bark to the menu. Uncle Sam’s flagship, Almond Buttercrunch, is world famous, known for its thinness, crunch, and the perfect proportion of nuts, toffee and chocolate. Chances are slim you can stop at just one.

Krause’s Homemade Candy, 1609 Central Avenue, Albany
If only life really was just like a box of chocolates! Krause’s Homemade Candy has an assortment varied enough to fill any size box! The candy makers have been in business for three generations, opening the Albany location in 1986. Today, Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without Krause’s famous chocolate covered strawberries.  One word of caution: the chocolates are almost too pretty to eat, but don’t let that stop you from biting into one of the best tasting candy in the area!
Saratoga Sweets,
1618 Route 9, Clifton Park
Candy Kraft Candies,
2575 Western Avenue, Altamont

Best Clothing Boutique

Fancy Schmancy,
641 New Loudon Road, Latham
Whether you’re dressing to the nines, shopping for a special occasion or just want a smart, casual look, you like to catch the latest trends and hottest couture looks at Fancy Schmancy. Susanne Dura opened the doors 13 years ago and works one-on-one with customers to find just the right look for the occasion, finishing you head to toe in shoes, jewelry and accessories.  When you leave, you’ll feel almost like you’ve just stepped out of a shop in Paris!
Truly Rhe, 1 Broadway, Troy
Circles, 1475 Western Avenue, Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany

Best Consignment Shop
Finders Keepers Consignments, 1603 Route 9, Clifton Park
Whether vintage classifies your style or you just like to shop for bargains, you’ll have plenty of hidden treasures to search through at Finder’s Keepers. A mother/daughter duo opened this consignment store five years ago to fill a need for this type of store in Clifton Park.  Today, they still love what they do… and you do too, based on the results! When you want to save a few dollars while uncovering unique clothing finds, your first pick is Finders Keepers.
La Moda Lisa,
160 Saratoga Road, Schenectady
Trendy Tots: A Modern Children’s Consignment Store, 906 Woodland Avenue, Schenectady

Best Farmers Markets
Troy Waterfront Farmers Market, Summer – 282 River Street, Troy; Winter – Uncle Sam Atrium, 49 4th Street, Troy
Farmers markets have become quite popular over the years, offering much more than just fruits and vegetables. Today, homemade baked goods, jams and jellies, handmade soaps, lotions, pottery, jewelry and wool goods are just a sampling of what you might find. Starting this month, nearly 80 local farmers, bakers and chefs will display their wares to the more than 6,000 shoppers who stroll through each Saturday. Beginning in June, Troys’ twilight market will expand to include every Friday night from 6pm-9pm. Says market manager Monica Kurzejeski, “We look forward to heading outside for our summer season, offering more vendors and opportunities to market, and bringing you the region’s best local and producer only vendors.”
Schenectady Green Market, November-April— inside Proctor’s; May-October— outside Schenectady City Hall
Delmar Farmers Market,
Bethlehem Central Middle School,  332 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar

Best Garden Nursery
Hewitt’s Garden Center,
various locations
There’s no better way to “think spring” than by shopping for flowers.  The colors, the fragrance, the textures are all a happy reminder of nature at its best and brightest.  Hewitt’s offers a Lifetime Nursery Guarantee and a Price Match Guarantee, ensuring you take home a great value in your new gardening items. If you’re not quite ready to dig into the dirt, plants in pots will at least make it feels like spring has arrived!
Faddegon’s Nursery Inc,
1140 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
Becker’s Farm,
420 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer

Best Gift Shops

Cross Eyed Owl Gift Shop,
3143 US Highway 9, Valatie
Sometimes finding a gift for the person who has everything can be tough. If you’re looking for a unique gift, stop by The Cross Eyed Owl Gift Shop.  With everything from Willow Tree collectibles to Kay Dee Designs to table linens to Lazy One Pjs, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for just about everyone on your list. For weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, baby showers, or just because – you won’t leave empty-handed.  Be sure to say hello to Robin, the black and white tuxedo cat on your next visit.
Wit’s End Giftique,
1762 US 9, Clifton Park
Maggies Gift Shop,
521 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham

Best Hardware Store

Country True Value,
217 North Greenbush Road, Troy;
2 Troy Road, East Greenbush
They’re not just about nuts and bolts, but you’ll definitely find those here, too. Country True Value was opened in 1978 by three brothers.  Today, they have two locations and rent everything from bulldozers and garden equipment to photo booths and audio visual equipment.
According to your votes they make home improvement more than just a little bit better.
Allerdice Ace Hardware,
Various Locations
Robinsons Hardware,
1874 Western Avenue, Albany
Pfeil Hardware & Paint,
63 3rd Street, Troy

Best Health Food Store
Honest Weight Food Co-op,
100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany
Fill your own jar to the rim with Kombucha (a special tea), make a tasty selection from The Raw Food Bar, and buy flavorful hummus in bulk.  When you stop in at Honest Weight Food Co-op, you’ll find a wide selection of offerings for just about every special diet, from gluten-free to vegan.  Their mission is to promote equitable, participatory and ecologically sustainable ways of living.  We like it because it offers a huge selection of local, healthy, natural foods similar to what you’ll find in a NYC market. Become a member and take money off your bill.  Volunteer a few hours and you’ll save even more!  Now that’s the healthy way to eat AND shop!
Healthy Living Market and Cafe,
3065 New York 50, Saratoga Springs
Green Grocer, 1505 US 9, Clifton Park

Best Jeweler
Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre, various locations
With brands like Hearts on Fire, Isis Diamonds, Scott Kay, and Movado, Glennpeter takes care of just about every item on your jewelry wish list.  Their full service repair shop staffs four full-time jewelers who can repair your precious jewelry or work with you to custom design the perfect piece.  So go ahead, sparkle away!
Joyelles Jewelers, 318 Delaware Avenue, Main Square Shoppes, Delmar
Hannoush Jewelers, 112 Wolf Road, Albany; 7 Southside Drive, Clifton Park

Best Liquor/Wine

Empire Wine,
1440 Central Avenue, Albany
With nearly 5,000 products in stock, Empire Wine has one of the largest selections of fine wines in New York State, with the focus on highly-rated, value-priced wines from around the globe. Says Adam Morey of Empire, “Now that it is finally spring I am especially eager to drink rose.” Empire has a pretty spectacular selection of pink wines. Charles Bieler’s 2013 Sabine Rose’, the 2013 Skuttlebutt Rose’ from Australia, and the 2013 from Chateau Puech Haut are this season’s standouts.  Grab a bottle, uncork and relax!
All Star Wine & Spirits,
579 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham
Delmar Wine & Liquor,
340 Delaware Avenue, Delmar

Best Menswear Shop
Mark Thomas Men’s Apparel, Wolf Road Park,
5 Metro Park Road, Albany
When you want to stand out from the crowd, head to Mark Thomas, where custom fitting is an art.  Whether you’re shopping for a tux, a suit, a dress shirt or pants, they’re ready with a tape measure and a smile. You can even design your own dress shirt, selecting everything from fabric and buttons to the design inside the collar and cuffs. Brands like Seven For All Mankind, Stone Rose, and Cole Haan are stocked in store, saving you the drive to Manhattan for the hottest men’s clothing.  Casual or dressy, Mark Thomas suits you!
Caruso’s Custom Clothier,
1823 Western Avenue, Albany

Best Music Store
Schenectady VanCurler Music, 432 State Street, Schenectady
Their motto is, “All Music in Print,” and it really does fit.  Schenectady VanCurler Music offers a comprehensive inventory of sheet music written for students of all abilities, from beginners to performing professionals.  Order online or visit the store, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, their knowledgeable staff will research and order for you, at no extra charge.  Now that’s something to sing about!
Parkway Music,
1777 Route 9, Clifton Park
John Keal Music, 819 Livingston Avenue Ext. Albany; 1758 Route 9,
Parkwood Plaza, Clifton Park

Best Sporting Goods Store
Steiner’s Sports,
329 Glenmont Road Glenmont; 3455 Route Valatie;
301 Warren Street, Hudson
Winter, spring, summer, or fall… Steiner’s Sports is your first stop when you want the best brands, like Specialized, Trek, Thule, Perception, and Current Designs.  Whether you’re looking for bikes, kayaks or skis, their staff will point you in the right direction and keep you on track all year round.  A big thumbs up from our readers, as Steiner’s Sports takes first place in two categories this year!
Goldstocks Sporting Goods,
98 Freemans Bridge Road, Scotia
Alpin Haus, 1863 Route 5S, Amsterdam (RV sales); 4850 Route 30N, Amsterdam (Ski shop, Pools, Spas, Marine, Fitness Center); 22 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park (Ski shop, Pools, Spas); 30 Gordon Lane, Gansevoort (RV Sales)
Chain – Fleet Feet

Best Shopping Mall/Center

Clifton Park Center, 22 Clifton Country Road, Clifton Park
It’s a rather eclectic mix of stores, offering everything from sweet treats to clothing boutiques to big chains; everything you need is in one spot. Accessing individual stores is convenient, the facade is pretty, and the Regal Movie Theatre is cushy and modernized.  There’s even a spa, hotel, and Angelo’s Prime Restaurant.  Spend the day or just a few hours.  You’ll find plenty to entertain you!
Colonie Center Mall,
131 Colonie Center, Albany
Crossgates Mall,
1 Crossgates Mall Road, Albany

Best Supermarket
Price Chopper, Various locations
Price Chopper seems to have the formula down for making Capital Region shoppers happy.  Offering free delivery and shop-at-home service, savings at the gas station, and a growing selection of organic and fresh produce and foods.  It makes filling your weekly grocery list just a little bit less of a chore!
ShopRite, various locations
Honest Weight Food Co-op, 100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany

Best Travel Agent

Hudson Valley AAA,
Various locations
When you want help planning your next trip, you call the experts.  Hudson Valley AAA has the know-how in all things travel, from booking airfare, hotels, and car rentals; to finding cruises and discount travel; to spelling out directions that will get you from point A to point B effortlessly.  They can help you plan your next world-wide trip for your entire family or a romantic honeymoon. What are you waiting for?  Plan your next trip with AAA today.
Blue Skies Travel,
15 Troy Road, East Greenbush
Plaza Travel Center,
3 School Street, Latham

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