It was ten years ago – way back when my blog was hosted on a do-it-yourself blogspot.com blogging platform – that I first met Greg Dahlmann and Mary Darcy. They were the operators of a Capital District-themed news and information website, All Over Albany. Both were friendly and encouraging, and they hosted my blog on their Wednesday “In the Neighborhood” blog recap. For a new blogger, I was very happy and encouraged.
And for the past decade, Greg and Mary have supported the Capital Region with their All Over Albany website. They covered everything from who had the best pizza in the area (the legendary “Tournament of Pizza” competition), to what was happening with various Capital Region construction / renovation projects. For all that they did for the area, we are truly grateful.
Heck, they’ve even helped me with ideas for new photos sand art projects. True story – at one of their fabled “AOA Birthday Party” get-togethers – this one in 2015 at the Takk House in Troy – Mary told me that the building was once a Knights of Columbus hall, and in the basement of the building there was the remnants of a four-lane bowling alley. Sure enough, there was – and thanks to her suggestion, I was able to arrange a quick photo shoot with the owners of Takk House – and the award-winning photo Lane 2 joined my photo catalog.
That’s why yesterday’s news from All Over Albany hit me right in the kidney.
After ten years as a truly independent voice in the Capital Region, All Over Albany will cease publication at the end of 2018.
Damn it. Not AOA. Come on, not AOA.
I understand that AOA couldn’t survive forever – Mary and Greg work 36 hours a day, eleven days a week, 63 weeks out of the year on this site, and their efforts have truly created an independent and fun information and community portal. Their loss leaves the Capital District with one less independent media voice. And that’s sad.
You know what? AOA doesn’t have to end.
And as far as I’m concerned, part of it won’t end.
Let me explain.
One of AOA’s winning features was their “What’s Up in the Neighborhood,” a Wednesday recap of the local blogs and bloggers. I know many bloggers (including yours truly) would check the site on Wednesday (it would go live some time between noon and 1:00 p.m.) to find out if their page was featured, and if so, which blog post made the cut.
It was this feature – and its inclusion of the Capital District’s best bloggers and writers – that inspired me to create my weekly “Best of the TU Community Blogs” Thursday feature (which later morphed into my current Saturday “7 and 7” feature).
So when I heard the news about AOA shutting its doors, I contacted Mary Darcy and asked her for the blog addresses of their most prolific contributors.
Because – as far as I’m concerned – “What’s Up in the Neighborhood” will continue, if not on AOA, then on my blog. I’m already featuring some great bloggers from my blogroll, now thanks to AOA I want to feature more of the Capital Region’s blogging crew. It’s my small way of giving back for everything that Greg and Mary gave.
And if it means increasing my “7 and 7” quota to “9 and 9” or “23 and 23” or whatever amount, then so be it.
AOA inspired me – not just as a writer and blogger, but as someone who appreciates what other bloggers write and say. It’s from AOA that I developed my own personal mantra of “Bloggers support bloggers.” It’s the idea that all can make our little corner of New York State a fun and enjoyable place. That’s a good thing. It’s a very good thing.
So I can mourn the loss of AOA… which I will.
But I’ll also smile because, for ten years, All Over Albany gave me a plethora of great articles and fun reads.
Thanks Mary and Greg for everything you’ve brought us. Thank you for the updates on weekend events, thank you for the historic recaps, thank you for featuring all things great and small that make the Capital District our home.
And I hope the next chapter of Mary and Greg’s lives are just as fruitful as the ten-year chapter they’ve recently finished.
I miss you already.