Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten Bert DeRose-directed Stage Performances

When I called Bert DeRose and asked Amsterdam’s all-time greatest stage director to come up with a list of his top ten all-time favorite productions, the first words out of his mouth were “Oh my, they were all my favorite!” But after I explained my Amsterdam All Time Top Ten’s writing project he said, “OK, give me two weeks and I’ll come up with something for you.” Well I just picked up the “something” he came up with and I’m thrilled to share the first five of his choices with the readers of my blog:

He began his list with the following statement: After 48 years directing 172 theatre productions it was very hard to pick favorites and that is because of the wonderful talent I was blessed to work with. I was very fortunate that Amsterdam provided me with outstanding creative personalities over the years, not only cast members, crews and musicians, but also the people who supported and helped me to bring live theatre to our city. People like Virginia Noble, Art Hoefs, Jerry Frank, Bob Turner, Bonnie Cook, Otto Miller, Robert Kent Kyler and Charelle Flanigan, all using their creative talents to make our productions a success. That being said, I have selected the following:

Oklahoma – Produced by the Amsterdam Recreation Commission in 1958

This was the first musical that I directed. Amsterdam was the first city in Upstate New York to use teenagers in such productions. The cast age ranged from 7-to-16 years old, Gordon Cantiello being the youngest. Gordon is now a drama director himself, directing productions on the college and community theatre stage. The lead male in Oklahoma was a high school senior named Chester Kukiewicz. I was able to to get Chester to enroll at my alma mater, Ithaca College. He later became Chet Curtis, a top news anchor on TV in Boston.

(Editor’s note: the female lead in this production of Oklahoma was Mary Lou Calleo.)

The Wizard of Oz – Children’s Theater Productions at Amsterdam High School 1959 & 1968

This was a fun show. We took the cast to various elementary schools for previews. It was a joy just to see the reactions on the younger students’ faces. I directed this show twice, about a decade apart so that different generations got to see it.

(Editor’s note: DeRose was a promotional genius.Those previews he did at the city’s elementary schools didn’t just help make these productions sellouts, they also inspired hundreds of youngsters in this community to want to act, sing and dance when they got to high school as well. Here’s the list of the featured role actors in the two Wizard of Oz productions DeRose directed:

The Diary of Anne FrankAHS Drama Department – 1961

This emotional show featured a strong cast of dramatic actors from the high school’s Thespian Society. We introduced them to lots of research including Army films of the Holocaust. It was well received and we decided not to end with a traditional curtain call because we wanted the audience to go home thinking.

(Editor’s note – Charlotte Citron won the 1961 Kirk Douglas Award which was given annually to the best acting performance by an AHS Thespian for her performance as Anne Frank.)

OliverAHS Drama Department – 1967 & 1977

The production in 1967 gave me a chance to cast younger children in a Broadway masterpiece. I wanted them to sense the joy of performing in front of a live audience and gain confidence in themselves as human beings. They did not disappoint me. In 1977 the new high school opened. I felt reviving Oliver was the proper musical to introduce the Amsterdam public to the beautiful auditorium at the school. I wanted to bring the entire school district into the play so I cast board members, administration, faculty and students from the elementary, junior and senior high schools. All of them blended beautifully!

(Editor’s note – What Mr. DeRose failed to mention above is that he himself played Fagin in the 1977 production opposite his lovely daughter Michele DeRose MacShane, who played Nancy. Roly Diaz starred in the title role of Oliver. Ten years earlier, Phil Bracchi played Fagin, the talented Sharon Watroba was Nancy and Bob Tolson played Oliver. It should also be pointed out that the beautiful AHS auditorium that hosted the 1977 production has since been fittingly renamed The Bert DeRose Theatre.)

West Side StoryAHS Drama Department – 1968

What a wonderful story and music. This was a challenge and I loved it!! My cast was outstanding. How those students could act, sing and dance. We packed the theatre every night of the performance.

(Editor’s Note – Remarkably, the leads in this show, Barbara Geddis as Mary and Larry Avery as Tony, had never before appeared on stage in a leading role and they nailed it. As did the always wonderful Mary Riccio as Anita and John Allen, who played Bernardo. Debbie Swart and Bob Tolson did a dance number in this play, which was choreographed by Robert Kent Kyler that brought down the house.  In the Recorder review of West Side Story’s opening night performance, Art Hoef’s wrote “To those who thought West Side Story was a bit too ambitious for DeRose and his people–you’re wrong!….How do they keep it up year after year?”)

I wish to thank Bert DeRose for the thought and effort he put into this list. His greatest legacy of course will not be these plays. I know scores of people whose futures he helped shape for the better and not just career wise either, though there are plenty of those too. Some of the teenagers he put up on Amsterdam’s stages were at points in their lives when they were really struggling with self confidence and self worth.  They will tell you themselves that being a part of Bert’s productions helped them realize they could be successful. Hearing that magical applause proved for them that paying attention, taking direction, working hard and as part of a team really did pay off.

What are the other top 5 productions Mr. DeRose singled out? You will have to wait until my Amsterdam All-Time Top Ten book comes out later this year to get a look at them.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.


Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten Most Distinguished-Looking Homes (still standing)

The Yund Home – Guy Park Avenue – A French spinner named Joseph Yund had come to Amsterdam, NY from France in the 1850s because his talent was in huge demand among Amsterdam’s burgeoning textile mills. By 1864, he was ready to go into business for himself, first starting a broom company and then a high-end furniture and cabinet making shop. His sons would go on to become partners in a prosperous Amsterdam knitting mill called Yund Kennedy and Yund, the ruins of which are still visible on Amsterdam’s Kline Street. It was Joseph’s son Theodore who built this lovely home on Guy Park Avenue in the mid 1870’s. It now houses the accounting offices of certified public accountant, Michael Zumbolo.

The Greene Home – Market Street – In 1856, William Greene and his partner John McDonnell started a small Amsterdam knitting mill on the site now occupied by the Kirk Douglas Park. It was the first knitting mill to operate in this city and it grew rapidly, eventually extending over 300 feet up the east side of Market Hill and becoming one of the largest employers in the city. William Greene died in 1870 and the business was taken over by his sons Elijah and Henry. Elijah passed away in 1876. It was Henry Greene who then proceeded to build this glorious home on the west side of Market Street across the street from the family’s mill. Unfortunately Henry also died before the construction was completed in 1881 and never got the chance to live there. Today the site serves as a Liberty group home for folks with special needs.

The Finch Home – Market Street – This beautiful Market Street residence was built by an Amsterdam physician named L.H. Finch in the 1920’s. It became better known as the long-time home of the Kelly family, who ran the Kelly Lumber business that used to be located on Edson Street. For the past fifteen years its been the home of the Sollecito clan. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being inside this place recently and can bear witness to the fact that though its infrastructure has been completely updated with all the modern amenities, the current owners have done a superb job maintaining the original charm and elegance of this pristine home.

The Kellogg Home – Church Street – The S. Sanford and Sons Rug mill complex was neighbors with the Kellogg Linseed Oil so it only seemed natural that the heads of two of Amsterdam’s most successful manufacturing businesses would be residential neighbors as well. This elegant home built by Kellogg sits next to Stephen Sanford’s mansion (now the Amsterdam City Hall) just south of the former sites of their respective mills. I wonder if they ever walked up the hill to work together?

The Barnes Home – Market Street – This classic home on upper Market Street was the residence of John Barnes, an Amsterdam industrialist, banker and hotelier. Though a bit faded by time gone by, everything about this property; its tiled roof, its huge circular drive, its amazing sun room, the sleek mediterranean lines and rich landscaping exude an elegance that is not duplicated by any other property in this city.

What are my picks for this city’s other five all-time top ten most distinguished looking homes? You’ll have to wait until my full Amsterdam All-Time Top Ten book comes out later this year to get a look at them.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.

Ten of the All-Time Greatest Head Coaches in Amsterdam High School History

Picking the ten greatest head coaches in Amsterdam High School interscholastic sports history would be an impossible task for anyone. There are too many sports, too many coaches and too many years gone by to consider. Then there’s the criteria used. Most wins and most titles certainly should weigh heavily but so should character, compassion and teaching skills in both the sport and life in general. So instead of calling this a Top Ten list or trying to rank these talented sports mentors in any order, I’m just going to refer to it as Ten of the All-Time Greatest Head Coaches list and apologize to all those great head AHS coaches I’ve had the pleasure of knowing or learning about who are not included.

John “Jack” Tracy – During his forty year career with the Amsterdam public school system this son of a downtown Amsterdam shoestore proprietor coached all three major sports and served as the Director of Physical Education to boot. He left his biggest coaching mark on the sport of baseball, serving as head coach of the AHS Varsity nine for 38 years beginning in 1925. His players included future big-leaguers Roger Bowman and Mac Kuczek plus a busload of outstanding student athletes who made it to the minor leagues.

Frank Derrico – This is the guy who transformed Amsterdam High School Football from a very popular school activity into all of Amsterdam’s favorite pastime. Taking over  as head coach of the Rugged Rams in 1978, he spent the next 17 seasons turning the Amsterdam gridiron program into one of the best run and most admired in New York State, culminating with a State title in his final year at the helm. He was a football professor and if you ask other great high school football coaches in the area who who had to do battle against his teams they will all tell you that Frank Derrico’s players were among the most impassioned and best prepared they ever faced. After leaving the helm of the Rams, he became offensive coordinator at Albany State University.

Brian Mee – Do great players make great coaches? Brian Mee sure did. He was one of the greatest athletes in Johnstown High School history and then starred as a catcher at Ithaca College. He was so good as a player that the Chicago Cubs signed him to a contract in 1960 and he made it all the way to double A ball before hanging up his glove and getting into teaching and coaching. When he retired as head baseball coach at Amsterdam High School three decades later, his teams had amassed more than 400 wins including the now legendary stretch of 53 consecutive wins from 1973-’75. His AHS teams won 3 Class A and 2 State championships and Mee has since been honored with inductions into both the New York State and Capital District Baseball Halls of Fame. Oh and did I mention he also won a Class A Football title as head coach of the Rugged Rams in 1973?

Pat Reilly – There was no Amsterdam High School wrestling program when Pat Reilly was hired to teach history at the Wilbur Lynch High School in 1964, This guy started it from scratch, nada, nothing! Three decades later, thanks to his passion, skill and leadership, the school had one of the best mat programs in all of Section II. Here’s what his grapplers produced during his career as head coach: 267 dual meet victories; 9 Big Ten titles; 3 Sectional championships; 10 individual Section II crowns, and 25 individual Class A champs. Is it any wonder why the high school’s wrestling room is now named the Patrick H. Reilly Hall of Fame Wrestling Gymnasium? Mr. Reilly also served as head coach of AHS Softball at both the Varsity and JV level. One of the most beloved figures in the history of Amsterdam High School athletics, he was named to the Section II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009, the New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010 and the AHS Hall of Fame in 2015.

Rick Cetnar – A superb basketball player for Amsterdam High and Rochester Institute of Technology in the early 1960’s, Cetnar returned to AHS a decade later and became the winningest Varsity Basketball Coach in the school’s history during a career that spanned 15 years there and 4 more seasons at the helm of Amsterdam’s Bishop Scully High’s Varsity Hoops program. Along the way, he had the opportunity to coach the kid I believe was the best basketball player in AHS history, Cetnar’s son Todd. In fact, those teams that featured both Cetnar’s played some of the best basketball Amsterdam hard court fans have ever seen and made it to the only State championship final in the program’s history in 1994. In all, he won 247 varsity games as a coach. He’s been inducted into the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame, the RIT Hall of Fame and the AHS Hall of Fame.

I’ve got five more head coaches on this list. If you’d like to see who they are before my Amsterdam All Time Top Ten’s book comes out later this year, I will be including them in the April issue of my free Amsterdam Blog Newsletter, which is being distributed next week. If you’re already on the newsletter’s e-mail distribution list, you’ll see who these next five legendary coaches are when you get your copy. If you’re not on the newsletter list, you can sign up here. 

Amsterdam’s All Time Top Ten List of Downtown Chain Department Stores

A few posts ago we shared our choices for five of the top ten independently owned stores in downtown Amsterdam. Today’s post examines the first five of the all-time top ten department/specialty store chains that used to operate branches in that same Main Street shopping district. In addition to affording our city some great choices to shop for lots of different kinds of stuff, these chain stores cumulatively employed hundreds of Amsterdam residents who gave these retail spaces an intimate hometown feel and also represented a significant amount of Amsterdam’s disposable income as well. Typically, when I present a Top Ten list I write a short profile describing and paying sort of a tribute to each entry. I’m going to try something a bit different with these memorable Amsterdam chain stores, so here goes.

Number 10:

Number 9:

Number 8:

Number 7:

Number 6:

Number 5:

I’ve got five more old newspaper ads to display from the top five former Amsterdam chain stores on this list. You’ll be able to see them in my “Book of 50 Top Ten All-Time Amsterdam Lists,” which is scheduled for release later this year. 

The April issue of my free Amsterdam Blog Newsletter has just been completed and will be distributed tomorrow (Wednesday, April 26, 2017) morning. In it, I reveal who the second group of five coaches are on my all-time top ten list of Amsterdam High School head coaches. If you’re already on the newsletter’s e-mail distribution list, you’ll learn their identities. If you’re not on the newsletter list, you can sign up here. 

Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten List of Successful Women

1. Mary Anne Krupsak – The brilliant granddaughter of former Amsterdam, NY Democratic Party Ward-boss Mike Wytrwal. She graduated with honors from St. Mary’s Institute and then went on to get her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, her masters from Boston University and a law degree from the University of Chicago. She became an assistant in New York Governor Averill Harriman’s office and then worked in a similar capacity for Amsterdam Congressman Sam Stratton. After a brief tenure in private industry, she secured positions with the NY State Assembly and Senate before running and winning elections to the Assembly in 1969 and then the State Senate in 1973. The following year she made national headlines when she was nominated to run for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with Hugh Carey and went on to become the first woman to ever hold that office with their victory in that November’s election. Though it may not seem like a huge deal now, her election really was a groundbreaker for women in this state and all of Amsterdam celebrated Krupsak’s achievement.  Krupsak could have been content to rest on her laurels and take advantage of the professional fringe benefits her success up to that point would certainly have delivered. But that wasn’t the way she worked. Instead, she made a valiant effort to use her office to try and reform the archaic, three-men-in- a-room decision-making process this state has operated under for way too many years. When Carey refused to give her a bigger role in the executive process, she declined to be his running mate in the next election and instead unsuccessfully ran against him for the Democratic nomination.

2. As a little girl she lived on Prospect Street…

3. Daisy Snooks Borst –  Daisy Snook was born in Amsterdam, NY in 1886. Her dad was a member of the same Snook family for whom the Snook’s Corners hamlet in the town of Florida and Snook’s Corners Rd. are both named. Her Mom was a Fairbanks, whose family’s roots in America dated all the way back to 1633. Daisy broke the mold for what it meant to be a female in the early twentieth century when she became the first woman ever admitted to Albany Law School. As if that wasn’t enough, she also graduated at the very top of her class in 1912. When she passed the New York State Bar, she became the first Montgomery County-born female lawyer in history.  She would go into private practice with Amsterdam attorney James Ferguson, becoming the first practicing female lawyer in the history of the Rug City. Make no mistake about it, Daisy’s gender made her professional life difficult in a judicial system dominated by men. In fact, often times Daisy would sign her briefs, “D.S. Borst” in an effort to disguise her sex. But she was a tough individual who could hold her own against her male counterparts in any venue. Their respect for her was apparent when she became the first female president of the Montgomery County Bar Association in 1950.

4. She danced with Astaire…

5. Carol Constantino – Having worked at Amsterdam’s Noteworthy Company in the late 1970’s, I learned firsthand how Tom Constantino had built that company from the ground up into one of the most respected and successful suppliers in the advertising specialty industry. He was such a powerful personality and so involved in every aspect of that enterprise’s operation, those of us who knew him well wondered how Noteworthy would survive when Constantino passed away in 1989, a victim of cancer. The answer of course was his wife, Carol Constantino. During Tom’s illness he gave Carol a crash course on the company and the industry and then this remarkable woman took it from there. During the next couple of decades she not only kept Noteworthy strong, she guided the business through a transition that saw its two best selling products, litterbags and photofinishing bags and sleeves, lose much of their popularity. She then retired and handed the reins of the business to her son Anthony.

6. She was a descendant of Martin Luther and her dad worked at the Schenectady GE main plant …

7. Clara Bacon – She, Marie Curie and the Mother of Jesus are the only three women to have Amsterdam Schools named in their honor. Curie and the Blessed Mother are in good company. Bacon’s maiden name was Clara Springstead and she was born in a well-to-do suburb of Albany, NY on September 19, 1886. Now pay close attention to the breadth and depth of the following credentials she put together as an educator. Why? They just don’t make educators like Clara Bacon very often any more.She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree and earned her Masters at the University of Wisconsin. She also did graduate work for a PhD at Columbia. For eight years beginning in 1910, she taught Latin, German and English at the New York State Teachers College in Albany. She left that position in 1918 to become Supervisor of Immigrant Education for all of New York State. In 1922 she came to Amsterdam to serve as Assistant Superintendent and she remained in that position for the next quarter century, retiring in 1947. During the years she served in that position here in Amsterdam, Bacon also taught summer school at several of this state’s teacher colleges. She authored and co-authored three different textbooks for English in secondary schools and an entire series of spelling books for the elementary level. Her articles on educational curriculum frequently appeared in the nationally known Journal of Educational Methods. She was much in demand on the educational circuit as a guest lecturer. She was invited to speak about education at NYU, Columbia, Syracuse and Cornell numerous times. In addition, she served as President of the New York State Teachers Association, chaired a state ed. committee determining how to measure the success and effectiveness of elementary schools and served on another one that studied how to measure and improve teaching effectiveness. She also chaired the committee on education for the New York State League of Women Voters.

8. She broke the glass ceiling on Church Street…

9. Dr. Vicky Ramos – Much like my choice for number 9 on this list, even though she just arrived in our town, I believe Dr. Ramos deserves inclusion for crashing what had become a very thick glass ceiling by becoming the first woman ever selected to run the Greater Amsterdam School District when she was hired as Superintendent in August of 2016. Ms. Ramos also happens to be the first Latino school chief in district history as well. She spent the last quarter of a century working in the Rochester City School District as a Spanish teacher, building principal and program administrator. She received her doctorate degree in education from St. John Fisher College in Rochester. I met her at the 2016 Amsterdam High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and was absolutely impressed with her outgoing personality and enthusiasm for tackling the extremely challenging task that lay before her.

10. A WWII Spy…

My honorable mentions include Arlene Fontana, who was Amsterdam’s version of Liza Minnelli; Pat Beck, the hard-working publisher of a local newspaper; Sarah Brownell, a brilliant engineer and humanitarian; Marlena Ammerall Werder, a now retired Microsoft Vice President; the late Joanne Davey, Amsterdam’s all-time most amazing Mom and an outstanding supervisor of nursing at St. Mary’s Hospital and speaking of St. Mary’s,  Sister Mary Teresa, who headed that same health care facility with brilliance and compassion for so many years; Mary Galinski, who ran one of the most successful downtown retail stores in our community’s history; Kim Brumley, she made history by becoming the first person ever to hold both the offices of Amsterdam City Controller and Greater Amsterdam School District Business Manager …

Want more than just clues to number’s 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10? You’ll have to wait until my full Amsterdam All-Time Top Ten book comes out later this year to find out their names and read my tributes to each.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.

Amsterdam’s All Time Top Ten List of Downtown Stores (Independently Owned)

  1. Holzheimer & Shaul – Sam Fox’s Grandfather first started a department store in Amsterdam back in the 1860’s called S. Levi and Sons. It was a large store located on the south side of East Main Street and it sold men’s wear, women’s wear, furniture, china and cosmetics and even had a full service beauty salon on site. Sam’s Uncle eventually purchased the store from his grandfather, moved it to its iconic location at the northeast corner of East Main and Church Streets and renamed it Holzheimer & Shaul. The store began catering exclusively to women and became one of the most successful retail establishments in the history of the Rug City. Sam’s promotional instincts and his ability to recognize what female customers wanted were keys to the store’s success. It was Fox who came up with Old Fashion Bargain Days, Farmers’ Markets and Fashion Shows as promotional events and each caused significant increased traffic to downtown. After managing the store for his Uncle for many years, Sam purchased it outright in 1968. When the first phase of the Mall opened in 1977, Sam made Holzheimer’s one of its anchors. At first, the store thrived in its new location but by the time Sam retired in 1987 and closed his beloved business, it was pretty clear the Mall was not going to be the long- term savior of retail in downtown Amsterdam.
  1. Mortan’s – H. Mortan Guttenberg moved his men’s and boy’s clothing store from Schenectady, NY to Amsterdam in 1933 during what President Franklin D. Roosevelt was calling a “Bank Holiday”. That of course was a less panic-inducing way of describing the very lowest point of the Great Depression, when most consumers had very little if any money and those that did weren’t spending very much of it, especially on new clothes. One retail store after another in downtowns across the nation were closing their doors but Guttenberg believed in himself and was certain that if he could offer the right variety of quality clothes at fair prices, the men of Amsterdam would shop his store. And boy did they, for most of the next seven decades. If Hollywood were going to make a movie about a father and son-run men’s clothing store, they would have cast Mortan and his son Paul for the starring roles. Everything about their store was cool, including their Botany 500 suits and sports coats and their Van Heusen dress shirts. They also had the best-dressed mannequins and salespeople in the city. The first Mortan’s was located in 1,000 square feet of space at 73 East Main Street. Then in 1963, the Guttenberg’s took over the 11,000 square foot J.J. Newberry Department Store building next door at 71 Main Street. They brought in one of the country’s top retail design firms from New York City who created the most attractive and modern looking store Amsterdam had ever seen. The expansion in square footage permitted the Guttenberg’s to add a sporting goods department and a complete ski shop on the basement floor. Fifteen years later, Paul Guttenberg was one of the driving forces behind the construction of Amsterdam’s downtown mall and Mortan’s became one of its first and most important tenants. And a decade later it was Guttenberg’s decision to close that Mall location and retire that sort of served as the final straw that broke the back of that indoor downtown shopping center.
  1. Miller’s – In 1934, Harry Miller moved his clothing company to Amsterdam, locating it in the upper floors of 68 East Main Street. The Miller Manufacturing Co. made all sorts of uniforms: occupational, scouting, fraternal organizations, etc. He also opened a retail store on the building’s ground floor. It was one of the first discount stores in the entire area. While a team of seamstresses was busy making all kinds of uniforms upstairs, the first floor store sold men’s and boys’ dress slacks, shorts and shoes, casual wear, sportswear, work clothes and work shoes, underwear and a large stock of cigars, cigarettes and tobaccos. The uniforms Miller’s manufactured were sold by mail throughout the country. I can also remember going in there to buy my Cub Scout uniform when I was a kid and the gym suits we had to wear as students at Junior and Senior High. It really was a neat business model, perfectly suited for Amsterdam with its large pool of talented seamstresses who got their starts in the knitting mills that used to operate in the city. Harry’s son Marvin formally became head of the company in 1962, when Harry Miller passed away. Marvin Miller ran it skillfully. For year’s, his biggest competitor for the Rug City’s male apparel market was the more stylish and expensive Mortan’s. Miller wisely focused his inventory and promotional strategy on the middle class segment of the market, which ate up his high quality at low prices theme. His veteran retail crew was a huge reason why the store became one of Amsterdam’s most popular. It was headed by the indomitable Howard Busseno, who used to handle five customers at once without making any of them wait. The guy was amazing. He’d run the gauntlet with a pile of clothes in his hands and slung over his shoulders, throwing correctly sized pants at each customer and yelling at you to try them on as he speeded by. Marvin Miller made a couple of moves to different downtown sites during the four decades the business operated in the City proper. But when the downtown Mall came, Miller headed north to Route 30.
  1. Larrabee’s – In the spring of 1890, John E. Larrabee opened a hardware store at 3 Market Street and christened it with the not too creative name of John E. Larrabee Company. The store sold hardware, cutlery, guns, fishing tackle, haying tools and mowing machines. Just before he started the business, Larrabee had married an Amsterdam woman by the name of Louise Leavenworth. He also hired Louise’s brother, E.W. Leavenworth to help him run his new store. The business did well from the start and Larrabee added new products and expanded the store in size by taking over the adjacent storefront at 5 Market Street. When Larrabee died in 1911 he was succeeded as President of the business by first his wife, than his daughter Katherine and then his wife’s sister, Mrs. Edmond Horgan. E.W. Leavenworth worked for all of these ladies and managed the actual operation of the store. In 1931, he added his son Thomas W. Leavenworth to the store’s staff. When E.W. died in 1940, Tom became the manager of the store and treasurer of the company. When Mrs. Horgan died in 1958, Tom became President of the John E. Larrabee Company.By then the store had again expanded into leased space at 7 and 9 Market Street and greatly expanded its wholesale hardware business. A staff of salesmen called on over 300 accounts, selling production tools and equipment to industrial plants throughout New York State. Like many family run downtown retail establishments in this city, Larrabee’s could not survive the competition of big box department stores and suburban shopping malls or the business disruption of urban renewal wrecking balls and closed its doors for good during the 1970’s.
  1. Olender’s – The Rug City’s version of Olender Furniture was opened at 81 East Main Street in 1902 by Wlliiam Olender. His son Charles became president of the business in 1945. A year later, Olender’s moved to its iconic location at the corner of Market and Main in downtown Amsterdam. Arterial projects first began to change the face and layout of Amsterdam’s downtown in the mid 1960’s. One of its first impacts was forcing Olender’s to vacate its corner location. Don began contemplating a move to Amsterdam’s Route 30 and even bought land there. But instead, he purchased the former Enterprise Department Store location on East Main Street and opened up a giant modern four-story showroom and warehouse, underscoring his commitment to the future of the city’s shopping district. But 11 years later he made the very difficult decision to relocate the store to downtown Schenectady rather than become a tenant in Amsterdam’s new enclosed Mall.

What are my other five all-time top ten independently owned downtown stores? You’ll have to wait until my full Amsterdam All-Time Top Ten book comes out later this year to find out their names and read my tributes to each.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.

Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten List of Movie Actors

When most natives and former residents of Amsterdam, NY think about movie actors who came from this upstate community, the name Kirk Douglas of course comes to mind, which explains why he and his 90 movie filmography ended up number one on this list. But most of you will be surprised to learn that even excluding Douglas and his films from the equation,  actors and actresses who once called this place home have appeared in more than 150 additional big screen productions, many of which were in a starring or co-starring role. Instead of revealing the other four of the top five on this list, I thought I’d list the second half of the top ten instead;

  1. Malcolm Atterbury Jr.-Atterbury was a character actor who starred in several movies and TV shows back in the fifties and sixties. He had married a girl from Amsterdam. Her name was Ellen. The two of them met in an acting school in New York City, fell in love and got hitched. Ellen’s last name was Hardies. Her father was Charles Hardies Sr., a former Montgomery County DA and Judge. The couple started a popular summer playhouse up near Speculator, NY called the Tamarac Playhouse and for a short time lived in a house on Amsterdam’s McGibbon Avenue. Atterbury made his film debut in 1954 in “Dragnet”. He appeared in two of Alfred Hitchcock’s best-known films, “North by Northwest” (1959) and “The Birds” (1963). All told, he appeared in 51 films. He also scored an impressive number of television roles including featured guest appearances in “Wagon Train”, “Have Gun Will Travel”, “Twilight Zone”, “Perry Mason”, “Rawhide”, “The Fugitive”, and “Gunsmoke”. Malcolm Atterbury, Jr. died in 1992 at the age of 87.
  1. Tom Stewart – An outstanding actor for Bert DeRose during his days at Amsterdam High School, after graduating from there in 1965, Stewart attended Brown University and then studied acting at New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse of the Theatre. He appeared on Broadway in both “The Visit” and “Holiday.” His first movie role came in the 1974 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The last of the Belles’” in which he played the minor role of Horace Camby. In 1976, he landed the biggest role of his career, when he played Charles Francis Adams” in the Emmy-Award-winning PBS TV mini-series, “The Adams Chronicles.” Two years later, Stewart was cast as Sparky, the assistant dive master in the sequel “Jaws 2.” Then in 1979 it was back to the small screen for the Amsterdam native in the role of Roland Highbie in an episode of the short-lived series “Project U.F.O.”
  1. Don Percassi – The best and most successful male professional dancer ever to hail from Amsterdam, New York. He graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1956 and headed to New York City to further his study of dance and begin a wonderfully successful career as a professional dancer. His first appearance on Broadway came in 1964 in the play High Spirit followed by appearances in Walking Happy, Coco, Sugar and Mool, Mack and Mabel. Then in 1975, Percassi landed the lead role of “Al DeLuca” in the giant Broadway hit Chorus Line, which set a record run of over 6,000 performances. The role made Percassi a household name on Broadway. He then landed subsequent roles in the play’s 42nd Street and 70 Girls 70. He danced on both the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como television shows back in the early 1960s and in 2007, he made his cinematic debut in the movie Enchanted. He’s one of the four dancers who appear in the “park scene” of the Disney animated/live action hit.
  1. Jessica Capogna Collins – Five years after she watched her one-time baby sitter, Ruth Zakarian win the Miss Teen USA Pageant, Collins almost duplicated the feat, finishing first runner-up in the 1988 version of the same event. Born in Schenectady, NY on April 1, 1971, Jessica Capogna moved to Amsterdam as a young girl and grew up with her mom Eileen, on Bunn Street. Her acting credits included the role of Dinah Lee Mayberry in ABC’s “Loving” from 1991 to ’94, the role of Meredith Davies on Fox Network’s supernatural TV series, “True Calling” from 2002 to 2004, and a return to the Soaps in 2011 in the role of Avery Bailey Clark on CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2013. Her movie career was not quite as noteworthy. She made her big screen debut in the 1994 horror film “Leprechaun 4: In Space.” She was also one of the airline stewardesses Leonardo DiCaprio duped in the Stephen Spielberg film, “Catch me If You Can.”
  1. Ruth Zakarian –If you were old enough and living in Amsterdam in 1983, the name Ruth Zakarian is one you don’t forget. Today’s Amsterdam Birthday Blog Celebrant was a strikingly beautiful young lady, who beat out over 70 other teenagers to win the Miss New York State Teen USA pageant in the fall of 1982. She then travelled to Lakeland, Florida the following August, where she competed in and won the first-ever Miss Teen USA pageant. Amsterdam went wild as the entire community celebrated their native born beauty queen.  After fulfilling her obligations as Miss Teen USA, Zakarian went to Hollywood to pursue an acting career, adopting the stage name of Devon Pierce and earning recurring roles in two soap operas. According to Wikipedia, she is now living in Costa Rica. Her one film credit was an appearance as Princess Luna in the movie “The Lords of Magick”

You can learn the other four actors in the top five of this list when my new book is released later this year. Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.

Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten Landmark Buildings (still standing)

Amsterdam Public Library – In 1902, a highly respected Amsterdam medical doctor named Saphronius French sat down and wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie, asking the Scottish born steel magnate to donate $25,000 to the city of Amsterdam for the erection of a public library building. Carnegie responded that he would grant the request only if the city government promised to fund the building’s maintenance in perpetuity. After some serious hemming and hawing by the Mayor and alderman at the time, the city finally agreed and in 1903 at the cornerstone ceremony for the new building, Dr. French chose to connect the new library’s location being smack in the middle of a what was back then a cluster of industrial knitting mills with the following words, “The whir of spindle and wheel will penetrate even the rooms set apart to reading and meditation, a constant reminder of the fact that thought and action must be inseparable. The toiler, not the idler is the one for whom libraries are founded.” The location he referenced was at the corner of Church and Livingston. Livingston Street was later renamed Grove St. The local contractor hired to do the building was Bernard Machold. The total construction cost was $20,775 and the official opening took place on November 2, 1903. One hundred and fourteen years later, that building remains my choice for the most famous landmark building in Amsterdam.

The Horigan Building – Whenever I cross the River bridge coming into Amsterdam from the south on Route 30 and reach the light at Main Street, I’m vividly reminded that the words “new” and “change” do not always mean “better”. I look to the right at that corner and see the Riverfront Center, which was built to ensure that the future of Amsterdam’s downtown business district would be a prosperous one but as of yet, it has failed to do so. Then I look to the left and see my favorite building in the city, one that elegantly represents all the greatest eras in downtown’s history. If only we could go back in time and do it all over again, right?  My all-time favorite Amsterdam building was erected in 1875 on what was then the corner of East Main and Railroad Streets. It was the brand new home of the first and oldest financial institution in our community’s history, the Farmers’ National Bank which had originally been organized in 1839. The structure exudes elegance and supreme craftsmanship and the board of directors was so thrilled with the completed building they awarded the bank’s president at the time, David Demarest Cassidy a $1,000 bonus for successfully overseeing the building project. The most notable feature of the building was a huge copper topped promotional clock that hung out over the Railroad Street side of the Bank’s corner location and filled Amsterdam’s shopping district with the sounds of Westminster chimes for generations. The State Bank of Albany acquired the Farmer’s National Bank and the building in 1954 and remained on the Railroad Street corner until moving directly across the street when the new bridge was being built. The Horigan Law Firm then took over sole occupancy of the building and have kept it in pristine condition since.

The Amsterdam Armory – Amsterdam, NY officially formed the 46th Company of the New York State National Guard in 1888. Three months after that formation the state announced that Montgomery County would be responsible for providing the facilities necessary for that unit to conduct drills and store its equipment. The County Board of Supervisors then dragged their feet for four years hoping that testate would change their mind but finally authorized the expenditure of $32,000 for an Armory. The finished structure ended up costing the county’s taxpayers $45,000. The site selected was the South Side of Amsterdam, high up on a hill on Florida Avenue where it meets Bridge Street. The cornerstone was laid in September of 1894 and the finished structure, built by Isaac G. Perry resembled a medieval castle.It consisted of 36,000 square feet spread over 50 different rooms, Though the steep grade from the Florida Avenue street level to the Armory’s front door was anything but convenient, the expansive lawn and stone retaining wall created to deal with that slope added a natural beauty to the place that secured its status as one of Amsterdam’s most impressive structure. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, the same year it was decommissioned as an armory and sold to the Diana family who converted it into a private residence. In 2005 the Phemister family purchased it and in addition to living there, they ran their business family’s distribution business from it and also converted a portion of the facility to a bed and breakfast operation. It again changed hands a few years ago and the new owners were in the process of converting the gym space in the facility into several more rooms for bed and breakfast patrons.

Wilbur Lynch Middle School – I’ve always felt this classic building was placed in a perfect spot, high up on the top of a manicured hillside, requiring the tens of thousands of Amsterdam students who have attended it to figuratively if not always literally climb it’s 90 stairs to achieve a successful future. What makes it even more perfect is the fact that a long-ago local Amsterdam firm, the legendary J.J Turner Construction Company built this handsome-looking place. It’s time as this city’s public high school ended with the graduating class of 1976. The following year it began its new role as the school district’s only middle school. The Auditorium in this building is the single most beautiful performance venue in all of Amsterdam.

The Bank Building – On January 16, 1927, a downtown Amsterdam building known as Morris Hall, which once spanned the Chuctanunda Creek on the south side of East Main Street, was destroyed by fire. The historic structure had been a popular community gathering spot for generations since before the Civil War, hosting numerous public events. In its place was built Amsterdam’s first version of a skyscraper, the seven story First National Bank Building. It’s marble hewed first floor would serve as home to a series of different banks over the next seven decades while its upper stories became working offices to a progression of doctors, dentists and lawyers whose combined patient, client and employee flow would provide the building’s full-time elevator operator with more ups and downs in a typical workday than an NBA basketball. It has laid empty and dormant for years, its only perceived value is sadly supporting the cell tower and the promotional sign of the building’s current owner, Cranesville Block. But I’ve heard reports that plans are in place to bring this iconic structure back-to-life and I know the rest of Amsterdam joins me in hoping those plans come to fruition.

What are my other five all-time top ten landmark Amsterdam buildings? You’ll have to wait until my full Amsterdam All-Time Top Ten book comes out later this year to find out what they are.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.

Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten Most Successful Manufacturing Companies

It should come as no surprise to folks knowledgeable of this upstate city’s long history that the top half of any top ten all-time list of most successful Amsterdam manufacturing companies would be dominated by rug-making firms. After all, Amsterdam, New York’s long-time nickname was “The Rug City”.

1. Mohasco – After an earlier start by their dad at rug-making further south alongside the Hudson River, the four Shuttleworth brothers moved their family’s rug-making equipment into a vacant Amsterdam knitting mill that sat alongside the Mohawk River in 1879. During the next century they would outlast and outproduce the mighty Sanford’s as both Amsterdam’s and the world’s first family of carpeting via smart mergers and steady constant investment in cutting-edge technology. The very last family member to head the business, Herbert Shuttleworth III loved Amsterdam dearly, and was the guiding force behind getting New York Yankee minor league baseball to call Amsterdam home both before and after WWII. He also made sure that even though Mohasco moved all of its manufacturing operations to Georgia by the late sixties, the company’s corporate offices would remain in the Rug City until he retired in 1980.

2. Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company – John Sanford became Amsterdam’s first rug-maker in 1842. When a fire burned his mill to the ground in 1854, his son Stephen took over the reins of the business and resurrected it from the ashes of that blaze and built it into the largest rug-making business in the world. Over 3,500 employees worked there at its peak and the Sanford family had amassed a fortune of over $40 million by the time Steven died in 1913. Steven’s son John proved a worthy successor to his dad and engineered the 1929 merger with a Connecticut competitor, Bigelow-Hartford Carpet, Co. that enabled the combined firm to survive the Great Depression. And while the Shuttleworth’s brought baseball to Amsterdam, the Sanford’s sport of choice was thoroughbred horse racing and the family’s legendary stud farm became one of this community’s most historic landmarks for generations. Bigelow-Sanford closed their Amsterdam operations in 1954.

3. McCleary, Wallin and Crouse –  The third and last of the big three Amsterdam carpet manufacturers, opening its doors in 1886. William McCleary, Samuel Wallin, David Crouse and a fourth original partner named David Howgate were all employees of the Sanford firm when they decided to strike out on their own in a small factory next to the Mohawk River on Amsterdam’s South Side. Their intent was to specialize on making narrow runner rugs. The business struggled mightily at first and it wasn’t until after Howgate died and a fire at the South Side plant forced the three surviving partners to relocate to Amsterdam’s Rockton neighborhood that the company turned the corner to profitability. It grew to employ 2,000 workers by the time it merged with the Shuttleworth Brothers in 1920 to form Mohawk Carpets.

4. Coleco – Started out as the Connecticut Leather Company in 1932, manufacturing shoe leather of all things. From there it went into leather craft kits (make your own wallet type products) in the 1950’s and then migrated into plastic extrusion by the 1960’s when it began turning out plastic wading pools in one of the abandoned buildings in Amsterdam’s Sanford complex and shortened its formal name to Coleco. By the 1970’s under CEO Arnold Greenberg, the company had become one of the early players in the rapidly emerging video game console business with it’s Telstar System and did especially well with handheld electronic games like Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man. They then followed up their Telstar system with a second generation game console called Coleco-Vision that performed well. But it would be a funny-looking line of padded cloth dolls called Cabbage-Patch Kids that would make the company a toy-making legend and an overnight stock market sensation. Perhaps overconfident and a bit too eager to double-down on their huge Cabbage Patch profits, management made bad decisions to purchase a major board game manufacturer and create the Adam Computer. Simultaneously game boards stopped selling, their computer system was a flop and Cabbage Patch sales fell off a cliff. By the late 1980’s Coleco had ceased its operations in Amsterdam where 3,000 people had been employed at it’s peak and declared bankruptcy. Several of the companies ranked lower on this list were more successful than Coleco in the long run but none had anything close to the explosive hit product this toymaker had with that funny looking doll.

5. Chalmers Knitting Company – At the turn of the twentieth century, men wore a single piece undergarment known as a union suit. Its primary purpose was to keep the wearer warm during the winter. The problem was the suits were made of nonporous fabrics, which meant that the wearer was kept warm in a cold environment but got hot as hell if he went inside! Then at the turn of the century, a crafty knitting expert and Amsterdam resident by the name of Martin Shaughnessy worked out a mechanical process that for the first time made it possible to knit a fabric while simultaneously leaving tiny holes at regular intervals. This permitted air to flow through the material and reach the body of the person wearing it. Called Porosknit, the fabric could be used to make a new type of undergarment that would be more comfortable to wear in all types of environments. In 1901 David Chalmers partnered with fellow Amsterdam businessmen John Blood, John Barnes and J. Howard Hanson in a business that hired Shaughnessy and put the new process into production. The Chalmers Knitting Co. was incorporated three years later with David Chalmers as its President. The company specialized in producing men’s and boys’ mesh Porosknit Union Suits for all seasons. Chalmers then invented the first two-piece undergarment that would quickly render the one-piece Union Suit obsolete.  The Company backed all their products with the “Chalmers Guarantee.” By 1909, the business was doing well enough to build a multi-storied modern plant on Bridge Street in Amsterdam’s Southside. By 1919, Chalmers Knitting Co. was doing over six million dollars in annual sales and employing 750 people. By World War I the company’s underwear was known throughout the world, Chalmers’ advertisements were featured on a Times Square billboard and David Chalmers was chumming around around with the likes of Thomas Edison and Auggie Busch. Chalmers controlled the company until 1947 when it was sold to a New York City firm.

What are my other five all-time top ten most successful Amsterdam manufacturing businesses? You’ll have to wait until my full Amsterdam All-Time Top Ten book comes out later this year to find out their names and read my tributes to each but I will give you the following clues;

Two of them were in the business of helping customers keep things clean; one made lots of money helping customers hide defects; one made a mint helping customers keep their clothes on; and the fifth made a product that caused wet things like paint to dry and soft things like window putty to harden.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.

Amsterdam’s All-Time Top Ten Most Famous Residents

Selecting “Amsterdam’s “All Time Top Ten Most Famous Residents” was an easy task to begin but it became instantly and more increasingly difficult after the top slot of the list had been addressed. To be fair, I couldn’t just weigh an individual’s level of fame as it exists today. Instead, I tried to factor in the degree and scope of each candidate’s fame at both the time they were at the pinnacle of their careers and then beyond, right up until today. Here are my picks for the top five slots. The entire list will appear in my new book “Fifty Top Ten Lists for  Amsterdam, New York” which will be available later this year.

1) Kirk Douglas – When I’ve met people while traveling and told them I’m from this place, many have asked me “What is Amsterdam, NY known for?” I’ve always responded “Its where Kirk Douglas was born!” I’m guessing that’s the same answer almost everyone born in this town before 1990 gives whenever they are asked that same question. That pretty much explains why this recently turned 100-year-old son of a ragman, who was born in the East End of Amsterdam was a no-brainer choice for the very top of this list. Douglas left this city after graduating from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1934 still carrying his birth name of Isadore Demsky and began an acting career that would see him rise to the pinnacle of Hollywood’s top box-office attractions. He appeared in 90 films and was nominated for three Academy Awards.

2) Stephen Sanford – This was a tough number two pick because the height of Sanford’s popularity was so long ago, right around the turn of the Twentieth Century. But back then the Amsterdam business he rebuilt from the ashes of a devastating 1854 fire had become the greatest carpet-making company in the world and Sanford had evolved into one of this country’s most respected industrialists. He was also a Republican Party force at the national level, having served in Congress from 1869 to1871 and becoming a close friend and confidant of both President Ulysses Grant and New York State Senator and political boss, Roscoe Conkling. Add to this the fact that the Hurricana Stud Farm he started was beginning to breed some of the finest thoroughbred racehorses in history and you can understand why the name Stephen Sanford was at the time of his death in 1913, certainly considered a very famous name in America.

3) Rocco Petrone – The first time Petrone’s name appeared in the local Amsterdam newspaper was September of 1927 when his father, a railroad worker was killed on the job when he was struck by a passing train just east of the city. The article describing the tragedy listed then just one-and-a-half year-old Rocco and his brother Johnny as survivors. But Petrone did more than just survive the tragedy. He went on to achieve like few other Amsterdam natives who came before or after him have ever achieved. He excelled at everything he did including school, where he was named Salutatorian of his 1945 Wilbur Lynch graduating class, and in sports as a star tackle on Amsterdam’s varsity football team. He got an appointment to West Point and after receiving his commission, he went on to earn a Masters Degree at MIT in mechanical engineering. He then helped develop the Redstone rocket, America’s very first  ballistic missile and the vehicle used to send the first American astronaut into space. After Redstone he was put on loan to NASA, where shortly after retiring from the Army in 1966, he was given the job of  director of NASA’a launch operations. He then became director of the Apollo program. It was in that role that Amsterdam native, Rocco Petrone became responsible for all phases of the flight that landed Neil Armstrong on the moon on July 20, 1969 and returned him safely back to Earth. That one small step for man was certainly one giant leap for a fatherless boy from Amsterdam, NY.

4) Dr. Tom Catena – Before his career is over, I’m pretty certain that this amazing young man’s rank on any list of most famous people from Amsterdam will rise even higher. He is already without a doubt the most well-known and respected humanitarian to ever have lived in our community.  Some in the media have gone so far as to describe him as a living saint. His inspirational and absolutely selfless effort to provide medical care to a population of 750,000 members of Sudan’s terrorized Nuba Tribe is one of the most noble stories of this still very young 21st Century.

5) Sir William Johnson – Of all the names that made this list, only this Irish-born Baronet’s will continue to appear in future U.S. history textbooks addressing 18th Century Colonial America. His accomplishments included the founding of communities, the naming of “Lake George”, negotiation of national treaties and commanding an entire Army. Johnson’s Amsterdam connection began in 1738, when his British Admiral uncle sent him to settle a tract of land he had purchased on the south side of the Mohawk River in today’s town of Florida with instructions to initiate a fur trading relationship with the Indians in this area. When Johnson arrived and began those tasks, he quickly took note of the fact that the most popular Indian trading routes were north of the Mohawk so he took the initiative and purchased land on the opposite bank which today constitutes the very western portion of the city of Amsterdam and the village of Fort Johnson. This astute move enabled him to intercept Mohawk Indian traders on their way east to his Dutch trading competition in Albany and convince them to trade their furs with him instead. His subsequent close and trusted relationship with the Mohawks would catapult him into the position of the Crown’s Indian Agent for the entire Iroquois Nation. He went on to play significant military, political and trade roles in colonial affairs right up until his death in 1774.

The next five members of this list will be selected from a deserving group of one-time Amsterdam residents who have each achieved national recognition and acclaim. Putting this list together has once again reminded me that my hometown has been and always will be a very special place.

Once a month, I will be sending out a newsletter that includes a portion of the All Time Amsterdam Top Ten Lists I happen to be working on at the time. I will also use this monthly newsletter to announce the topics for upcoming Top Ten Lists and welcoming readers to put forth their own nominations for these compilations. If you’d like be included, please add your e-mail address here.