Friday, March 19, 2010

Adirondack Bracket 2010: Adk 64ers Preview II

Equally as engrossing as the 64 stories of those who made it into the Bracket this year are the names and stories of the many more who didn’t make the initial cut. Here are just a few of the unchosen many: leeches, municipal consolidation, Sandy Lewis, the Northway “Hello” sign, snodeo, NCPR fundraisers, TB, “farmers'” markets, Rocky’s Box, gloomy outlooks, and (our perennial favorite) the dump. Better luck next year, guys.

Back to our preview of match-ups in quads three and four of this year’s Adirondack 64er round (after the jump).

Talk of the Town vs. Seneca Ray Stoddard: Adirondack Yin, meet Adirondack Yang. This draw places into direct conflict not only the aural and visual Adirondack experience, but the park’s historic roots as a place of scenic and artistic splendor, and the contemporary fruit of social and political discontent. Though it has gained a reputation for its deep bench of discordant, snarky, and occasionally profane analysts—from the likes of John from Saranac Lake, Ted and Gordy from Lake Placid, and the legendary Gary from Bloomingdale, WNBZ’s morning call-in program can surprise its opponents with spontaneous optimism and good will from the likes of Shirley from Saranac Lake and the irrepressible Dave from Bloomingdale. Coach Chris M has been taking the team into new directions in his impressive rookie season. It remains to be seen if the squad has the chops to overcome the regions’ protean artistic spirit, or whether they are just all talk.

This corner of the Bracket also holds the Adirondack Olympians. Really, what more can be said of this bunch. Young, strong, handsome, patriotic, and incredibly focused. They are taking on the bane of the Paul Smiths-Gabriels Volunteer Fire Department, the avoidable fire alarm. The thing is, you just have to treat this one as a real threat.

Crown Point Bridge, best known recently for its surprising weaknesses and spectacular collapse, could still create some navigation headaches for last year’s returning final four contender (and quadricentennial honoree) Samuel de Champlain. This pairing, actually makes some sense.

In the fourth stanza of the first round, here are a few entrants to keep your eye on:
Last of the Mohicans. James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 historical pot boiler set during the French and Indian War with locations ranging from Fort Edward to Cooper’s Cave to Fort William Henry and points north. Originally part of Cooper’s “Leatherstocking Tales,” The story recounts the kidnap of the daughters of a British Colonel, and their eventual rescue by the series’ central character, Natty Bumppo, and his Mohican companions Chingachgook and his son, Uncas. Spoiler alert: When Uncas dies at the end of the story, it is said he was the “Last of the Mohicans.” In point of fact the family is doing quite well. The story has been adapted countless times over generations, including a dozen screen versions since 1911. Unfortunately, not one version features a credible paddle stroke in the pivotal canoe chase.

Illustrator NC Wyeth spent two visits soaking in the Adirondack scenery in preparation for his illustrations for the Classic 1919 edition of the book.

On the topic of canoes, Adirondack businessman, boat builder, and would be APA board member Peter Hornbeck survived the play-in round, and will face the contentious topic of the APA’s proposed boathouse regulations. The latter recommends limits of 900 square feet per structure, a space large enough to accommodate a fleet of over 30 Hornbeck Boats (without having to install racks!). Another key element to the regulation is the prohibition of rooftop decks, a mandate that will only force the summer folk to host their cocktail parties in the trees. Hornbeck should have no trouble with this one, providing he does not file a law suit.

Meanwhile, one of Hornbeck’s chief critics, Senator Betty Little of Queensbury will be crossing into the the park to take on last year’s final four standout, Warrensburg’s World’s Biggest Garage Sale. No early birds, please.

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Mark Wilson's editorial cartoons - under the pen name MARQUIL - appear in newspapers and online across New York State. He also provides editorial illustrations and occasional commentary pieces for The Sunday Gazette of Schenectady and regularly chimes in here at the Almanack, particularly at election time and during the annual Adirondack Bracket. Mark lives in Saranac Lake.

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  1. Jon Alexander says: