Have you ever heard of a yurt? It's like a tent but way fancier. According to National Geographic, a yurt is a "portable, circular dwelling made of a lattice of flexible wood and covered in felt", and were used as early as 440 BCE by Scythian people. Still around today, they are currently being utilized by a local children's school, and the surrounding neighbors are not particularly happy about it.

Our Neighbors via YouTube
Our Neighbors via YouTube

It started temporarily to accomodate social distancing rules during COVID, but as of last month, Bethlehem Children's School applied for permits to make these structures permanent. The yurts are so controversial, it's divided half the town with one side encouraging you to "say no to yurts", and the other to "save our yurts".

A City Divided

The school constructed the three yurts and after receiving criticism, created a petition on change.org to help gain support; it's already reached over 4,000 signatures.

Our yurts align with our focus on nature and being able to bring our students outdoors to appreciate our surroundings. We look forward to working with the Bethlehem Town Planning Board to continue to find a workable middle ground without disrupting the students’ education. -Christine Capeless Vaughan, Head of BCS (Sara Rivest, spectrumlocalnews.com)

Our Neighbors via YouTube
Our Neighbors via YouTube

Neighbors of the school are upset for multiple reasons, claiming the yurts have resulted in excess noise, odor, and traffic, among other issues. They also created their own change.org petition under the name "Restore Slingerlands", along with a petition video:

The noise pollution is a nuisance, the odors... The outhouse was placed right up against my fence, not a foot away, not five feet away, not 10 feet away. -Anonymous Neighbor (Sara Rivest, spectrumlocalnews.com)

A final decision on the yurts has yet to be determined, updates yet to come.

Explore the Abandoned Middle School at Albany's Kenwood Convent

This abandoned property is part of the Kenwood Convent complex in Albany. If it's the same story as the rest of the property, it's been vacant since 2009. There have been some ownership changes and it appears there is still power in parts of the building. As with the convent, it also looks like work was being done by construction crews to clean out and/or restore the building, but that has since stopped (as of the 2020 date of these photos).

The Albany Business Review says the county was about to hold an auction for the property, but its current owners filed bankruptcy two days prior - putting a hold on any further development or sale of the site.

As we can see from the photo tour, there is some magnificent architecture, window frames, even old murals on the wall depicting the a journey down the Hudson River from the City of Albany to New York City.

The most recent relics are some tools, ladders and construction equipment left at the scene, but there are some other pretty cool finds including an early flat screen TV, some antique door & window frames and a pool table in near perfect condition.

Remarkably, this is one of those abandoned places that has gone relatively untouched by vandals and graffiti artists. Let's hope it stays that way until a new use for the property can be determined. For now, it sits in legal limbo waiting to be renovated and rehabbed. Enjoy the tour!

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Warning: Maximum deliciousness ahead, proceed with caution. The following pictures may induce feelings of hunger and a disappointment in the boring lunch you brought to work today.

SPAC Confirmed: These Artists Will Play Saratoga In 2023

25 dates have been confirmed and are either on sale or about to go on sale for the 2023 season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Here is your complete guide.

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