Monday, April 30, 2007

Hurtin Units at Luckys

For some time, Cortland has had the reputation as a place with a thriving music scene. At the forefront of that scene, is Lucky's. Last week, the establishment hosted two up-and-coming bands, Nate in Public and Hurtin Units.

Nate in Public left a lasting impression on the crowd with their brand of rock. The out-of-town act was the beneficiary of hometown favorites Hurtin Units. Lucky's was packed, as it tends to be for their concerts. I've had the pleasure of attending two of their concerts, and they don't draw the kind of crowd you would expect from small-town Cortland.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Hurtin Units lead-singer Robby Petrella and ask him a few questions about the band.

Downtown Blog: How did you think the last show at Lucky's went?
Robby: It was awesome; I thought it was a really good time. It's easier to play in front of a crowd when people know all your songs.

Downtown Blog: So you enjoy playing in Cortland?
Robby: Yea, we haven't went out too much lately to other venues. We're more enthusiastic about getting back out on the road lately. Are shows here are more successful because we're well known. Playing at Lucky's is kind of a marriage of convenience because I work here and Bobcat [Bob Catalano lead guitarist] owns the place.

Downtown Blog: What other places have you played in Cortland?
Robby: We've played a lot at the campus, and we've played the Cortland Summer Series. I've sung solo stuff at open mics at the blue frog, but we've never played there as a band.

Downtown Blog: Where are some other places you've enjoyed playing?
Robby: I think the best show we ever played was at the Shine Center at SU 4-5 years ago. It was awesome; kid that hadn't seen us were really enjoying the show. Some other good places were the district and the Hardcore Barbecue.

Downtown Blog: Have you ever had the chance to open for more mainstream popular bands?
Robby: We've been really lucky in that aspect. We've opened for The Ataris, Dashboard Confessional, The Movie Life, Murphy's Law. The Dashboard show was before they were big, but the show actually got shut down because there was a fight beforehand.

Downtown Blog: What bands to you consider your influences?
Robby: The Ramones, The Descendents, Bouncing Souls.

Downtown Blog: What are your favorite songs to play?
Robby: Two new ones; Goodbyes" and "Hometown." They're on the new CD. I like them because I think people like to sing along to them at the concerts.

Downtown Blog: Hurtin Units is an interesting name for a band, how'd you come up with that?
Robby: I was living in Colorado when I came up with the name. We'd all be drinking one night and we'd go snowboarding the next day. I'd say to myself "wow, I'm a hurtin unit." And I always thought it'd be a cool name for a band.

Well Cortland, there you have it: one reason why Cortland is a rock haven. If you haven't checked out any of the shows playing at Lucky's before, and you're in the area, make sure you stop by and enjoy the music.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Salivating for Sandwiches? You've Come to the Right Town.

Before we switch gears and delve further in to Cortland's music scene, I have an interesting question to pose. At least, I think it's interesting because I consider myself a connoisseur of soup and sandwiches. (I'm not sure if I've earned that title; but then again, I'm not really sure how one would earn such a title.) Which deli in downtown Cortland is better?

Personally, I'm a big fan of The Downtown Deli; however, today I had lunch at The M&D Deli on Central Avenue, and it was absolutely delicious. Of course, Cortland has a nice selection of places to enjoy lunch, but if you're a fan of the culinary artistry that goes in to putting meats, cheeses, veggies, and dressings in between two pieces of bread, I'd suggest one of the aforementioned locations.

The past few visits to each establishment I've ordered the exact same thing; I'm not sure why, but it's convenient now that I'll be pitting the deli's against each other. My lunch of choice: roast beef on a sub, and a cup of french-onion soup. I would have to say that I prefer the soup at The Downtown Deli, while I'd give a slight edge to M&D's sandwich.

Since each deli has much more choices than one soup and one sandwich, I'd like to see what everyone else thinks on the matter.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Hello, Cortland,

I’m writing to you from the warmth of my bed. It seems that my busy schedule doesn’t omit me from catching the flu (figures).

Anyway, I wanted to write this post in order to fill you in on a little switch in momentum for the Cortland Downtown Blog. In the past, we have used this space to brood over some ideas that would increase the promise of our beloved city. Now, although we may still post on this topic occasionally, we are going to focus on the music events that will be happening here.

There will be many events that Eddie and I will be attending and writing a review of. This way we can let everyone know what they are missing out on. If you, one of our readers, has attended one of these events and would like to comment (or even write a post) just e-mail me.

Here is some information regarding some of the events that will be taking place at Cortland:

New this year to downtown Cortland is Bring Back Blues at Lucky’s, 77 Main Street, a monthly blues series that brings Chicago style blues to Cortland. This unique brand of blues is scheduled for the first Friday of every month beginning at 9 p.m. The Bring Back Blues lineup includes Bill Perry, Maurice John Vaught, Studebaker John & the Hawks, Big James & the Chicago Playboys, Eddie Shaw & the Wolf Gang and many more Chicago style blues artists.

Also new to downtown Cortland this year is the Folk Series at the Blue Frog Coffeehouse, 64 Main Street. Five folk artists from the region will be sharing their talent with Cortland at a series of Thursday night performances. The lineup includes Charlie King and Karen Brandow, Hank Roberts, Dave Lippman, FiveTwo and Red Headed Step Child.

Downtown’s existing music scene has been super-charged this year. The ever-popular Main Street Music Series that calls the Market Place Mall parking lot home on Friday nights has added some out-of-town talent that compliments performances by local favorites. The 2007 lineup for the Main Street Music Series includes Charlie Bertini, Dave Hanlon's Cook Book, Duke Robillard, The Crooners, Blotto, The Flashcubes, Hurtin' Units, Tailor Made, John Brown's Body, the Steve Morgan Band, Gabe Cummins, Rick Schell and other local talent. These performances are in part, supported by The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

The Classical music scene will also reach a crescendo this year. Arts at Grace, a classical music series at Grace Episcopal Church, 13 Court Street, includes the perennial favorites of the William J. Greer Memorial Concert, the Young Artists Showcase, the American Music Concert and later in the year Messiah as well as a summer addition to the lineup Opera Cowpokes. Opera Cowpokes combines original arrangements with classic songs of the American west in an operatic masterpiece! These performances are supported by The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Thanks to Lloyd Purdy of the Downtown Cortland Partnership for all of this valuable information! I hope to see you folks at some of these events! More information will follow… Cheers!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Meal Plans Downtown

A few days ago I had lunch at the Downtown Deli on Main Street. As I was ordering a delicious roast beef sub and a cup of french onion soup, I realized that I didn't have any cash on me. At first I was frightened, sensing some ensuing embarrassment. But then, I realized that Downtown Deli is one of the many eateries on Main Street that is now accepting payment via SUNY Cortland connections accounts. You can imagine my relief, knowing that I had put $20 in my own connections account.

Although this was the first time I actually used my connections money to purchase a meal downtown, I've been impressed by the ingenuity of those business owners who've instituted this policy for some time. Getting in on student meal plans is a great way to generate more business downtown, and also offers students more choices and a way to avoid the monotony of eating the same thing on campus every single day. However, the current policy does have one major weakness.

Connections accounts are not widely used as meal plans. I have funds in my connections account simply because it gives me a discount on campus for meals that are way overpriced when purchased with cash; connections is my emergency fund when I'm stuck on campus and hungry. Most students, especially those who actually live on campus, do not keep funds in this account.

Business owners downtown who are trying to get a chunk of the money students invest in meal plans may want to consider negotiating with the school for the right to accept Dragon Dollars. I believe this account is utilized more by students. I'm not sure what the schools policy is on this, or how open they are to losing business. However, I do know that students would appreciate more variety in their meal plans. I read an article in the Dragon Chronicle a while ago complaining about the lack of variety in the meals offered on campus.

Great job getting the ball rolling in the right direction on this front to those restaurants that have instituted the connections account payment method. And a special thanks to the Downtown Deli (I didn't really have time to wash dishes that day).

Saturday, February 03, 2007


A lot of people are skeptical on the effectiveness of a weblog. I presume that I didn’t truly see the benefits at first, also. But, as things are exploding, I figured I would take some time to prove the cogency of such a medium.

It appears that many more people are reading this blog than I figured. Steven, a native from Binghamton, addresses our situation in his personal weblog entitled Oceans of Notions. In this post he exposes the positivity that’s erupting from our attempted merger of school and city. He goes as far as to wish this was happening in his hometown.

Hopefully, as the plan goes, we are able to create a “learning community” through this blog that many people will benefit from. The best way, and maybe the only way, to achieve this objective is through collaboration. The more people that read this blog and, specifically, the more people that comment the easier this will be. If we are able to create an active learning environment, using blogging as a medium, then the sky is the limit.

I would like to thank Steven for reading and contributing to our blog. I’m hoping that more and more people will step up and help motivate others. Every time someone voices his/her opinion we are able to more clearly identify some of this issues that we need to ameliorate.

So if you are reading this blog, then please comment; even if you just want to leave a sentence acknowledging the fact that you do contribute. Let’s all help Cortland. Cheers.

[SIDE NOTE: I will also be adding a mapping counter so that we can all view who is looking at this blog and from where.]

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Introduction (Hello), Our Goal

Hello Cortland! I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Ed Wolfe and I’m a senior at SUNY Cortland. I am the newest addition to the Cortland Downtown Blog.

First off, I would like to thank the Cortland Downtown Project and the community as a whole for allowing me the opportunity to contribute to something that I feel is monumentally important. I’m glad community members are taking initiative with this project to improve the place we all live. This blog is perhaps the most powerful tool we have to accomplish our goals within the community.

I feel strong ties to this community. I’ve spent the better part of the past three years living in Cortland. My role has not only been as a student of the college, but also, an employee of one of the town’s many businesses, a customer of various establishments, and an active member of Cortland’s social scene. I don’t feel I’ve been isolated to only the student portion of that social scene; spending a summer and winter in Cortland with a diminished population of students gave me the opportunity to transcend the boundaries between college students and full-time residents, boundaries that I think we all need to admit do exist.

The first thing I want to focus on is ways we can break down these boundaries. You all know what I mean. In certain factions of both the student population and the residential population, there is resentment towards one another. I think this blog can serve as an open forum to discuss how both parties can reduce these feelings, and the negative impact they impose on the community.

Having lived in the Clock Tower Apartments last year, I felt the compassion and strength of the community; the way the town rallied to support us in an instance of tragedy was truly moving. I know first hand the integrity of this town. I think its paramount we discuss ways to spread this message across the student population. The relationship between the town and the school should be one of mutual respect. I envision a community that forces a substantial amount of students to consider staying after graduation, students who will become active community members, students who will raise families in Cortland and who will have children who become part of a thriving community.

I think this vision is possible, but it won’t come easy. I hope to see some dialogue on this blog in the coming days discussing how we can spread the idea of mutual respect across both the student and residential populations. Cortland, how can we achieve this goal? We must all work together to make this happen.

I said this blog is a powerful tool to enact change. The reason being, communication is the key to change. No idea on its own is stronger than the contribution of many. Don’t be shy; this blog is designed to allow us all to contribute. Once again, I’m thankful for my opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An On-Campus Job, Only Off-Campus.

It’s only one week into the semester and I feel as if I’m already overwhelmed. I’m taking four graduate-level classes, working for an assistantship, helping teach an undergraduate class, and am trying to manage my finances.

*Whine* *Whine*

I understand that no one wants to hear about my life, but all of this pressure has lit a light bulb in my head. This one’s for you, Downtown Cortland.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is burdened by finances while attending college; however, I’m positive that there are a ton of work-study programs that help lessen this load. But, why not integrate our town with our school further? What if the work-study programs stretched into downtown Cortland?

Ultimate Music could help fund my college education while I work there on the weekends. This would help my situation and it would definitely bring more business to this music store. What if Dave works at Downtown Deli and, in return, it helps him buy his books and gives him some food.

I understand this could get sticky, maybe…

Well, Ray, what if you just go ahead and get a job there? Skip the whole college-involvement thing? Economically I would figure that this would work the same, but I would have to argue that the businesses on Main St. (all of downtown) would flourish with more interaction with the school.

Dave: Hey guys did you hear that I got into the work-study program down at M&D Deli?
Friends: No way! that’s awesome.
Dave: Yeah, they help me pay for school and give me free food; the sandwiches are amazing down there.
Friends: I didn’t even know that place existed!
Dave: You guys should definitely come down and try it when you get a chance; I’ll even put more pickles on your sub!
Friends: Definitely! When do you work next?

Not only has Dave exposed the deli hidden on Central Ave., but he’s also brought business.

It seems like this is another win-win situation. I figured that I’d just throw this idea out there. What would it take to do this? Cheers.