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A night at the Spa

Police officers wear many hats when patrolling the evening crowds in downtown Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs hasn’t always had the bustling downtown it has today, but these days, it’s a city to envy. While the secret to its success isn’t any one thing, one major factor may have something to do with those who keep it safe.

Saratoga Springs hasn’t always had the bustling downtown it has today, but these days, it’s a city to envy. While the secret to its success isn’t any one thing, one major factor may have something to do with those who keep it safe. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Chowske added that the noise ordinance is very subjective.

“What I might think of as unreasonable, you might not think is unreasonable,” he said. “People in the neighborhoods are saying that the music is too loud. The people downtown are saying ‘We’re just trying to have a good time.’”

City officials are still trying to hammer out what changes should be made to the noise ordinance.

Last call

Chowske said that if Spa City’s last call were moved to an earlier time (it stands at 4 a.m. now), he’d like to know that every option had been investigated. He said that if last call was earlier, bar patrons wanting to drink past that time would likely buy more beer at the markets, and parties may be picked up in homes and parking lots.

“I wouldn’t say you can’t change it because of that, but it’s something to look at,” he said.

Chowske also pointed out that many bars already close at 2or 3 a.m. and that an earlier last call would dump everybody out onto the streets at once.

Keeping the peaceOne of the other things Chowske monitors on a typical evening patrol is that everybody is moving along and there’s no “bullying” going on. He said that around midnight, there are several teams of officers on foot on Caroline Street, where pedestrian traffic becomes congested.

Chowske said that in years past, bars were more spread out, but now they’re concentrated within about a four-block area around Caroline Street.

“Back in the’70s Saratoga wasn’t the booming entertainment it is now. …You didn’t go down Caroline Street unless you were selling or buying drugs. You went to the bars on Broadway.”

Now that a majority of the nightclubs area in one area, Chowske said, it works out well for the force because it keeps everything contained.

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