Hickory Dickery Dock: Albany’s Broken Clock

This clock would be exactly right if I took the picture at 9:04. It was actually taken at 12:09.

One of Fred Dicker’s favorite targets in Albany isn’t a politician or state official; it’s the clock on top of City Hall.

For months (years?) on his radio show, Dicker has been tossing out jibes directed at Mayor Jerry Jennings and the non-working clock on the tower across from the Capitol. Dicker calls it a fitting symbol for the town’s dysfunctional nature.

Dysfunctional indeed. The clock is locked in at about 9:04 and stays that way.

Some people would find it maddening to walk into a building every day where the clock wasn’t working, particularly if they were the mayor — but Jennings seems comfortable in his relationship with time. Besides, he has many more important things on his mind, like… ummm… well… just take my word for it, he has important things to fix. Like the potholes. Oh, nevermind.

During a recent trip I got to climb a church tower in Sibiu, Romania, walled fortress city of the the Transylvania Saxons. The church was constructed in 1520, and for a few bucks you can go to the top of  the 240 foot spire. On the way up the rickety steps was a small booth containing the mechanical guts of the clock and bell system. They worked perfectly.

How nice to visit a place where they have some civic pride.

14 responses to “Hickory Dickery Dock: Albany’s Broken Clock

  1. Hey,at least the clock is right twice a day…more than I can say for the local politicians.

  2. Can’t scare the mice.

    Add our Delmar Four Corners Clock to the list. It runs, but on some weird time zone time.

  3. Freddie: It’s so wrong that we can’t rely on the clock standing in the heart of our fair town. Disgraceful. Has someone notified the chamber of commerce? They were very agitated by the nudist camp incident; I’m sure this clock thing will make them nuts.

  4. I read that last line too quickly and it seemed like every other noun in the sentence was dirty. And it still made sense.

  5. The power of the subconscious…

  6. Matter of fact, Rob, I called the chamber yesterday. I was told it ocassionally gets out of calibration. But someone near/at the Four Corners has a key and can recalibrate it.

    Considering how long it’s been operating in that alien time zone, I’d guess that “key person” either never looks at the clock, can’t tell time, or that the aliens sneak in and keep resetting it to space time.

    Or maybe there’s a tree branch blocking the signal from Boulder?

    Or maybe Hickory Dickery docked.

    Cover you eyes, I can’t resist the pun…time will tell.

    Do I see another community fund raiser coming to get the green clock works working?

  7. Kidding aside, it’s absurd that they make a huge big deal of that Four Corners clock and then don’t bother to set it properly.

  8. You got my vote, Rob. It’s a land mark, and no laughing matter.

    As evidenced by Big Ben, and your visit to Sibiu, they don’t build them like they used to. Shoulda bought the extended warrenty.

    Could that be a contributing factor to the tailgaters and speeders, Joseph Cea recently wrote about? People looking at the clock and thinking they’re late for their appointment, but with a heavy foot figure they can still make it.

  9. So is Delmar ahead of its time, or, behind the times?

  10. Doc: Marty, I’m sorry, but the only power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of electricity is a bolt of lightning.

    Marty: What did you say?

    Doc: A bolt of lightning, unfortunately, you never know when or where it’s ever gonna strike.

    Marty: We do now.

    Doc: This is it. This is the answer. It says here that a bolt of lightning is gonna strike the clocktower precisely at 10.04pm next Saturday night!

  11. I complained, so I’m compelled to pass this along this note from the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce ( http://www.bethlehemchamber.com/ ) newsletter that I just received via e-mail.

    “…Town News: Benjamin Franklin said, “Lost time is never found again.” If you’ve noticed the incorrect time on our beautiful community clock at the Four Corners, take heart. Repairs will be done soon and it will be back on schedule….”

  12. Thanks, Freddie! And here I was being sarcastic.

  13. The clock…Bethlehem’s, that is…is fixed as of yesterday.

  14. I’m figuring that the guts of the Delmar clock are a little simpler than what Mr. Jennings has going on up in the tower — but kudos to the town, anyway.

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