Time lapse: Schenectady City Hall clocks out of sync

Timepieces atop City Hall out of scync; no reason to be alarmed, mayor says
Schenectady City Hall is pictured.
Schenectady City Hall is pictured.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — It’s 5 o’clock, somewhere. 

Just don’t rely on the clocks at City Hall to tell you. 

Rob Brown said he occasionally spends an afternoon at the 151 Club on Lafayette St., the craft brewery which offers a sweeping view of the stately downtown centerpiece.

But the clock is often inaccurate, he said, which can stymie patrons seeking to using the handsome classically-inspired timepiece as a happy hour barometer.

“It’s kind of a running joke at the bar,” Brown said. “Is it really so difficult to find a reliable clock repairman?”

The clock appears to be operable, but a glimpse on Wednesday afternoon revealed not only was the time inaccurate, but it differed among several of the clock’s faces.

The southeast-facing clock, the side visible for 151 Club patrons, listed the time as 11:34, but the southwest-facing surface was nine minutes faster.

Meanwhile, the actual time was 2 p.m.

By Wednesday evening, the discrepancy had narrowed to about 75 minutes, but remained incorrect.

The city recently outfitted the tower with a LED light system and occasionally deploys colored lights to raise awareness for specific issues.

The tower, for instance, glowed pink and purple last October to draw attention to breast cancer, and glowed green in January to highlight the city’s budget surplus. 

The gold-leave tea dome is scheduled to be cast in rainbow lights this weekend to commemorate LGBT Pride Month and Schenectady Pride Festival.

“It’s going to look kind of silly if it can’t get the time right,” Brown said.

City Engineer Chris Wallin didn’t return a request for comment to discuss the clock’s status.

Officials were unable to pinpoint precisely how long the clock has been on the fritz.

“It’s been quite a while it hasn’t been working,” said Councilman Vince Riggi. 

Mayor Gary McCarthy acknowledged the city is aware of the wayward timepiece and said this isn’t the first time it has happened.

“I don’t have clock-watchers working here because they’re so dedicated,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said city staffers are looking into repairs. However, the system is elaborate; it’s connected with additional clocks in City Hall and requires “constant upkeep,” he said. 

“When something goes, it’s not easily fixed,” he said. 

Two additional clocks at City Hall also appeared to be inoperable: A large clock on the second floor rotunda was frozen at 10:57, while the gold-plated clock in City Council chambers displayed the wrong time at Wednesday night’s meeting. 

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