Spring during the late 1980s was a great time if you knew numbers, academia, songs and Lena Spencer.
Teenagers and younger scholars won honors for their work with math, school subjects and story composition. Spencer, longtime proprietor of the famous Caffe Lena on Phila Street in Saratoga Springs, was honored with her own street sign.
On April 29, 1988, the city of Saratoga unveiled a sign designating Lena Lane, an alley running off Phila Street near her business. Spencer had run the cafe — and put folksingers and other musicians on her coffeehouse stage — since 1960. Spencer died in October 1989. The cafe is still around, operated as a nonprofit institution. Lena Lane is still around, too.
Warmer weather of 1988 and 1989 meant people were doing more things outside. In Niskayuna, sports-minded Lions persuaded friends to pick up golf clubs, tennis rackets and baseballs. In Schenectady, teachers persuaded kids to give things away — a celebration marking Paige Elementary School’s 35th anniversary meant a balloon launch.