The Saratoga Summer
Back home in Westchester County, Aileen Ryan has a trove of Saratoga Race Course souvenirs collected over 15 or so years, each a reminder of an annual trip up the Thruway and Northway.
“After a few years you have a bunch of different stuff,” the Port Chester woman said.
This meet she had already purchased a pair of Travers hats for her husband and his friend, an annual tradition, when she asked about boxes on a shelf at Saratoga Styles, a gift shop inside the track proper. It turns out they were a pair of pilsner giveaway glasses left over from earlier in the meet.
“Ooh, I’ll take two [boxes],” she said. Price tag for four glasses: $10.
This is the time of year of winding down here at the track. The downstate folks on the job are ready to go home. In a couple of days, an eventful 2014 meet will be history. Track-goers, if they are among the lucky few, leave with some winnings. For the rest of us, there is always the souvenir.
Paige Hansen of Mechanicville, a clerk at Saratoga Styles, said T-shirts are the biggest sellers. (Where are they not?) But then she pointed to the hats, which range from a top-end of $35 to a buy-a-handful $5.
“That was leftover from the giveaway,” pointing to a $5 red hat that was doled out to fans earlier in the meet.
Go to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field and find a cap for $5. We’ll wait until you report back.
Shot glasses ($8), Travers glasses ($12) and wine glasses ($15) are all popular take-home items. (Caution: Those prices are so modest by “stadium” standards you might end up spending a ton just by bulk.)
If you are looking for something off-track, just go down Broadway or one of its side streets. Open a door at random: Odds are you will find something Saratoga-ish, ranging from a couple of bucks to a lot of zeroes.
Yes, there is stuff you’ll appreciate, and high-end stuff you hope will appreciate — as in increase in value.
There is a row along the Union Avenue gate of artists, offering a range of works. In a tent operated by Saratoga Springs artist Celeste Susany, you can get an 8x10 matted print for $16. Big sellers include framed painting prints of morning workouts at the main and Oklahoma tracks ($75 and up).
Want to blow away your friends? Drop $1,850 for an original painting of the immortal Ruffian.
Oh, and there are T-shirts. Regardless, all her customers have something in common.
“They want to take home a piece of Saratoga,” she said.
It’s up to you how much you want to pay for a memory.