For many of those that don’t know or aren’t familiar with the culture within Albany, New York, the Tulip Fest is an annual celebration, festival, and all around cultural meeting point that takes place the weekend of Mother’s Day at Albany’s Washington Park. The city of Albany has a rich Dutch heritage that is displayed every year at the kick-off event for the festival when women dressed in traditional Dutch costumes take part in a “street scrubbing” ceremony where they clean the streets of State and Lodge, thus starting the annual celebration. When you’re living in Albany, Tulip Fest is usually the first official sign that spring is here, although it almost always rains, people from all surrounding areas come out to eat, drink, enjoy the newly bloomed tulips, listen to live bands performs and of course watch the coronation of The Tulip Queen. Tulip Fest is usually a “THING” that you always find yourself attending on Mother’s Day weekend, whether you feel like you’re too cool to go, or have nothing else better to do, whether you’re there for 20 minutes, 2 hours or all day. While we’re at it, let’s go through a couple classic tunes that put us in mind of past Tulip Fest memories.
“Apple Juice Kissing” by Deee-Lite is a quintessential spring time anthem. It always brings me back to those days of Spring 1994, hanging out on or around Lark Street, going back and forth to the Tulip Fest, just being a young and carefree street kid.
“Tha Crossroads” by Bone Thugs N’ Harmony, I remember this song being everywhere in 1996/97, by the time the video came out and the song finally hit radio, forget about it. Every car in Albany had this pouring out of their speakers. Vividly remember kicking over some tulips at Washington Park with this song playing over and over in my head.
“Me and My Crazy World” by Lost Boyz — nothing says Spring 1997 like Mr. Cheeks & Company’s cautionary tale about being caught up in a love triangle. This song completely took over the hoods of Albany, by the time May hit this song was already a smash. I’m not sure what spring memories would even be like without songs that felt good like this.
“Horse & Carriage” by Cam’Ron! One thing about smash singles between the years of 1995 and say 2000 is the fact that many songs didn’t take very long to blow up, while other songs were extremely popular on the underground mixtape scene before becoming a smash single on radios and mixtapes alike. “Horse & Carriage” is one of those songs that had the radio, street mixtapes and even the clubs on fire in 1998. The scene of the pool party was recreated by many of reckless teenagers in Albany that Spring/Summer, one of the many things we should thank Cam’Ron for.
“Best of Me Pt. 2” by Mya and Jay Z, this song blew up so fast people forget that this is Part 2, like there’s a whole part 1 with Jadakiss that people seem to have forgotten about. Can’t lie though, this song really personified Spring 2000 in Albany. So many couples thought that they were Jay Z and Mya after this. Spring 2000 will forever go down in history for all the “Carolina” blue and white outfits I saw take over the streets of the 518. You couldn’t keep white Air Force Ones, Michael Jordan Tarheels jerseys and anything “Carolina” blue in stock at any retailers within city limits. Those items would sell out as fast as they came in. Good times. Don’t you miss being a child whilst spring time?