Jeff Mirel is the Founder of Albany Barn, Inc. a non-profit which operates creative arts incubators in Albany and Schenectady, AND a principal of real estate developer, Rosenblum Development Corp. Plus, he’s a die-hard CapNY enthusiast.
Originally from Westchester County, Jeff moved to CapNY in 2004. He lives in Albany’s upper Washington neighborhood with his wife and two young daughters.
Plus, he’s a die-hard CapNY enthusiast. Read on!
Originally from Westchester County, Jeff became a CapNY transplant in 2004. He lives in Albany’s upper Washington neighborhood with his wife and two young daughters.
Q: You’re a native New Yorker, but you made the move from downstate to CapNY. Why did you do that?
A. I started my career in the music industry. I interned at Epic Records when I was in college, which led to my first job after gradation at a private music management firm handling major label artists. (Babyface was one of those artists, as was Grammy nominee, Kenny Lattimore).
But it was a time of great change with the advent of digital music and the whole distribution model was changing — remember Napster? I was young, and I thought I knew a lot, so I decided to start managing bands on my own. My grandfather had moved upstate and his health was failing. Freelancing allowed me to relocate and help take care of him.
Shortly after moving to Albany, I co-organized a multimedia concert event called Rock2Rebuild™ to raise relief funds for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Rock2Rebuild attracted 2,000 people to the Palace Theater in Albany and raised nearly $30,000, featuring exclusively local musicians and artists. It opened my eyes to the abundance and power of creative activity in CapNY. As a self-employed music manager and marketer, the quality of living was much higher for the cost. Both experiences were drivers for the creation of Albany Barn.
Q: After being here for nearly two decades, what’s your favorite part of being a CapNY resident?
A: I am a diehard regionalist. It’s great that no single city is the center of gravity in this eight-county region.Everybody would like to consider themselves the sun, but the region is more a collection of stars that forms this amazing constellation. We have these pockets of experiences to explore that are altogether unique — rural, suburban or urban — within very short distances.
Q: The Rosenblum Companies recently opened Hone Coworks in Albany. On a larger scale, what does the CapNY coworking scene have to offer?
A. This region has always been a place of invention. It’s really no surprise to me that we have such a strong creative freelancer population. I feel creative people are drawn here, to the power of the wilderness and waterways, to the outposts and industry that developed from those resources, to the stories that are etched into our accumulated built environment; it’s all of those things and more that make this a place of invention. So, what coworking and flexible workplaces like Hone, as well as makerspaces like Albany Barn provide are launchpads for all these people with ideas.
Q: What opportunities does CapNY provide for young people?
A: You can try different things for a lower cost. You can really get your feet under you and still have a fun and full life.
Q: As a father raising a family in CapNY, how do you see your children’s future within the community?
A: They’re growing up in the city of Albany, and they experience all of the good of urban centers, but they also see the challenges. I think it provides a broader world view, an opportunity to see all sides. My wife and I really try to instill in our children that those of us who are lucky owe it to be very aware of our advantage, and to fight with and on behalf of those who haven’t been afforded the same opportunities.
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Written by: Lauren Halligan
CapNY native Lauren Halligan is a lifelong Saratoga County resident. She studied journalism at The College of Saint Rose in Albany and has worked as a full time reporter for The Saratogian and The Record newspapers for the past seven years. Her favorite part of living in CapNY is frequenting the local live music venues. Lauren also enjoys exploring the many parks and nature trails within the area, as well as traveling all across the globe.