Albany displays some of the most imposing civic architecture in America with its Empire State Plaza, a collection of International-style buildings surrounding a reflecting pool. The 589-foot Erastus Corning Tower is the tallest, and The Egg, a performing arts venue, the most distinctive. The New York State Capitol is a unique chateauesque design, while the 444-step Grand Western Staircase took 14 years to complete. Albany City Hall, with its standout pyramidal corner tower, has landed on its fair share of “America’s Most Beautiful Buildings” lists.
On the opposite side of downtown, the Gothic-influenced former Delaware & Hudson Railroad Building dominates the real estate that is now the State University of New York. Art Deco splashes on the Albany skyline include the Home Savings Bank on Pearl Street, the Foley United States Courthouse, and the Alfred E. Smith Building. The Quackenbush House, fashioned in brick and with a proud Dutch pedigree, is the oldest intact building in Albany, dating back to the 1730s. In the city’s warehouse district, a giant statue of Nipper the RCA Dog – an iconic advertising symbol of the electronics giant – has sat attentively on a building roof on Tivoli Street for generations.
Albany preservationists have done much to stop the wrecking ball swinging in their city and the downtown real estate market still maintains 769 row houses and 7,692 multi-family properties. Single family homes still lead the housing market inventory with a total of 13,548. There are 1,103 apartments and 353 other types of residences in Albany. Commercial properties number 1,363 with another 529 zoned for industrial use and 132 for mixed use. The Albany County Land Bank manages most of the city’s 3,717 vacant lots with innovative purchase programs to boost median home values such as “Spend a Little, Get a Lot“.
The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) manages 3,135 bus stops in the city and surrounding areas on 59 routes. In addition to local services, Magabus offers a direct ride between the capital city and New York City. The CDTA also rolled out its Cycle! bike-sharing program in the summer of 2017 with 160 bicycles and 20 sharing stations in Albany.
The City School District of Albany boasts an average class size of 18 and a high school graduation rate of 81 percent. Albany is well-known for its higher education opportunities such as the Albany Medical College, Albany Law School (the nation’s fourth oldest), the University at Albany, the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and nearly a dozen others.
Behind government services and education, the healthcare sector employs more people in Albany than any other industry. Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital are two care centers that have earned recognition for procedures in heart care and artificial joint replacement.
The chances of violent crime in Albany are 1 in 124 versus 1 in 263 in New York State. For property crimes, the rate for New York State is 1 in 62, while Albany clocks it at more than double, with a 1 in 30 chance.
Cafe Capriccio has been dishing out Italian cuisine near the Empire State Plaza for almost four decades. For a true taste of Albany head over to the Orchard Tavern on North Manning for a trademark rectangular pizza – it’s been a neighborhood staple since 1903. History buffs will marvel at the city’s many free museums, including the trove of records and artifacts in the Cultural Education Center. Docked on the Hudson River is a one-of-a-kind World War II destroyer escort, the USS Slater.
The Palace Theatre, an Art Deco treasure, is now a city-owned venue for live performances and classic movie screenings. Washington Park is the crown jewel of the city’s 60-park recreation system. The park’s lake is a haven for boaters in the summer and a paradise for skaters in the winter. Tulip Fest honors Albany’s Dutch heritage and is a harbinger of spring each year.
Fox Oakland Theatre brings in a wide range of music acts including rock, punk, blues, and reggae, while the Paramount Theater primarily features headlining musical tours.