Albany, New York

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City of Albany, New York
Image:Albany City Seal a.jpg
Flag Seal
Location in Albany County and the State of New York
Coordinates: 42°39′35″N, 73°46′53″W
Country United States
State New York
County Albany
Founded 1614
Incorporated 1686
Mayor Gerald D. Jennings
 - City 56.6 km²  (21.8 sq mi)
 - Land 55.5 km²  (21.4 sq mi)
 - Water 1.2 km² (0.5 sq mi)  2.15%
Elevation 60 m  (200 ft)
 - City (2004) 94,226
 - Density 2,118.4/km² (5488.1/sq mi)
 - Metro 825,875
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

Albany is the capital of the State of New York and the county seat of Albany County. As of the 2000 census, Albany had a population of 95,658.

The City of Albany lies 145 miles (233 km) north of and slightly east of New York City, and slightly to the south of the juncture of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers.

Albany has close ties with the cities of Troy, New York and Schenectady, New York, forming what is generally known as the Capital District, which in turn makes up the bulk of the Albany-Troy-Schenectady-Saratoga Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 825,875, making it the fourth largest urban area in New York State.

Albany is built on the site of the Dutch Fort Orange, and its surrounding community of Beverwyck. The English acquired the site from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it Albany, in honor of the Duke of Albany. A 1686 document issued by Thomas Dongan granted Albany an official charter.

Today, Albany remains a center of government and education.


[edit] History

Albany is the fourth oldest continually-inhabited city and the second oldest chartered city in the United States, (the oldest being New Amsterdam, now New York City). The original native settlement in the area was called Penpotawotnot. Its colonial history began when Englishman Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company on the Halve Maen (or Half Moon) reached the area in 1609. In 1614, the company constructed Fort Nassau, its first fur trading post near present-day Albany. Commencement of the fur trade provoked hostility from the French colony in Canada and amongst the native tribes, who vied to control the trade. In 1624, Fort Orange was established in the area. Both forts were named in honor of the Dutch House of Orange-Nassau. Nearby areas were incorporated as the village of Beverwyck in 1652.

New York State Capitol Building, completed in 1899 at a cost of $25 million was the most expensive government building of its time. Three teams of architects labored on it.
Capitol viewed from the east.

When the land was taken by the English in 1664, the name was changed to Albany, in honor of the Duke of York and Albany, who later became King James II of England and James VII of Scotland. Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398, generally to a younger son of the Scottish King. The name is ultimately derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland. Albany was formally chartered as a municipality by Governor Thomas Dongan on July 22, 1686. The "Dongan Charter" [1] was virtually identical in content to the charter awarded to New York City three months earlier. Pieter Schuyler was appointed first mayor of Albany the day the charter was signed.

In 1754, representatives of seven British North American colonies met in the Albany Congress. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania presented the Albany Plan of Union, the first formal proposal to unite the colonies. Although it was never adopted by Parliament, it was an important precursor to the U.S. Constitution. Albany native Philip Livingston was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. William Alexander, a general in the Revolutionary War, died in Albany in 1783. Several US Navy ships have since been named USS Albany in honor of the City's historical and military importance.

In 1797, the state capital of New York was moved from Kingston to Albany, about 50 miles north. The State Capitol building was constructed between 1867 and 1899 and inspired by the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris, France. Notable architectural features include its "Million Dollar Staircase."

The City's location on the Hudson River made it a center of transportation from the outset. In 1807, Robert Fulton initiated a steamboat line from New York City to Albany. On October 26, 1825 the Erie Canal was completed, forming a continuous water route from the Great Lakes to New York City. The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad between Albany and Schenectady, New York opened on September 24, 1831 and subsequently became part of the New York Central Railroad. Erastus Corning, a noted industrialist and founder of the New York Central, called Albany home and served as its mayor from 1834 to 1837. His great-grandson, Erastus Corning II, served as mayor of Albany from 1942 until 1983, the longest single mayoral term of any major city in the United States.

Between 1965 and 1978, the Empire State Plaza was constructed in Albany's Midtown, west of Downtown and south of the Capitol building. It was, and remains, controversial, in large part because it required the demolition of several historical neighborhoods and the forced removal of their inhabitants. The Plaza was conceived by Governor Nelson Rockefeller and is now named in his honor. The Erastus Corning Tower stands 589 feet (180 meters) high and is the tallest building in New York State outside New York City. Four other smaller towers, the Legislative Office Building, the State Library and Museum, the Justice Building, and the impressive performing arts center known as "The Egg" make up the rest of the Empire State Plaza. The design of the Empire State Plaza is based loosely on the National Congress complex in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.

Chester A. Arthur, 21st U.S. president, is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, north of the City.

[edit] Mayors of Albany

Main article: List of Mayors of Albany, New York

From Albany's formal organization in 1686 until 1779, mayors of Albany were appointed by the royal governor of New York, per the provisions of the original City Charter. From 1779 until 1839, mayors were chosen by the New York State's Council of Appointment, typically for a one year term that began in September. After 1840, Albany's mayors were directly elected by the city's residents. Albany has had 74 mayors since its inception. Gerald D. Jennings is the current Democratic mayor; he was first elected in 1993 and is currently serving in his fourth term of office.

[edit] Geography

Albany is located at 42°39′35″N, 73°46′53″W (42.659829, -73.781339)GR1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.8 mi² (56.6 km²). 21.4 mi² (55.5 km²) of it is land and 0.5 mi² (1.2 km²) of it (2.15%) is water. The Pine Bush, located on the far edge of the city with Guilderland and Colonie is the only sizable inland pine barrens and sand dunes in the United States and home to many endangered species including the Karner Blue butterfly. Four lakes exist within city limits, including Buckingham Lake, Rensselaer Lake, Tivoli Lake, and Washington Park Lake.

Albany is the hub city of the Capital District, which itself is a large component of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy-Saratoga Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which was ranked the 56th most populous in the United States of America in the 2000 Census, with a total population of 825,875.

[edit] Transportation

  • Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) provides bus service throughout Albany and surrounding areas (including Schenectady and Troy and provides management for the local airport and rail station (see below).
  • Albany International Airport, located in Colonie, serves Albany and the greater Capital Region with air service across the US and to one Canadian destination. There is very limited direct public transportation service between the airport and downtown Albany.
  • Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station (located right across the Hudson river in Rensselaer) was Amtrak's fourteenth busiest station as of 2004 and serves as a connection point for many Amtrak trains.
  • Greyhound Lines, Trailways, and Peter Pan/Bonanza buses are all served by a downtown terminal which is not far from most state office buildings and is convenient to most CDTA lines.

[edit] People and culture

[edit] Demographics

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 95,658 people, 40,709 households, and 18,400 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,474.6/mi² (1,727.5/km².) There were 45,288 housing units at an average density of 2,118.4/mi² (817.9/km².) The racial makeup of the city was 63.12% White, 28.14% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 3.26% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 2.98% from two or more races. 5.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 40,709 households out of which 22.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.3% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.8% were non-families. 41.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.95.

Hudson River View

In the city the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 19.3% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,041, and the median income for a family was $39,932. Males had a median income of $31,535 versus $27,112 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,281. About 16.0% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.8% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.

[edit] Culture

Albany is sometimes referred to as "Smallbany", with varying degrees of affection or derision.[citation needed] "Smallbany" generally implies that Albany's culture lacks sophistication when compared to such large metropolitan areas as New York City or Boston. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's dismissal of Albany as "a city without a good Chinese restaurant" provides one nationally-reported example of the so-called "Smallbany mentality" [2], which has also been reinforced by references to Albany in sitcom or film scripts as a provincial backwater. Albany's reputation for cultural mediocrity may also stem from its status as the "most average city in America:" the region's demographics more closely mirror national averages than those of any other city, making Albany an ideal and popular standard test market for new business and retail products [3].

Local media have reported on the "Smallbany mentality" and its effects on the local arts and music communities [4]. Despite the perceived lack of outside recognition for many of its cultural activities, however, Albany does indeed possess an active home-grown artistic community, and serves as a key regional crossroad for nationally touring artists and acts. In recent years, the city's government has invested marketing and financial resources to cultivate venues and neighborhoods that can attract after-hours business, as well as public art installations. Pearl Street, Broadway and Lark Street now serve as the most commercially active entertainment areas in the City. Summer concert series are sponsored by the City and local businesses at the Corning Preserve, Riverfront Park, Tricentennial Square and the Empire State Plaza. Albany's independent and underground artists, musicians and writers actively work in a variety of clubs, bars and coffee houses located throughout the City, many of them outside of those more commercially active areas. Metroland, the alternative newsweekly of the Capital Region, generally provides a focal point for previewing, reviewing and interviewing independent local artists and performers.

The Albany Symphony Orchestra [5], Capital Repertory Theatre [6] and Albany Insitute of History and Art [7] provide outlets for locally composed, created and curated works, as well as traveling exhibitions and shows. The recently renovated Palace Theatre [8] and the The Egg provide mid-sized forums for music, theatre and spoken word performances. The Pepsi Arena (which will be renamed the Times Union Center in 2007) serves as the city's largest musical venue for nationally and internationally prominent bands, as well as trade shows, sporting events and other large-scale community gatherings. The New York State Museum [9] is a major cultural draw, focusing on fine arts, natural history, and New York's economic, political and social histories. Additionally, there are several small, private art galleries and antiquarian book shops in Albany, mainly clustered around Lark Street between Washington Avenue and Madison Avenue. Albany also has two independent film theatres (the Spectrum 8 and Madison 7), as well as performing and fine arts venues associated with the University at Albany and College of St. Rose.

[edit] Sports

[edit] NCAA Division I College Athletic Programs

  • University at Albany: Currently plays at the Division I level in all of its sports, though for most of its history it was a Division III school, with a brief stay at the Division II level in the late 1990s. The football team is a member of the Division I-AA Northeast Conference, while all other sports teams play as members of the America East Conference. In 2006, Albany became the first SUNY affiliated school to send a team to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. The men's Lacrosse team has also played in its NCAA Division I Championship Tournament, the first University at Albany team to do so. Albany has hosted the New York Giants summer training camp since 1996.
  • Nearby Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy and Union College in Schenectady both play at the Division I level for men's and women's ice hockey, while the rest of their programs are Division III. (RPI offers scholarships for its men's team under a special dispensation granted by the NCAA to certain Division III schools with significant historic presence in a particular sport; Union is a non-scholarship Division I hockey program).
  • Siena College, located in the Albany suburb of Loudonville, also plays at the Division I level in all sports, although it discontinued its Division I-AA football program in 2003. It is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for most sports, with field hockey playing as a member of the Northeast Conference.

[edit] Minor league professional teams

[edit] Defunct professional teams

[edit] Pepsi Arena

The Pepsi Arena (originally named the Knickerbocker Arena when it opened in 1990) is a major regional athletic venue located in downtown Albany. It has a seating capacity of up to 17,500 for sporting events. The Siena College Men's Baskbetball team plays its home games here, and the Arena is also home to the Albany River Rats (AHL) and Albany Conquest (af2). The Pepsi Arena has hosted NCAA Division I hockey and basketball postseason tournaments, among many other sporting events. In May 2006, naming rights were sold to the Times Union, and the arena will become the Times Union Center in 2007.

[edit] Education

See also the list of high schools.

[edit] Media

Main Article: Media in Albany, New York

The Albany Times Union is Albany's primary daily paper and the only one based close to the City; its headquarters have been located in nearby Colonie since the 1970s after a dispute over land needed for expansion with then-Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd. The newspaper celebrated its 150th year of publishing in 2006. Serving Albany to a lesser degree are the Daily Gazette (which focuses primarily on Schenectady) and Troy Record. Metroland is the most notable alternative newsweekly in the area, publishing each Thursday, while The Business Review (nee Capital District Business Review) is a business weekly published each Friday.

In terms of broadcast media, Albany is considered a medium market (Arbitron market 64 in radio, Nielsen market 55 in television), however the market has several traits which set it apart. The pionnering influence of General Electric in nearby Schenectady directly contributed to the area emerging as the birthplace of station-based television (WRGB) and one of the earliest FM radio stations (today's WRVE), in addition to a powerful 50,000 watt AM station (WGY). In addition, in the early 2000s the greater Albany market was considered to have the highest concentration of FM stations east of the Mississippi River.

The Albany Metro area has affiliates of many of the major television networks including WRGB-CBS, WTEN-ABC, WNYT-NBC, WXXA-FOX, WMHT-PBS,WCWN-CW, WNYA-My Network TV, and WYPX-i. In addition, the area has a cable-only news channel, Capital News 9, which features local news 24/7. On the radio side, the Capital Region has two News/Talk radio stations, WGY and WROW. Both feature a mixture of local and syndicated programming. There are also 2 Sports Talk stations, WOFX, which features some FOX Sports Radio programming, local programming, and Play-by-Play, and WTMM, an affiliate of ESPN Radio. In addition, WAMC, aka Northeast Public Radio, is an NPR affiliate which serves the Albany area.

[edit] Sister cities

Albany has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):<ref>"Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI)." Retrieved June 3, 2006.</ref>

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

Municipalities and Communities of Albany County, New York
(County seat: Albany)
Cities Albany | Cohoes | Watervliet
Villages Altamont | Colonie | Green Island | Menands | Ravena | Voorheesville
Towns Berne | Bethlehem | Coeymans | Colonie | Green Island | Guilderland | Knox | New Scotland | Rensselaerville | Westerlo
Communities/CDPs Boght Corners | Coeymans | Crescent Station | Delmar | Dunsbach Ferry | Elsmere | Feura Bush | Glenmont | Latham | Loudonville | Medusa | Preston-Potter Hollow | Selkirk | Slingerlands | Verdoy | Westmere
Image:Flag of New York.svg State of New York

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Capital Albany

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Albany, New York

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