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REFLECTIONS ON ALBANY

A little historical perspective

sunny 65 °F

Hi;

Some find it odd that Albany was chosen as the site for New York's state capitol but there was a reason. Henry Hudson was an English explorer of the late 1500's whose explorations occurred mainly in what is now Canada and along the northeastern coastline. For the British crown he unsuccessfully sought a water route to Asia. His 3rd voyage to find Asia in 1609, however, was funded by the Dutch East India Company. It, too, was unsuccessful but he sailed up the river to the site of Albany before turning back. It was only years later that the river was named the Hudson River. Albany's location was strategically important due to its remoteness, 120 miles from New York harbor and from Canada from the north. Both were British bastions. Ft. Ticonderoga was a US deterrent to the north and West Point's fortifications to the south. Albany was also located on the Hudson River, a salt/brackish water seaport. Later, as commerce developed a navigation lock was built (now US Lock#1) to separate the salt water from the fresh water flowing southward from Lake Champlain and the Mohawk River. Locks were built to connect the Lake and the Mohawk River (Erie Canal). This navigation system made Albany an important commercial center, especially after the railroads were built connecting New York City, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, etc. Fast forward to the last 50 years......Nelson A. Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller was elected Governor of New York, and held the office from 1959-1973. During his tenure he envisioned a 'rebirth' of downtown Albany which had slipped into decay. He convinced the legislature to raze the downtown neighborhoods and create an Empire State Plaza across the street from the Capitol Building. In the course of construction over $1B was spent with the State Archive, Library, and Museum building 1/4 mile to the south with the new Law and Supreme Court building to the east, and 4 towers lining the connecting mall to the north. To the east, an 'egg' or circular-shaped building sits on a pedestal housing 2 performing arts theaters, one seating 900+, the other 400+ people. A sub-terranean corridor connects the Capitol with the Archive Building and the other buildings to the east and north. Everything is dressed in white marble. At ground level is the mall where pools, fountains, and sculpture adorne the vast area. Some call it 'Rocky's Folly' but it is impressive and worthwhile to visit.

After leaving Albany we traveled south on I-87 then to I-84 toward Pennsylvania. Our campground destination was East Stroudsburg near the Delaware Water Gap and Pocono Mountains. It is beautiful country and our campground was lovely. We ventured into town and found a nice Italian family restaurant for dinner. The next day we continued southward to York, Pa in the rich Pennsylvania Dutch country. We googled to find a nice restaurant and discovered that 'restaurant row' , a cluster of eateries in historic downtown York, gave us a nice variety from which to choose. Our choice was a seafood bistro where we enjoyed a glass of wine and a seafood appetizer. I had oysters on the half shell.
Tomorrow we head toward Washington, DC and College Park, MD where we will stay a few days. More to come.....................

Posted by dixter 06:29 Archived in USA Tagged and albany beyond

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