From Albany, CA (our hometown) to Albany, NY, we really have traversed half of the country now. Many states have very nice historic Capital Buildings, often with interesting interiors. Albany has a particularly outstanding State Capital based solely on architecture. The skyline is one of the most iconic we have seen due to Nelson Rockefeller’s Empire State Plaza. Rockefeller loved abstract art, modern concrete architecture, and open inviting “piazzas” as is common in Italy.
Large slabs of skyscrapers sit in a row in front of reflecting pools. Anchored by the NY State History Museum to the South (Free!) and the historic Capital to the North. In one corner sits, “The Egg” a performing arts center.
Underneath the Plaza is quarter mile of underground shops, services, a YMCA, and 90 pieces of Abstract Expressionist Art. Sucky Upstate NY weather? Who cares. Put on your pedometer and get your steps in, in comfort, with visual stimulation and convenience. This is not such a big downtown area, but add in the many food trucks on the surrounding streets, the downtown parks, and you have a very enticing place for the community to meet up and engage, regardless of the weather conditions. Bravo Mr. Rockefeller! Good city planning back in the 50’s…and then great patience as it took 18 years to complete. Of course, this gorgeous Capital building is not just the usual rotunda/dome style, and required something just as magnificent at its feet.