Monday, February 09, 2009

Hello Albany !

I just want to give a shout out to my readers in Albany, NY, and to those who have visited there. Albany is my home town, and every time I go back it tugs a little at my heartstrings.

A glimpse of the Albany skyline.

I left Albany when I was twenty-one to spend a year in Paris. After that, I went to Washington, DC, for four years, then moved west to San Francisco. After seventeen years there, I came to live in rural France.

I once worked in Agency Building #1. In 1977, not long after it opened.

But from time to time, I've gone back to Albany. From my point of view, the place has kept its feel. It hasn't grown into a megalopolis. Far from it. Thank goodness. As a city planner by profession, I've seen what's happened to the big urbanized areas in the southern and western United States, and it ain't pretty. I'm glad that Albany was spared that fate. One drawback that I can think of is that the city suffers through the northeastern winter. That can be hard to take.

The "new" Dunn Memorial Bridge over the Hudson River. I must say that the old one was much prettier.

Albany's still a small city, even though it's the capital city of New York State. And while it lacks some of the verve and edge of a more cosmopolitan place, it more than makes up for it in livability and charm. And besides, Boston, New York, and Montréal are very close when you need a dose. Just a short train ride or drive away. Who could ask for more?

State government offices.

If I were to move back to the United States, I would seriously consider going back to Upstate New York. It's a great place.


  1. but i'll bet u would feel the cold more now than u did when u were brother lives in nearby VT (Middlebury) and they have incessant snow & it stays cold well into May....I couldn't handle that

  2. ...and it is close to the beautiful Adirondacks!

    Just like Melinda says, I don't think you would be able to stand the winter months with snow and ice. It's a far cry from the mild Touraine mild weather.

  3. Walt

    It's funny. I grew up on a tropical island and came to Montreal for university studies and after my Master's degree got married to someone whom I met during my first yr of engineering studies.
    Now I am used to the cold weather and complain about the hot weather and humidity that we experience in Montreal in the summer months.

  4. And, as you well know, I've been to Albany three times in recent months. And have fallen in love with the city and some beautiful new friends.

  5. Ah, I love upstate NY. Thanks for sharing the photos... I think they are making me miss it even more.

  6. This winter has been a harsh one though! Down in the Southern Tier, we've had over 200 inches...and counting!

  7. I always say the only thing good about Albany is how close it is to everything else. I don't like it here, but it's where I live and work. Wish I could see it through your eyes.

  8. Where'd you find pictures that make the place look so damn good? Maybe I'm just looking at your pics through winter colored glasses?

  9. Amazing video with a bird's eye view of the Chateau you have in your header

  10. The last time I was in Albany, you were probably 10 years old, and indeed, it was a very nice, small city.

    Love the new "do" but had no complaints about the old one! ;-)


  11. melinda, you're probably right. I haven't experienced a real cold winter in a long time.

    chm, my family used to go camping in the Adirondacks when I was kid. Great fun!

    beaver, we're never happy, are we? Oh, and thanks for that link!

    lewis, I've certainly been reading about your adventures!

    justin, even the winter? ;)

    rachael, ugh, that's a lot of snow.

    sean, when I was there, I couldn't wait to get out and see other places. But as I get older, the bigger places get too big, too loud, too much.

    walt, I took those pictures in the fall - one of the best times of the year upstate.

    bettyann, that was a while back!

  12. i went back to erie county for the first time since the 60s this past fall. it's so beautiful up there. so, so beautiful.


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