Wednesday, July 20, 2016


What American town/city/suburb doesn't have a scene like this? A very wide street, multiple turning lanes for vehicular traffic, oodles of parking lots, a half dozen or so car dealerships, signage for days, extremely pedestrian-unfriendly walkways, and visually displeasing utility poles with wires strung along both sides of the corridor. Not a very pretty picture. Still, I wanted a shot of (what I think of as) the historic Westgate Shopping Center sign. It's been at this spot on Central Avenue in Albany as long as I can remember.

Central Avenue (Route 5) in Albany, looking west.

So I googled it. The shopping center opened in 1957 which makes it just a little older than me. The sign is considered a local landmark, but I don't see any mention of an official historic designation. I do remember shopping here many, many times over the years. The name hints at the plaza's location; at the western "gate" of the city on NYS Route 5, a 370-mile long route across the center of New York State from Albany to Buffalo and the western border with Pennsylvania on Lake Erie.

From the north side of the street, still looking west.

I think I'm going to skip around a little with this part of the trip. I was so predictably chronological with my photos from Montréal. Time to change it up a little.


  1. Wow. This is a bit eerie (no pun intended re: Lake Erie). I'm from the Albany area too (Colonie) but never imagined that I'd be following the blog of an American in France who would nostalgically post about the Westgate shopping center sign I remember from the '60s and '70s. We shopped there often for groceries, or on the way to see my grandmother in the city. In that time it was home to many practical stores. And Dunkin' Donuts not far away! I'll have to see what's there now on my next trip back.

  2. the street is really wide

  3. We used to call that look the Route 1 look, running up and down the entire east coast and so much of it looking the same (and sadly so).

  4. I like the look of Castaway Diner :)

  5. Now I'm thinking it would be interesting to drive across NY on Route 5. Road trip!
    Have you read James Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere? Subtitle says it all: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape. Perceptive and insightful but not particularly cheerful reading.

  6. kiwi, LOL! I spent a few days in Colonie where my aunt lives during my trip. They have a Price Chopper in there now.

    gosia, but it's not the widest!

    mitch, that was the style at the height of the automobile era (which many would argue we are still in).

    anne marie, yup!

    judy, I think that's the "Gateway" diner. ;)

    emm, boy, that would take a while. I've read Kunstler's web site for many years. I especially like his "Eyesore of the Month." But I've not read the book you mentioned.

  7. I have friends who live in Albany who we visit every summer and I believe we've run into this shopping center before. :)


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