Wednesday, July 27, 2016

West Capitol Park

The park on the "back" side or "west front" of the New York State Capitol building is a lovely urban square. Government buildings surround it, including the monumental Corinthian colonnade of the State Education Building. Every summer, food trucks park along the curbs and state employees line up for tasty lunches. I remember having my first taste of souvlaki and baklava from a Greek truck on the park back in the summer of 1978.

A modern sculpture on the park's south side. The tall building is the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building.

I have a vague memory of when the park was home to many stately elm trees and how they were dying from the Dutch Elm disease epidemic of the '60s and '70s. The Empire State Plaza complex to the south of the capitol was a huge construction site and downtown was a mess. That, too, is all but a memory now. The capitol building was renovated recently and the park has had a facelift. It's a nice place to hang out on a warm day.

The west front of the capitol and, behind the trees, part of the colonnade of the Education Building in the background.

I also remember visiting the NYS Museum inside the old Education Building as a school kid. The great hall was full of minerals and gems, dioramas of local Native American life before colonization, a life-sized woolly mammoth, and the skeleton of a whale suspended above it all. The museum moved out of the Education Building to its current home in the Cultural Education Center on the plaza in 1976. Although I didn't take a picture of it, a bronze life-sized statue of George Washington stands in the western end of the park, facing the capitol building.


  1. Whoa, those are some amazing photos!

  2. I remember that museum. It was always dimly lit, with high ceilings (room for the whale!). Very mysterious, and even a little frightening. I seem to recall a huge geode full of lavender crystals, and of course, the dioramas of various taxidermied animals and wax Indians in the longhouse. The Grande Galerie d'Evolution in Paris captures some of that same feeling for me.

  3. Phenomenal shots. And I love that sculpture.

  4. I visited the NYS museum - fascinating place!

  5. Your capitol is uniquely beautiful.

  6. gosia, very '70s!

    judy, :)

    kiwi, you remember it well! I agree about the Grande Galerie d'Evolution.

    mitch, I have taken so many photos of it over the years. This is probably one of the better ones.

    anne marie, wow! When were you there?

    evelyn, I always liked being from a capital city. ;)


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