Location, History, Neighborhood Descriptions and more...
Albany has close ties with the nearby cities of Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs, forming a region called the Capital District. This area makes up the bulk of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with a population of 850,957, making it the fourth largest urban area in New York State, and the 56th largest MSA in the United States.
Albany is built on the site of the Dutch Fort Orange and its surrounding community of Beverwyck. The English acquired the site from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it Albany, in honor of James II, Duke of Albany. A 1686 document issued by Thomas Dongan granted Albany its official charter. This date makes Albany the second oldest city in the state in terms of its date of incorporation, after New Amsterdam....
Arbor Hill, historically the area from Clinton Ave. (formerly called Patroon Street) north to the Livingston Ave. railroad bridge (where North Albany begins) and from the Hudson River west to Lexington Ave., was outside Albany's first boundaries as set up in the Dongan Charter. The original name of the area was the Village of Colonie (from which the name of the town comes from) it was annexed by the city in 1815, at which time Patroon St. became Clinton Ave. The current name comes from the nickname of the Ten Broeck Mansion (Arbor Hill), the mansion is still an important cultural and historical museum. The neighborhood has many historical and cultural spots including the Palace Theatre and Quackenbush House (Downtown), and the St. Joseph Church (Ten Broeck Triangle, actually a sub-section of Arbor Hill). Demographically it is predominantly African-American.
Residents enjoy the hiking path with ducks and geese at its centerpiece pond as well as local amenities within easy walking distance on New Scotland and Western Avenues. Homes are primarily single-family and are located on tree-lined streets, some with medians.
A neighborhood of interior streets between Central and Western Avenues, Beverwyck is mostly a residential neighborhood. The neighborhood received its name from Beverwyck Park, which in turn was named for Albany's original Dutch name.
So named for its proximity to the W. Averell Harriman State Office Campus, many are mistaken to believe it was named for the nearby State University of New York at Albany uptown campus, but the neighborhood was named prior to this construction. This neighborhood features predominantly single-family homes on side streets with many retail, commercial, and office spaces on Western Avenue. US Route 20 and NY Route 85 are the major roads that pass through the neighborhood.
 Center Square
Center Square is a neighborhood that is often compared by locals to New York City's SoHo or Greenwich Village. Center Square contains many buildings of architectural significance. The neighborhood is locally famous for its nightlife, entertainment, culture, and dining. Center Square includes the area bounded by Lark Street on the west, Spring Street on the north, South Swan Street on the east and Jay Street on the south, plus the upper portion of Lancaster Street between Lark Street and Willett Street.
The Helderberg neighborhood can be roughly defined by the quadrangle formed by New Scotland Ave., South Manning Blvd., Hacket Blvd. and Academy Road. Its namesake is a small road (Helderberg Road) than runs parallel between Hackett Boulevard and New Scotland Avenue. The neighborhood is situated between the city's two primary hospitals, St. Peters and Albany Medical Center. It also borders the combined campus of Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy and the Sage College of Albany, located in the University Heights neighborhood. The neighborhood contains the Albany Academy, a prep school for boys and girls.
Delaware Avenue is a main entrance to the city from the south, specifically the Bethlehem/Delmar area. There is a wide selection of activities along Delaware Avenue, including a movie theater, retail stores, restaurants, churches, a post office, a bank, pharmacies, a historic firehouse and numerous other small businesses. The neighborhood is located southwest of the Empire State Plaza. Delaware Avenue is the western border of the South End.
A residential development located East of New Karner Road. South of Washington Ave. Extension, and bounded by sections of the Pinebush Preserve.
Albany’s Hudson/Park is bordered on the north by Center Square, on the south by Lincoln Park, and the east by the Nelson Rockefeller Empire State Plaza, it is bisected by Madison Avenue. The neighborhood has seen spill over from the Lark Street and Center Square areas and is similar in appearance to both neighborhoods in its mix of entertainment, restaurants, and historic housing. South of Madison Ave. the Hudson/Park neighborhood is a part of the South End.
Lark Street is a historic street in Albany, New York. It is part of the "Center Square" and "Hudson Park" neighborhoods, and is located one block east of Washington Park. Lark Street is home to many independently owned shops, coffee houses, restaurants, art galleries, antique shops, bars, and tattoo parlors. Although the southeasternmost strip was rebuilt in 2002-2003 to place new roadways, trees, and sidewalks in front of the new shops in the active portion of Lark Street, some local residents have protested the neglect of the northwestern side of the street (crossing west of Washington Avenue), which runs down into the less-affluent Arbor Hill neighborhood. Lark Street and Jay Street was used as a location during the filming of Ironweed. The Washington Avenue Armory is located at the corner of Lark Street and Washington Avenue.
Lark Street is located two long blocks west of the Empire State Plaza and one block east of Washington Park. Just a short walk from downtown Albany's business district, Lark Street has long been a mix of commercial and residential that is reminiscent of the some neighborhoods of Manhattan. Nineteenth century brownstones are a common sight on the street. Cobblestone intersections remain from the turn-of-the century neighborhood this once was on parts, especially the intersection with Jay Street.
Melrose is an area east of the State Office Campus which features mostly residential homes and includes Rosemont Park. It runs roughly from Brevator St. to Manning Blvd. Melrose Avenue itself is built on the right-of-way of the first passenger railroad in the state of New York, which went from Albany to Schenectady, originally the Mohawk and Hudson, later the Albany and Schenectady Railroad. The nearby Frank Waterson Park Little League field adjacent to Westland Hills Park off Colvin Avenue was listed by Guinness Book of Records in 1992 as being the largest Little League field.
Although not listed as a neighborhood by the city, New Albany is the residential area roughly located at the west end of the Pine Hills neighborhood, the east end of the Melrose neighborhood, and the northeast end of the Buckingham Pond neighborhood. Most residences are single family homes of varying styles constructed by developers from around the turn of the century through the nineteen-teens.
Named for the Normans Kill, a Dutch named creek of considerable size making up Albany's southern border. Located on a yellow brick road off Delaware Avenue it is very rural and forested. Located here are Steven's Farm, a historic active farm and the location of the official horses of Albany's police force. An old abandoned bridge underneath the modern Delaware Ave. bridge links to the town of Bethlehem but is closed to traffic.
An older neighborhood located roughly from the Livingston Ave. railroad bridge on Broadway north to the city line with Menands and west from the Hudson River to Van Rensselaer Boulevard. Historically settled by Irish immigrants, North Albany is a large and diverse neighborhood with single family homes, duplexes, apartment buildings, and older row houses. Also includes many older industrial sites along Broadway and North Pearl Street.
This is tucked between the growing University Heights and Washington Park neighborhoods, and is bordered on the east by the southern end of Lark Street. The city has recently decided on a plan of urban renewal in this neighborhood of over 1,000 people in nine city blocks. This is subject to an urban development plan, which as of 2007 will not include eminent domain.
The Pinebush Preserve
The Pinebush Preserve is located in the westernmost parts of Albany.
Pine Hills neighborhood is roughly bounded by Washington Ave to the North, Lake Ave to the East, Woodlawn & Cortland to the South, and Manning Boulevard to the West. The neighborhood consists mainly of freestanding multi-unit, duplex, and semi-detached houses and is home to Albany High School, The LaSalle school, The College of St. Rose, and Alumni Quad of the University at Albany. The area of Pine Hills east of Main Avenue and north of Myrtle Avenue is commonly referred to as the student ghetto due to its predominant population of college age students. The area of Pine Hills west of Main Avenue, a suburb of Albany at the end of the nineteenth century, features many large Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, and Colonial Revival homes. The area where Madison Ave meets Western Ave. a block from St. Rose is the center of a commercial area, complete with a movie theater, grocery store, fast food strip mall, retail, restaurants, a library, community playhouse, police station, pharmacy, and elementary school. The Pine Hills Neighborhood Association is a great resource for finding out everything you need to know about the area. They maintain a website at http://PineHillsNA.org (contains, History, Resources, Links, Photo Album, etc...) - A Neighborhood to Discover; A Place to Call Home - Pine Hills
Although often mistakenly labeled part of Arbor Hill the gorge carved out by the Fox Creek (diverted into pipes around 1797 on the north side of Sheridan Avenue, once named Fox[es] Street and then Canal Street) is an old part of the city that has fallen on hard times. Recent spill over from downtown has helped the eastern edge revitalize with a new Hampton Inn and plans for redevelopment of the Boyd printing plant. A bridge carries Henry Johnson Boulevard (formerly Northern Boulevard) over the Hollow.
A large and diverse area of Albany, it consists of many smaller neighborhoods. Bounded on the east by the Hudson River, on the south by the Normans Kill (boundary with the town of Bethlehem), the west by Delaware Ave., and the north by Madison Avenue. The city's website recently touted a plan to address blight in this area and encourage development of empty lots and a possible redevopment of underused sites. The city states that there are eight neighborhoods in the South End under its Capital South plan, but does not state what it considers to be those eight neighborhoods. Important roads in this area include Delaware, Madison, Morton, Park, and Second Avenues; Southern Boulevard, and South Pearl Street. Some parts of this vast area are neighborhoods, other areas have no name and are just generically referred to as being in the South End, even though they may be separated by named neighborhoods from each other. The Delaware Avenue neighborhood south and east of Delaware Ave. is a part of the South End, as is the portion of the Hudson/Park neighborhood south of Madison Ave., for information on these areas see their respective entries.
Some other South End neighborhoods are:
This neighborhood surrounds Krank Park, a park well used by baseball teams from throughout the city. The park is a great asset to the people of the area.
Mansion District/Little Italy
In the Mansion District, all major 19th-century styles are represented. A number of buildings employ elements of both the Greek Revival and Italianate styles, but there are also some highly refined examples of these individual styles. There are also some unusual examples of the application of Gothic Revival decoration to rowhouse construction. Italianate is the most widely represented style in the district and it is present in many levels of sophistication. The Mansion District is dominated by the nearby Empire State Plaza and Governor's Mansion. Along Madison Ave. next to and within part of the Mansion District is Albany's Little Italy. Though no longer dominated by Italians, the Italian influence is still present in two established Italian restaurants. An attempt to turn a former Catholic church into a community arts center is well under way. The Mansion District also has a library branch and the Schuyler Mansion museum.
A distinct neighborhood features mixed-use living where tennis courts, shops and courtyards are interspersed among historic owner and tenant occupied historic homes. The neighborhood is adjacent to downtown and the waterfront. This neighborhood is in the South End and was at one point almost devoid of people, but was brought back by one of the few urban renewal programs that worked in Albany. It is bounded on the north by downtown, on the west by Little Italy and the Mansion District, and on the south by unnamed South End sub-neighborhoods.
 Second Avenue
Second Avenue runs from Delaware Ave. east downhill to South Pearl Street, and with its side streets this neighborhood is mostly residential and relies on Delaware Ave. for most retail services. Blight has struck most of Second Avenue especially the half closer to South Pearl St. Most of the side streets closer to Delaware Ave. are healthy residential single family streets. Second Ave. becomes Whitehall Road at Delaware Avenue.
University Heights is home to the Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany Law School, Sage College of Albany, and Albany Medical College. This expanding commercial area contains many health care–related businesses, a few retail stores and restaurants. Health and human services facilities in the neighborhood include: Albany Medical Center Hospital, the Stratton V.A. Hospital, the Capital District Psychiatric Center, the NYS Office of Mental Health, and the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. University Heights is bounded by Park South to the north, and the South End to the south.
For 300 years, Washington Park have been used by the residents of Albany for recreational and other public purposes. Originally granted to the city by the Crown in colonial times, the Park area has been used as a parade ground, a cemetery, a public square, and a welfare farm. Shortly after the Civil War, work began on what is today's park - a manicured combination of gardens and lawn landscaped in the finest Victorian tradition. With some 100 species of trees from exotic lands throughout the world, the Park resembles a botanical garden. Washington park is also the home of "Park Playhouse" where you can see live plays in an outdoor amphitheater.
West Hill is a part of Albany which has seen a rise in crime in recent years, which some say is a spill over from neighboring Arbor Hill. West Hill is bisected and dominated by Central Avenue, Albany's "Main Street" and an important thoroughfare into Albany.
The Whitehall neighborhood features tree lined streets and sidewalks in a suburban/low density urban atmosphere of single family homes. Whitehall has many churches and synagogues, and a Jewish Community Center. Nearby New Scotland and Delaware Avenues provide the neighborhood with hospitals and retail services.