Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can't Touch This Sign

I'm sure that putting stickers on a traffic sign is considered vandalism and, no, I'm not condoning that. But this sign near the Empire State Plaza did catch my eye and give me a good laugh.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Terra Cotta Tile

A grimy, but elegant terra cotta decoration on a brick facade along Madison Avenue. The late 19th-century house has long since been divided up into small apartments, but much of its gorgeous interior woodwork remains intact.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old Numbers

When I was very little, this store front on Madison Avenue was a liquor store. Being far too young to drink, I never really paid much attention to it and I don't even remember seeing the neon sign actually lit. Now, however, it's an antique store and I often pause to admire the delightfully garish lamps and light fixtures...including one adorably awful arrangement of gold cherubs, pink roses, and bulbs. So I only just recently noticed the old neon sign's promise of delivery and the old-style phone numbers.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lion and Shutters

A lion decorates a cast iron lintel on Swan Street overlooking the Empire State Plaza and New York State Museum.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

And The Year Was...

Date carved on a former bank building on Madison Avenue near Ontario Street.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pine Hills Tiles

Small colorful tiles are a pretty surprise on the sides of an otherwise plain building housing a convenience store in the Pine Hills neighborhood.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stone Fruit

Delightfully detailed clustered of carved fruits - everything from pomegranates to bananas - decorate a handsome apartment building on State Street.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Corner

Old street signs mounted on a house at the corner of Ten Broeck Street and Clinton Avenue.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Boot-Scraper

I've heard of these before and I've seen photos of a few, including some built right into the steps or iron railings of 19th-century houses. But I've never come across one in Albany before. Until this weekend, when on my way to the St. Patrick's Day Parade, I veered off of Dove Street and onto Chestnut....and this caught my eye.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dancing Beak-To-Beak

Pairs of carved birds decorate the gorgeous First Presbyterian Church overlooking Washington Park at the corner of State and Willett Streets. Built in 1882, the church is also home to four beautiful Tiffany windows.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Pruyn Building

Located at 70 North Pearl Street (adjacent to the well-known Kenmore Hotel), the Pruyn Building is one of my favorite buildings in downtown Albany.

Built as a commercial building with apartments above two storefronts by Robert Hewson Pruyn (who served as the U.S. minister to Japan during Abraham Lincoln's presidency), the gorgeous Queen Anne building was designed by architects William A. Potter and Robert H. Robertson (they also design another Pruyn's residence on Willett Street).

This lovely cast iron ornament is one of a pair flanking the surviving storefront. A terra cotta plaque above it dates the building to 1879.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fancy Work

This doorway of this old brick town house on lower Clinton Avenue is crowned with an elegant cast iron lintel which, for the longest time, I mistook for carved stone.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Central Avenue Whimsy

This brownstone on Central Avenue hasn't aged well. The facade is blackened with pollution and scarred with remnants of poorly cleaned graffiti. But it retains some eye-catching details like this whimsical carved figure.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gothic Remnant

Very little is left of this once-ornate cast iron railing on Clinton Avenue just up from North Pearl Street.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Faded Ghost Sign

While loitering for a moment near Capital Rep, I noticed a ghost sign - faded to almost complete illegibility - on the north wall of the old Harry Simmons building.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rail History In Pine Hills

This marker, identifying the spot where the first chartered railroad in New York State began its debut trip from Albany to Schenectady, stands on the point where Western Avenue (seen above) converges with Madison Avenue in Pine Hills. The company was chartered in 1825 and the first train - yellow passenger cars drawn by the famous DeWitt Clinton steam locomotive - departed from Albany near this intersection on September 24, 1831. The sixteen-mile trip through the Pine Bush took about forty minutes.