Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coal Cover

This metal disk is set into an older flag of sidewalk just outside the famous Jack's Oyster House on lower State Street. The name McKinney was the first thing that caught my eye since I enjoying spotting examples of his cast iron architectural elements on old facades around Albany. But, since it's far too small to be a manhole cover, I couldn't quite place what this was...at first. Recently, I realized I'd seen similar examples in Manhattan...coal covers. These iron caps covered sidewalk hatches through which coal was delivered to basements in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some coal hatches were designed to double as vault lights.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Olympic

The neon is long gone, the painted letters are fading, and there's no signs of life in the business downstairs. I'm not sure when the Olympic Bar closed. A quick search shows it was at least still open in 1990 when it was robbed by a knife-wielding man. I don't think I even noticed the place - or, more accurately - its worn sign - until 2005 or so when it caught my eye on the way to the Albany bus station down the street.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Close-up of a wall along Maiden Lane. The texture of the wall - pebbles set into some sort of mortar - reminds me of the Gum Wall at Seattle's Pike Place Market...only less colorful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Mummy

An abandoned, withered plant sits in an empty storefront in the old Arcade Building at the corner of Maiden Lane and James Streets.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In Progress

We've started painting some of the rooms in our house, beginning with the dining room. This picture was taken as we began to move things out of the way and started taping.

As far as I know, this house was built in the 1840s and altered about fifty years later. I didn't appreciate this decorative fireplace when I was growing up and used the dining room as my play space. It just looked dark and drab to me. I've since learned to really like the black stone mantle and the faux gold marbling. It also features a lovely cast iron grate which we've temporarily removed until the painting and flooring is finished.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Capitol Park Plaque

This plaque - one of the Bicentennial Tablets - is easy to miss as it's set low to the ground. Located in the park on the east side of the State Capitol, it gives a short, but significant history of the previous Capitol building on the site.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The View From The Plaza

Looking slightly northeast from the main platform of the Empire State Plaza at part of downtown Albany. The large building with the red roof is the Office of the New York State Comptroller (the lobby has glass cases displaying some small items uncovered by archaeologists during the building's construction). The decaying brick building in front of the Comptroller's building is part of the old Wellington Hotel complex and the glass-enclosed archway (crossing part of Eagle Street here) is the walkway connection the Plaza with the Times Union Center.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mural at Madison and Main

When I was little - think late 70s and early 80s - a number of murals decorated walls around Albany. I remember the colorful silhouettes on Lark Street at Washington Avenue, leaping dancers on the wall overlooking the Dunkin Donuts at the other end of Lark, a wilderness scene of moose and bears on lower New Scotland Avenue. Most of the murals are long gone. This one, on the side of the Pine Hills CVS is one of the few that survive. The faded painting shows Albany's City Hall on one side, the old fire and police station on the other (the firehouse is gone and now home to the Steamer 10 Theatre for children, though the police station remains). In between are some of the businesses that called this stretch of Madison Avenue home. Many of those businesses are gone, too.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Salem 7, 1/3

Salem 7 1/3, a sculpture by Antoni Milkowski, stands like a modern monolith near the eastern overlook on the main platform of the Empire State Plaza.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Filling In The Space

A coffee sack outside the new Tierra Coffee Roasters (formerly Muddy Cup Cafe) in the Pine Hills neighborhood. The frame used to hold posters for the adjacent Madison Theatre.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back Wall Surprise

High on the wall of an old house at the corner of Madison Avenue and Dove Street, a small cast iron hatch. This is one of a pair set into the wall; the one below it was closed and shows the floral motif nicely. The building has obviously been altered a few times over the year; this may have been an interior wall as these seem to be part of an old chimney system.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saucer and Egg

A saucer-like and rarely used fountain near The Egg on the east side of the Empire State Plaza's main platform.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Geometry On The Plaza

Two massive intertwined metal cubes on the Empire State Plaza. This modern sculpture is Untitled, 1969-70 by Forrest Myers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The World

Detail of the lights outside the west entrance to the Old State Education Building.

See previous post - Wise Owls