Thursday, December 12, 2013

Abandoned House

A festive, candy-adorned gingerbread house left on the window ledge of Key Bank at Lark Street and Washington Avenue.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Santa Speedo Sprint 2013

Yes, it's THAT time of year again.  The annual Santa Speedo Sprint dashed down Lark Street from Madison to Washington Avenue (and back again).  There were quite a few familiar faces, plus a goat this year.

There's a full album on my Facebook profile (it's set to Public so anyone can take a look).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Holiday Prep

There are still a few food trucks out by the Capitol and Thanksgiving turkeys are yet to be cooked, but the holiday tree is being installed on the Plaza.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Under Clark's Corner

Not too long after writing about the demolition of the Paul Clark Tavern at the corner of Madison Avenue and Lark Street, the site was excavated further and I noticed this brick structure.  This week, I finally got a chance to poke my camera through the fence surrounding the construction area.

Don Rittner has some suggestions as to what it might have been in his excellent post, What Happened To Paul Clark's Corner?

The brick building in the background is the former Metroland office, now being converted to condos.

Also:  Paul Clark's gravestone

Friday, November 8, 2013

From Jail To Synagogue

This modest little brick building at the far end of Federal Street off Delaware Avenue was erected in the 1930s as a synagogue for the Sons of Israel (a congregation which would later merge with others to form Temple Israel).  I remember this building being vacant when I first noticed it in the mid-1980s, but it now seems to be occupied by a business.

A fascinating detail about this building is that it was constructed from bricks recycled from the demolition of the Albany Penitentiary.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Faceless Angel

The face of this angel has crumbled away on the facade of St. Francis of Assisi (formerly St. James) Church on Delaware Avenue.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Warrents Commitments

On Sunday, there was a small fair at the Times Union Center to mark Albany County's 350th birthday.  In addition to tables from local businesses, the County Hall of Records had a little display.  In addition to free printed copies of the Dongan Charter, they also had some of these old metal boxes - which once held county records - for free. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pumpkin & Fish

The golden weather vane atop Albany Academy is one of the most famous landmarks of the Hackett Boulevard area.  Mounted on a cupola which architect Marcus T. Reynolds patterned after the school's old home in Academy Park (which was, in turned designed by Philip Hooker), it was installed here in 1931.  The distinctive weather vane originally adorned the Second Presbyterian Church which once stood at the corner of Lodge and Chapel Streets (now the site of a hotel parking garage).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Spooky Gravestone For Halloween

I've featured this gravestone before on my Church Grounds blog, but it's so delightfully macabre that I had to use it for Halloween as well.  

It's one of the oldest stones I've encountered at the Albany Rural Cemetery and one of the distinctive.  It features a winged skull - a popular image of mortality in old New England and some downstate burial grounds, but not so common here in the Albany area.  The center tablet is framed with a wonderful carved border of vines and flowers. 

It's also one of a few stones featuring a Dutch inscription and marked the grave of Elsie Gansevoort Winne, wife of Frans Winne.  The grave was originally located in the churchyard of the Reformed Dutch Church at the intersection of State Street and Broadway, but was moved several times over the years (including to the Washington Park) before ultimately being laid in the Church Grounds lot at the Rural Cemetery.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Noose & Scythe

This ghastly Grim Reaper appeared quite suddenly on State Street on Saturday evening.  And I do mean suddenly.  He wasn't there when I walked down this street on the way to an ATM two blocks away, but was there when I came back up the hill just a few minutes later. 

I'm not sure if the figure - placed by the Justice Building at the Empire State Plaza - was intended as a protest or a prank or a decoration.  But it was quite seasonably spooky on a October evening...and gone by early the next morning.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Downtown Mummy

An Ancient Egyptian mummy pauses to check out a vintage vehicle on display at Saturday's classic car show on North Pearl Street. 

(The mummy has been out and about to promote the Albany Institute of History and Art's new exhibit, The Mystery of The Albany Mummies.  I visited the museum yesterday and highly recommend seeing the exhibit.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Hydrangeas of Saint Agnes

Large headstones are flanked by beautiful hydrangea bushes on Founders Hill in Saint Agnes Cemetery.

Two of my pictures from a recent detour (I usually spend my free time researching in the adjacent Albany Rural Cemetery) through St. Agnes are currently part of a photo exhibit in the Concourse in the Empire State Plaza.  If you're in the area, do check out the exhibit!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Leaves and Bloom

Autumn leaves float amid a blue-green algae bloom in Washington Park Lake. 

The presence of the algae bloom in the lake (and in Buckingham Pond) was mentioned in the news yesterday and large, neon yellow signs have been posted to warn visitors about potential health risks from contact with the "pond scum." 

Despite the warnings, I watched a man stroll past said signs and toss a tennis ball out into the water for his dog to fetch while a woman let two small children play at filling cups with gravel and water at the shallow par near the Lake House. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sidewalk Solar System

Our Solar System (even non-planet Pluto) sketched in chalk on a sidewalk in the Hudson/Park neighborhood.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lost Pearls

A necklace of fake pearls hangs from the dootknob of a vacant building on New Scotland Avenue near Madison Avenue.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Weight of It All

Graffiti on one of the massive pylons supporting 787 near the old Central Warehouse.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Gov. Cleveland

The Gov. Cleveland makes its way up the Hudson River en route to this weekends Tugboat Roundup in Waterford.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Odd Duck

Someone placed a wooden duck (possibly a decorative planter) on the board covering the drain at the eastern end of Washington Park Lake.  Perhaps it was a nod to the many ducks that make the lake home.  Unfortunately, a few minutes after this picture was taken, a boy used his fishing pole to retrieve this duck from the board...only to pitch it into the lake.  It was last seen floating forlornly on its side.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Townsend Furnace

This iron cover in the sidewalk on Washington Avenue by the State Capitol bears the name of the Townsend Furnace which was a prominent Albany foundry in the 19th-century.  A few blocks to the west, Townsend Park is named for the family which owned the company.  One of its most notable members was Mayor John Townsend.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Healthy Hearts On The Hill

These signs - and smaller ones with arrows - have been appearing around Albany in recent weeks.  This particular sign is just outside the main branch of the Public Library on Washington Avenue.  They're part of a project called Healthy Hearts On The Hill, a program which is meant to promote heart-friendly lifestyles in the West Hill area of the city.  Here's their Facebook page.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ghost Ship (Sort of)

I've always had a real love for historic markers and can never pass one without stopping to read it.  But it wasn't until last week that I noticed a hidden detail on at least one such sign.  The outline of a ship can be faintly seen beneath the raised yellow letters and blue paint.  No doubt, it's supposed to be a nod to Henry Hudson's Haelve Maen.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rhymes With Shadow

I don't get to Saratoga Springs as often as I'd like, but this weekend, I took a little detour to revisit the gardens at Yaddo.  The imposing stone mansion at the historic artists retreat is strictly private, but the beautiful gardens (with their fountains, roses, and statues) are open to the public. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


A homemade sign in the window of the Van Rensselaer Apartments.  (The building, at the corner of Madison and Delaware Avenue was built in 1901 and was designed by architect Marcus T. Reynolds).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Triecentennial Time Capsule

Tucked in the foliage behind the statue in Tricentennial Park is a small plaque noting that a time capsule was place here in 1986.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bronze Pot

A pot and hatchet are among the details on the Tricentennial statue in the park of the same name on Broadway.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Fountain of Disarry

The fountain in Ten Eyck Plaza hasn't been turned on this summer and the grates are becoming quite untidy.  Not that the pigeons mind.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Tile Surpise

A small swatch of colored tiles in a littered lot is all that's left of buildings demolished on Henry Johnson Boulevard across from the public library.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Bar Building

I've mentioned before that most modern architecture is not my cup of tea, but there is something elegant and impressive about the headquarters of the New York Bar tucked where Elm, Columbia, and Eagle Street meet.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Root Ladder

The roots embedded in a hillside along the Washington Park Lake give the appearance of a rustic ladder.  I won't try to climb it, though, one dislocated knee is enough!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Are You My Mummy?

No, not Egyptian mummies with yards of linen wrappings.  This window display at a Lark Street hair salon certainly brings to mind a Doctor Who episode called The Empty Child in which an eerie little boy wearing such a mask repeatedly asks that question.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Motif

The Alfred E. Smith Building at Swan Street between Washington Avenue and State Street features a carved band with the names of every New York State county and figures engaged in various occupations from beekeeping to factory labor.  This figure in military clothing overlooks Washington Avenue and, in fact, seems to be keeping an intent look-out for today's Memorial Day Parade

Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Ducks

A female Mallard with two of her three ducklings at the Empire State Plaza

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


View of the Verizon offices as seen from the Vietnam Memorial Courtyard at the Empire State Plaza

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The De Luxe Pie Company

This sign in Garden Alley is all that's left of the old De Luxe Pie Company.  Garden Alley is a cul-de-sac of carriage houses directly behind Madison Avenue where the bakery was located during the mid 1900s.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Calgary Tulips

The tulips in Washington Park are a bit past their prime now and they'll be dug up for the bulbs in a day or so.  But here's a last look at one of my favorites from this season, a frothy white variety called Calgary.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pine Hills Turtle

When I was very little, two of these large concrete turtles stood on Madison Avenue near the long wall that runs in front of the Price Chopper supermarket.  I remember playing on them after visits to the nearby Pine Hills library or before shopping.  The pair have since been moved across Madison on the lawn of the Steamer Ten Theatre. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Park Lake Additions

These twin fountains appeared rather suddenly in Washington Park Lake some time during the past week or.  I walk through the park at least four or five times a week; one day there were no fountains and, the next day, there they were.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tulip Mania

The annual Tulip Festival will be held in Washington Park this year and the flowers are in full bloom for it.  The tulips are some of the prettiest I've seen and absolutely worth checking out (though tomorrow's weather might not be as great as today's and yesterday's).  This beautiful bloom reminds me of fresh lemonade.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


When I was very little, the city planted maple trees along my street and a number of others in the Center Square area.  The trees were surrounded by little iron fences like this.  As the trees grew, the fences were removed.  But they must have missed this one near the corner of Dove and Spring Streets.  As the trunk has expanded, the iron has become embedded in the bark.