Albany, New York

capital city of the State of New York, United States, and seat of Albany County

Albany (/ˈɔːlbən/ (audio speaker iconlisten) AWL-bə-nee) is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly 150 miles (240 km) north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River.

Albany, New York
A medley of different scenes to represent the diversity of the city. At top is a photo of the city's skyline, juxtaposing modern towers from the 1960s with older buildings dating back to the 19th century. Above center, right shows cookie-cutter, single-family houses, all two-stories with porches. Below center, right shows the marquee of a buff- and red-brick theater; marquee reads "PALACE". Bottom is a panoramic view of an open courtyard split by reflecting pools and surrounded by four modern, glass and concrete towers on left and one taller tower on right; in center is a Romanesque, granite, five-story capitol building. Below center, left shows a city street populated with old brick buildings. Above center, left shows a modern, glass and concrete tower surrounded by a shorter building of the same style.
Clockwise from top: Downtown from Rensselaer; middle-class housing in the Helderberg neighborhood; Palace Theatre; Empire State Plaza from the Cultural Education Center; North Pearl Street at Columbia Street; and the State Quad at SUNY Albany.
A flag with three equal horizontal stripes colored orange, white, and blue from top to bottom. In the center is the city seal (except for text and circular outline).
Circular seal with central images of a shield at center and sailing ship above it, with a European man to the left and a Native American to the right. The seal's edge reads "THE SEAL OF THE CITY OF ALBANY" with "ASSIDUITY" in a banner above the bottom.
Etymology: Named for the Scottish Duke of Albany, whose title comes from the Gaelic name for Scotland: Alba
Smallbany · The 518[a]
Cradle of the Union[b] · Cap City
Map shows Albany on the west bank of the Hudson, surrounded by the towns of Colonie, Guilderland, and Bethlehem. Roads are also shown. Interstates 90, 87, and 787 pass through the city boundaries.
Boundaries of and major thoroughfares through Albany
Located on the east border of the county, north of center. County is located in east section of the state, just south of center.
Location in Albany County and the state of New York
Albany is located in New York
Location within New York (state)
Albany is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Albany is located in North America
Location within North America
Coordinates: 42°39′09″N 073°45′26″W / 42.65250°N 73.75722°W / 42.65250; -73.75722
Country United States
State New York
RegionCapital District
Settled1614; 410 years ago (1614)
Incorporated1686; 338 years ago (1686)
 • TypeStrong mayor-council
 • MayorKathy Sheehan (D)
 • State capital21.94 sq mi (56.81 km2)
 • Land21.40 sq mi (55.43 km2)
 • Water0.53 sq mi (1.38 km2)
 • Metro
6,570 sq mi (17,000 km2)
Elevation141 ft (43 m)
Highest elevation378 ft (115 m)
Lowest elevation2 ft (0.6 m)
 • State capital99,224
 • Density4,506.84/sq mi (1,740.11/km2)
 • Metro
 • Metro density180/sq mi (69/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
12201–12212, 12214, 12220, 12222–12232
Area codes518, 838
Geocode977310, 978659
ISO 3166 code36-01000
FIPS code36-01000
GNIS feature ID978659

Prior to the recession of the 1990s, Albany was home to two Fortune 500 companies: KeyBank and Fleet Bank. Both banks have since moved or merged with other banks.[7]

It is the former home of the AHL ice hockey team the Albany Devils.The team moved to Binghamton, New York in 2017. They are now the Binghamton Devils.

Albany is served by the Albany International Airport.


Aerial view of Albany looking northeast

The Empire State Plaza has many state agency office buildings. It fills almost any view of Albany. Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and architect Wallace Harrison led its construction between 1965 and 1978. The complex is a big example of late American modernism in architecture.[8] It remains a controversial building project both for displacing city residents and for its architectural style. The most recognizable part of the complex is the Erastus Corning Tower. The tower is the tallest building in New York outside of New York City.[8] The 19th-century New York State Capitol at the opposite (north) end of the plaza is the seat of the New York State Legislature and the home of the Governor of New York, currently Andrew Cuomo.[9]

This 1789 etching shows the Dutch influence on the architecture of early Albany.

Albany's initial architecture incorporated many Dutch influences, followed soon after by those of the English. The Quackenbush House, a Dutch Colonial brick mansion, was built c. 1736;[10] Schuyler Mansion, a Georgian-style mansion, was built in 1765;[11] and the oldest building currently standing in Albany is the 1728 Van Ostrande-Radliff House at 48 Hudson Avenue.[12] Albany's housing varies greatly, with mostly row houses in the older sections of town, closer to the river. Housing type quickly changes as one travels westward, beginning with two-family homes of the late 19th century, and one-family homes built after World War II in the western end of the city.[13]

Albany City Hall was opened in 1883. The New York State Capitol was opened in 1899 (after 32 years of construction)[9] at a cost of $25 million, making it the most expensive government building at the time.[14] Albany's Union Station, a major Beaux-Arts design,[15] was under construction at the same time; it opened in 1900. In 1912, the Beaux-Arts styled New York State Department of Education Building opened on Washington Avenue near the Capitol. It has a classical exterior, which features a block-long white marble colonnade.[16] The 1920s brought the Art Deco movement, which is illustrated by the Home Savings Bank Building (1927) on North Pearl Street[17] and the Alfred E. Smith Building (1930) on South Swan Street,[18] two of Albany's tallest high-rises.[19]

Architecture from the 1960s and 1970s is well represented in the city, especially at the W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus (1950s and 1960s) and on the uptown campus of the SUNY Albany college (1962–1971). The state office campus was planned in the 1950s by governor W. Averell Harriman to offer more parking and easier access for state employees.[20] The uptown SUNY campus was built in the 1960s under Governor Rockefeller on the site of the city-owned Albany Country Club. Straying from the popular open campus layout, noted American architect Edward Durell Stone designed the SUNY Albany campus from 1954 to 1956 with a centralized building layout with administrative and classroom buildings at center surrounded by four student housing towers. The design called for much use of concrete and glass, and the style has slender, round-topped columns and pillars reminiscent of those at Lincoln Center in New York City.[21]

  1. For the area code.
  2. MSN Encarta states that this nickname "resulted from the meeting here in 1754 of the Albany Congress, which adopted Benjamin Franklin's Plan of Union, the first formal proposal to unite the colonies.[1]
  3. In this instance, assiduity, "the quality of acting with constant and careful attention."[2]
  4. On Birch Hill Road near Loudonville Reservoir.
  5. Mean water elevation, varies with the tide.[5]


  1. "Albany" Archived October 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Archived October 31, 2009.
  2. Nearing, Brian (November 30, 2004). "Three Cheers for the Orange, White, and Blue". Times Union (Albany). Hearst Newspapers. p. B1. Archived from the original on April 30, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  3. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  4. "Worldwide Elevation Finder".
  5. "NATIONAL WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT PROGRAM - The Hudson River Basin". USGS. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  6. McEneny (2006), p. 111
  7. McEneny (2006), p. 193
  8. 8.0 8.1 Waite (1993), pp. 81–82
  9. 9.0 9.1 Waite (1993), pp. 68–70
  10. Brooke, Cornelia E. (1972-02-04). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Quackenbush House". Archived from the original on 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  11. Waite (1993), pp. 48–49
  12. Grondahl, Paul (2008-12-23). "This Old House Under Our Noses". Times Union (Albany). Hearst Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  13. Scruton, Bruce A. (1986-07-06). "City's Architectural Heritage Diverse, Extensive". Knickerbocker News. Hearst Newspapers (online publisher). p. T52. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  14. "Building Big: New York State Capitol". Public Broadcasting Service. 2001. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  15. Waite (1993), p. 106
  16. Waite (1993), pp. 79–80
  17. Waite (1993), p. 98
  18. Waite (1993), p. 82
  19. "Albany: Buildings of the City". Emporis. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  20. McGuire, Mark (1997-09-28). "Dirt, Not Ivy, Covers This Campus". Times Union (Albany). Hearst Newspapers. p. A1. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  21. Waite (1993), pp. 241–242

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