Albany has many remarkable natural and cultural assets, heritage and roles that make it special and are defining for the City, albeit not always recognized.
a. Capital City of the Empire State
b. Education City – Albany has a long and rich history of education at every level from public and parochial schools to a university. I little more than 10 years ago (until the Mayor got bored with the effort), a Mayor’s committee and the City Council designated (1) the Albany Educationway from SUNY Plaza on Broadway, past the original city of the original Ualbany, the City Bd. Of Ed bldg, the colonnaded State Ed. Bldg, Albany High and so forth to the University at Albany, (2) University Heights (a gem of a collection of education, medical and other institutions in the heart of Albany), and (3) Albany as an Education City. It also adopted for public signing the Albany Education Compact.
c. The bones of the Greek Ideal City-the acropolis with the State Capitol, the Empire State Plaza, the State Education Bldg, the Richardson City Hall, the Court of Appeals Bldg., etc. Overall, a greatly interesting and architecturally rich collection of public buildings and spaces, a residential crescent of 19th century neighborhoods bordering in part the acropolis and the, at least one time, commercial core at State and Pearl Streets. Grady Clay called State Street a working venture tube.
d. A Green City. Assets like the Olmsted like Washington Park, the unique Albany Pine Bush Preserve, the Corning Preserve and in effect a green belt that also includes the Patroon Creek, Tivoli Lake, Steven’s Farm and the golf course, etc. etc. (if the dots could be connected)
e. A great Hudson River City (obvious)
f. A great historic city that has played a role in many of the major epochs of American history (and has the architecture and street pattern reflecting it) beginning with Native Americans, Hudson’s exploration, the Albany Plan of Union, role in planning the Erie Canal, role in Civil War, home of great Presidents like TR and FDR, etc. etc. Albany itself is a state designated heritage area with a visitor center in Quackenbush Sq. It is also within the borders of 2 National Heritage Areas: The Hudson River Valley and the Erie Canalway and the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor.
g. State Street as potentially a world class great street if properly managed, from a path used by Native Americans to the street used by politicians, etc.
h. A city of neighborhoods
i. An archeological showcase
j. A cultural center with jewels like the Albany Institute, the State Museum, the Egg, etc. etc. and a “hub” for regional tourism (see, my proposal therefore)