In June of 2014, All Over Albany, expanded upon a tweet we had about a defunct plan for the city of Albany that was unveiled in 1963. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Empire State Plaza’s cornerstone ceremony, the New York State Museum recently put a large scale model of the city on display in their main lobby. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s the same one devised from the Albany: Plan for the Capital City commission report. Below is the map of the commission’s grand plan of Albany by 1980.
With a quick glance you’ll notice much of downtown Albany along with the Arbor Hill and Center Square neighborhoods would be razed in place of 1960s era buildings. Most of this plan was never realized, and fifty years later it appears that the city dodged a deadly bullet. While the Empire State Plaza gutted 98 acres of neighborhood in the downtown area, it looks like child’s play compared to what was proposed.
Below is a series of pictures of the scaled model of the city’s plan. The gray colored buildings are already in the Albany landscape while the white ones would’ve been new construction. That’s a lot of white. A few things didn’t translate from the plan to the model due to constantly changing ideas. For instance, in the map the South Swan Building is no where to be found but in its place is a series of curved apartment buildings. Speaking of housing, Sheridan Hollow is completely devoid of any housing and is replaced with what appears to be a park.
If you haven’t had a chance to get down to the New York State Museum to see it, it’s definitely worth the trip. You could easily spend 20 minutes on this model alone deciphering what survived and what could have been. It’s also enormous. The pictures don’t do justice to the size of the model. The exhibit is on display through January 17, 2016 at the New York State Museum.
Much of downtown Albany was wiped clean. A slew of hotels and office buildings would’ve popped up all along Broadway and State Street. This is also how the Dunn Memorial Bridge would have looked if it was completed to its original potential.
Here’s Sheridan Hollow, completely lacking any residential, but the Hawk Street Viaduct survives, and even has a new companion; “The New Eagle Street Viaduct.” In the foreground are footbridges to the Creative Arts Center and marina.
The view of Albany from the area around the Patroon Island Bridge. Even the planners knew they couldn’t get rid of that monstrosity of a cold storage building. It still stands, along with the Livingston Ave Bridge.