While Albany has its own city government, it has also been the seat of Albany County since the county’s formation in 1683 and the capital of New York since 1797. As such, the city is home to all branches of the county and state governments, as well as its own. Albany City Hall sits on Eagle Street, opposite the State Capitol, and the Albany County Office Building is on State Street. The state government has offices scattered throughout the city.Another major project of the 1960s and 1970s was the construction of Interstate 787 and the South Mall Arterial. Construction began in the early 1960s. A proposed Mid-Crosstown Arterial never came to fruition. One of the project’s main results was separating the city from the Hudson River. Historian Paul Grondahl has described Corning as shortsighted with respect to use of the waterfront, saying the mayor could have used his influence to change the location of I-787, which now cuts the city off from “its whole raison d’être” In 1967, the hamlet of Karlsfeld was the last annexation by the city, sourced from the Town of Bethlehem.The Albany Devils were a minor league ice hockey team that moved to the city for the 2010–11 season. They played in the American Hockey League and were affiliated with the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League. The Devils replaced the Albany River Rats, who played in the Capital Region from 1990 to 2010, when they relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. The Albany Devils moved to Binghamton, New York in 2017.The Hudson River area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Mohican (Mahican), who called it Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw. The area was settled by Dutch colonists who, in 1614, built Fort Nassau for fur trading and in 1624, built Fort Orange. In 1664, the English took over the Dutch settlements, renaming the city Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany, the future James II. The city was officially chartered in 1686 under English rule. It became the capital of New York in 1797 after the formation of the United States. Albany is one of the oldest surviving settlements of the original British thirteen colonies; no other city in the United States has been continuously chartered as long.
While the key to Albany’s economic prosperity in the 19th century was transportation, industry and business also played a role. Largely thanks to the city’s Dutch and German roots, beer was one of its biggest commodities. Beverwyck Brewery, originally known as Quinn and Nolan (Nolan being mayor of Albany 1878–1883), was the last remaining brewer from that time when it closed in 1972. The city’s location at the east end of the Erie Canal gave it unparalleled access to both raw products and a captive customer base in the west. Albany was known for its publishing houses, and to some extent, still is. Albany was second only to Boston in the number of books produced for most of the 19th century. Iron foundries in both the north and south ends of the city attracted thousands of immigrants to the city for industrial jobs. To this day, one can see many intricate wrought-iron details that were constructed in those years on what are now historic buildings. The iron industry waned by the 1890s due to increased costs associated with a newly unionized workforce and the opening of mines in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota.The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) provides bus service throughout Albany and the surrounding area, including Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs. The city was once served by an urban streetcar service maintained by the United Traction Company. As in many American cities, after the advent of the automobile, light rail services declined in Albany and were replaced by bus and taxi services. Greyhound Lines, Trailways, Peter Pan, Short Line, Vermont Translines, and Yankee Trails buses all serve a downtown terminal. Brown Coach provides commuter service. Low-cost curbside bus service from the SUNY Albany campus and the Rensselaer station is also provided by Megabus, with direct service to New York City.As of the 2000 census, the top five ancestry groups in the city were African American (27%), Irish (18.1%), Italian (12.4%), German (10.4%), and English (5.2%); (33.1%) of the population reported “other ancestries”. Albany is home to a Triqui language-speaking community of Mexican-Americans.Other public parks include Westland Hill Park, Hoffman Park, Beverwyck Park, and Liberty Park, today a small circular grassy patch in downtown on Hudson Avenue, which is Albany’s oldest park. Ridgefield Park is home to the clay courts of the Albany Tennis Club, one of the oldest tennis clubs in the United States. The municipal golf course, New Course at Albany, was constructed in 1929 as the Albany Municipal Golf Course, later renamed the Capital Hills at Albany, and remodeled in 1991. The Hudson River area was originally inhabited by Algonquian-speaking Mohican (Mahican), who called it Pempotowwuthut-Muhhcanneuw, meaning “the fireplace of the Mohican nation”. Based to the west along the Mohawk River, the Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk called it Sche-negh-ta-da, “through the pine woods”, referring to the path they took there. The Mohawk were one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.On February 23, 2021, it was announced that the National Lacrosse League (NLL) would return to the city with the relocation of the New England Black Wolves. The team was named the Albany FireWolves on April 15, 2021. This is the second NLL team to be based in the area; the first, the Albany Attack, played in the city from 2000 to 2003. As of 2010, 20.0% of Albany’s population was under the age of 18, 19.3% was aged 18 to 24, 29.2% was aged 25 to 44, 18.1% was aged 45 to 64, and 13.4% was aged 65 years or older. The median age was 31.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.5 males. Some 81.3% of the population had completed high school or earned an equivalency diploma.Albany City Hall, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, was opened in 1883. The New York State Capitol was opened in 1899 (after 32 years of construction) at a cost of $25 million, making it the most expensive government building at the time. Albany’s Union Station, a major Beaux-Arts design, 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. The 1920s brought the Art Deco movement, which is illustrated by the Home Savings Bank Building (1927) on North Pearl Street and the Alfred E. Smith Building (1930) on South Swan Street, two of Albany’s tallest high-rises.
Since 2007, the number of Burmese refugees to Albany has increased. The Burmese refugee community consists mostly of persons of Karen ethnicity. An estimated 5,000 Burmese refugees reside in Albany as of January 2015.Other parks in Albany include Lincoln Park, Buckingham Park, the Corning Preserve, and the Pine Bush. Lincoln Park, southwest of the Empire State Plaza, was organized in 1886 and was originally known as Beaver Park. Today, the park has a pool that is open during the summer months. Buckingham Lake Park is between Manning Boulevard and Route 85 in the Buckingham Pond neighborhood; it contains a pond with fountains, a footpath, a playground, and picnic tables. The Albany Riverfront Park at the Corning Preserve has an 800-seat amphitheatre that hosts events in non-winter months, most notably the Alive at 5 summer concert series. The Preserve’s visitors center details the ecology of the Hudson River and the local environment. The park has a bike trail and boat launch and was effectively separated from downtown by Interstate 787 until the opening of the Hudson River Way in 2002.In 1797, the state capital of New York was moved permanently to Albany. From statehood to this date, the Legislature had frequently moved the state capital between Albany, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and the city of New York. Albany is the tenth-oldest state capital in the United States and the second-oldest city that is a state capital, after Santa Fe, New Mexico.Permanent European claims began when Englishman Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company on the Half Moon (Dutch: Halve Maen), reached the area in 1609, claiming it for the United Netherlands. In 1614, Hendrick Christiaensen built Fort Nassau on Castle Island in the Hudson River. The fort acted as a fur-trading post and was the first documented European structure in present-day Albany. Commencement of the fur trade provoked hostility from the French colony in Canada and among the natives, all of whom vied to control the trade. In 1618, a flood ruined Fort Nassau, but the Dutch replaced it with Fort Orange on the mainland in 1624. Both forts were named in honor of the leading family of the Dutch Revolt, members of the House of Orange-Nassau. Fort Orange and the surrounding area were incorporated as the village of Beverwijck (English: Beaverwick or Beaver District) in 1652, and the city of Albany in 1686. In these early decades of trade, the Dutch, Mohican, and Mohawk developed relations that reflected differences among their three cultures. In 1807, Robert Fulton initiated a steamboat line from New York to Albany, the first successful enterprise of its kind anywhere in the world. By 1810, with 10,763 people, Albany was the tenth-largest urban place in the nation. The town and village north of Albany known as “the Colonie” was annexed in 1815. In 1825 the Erie Canal was completed, forming a continuous water route from the Great Lakes to New York City. Unlike the current Barge Canal, which ends at nearby Waterford, the original Erie Canal ended at Albany; Lock 1 was north of Colonie Street. The Canal emptied into a 32-acre (13 ha) man-made lagoon called the Albany Basin, which was Albany’s main port from 1825 until the Port of Albany-Rensselaer opened in 1932. In 1829, while working as a professor at the Albany Academy, Joseph Henry, widely regarded as “the foremost American scientist of the 19th century”, built the first electric motor. Three years later, he discovered electromagnetic self-induction (the SI unit for which is now the henry). He went on to be the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1830 and 1840 censuses, Albany was ranked as the ninth-largest urban place in the nation; it dropped back to tenth in 1850. This was the last time the city was one of the top ten largest urban places in the nation. Albany’s initial architecture incorporated many Dutch influences, followed soon after by those of the English. Quackenbush House, a Dutch Colonial brick mansion, was built c. 1736; Schuyler Mansion, a Georgian-style mansion, was built in 1765; and the oldest building in Albany is the 1728 Van Ostrande-Radliff House at 48 Hudson Avenue. 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. Gerald Jennings’ upset in the 1993 Democratic mayoral primary over Harold Joyce, who had the Democratic Party’s formal endorsement and had only recently been its county chairman, is often cited as the end of the O’Connell era in Albany. In the early 21st century, Albany continued to be dominated by the Democratic Party. Democratic Party enrollment in the city was 38,862 in 2009, while Republican enrollment was 3,487. As of 2022, every elected city position had been held by a Democrat since 1931.The area’s high technology ecosystem is supported by technologically focused academic institutions including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute. Tech Valley encompasses 19 counties straddling both sides of the Adirondack Northway and the New York Thruway, and with heavy state taxpayer subsidy, has experienced significant growth in the computer hardware side of the high-technology industry, with great strides in the nanotechnology sector, digital electronics design, and water- and electricity-dependent integrated microchip circuit manufacturing. A notable video game development cluster has grown in and around Albany starting in the 2010s.
ide—at an average of 2 feet (0.61 m) above sea level at low tide and 4 feet (1.2 m) at high tide. The interior of Albany consists of rolling hills which were once part of the Albany Pine Bush, an area of pitch pine and scrub oak, and has arid, sandy soil that is a remnant of the ancient Lake Albany. Due to development, the Pine Bush has shrunk from an original 25,000 to 6,000 acres (10,100 to 2,400 ha) today. A preserve was set up by the State Legislature in 1988 and is on the city’s western edge, spilling into Guilderland and Colonie; it is the only sizable inland pine barrens sand dune ecosystem in the United States, and is home to many endangered species, including the Karner Blue butterfly.
Albany, long an important Hudson River port, today serves domestic and international ships and barges through the Port of Albany-Rensselaer, on both sides of the river. The port has the largest mobile harbor crane in the state of New York. The New York State Barge Canal, the ultimate successor of the Erie Canal, is in use today, largely by tourist and private boats.
Albany remains an important location for business presence, given its role as de facto seat of Tech Valley and being home to the state capitol. Fortune 500 companies with offices in Albany include American Express, J.P. Morgan and Chase, Merrill Lynch, General Electric, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, International Paper, and Key Bank.
Albany’s economy, along with that of the Capital District in general, is heavily dependent on government, health care, education, and more recently, technology. Because of these typically steady economic bases, the local economy has been relatively immune to national economic recessions in the past. In 2009, more than 25 percent of the city’s population worked in government-related positions. Albany’s estimated daytime population is more than 162,000. Companies based in Albany include Trans World Entertainment, AMRI Global and Clough Harbour. In 2019, Albany had the fourth-highest amount of lawyers in its employment pool (7.5 lawyers per 1,000 jobs) compared to the rest of the nation, behind Washington, D.C., Trenton, New Jersey, and New York City, respectively.The Times Union is Albany’s primary daily newspaper and the only one based close to the city; its headquarters moved from within city limits to suburban Colonie in the 1960s after a dispute with Mayor Corning over land needed for expansion. Its circulation totals about 73,000 on weekdays and 143,000 on Sundays. Serving Albany to a lesser degree are The Daily Gazette, based in Schenectady, and The Record, of Troy. Metroland is the alternative newsweekly in the area, publishing each Thursday, while The Business Review is a business weekly published each Friday. The Legislative Gazette, another weekly newspaper, focuses exclusively on issues related to the Legislature and the state government.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 University at Albany (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. 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, SUNY Albany has 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. Albany is home to 57 listings on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and five National Historic Landmarks. The Ten Broeck Mansion, a 1797 Federal-style mansion (later renovated in the Greek-Revival style) built for Abraham Ten Broeck (mayor of Albany 1779–1783 and 1796–1798) is a historic house museum and the headquarters of the Albany County Historical Association; it was added to the NRHP in 1971. Later known as “Arbor Hill”, it gave the current neighborhood its name. Since the closure of Union Station on Broadway, area passenger-rail service is provided by Amtrak at the Albany-Rensselaer station across the river in Rensselaer. In 2009, the station saw more than 720,000 passengers, making it Amtrak’s second-busiest in New York, behind Manhattan’s Penn Station. Amtrak provides service south to New York City; north to Montreal, and Burlington (Vermont); west to Niagara Falls, Toronto and Chicago; and east to Boston.Albany opened one of the first commercial airports in the world, and the first municipal airport in the United States, in 1908. Originally on a polo field on Loudon Road, it moved to Westerlo Island in 1909 and remained there until 1928. The Albany Municipal Airport—jointly owned by the city and county—was moved to its current location in Colonie in 1928. By 1916 Albany’s northern and southern borders reached their modern courses; Westerlo Island, to the south, became the second-to-last annexation, which occurred in 1926.
Albany has been the subject, inspiration, or location for many written and cinematic works. Many non-fiction works have been written on the city. One of the city’s more notable claims to fame is Ironweed (1983), the 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Albany native William Kennedy. Ironweed was the third in a series of books by Kennedy known as the “Albany Cycle”. The elusive author Trevanian also grew up in Albany and wrote The Crazyladies of Pearl Street (2005), about a North Albany neighborhood along Pearl Street. The book is considered a semi-autobiographical memoir.Albany saw its last large immigration pattern as part of the Great Migration when many African Americans moved there from the American South before and after World War I to fill industrial positions and find other opportunities. In the early years, African-Americans lived together with Italians, Jews, and other immigrants in the South End, where housing was older and less expensive. The black community has grown as a proportion of the population since then; African Americans made up three percent of the city’s population in 1950, six percent in 1960, 12 percent in 1970, and 30 percent in 2010. The change in proportion is related mostly to middle-class white families moving to the suburbs and black families remaining within city limits during the same time period. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, the Latino population was: 4.57% Puerto Rican, 1.45% Dominican, .84% Ecuadorian, .77% Mexican, .69% Salvadoran, .22% Cuban. Downtown has seen a revival in recent decades, often considered to have begun with Norstar Bank’s renovation of the former Union Station as its corporate headquarters in 1986. The Times Union Center (TU Center) was originally slated for suburban Colonie, but was instead built downtown and opened in 1990. Other development in downtown includes the construction of the State Dormitory Authority headquarters at 515 Broadway (1998); the State Department of Environmental Conservation building, with its iconic green dome, at 625 Broadway (2001); the State Comptroller headquarters on State Street (2001); the Hudson River Way (2002), a pedestrian bridge connecting Broadway to the Corning Preserve; and 677 Broadway (2005), “the first privately owned downtown office building in a generation”.During the 1950s and 1960s, a time when federal aid for urban renewal was plentiful, Albany did not have growth in its economy or infrastructure. It lost more than 20 percent of its population during the Corning years, as people moved to newer housing in the suburbs, followed by most of the downtown businesses moving there as well. While cities across the country grappled with similar issues, the problems were magnified in Albany: interference from the Democratic political machine hindered progress considerably. In 1960, the mayor sold the city’s stake in the airport to the county, citing budget issues. It was known from then on as Albany County Airport until a massive upgrade and modernization project between 1996 and 1998, when it was rebranded Albany International Airport.The Albany Institute of History and Art, on Washington Avenue near the Center Square Neighborhood and State Capitol, is “dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting interest in the history, art, culture of Albany and the Upper Hudson Valley region.” The museum’s most notable permanent exhibits include an extensive collection of paintings by the Hudson River School and an exhibit on Ancient Egypt featuring the institute’s “Albany Mummies.”As of the 2010 census, Albany’s population density was 4,572.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,765.5/km). There were 46,362 housing units at an average density of 2,166.4 per square mile (836.5/km); 5,205 of these units (11.2%) were vacant. The racial makeup of the city residents was 52.3% white; 27% black or African American; 0.06% Native American or Native Alaskan; 7.4% Asian; 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; .06% from other races; and 3.6% from two or more races. A total of 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Non-Hispanic Whites were 52.0% of the population in 2010, compared to 87.0% in 1970. Albany has more than 60 public parks and recreation areas. Washington Park was organized as the Middle Public Square in 1806. Its current location has been public property since the Dongan Charter of 1686 gave the city title to all property not privately owned. Washington Park was designed by John Bogart and John Cuyler in 1870, and opened for public use the following year. The original lake house, designed by Frederick W. Brown, was added in 1876. The park had previously been used as a cemetery; its graves were moved to Albany Rural Cemetery. Washington Park is a popular place to exercise and play sports; skate during the winter; people-watch during Tulip Fest; and attend plays at the amphitheater during the summer.Until after the Revolution, Albany’s population consisted mostly of ethnic Dutch descendants. Settlers migrating from New England tipped the balance toward British ethnicity in the early 19th century. Jobs on the turnpikes, canals, and railroads attracted floods of Irish immigrants in the early 19th century, especially in the 1840s during the Great Famine, solidifying the city’s Irish base. Michael Nolan became Albany’s first Irish Catholic mayor in 1878, two years before Boston. Polish and Italian immigrants began arriving in Albany in the wave of immigration in the latter part of the 19th century. Their numbers were smaller than in many other eastern cities mainly because most had found manufacturing jobs at General Electric in Schenectady. The Jewish community had been established early, with Sephardic Jewish members as part of the Beverwijck community. Its population rose during the late 19th century, when many Ashkenazi Jews immigrated from eastern Europe. In that period, there was also an influx of Chinese and east Asian immigrants, who settled in the downtown section of the city. Many of their descendants have since moved to suburban areas. Asian immigration all but halted after the Immigration Act of 1924. The city is known for its architecture, commerce, culture, institutions of higher education, and rich history. It is the economic and cultural core of the Capital District of the State of New York, which comprises the Albany–Schenectady–Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area, including the nearby cities and suburbs of Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs. With an estimated population of 1.1 million in 2013, the Capital District is the third most populous metropolitan region in the state. As of 2020, Albany’s population was 99,224.The Empire State Plaza, a collection of state agency office buildings, dominates almost any view of Albany. Built between 1965 and 1978 at the hand of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and architect Wallace Harrison, the complex is a powerful example of late American modern architecture and remains a controversial building project both for displacing city residents and for its architectural style. The most recognizable aspect of the complex is the Erastus Corning Tower, the tallest building in New York outside of New York City. Juxtaposed at the north end of the Plaza is the 19th-century New York State Capitol, the seat of the New York State Legislature and the home of the Governor’s office.
Albany’s politics have been dominated by the Democratic Party since the 1920s; Daniel (Uncle Dan) O’Connell established a political machine in the city with the election of William Stormont Hackett as mayor in 1922. Prior to that, William Barnes Jr. had set up a Republican machine in the 1890s. Barnes’ success is attributed to the fact that he owned two newspapers in Albany and that he was the grandson of Thurlow Weed, the influential newspaper publisher and political boss. O’Connell’s organization overcame Barnes’ in 1922 and survived well into the 1980s (even after his death), as the machine put forth candidates for whom the electorate dutifully voted. In many instances, votes were outright bought; it was not uncommon for the machine to “buy poor folks’ loyalty and trust with a fiver”.The median income for a household in the city in 2000 was $87,907, and the median income for a family was $91,234 (male, year-round worker) and $82,761 (female, year-round worker). The per capita income for the city was $67,248. About 16.0% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.8% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over. The rate of reported violent crimes for 2008 (1,095 incidents per 100,000 residents) were more than double the rate for similarly sized US cities. Reported property crimes (4,669 incidents per 100,000 residents) were somewhat lower.
A significant Jewish presence has existed in Albany as early as 1658. As of 2010, Albany is home to two Conservative synagogues, a Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue, and two Reform synagogues. Albany is also home to one of the few Karaite synagogues outside Israel. As of 2008, the total membership in Albany’s synagogues was estimated at 12,000-13,000, with half the members residing outside the city. Since the early 2000s, there has been an increase in Orthodox Jews moving to Albany from the New York Metro area, largely due to cheaper housing prices and closer walking proximity to synagogues. Authors Herman Melville and Henry James lived with their families in Albany when young, before their careers. James identified his character Isabel Archer, the heroine of his novel The Portrait of a Lady, as being from Albany. Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (adapted for the Broadway hit Wicked), grew up in North Albany and graduated from SUNY Albany. Albany is one of the oldest surviving European settlements from the original Thirteen Colonies and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. When New Netherland was captured by the English in 1664, the name was changed from Beverwijck to Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany (later James II). Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398, generally to a younger son of the King of Scots. The name is ultimately derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland. The Dutch briefly regained Albany in August 1673 and renamed the city Willemstadt; the English took permanent possession in 1674 with the Treaty of Westminster. On November 1, 1683, the Province of New York was split into counties, with Albany County being the largest. At that time the county included all of present New York State north of Dutchess and Ulster Counties in addition to present-day Bennington County, Vermont, theoretically stretching west to the Pacific Ocean; Albany became the county seat. Albany was formally chartered as a municipality by provincial Governor Thomas Dongan on July 22, 1686. The Dongan Charter was virtually identical in content to the charter awarded to the city of New York three months earlier. Dongan created Albany as a strip of land 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 16 miles (26 km) long. Over the years Albany would lose much of the land to the west and annex land to the north and south. At this point, Albany had a population of about 500 people.
The New York State Normal School, one of the oldest teachers colleges in the United States, opened in 1844; it was later known as the State Teachers College. It eventually evolved into the University at Albany, also known as SUNY Albany (public), which inherited the Normal School’s original downtown campus on Western Avenue. The center of the campus moved to its current Uptown Campus in the west end of the city in 1970. SUNY Albany is a unit of the State University of New York and one of only four university centers in the system. Other colleges and universities in Albany include Empire State College, The College of Saint Rose, Excelsior College, Maria College, Mildred Elley, and Sage College of Albany. Nearby Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) fills the community college niche in the Albany-Troy area. The effect of the campuses on the city’s population is substantial: Combining the student bodies of all the aforementioned campuses (except HVCC) results in 63,149 students, or almost 70 percent of the 2008 estimate of Albany’s permanent population.Since the 2000s, the economy of Albany and the surrounding Capital District has been directed toward high technology, a growing fourth sector of the area’s economic base. Tech Valley is a marketing name for the eastern part of New York State, encompassing Albany, the Capital District, and the Hudson Valley. Originated in 1998 to promote the greater Albany area as a high-tech competitor to regions such as Silicon Valley and Boston, it has since grown to represent the counties in the Capital District and extending to 19 counties from IBM’s Westchester County plants in the south to the Canada–US border in the north.Demographically speaking, the population of Albany and the Capital District mirrors the characteristics of the United States consumer population as a whole better than any other major municipality in the country. According to a 2004 study conducted by the Acxiom Corporation, Albany and its environs are the top-ranked standard test market for new business and retail products. Albany, Rochester, and Syracuse all scored within the top five.
The Mohawks were based in the Mohawk valley and noted for their fur trading and their access to trade between the Iroquois and other nations. The Mohawk became strong trading partners with the Dutch and English. It is likely that the Albany area was visited by European fur traders perhaps as early as 1540, but the extent and duration of those visits are unclear.
Albany is in the 20th Congressional district, represented by Paul Tonko (D) in the United States House of Representatives. The city is represented by Chuck Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in the United States Senate. On the state level, the city is in the 44th district in the New York Senate, represented by Neil Breslin (D). In the New York Assembly, western Albany is in the 109th district, represented by Patricia Fahy (D) while downtown and eastern Albany are in the 108th district, represented by John T. McDonald III (D). As the seat of Albany County, the city is the location of the county’s courts including Family Court, County Court, Surrogate Court, Supreme Court, and New York Court of Appeals. Albany is the site of a federal courthouse that houses the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.Alive at 5 is a free, weekly concert series held downtown during the summer on Thursdays; with 10 concerts in 2010, total attendance was roughly 100,000. The Tulip Festival is set in Washington Park and celebrates the city’s Dutch heritage, which began with Pinkster Festival, an African-Dutch Celebration. This traditional Albany event marks the beginning of spring as thousands of tulips bloom in the park in early May; attendance to the Tulip Festival in 2010 was approximately 80,000. Another large festival in Albany is the Capital Pride Parade and Festival, a major gay pride event held each June, attended by an estimated 30,000 spectators annually from across Upstate New York.