|(Roger and June on the Empire State Plaza with the Egg in background)|
|(architectural detail on Capitol Building)|
I find it interesting, also, that Governor Teddy Roosevelt, over 100 years ago, had halted construction on the Capitol because it seemed never-ending and an ongoing huge expense; and just last year, Governor Cuomo had called for an end to the restoration of the Capitol for the same reasons. Now with the cranes and scaffolding gone, our guests could better appreciate the architecture. They'll have to come another time for the inside tour.
City Hall is also striking. Bill described the weekly carillon concerts which send music across downtown. I remembered battles fighting for our neighborhood park, when I attended many Common Council meetings at City Hall. A proposal had been made to develop the park in the early 2000s. Although it created tension across the city, now I look back at how our neighbors worked together, meeting at one another's houses, pooling our skills, eventually winning and saving the little park for ourselves and for future generations. I almost hate to admit that this battle, so negative and literally fighting "city hall," made me feel more connected to my greater community.
|(Albany City Hall)|
In addition, the battle to preserve green space not only confirmed Bill's and my lifelong environmental leanings, but became a catalyst for me to become a Sierra Club member and environmental activist. The Sierra Club had gone to bat for us when we needed it.
We headed down State Street, where Roger, who had grown up in Schenectady, recognized the SUNY Central Building, and we talked about its Belgian architecture. From there we continued on Broadway to the Riverway, walking across the bridge to the Hudson River. And what did we find? Sculptures of Dutch shoes that we could sit in! Bennington has its moose, and Saratoga has its horse sculptures--how totally fitting for Albany to celebrate its Dutch heritage with these.
|(Virginia and Bill in the Dutch clog--notice the Egg in lower right)|
|(1851 house on side street)|
I came to know almost all of Albany's neighborhoods through our kids' various school friends. Acquaintances used to raise their eyebrows when I said my kids went to the public schools. "Middle School?" they would ask. "High School?" It wasn't all good, but it sure wasn't all bad. Like anyplace, we had our great teachers, and our mediocre ones, a number of frustrations and lots of satisfaction. Bill, who had had a rural high school graduating class of 34 students, was amazed at the variety of courses and opportunities our kids had.
|(Madison Avenue houses)|
|(Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception)|
We were hungry by the time we passed through Washington Park and were thinking about dinner back at our house, three miles west. Still, I was curious to see the fall plantings and flowers, as I regaled our guests with stories of Albany's glorious tulip display. These autumn gardens made a nice showing.
Do I sometimes still wish for a home in the country and a view of rolling countryside out my kitchen window? Of course, but times have changed and so have we. We like being able to ride our bikes to work, the library, and the food co-op, and we find plenty of excuses to make excursions out of town, as evidenced by many of my previous blog posts! Besides, it would take a couple more decades to make another place feel like home.