I was at a party in Albany, NY in the early 1980s. Someone commented how difficult it was to be considered “from Albany” if you weren’t born here, or had not been here “at least thirty years”. And I always remembered that.
Well, finally, I am real-life, dyed-in-the-wool person from Albany, with all the rights and privileges that come with it. Especially the right, nay, the obligation, to make fun of people on commercials who say Al-ban-y (like the guy’s first name) instead of ALL-BAN-Y .
I moved to Albany in 1979. So I didn’t remember, I was not present for:
*When WRGB moved from Channel 4 to Channel 6
*TV children’s entertainer Freddy Freihofer
*What Albany looked like before it was torn up to build the Empire State Plaza
But I HAVE been here long enough to remember:
*When Erastus Corning was mayor
*When the band Blotto was on MTV (Worst video? NO WAY!)
*When the band Fear of Strangers was the Units; own a Units single
*When the Spectrum Theater in Albany was the Third Street Cinema in Troy
*The Honest Weight Food Co-op, two addresses ago
* Metroland, a half dozen addresses ago
*Justin’s, a couple owners ago
*When Phil Jackson coached Albany Patroons, who played in the Washington Avenue Armory, and won the 1984 Continental Basketball League title
*The 1986 Albany Tricentennial Celebration
*The October 4, 1987 snowstorm
*When they filmed Ironweed in Albany; had a Jack Nicholson sighting at the Palace Theatre
*When the Knickerbocker Arena (or whatever they’re calling it now) was built
*When Jerry Jennings ran for mayor as a progressive
*The July 15, 1995 derecho; woke me out a sound sleep with 70 MPH winds rattling my bedroom windows at 7 a.m.
*Albany First Night
I should note that I did, in fact, live in Schenectady for a year and a half before moving to Albany. But everybody knows that, except for going to work or for special events (going to the Troy Music Hall, Proctor’s in Schenectady, the Palace Theatre in Albany, e.g.), travel between Albany and Schenectady, or Albany to Troy, for that matter, is strictly prohibited, enforced by the barbed wire at the borders. Likewise the cities and the suburbs.
I’m a homeowner now, but I was a renter for a number of years. As a result, I have lived on a number of streets in Albany, including: Hudson Avenue, Madison Avenue, Morris Street, Lancaster Street, Manning Boulevard, North Allen Street, Ontario Street, Second Street, and Western Avenue. Though I’ve been in the same place for the last nine years, I’m convinced that my friends still write my address in their address books in pencil.
In the last primary election cycle, one of the candidates indicated in the literature being born in Albany, while the opponent came here only in 1991. Is that 30-year rule is breaking down? If I’m remembering correctly, the transplanted candidate won.
Photo from the NYS Education Department