New York State Capital Plaza
Life is full of surprises! And around each corner is a new adventure if we have the courage to step out and accept the challenges. My life as I knew it changed abruptly four years ago. At that time I never could have imagined how many twists and turns the road would take, how many wonderful people I would meet from all walks of life, what interesting pets I would care for and the Countries I would visit.
Capital State Building
From Rhinebeck it is a 50 minute train journey to Albany. It was a cold, overcast day. We travelled along tracks beside the Hudson River. Often there was water both sides of the track with only a few feet drop. Hard to keep from imagining the train coming off the tracks into the frozen river. Snow was built up everywhere. Arriving at Albany Station I discovered that it was nowhere near downtown so I had a choice, bus or taxi. I opted for a bus. The stop was a couple of blocks up a hill where I saw loads of turkeys, pies and vegetables being packaged for the elderly and homeless for thanksgiving by volunteers. Warmed my heart.
Albany/Rensselaer historic train station
I had coins for the bus fare and a coffee cup in my gloved hands. I was so cold and the bus wasn’t due to leave for another 15 minutes. I accidentally dropped the coins and a Native American man who had been standing near me approached and picked them up. I thanked him and said the day was not starting out well. His reply, “don’t let anything take away your joy!” How profound. Those words kept coming back to me all day. We started talking and I learnt that his 38 yr old daughter had passed away two years ago. He has four other children and still feels incredibly blessed. His smile was infectious. What a difference a moment in time can make. 20 minutes later I arrived at the Capital State Building, Museum, Concourse and Performing Arts Centre to be blown away by this incredible icon. Unfortunately the museum was closed (Monday).
The Egg, Performing Arts and Concert Centre
The Governor Nelson A Rockefeller Empire State Plaza, a complex of several State Government buildings including the Capital Building, was eye-opening to say the least. This wide, incredibly long concourse, lined with works of art, houses the Visitor Centre, Restaurants, MCDonalds (of course!), and corridors which lead off to the Egg, (performing Arts Centre), Corning Tower Observation Deck, the Museum and up into the Capital State Building. In the Centre there is a Post Office, Health Centre and other small businesses catering to the workers and tourists.
View looking down the Concourse towards the Capital Building
View looking back towards the street entrance.
I opted to take a free tour of The Capital Building. The tour took us into the Senate Galleries, the Assembly Chamber, the Governor’s Reception Room, The Hall of Governors, the Great Western Staircase and so much more.
There are three interior staircases in the Capital Building. The most elaborate, the Great Western Staircase, was completed in 1897. The art of stone carvers is evident and there are portraits of many famous New Yorkers. I learnt that the Staircase is known as the Million Dollar Staircase as, at the time, it cost around that amount. Galleries, Halls, the Library, Executive Chambers are all located on levels of the building linked by the Staircase. Photos do not do justice to the grandeur and splendour detailed in this Building.
For me a highlight of the Tour was entry to the former Governor’s Reception Room. This is a forty-foot-High rotunda with ceiling murals depicting important events in New York State military history. Now known as the War Room.
New York Coat of Arms
Walking back along the Concourse I stopped for lunch and to look at the map to see what I could view next but that’s for Part 2 of my visit to Albany.
I never thought I would find history so fascinating. So much to see and do in this diverse State.
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Rhonda – Travelling Housesitting Nomad.