Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pedestrian Perspective: Dove and Jefferson, Part One (Center Square)

Today we'll talk a walk down Dove Street, which cuts north-south through Albany's Center Square and Hudson/Park neighborhoods.  It runs parallel to Lark Street, the street on which I live.  We've seen snippets of Lark Street here before.

I probably won't bother with a Pedestrian Perspective post about Lark, however, as it is already one of the most commonly seen and popular destinations in Albany already.  Too often, the main streets in American cities are the only ones paid attention to, while the back streets are left to rot.  This is exactly the opposite of most of the rest of the world, where the big, wide main street is often not where all the action is.

The big, wide, stupid main street.  This is Washington Avenue.  The Capitol building is out of site, but about a block ahead on the right.  It's blocked by the 34-story Alfred E Smith Building.  This could be much worse for a street this size and of this importance.  But it'll be a relief to turn the corner in the next frame.

Albany, as we'll see, is one of the few places that breaks this pattern.  Dove Street is one of the most charming and endearing streets in the city, if not the state. 

Ahhh that's better!  No more big, wide streets here.  (Note: by American standards.  The rest of the world does urban much better than we do here.)

Remember to click on the pictures for the full-size version.  They get much more detailed than this little thing.

A few local businesses in this shot.  Bongiorno's, a denist's office and right across the street is the Center Square Pub, where I spent a good portion of last evening. :)

It's worth noting that most of the awesome things that we'll see that have any direct involvement with development or the City of Albany, occurred roughly 150 years ago.  Most of the fun stuff we'll see is thanks to the residents of the neighborhood.  We'll see the importance in noting this when we get to Part Two.

You see a lot of this throughout the neighborhood, lots of planters, flowers and beautiful things put up by residents.

Even the little crappy (comparatively speaking) pieces of this phenomenon are wonderful!
Center Square is known as the wealthy urban neighborhood of Albany.  There are very few run-down buildings or blatant wastes of space.  The area was instrumental in canceling plans to finish Albany's destructive highway system, part of which has re-opened as of yesterday.  By early next week, there will be the first post in a series about Albany's highway system, in which we'll visit some of the places that would have been destroyed.

Dove and State.  The Center Square Pub is on the left.

Empty gesture involving sidewalk repair.  Asphalt? Really?

You can see a 3rd story porch addition here.  You see a lot of strange additions like this in the neighborhood.  One I can see very well from my apartment, on the roof of a brownstone on Willett Street.  It's almost a room constructed on the roof, with a terrace surrounding.  This stuff is so interesting.


Dove Street is the kind of place where even blank walls like this can have charm.

Dove and Lancaster.  On the corner is a laundromat.

Even the parking areas have charm!

Center Square's least nice attribute.  The empty lot that has recently had its fence replaced.  How about replacing the buildings?

In a state of decay.  Even in this state, these places look good. 

Less charm here, but it doesn't detract from the streetscape.


One of Center Square's most winning spots.  It's a private garden but everyone benefits from its presence.

Hamel Real Estate.  A newer building.  A mix of ages in the architecture is important.

Dove and Hudson Books.

Environmental advocacy group. Dove and Hamilton.

Dove and Hamilton again. "The remedy for bad urbanism is not nature.  The remedy for bad urbanism is good urbanism." - James Howard Kunstler.

Garden Alley.  It looks sketchy but that's only because we're conditioned as Americans to think of places like this as bad.  In reality, this is fun, fun, fun.

Sad spot where a building once stood.  It's been replaced by an interior courtyard that has also been neglected.  One of my favorite spots in Hudson/Park.  Beautiful!

Same spot, one window over.  Good stuff!!
That concludes our walk through Center Square's Dove Street.  The walk continues in Part Two: Hudson/Park.  In Part Two, we'll explore in more detail a story that I referenced in a post earlier this week, regarding the city's attempt to thwart the same kind of artistry by residents shown in the photos in the post.  It will be interesting to see how this is resolved and what kind of affect it has on the future of fun things in the city.

No comments:

Post a Comment