Albany, New York, the state capital, sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 150 miles north of New York City. Albany was permanently settled in 1614, and is the oldest surviving settlement from the original thirteen colonies, and the oldest continuously chartered city in the United States.
Downtown Albany is the city's oldest neighborhood. In particular, State Street is one of Albany's oldest streets and its original main street. West of Downtown is the Empire State Plaza, which effectively cuts Downtown off from the gentrified neighborhoods of Center Square, Hudson/Park, Lark Street and Washington Park. Often collectively referred to as mid-town, these neighborhoods are often compared to New York City's Greenwich Village for their mix of residential and commercial uses, including bars, night clubs, restaurants and unique stores.
Albany has over 60 public parks and recreation areas. Washington Park is a popular venue for active types to indulge in sports. Other parks in Albany include Lincoln Park, Buckingham Park, the Corning Preserve and the Pine Bush. The Corning Preserve is home to a visitors center that details the Hudson River and the local environment. The park also features a bike trail and boat launch.
The Palace Theatre and The Egg are forums for music, theater and cultural performances. The Times Union Center serves as the city's largest musical venue for well-known bands, as well as tradeshows, sporting events and other large-scale activities.
The Tulip Festival, set in Washington Park, is one of Albany's largest events. Alive at Five is a free concert series held Downtown on Thursdays throughout the summer. Because of Albany's historical and political significance, the city has numerous museums and historical buildings. In particular, Albany is home to the New York State Museum and New York State Archives, both open to the public. The USS Slater , a decommissioned World War II destroyer escort that was restored in 1998, is a museum ship docked in the Hudson River at Quay Street.
Albany is home to 57 listings on the National Register of Historic Places and six National Historic Landmarks. The Ten Broeck Mansion, a 1797 Federal-style mansion, is currently a historic house museum and the headquarters of the Albany County Historical Association.
Albany is known for its cold, snowy winters, and hot, wet summers; the city experiences four distinct seasons. Snowfall is significant, totaling 62.7 inches annually. Winters can be very cold with fluctuating conditions. Summers in Albany can contain stretches of excessive heat and humidity.
The Northway (Interstate 87 north of the New York State Thruway) connects Albany by car to Canada at Champlain. Albany is literally at the crossroads of I-87 and I-90 though it lacks its own railroad station--but Amtrak currently services the area through the Albany-Rensselaer station in Rensselaer.
Albany's nearest airport is Albany International Airport in nearby Colonie. Eight major airlines service Albany -- Air Canada (which offers the airport's only international destination, Toronto), Cape Air, Continental Express, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Air Lines and US Airways.