What are those holes by the ESP?

ESP holes in the ground


Joe emails (with the above photo):

Re: The Mystery Hole at Empire State Plaza
I figured you guys might know - I can't even speculate as to what the hell this structure is and its always puzzled me. The view is looking east over the side of ESP near the egg. Why are the walls so high? What in the blue blazes is this thing??

We've wondered about those holes, too. (You can see them very clearly in satellite photos.) And we had some guesses.

But to get the word straight from the source, we contacted the New York State Office of General Services, which runs the ESP.

Here's the answer from Heather Groll, a spokesperson for the OGS:

There are 2 "tubes." The smaller one is for [air] intake and the larger is for exhaust. They serve the ventilation system for the ESP GARAGE. The high walls are a safety feature, and they also provide an architectural/sculptural interest.

So, in other words, the holes are the ESP parking garage's nostrils.

By the way: based on a rough estimate from satellite photos, the larger hole is about 50 feet across, and the smaller about 38 feet wide.


And you're SURE it isn't an underground helipad or missile silo? Thanks AOA.

I've always thought those tubes lead to the Morlocks' underground lair. In a way, they kind of do the same thing.

Any other fans of HG Wells' The Time Machine out there?

To be honest, I never thought anything of it, what with The Egg and all.

When I was little, I thought those were more than a little terrifying.

I always wondered what those were. Thanks!

I'm surprised that with all of the explosion heavy movies that have been filmed in Albany that they didn't have some wicked CGI fire coming out of those.

Note that there's been no denial of the claim that one or both tubes contain a sarlacc, much like the one that almost ate Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi.

Did you know if you jump off the plaza into the exhaust vent that the force of the air will blow you back up?!

looks like a quidditch pitch to me....

Clearly those are some kind of portals to another dimension, one less boring than Albany.

That's why everyone goes to the South Mall to commit suicide in a last desperate attempt to launch themselves through the portals.

Feel free to include this information for "stuff to do this weekend".

I have been in the bottom of those holes - you won't get sucked in or blown out. But it is kind of creepy in a Mad Max Thunderdome, post-apocalyptic kind of way.

((I have some photos, but am not sure how to post))

Karin - go to imgur.com. Its super easy. Post a set and provide a link!

"So, in other words, the holes are the ESP parking garage's nostrils."

I love you, AOA.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

The From Scratch Club food swap back in Troy

The popular From Scratch Club food swap returns to the Oakwood Community Center in Troy this Sunday, October 11 with a both a swap and... (more)

Excited raccoon!

Check it out: The cover for the new book of essays by Jenny Lawson (AKA, The Bloggess) -- Furiously Happy -- was designed by local... (more)

Effort to buy, preserve, and re-display the South End Tavern signs

Sometimes a building or sign is in the same place for so long that it starts to feel like a part of the landscape, like... (more)

Capitol Hauntings tours are back

The popular Halloween tours of the state Capitol -- Capitol Hauntings -- start this week and run through October 30. Blurbage: Does the night watchman... (more)

Distilling the next life for Albany's oldest building

In a life almost three centuries long, you're going to cycle through a few different careers. So it is with the Van Ostrande-Radliff House --... (more)

Recent Comments

I went to polish school, I grew up eating polish food, I even help cook polish food at the biannual polish dinner/ dances and even dressed up like a polish soldier for parades, so l guess I'm polish AND there is nothing better than going to Muza's for the food I grew up that is just as good as moms.

Distilling the next life for Albany's oldest building

...has 11 comments, most recently from Kim

Morning Blend for Oct 5

...has 1 comment, most recently from J

The week ahead

...has 1 comment, most recently from Dan Roesser

Drawing: Prize basket for Local Harvest Festival

...has 89 comments, most recently from Paul

New look for the Schenectady casino project

...has 28 comments, most recently from Michael