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The exit at the back of the building, the side opposite of Broadway. (Does anyone know if this was the exit that once let people out to board the trains?)


Gawking at Kiernan Plaza

kiernan plaza interior

As you might have seen, Jerry Jennings delivered his state of the city address Tuesday evening at Kiernan Plaza in downtown Albany. These sorts of speeches -- in Albany, or wherever -- don't tend to necessarily include a lot of notable moments. (Here's the prepared text, if you'd like decide for yourself. The did he?/didn't he? part about the next election is on the next-to-last page.)

But the building -- it is notable.

Kiernan Plaza is Albany's former train station. Albany Union Station -- as it was originally called -- was built at the beginning of the 1900s, and served as a station until 1968. It became a bank headquarters in the 1980s, eventually picking up the name Peter D. Kiernan Plaza in honor of a bank president. And in 2010, Bank of America moved out. The building is now slated to be a "hub for groundbreaking research, education, and workforce training for emerging smart cities technologies" associated with UAlbany CNSE.

All of this is the long way of saying that Kiernan Plaza is regarded as one of Albany's more beautiful buildings, but it's largely been off limits to most of the public for the last few decades. So the state of the city address was an opportunity for anyone to walk in and have a gawk at it.

So we did. And here are a handful of photos.

Photos are in large format above -- scroll all the way up.


Cool, thanks.

Thanks for taking us inside! Albany should do more to promote its historic buildings.

Wow, excellent photos! I work across the street and it always makes me sad that this building is vacant- even more so now to see how beautiful it is inside. It will be nice to see it in use again.

One of the great things about First Night was that it opened up many venues that we don't normally get to see, and for a number of years Union Station was among them. Also got to see inside churches, Chancellor's Hall, and other civic spaces that you can't otherwise just walk into It would be nice to have that return.

I worked a catered event then years ago and I remember we couldn't offer any berry things, e.g., cranberry juice, strawberries or raspberries, because of concern that they would stain the marble floors. It is a magnificent building and I'm excited to see it getting more use.

Too bad trains don't go there anymore, just to Joe Bruno's money suck hole on the other side of the river. We could walk to it AND enjoy it again!

@Silvia Lilly: I did a gala there a few years ago, and not being able to offer red wine definitely ruffled a few feathers (which were quickly smoothed at the martini bar). Pictures from that event are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arcneny/sets/72157616133504354/.

Kiernan Plaza is an absolute gem, and I'm glad that it'll be used. The main hall (seen in the AOA photos) is stunning, but so are the giant meeting areas, staircases... even the bathrooms are lovely (the loading dock leaves something to be desired, but one can't expect everything).

The first time that I ever set eyes on the interior of this beautiful train station, was at the age of five (1941) when my mother and I took a New York Central R.R. train to New York City to my grandparents place in Jackson Heights, NY. It took us into Grand Central Station, another classic gem. The train was powered by a steam locomotive, soon to be replaced with electric and diesel locomotives. Another great era was coming to and end but I was too young to realize it...or much give a fig, for that matter. lol Over 73 years have passed since then. Ouch!

That memory would remain with me for the rest of my life and kindle a life-long love affair with classic-style train stations all across America as well as the wonderful trains that visited them.

While I have ridden the New York Central R.R. back and forth on several occasions since (I kept a wary eye out for Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in the dining car), my most memorable train-ride was on the Twentieth Century Limited to Ohio way back in the mid-50s.

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