Why is there a house on the ESP?

modular home on empire state plaza

This afternoon Kim had a question that we suspect more than a few people will also have over the next week:

Anyone know why there's a trailer, excuse me, a modular home being built in the Empire State Plaza?

The answer, via Ed: It's a display for the New York Housing Association, an industry group for "factory-manufactured home builders, retailers and community owners." The org's spring conference and "legislative summit" is next week in downtown Albany. From the Empire State Plaza Convention and Cultural Events FB page:

In honor of the New York Housing Association 63rd Anniversary, the public is invited to visit a beautiful, two bedroom, two bath, thirteen hundred square foot manufactured home on display on the Empire State Plaza from April 27- May 1st.

The style of the house is a stark contrast to the modernist plaza. Maybe they could score a more modern pre-fab if they do it again...

Bonus historical bit: Albany has a few of the first "manufactured" homes ever, uh, manufactured -- Jermain Street in Albany has five Lustron Houses, prefab enameled steel homes made in the late 1940s.

(Thanks, Ed!)

Earlier on AOA: What are those holes by the ESP?


Posts like this are why I love AOA!

Five Other (More Likely) Explanations for the "Manufactured Home" on the Empire State Plaza

- Love nest for the Governor and the First Girlfriend -- more convenient than the Mansion.
- It's not a home, but a portable prison cell for soon-to-be-convicted legislators. Comes equipped with bunk beds.
- Due to continuing budget cuts, it's the next home for the State Museum.
- New interrogation facilities, as requested by Sen. Greg Ball. Comes equipped with several baseball bats.
- Private smoking room for Assemblyman Steve Katz.

I was wondering the same thing myself while walking the dog. I thought, "wow, new neighbors!".

would be funny if they had someone live in the home all week while it was on display. you go in to check it out and.....there is a guy in his pjs drinking coffee!!

I think you could count Sears houses at precursors of the Lustron prefabs. Sears sold kits (design and materials) between 1908 and 1940 and many working class people could afford to buy those homes. There are lots of Sears homes in Albany. I live in the model called "The Winona," a bungalow from the early 1930s. The catalog lists it as $2,081. (Don't ask what I had to pay for it in 2006!)

I think it should be a combination of three of Bob's suggestions.

It's a portable prison and interrogation facility for soon-to-be-convicted legislators. They can be preserved there by the State Museum for all to see, along with footage of their water boarding!

What's odd about this is that there are much more beautiful and less trailer-looking prefabricated houses available. They go down the highway in halves and are...stuck together, I guess...at the destination. There are modern homes that, as AOA says, would look very much at home on the Plaza, and there are also very classic-looking homes that look nicer than many houses built on-site. I've even seen two-story ones.

I had no idea there were Lustron houses in Albany. My grandma's neighborhood in Lombard, IL had a few. As kids we called them "Chiclet houses" because of their distinctive square paneling.

I think that this would have suited the plaza better:


My grandparents had a Lustron home in North Carolina! It was so cool - there were built-in storage options everywhere, so that you didn't need to have a ton of furniture. The idea was to make it easy for new homeowners to get started.

As a kid, I also thought using magnets to hang pictures was just too cool.

For you Lustron fans:


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For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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