These Capital Region places are not like NYC, but if they kind of, sort of were...

nyc skylineEarlier this week, Gawker posted a list of neighborhoods that were supposedly "the Williamsburg" of their respective cities. A lot of people floated the link our way because Albany is mentioned -- and Center Square is tagged as "the Williamsburg."

That seemed... not correct. But, whatever, the whole idea is silly.

So, of course, we then proceeded to make a list of Capital Region neighborhoods/places and their NYC neighborhood (or near NYC) analogs.

Just to repeat again: this is silly. It's ridiculous. These comparisons are all stretched. Pretty much nowhere in the Capital Region compares to places in/near New York City. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just... you know... they're very different places.

Center Square = Upper West Side
Liberal, upper income, near the park.

Delmar = Park Slope
Where people go to have children.

Downtown Troy = Williamsburg
Preferences and tastes are articulated very carefully, with exposed brick.

North Albany/Warehouse = DUMBO
Warehouse spaces finding new uses.

Loudonville = Upper East Side

Downtown Albany = Financial district
Tall buildings, offices, commercial, packed with people during the day and for events, not so much the rest of the time.

Saratoga Springs = Greenwich
Country clubby. People ride horses.

Schenectady = The Bronx
Diverse, interesting food, people probably tend to think of it all as one place, even though it's not.

Niskayuna = Westchester
Wealthy, educated, a not-too-long commute.

Clifton Park = Long Island
The suburbs.

(Thanks, everyone.)

photo: Flickr user Prayitno/ more than 2 millions views: thank you! (cc)


As a native Long Islander, I always explain to people from LI who have not been to Clifton Park that it is, essentially, Long Island. But it's all the strip malls that make that connection for me.

I been saying Troy was our Brooklyn for some time. I disagree about Delmar; it's too thoroughly upstate to have ANY city credits.

I would say that the Capital District has NOTHING in common with a large, vibrant, fun, interesting, walkable, diverse, exciting city. I would compare Delmar to purgatory, Clifton Park to hell, Troy to your old aunt who was a looker in the 1940's, and Schenectady to Detroit.

So then what would Pine Hills be? Too Albany to be anywhere but Albany?

I submit that, of all the possible unlikely comparisons, Washington Park = Central Park is the most likely. Picnics, sunbathing, monuments, water, grass, trees.

(As an aside, Latham/Route 9 = Long Island.)

"I would say that the Capital District has NOTHING in common with a large, vibrant, fun, interesting, walkable, diverse, exciting city. I would compare Delmar to purgatory, Clifton Park to hell, Troy to your old aunt who was a looker in the 1940's, and Schenectady to Detroit."

Ah yes, the old "go on a website devoted to interesting and cultural events around a city and bash said city and those who choose to live there." Classic.

As stated in AOA's own little disclaimer, there's very little comparison between three small cities and their collective regional area and a world city of over 8 million people. Troy, for example, may be our local EQUIVALENT of Williamsburg but no, it really doesn't compare to the real thing. We understand that but we didn't need the insults thrown in as well.

Also, I used to work in Detroit, off of McNichols road. Schenectady's best days may be behind it but it is still LIGHT YEARS ahead of Detroit. But should you ever find yourself visiting the D, I can tell you which areas might qualify as the local Williamsburg/Brooklyn/Long Island. Not as good as the real thing but of course you already knew that.

I've always explained Schenectady as Queens.

Delaware Avenue Neighborhood : Park Slope in the 80s

So the 518 is a far-cry from the 718, okay. But it looks like we also don't have any obvious analogs to NJ/Staten Island around here. Score.

Gawker is ridiculous. I've lived in both Williamsburg and center square, and they're very different experiences. AOA got it right. Rock.

I actually DO find Albany to be "vibrant, fun, interesting, walkable, diverse, etc."
But I also find the whole apples to oranges comparisons quite silly.

Could someone please tell me where this vibrant walkable fun area is located in the city of Albany? I agree that there is a smattering of cultural things to do and a few great restaurants but there is NO MIXED USE development in the entire city. There is no place to shop downtown. There is NOTHING to do downtown at all that corresponds to activities of daily living. The entire area is a hodgepodge of strip malls and poor public transportation. I am not criticizing I am merely stating facts. I know a good area when I can let me 16 year old daughter go there with her friends on her own and she will be safe and occupied.....sadly NO PLACE like that exists here, except for the unending cul de sacs of Columbine like suburbia!


I doubt you are still checking this but I live and work in Center Square and downtown Albany. While I agree there is a lack of retail there is some shops and coffee shops that would be appropriate for a teenager.

I find my neighborhood to be very walkable and fun. That is why I have lived here for six years. Have you taken the time to get out of your car and walk around?

@AOA, I don't think Delmar can be compared to Park Slope. I think the Buckingham Pond neighborhood or any of the western Albany neighborhoods could be a better comparison.

@LC: "So then what would Pine Hills be? Too Albany to be anywhere but Albany? Too Albany to be anywhere but Albany?" You might be right!

@Emma: I was trying to figure out an analog for the Delaware Ave neighborhood, but couldn't quite settle on one.

@Lauren: You might be right in some respects, but unfortunately a lot of people move out of those neighborhoods when they have kids.

@ Greg I understand that is why I choose Delmar over those locations. In my mind those neighborhoods are family neighborhoods and should be marketed as such.

One of the things that I like about Albany is that it is a city that you can grow in. Enjoy Center Square/Downtown in your twenties and settle in Buckingham Pond neighborhood when its time to start a family. It is the experience that I see a lot of my friends having, at least the ones that haven't moved to Delmar.

Lauren I do get out of my car and I do live in Albany and I do have children. I don't find ANYTHING worthwhile in Center Square that would occupy me for more than 25-30 mins max. I WOULD NOT let my 16 yo daughter hang out in center square -lark street area EVER her own or with friends and I routinely let her out on her own in NYC Boston Montreal Dunlin etc. I would NEVER live in Delmar and I SEE huge wasted potential for the city of Albany and it upsets me.

@ BS--Re walkable mixed-use in Albany. Six words: Upper Madison. Delaware Avenue. New Scotland. All commercial areas with nearby residential and amenities such as library, banks, restaurants.

Delmar being considered the "Park Slope" of this area is utterly Ludicrous.

KM. Yes I indeed live in one of those areas you mentioned however they ALL PALE in comparison to a real vibrant urban walkable neighborhood. There is NO SHOPPING at all unless you want to get in your car in trudge off to a mall. Face it in Albany there is NO equivalent of a Harvard Square or a Davis Square in Boston or like a Church Street in Burlington or a Main Street like in Northampton or the like........on and on where walking, shopping, safety, studying, or living, and eating coexist in a meaningful way.

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