The pivot and center of Albany's whirl

At State and Pearl cover

The Wide Awake City.

Local officials are always trying to better sell this area to people from outside the region in an attempt to attract new business and residents. Consultants are hired, reports written, marketing campaigns planned.

But maybe they should try extolling the area's virtues in verse.

A 1916 pamphlet touting Albany -- "At State and Pearl" -- did just, proclaiming Albany "The Wide Awake City." (A tip of the hat to Albany Archives for pointing it out.) The pamphlet is a glimpse at how the city was marketed a century ago. It goes on:

INVITATION TO ALL
Come and Live with us in Beautiful, Historic Albany (Capital City of the Empire State)
For delightful location, satisfactory climate, business facilities and social environment, unexcelled in the United States.

It then launches into multiple pages singing the city's praises. In verse.

at_state_and_pearl_1916_view_from_capitol.jpg

From the first canto:

At State and Pearl -- at State and Pearl,
The center of Albany's busiest whirl,
At State and Pearl -- at State and Pearl,
The tryst for the boy and the tryst for the girl
If the stones could talk and the bricks could cry.
As the automobiles go whizzing by,
What tales would be told, some a century old.
Of meetings and greetings, some shy and some bold,
Of promises made and of promises broken.
Of words, peradventure, that shouldn't be spoken,
Of men and of deeds that the corners have known.
Since good Peter Schuyler petitioned the throne
Of multitudes gathered at times in the street
And the trample of millions of Albany feet
Of the hustle and bustle, the push and the go.
From the days of Old Peter to the days of Old Joe
Of the loves and the hates, the hopes and the fears
At Albany's center thro' many long years,
But all in the lives of the boy and the girl,
At the corner of State and Pearl.

It then goes on extol each corner of State of Pearl in downtown Albany. For the northwest corner, about the then under-construction (and now gone) Ten Eyck Hotel:

We now see uprearing the mammoth Ten Eyck
Ten Eyck --what a vision the name brings to view,
Whose lobby is known as the "Kingdom of Chew,"
Where statesmen do gather, politicians do talk
And the laws are all made for the State of New York;
(Such laws -- so many, so mixed, so confusing,
Got the people all guessing, the lawyers all musing) ;
Ten Eyck--where the candle at either end flickers.
While "statesmen" put thro' all their deals and their dickers
Ten Eyck -- where some banquets are held we can boast,
Whose echoes are heard from the coast to the coast;

It also includes photos from the time period. This was the Arkay Building that once stood on the southwest corner:

at_state_and_pearl_1916_arkay_building.jpg

(The State and Pearl area now includes some of the most modern, high-rise buildings in downtown Albany. We suspect there might be a few people who'd trade those in now for these old buildings if it were possible.)

And as the verses rolled on, they touted other aspects of the city:

In the matter of water we can say to you sure,
We have an abundance and perfectly pure;
Our beds of filtration where thousands were spent.
Furnish aqua which tests just a hundred per cent;
Car service is frequent thro' all city streets,
Transportation facilities all reason meets;
Prett}' sul)urbs surround us in every direction,
If you crave "country life" you can have your selection;
To the north we have Loudonxille, Troy and Menands,
To the east are the Ilillview and Elliot lands,
Just south you'll hud Selkirk and Castleton best,
While Elsmere, Delmar and Slinqerlands lie west;
Every one of them rural, every one of them fine,
Every one of them served by an Autobus line;
Now listen, sojourners in all other places,
Don't 3^ou think we've put Albany right thro' her paces?
And, with our advantages, told here in verse,
Can't you go a bit further and fare very much worse?
Come live here in Albany--come quickly, come now,
Write any Albanian and he'll tell you how,
And he'll take your right hand in a true, friendly twirl
At the corner of State and Pearl.

And there's more like that.

The last page includes an invitation to "Join the Nineteen-Twenty Club" with a logo that says "Albany / 200,000 people in 1920."

Bonus bit

Here's a mockup that Albany Archives created of the cover as a modern day poster:

Comments

Here's link to look at and download pamphlet https://archive.org/details/atstatepearl00kinn

Starting the process for getting these puppies reprinted! I'll keep you posted!

Marvelous Tshirt design!

Laura-- can you share the link to buy when available? I'd love to get one of these for my house.

Most definitely! Should be within the week. At printer now.

They're printed! Dropping them off at Fort Orange General Store tonight and they'll be for sale immediately! Most likely will be available in their online store soon, too.

http://www.fortorangegeneralstore.com/

Perfect. Thank you!

Wonderful! Am I the only one who longs for a dramatic reading of this at the corner of State and Pearl?

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