Ghosts on a street that no longer exists

Hudson Ave at Swan Street Albany maybe 1920s

The photo above is looking east along Hudson Ave near Swan Street in Albany in (we're guessing) the 1920s. And it's from the Albany Public Library History Collection.

There were a few things that caught our eye about this photo:

1) Obviously, this is place that is now radically different because of the Empire State Plaza. And it really gives some sense of the neighborhood layout that got wiped away by the project.

2) If you head over to the New York Heritage site where the image is hosted, you can zoom in on a high-resolution version of the photo sort of "look" down the street. It's interesting reading the various signs for luncheonettes, and laundries, and garages.

3) Because photography back then required long exposure times, the photo also captures faint images of cars and people that moved while the photo was being taken. The figures have a ghostly quality to them, which is somehow fitting given that the blocks literally no longer exist.


Are you sure that's Hudson and Swan? None of the buildings on the right before the intersection are correct.

@Tim: I was a little skeptical of the location, too, because I wasn't able to match the buildings. But zooming in on the high-res version, it looks like the cross street sign is Swan. Though maybe this isn't Hudson, despite how it's labeled.

@Tim: I did a little more poking around, and there's a sign for an "H. Klein" tailor shop on the left side of the photo just over the cross street. The 1920/1921 city directory includes a listing for a tailor named Harris Klein at 175 Hudson Ave.

Any thoughts on the church in the far background? Was it torn down to make room for the Plaza? It does not look like the Cathedral. That hi res image is fantastic.

@Greg: that is some above-and-beyond "poking around." Gold star!

@Another Tom - That’s probably not a church, but one of the turrets of the old State Armory on Eagle Street near Hudson.

It was the predecessor of the Washington Avenue Armory and reportedly designed by General Von Steinwehr (a permanent resident out here at Albany Rural Cemetery). It was later the Catholic Union building and then housed the Eagle movie theater until it was demolished for the Empire State Plaza.

I think you can even make out the words "STOP" and "GO" on the traffic light.

@Paula - Thanks very much for the information regarding the Armory. That is news to me, much appreciated.

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