Lancaster Street Hullabaloo

Many knew Mae Carlson as Albany’s rooming house queen, but I called her Mamay— Mother Mae, as I grew older. Bill Costigan, I called Dad.

Old 79

Beginning with missionary Charlotte (Neely) Resper’s 1927 revival meeting at Union Missionary Baptist Church, Albany’s First Church of God in Christ is rooted in Mississippi and the Great Migration, when millions of African Americans left the rural South for Northern cities.

A Letter to Mayor Corning

On April 5, 1962 Elinor and Leo Mullen sat down to write a letter to Albany Mayor Erastus Corning 2d.

Man-on-the-Street Interviews, March 27, 1962

On March 27, 1962—the day news of the state appropriation became public—Knick News reporters Kurt Wachenheim and Edward Swietnicki walked the streets of Albany’s 98 acres to gauge public opinion. What they found was a mix of “elation, indifference, disappointment, and hope.” As a group, small business owners were particularly upset by the news. The…

Scene from a South Mall Bar

In July 1963—a year after South Mall demolitions began—Times Union reporter William Kennedy stopped in Charlie Milham’s Grill, on the corner of Madison and Mosher, to hear what area residents and business owners had to say about the State’s redevelopment plan. Phil Milham, a brother of the owner, was tending bar that day. Behind him…

No Down Payment

Reading in the New York Times yesterday about exploitative contracts for deeds to dilapidated houses in places like Akron, Ohio, we were reminded of a similar practice once prevalent in Albany.

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Rocky’s South Mall Tour

In May 1962—as Democrats scrambled to find a candidate to run against him in November—New York State Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller arrived in the Capital District for a whirlwind pre-election tour.

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Growing up on the “Street of Regret”

I was six years old, when my family moved from Ballston Spa to Albany, NY in 1942. My father, Morris, found a war job in Schenectady, and we lived in a rented 3-room apartment above Dinty’s Tavern….

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More about Mrs. Abarca

Readers of this blog may recall that Francisca Abarca—along with her tenants and two youngest children, Anna and Antonio—was the first South Mall-area resident to be displaced by the State.

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Our Name Means Shoemaker

Hudson Shoe Rebuilders was more than just a shoe repair store. It was also a variety store, selling inexpensive socks, shoes, shirts, and other sundries to residents of Albany’s rooming house district. At the back of the store, Greek immigrants could find cheese, olives, and oil imported from their native country.

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Hunter’s Pharmacy

Like most of the roughly 400 businesses that once served the 98 acres, Kenneth Hunter’s pharmacy was a neighborhood institution. In business for over thirty years at the same location, he filled thousands of prescriptions for the area’s residents and served sodas to two generations of children.

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The Morning of March 27, 1962

On the morning of March 27, 1962, 11-year-old Eddie Nicholas walked up the block from his family’s home at 158 Elm Street to Muraven’s grocery store on the corner of S. Swan. As usual, he purchased a copy of the Times Union for his family. But this was no ordinary day. The headline read: “State Buys 40 Blocks in Heart of Albany.”

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