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Empire State Plaza
Between Eagle and Swan Streets, at Madison and State
Mon-Fri 9am-3:45pm, Sat-Sun 10am-3:45pm
In 1959, Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza cost over a billion dollars to build amid much controversy about the cost and the removal of large numbers of low-income houses. 92 modern sculptures are dotted around its long Reflecting Pool and the Empire Center at the Egg, an arts center, and a visual prelude to the ornate Legislative and Justice Buildings. The Corning Tower is a 42-story skyscraper with a panoramic view. Rockefeller resolved to build "the most spectacularly beautiful seat of government in the world" after a visit from Princess Beatrix of Holland through the rundown capital left him feeling ashamed of Albany's slums.
Empire State Plaza
Call for exact dates and times of performances
The Egg is a world-class performing arts complex that presents music, theatre, dance, family programming and special events. Architecturally, The Egg is without precedent. From a distance it seems as much a sculpture as a building. Though it appears to sit on the main platform, the stem that holds The Egg actually goes down through six stories deep into the Earth. The Egg keeps its shape by wearing a girdle - a heavily reinforced concrete beam that was poured along with the rest of the shell. This beam helps transmit The Egg's weight onto the supporting pedestal and gives the structure an ageless durability that belies its nickname.
523 South Pearl Street at First Avenue
Tuesday-Saturday 10AM – 3pm, Sunday 1pm - 3pm
Philip and Mary Van Renssaeler built this 1787 home, which was the seat of several generations of their family; Miss Emily Rankin, the last surviving family member, died here in 1963. The kitchen is equipped with different eras of ovens and stoves; the colonial-era oven was kept for bread baking.
New York State Capitol Building
North end of Empire State Plaza
Mon–Fri 9am – 3:45pm; Sat-Sun 10am – 3:45pm; hourly tours
The state capital's showpiece is a chateau that took over three architects, three decades, and 20 million dollars to finish. The Capitol is four hundred feet long and three hundred feet wide, and five stories tall with a full basement and attic. Frederick Law Olmstead, Thomas Fuller, and Henry Hudson Richardson all contributed to the building, which holds a Senate Chamber and Assembly Chamber for the state, culminating in the Million Dollar Staircase with its 300 hand carved faces, many of which are portrayals of the famous men of history, all by Italian craftsmen.
The Capitol houses the
Executive Offices of the Governor or the State of New York, the New York State
Assembly, and the New York State Senate. These three offices comprise the major
decision making power of the state of New York.
New York State Executive Mansion
138 Eagle Street
Thursday afternoons only, call for appointment.
Every successive governor from Teddy Roosevelt to FDR and Al Smith has left their personal traces: a gym, a pool, a porch, even a zoo in the case of the pet-loving Smith. It was built as a private home in 1856 and was taken over by the state in 1877. The mansion is open to the public, but only by appointed tour.