It became the capital of New York State, one of the largest and wealthiest states in the Union, more than 200 years ago. It is home to almost one hundred thousand people. For all that, Albany is mostly overshadowed by its neighbor to the south.
However, when the powerful construction and financial interests in New York City need to speak with the lawmakers that control the flow of commerce, it’s to Albany that they have to come. It’s in Albany that the time honored games of influence, flattery and oh so careful bribery are played.
Corning Tower and Egg by dbfoto® (used under creative commons)
Albany is experiencing a fiscal and cultural renaissance, with excellent new restaurants, rampant housing speculation, neighborhood revitalization, and a nanotech research revolution, driven by lenient business investment tax legislation and an inspired “Tech Valley” PR campaign. Indeed, outside forces are reappraising the “East Coast Silicon Valley” in light of the new opportunities, and the wild potential for power and money that seems newly available there.
Rainy Christmas Night at City Hall by Archman8 (used under creative commons)
Of course, not everyone is pleased with the new attention being paid to the city by the outside world. There are some old, powerful things that have long ensconced themselves within the political and social fabric that makes up the Capital District, and there’s sure to be conflict in the days and nights ahead.