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A Beautiful Night for a Walk

May 21, 2018

Saturday was a bleak and rainy day.

If you were smart, you spent the afternoon inside the Albany Institute of History and Art drinking beer with some local brewers who decided to skip out on the larger Saratoga Springs beer festival held outside in the rain.

Actually, one of the brewers had been at both, and walked in a little waterlogged, although none the worse for wear.

Spring.

I’m perfectly willing to put up with a little Saturday rain if it means late sunsets, cool evenings, and temperate days. Even though it got warm yesterday, I felt totally comfortable opening the windows and hard boiling a batch of eggs for the week. The Fussys have settled on the ten minute egg as our hard boiled egg of choice, for the moment.

Walking is great whenever.

These days I’m starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to the joys of walking around the city. My hope in telling you all about the experience is to try and normalize this weird and freakish behavior in an effort to get more people to enjoy more of our fair city.

I should state that this wasn’t just a walk, but a race against time. It was also harder than usual because on one shoulder I was schlepping a valise containing a free-standing Yelp sign. And on the other shoulder I was carrying a half-full growler of beer. Don’t ask.

Saturday night I had two plans, and I would not be deterred.

Plan number one was to walk around Albany and enjoy the hell out of the city.
Plan number two was to get a little pinball action in at The Excelsior Pub.

Still, I wanted to be home by 12:30am because I had a big morning the next day.

From the Albany Institute, I had a quick hop over to Kitchen 216 on Lark Street. Someone wanted to check out this relatively new soul food place. And since that someone also happens to be a food writer, I’m going to wait until she weighs in on the spot before sharing my feelings. If you do go, leave aside your preconceived notions, and talk to the people behind the counter. They steered us in a delicious, if unlikely, direction.

With a belly full of food and a head full of beer, I set off on foot to Nine Pin Ciderworks. I’m sure you are shocked. It’s that 26er program, dammit. I want my silver card.

That’s a 1.7 mile hike down largely well lit and well traveled corridors. I was asked for money once over by the state education building. But I waved off the panhandlers as I continued on my trek.

Walking up Broadway past The Olde English is fascinating. You get to see all the new construction that’s happening on the stretch between there and the Albany Distilling Company’s bar and bottle shop.

And then there’s the decrepit railroad bridge.

Yes, it looks a little murdery. And no, there’s no real lights underneath. The large, dark, rusted structure could easily be made to look more inviting. Some paint, a few lights, and maybe shoring up a bit of the underbelly, so it doesn’t drip gross railroad track water on your shirt, would go far.

This should be “The Gateway to Albany’s Warehouse District” and it could be fabulous.

It provides me great pleasure to report there are no trolls under that bridge. None at all. There isn’t one homeless encampment. There are no sketchy drug deals. No community guns. Nothing. It’s totally boring.

Actually, it’s not boring at all. The stone work is amazing, and the physical structure of the bridge is fantastic. I just wish it were in better repair, more attractively lit, and a little cleaner.

But after passing through the gauntlet one starts the ascent, and within moments the sights and sounds of the warehouse district are within reach.

With my tight schedule, I couldn’t stay very long. I grabbed a small glass of #10 from the 26 ciders I’ll need to drink, sat on the patio, recharged my phone, and realized I would have to head off to The Excelsior Pub straight away.

That was going to be a longer haul. 1.9 miles to be precise. There are more direct routes, but I wasn’t crazy about the idea of walking up Madison from South Pearl so late at night. Instead, I like to take the well lit tunnel on Eagle Street. Which had the added bonus of an amazing view of The Egg under a dark and cloudy sky.

I also discovered what looks like an amazing library in the base of Corning Tower. Could that be right? If that’s true, why haven’t I heard anything about it before in the past? Is this some kind of secret awesome spot? Or maybe it looks better from the outside at night.

That tunnel by the way, was entirely empty except for one other fellow having a conversation on his mobile phone as we passed each other on the sidewalk.

Arriving at The Excelsior, I grabbed a mug of beer, dug out some quarters, and played The Twilight Zone to my heart’s content. By the end, I was finally getting good at it too. But I had to get back home, and thanks to Lyft, late night transit couldn’t be easier.

I got back safe and sound after a night of fun, discovery, and a 3.8 mile walk under my belt.

Look. Maybe there are dangers lurking around certain corners in Albany. That said, in my travels, there has never been a time when I have felt unsafe. Mostly, where I roam, I’m the only one on the sidewalk.

Probably the most dangerous things were the happy drunks stumbling to a car from one of the Broadway bars. Because drunk people can be unpredictable, and you never know who will be an angry drunk, or what might set them off.

But I’ve had plenty of experience in that realm over the years. However, that’s a story for another day.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob W. permalink
    May 21, 2018 11:05 am

    The library in the base of the Corning Tower is the Herbert W. Dickerman Library. It’s the Wadsworth Center’s biomedical research library:

    https://www.wadsworth.org/education/graduate/mls/student-resources

    And agreed that it does look quite impressive at night from the outside!

  2. EPT permalink
    May 21, 2018 4:38 pm

    It’s also quite impressive from the inside, all solid wood and in beautiful condition. As a Research Scientist I had access to it when I worked at DOH.

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