Albany County is a county located in the state of New York, and is part of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area. The name is from the title of the Duke of York and Albany, who became James II of England. As of the 2000 census, the population was 294,565. As originally established, Albany County had an indefinite amount of land, but has only 530 square miles (1,372. 69 km²) as of March 3, 1888. The county seat is Albany, the state capital.
Albany County was created on November 1, 1683 by New York Governor Thomas Dongan, and later confirmed on October 1, 1691. The act creating the county declared, quite vaguely, its territory as "to containe the Towns of Albany, the Collony Rensselaerwyck, Schonecteda, and all the villages, neighborhoods, and Christian Plantaçons on the east side of Hudson River from Roelef's Creek, and on the west side from Sawyer's Creek (Saugerties) to the Sarraghtoga. " The confirmation declared in 1691 was similar but omitted the Town of Albany, substituted "Mannor of Ranselaerswyck" for "Collony Rensselaerwyck", and stated "to the uttermost end of Sarraghtoga" instead of just "to Sarraghtoga". Livingston Manor was annexed to Albany County from Dutchess County in 1717. In 1772 with the creation of Tryon County and Charlotte County Albany gained definitive boundaries and included what are now Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties; large parts of Greene and Washington counties; and the disputed southwest corner of Vermont.
The city of Albany was the first municipality within this large county, Albany was then erected as a city in 1686 by Governor Dongan through the Dongan Charter. Though the Manor of Rensselaerswyck was the only district (along with the city of Albany) in what is today Albany County, it was not the only district in what was Albany County at the time. Pittstown in 1761, and Duanesburgh in 1764, were created as townships. However, when districts were created in 1772 those townships were incorporated into new districts, Pittstown in Schaghticoke and Duanesburgh into the United Districts of Duanesburgh and Schoharie. Other districts established in 1772 were Hoosick, Coxsackie, Cambridge, Saratoga, Halfmoon, Kinderhook, Kings, Claverack, Great Imboght, and the Manor of Livingston.
In a census of 1697 there were 1,452 individuals living in Albany County, two years later it would be counted as 2,016 at the beginning of King William's War. By the end of the war in 1698 the population had dropped to 1,482, but rebounded quickly and was at 2,273 by 1703. By 1723 it had increased to 6,501 and in 1731 to 8,573, which was slightly less than the population within the city of New York in the same year. In 1737 the inhabitants of Albany County would outnumber those of New York County by 17 people. In 1774 Albany County, with 42,706 people, was the largest county in colonial New York. According to the first Federal Census in 1790 Albany County reached 75,921 inhabitants and was still the largest county in the state.
On March 7, 1788 the state of New York divided the entire state into towns eliminating districts as administrative units by passing New York Laws of 1788, Chapters 63 and 64.
Albany County was one of the original twelve counties created by the Province of New York on November 1, 1683. At that time it included all of the present Bennington County, Vermont, all of New York state north of the counties of Dutchess and Ulster, and theoretically stretched west to the Pacific Ocean.
On May 27, 1717, Albany County was adjusted to gain an indefinite amount of land from Dutchess County and other non-county lands.
On October 7, 1763, King George III, as part of his Proclamation of 1763, created the new province of Quebec, implicitly setting the northern limit of New York at the parallel of 45 degrees north latitude from the Atlantic-St. Lawrence watershed westward to the St. Lawrence River, implicitly setting the northern limit of Albany County, but it was never mapped.
On July 20, 1764, King George III established the boundary between New Hampshire and New York along the west bank of the Connecticut River, north of Massachusetts and south of the parallel of 45 degrees north latitude. Albany County implicitly gained present-day Vermont. Although disputes occasionally broke out later, this line became the boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont, and has remained unchanged to the present. When New York refused to recognize land titles through the New Hampshire Grants (towns created earlier by New Hampshire in present Vermont), dissatisfied colonists organized in opposition, which led to the creation of independent Vermont in 1777.
On July 3, 1766, Cumberland County was partitioned from Albany County to cover all territory to the northern and eastern limits of the colony, including Windsor County, most of Windham County, and parts of Bennington and Rutland counties in present-day Vermont.
On June 26, 1767, Albany County regained all of Cumberland County.
On March 19, 1768, Albany County was re-partitioned, and Cumberland County restored.
On March 16, 1770, Albany County was again partitioned. Gloucester County was created to include all of Orange, Caledonia and Essex counties, most of Washington County, and parts of Orleans, Lamoille, Addison and Chittenden counties in present-day Vermont.
On March 12, 1772, Albany County was partitioned again, this time into the counties of Albany, Tryon (now Montgomery), and Charlotte (now Washington). This established a definite area for Albany County of 5,470 sq mi (14,167. 23 km²).
On March 24, 1772, Albany County was partitioned again, with an additional 50 sq mi (129. 5 km²) handed over to Cumberland County.
On March 9, 1774, Albany County was partitioned again, this time passing 1,090 sq mi (2,823. 09 km²) to Ulster County.
On April 1, 1775, Albany was again partitioned, this time giving up 60 sq mi (155. 4 km²) to Charlotte County, who then exchanged this land with a like parcel in Cumberland County.
On January 15, 1777, Albany County was again partitioned, this time on account of the independence of Vermont from New York, reducing Albany County by an additional 300 sq mi (777 km²).
On June 26, 1781, Bennington County, Vermont attempted to annex a portion of Albany County that today includes portions of Washington and Rensselaer counties to form what they called "The West Union". The fledgling United States – under the Articles of Confederation – arbitrated this annexation, and condemned it, resulting in Vermont ceasing the annexation on 1782-02-23.
On April 4, 1786, Columbia County was created from 650 square miles (1,685 km²) of Albany County land.
On March 7, 1788, New York, refusing to recognize the independence of Vermont, and the attendant elimination of Cumberland County, attempted to adjust the line that separated Cumberland from Albany County in present-day Vermont, but to no effect.
On February 7, 1791, Albany County was partitioned again, this time to form Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. Rensselaer received 660 square miles (1,700 km²), while Saratoga received 850 square miles (2,200 km²). Also the town of Cambridge was transferred to Washington County. A total of 1,680 sq mi (4,351. 18 km²) changed hands.
On June 1, 1795, Albany County was once again partitioned, this time losing 460 sq mi (1,191. 39 km² ) to Schoharie County.
On April 5, 1798, another partition took place, with 90 sq mi (233. 1 km²) passing to Ulster County.
On March 25, 1800, once again Albany County was partitioned, with 360 sq mi (932. 4 km² being used to create Greene County.
On April 3, 1801, all New York counties were redefined, with Albany County gaining 10 sq mi (25. 9 km² ).
On March 3, 1808, Albany County turned Havre Island over to Saratoga County, with no resultant loss in land.
On March 7, 1809, Schenectady County was created from 230 sq mi (595. 7 km²) of Albany County land.
The result was the production of Albany County as it exists today.
The Capital District has a humid continental climate, with cold, snowy winters, and hot, wet summers. Albany receives around 36. 2 inches of rain per year, with 135 days of at least . 01 inches of precipitation. Snowfall is significant, totaling about 63 inches annually, but with less accumulation than the lake-effect areas to the north and west, being far enough from Lake Ontario. Albany County is however, close enough to the coast to receive heavy snow from Nor'easters, and the region gets the bulk of its yearly snowfall from these types of storms. The county also occasionally receives Alberta clippers. Winters are often very cold with fluctuating conditions, temperatures often drop to below 0 °F (?18 °C) at night. Summers in the Albany can contain stretches of excessive heat and humidity, with temperatures above and dew points near 70. Severe thunderstorms are common but tornadoes are rare. Albany receives on average per year 69 sunny days, 111 partly cloudy days, and 185 cloudy days; and an average, over the course of a year, of less than four hours of sunshine per day, with just over an average of 2. 5 hours per day over the course of the winter. The chance during daylight hours of sunshine is 53%, with the highest percentage of sunny daylight hours being in July with 64%, and the lowest month is November with 37%. Within the city of Albany alone there is Dutch Colonial (the Quackenbush House), French Renaissance (the New York State Capitol), Federal style (the original Albany Academy in Academy Park), Romanesque Revival (Albany City Hall), Art deco (the Alfred E. Smith Building), and Modern (Empire State Plaza). The cities of Albany, Cohoes, and Watervliet and the village of Green Island are more urban in architecture; while the towns of Colonie, Guilderland, New Scotland, and Bethlehem more suburban and the remaining Hilltowns (Berne, Knox, Westerlo, and Rensselaerville) very rural.
Albany County is home to the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, which opened in July 2001 and is located near the shore of Thompson's Lake between the two state parks that are in Albany County- Thompson's Lake State Park and John Boyd Thacher State Park. There are also state-owned nature preserves with interactive educational programs such as the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and the Albany Pine Bush. The cities, towns, and villages of Albany County have many municipal parks, playgrounds, and protected green areas. Washington Park in the city of Albany and The Crossing in the town of Colonie are two of the largest. There are many small hiking and biking trails and longer distance bike-hike trails such the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail which goes from the city of Albany north to Cohoes and then west along the Mohawk River to Schenectady County.
One of the largest events in Albany County is the Tulip Fest held in the city of Albany every spring at Washington Park. The tradition stems from when Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd had a city ordinance passed declaring the tulip as Albany's official flower on July 1, 1948. The African-American tradition of Pinksterfest, whose origins are traced back even further to Dutch festivities, was later incorporated into the Tulip Fest. The Albany LatinFest has been held since 1996 and drew 10,000 to Washington Park in 2008. PolishFest is a three day celebration of Polish culture in the Capital District, held in the town of Colonie for the past eight years.
Albany County has two shopping malls that are classified as super-regional malls (malls with over 800,000 sq. feet), Crossgates Mall in Guilderland and Colonie Center in Colonie with over one million square feet of rentable space in each. A regional mall, the Latham Circle Mall, is in Latham (town of Colonie). South of the Latham Circle Mall, in the neighboring hamlet of Newtonville also within the town of Colonie, is Hoffman's Playland. Hoffman's is a children's amusement park open during the summer. During the winter there are over 18 miles of official trails for snowshoeing at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, in the city of Albany and towns of Colonie and Guilderland.
Albany County is composed of three cities and 10 towns. Albany, Cohoes, and Watervliet are the three cities. The ten towns are Berne, Bethlehem, Coeymans, Colonie, Green Island, Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland, Rensselaerville, and Westerlo. Additionally there are six villages within five towns. The town of Colonie has two villages, one also named Colonie and one named Menands. The town of Green Island is coterminous with the village of the same name. Ravena is within the town of Coeymans, Altamont in the town of Guilderland, and Voorheesville in the town of New Scotland. Albany is the second oldest city in the state of New York based on date of incorporation as a city. All towns in Albany County were created from the town of Watervliet or from a town created from the town of Watervliet.
Albany is often derided as "Smallbany" (also spelled Smalbany) for its perceived lack of culture and as a backwater in tourism circles, even though it consistently ranks high on lists of top cities/metro areas for culture, such as being 23rd in the book Cities Ranked & Rated. Albany is home to some of the oldest museums, historical sites, and places of worship in the state of New York and the United States; some of the finest collections of historical artifacts and art can be found in Albany County.
Albany County has many historical sites and museums covering a wide-range of topics and time periods. The Albany Institute of History and Art founded in 1791 is one of the oldest museums in the United States, and the New York State Museum is the oldest and largest state museum in the country. Many of the museums are historical sites themselves, such as Cherry Hill, the Ten Broeck Mansion, and the Schuyler Mansion in the city of Albany and the Pruyn House in Colonie. The Quackenbush House is the second oldest house in the city of Albany and is part of the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, which includes a planetarium. The Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center in the city of Albany includes hands-on activities to learn about the unique Pine Bush Barrens of the city of Albany and towns of Guilderland and Colonie. Covering the history of pharmacy is the Throop Drug Store Museum at the Albany College of Pharmacy.
There are several art museums in Albany County; including the Albany Center Gallery, in downtown Albany, which exhibits works by local artists within a 100-mile radius of that city; the University Art Museum, at the University at Albany, SUNY; and the Opalka Gallery, at the Sage College of Albany. The Empire State Plaza in Albany has one of the most important state collections of modern art in the U. S.
Albany County itself owns the largest venue for performing arts in the county, the Times Union Center, which was originally built as the Knickerbocker Arena; it opened on January 30, 1990 with a performance by Frank Sinatra. In 1996, the The Grateful Dead released a concert album from their March 1990 performances titled Dozin' at the Knick.
Many athletes and coaches in major sports have begun their careers in Albany County. NBA head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson won his first championship ring when he guided the Albany Patroons to the 1984 CBA championship. Three years later, the Patroons completed a 50–6 regular season, including winning all 28 of their home games; at that time, Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl was the Patroons' head coach. Future NBA stars Mario Elie and Vincent Askew were part of that season's squad. Mike Tyson received his early training in the Capital District and his first professional fight was in Albany in 1985 and Tyson's first televised fight was in Troy in 1986. He fought professionally four times in Albany and twice each in Troy and Glens Falls between 1985 and 1986.
Since 1988, the Siena College men's basketball team (the Siena Saints) have appeared in six NCAA Tournaments (1989, 1999, 2002, 2008, 2009, and 2010).
Albany County is home to one of the few Karaite Jewish communities outside Israel. This community is active and has its own synagogue.
As of the census of 2000, there were 294,565 people, 120,512 households, and 70,981 families residing in the county. The population density was 563 people per square mile (217/km²). There were 129,972 housing units at an average density of 248 per square mile (96/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 63. 19% White, 31. 08% Black or African American, 0. 21% Native American, 2. 75% Asian, 0. 03% Pacific Islander, 1. 05% from other races, and 1. 70% from two or more races. 3. 08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19. 2% were of Irish, 16. 0% Italian, 11. 0% German, 6. 1% English and 5. 1% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000 http://factfinder. census. gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-context=dt&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U&-mt_name=DEC_2000_SF3_U_PCT016&-CONTEXT=dt&-tree_id= . 90. 4% spoke English, 2. 7% Spanish and 1. 0% Italian as their first language.
There were 120,512 households out of which 27. 9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43. 2% were married couples living together, 12. 2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41. 1% were non-families. 33. 0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11. 3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2. 32 and the average family size was 2. 99.
In the county the population was spread out with 22. 6% under the age of 18, 11. 3% from 18 to 24, 28. 8% from 25 to 44, 22. 8% from 45 to 64, and 14. 5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91. 7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87. 8 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $42,935, and the median income for a family was $56,724. Males had a median income of $39,838 versus $30,127 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,345. About 7. 2% of families and 10. 6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12. 9% of those under age 18 and 7. 3% of those age 65 or over.
Albany County was governed by a board of supervisors until 1967. On January 1, 1968 a 39 member County Legislature came in to being. On January 1, 1976, Albany County government was revised once more when a new county charter went into effect with provisions for a county executive along with a 39-seat county legislature.
All 39 members are elected from individual districts.
The current County Executive is Michael G. Breslin (D) and the Chair of the Legislature is Daniel P. McCoy (D). Other county elected officials include County Sheriff James Campbell, County District Attorney David Soares, and County Comptroller Michael F. Conners. The county executive is elected in a countywide vote.
Albany County has long been at the forefront of transportation technology from the days of turnpikes and plank roads to the Erie Canal, from the first passenger railroad in the state to the oldest municipal airport in the United States. Today, Interstates, Amtrak, and the Albany International Airport continue to make the Albany County a major crossroads of the Northeastern United States.
The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Every metropolitan area in the United States with a population of over 50,000 must have a MPO in order to get any federal transportation funding. The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) uses an MPO to make decisions on what projects are most important to a metro area for immediate versus long term funding. The USDOT will not approve federal funds for transportation projects unless they are on an MPO's list.
Albany County is situated at a major crossroads of the Northeastern United States. Even before the Interstate Highway System and the US Highway system, Albany County was the hub of many turnpikes and plank roads that connected the region. Today, it is in Albany County that Interstate 87 and Interstate 90 meet. The Thomas E. Dewey New York State Thruway is a toll-road that from Exit 24 in the city of Albany is I-87 and travels south to connect the county with downstate New York. West from Exit 24 the Thruway is I-90 and connects the county with Schenectady, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. North of Exit 24, I-87 is the Adirondack Northway and connects the city and county of Albany with their suburbs in Saratoga County and provides long-distance travel to Montreal. East of Exit 24, I-90 travels along the northern boundary of the city of Albany and exits the county on the Patroon Island Bridge into Rensselaer County to access Albany's eastern suburbs. Interstate 787 connects the Thruway (I-87) to Downtown Albany, Menands, Watervliet, and Cohoes. US Route 9 enters the county on the Dunn Memorial Bridge and travels through the city of Albany north connecting it with the suburbs in the Colonie and Saratoga County. US Route 20 also enters the county on the Dunn Memorial Bridge and then travels west through Albany (city) and then the town of Guilderland. New York State Route 5 and New York State Route 7 are two important highways that bisect the county and serve as important shopping strips.
Albany County is served by the Capital District Transportation Authority, a four county bus service that also serves Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Saratoga counties. Greyhound Lines, Trailways, and Peter Pan/Bonanza buses are all serve a downtown terminal. There is also a Chinatown bus service that leaves from Central Avenue and goes to Chinatown in Manhattan.
Albany International Airport is the only commercial airport in the county. Destinations for flights out of Albany include Toronto; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Las Vegas; Chicago; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Orlando, Florida, among many others.
Since 1968 when Union Station in the city of Albany was abandoned for a new station across the Hudson in the city of Rensselaer, Albany County has been without a train station. Amtrak has several routes servicing the Albany-Rensselaer Station. The Adirondack (north to Montreal, Quebec and south to the city of New York), Empire Service (west to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, south to New York), Ethan Allen Express (northeast to Rutland, Vermont and south to New York), Maple Leaf (west to Toronto and south to New York), and the Lake Shore Limited (at Albany-Rensselaer separate routes from Boston and New York merge to one train west to Chicago, on way east one train splits to two, one east to Boston another south to New York).
This county information was provided courtesy of Wikipedia