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Old 03-06-2011, 08:47 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
15,331 posts, read 15,954,591 times
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I'll be visiting the SUNY campus on March 26th and intend on spending the day. Here's some questions:

-How safe is the main campus?
-How safe is Albany in general?
-Any suggestions for places to dine and sites to visit?
-How are the museums?
-Any sites open for tours or is it too early in the season?

I know these are vague questions, but I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

Last edited by ilovemycomputer90; 03-06-2011 at 08:57 PM..
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
334 posts, read 793,660 times
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Main campus - very safe. You'll see that it is very isolated from the rest of the town. Main problems are student on student thefts from dorm rooms and of electronics.

Albany City - varies by location. The uptown area near SUNY, Western Ave, Buckingham Pond Area, Upper New Scotland neighborhood - very safe. Pine Hills area - more crime, but tends to be student driven (drunken brawls, defacement of property during parties, muggings of drunken students walking home late at night, you get the picture.) Lark St., Center Square are nice areas, but can have more crime due to the amount of foot traffic, number of businesses, density of population. West Hill, Arbor Hill and South End are known to be more crime-ridden areas, although I work in West Hill and walk around there a bit during the day and have never had a problem. Don't think I would do it at night, though, unless on the main drag.

The Albany Police Dept has a crime mapping program Albany Police Dept GIS Systems - The Official Site of the City of Albany, NY that shows the last three weeks worth of calls. They also have a Twitter account that includes daily arrest records for all non-juvenile offenders. However, the arrest records don't tell you where the crime occured.

This certainly isn't New York City, but the dining scene has improved dramatically since I moved here ten years ago. Don't know what type of food you like, but a place that draws people from a distance is New World Bistro on Delaware Ave. I've also heard great things about the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark St. I haven't been there under the current owners, but the building has a very cozy, old world feel. There are lots of other good places scattered here and there. There is no real downtown restaurant area or restaurant row with lots of restaurants near each other.

Museums and cultural sites are really hurting right now in Albany. The State Museum has its renovation on indefinite hold and is now closed on Sundays, for example. Other State run sites are on very limited schedules and waiting in fear of temporary closures. A lot of the historic sites, like USS Slater and Cherry Hill, reopen in April. The Albany Institute of History and Art is a nice museum that is open all year, Wed - Sun. Another place I always forget about, but that can have really cool art exhibits, is the art museum at University at Albany. The Opalka Gallery at Sage College on New Scotland Ave is also interesting.

Art galleries and art spaces probably have more going on than museums around her, art-wise. Check out Albany's First Friday celebrations and Troy Night Out for a list of the different galleries and organizations involved in that. I have also found a lot of great classes and some interesting exhibits at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on River St. in Troy.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:32 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Thank you for the response. I'll keep your suggestions in mind. I had a feeling there would be limited options since it's only March. We almost never do anything "cultural" so I figure this would be a good opportunity to see what Albany has to offer since we'll be up there anyway. Sorry to hear museums are struggling. All the more reason to support them.

Any other suggestions for dining would be appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
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Oh, I have lots of dining suggestions. It depends what you like. Central Ave from Henry Johnson Blvd to the Albany city limits is somewhat gritty and tired looking, but it is dotted with some very good restaurants, many of them ethnic. There are several Indian/Pakistani restaurants along there, and I won't begin to get into the debate of which is best.

Van's is a Vietnamese restaurant that some Vietnamese-Americans tell me is true home cooking comfort food for them. Another, slightly more upscale Vietnamese restaurant, is My Linh on Delaware Ave. Again, each definitely has its own fans.

Caffe Italia is a small, traditional, old-style Italian Restaurant that looks like nothing on the outside, but even folks from places like NYC and Washington DC compliment the food. It's somewhat pricey.

Almost adjacent to SUNY Uptown campus is Stuyvesant Plaza, a strip mall. Creo restaurant is all the rage there. I've had good food and service there, but I think it is overrated for the price. It doesn't seem to be especially innovative to me. It's where the "beautiful people" of Albany hang out, to the extent that those sorts of people even exist in Albany. Another decent restaurant in Stuy Plaza is Provence. It is more standard Continental cuisine, but very well done, and it is feels less crowded/tightly packed than Creo.

Bros Tacos is a complete hole-in-the-wall on Ontario St - mostly take-out, but it has the best tacos you will find in the Northeast. That's not saying much if you come from Calilfornia or the SW, but it's the best we've got.

El Mariachi is decent Mexican. They have two locations. The Washington St. location is more casual and cheaper. The Hamilton Street location isn't fancy, but it is nicer, has Spanish entrees as well, and does not have the cheap sandwiches the other location does. Hamilton St. has a nice outdoor courtyard. People seem to either love or hate El Loco, a Tex-Mex place near Washington Park. We've had good experiences there, and they, too, have a outdoor patio in the warmer weather.

I liked Dale Miller, a fancy restaurant in a non-descript office building in downtown Albany. Dale Miller himself recently left, and it is called something like Taste now, but by all accounts, the current chef was doing much of the work when it was Dale Miller, so it is probably still good.

I have never been to 677 Prime, an upscale steak place in downtown Albany. Some people I know adore it, and others say its a complete rip-off with tough steaks, so I would say try it for your first time when someone else is paying!

Albany Pump House is a brewery hidden behind the Albany Visitor Center near the Hudson River. It is airy inside, and the food is surprisingly good for pub food.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:24 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Thank you very much for the suggestions. The place with the continental cuisine sounds interesting. Or maybe we should expand our horizons and give Vietnamese food a try. Thanks again!
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
334 posts, read 793,660 times
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You might also want to check out the All Over Albany , a fun blog that is a quick read. There are several contributors to the blog, and it gives you a good idea of the happenings and quirky things about the region. They also often discuss restaurants.

CelinaBean: Pull up a chair... let's talk about food. also is a good blog about food, and she highlights local restaurants and food stores.

The Times-Union has a restaurant blog, Table Hopping, which can be informative, but I find the comments to be combative, annoying and mean, so I often avoid it.
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