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Old 04-02-2012, 02:36 PM
2 posts, read 1,673 times
Reputation: 10


Hey everyone. So I opened this thread for my own selfish reasons. * Insert diabolical villain laugh as needed*

I've been skimming the Albany section of this website because I'm working on a script set in Albany( or maybe the Capital Region from what I've read) and I NEED to try and be as authentic as I possibly can. I want to get that "Albany Feel"/ way of life/ how it really is/mindset/ whatever you want to call it, infused into my script so that it's true to the piece I'm writing AND true to the area and everything Albany REALLY encompasses.

The Jist is this: The script is set in present day Albany. A group of males, some consisting of different ethnicities and varied backgrounds, all in there mid-twenties, come of age...of sorts in Albany.

A bit about me. I've lived all over the US from the Midwest, to the South and now NYC since 08. (I love NYC, expensive as **** though..BK all Day.).

Here is what I'd like to know will you guys help:

1.) What is life like for from 20 somethings and people close to 30 in Albany( Albany area)?

2.) How is the nightlife?

3.) I read how "tolerant" Albany is. What does that mean from an insider prospective? Also, what does that mean from a minority prospective?

4.) Coming in as an outsider, what are the "non-touristy" things I need to know about the Albany area?

5.) I read Albany is the birthplace of the Democratic Machine or something like that. In general is Albany a liberal minded area? How would one who grew up in the area feel about it now?

6.) What are the "Urban" areas of Albany? I've read about Arbor Hill or "Uptown" by the people who are from there call it. Explain North and South Albany to me.

7.) What kind of scene is in Albany as far as midtwienty- early thirty year old would be into ie: Rock, Hip-Hop, Hipster, Young Professional, etc.

8.) ? What places are considered middle class, affluent, and ghetto in Albany? What are the gentrified areas of Albany?

9.) What's it like growing up as an Asian/Afro-America/ or Latino in Albany? What is your individual prospective on the area looking through your glasses?

10.) Is there a drug culture in Albany? If so what? Hard/Recreational?

11.) What are the women like in Albany? ( If you could keep the "Like everywhere else" answers to a minimum)

12.) What do you do on a Fri and Sat night? What kind of concerts are in Albany? What artist have come?

13.) Is Albany like a college town?

14.) Where would a person moving from NYC feel most home at in Albany as far as area wise.

I know there are probably threads like this so I'm apologizing in advance if I'm duplicating one...again. I just wanted to have all the supporting info in one centralized location. If you can add anything or if I missed something I'd appreciate it. Also if you want to send me a private message on any of the answers that's cool too. Thanx you in advance.

Last edited by PoetialManslaughter; 04-02-2012 at 03:44 PM.. Reason: change post to get more traffic
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:00 AM
Location: Albany, NY
334 posts, read 778,585 times
Reputation: 686
Lots of questions! I moved here after my first child was born, so I can't tell you much about the nightlife, etc. but will take a stab at some of your other questions. However. . . a big center of nightlife for younger people (often underage people!) is Pearl Street. There are lots of 20-something bars there that cause a fair bit of problems for the city. You should just come up and spend a weekend! Most of these cater to white, college (or just out of college), middle class people from outside of Albany, but there are a smattering of hip-hop places around the edges. The Table Hopping blog on the local newspaper's web site is very active and filled with impassioned posters. Most of it is about restaurants, but there are also stories about bars. Another active newspaper blog that gets a lot of posts from young people is On the Edge I don't read it often because I find it annoying, but it might give you the points of view you are looking for.

Albany is hugely Democratic, but more old-school. This isn't Berkeley, CA. We are not extremely left wing, and don't actively pursue a lot of left wing causes. However, I think the "tolerance" that you mention is due to the fact that we don't actively oppose them either. It's more of a live and let live. Our City Council and mayor are all Democrats, but often in opposition to each other. A "Parks & Recreation" type show based on the animosity between our long-time mayor and our diverse (old, young, natives, newcomers, black, white) would be a lot of fun! Our mayor is known for his unnatural tan, but that's such an old joke that it's stale.

Uptown and downtown are difficult. In regular parlance, Uptown is the more suburban, middle class parts of the city with mainly single family homes. These include Upper New Scotland Ave near St. Peter's Hospital and beyond, the wealthy area around Buckingham Pond, and up Western and Washington Ave towards the SUNY Uptown (there's that word again) campus. Downtown is the area around Broadway and Pearl St close to the Hudson River. It is where a lot of offices and lunch places are. It mostly closes down on nights and weekends, but there are and some nightlife and restaurants, as well a small professional theater (Capital Rep) and the Palace Theater, a refurbished theater that has a good mish-mash of programming.

Uptown and Downtown in local gang parlance are different. Downtown is the South End, which is also close to the Hudson but more residential, kind of between Morton and Delaware Aves. Uptown is considered West Hill and maybe Arbor Hill - the Clinton Ave, Sheridan Ave, Henry Johnson Blvd area. As you have heard, there is often animosity between the Uptown and Downtown gangs. Over 40 people were taken into custody last week due to gang activity, mostly downtown, I think. This happens every couple of years and gang activity quiets down after that. The activity itself rarely moves out of the gang-defined uptown and downtown areas, so being a minority in those neighborhoods versus the rest of Albany are different experiences.

Then there's the Uptown and Downtown SUNY campuses. Uptown is the newer, stark campus with lots of parking around it. It houses the new Nanotech campus and is on the city line with Guilderland, a suburb. The Downtown campus is near the "student ghetto." It is an older, brick campus, more traditional and urban in feel. There's not much around the Uptown campus even though that is where more of the dorms, facilities and classes are. The "Downtown" campus is in the Pine Hills section of Albany, which is a mix of mainly 1, 2 & 3 family homes. Parts of it are mainly student rentals, while other parts house a diverse mix of middle class and working families, young professionals, and retired people. As you can imagine, there is tension between these two segments of the community as the college rentals spread. This is the area where the "Kegs and Eggs" riot took place on St. Patrick's Day 2011. There are lots of restaurants & fast food (many locally owned - pizza, burritos, fried chicken, bbq), coffee shops, convenience stores, and bars.

North Albany is part of the city, but is very cut off from the rest of the city. It is mainly working class. It has some public housing, but they are newer, well-maintained town houses - you wouldn't know they are public housing by looking at them. There is not much there in terms of shops or nightlife or really anything besides houses. There is a YMCA, school, library complex there and that's about it. I understand there is some gang activity creeping in there, but not much at this point.

So, there's a bit to get you started. I hope to get back to some of your other questions later.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:08 AM
2 posts, read 1,673 times
Reputation: 10
Wow? Damn that "bit" was quite a lot. I really appreciate the info. I'll get to work on those websites. I really appreciate the info. I'm actually planning a couple trips up to Albany in the coming months to do some hands on research. Get a feel if you will. If you have anymore vital info I'd appreciate it. I can't thank you enough.
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