One of my favorite places to photograph in downtown Albany is the Empire State Plaza. It is adjacent to the New York State Capitol and is the home of The Egg Performing Arts Center and the Erastus Corning Tower. To say that there is some interesting architecture at the plaza would be an understatement. The area is also surrounded by many other historic buildings such as the Alfred E. Smith building, the New York State Education Department, and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (hint: the church parking lot is a great place to park (located at 125 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12202) and is only a short walk to the plaza).
The New York State Capitol was completed in 1899 and took 32 years to build. The cost of this architectural grandeur exceeded $25 million, making it the most expensive government building of its time. This shot was captured from the west side of the building while standing in the Empire State Plaza, however all sides of the Capitol offer great views and foreground interest as well. Free tours of the interior are offered on weekdays!
When the sun begins to set, the Empire State Plaza can become an even more photogenic subject. By using a longer exposure time, you can get some cool smoothing water effects without the need for a filter on your lens, plus the lights come on in the office buildings and in the Erastus Corning Tower. The tower, on the left in my photo above, is 44 stories, making it the tallest building in New York State outside of New York City. The tower also has an observation deck on the 42nd floor, however keep in mind that there are no windows facing west, so don't hope for any spectacular sunset views from within the tower.
The Egg Performing Arts Center, named after its unusual shape, may top the capital building and the tower as the most interesting architecture to photograph at the Empire State Plaza or within the entire City of Albany. This venue, built in the 1960's and 1970's, attracts music (I saw Steven Wilson there) and stage presentations (I also went to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar with the kids), as well as dance acts. The acoustics of the performances, like the curved exterior of the Egg, are astounding to behold.