Saturday, January 1, 2011


There's an excellent website location called FORGOTTEN NEW YORK which is sponsored by an online group devoted to the more obscure if not truly forgotten places in and around the five boroughs of New York City. This site is a visual repository of lost cemeteries, disappearing architecture, such as street lights, building facades, advertising on building walls and more. So popular is this assembly that they conduct a tour several times a year in search of this much loved Obscuribilia. Every city has its share of forgotten and little old Albany is no exception. My Number One And Only Son Zach and I tooled around downtown Albany on the very first day of 2011 and came across those physical manifestations which you see in these attached still shots.
I remember as a little kid seeing structures like these situated at two locations on Central Avenue. In each set, one entrance was positioned on each side of the street. I seem to recall saying to my mother that I didn't know that Albany had a subway system. Her response was: "No, there is no subway. Those are tunnel entrances used for crossing the street". There are sections of Central Avenue that are extremely long between intersections so it appears these tunnels were constructed to alleviate unnecessary and certainly more hazardous jay walking.
As the years went by, the Central Avenue street tunnels were torn down but it turns there are at least three remaining entrances in town, two located on North Pearl Street with other across the way at Van Woert Street. There are tracks between them so they were constructed for people to cross under the tracks, rather than over them. Just how long the shells have been there I couldn't tell you but there may have been some sort of station stop there at one time. As to why there are two entrances on the North Pearl Street side is anybody's guess. Zach thought that perhaps it was a very busy access point and that's most likely the best guess.

1) Not sure why the sides were painted over in light gray or purple. These first four stills were taken from North Pearl Street.

2) The following four images were taken from the Van Woert Street angle. The entrances have been boarded up for years although you may notice a small space at the bottom . Zach refused to get down on his hands and knees and look inside.

3) Another minor mystery is this marking. It looks less like graffiti and more like some kind of meaningful notation.

4) One of the North Pearl Street tunnel entrances as seen from Van Woert Street.

5) These entrances appear to have been constructed of concrete, and for a number of years, they had steel grates to block entry. Ultimately, they were boarded up with plywood.


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Bill offered tales of his recent involvement with REACT, a national volunteer emergency services organization.

Anonymous said...

Bill, you will be missed, WB2IQU