Empire State Plaza

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View of the plaza from the South Mall Expressway below.
The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza (commonly known as simply the Empire State Plaza and less formally as The South Mall) is a complex of several state government buildings in downtown Albany, New York.

History

The 98-acre (39 ha) complex, the brainchild of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, was built between 1965 and 1978 for 1.7 billion dollars. Wallace Harrison was the principal architect of the plaza. Rockefeller was inspired to create the new government space in 1959 upon the visit of Princess Beatrix. The Corning Tower and Agency buildings were completed in 1973, the Cultural Education Center in 1976, and the Egg in 1978. Today, over 13,000 state employees are employeed at the complex.

Characteristics

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Concourse level of the Plaza
The Plaza consists of various marble and steel buildings, seated on a six-story marble platform along the Hudson River. The buildings comprising the Plaza include: The Plaza also features a skating rink and fountains, an underground corridor ("the concourse") connecting all of the buildings in the Plaza and the Capitol, and various sculptures and works of art. Several memorials are located on the Plaza, including the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial.

The scale of the buildings in the Plaza is impressive, and the complex is the most easily recognizable aspect of the Albany skyline. The Corning Tower is the tallest building in New York state outside of New York City; the Swan Street Building is over a quarter of a mile long and inspired by Pharaoh Hatshepsut's Temple at Deir el-Bahri, Egypt.

The Plaza tends to be windier than the surrounding city. There is also a limited amount of shade. These factors can make winters feel colder and summers feel hotter.

About the buildings

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Empire State Plaza looking south towards the Cultural Education Center. The Corning Tower is on the left and the four Agency buildings are on the right.


The buildings are laid around a row of three reflecting pools. On the west side are the four 23-floor (310-foot/94 m) Agency towers. On the east side is the Egg (Meeting Center) and the 44-floor (589-foot/180 m) Corning Tower, which has an observation deck on the 42nd floor. On the south end is the Cultural Education Center, set on a higher platform; and on the north end sits the New York State Capitol.

The Plaza itself is actually the largest building of all. Four of the floors are for parking, while the fifth floor (the concourse) contains a bus/taxicab depot, a post office, cafeterias, a convention center and meeting rooms, retailers, banks, and a visitor center.

Art at the Plaza

The plaza has a large number of modern art paintings and sculptures at various locations. Most are works of the New York School and were created in the 1960s and 1970s. Artists represented include Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Alexander Calder. Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, has called the Plaza's collection of American art "...the most important State collection of modern art in the country."

Controversy

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The Empire State Plaza viewed from the Dunn Memorial Bridge. The pyramid-roofed building in the foreground on the right is a corporate office building and not part of the plaza. The upper lip of the Egg can be seen behind it to the left.
Not unexpectedly, the complex was a significant controversy around the time of its construction. It was criticized for displacement of the former landowners (about 9,000 people were displaced, mostly poor Jews and Italians), the cost of its lavish architecture (the towers are covered in marble so that one cannot see the individual floors), its sheer size, and its period architecture. In The Shock of the New: Art and the Century of Change, Thames & Hudson, 1991 (ISBN 0-500-27582-3), Robert Hughes refers to the buildings as being in "The International Power Style of the Fifties", comparing the buildings to those built by Fascist governments.

Crossing through the plaza is the South Mall Arterial, a short highway artery connecting to the Dunn Memorial Bridge. Construction of this highway destroyed many buildings in Albany's downtown. In the initial proposal, the highway was to go from Interstate 90 in North Greenbush (current exit 8 to NY 43), through Rensselaer, under the plaza, and connecting to the also cancelled Mid-Crosstown Arterial, which would have run from I-90 Exit 6, through the city, travelling underneath Washington Park, meeting with the South Mall Expressway in the process, and continuing on to the Thruway at Exit 23. The current South Mall Arterial ends abruptly in a loop at Swan Street, with both eastbound and westbound lanes using the two outer portals of the four portal tunnel leading under the plaza. (The inner two were to be express lanes to the Mid-Crosstown Arterial/SME interchange underneath the park.) The only evidence of the original Mid-Crosstown Arterial is the four level stack interchange for I-90 at present day US 9.

Photo gallery





The Egg



The Albany skyline. The Empire State Plaza is visible on the left.


External links

City of Albany, New York
Downtown Albany as seen from the Corning Tower.
Motto: Assiduity
Location in Albany County and the State of New York
Coordinates:
Country United States
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State of New York

Flag of New York Seal
Nickname(s): The Empire State
Motto(s): Excelsior!

Official language(s) None

Capital Albany
Largest city New York City

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This is a list of the Governors of the State of New York. The governor is the highest executive officer of the state. He was originally elected in April for a term of three years, beginning on July 1.
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Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979) was the forty-first Vice President of the United States, governor of New York State, philanthropist, and businessman.
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Wallace Kirkman Harrison (September 28 1895 - December 21981), was an American twentieth-century architect.

Harrison started his professional career with the firm of Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray, participating in the construction of Rockefeller Center.
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    Beatrix (born January 31, 1938 as Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld) has been the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since April 30, 1980.
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    Erastus Corning Tower, also known as the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower or simply the Corning Tower, is a skyscraper located in downtown Albany, New York. Completed in 1973 and sided with Vermont Pearl marble and glass, the state office building is part of the Empire
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    Cultural Education Center

    Building Information
    Name Cultural Education Center
    Location Albany, New York
    Country United States

    Architect Wallace Harrison and Max Abramovitz

    Completion Date 1976

    Style Modern The
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    The Egg is a performing arts venue in Albany, New York resembling an egg. The building was constructed between 1966 and 1978 and was designed by Wallace Harrison. It is located in the northest corner of the Empire State Plaza.
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    Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). It is extensively used for sculpture, as a building material, and in many other applications.
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    Steel is an alloy consisting mostly of iron, with a carbon content between 0.02% and 1.7 or 2.04% by weight (C:1000–10,8.67Fe), depending on grade. Carbon is the most cost-effective alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used such as manganese and
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    Hudson River (Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk or Muhheakantuck)

    Looking upriver from the Bear Mountain Bridge


    Country | USA
    States |
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    Erastus Corning Tower, also known as the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower or simply the Corning Tower, is a skyscraper located in downtown Albany, New York. Completed in 1973 and sided with Vermont Pearl marble and glass, the state office building is part of the Empire
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    The Egg is a performing arts venue in Albany, New York resembling an egg. The building was constructed between 1966 and 1978 and was designed by Wallace Harrison. It is located in the northest corner of the Empire State Plaza.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Cultural Education Center

    Building Information
    Name Cultural Education Center
    Location Albany, New York
    Country United States

    Architect Wallace Harrison and Max Abramovitz

    Completion Date 1976

    Style Modern The
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    New York State Museum

    Established 1836
    Location Empire State Plaza Albany, New York, USA
    Type State museum
    Website [1]

    The New York State Museum is a research-backed institution in Albany, New York.
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    New York State Library is part of the New York State Education Department. The Library and its sister institutions, the New York State Museum and New York State Archives, are housed in the Cultural Education Center.
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    The New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Albany, New York is dedicated to the New York firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Governor of New York George Pataki officially dedicated the memorial on October 5, 1998.
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    Erastus Corning Tower, also known as the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower or simply the Corning Tower, is a skyscraper located in downtown Albany, New York. Completed in 1973 and sided with Vermont Pearl marble and glass, the state office building is part of the Empire
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    City of New York
    New York City at sunset

    Flag
    Seal
    Nickname: The Big Apple, Gotham, The City that Never Sleeps
    Location in the state of New York
    Coordinates:
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    Wesretkau [0]
    Mighty of Kas

    Nebty
    name


    <hiero>G16</hiero>
    <hiero>M13-X1-M4-M4-M4</hiero> Wadjrenput[0]
    Flourishing of years

    Golden
    Horus


    <hiero>G8</hiero>
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    Deir el-Bahri (Arabic دير البحري dayr al-baḥrī, literally meaning, "The Northern Monastery") is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt.
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    Gumhūriyyat Miṣr al-ʿArabiyyah
    Arab Republic of Egypt


    Flag Coat of arms
    Anthem
    Bilady, Bilady, Bilady
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    reflecting pool is a structure often used in memorials. It generally consists of a shallow pool of water, usually quite calm. It is designed to inspire solemnity and, as its name implies, reflection.
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    The Egg is a performing arts venue in Albany, New York resembling an egg. The building was constructed between 1966 and 1978 and was designed by Wallace Harrison. It is located in the northest corner of the Empire State Plaza.
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Erastus Corning Tower, also known as the Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd Tower or simply the Corning Tower, is a skyscraper located in downtown Albany, New York. Completed in 1973 and sided with Vermont Pearl marble and glass, the state office building is part of the Empire
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    Cultural Education Center

    Building Information
    Name Cultural Education Center
    Location Albany, New York
    Country United States

    Architect Wallace Harrison and Max Abramovitz

    Completion Date 1976

    Style Modern The
    ..... Click the link for more information.
    New York State Capitol

    The New York State Capitol viewed from the east

    Building information
    Location Albany, New York
    Country United States

    Architect Thomas Fuller
    Leopold Eidlitz
    Henry Hobson Richardson
    Isaac G.
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    bus is a large road vehicle designed to carry numerous passengers in addition to the driver and sometimes a conductor. The name is a neologic version of the Latin omnibus, which means "transport for everyone.
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    Taxicab, short forms taxi or cab, is a type of public transport for a single passenger, or small group of passengers, typically for a non-shared ride.
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