View looking north.
Empire State Plaza

Uphill from the Hudson River waterfront, piercing like an arrowhead into downtown Albany, Nelson A Rockefeller's Empire State Plaza went up in the 1960s and 1970s, replacing 98 acres of nineteenth-century buildings (and Swan Street Bldg.displacing hundreds of Albanian families) with a complex that includes a subterranean retail arcade lined with impressive modern art.

This complex remains one of the most ambitious urban renewal projects in modern US history. It was controversial for a number of reasons: the displacement of thousands of residents and small businesses, the cost (including the use of luxury materials like the omnipresent marble sheathing), and the inefficient use of space. While these practical criticisms have largely dissipated, particularly since the plaza is a huge tourist attraction as well as important for local use, still the complex is often criticized on aesthetic grounds. The architecture is described as outmoded and the buildings as pompous.

Articles about the Plaza from the period of its construction and opening in the late 1960s and early 1970s:

In Marble's White Glare, a Debut for Albany Plaza
Rocky's Monumental Error, or The Billion-Dollar Misunderstanding
Mall Architecture: Futuristic Doesn't Work

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