Empire State Plaza

The 1825 completion of the Eire Canal opened the Wilderness to the World and Albany became the eastern gateway to an untouched continent. It was among the ten top cities in America up to 1840. A place to be.

Furs, lumber, grains, metals, and meat funneled through New York’s capitol, thanks to steam-shipping on the Hudson, but the city declined over throughout the 19th Century, losing 20% of its population. By 1970 people claimed Albany was the asshole of New York and Troy was ten miles up that ass.

The Gut was still a vibrant neighborhood. Bars abounded throughout the South End. It was home to 10,000 people. Working class people suffered any advancement under the reign of Mayor Corning, who protected the poor from urban development.

The city was its people and the good percentage of the Gut’s inhabitants were black, Italian, Irish, and derelict drunks.

The South End was doomed by a 1959 visit by Princess Juliana of the Netherlands.

Governor Nelson Rockefeller, later the Assassin of Attica, had been embarrassed by the squalor of lower classes and had said, “There’s no question that the city did not look as I think the Princess thought it was going to.”

98 acres of housing were razed to the ground.

The people were thrown into the streets without anywhere to go.

Nothing was left standing.

Nothing stood in the way of the Power of Progress.

Wallace Harrison overseered the destruction like Baron Haussmann’s Paris boulevards.

In New York some of us spoke about the Plaza as the greatest example of Brutalist Architecture in the USA.

I had only driven by it on an Interstate.

It meant nothing to me.

As did many things.

But I’ve been up North to work.

My employers always asked the same, “Why are you late?”

None of them understand the light.

Or the frozen snow.

Winter was winter in the North in 2016.

Not in 2020.





And one man dead to the world sleeping in it all.

He owned everything.

Even a Princess.

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