The NYS Archives dates this incredible photo of the Albany riverfront to 1911. The view is from the Albany Yacht Club pier, looking across the footbridge that crossed the basin to the very foot of State Street.
Very notable are the ends of the buildings advertising three of Albany’s local beers, making that important first impression for those arriving by river and seeking refreshment. To the south, above the Hinckel sign, we can also see a painted sign for the Empire Burlesque and Vaudeville, which was up on State Street. There’s also a sign for the Mansion Hotel, $5 per week, $1 a day.
The building below was the home of J. Stephens & Sons, Wholesale Fruits, “Albany’s Modern Fruit House.”
In the block between State and Hudson, we can see the businesses of Quay Street, back when there were businesses on Quay Street. For that matter, back when people knew Quay Street; today’s it just part of the highway ramp system. We can see a business by the name of Murray’s, Stoneman & Sons ship’s chandlers, and an advertisement for T. Sonnenfeld & Sons, processors of hides, skins, wool, tallow, &c.
We can also see signs for the Hampton Hotel (“fireproof”) and for once-huge grocery suppliers Bacon & Stickney. We can see trolleys turning at State and Broadway. And we can see this dude:
It wouldn’t be too long before a whole lot of this changed – many of the buildings in the center would be taken to build Marcus T. Reynolds’s resplendent headquarters of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad beginning in 1912.
For those who can’t quite place this in relation to modern times, State Street took a bit of a bend at Broadway and continued along to the river alongside the federal building. A bridge connected it to the wharf. There was another bridge further north.