Tuesday, May 17, 2016


The Capital Region of New York State is full of historic neighborhoods.  The GE Realty Plot in Schenectady; the Mansion Hill Neighborhood in Albany to name just two.  And another is the Washington Park Neighborhood  in Troy,  The houses in the neighborhood face a private park.  One of only two privately owned urban ornamental parks in the United States..  The park and the neighborhood are modeled after Gammercy Park in NYC, and were laid out in the 1840's.  They were originally homes for the magnets of the Guilded Age.  Over the years the homes and the park fell into dismal disrepair.  But thanks to some dedicated homeowners each and every beautiful home has been lovingly restored and is fully occupied.  The neighborhood was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1973.   Most of the homes have been converted into multi-unit dwellings, BUT the association has strict rules and guidelines.  The homes only house one unit per floor and the tenants go thru rigorous screening.   The only larger apartment building is in the former Catholic School on 3rd Street.

The only people who have access to the park are the residents and they each have key to the gates.  But, these homes also have small but very usable backyards and the neighborhood is only a block from Russell Sage College.    So it is very quiet.
The buildings are all built to similar heights and are constructed of either brick or brownstone to give them a uniformity.  However there is a great variety to their ornamentation.  The only buildings that are true "row houses" (which means they share a single facade) are on Washington Street.
Washington Street also received an amazing makeover.  The association was able to purchase stones from the City of Albany (that they removed from city streets) to rebuild the surface.
A unique stoop ornament on one of the Washington Street Row Houses.
Looking from the Park toward homes on 2nd Street.
Looking out toward Washington Place.
More homes on 2nd Street.
Looking down Washington Place, which is cobblestone as well.
The 3rd Street side gate to the park.
Looking into the park.
The former church is still under restoration.

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