Albany,New York, the seat of Albany County and the state capital. It lies on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 135 miles (217 km) north of New York City.
As the transshipment point between traffic on the New York State Barge Canal and oceangoing vessels, Albany is a major inland port. The city is also served by rail, Interstate highways, and an airport. Wharves, railway yards, and factories line the riverfront. Among goods produced are paper, machine tools, and electronic equipment.
Residential Albany reaches up slopes and across terrain dominated by the capitol. Next to the capitol is the Empire State Plaza, where there are state office buildings, the New York State Museum, and other cultural facilities. The Albany Institute of History and Art is noted for its Dutch colonial furnishings and European and American paintings. Schuyler Mansion (built 1761), now a museum, was the home of General Philip Schuyler, army officer and statesman. The University at Albany is part of the SUNY system. Other colleges include Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the College of St. Rose, and Russell Sage College. The Palace Theatre is home to the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Albany Berkshire Ballet.
Albany is one of the nation's oldest communities. In 1624 the first permanent settlers, who were Dutch, established Fort Orange. Taken by the British in 1664, the settlement was renamed Albany after the Duke of York and Albany. In 1754 delegates from seven colonies met here for the Albany Congress. (See Albany Congress.) The city became the state capital in 1797. The opening of the Erie Canal (1825), followed by the building of railways, contributed to the city's growth.