Albany is the capitol of New York State and original eastern entrance to the Erie Canal. Likewise Albany, and its now sprawling suburbs, are a major attraction along the Hudson River route north to Lake Champlain. The area boast many historic sites, parks, restaurants, stores, and transportation venues.
For the northbound boater the first glimpses of Albany are quite unimpressive. The Hudson River narrows considerably and both shores are lined with loading docks, warehouses and commercial shipping equipment. This is the Port of Albany and marks the northern end of nearly all Hudson River shipping. The port handles many types of cargo, but mainly supplies the entire region with fuel oils. Other commodities included scrap metal, coal and wind turbines.
Once past the shipping port, the city comes into view. On the west side you pass the USS Slater (518-431-1943). USS Slater (DE-766) is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy and later in the Hellenic (Greek) Navy. The ship was named for Frank O. Slater of Alabama, a sailor killed on the USS San Francisco during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry in action. The USS Slater is now a museum ship, the only one of its kind afloat in the United States. You can visit the boat and take an hour-long guided tour, Wednesday to Sundays from 10-4. Adults are $7, kids 6-14 $5, Seniors (65+) $6 and children 5 and under are free.
Looking past the USS Slater, downtown Albany comes into view. The downtown area is rich in architecture, spanning three centuries of New York State. After going under the Dunn Memorial Bridge, the Erastus Corning Riverfront Preserve is along the western shore. This linear park is the home to many summer concerts and is the southern end of a larger linear park system that stretches along the river north to just below the Troy Lock and Dam. There is a set of free docks here, providing a central access point to explore the downtown area of the city. Docking is limited to two hours, and no overnight docking is allowed and be sure to lock your boat and onboard items.
The walk to Albany's downtown starts by walking pedestrian bridge over the highway. From here there are many routes to take, but most turn left on Broadway, then right on State Street. This area is where the capitol building and other historic and interesting building are. Along the route there are numerous restaurants and shops.
If you want some local guidance at the numerous things to see and do, stop the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center (518-434-0405). It is located at 25 Quackenbush Square, which can be reached by taking a right once over the footbridge and following Broadway (stay on the east side of Broadway) until the intersection with Clinton Ave. Staying on the east side of Broadway, cross Clinton Ave. On this corner is the Quackenbush House, which dates back to 1730, and is the oldest structure in the city. Behind the Quackenbush House is the Visitor's center, accessible by the courtyard on the far side of the building. Inside there is more information for more things to do then you possibly have time for.
The Corning Preserve area was once the original entrance to the Erie Canal (1825-1917). For nearly 100 years, where the boat ramps is located, mule drawn boats would enter the first lock only feet from the river, and then start the long journey west to Buffalo. Historical markers and informational boards throughout the area provide a historical perspective of Albany's rich past.
If you would like to get to a distant location, there are dozens of taxi companies serving Albany. The most reliable method to get a taxi is to walk to the Greyhound Bus Station located nearby. Rather than taking the footbridge, walk south along the river to the Broadway underpass (halfway to the Dunn Memorial Bridge). While under the highway and railroad bridges, look straight ahead. There are two buildings across the street, you will go through the courtyard between them to reach the station.
After going under the highway bridges cross Broadway and head through the courtyard on the right side of Two E-comm Square. The Greyhound Station is located straight ahead and with a line of taxicabs out front.
Hudson River: Between Albany and Troy
Passing Albany and the Corning Preserve is a railroad bridge. The railroad bridge is a swinging bridge, but has 25' clearance at MHW. Most canal traffic, knowing that you need to fit under other much lower, should have dropped their masts and other height restricting items before now. The bridge does swing for necessary commercial traffic though.
The route to Troy is mostly undeveloped, except for the interstate beyond the trees along the western shore. This area, though narrow, is a popular fishing spot, so be prepared for many small local boaters. As one travels north, the scenic river fades away and you enter the city of Troy.
Albany Yacht Club
Just south of the Dunn Memorial Bridge, the USS Slater and the city of Albany on the eastern shore is the Albany Yacht Club, one of America's oldest yacht clubs, first organized in 1873. Albany Yacht Club is the only marina in the Albany area of the Hudson River allowing transients overnight.
The club is located on the Rensselaer (east) side of the river, a bit too far of a walk to downtown Albany, but for those looking for an extended stay in the area, it is a short bike or taxi ride away. Within walking distance are a grocery store, pharmacy, deli, diner, liquor store, laundromat, post office, bank, and medical services.
A short cab ride will take you to innumerable restaurants, shopping malls, specialty shops and entertainment facilities on both sides of the river, as well as to the Albany International Airport and the Amtrak rail station. The club is just minutes from downtown Albany, the Empire State Plaza, and the Cultural Education Center.
The club offers gas, diesel, pump-out facilities ($5.00), showers, cable television, wifi internet, bagged ice ($1.25) and canal permits for the New York State Canal System. Most friday nights one the club host Friday night dinners. Transient rates are $1.50/foot per night with a 25 cent/foot discount for BoatUS members (with proof). Power is an extra $4.95 for 30-amp service and $7.95 for 50-amp service per night.
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