|Union Station, New Year's Day 2014|
At the ceremony, I sat next to an elderly gentleman who remembered embarking and debarking at the train station on trips to and from New York City many times in the 1940's and '50's. How ironic it is that an edifice built in the horse-and-buggy era is now the offices of the 21st century nanoscale engineering college.
My grandparents stepped out of the building into a cacophony of trolley cars and horse-drawn carriages that shared the cobble-stoned pavement with Mr. Ford's new horseless carriages. They clutched their baggage in one hand, and in the other a scrap of paper with the name and address of another Dutch family living in Albany's South End. Timidly approaching a policeman, they inquired of him in their broken English what trolley line would take them in that direction.
Ironically, most immigrants coming to Albany in the early 20th century were not Dutch, as were most of the city's earliest European residents. Subsequent waves of immigration to New York State's Capital District bore many Irish and Italian surnames, now reflected in the names of the Albany Common Council members sworn in on New Year's Day along with Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
|Union Station - interior decorative element|
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Read more about Grandma and Grandpa VandenBergh's arrival in Albany at Union Station at this earlier blog post: Arrival at Last
For local coverage of the inauguration of the new Mayor and a bit about the history of the Union Station building, you may also find this article worth perusing: "The New Guard." (from a local weekly newspaper, "Metroland")