Albany rest day. - Two Far 2018 - Trailing through the Rust Belt - CycleBlaze

Albany rest day.

Today was a rest day, we didn't ride the bikes. Team A's tandem stayed in the B&B basement. Team S's tandem went to the day spa at a local bike shop for some minor tuneups.

After a leisurely breakfast, we walked over to the state capital. The NY legislature is in session from January to June, so the place was mostly empty.

The Senate chamber is very ornate. It was built to impress. It made a big impression on the tax payers of NY who were footing the bill. At some point they said enough is enough and sent the 1,500 stone carvers who were working on the capital back to Europe where they came from.

The magnificent Senate chamber.
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If you look closely you can see some plain blocks of stone that never got carved.
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An interesting feature of the Senate chamber is the acoustics. The stone walls reflect sound, making it almost impossible to have a private conversation, even at a whisper. The clever senators found a solution. They can have a private conversation without leaving the chamber by stepping into one of the two fireplaces. The fireplaces are strictly ornamental, fires are never burned in them, and they are big enough for two or three people to stand inside the fireplace.

The two tall white structures on the right are faux fireplaces that can be used as a cone of silence. Don't bump your heads!
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Boris Fayfer However, building on a tradition that began with the English parliament, the fireplaces were soon serving as quiet meeting areas for senators to "walk into", and discuss important issues, And, because the chamber's acoustics allowed for virtually every spoken word to be heard, these "fireplace" chats soon became an everyday occurrence.
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1 year ago

In comparison, the assembly chamber was larger but less ornate.

Assembly chamber.
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The assembly chamber is on its third ceiling. The first version was ornate. The visitor's gallery overlooking the chamber still has this ornate ceiling version.

The ceiling in the assembly chamber visitor's gallery.
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The assembly chamber is the largest room in the capital. The visitor's gallery is comparatively small. The ceiling in the visitor's gallery is stable, but the larger ceiling in the assembly chamber was not. The lawmakers objected when chunks of stone started falling from the ceiling.

The second version of the ceiling was supposed to be made of oak. Somehow the contractor used 10% oak and 90% paper-mache. This sounds bad, but it turned out to be a good thing. When the building caught on fire, automatic sprinklers turned on in the chamber. The wet paper-mache fell down from the ceiling and extinguished the fire below.

The third version was built with wood, fiberglass and other modern materials.

Ceiling version 3 is on the left.
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Another beautiful feature in the capital building is the "million dollar staircase". It was built at a time when a million dollars was a lot of money. The walls of the staircase are built with a soft sandstone from Scotland that is easy to carve. The stairs that people actually walk on are built with Medina sandstone.

Soft stone for carving.
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Durable stone for walking on.
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The stone carvers were given a list of famous people and told to carve their likenesses into the staircase, which they did. The stone carvers then used the leftover spaces to carve images of their friends and family. This may have been a contributing factor in sending them home before the building was finished.

Here's the first view of Albany we had yesterday when we came down the Hudson valley.

Albany at last!
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After our tour, we are now in a position to identify some of the buildings in the Albany skyline. The tallest building is the 42 story Corning tower. 

The building with red roofs is the capital building, seen from the Corning tower observation deck. The oval building is "the egg", a performing arts center.
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The 4 identical buildings lined up like dominoes to the right of the Corning tower are government agency office buildings called Agency 1, Agency 2, Agency 3, and Agency 4. The Soviet style architecture was very familiar to Viktoriya.

The 4 identical government agency buildings.
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The capital complex has an excellent (and free) museum. There is also lots of public art in the plaza and adjacent buildings. I liked this piece, primarily because it is made out of bumpers from 1949 Buick Dynaflows.

Bumperman.
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The museum had a bicycle collection. It seems that back in the day the woman was the tandem captain and the man was the stoker. Notice that there is no top tube in front to interfere with the captain's long dress.

1898 Lyndhust tandem.
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Boris FayferDouble stirring !
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1 year ago
Alain AbbateTo Boris FayferGood! Maybe I can ride this tandem, if the stoker is allowed to steer.
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1 year ago

The museum had a 1551 drawing that has nothing to do with the state of NY. It's thought to be a drawing of an opossum, a novel creature to Europeans.

Opossum???
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Boris FayferLook like opossum change a lot from 1551
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1 year ago
Alain AbbateTo Boris FayferI prefer the 1551 style.
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1 year ago
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