Guest blogger: Tom McPheeters.
These instructions are intended for TWO people — ONE to drive and the OTHER to read the directions.
The purpose of this suggested driving route is to let you see most of the Breathing Lights buildings in the South End (a few exceptions at the end) and get a feel for the South End. You will see many vacant buildings, some owned by the Albany County Land Bank, and many in legal limbo. That can be a bit depressing, so we want to remind you about some of the positive developments in the South End as we go. They include:
ROUTE AND NARRATIVE:
START at Capital South Campus Center, 20 Warren St.
This building serves as a hub for education, employment and community in the South End. Look across the street at the “Dream Center” and the “Lets Make A Deal” buildings recently acquired by the Housing Authority and the City, and imagine how they can breathe new life into the community.
DRIVE EAST to Grand Street, noting the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center on your left.
RIGHT on Morton and immediate LEFT onto Elizabeth Street.
Notice the newly rehabbed Albany Housing Authority buildings on Morton Avenue opposite the towers.
RIGHT onto Delaware Street going west.
Where the road curves around to the left at Eagle Street, notice the stairs that come down two flights from Catherine Street and Morton Avenue, an important pedestrian throughway for the neighborhood.
FOLLOW CURVE around to Alexander Street, heading back the way you came.
CROSS OVER Elizabeth Street and stay on Alexander Street.
You pass the row of Habitat houses on your left. This block also has an important church and many other homeowners. On the right hand side of the middle of the block at 46 Alexander is a new garden being developed from three land bank lots. Notice the circular mosaic on the side of the land bank building adjacent to the vacant lot. (There are no Breathing Lights buildings on this block, but there are three land bank buildings. The buildings themselves are difficult, but this would be a good block to invest in.)
RIGHT onto Clinton Street, and your first RIGHT onto Fourth Avenue.
As you turn onto Fourth, notice the new garden on the right hand side, another land bank lot turned back to community use.
Notice the circular mosaic on the front of 150 Fourth Avenue, a land bank property.
LEFT on Elizabeth Street going south.
Look to your right to see the Harriet Tubman Democratic High School (a functioning alternative school) and the neighborhood playground park and playground.
LEFT onto Second Avenue.
This section of Second Avenue is due for a code enforcement and façade makeover by the city.
FIRST LEFT onto Stephen Street, going down the hill.
RIGHT at Third Avenue.
Notice the circular mosaic on the side of 113 Third Avenue, another land bank building (on your left), by the garden.
PASS Teunis and RIGHT on Clinton Street, going up that hill again.
RIGHT at Second Avenue, and then immediate RIGHT onto Teunis Street.
At the bottom of the hill you are back on Third Avenue. PASS Clinton Street and LEFT on Broad Street.
Note the new town homes, Jaret Holt Mews, built by Albany Housing Authority about five years ago and extended down Broad Street several years later.
PROCEED on Broad Street to Morton Avenue, take a LEFT past the courts building and Union Missionary Baptist Church and RIGHT onto Grand Street back to Warren Street and the Campus Center.
Note the Radix Center (the big greenhouse and the livestock pen) on your right.
That’s the END of the tour.
However, there are four other Breathing Lights buildings in the South End you can see on your own.
98 Third Avenue didn’t fit my route. You can reach it by driving up Morton to Hawk Street (the Stewarts Shop), then left at the end of Hawk onto Third Avenue. A large garden operated by AVillage and Radix is on your right at the intersection, next to the Creighton Storey apartments.
In the nearby Mansion Neighborhood are three Breathing Lights buildings:
Myrtle Street, the block between Grand and Philip on the south side.
1 and 5 Bleeker Place. The street is one way going from Philip to Eagle.
For further information:
Albany County Land Bank, (518) 407-0309
South End Improvement Corp., (518) 436-8777
Tom McPheeters, (518) 433-0679, email@example.com (Land Bank Community Advisory Committee, member SEIC Development Committee)