Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Albany, Labor Day weekend 2018, at Albany Yacht Club

Albany Yacht Club is actually across the river from the city of Albany.  We had another long hot ride up the Hudson River to get there.  This time, though, we were able to run the generator and the A/C, and drive in comfort from inside. 
The Yacht Club is small, and what bar facilities they have is run by members – no one had volunteered for the whole Labor Day weekend!   So, we walked to a restaurant/bar called “Illusion”.  Our meal was delicious.  A band was setting up as we arrived – we old fogies were concerned that their music would be too loud.  Not so!  They were actually a great band.  Lead singer and guitar, lead guitar, bass, and electronic drums.  We were two of only a very few people there, so we got lots of attention!  I requested Eagles music – they played and excellent rendition of “Hotel California”, not exactly an easy piece.  I requested Eric Clapton, and they played my favorite “You look wonderful tonight”. 
The next day, Saturday, we Uber’d over to downtown Albany to the State Capitol complex.  Quite amazing and spectacular buildings!  There is a State Museum that was excellent – a large section all about 9/11.  Another large section was about New York City, all the boroughs, with pictures, models, historical information.  Another section was about the Erie Canal.  Disappointingly, that portion wasn’t finished yet.  We did see some historical information, much of which we had already learned from other sources.

This next section is in italics, because it is a bit of a detour from our story.  When the italics ends, the story picks up!
One section of the museum told a story that I had never heard.  During World War II, there were some German Jews (men, women, and children), about 1,000 strong, who were brought to the US on a US ship, because there were so many refugees in Europe that the army couldn't deal with them!  President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill devised a plan to take refugees to each country.  However, because they were Germans and we were at war, the law did not allow them to be admitted to the US.  President Roosevelt wanted to find a way – the way he found was to call these passengers ‘freight’ and to all them to come into a ‘Free Trade Zone’, a term that is still in use today.  A Free Trade Zone, while technically part of the US, is set apart from the country.  
So, these people were brought to Oswego, NY, to an old Army base.  They were given housing, clothing, food, water, in short, everything they needed to live.  But, they were restricted in their movements.  The area was fenced off.  Children were allowed to go to the local schools, but had to return afterwards.  The people could leave the area to go into town, but they only had a three hour pass.  Apparently, the people in the town were very sympathetic, and brought items to the refugees.  Things, like toys, bicycles, books, were thrown over the fence in the beginning!  This limbo situation went on for 18 months.  Many of these folks were professionals, highly trained, previously wealthy people.  Everyone, though, had to engage in employment in the community to make things work.  Things needed repair, cleaning, plumbing.  Some were quite indignant, and also were unhappy that it went on for such a long time.  But, many were happy, because they were safe, had food they hadn't seen in years!
President Truman, when the war ended, devised a way to admit them to the US.  No one wanted to return them (as had been intended originally) to their country of origin – there was nothing for them there.  The solution was that they first had to leave the US.  They were put on buses, taken to Ontario, debarked, then turned around and entered the US from Canada!  They went through Immigration and everything, just as though they had just arrived.  What an interesting story!  I would love to know more about those folks and how they fared over the years.

From the Museum, there is a large concourse underground that goes to the State Capitol and several surrounding ‘Agency’ buildings.  It must be wonderful for those folks that work there in the winter – there are shops and eateries, shoe repair, bank, etc.  I had read that we could get a tour of the capitol on Saturdays – Unfortunately, I hadn’t completed the research – for Saturday tours, you must reserve at least two weeks ahead!  Oh well.  
We exited the complex and found a restaurant for lunch.  We then decided to walk around downtown viewing the lovely architecture.  The Capitol itself was spectacular and majestic.  Other downtown buildings were obviously old and also had interesting architecture.  As we headed down the hill to the area near the river, there was one very large and ornate building that was gothic in style – absolutely stunning.  Turns out, it is the State University of New York (SUNY) building.  We settled for some liquid replenishment and rest at a bar called Loch and Quay (get it?  Lock and key!).  The interior was old and lovely with lots of well-cared for wood – reminded us of many of the old bars in Detroit.
By then, we had exhausted our energy and our legs, so Uber took us back to the boat.

on the concourse between Museum and Capitol

more of the concourse

Museum of NY

Museum of NY

gorgeous church

from the Museum

Walking downtown reminded me of downtown Washington D.C.!

State Courthouse

gorgeous old building

University of NY main building

beautiful entrance!

great old building downtown

just love these doors!

University of NY main bldg

beautiful bar across from University main building

love the name!

leaving Albany

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