Albany, most frequently known as “that city 3 hours north of NYC, that happens to be the capitol,” also happens to be my home. Albany is the home to a few more than 100,000 people by night, nearly half again that during that day. Roughly equidistant from New York City, Boston, Montreal and Buffalo, Albany is situated at the junction of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers forming it’s early years as a prominent trading port.

What is now downtown Albany was once the site of a man-made basin created by flooding the Hudson. The land was reclaimed and is now the site of government, educational, medical, and financial institutions. Albany is home to far more museums, libraries, music, theater, parks and many other generally accepted icons of culture per capita when compared with New York City. Located at the center of Albany is the Nelson A. Rockwell Empire State Plaza and Capitol Building. The plaza is the site of frequent events such as the yearly Blues Festival and holiday fireworks. Inside and out, modern art greets its many guests in the form of paintings, sculpture, and the buildings themselves. When inside, one is humbled by the immense underground, concrete and marble structures that dwarf a sense of self.

Albany is the center of what is frequently referred to as “The Capitol Region,” including Rensselear, Schenectady and Saratoga counties. Oft-nicknamed Smallbany, the communities are tightly knit. The Lark Street and Center Square neighborhoods are home to a diverse crowd of students, artists, and business folk alike. People are friendly and the streets are relatively safe.

Life in Albany is relaxed. A Saturday morning doesn’t entail driving around for hours trying to find a place to park, instead walking down the street, joining someone playing guitar on their front steps for a beer.