Plenty of people are returning home from summer vacation (or squeezing one in as best they can!). If you're travelling out of state, most likely you've at least once struck up conversation with some other traveler or local. And if you're from the Capitol Region, and respond to the question, "So, where are you from?", you might answer, "New York".
The person you're speaking with might then respond with a slightly confused expression, "You don't sound like you're from New York." Yes, it then becomes time to clarify, "I'm from Albany."
So here's a few things that'll let people know what makes Albany awesome. And maybe point out the things that make it stand out from New York City too...
You could always start off with the amazing history of the area, a detail that might not get enough attention when compared with the equally fascinating histories and stories surrounding iconic NYC. Albany is one of the longest continuously settled areas in the United States. It was incredibly important during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and home to many notable figures in American history. It is also the birthplace of the modern toilet paper roll, a small detail of daily significance to share with others...you're welcome.
You know you're from Albany when you've heard these stories and many more from numerous trips (maybe a few were school trips growing up) to the plethora of historic sights and museums throughout the city like the Albany Institute of History and Art, Crailo State Historic Site, Schuyler Mansion, Van Schaick Mansion, Mabee Farm and many, many more.
There's several things that if you're from Albany, you're so accustomed to that it's surprising when visitors make note of things.
Take for example, The Egg. For many, it's an unusual, unique shape. And for those in Albany, it's still unusual and unique, but it's a familiar feature that we've all seen and probably been inside to see a show at least once or twice in one of its two theaters. It remains a popular school trip destination where you spent a large chunk of the time wondering why it's called The Egg.
The Corning Tower is another such feature. But you might not have realized that it's 589 ft tall for its grand total of 44 floors, making it the tallest skyscraper in New York State outside of New York City. It might not be the Empire State Building, but it's got some pretty amazing views from its observation deck on the 42nd floor.
You know you're from Albany if you've been here and probably already taken advantage of the Farmers Markets that set up there during the summer, and probably attended one of the annual Festival of Nations (this year is Oct. 23). You also have probably sat nearby the pools too on those summer days. Of course, you've probably also skated on them during the winter when they're frozen. It's not Rockefeller Center's ice rink, but it's awesome!
You know you're from Albany when you've also been to the New York State Museum, checking out the Cohoes Mastodon exhibit, exploring the replica of an Iroquois longhouse, checking out the NYC section and posing in the train car exhibit for pictures. And of course you made your way at least once to the 4th floor for a ride on the carousel (nobody judges when it's not just children - adults can be playful too!)
You know you're from Albany when you've passed by the Capitol Building many times - and probably thought about taking a tour if you haven't already. And you've always heard those stories that it's haunted.... Luckily there's a tour for the curious and brave to check out that delves into the ghostly history of the building.
5. Hudson River
Everyone in Albany knows a little bit about the river, and could probably rattle off something they'd learned in school about Henry Hudson and his ship.
You know you're from Albany when the Halfmoon Weathervane atop the SUNY Administration building is just like any other to you- despite the fact that it's the largest working weathervane in the country, weighing about 800 pounds!
You've probably taken a trip on the water too. The Dutch Apple Cruises is a great chance to view the city. You know you're from Albany when you sail past that UHaul building and still wonder just how that truck propped up on top was put up there....
And you know you're from Albany when you've done at least one thing from the Hudson River Valley Ramble!
6. Erie Canal
You know you're from Albany when you can sing that song...or at least refrain "15 Miles on the Erie Canal!" You probably have been on the canal too. The Erie Canal Cruises are a relaxing way to spend the day, and you don't need to duck when you come to any bridges anymore!
Check out the Tugboat Roundup again this year and make sure to enjoy the fireworks!
7. End of Summer/Fall Festivals and Haunted Events
You know you're from Albany when you've been a part of one of the many festivals that are jam-packed at the end of the summer. Following the awesome Alive At Five series during the summer, who could miss out on LarkFEST, September in the City, or The Albany Jazz Festival?
And don't forget about watching the Capital District Scottish Games at the Altamont Fairgrounds! And you've been a part of Pearl-Palooza a few times and enjoyed some of the great food and music at Crailo Harvest Faire.
8. Albany Brewing
You know you're from Albany when you've a substantial amount of pride in Albany's brewing history - as you should. Albany and beer have been tied together since its early Dutch days and continues that tradition today. You know you're from Albany when you've had a drink from the Albany Distilling Co., Inc. after a tour, or while relaxing at C.H. Evans Brewing Co. at the Albany Pump Station.
And, you know you're from Albany when you've gone on the Albany Bootlegger Tour. You might have heard about "Legs" Diamond in Albany once or twice...
You know you're from Albany when someone says something about Great Danes, and you don't first think Scooby Doo (Alright, you might a little). Instead, you think of UAlbany football. And you've seen a hockey game or two at the Times Union Center. You've probably seen a few Tri-City Valley Cats baseball games too, hoping Southpaw might toss you a souvenir!
10. Washington Park
You know you're form Albany when you've attended the Tulip Festival for Mother's Day weekend. You've also been to Dadfest at the park too (don't want those dads to feel neglected after mom gets a parade). And of course, you've been to Capital Holiday Lights In The Park and taken a picture with Santa at the Lakehouse!
It's practically impossible to pick just a handful of places to eat as the go-to place, as anyone from Albany knows already that the city is home to many delicious restaurants. And there's always some fantastic show to see at the Capital Repertory Theater, or the Palace Theater or some event to be a part of at The Times Union Center.
And last but not least, you know you're from Albany when you're ready to share and invite others to your amazing, gorgeous city! So share what you think should make the list of things to mention and keep loving Albany!