William M Hart. Albany from the East Side of the River. Oil on canvas, 1846, 35 1/4 x 48 1/4 in. Purchase, 1940.636.2. (Average user rating: 0.0)
Thomas Cole and William Hart both created views of Albany in the mid-1840s showing the city from the east bank of the Hudson River. About 50,000 people lived in Albany at the time and the artists captured the city as the growing, vital commercial center that it was. Thomas Cole may have carefully drawn his 1844 view of Albany to assist him in making a large painting of the city to hang in the cabin of the warship USS Albany that was being built in Brooklyn Navy Yard. Isaiah Townsend enlisted the support of several Albany residents to petition Cole to do the painting, and in February 1844, Cole asked Townsend to supply him with a daguerreotype of the city: "I now trouble you to enquire whether it may be possible for me to get a Daguerrotype View from near the spot where you left me. I imagine there are persons in Albany who can do this sufficiently well & I should be greatly facilitated in the execution of the pictures by a Daguerrotype." Cole finished the painting and had it delivered to Albany from his home in Catskill. The final painting, however, is now lost. The USS Albany was involved in the Mexican War, and in 1854 it sunk off the coast of Cuba during a storm. The view of the City of Albany can be found today from the small waterfront park behind the Crailo State Historic Site, the museum of Colonial New Netherland history in the upper Hudson Valley. Crailo is located a bit south of the exact spot where Cole and Hart most likely found their views, and the curious traveler can get even closer by walking north along Broadway less than a mile, crossing over the busy Route 9/20, and turning left into a riverfront park.Text by Elizabeth Jacks with thanks to the Albany Institute of History & Art
Driving Directions: We recommend Google Map . Site coordinates: 42.63459 Lat., -73.749496 Long.
Location Notes: From the vicinity of the Thomas Cole site and Olana, take the New York State Thruway (87) to exit 23 for Interstate 787 N toward Troy. Take exit 3 to merge onto US-20 E/US-9 S/Dunn Memorial Bridge toward Rensselaer, then turn right onto Broadway, and continue onto Riverside Ave until you reach the Crailo State Historic Site. Crailo is a little bit south of the actual spot where Cole and Hart found their view to draw and paint, so walk north from Crailo less than half a mile to Riverside Park to see the city from another angle.