Albany is the capital of New York and the county seat of Albany County. It is home to just under 100,000 residents, most of New York State’s key government offices, and seven colleges and universities. Albany is an interesting showcase of several centuries’ worth of architectural styles, including the modernistic Empire State Plaza. Before the first European settlement by the Dutch in 1614, Albany and its surroundings were home to the Iroquois Five Nations group of indigenous Americans. Albany is the longest continually chartered city in the United States, the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, and was a center for the smuggling of alcohol from Canada during the U.S. Prohibition. Writer and journalist William Kennedy, an Albany native, uses the city and its history as the setting for most of his novels, plays and nonfiction books.
- 1 Albany International Airport (ALB IATA), 737 Albany Shaker Rd, ☎+1 518 242-2200. Classified as an international airport due to a handful of flights from Canada. Several expansion projects since 1995 have transformed this formerly spartan little airport into a very attractive port of departure/arrival. Airlines that operate are American, Delta, Southwest, United, Air Canada, and Cape Air. Getting from the airport to the city is best done by pickup from a friend or by taxi; in 2006, a taxi to downtown Albany was about $20 to $25. See also “By bus” below.