A little bit of Albany history…
By the beginning of the 20th century, Albany had become an important, versatile transportation center connecting major markets throughout the Northeast, just as the railroads were beginning to surpass riverboats as the primary mode of transportation. The Delaware & Hudson Railroad company, one of the largest in the country, responded to this boom by building one of the most elegant buildings in the State of New York for its headquarters. Overlooking the mighty Hudson on one side, and surrounding a beautiful green plaza on the other, it formed the focal point of lower State Street, with the New York State Capital building in full view at the upper end.
At the time the new building was being conceived, it was common to look to specific precedents in the architecture of the past for inspiration. Thus, Architect Marcus T. Reynolds selected the Guild Hall of the Cloth Makers in Ypres, Belgium (also known as the Cloth Hall) as the primary model for the new building. Begun in 1205 and completed in the 15th Century, its architectural style was early Flemish Gothic. By coincidence, the Cloth Hall at Ypres was destroyed by German artillary fire in November of 1914, shortly after work was begun on its counterpart in Albany.
To commemorate Henry Hudson’s trip up the river in 1609, Reynolds chose a model of Hudson’s ship, the “Half Moon” as the crowning ornament of the central tower of the new building. Regularly refinished in goldleaf, this landmark is the largest working weathervane in North America, measuring seven feet long and nearly ten feet high, and sails high above the Albany skyline to this day.