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One of our favorite things about travelling in an RV is doing it without schedules or itineraries. We make plans a few days ahead of when we are going to arrive in a particular spot. The spontaneity that sometimes ensues is exciting, and even keeps us guessing where we will go next.  Our original plan was to head into New York City after Boston, we drove thru Rhode Island and into Connecticut and thought we should figure out where we are going to sleep in the Big Apple. The chance of a free parking spot for an RV, even one our size, in one of the biggest cities in the World is not likely. After comparing cheaper campgrounds outside of the city, and factoring in public transportation into NYC, vs. staying across the water from Manhattan in Jersey City, NJ we opted for the ultra expensive Jersey City site.  The only problem with making your plans last minute, is sometimes places are sold out. We made out reservation for 7 nights commencing Aug 9th- that meant we had a week to burn. So we headed into Upstate New York and this is some of what we saw:

We stayed in Schenectady, NY for 4 nights in a very reasonably priced full hookup site. At $17.50 per night we thought it was a steal, and the surrounding area is breathtaking. Its hard to imagine NYC is only 3 hours away.

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The pond

The pond

We found this pond and barns just down the road from the campground. This was taken on day one and the next picture the next day. The second day it was completely covered in green.

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As we knew little about this area, we pulled out our map and saw that nearby Albany, NY was the State Capitol. We set off to explore Albany. We pulled into town and immediately were greeted by stunning buildings. The grandeur and detail of these structures is jaw dropping.

State Education Building

State Education Building

State Education Building

State Education Building

We snapped a photo of this building but did not know what it was at the time.

We snapped a photo of this building but did not know what it was at the time.

As we knew nothing about Albany, we stopped at the Visitors Center. It was later in the day, about 2pm, so we asked what we could see in a few hours. The employee suggested we check out the State Capitol Building (above) and take the last tour of the day (3pm) and then after that walk over to the New York State Museum. When he mentioned both were free to enter, we were sold.

We started at the State Capitol building. We were both thinking this would be a boring lesson in American Politics, we never imagined how magnificent this building was inside.

Capitol Building from the rear

Capitol Building from the rear

New York State is debatably the biggest, most powerful state in the Union, and also quite wealthy. In 1899 when this building was declared complete it cost 25 Million Dollars. Factoring in Inflation that equals about 500 Million Dollars today. This building took 32 years to built and was never finished, in 1899 it was declared finished as they were frustrated waiting 32 years. This building is unbelievable, the detail and quality of materials is second to none.

Three architects worked on this building over the 32 years, interestingly enough the first architect, Thomas Fuller, designed the Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

Here is the story as posted inside:

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We started the tour on the 4th floor.

It's a long way down

It’s a long way down

Large skylights

Large skylights

When the building was constructed, electricity was yet to be invented, hence the need for large skylights to allow light inside.

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Next up was a look inside the Senate Chamber. According to our Guide this room has been voted the most beautiful room in America numerous times by the Smithsonian.

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After 32 years of construction in 1899, a new Governor was elected and declared the building done, when in fact it was not done. Examples of unfinished work can be seen everywhere, such as the carvings in this arch below being only half completed.

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These fireplaces were supposed to have carvings on the front, but were never completed.

These fireplaces were supposed to have carvings on the front, but were never completed.

The acoustics in this room are so precise that it is practically impossible to whisper without being overheard by others. Photographs are not allowed in the galleries as the clicking sound of the camera could be overheard by those on the floor. (when in session) There are two massive fireplaces at the back of the room, these are not working fireplaces but 6 foot by 6 foot private meeting rooms. The acoustics in these fireplace rooms mean your conversation will be private and cannot be heard on the floor.

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Up next we went into the Legislature chamber. Although not as elegant, it was still an impressive room.

These two men are apparently in charge of security.

These two men are apparently in charge of security.

From here we walked thru the halls and staircases.

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Thousands of faces are carved around the building. The bigger faces are of famous Americans, the smaller heads are unknown. It is thought that the Carvers could carve whoever they wanted, themselves, their kids or friends.

Lincoln with two unknown faces.

Lincoln with two unknown faces.

Even the elevators were cool. Originally steam powered, they have since been converted.

Even the elevators were cool. Originally steam powered, they have since been converted.

 

The Museum of New York was just across the large courtyard.

Courtyard

Courtyard

Of course there is an old GMC Taxi on display.

Of course there is an old GMC Taxi on display.

Our time here was limited, the museum closed in 45 minutes and is very large. We chose to see the FDNY / World Trade Center portion. This was an incredibly sad experience. While viewing the exhibits, one younger man nearby was in tears the entire time. Others were walking thru laughing and making jokes, obviously not seeing how this is so disrespectful to the other man, and the victims.

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Items saved from the Family Room

Items saved from the Family Room

Pieces of structural steel

Pieces of structural steel from the WTC

Door from a NYPD car that was crushed by falling debris.

Door from a NYPD car that was crushed by falling debris.

Engine 6

Engine 6

Engine 6 damaged during Sept 11

Engine 6 damaged during Sept 11

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Signs and information from Fresh Kills Landfill where all material was sorted.

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The story behind this ambulance is below.

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What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met. – David Levithan