During my run the other night I got to thinking about a new building being constructed on New Scotland Avenue. I think the previous building on this particular lot was affiliated with a house of worship, and this new construction is a church, I believe. What strikes me each time I run by, is the lack of a BBL or Columbia Development sign. This building is identified as a Bunkoff project, a name refreshingly unfamiliar to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no personal beef with either BBL or Columbia, but I am so weary of seeing their names on so very many of the building projects in this city, our city. There must be other outfits out there capable and prepared to add to the landscape of New York State’s capital city, right?
It seems to me like Albany has been on the cusp of “happening” for decades. The individual pieces grow tantalizingly close to falling in place, but something prevents them from locking firmly together. Could it be the city’s leadership? Is it possible that the mayor and his preferred business associates have been so busy taking care of each other that they’ve neglected to take care of anyone else?
A few years ago, federal funds came into my neighborhood and sparked a renaissance. Streets and sidewalks were improved, lighting was added, and independent businesses started to find a home in the Delaware Avenue south area. Individuals invested their time and resources and together are forging an identity for our little piece of Albany. Christ, I made up a word for it and it stuck – DelSo, my home.
Imagine if more citizens and neighborhoods start doing this? What if other residents start taking ownership of their blocks? If folks began saying that it isn’t okay for one builder or developer to “own” the opportunity to create the landscape we all share? Maybe those established contractors could take on the task of mentoring some of the smaller outfits as they strive to get in on the action? I know, I know, I’m an evil socialist or something, right? That might be the case, but what definitely is true is that there needs to be a greater distribution of the opportunities presented by sharing a city of nearly 100,000 people. It’s time for something new, folks. Please share your thoughts.