I Am 100% On Board With The New Albany Gondola (But Mostly For the Instagram Pic)

(Albany Biz Review) A mile-long aerial gondola connecting downtown Albany, New York, with the Amtrak station across the Hudson River in Rensselaer could be built with minimal impacts for $17 million to $20 million, according to a study released today.

McLaren Engineering Group of Albany and its private-sector partners released the results of the study, which they paid for to see whether the “Capital District Gondola” is technically feasible.

“The findings to date have exceeded our expectations,” Peter Melewski, national director of strategic planning at McLaren Engineering Group, said in a prepared statement. “A new gondola system can be built that will connect the 825,000 people arriving and departing each year at the Albany-Rensselaer train station to three important destinations: downtown Albany, the Albany Capital Center and the Empire State Plaza.”

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I’m not gonna lie, when talk about a gondola into Albany sprung up late last year, I actually thought it was a joke. A politican’s hack at an Uber alternative. Albeit it may still be, Uber is legal, and this gondola talk is not going anywhere. In fact, it was just approved. 

The man behind it all is Tom Madison, who seems like a big shot. He was CEO of the NYS Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation and chaired the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, so I’m pretty sure he knows a thing or two about getting people across the Hudson River.

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There’s a ton of gag reflexes to the proposed gondola, or as the executives call it, an “urban aerial ropeway transit system.” However, after I spit out the initial taste of what I assumed would be a useless channel across the Hudson, I began to recognize the benefits the urban aerial ropeway transit system could provide the Capital Region.

First of all, a dope Instagram picture. Albany’s historical beauty is highly unappreciated, mostly because walking across downtown isn’t realistic. It’s just too damn big and nobody takes the bus who doesn’t have to, it’s just the way it is. Also, admiring the city from street level just isn’t the same as when you overlook it from a gem spot like Prospect Park in Troy, up the hill in Menands or even coasting into the city off of 787.

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You know damn well that less than 10% of the gondola riders will choose not to take out their phone and post a pic to social media. Albany is a beautiful city from the sky. And it’s second nature to capture beautiful things on camera. Why do you think white girls love to hike these days? Exercise? Stop kidding yourself. Today’s motives are driven by two things: money and likes. And this gondola will bring in both.

I am far from the ideal candidate to ride this gondola. I live in Troy and I own my own car. But I feel for the proposed 800K people who come into Albany empty handed. What’s your only option? Hope there’s an Uber available or a cab to rip you off? That’s no way to treat our guests. Also it’s a lowkey disgrace the first thing newcomers to the Capital Region experience is Rensselaer.

Let’s shuttle them right into an aerial express so they can bypass the rotting infrastructure of Albany’s distant cousin and open up their eyes and see the beautiful Capital Region as they soar over the Hudson. That’s the 518 welcome we need to those giving us a shot.

All aboard the gondola train, cause whether you like it or not, it’s coming in 2019.



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