News Article

Quackenbush Square: Where Amazing Art Meets Fascinating History

March 27, 2024

Looking for a relaxing space in Downtown Albany to unwind, appreciate local history and admire incredible public art? Look no further than Quackenbush Square!

Quackenbush Square is a historic pedestrian mall located just a block away from the Palace Theatre in Downtown Albany and adjacent to ParkAlbany’s Quackenbush Garage (the building with the iconic Blue Birds mural).  Whether you are in the mood to enjoy beautiful artwork, tasty food, or just a quiet place to unwind, Quackenbush Square is the perfect place to go! This scenic space is home to the Discover Albany Visitors Center, the Irish American Heritage Museum, the historic Olde English Pub, the newly-opened Hyatt Place Albany, Common Roots Brewing Company, along with an ever-expanding collection of stunning public art!

Located at the Broadway entrance to the front of the square is the Quackenbush House, now known as the Olde English Pub. This historic structure is believed to have been built in or around 1736 and is named after a Dutch family that settled in Albany in the mid 1600’s and whose descendants lived in the house until 1864. Before becoming a restaurant, the Quackenbush House was home to several different businesses including a bakery, tavern, antique store, boarding house, drug store, lithographer, and furniture store. In the mid 1970’s, the building was purchased by New York State with the intent to demolish the structure so the land could be used for a new highway ramp, however due to public outrage, the historic house was saved and later added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2010, the Quackenbush House was leased to its current tenant, the Olde English Pub, an authentic English restaurant that serves beloved dishes like Bangers and Mash, Kedgeree, Ploughman’s Platter, and Chicken Tikka Masala. Guests can enjoy all these delicious dishes, along with a cold pint (for those 21 and older) inside the historic building or when the weather is warmer, on the Pubs lively front patio or in their stunning back garden oasis! 

 

Adjacent to the front of Quackenbush Square is the entrance to the Albany Skyway. Previously an underutilized exit ramp from northbound interstate 787, the Skyway is now an elevated park connecting downtown Albany to both the Corning Riverfront Park and the Mohawk Hudson Hike Bike Trail. This walkable route not only provides excellent and unique views of the city of Albany, but it also increases walkability and improves overall quality of life. Whether you want to walk, bike, run, walk your dog, or even have an event, the Skyway is the perfect place to go!

Also, inside Quackenbush Square is the Discover Albany Visitors Center and the Irish American Heritage Museum

The Discover Albany Visitor’s Center is a must visit for all Albany guests! Whether you live in Albany or visiting our historic city, this engaging visitor’s center, which is filled with a variety of historic artifacts and displays, is the perfect place to learn about all things Albany! And don’t forget to grab the perfect one-of-a-kind gift before your visit to New York’s capital city ends, the Discover Albany gift shop is home to numerous, locally designed Albany themed gifts!

Next door to Discover Albany is the Irish American Heritage Museum, a not-for-profit with a mission to educate visitors about Irish culture and the connection between Ireland and America. Through the many diverse exhibits of the various Irish artifacts on display, such as historic costumes, devotional items, and music recordings, the museum helps guests better understand the stories of Irish immigrants throughout American history. Additionally, the Irish American Heritage Museum offers several educational and instructional programs throughout the year, both virtually and in-person such as musical performances, cooking demos and tastings, and film screenings.

Fun fact! The Irish American Heritage Museum played an integral part in New York State being required to teach public school students about the Irish Famine of 1845 – 1853! Not many other museums can say that they’ve such an important impact on their state’s education curriculum!

At the back of the square, located along Montgomery Street entrance is the newly opened Common Roots Brewing Company. Up until the 1860’s the City of Albany used wells and reservoirs as their water supply system. However, during the era of the Civil War, the city experienced a larger growth than expected, and the original water supply system was no longer enough to support the city. Because of the increased stress on the existing system, the water commission eventually decided to tap directly into the Hudson River rather than using tributaries, solving both current problems as well as any new problems that may have surfaced in the future. To accommodate this plan, the water commission purchased land on what is now Montgomery Street, in 1873 and Edward Odgen, a local architect, was tapped to design the main building of the new Albany Pump Station which was constructed later that same year.  

In 1999 the Albany Pump Station was purchased and renovated by Neil Evans with the intent of resurrecting his family’s old brewery business. As part of these renovations industrial feeling of the historic building was preserved and for 24 years C.H. Evans Brewing Company was a corner stone of Albany’s brewing and restaurant scene. In 2023 Neil Evans sold both the Albany Pump Station building and the C.H. Evans Brewing Company to Common Roots Brewing Company which opened their Albany Outpost in March of 2024. Common Roots Brewing Company’s Albany Outpost continues the legacy of brewing at this historic location with 24 rotating draft lines featuring a variety of their own brews along with a few old favorites from C.H. Evans.

Throughout and around Quackenbush Square, visitors will encounter numerous pieces of public art including engaging sculptures, playful “Nipper Statues”, and most notable the one-dozen brightly colored murals that line the Quackenbush Square and the adjacent Quackenbush Garage & Lot.

The murals in this collection were commissioned by ParkAlbany and created as part of the Capital Walls Public Art Project, a public art program started by ParkAlbany, the Albany Center Gallery, and the Albany Barn to help improve walkability within the City of Albany while showcasing the unique artwork of local national, and international artists. Since 2016 when the very first mural “Bluebirds” was painted on the side of the Quackenbush Garage by Michael Conlin (@conlinstudios), these stunning public art pieces continue to draw both residents and visitors to Downtown Albany and Quackenbush Square to experience these one of a kind works of art.

Plans are already in place for even more sculptures and murals to be added to Quackenbush Square over the coming years so be sure to keep an eye out for more amazing art!

Quackenbush Square is a central part of Downtown Albany’s culture and a must-visit for anyone looking to experience delicious food, unique beverages, rich history, and stunning art. Convenient parking for both Quackenbush Square and its surrounding sites is available right next door at the Quackenbush Garage, making it easy to experience this amazing downtown gathering space!

The Quackenbush Garage is located at 25 Orange Street in Downtown Albany with vehicle entrances located just off Broadway on Orange St. and behind Quackenbush Square on Montgomery Street. This parking location offers hourly/daily, monthly and event parking and features 879 parking spaces including 4 DC Fast EV charging spaces, 9 Level 2 EV charging spaces, 18 handicap parking spaces. 


Celebrate the first weekend of summer by taking a walk in the sky across the #albanyskyway!

#ParkItInAlbany #GetOutside #UpstateNY #Summervibes #Cityscapes #Albany #Skyway #DiscoverAlbany #CityExplorer #ReachForTheSkyway #CityLove #AlbanySkyway #518Life #Travelgram #CityViews #Unique #UpstateTourism #AlbanyNewYork #CityPhotography
The battle of Taylor Swift vs. Emo Night is tonight at Empire Underground, and event parking will be available at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages for $5.00! Head to #DowntownAlbany and get ready to dance the night away to the very best of Taylor Swift’s music and iconic emo hits in a musical clash you won’t want to miss!

Event Parking will begin at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages at 5:00pm. Please Note: All ParkAlbany Garages are cashless facilities.

For more information on events and parking, click the link in our Bio.

@empirelivealbany #ParkItInAlbany #WheretoPark #ThingstoDo #EmoNight #Swifties #DiscoverAlbany #Dancing #AlbanyNY #Nightlife #UpstateNY #Emo #AlbanyNewYork #WeekendPlans #Albany #CityLife
Today, the legendary Art On Lark Festival makes its triumphant return to Center Square! Head to historic Lark Street and get ready to enjoy a lively day at Capital Region’s premier arts event, featuring an array of amazing local painters, photographers, jewelers, ceramicists, plus plenty of incredible food and live music!

Free on-street parking will be available in the area, and additional paid parking will be available in Central Avenue Lots 2 & 3.

For more information on events and parking, click the link in our Bio.

@larkstreetbid @centersquarealbanyny #ParkItInAlbany #WheretoPark #ArtFestival #ThingstoDo #ArtOnLark #DiscoverAlbany #ArtLovers #CenterSquareAlbany #Art #AlbanyNY #LarkStreet #UpstateNY #AlbanyNewYork #WeekendPlans
Kick off your weekend with Glens Falls’ @lex_naturalis24 tonight at Empire Underground, and convenient event parking will be available at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages for $5.00! Don’t miss this melodic hardcore punk group bring their explosive sound to #DowntownAlbany tonight alongside special guests @myprophecyofficial and @vintrihill_official!

Event Parking will begin at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages at 5:00pm. Please Note: All ParkAlbany Garages are cashless facilities.

For more information on events and parking, click the link in our Bio.

@empirelivealbany #ParkItInAlbany #WheretoPark #ThingstoDo #LiveMusic #RockShow #518 #DiscoverAlbany #MetalShow #AlbanyNY #Metalheads #Albany #Headbang #UpstateNY #Rockin #AlbanyNewYork
The Empire State Plaza: Home to incredible architecture, world-class art, and plenty of adorable ducks! Be sure to say hello next time you’re passing through this iconic #AlbanyNY landmark 🦆
 
@nyscapitolvisit @plazaevents @iloveny #ParkItInAlbany #AlbanyNY #EmpireStatePlaza #Cute #518 #PlazaDucks #DucksOfInstagram #CityExplorer #NewYork #BabyDucks #AlbanyNewYork #ILoveNY #Waterfowl #Sightseeing #Ducks #CityLife
Entering your healthy era? Take a stroll down Lark Street and enjoy some delicious and nutritious food at restaurants like:

@barvegan_ - Tapas & Cocktail Bar
@Keobi_Restaurant – African & Caribbean Cuisines
@lark_st_poke_bar – Poke Bowls & Sushi Burritos
@ShogunAlbany – Sushi, Hibachi, & Udon
@Subculture_Albany – Vegan Deli & Provisions

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you are sure to find it at Albany’s “Village in the City”!

#parkitinalbany #518life #capitalregion #food #upstateny #upstatenewyork #albanyny #larkstreet #upstateeats #albanyeats #albanyfoodies #lunchplans #dinnerplans #518eats #upstatefoodie
Enjoy a night of hip-hop with @spizzyspose at Empire Underground, and event parking will be available at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages for $8.00! Known for the Certified Gold single “I’m Awesome”, #DowntownAlbany is in for a treat when this Maine comedy rap/alternative hip-hop artist takes the stage tonight with support from special guest @rigometrics!

Event Parking will begin at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages at 4:00pm. Please Note: All ParkAlbany Garages are cashless facilities.

For more information on events and parking, click the link in our Bio.

@empirelivealbany #ParkItInAlbany #WheretoPark #LiveMusic #ThingstoDo #518 #HipHop #DiscoverAlbany #RapShow #AlbanyNY #HipHopShow #UpstateNY #Albany #Spose #AlbanyNewYork #Rapper
Experience a lively show at the Corning Preserve Boat Launch today with @titopuentejr, and convenient event parking will be available at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages for $8.00! Honoring the legacy of his father, this world-class multi-instrumentalist is slated to energize fans with his award-winning mambo/big band music during Alive at 5’s Latin Night, featuring special guest @bronteroman!

Event Parking will begin at the Quackenbush & Riverfront Garages at 4:00pm. Please Note: All ParkAlbany Garages are cashless facilities.

Read more about this year's Alive at 5 lineup in our blog by clicking the link in our Bio.

@albanynyevents @overitmedia #ParkItInAlbany #WheretoPark #Aliveat5 #ThingstoDo #AlbanyNY #FreeConcert #DiscoverAlbany #Mambo #LiveMusic #HudsonRiver #LatinMusic #UpstateNY #TitoPuenteJr #FreeInAlbany #Concert