THE LAST FAMILY OUT OF ALBANY’S SOUTH MALL

This is the story of the Leonard Family, the last family to leave their home in the 98 acre  area seized by Albany NY and the State of New York  for construction of the Empire State Plaza.  Thousands of other families were displaced – the estimates  are between 9,000 and 13,000 people were moved.  As well as hundreds of businesses.  It took about 24  months to systematically destroy neighborhood after neighborhood within that almost  100 acre area.  Neighborhoods that developed  over 300 years and centuries of Albany history were wiped out in less than 2 years.

It was if once started , all traces of the the crime  scene couldn’t be erased fast enough.  It started in late in 1962 and ended in early 1965. The bulldozers and wrecking balls worked day in and day out.. non-stop, sometimes into the night and weekends.  

The oldest daughter in the photo, Michele. was my best friend.   She died about a month ago.  Michele, here’s to you!   Love ya, girl friend!  Here is your story and that of your family.

December 22, 1964

december 22 1964   leonard

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2 comments

  1. Annmarie Yellico · · Reply

    Dont’ know if we are related, but I am a Leonard whose family grew up in the South End of Albany. In the words of Joanie Mitchell, “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot.” or a mall…..
    Annmarie Leonard Yellico

    1. Annemarie.. what was your father’s name? I will ask family. But since this is Smalbany… did you grow up on Holmes Ct?

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