Albany is the name of both a county and the city located within it. The city of Albany is the capital of New York State and part of an area called locally the Capital District. This size of this district varies from a minimum of the cities of Albany, Schenectady & Troy, can include the counties of Albany, Schenectady & Rensselaer and by some counts also includes the county of Saratoga. Detailed maps of this area can be found at the CDRPC Site: Capital District Atlas Maps . According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica online (, the City of Albany is "The heart of a metropolitan area ... a port city, the northern terminus of the deepwater Hudson River Channel, and a natural transshipment point between oceangoing vessels and the New York State Canal System routes to the Great Lakes."  There are nine towns in Albany County, aranged in an aproximation of at 3 by 3 grid.  In addition, there are the cities of Cohoes, Watervliet & Albany as well as several incorporated villages.

Nestled in the corner formed by the intersection of the Mohawk & Hudson Rivers, Albany County is about 150 miles north of New York City and a similar distance east of Boston. The county is 524 square miles in size and roughly square in shape. Elevation is slightly above sea level in the remains of alluvial flats along the Hudson River. Above the steep valley sides directly adjacent to the Hudson River, the land rises slowly through the hill towns of the Heldebergs until it rises abruptly about 200 feet along the Thatcher Escarpment before dropping towards Schoharie Creek in the next county. The northeast is part of the remains of a pre-glacial lake bed, called Lake Albany.  In addition to the  very wide valley that marks the former valley, the Pine Bush is the remains of a delta formed where the proto-Mohawk River entered the old glacial lake.  The Helderbergs are the remains of a truely ancient ocean floor and are a geologist's dream with their clearly visible layers and frequently found fossils (which you should never remove from the state park where many are found).

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See Cities, Towns & Villages of Albany County for a map and links to municipal web pages.

See The Formation of Albany County for a discussion of the development of Albany County's political divisions.

Back to the Albany County Main Page...

This page is dedicated to my brother-in-law, who actually read this and sent comments. Thanks, the author.