Renaming the Empire State Plaza towers?


With help from Shawn Ness

Empire State Plaza at night.

The five towers on Empire State Plaza, currently named Agency 1, 2, 3, and 4, could be getting a name change after the state’s rivers. | Mike Groll/AP Photo

One of the tallest buildings in Upstate New York might soon be named after the East River.

Outside of the bizarre ovate structure, the first thing most observers of Albany’s skyline notice is the five towers jutting out of the Empire State Plaza. Each is among the 10 tallest buildings in the 400-mile stretch east of Buffalo and north of White Plains.

The largest is named after Erastus Corning, the Albany mayor of four decades who arranged the unusual financial scheme that made it possible to fund the plaza’s construction. But the other four, which house various state agencies, provide the ultimate symbol of a soulless bureaucracy — they have numbers, rather than names.

“‘Agency 1,’ ‘Agency 2,’ ‘Agency 3,’ ‘Agency 4’ — how boring,” said Assemblymember John McDonald, whose nearby district has the best views of the buildings.


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