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Townsend park
Townsend park

Originally, the road we know as Central Avenue was called "The Bowery" or "bouwerij"  named so by the early Dutch settlers of the area.  The word Bowery has much different connotations to us then it did to the early residents, A Bowery was a green lush garden like area, or or farm, often filled with life and growth.  As the city expanded west from the Hudson river The Bowery became the main route of trade and commerce westward in and out of the city. 


Through the decades the area grew and grew quickly. It eventually became the Main Street to Albany. In the early 50's and 60's the Avenue as it was called, was the destination for shopping and family businesses. When the word suburb came to be a part of the american way of life and it took its toll on the Avenue.  Malls became the destination of choice by consumers for shopping and that lead to continued suburban sprawl and further erosion of traditional Main Street in Albany. 


Many family businesses struggled and tried to compete with the likes of the big boxes and mega shopping centers. After decades of disinvestment, in the late 1960's and 70's property owners and businesses began to do what they could to work together with voluntary merchant groups trying to do marketing and promotions to bring life back to the urban core.  Some Businesses like Rosen's Uniforms, on the avenue for over 80 years, once sold School Clothes and Traditional casual wear, changed to compete selling uniforms and pollice and fire gear and is still seeing sucess now with multiple locations across the state.


Some areas had more success than other and others struggled. The Central Avenue Civic and Merchant association lived for decades until the city of Albany like other cities began looking for more structured and organized tools for revitalization. After establishing first the Downtown BID and the Lark Street BID, the Civic and Merchant association of Central Avenue felt it was time to step up and commit to the preservation of their investments and the values of their property and they also worked to form their own BID. 


In 1998 the Central BID was formed with many challenges and even more opportunity. With nearly 100 store fronts vacant and no direction the Board began planning and community out reach to develop and long range plan for the revitalization of the Avenue. The Board along with help from the City planning and development agency and the State of New York developed a work plan called AveNew 2000. Since then many catalytic projects and efforts have not only stabilized the Avenue it has help to keep the Avenue competitive. 

Celebrate 50+ years Members 

Central Avenue Businesses



100 Years or more

McVeigh Funeral Home

Watkins Springs



75 years or more

Security Supply

Rosens Uniforms (Now Gauls)

Orange Motors (Now Depaula)

Armory Garage 



50 Plus Years

Blue note Record Shop

Albany Marble







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