Welcome to the City of Rensselaer’s official website. Our location is upstate New York, directly across the Hudson River from the State’s Capital, Albany. Our quaint city has a population of just under 8,000 residents. Rensselaer is the home of the 9th largest train station in the United States.
Rensselaer is rich in Dutch History. In 1609 Henry Hudson claimed the river valley that would bear his name. Thirty years later Kiliaen Van Rensselaer purchased 700,000 acres along both sides of the Hudson River to establish the Manor of Rensselaerwyck. Today, Rensselaer’s Crailo State Historic Site, (originally the home of Hendrick Van Rensselaer, son of Kiliaen), is a museum of Colonial New Netherland history, telling the story of early Dutch inhabitants of this area through exhibits highlighting archeological finds from the Albany Fort Orange excavations, special programs and guided tours of the museum.
Rensselaer’s being located on the banks of the Hudson River makes it centrally located to an array of places of interest. Rensselaer is five minutes east of downtown Albany where you can find restaurants, shopping and the art district, not to mention the museums and the Capitol Building. A 45 minute ride north will bring you to Saratoga Springs, home of the Saratoga Casino and Racing, Saratoga Performing Arts, and Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark.
If colleges are what you are looking for, we have quite a selection around us. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of NY, College of Saint Rose, Russell Sage, Skidmore, Union, Maria, and Hudson Valley Community College, just to name a few.
In the past six years our small city has begun to move and grow rapidly. City Hall and the Rensselaer City Court have moved from their roots on Broadway to their new location at 62 Washington Street, the former Fort Crailo School. The Police Department now occupies the former Post Office at 201 Broadway. The Rensselaer City Library also moved from its long time location to 676 East Street. Also, in September of 2009, the City of Rensselaer welcomed The Doane Stuart School, one of Albany’s oldest and most prestigious college preparatory schools (founded in 1852). They opened their 24 acre campus to students from seven countries. Doane Stuart is the Nations only successfully merged Roman Catholic/Protestant school.
Three new constructions have taken place within the City recently. Rensselaer City School District, located at 25 Van Rensselaer Drive was built in 2007. The new Department of Public Works Garage was built on Willow Street in 2008 and the North End Fire House was built in 2009 and is located just off Exit 7 of Interstate 90 on Washington Avenue. Further development projects are in their beginning stages at this writing.
Rensselaer as a whole has a very “down home” feeling to it. It is a place where you get to know your neighbors, where not just the students, but the generations before them, all come to the schools for sports games, plays and fund raisers. Where Riverfront Park, located along the shores of the Hudson River, is a summer meeting place at “Music in the Park” and where the joggers and walkers all know to stop at Angie B’s Bean & Creamery for ice cream or coffee before heading home.
Rensselaer may be small, but the hearts of the residents are big. It’s a great place to visit and an even better place to live. We encourage you to stop by anytime!
Daniel J. Dwyer