Ex-brothel & opium den demolished, crews trying to save building next door

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A more than 200-year-old building in downtown Albany crumbled to the ground Thursday morning.

Demolition of 50 Hudson Avenue in Albany is almost near completion. Now all eyes are on 48 Hudson Avenue, the oldest building in the city.

It was a nerve-wracking demolition as the attached building to the left of it is the oldest building in the city.

Debris and rubble are all that is left of 50 Hudson Avenue. Time and neglect have taken its toll on one of Albany’s oldest buildings, but a unique treasure next door is still standing.

Built in 1728, 48 Hudson has  many rare features that are often not preserved in other buildings from its time.

Executive Director of Historic Albany Susan Holland was watching crews slowly chip away the connecting wall.

“We’re doing a little bit and then seeing what happens,” Holland said. “We have another engineer coming on board to check it out for us. There has been a lot of eyes on the building. In a good way it’s been a very careful demolition.”

Robert Magee with the city’s buildings and regulatory compliance tells NEWS10 as they were sawing, a chunk of the wall fell into 50 Hudson which gave enough momentum to sway the front of the building.

“Because we weren’t able to get into 50 Hudson they couldn’t be fully aware of what they were dealing with, so but luckily they did enough work on Wednesday that 48 Hudson is still standing strong,” said Robert Magee, of Buildings and Regulatory compliance.

As word spread that the building was on its way down many people gathered around to watch.

The more than 200-year-old building was at one time a multi-family home, before becoming a brothel, an opium den, a speakeasy, a nightclub and then eventually served as the city’s rescue mission for more than 50 years.

Perry Jones started his career there in 1982 and says while the mission has come a long way, this is where it all started.

“When I came by here I’m thinking I would never want to go back there I’m glad to go forward, but I never want to forget where we were and who we were. Never forget the landmark of your life and legacy of your life because there was always somebody somewhere who helped you be what you were supposed to be,” said Jones, Albany City Rescue Mission.

Demolition happened a bit earlier than expected. Crews were sawing the roof off of 50 Hudson when one of the walls collapsed. That wall could have taken down part of the historic building with it.

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