The Wellington Hotel, built in 1905 and designed by local architect Albert Fuller, is on Albany’s State Street just down the hill from the state capitol and city hall. It was quickly expanded in 1911 to over 400 rooms, with its own parking garage, a draw advertised on the face of the building with signs saying "our garage with hotel entrance in the rear" (now gone). The garage, which is actually across the street behind the building, is still in use today.
The hotel ceased operations in 1986, and due to absentee ownership began to deteriorate. In 2004 the cornice of the facade had started to separate from the building, causing safety concerns. The city originally planned to raze the historic building, but preservation activisim culminated in a plan to preserve the facades of the buildings on "Wellington Row" and erect a new 14-story tower behind them.
The interior is what’s to be expected for a building that’s been abandoned for 23 years. Graffiti, animal remains and droppings, and traces of transient people who are living or had lived there are omnipresent. Most interestingly, one of the residents decorated the first few floors, including painting many areas; painting or drawing murals of trains, playing cards, (turning many of the doors into giant playing cards themselves) and WWII planes and tanks; attaching actual playing cards to the walls; and collecting dozens of broken bicycles.
This shoot was fairly difficult because it was unplanned, and I was only prepared with the Canon 300D and kit lens. Much of the interior was dark and without being able to open the aperture wide, I had to either increase the ISO or restrict shots to well-lit subjects. Since that camera doesn’t deal with high ISO well, I mostly opted for the latter. Ideally I would have at least had a tripod and cable release for long exposures, but I did what I could with what I had.
The building itself has since been demolished; the facade of “Wellington Row” has been preserved and will front a new struture going up on the property. Many more photos available in the slideshow.
Check out sebastien.b‘s photos too.