Oh, Streetcar

Hamilton Street, Albany NYWe all gawked when Hollywood came to town to film scenes for Salt and The Other Guys. Yes it was impressive, but nothing compared to some of the crazy things they did to get shots for Ironweed in 1987 — like transforming upper Lark Street into 1901 Albany, complete with a working streetcar.

Today they’d probably use CGI for such an expensive and complicated scene (you can see it at 6:30 in this YouTube clip from Ironweed), but to do it in the 80s they cut grooves in the road and installed tracks. For years you could still see where they patched things up after going back to Hollywood.

When I was a kid we’d go visit my grandmother in the Bronx and it was nothing to see cobblestone streets and old streetcar tracks — but I was surprised to find them on Hamilton Street in Albany, right around the corner from Cafe Capriccio. They’re in such good shape that it looks like you could still use them.

Cobblestones and Trolley Tracks

It’s curious that Albany left this section of street untouched. You’ve got to wonder if it was a planned bit of historical preservation, or if the city just doesn’t care about this godforsaken block in the South End.

I hope they leave it exactly the way it is. Chances of that are good; if Mayor Jennings can’t manage to fill potholes, repaving a whole street is probably out of the question.

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