About Upstate New York

The term Capital District is commonly used to refer to the area due to its location surrounding the state capital. This is similar to other capital districts throughout the world, all of which are associated with a respective capital city. The earliest reference to the name “Capital District” seems to stem from an abbreviated name for a Capital Police District, which was attempted by the state in the late 1860s comprising land that is now the cities of Albany, Troy, Rensselaer, Watervliet, and Cohoes; along with what are now the towns of Colonie (including the villages of Colonie and Menands), Green Island, North Greenbush, and East Greenbush. Later, Schenectady was added to this district as well.

In the 1910s several organizations covering the area of Albany, Schenectady, Troy and in between used the name Capital District in their name, such as the Capital District Conference of Charities and Corrections in 1913, the Capital District Life Underwriters Association also in 1913, and the Capital District Recreation League. The Capital District Recreation League, formed in 1916, proposed a Capital District Park (also referred to as the Six City Park) to be roughly 8 miles (13 km) from each of the six cities (Albany, Cohoes, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Troy, and Watervliet). The location proposed was the area of the Shaker settlement. The park was never created, though in 1928 the location was used for the Albany County Airport for the same reason of its central location to those same cities.

Alternative names

Capital Region, Capital-Saratoga, Tri-Cities, Capitaland, Tech Valley and Northeastern New York (NENY) are terms or nicknames sometimes used to refer to the Capital District in combination with counties surrounding the area (usually those to the north, and to a lesser degree west of the four core counties of the District). Capital-Saratoga is used for tourism purposes to promote Albany, Fulton, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady counties. Different definitions or uses of the names Capital District, Capital Region, and NENY may sometimes be used on regions that include Hamilton County; and the extreme northern portions of the Mid-Hudson Valley, usually Ulster and Dutchess counties; or extreme southern sections of Essex County.

The Capital District is a part of the area marketed under the name Tech Valley in recognition of the technology companies that have moved to the region, or are being wooed by governmental or educational institutions to relocate to the area. The 19-county region, which extends from the Canadian border south to Orange County, is marketed by organizations such as the Tech Valley Chamber Coalition, the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Albany-based Center for Economic Growth. The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany is also the headquarters of International Sematech.