Monday, November 19, 2012

Albany: Then & Now - App Review

This app by Tim Varney of Troy Web Consulting first came to my attention with an article on All Over Albany (a site which you should absolutely check daily).  At the time, I had not yet upgraded to a smartphone capable of downloading apps.  However, with a very recent upgrade to an Android phone, I was extremely eager to try Tim Varney's Albany: Then & Now.

The app, which is a free download for both Android and iPhone/iPad, gives a terrific glimpse into the city's past by matching present-day map locations with century-old photographs of the exact same place.  Each antique photo is accompanied by a brief, but excellent description.

The app contains well over a hundred of these photos which are indicated on a map by red arrows.  The photos are drawn primarily from the local history collection of the Albany Public Library, as well as the Library of Congress, New York State Archives, and the Hall of Records.

After downloading the app, I took it for a very brief test drive in downtown and was definitely pleased with it.  While I was familiar with a number of the photos, there were still many I had never seen before.  And, even with the familiar pictures, it was interesting to actually stand in the same spot as the photographer and compare the past with the present (and, in some cases, lament the loss of so much history).

One can also access the photos and descriptions without following the map and these are sorted into categories such as "Downtown," Center Square & Hudson Park," "Capitol Hill," etc..  Just select the "Browse" option from the app's main menu. 

It's an enjoyable (and free) trip back in time and I absolutely second the reviewers on iTunes who've asked for more photos.