Albany (formerly Ocean View) is a city in Alameda County, California. The population was 16,447 at the 2000 census. A mile and a half square, Albany is truly a small town in the midst of the megalopolis known as the Bay Area. It combines good schools and the kind of police department that questions skateboarders with international residents, an active community, and yes, a cultural life!

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In 1908, a group of local women protested the dumping of Berkeley garbage in their community. Armed with two shotguns and a twenty-two-caliber rifle, they confronted the drivers of the wagons near what is now the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Buchanan Street. The women told the drivers of the horse-drawn garbage wagons to go home, which they did quickly and without complaint. Shortly thereafter, the residents of the town voted to incorporate as the City of Ocean View. In 1909, voters changed the name of the city, primarily to distinguish the city from the adjacent section of Berkeley which had previously been named Ocean View. On a vote of 38 to 6 the city was renamed in honor of Albany, New York, the birthplace of the city's first mayor, Frank Roberts.

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Daytime view of the Golden Gate and the bay

The principal shopping street in Albany is Solano Avenue, which cuts across the city from west to east. Another important street is San Pablo Avenue, which travels from north to south.

Albany is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, bordering the city of Berkeley to the south and east, and the Contra Costa County cities of El Cerrito and Richmond to the north. Albany's northern and southern borders are defined by two creeks, Codornices Creek on the south and Cerrito Creek on the north. Cerrito Creek takes its name from "El Cerrito de San Antonio", now known as Albany Hill. The hill's unusual location near the bayshore makes it a prominent landmark in the East Bay. The rest of the city is relatively flat by Bay Area standards, except for a small area near the base of the Berkeley Hills.

Albany's waterfront has undergone significant man-made changes; the most prominent landform is now the Albany Bulb, a former garbage landfill jutting out into San Francisco Bay. The bulb was the site of a small art colony and shanty town until it was cleared to turn the area into part of the new Eastshore State Park.

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As of the census of 2000, there were 16,447 people, 7,011 households, and 4,269 families residing in the city. There were 7,248 housing units at an average density of 4,260.2/sq mi. The racial makeup of the city is 61% White, 4.1% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 25% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 5.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race comprised 8.0% of the population.

There were 7,011 households out of which 33% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45% were married couples living together, 13% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39% were non-families. 29% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.3 and the average family size was 2.9.

The population distribution was broad, with 23% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 35% from 25 to 44, 24% from 45 to 64, and 11% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 87 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $54,900, and the median income for a family was $64,300. Males had a median income of $50,200 versus $44,900 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,500. About 6.4% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.0% of those under the age of 18 and 8.2% of those aged 65 and older.

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The major retail and business areas in Albany are Solano Avenue, which is a pedestrian-oriented street lined with mainly small shops, restaurants, and services; San Pablo Avenue, which is more automobile-oriented; and an area near the Eastshore Freeway, which the city is trying to attract big-box stores and offices, and currently houses a two-story Target store.

Albany is the site of Golden Gate Fields, the only horse racing track in the Bay Area.

Real estate prices had been rising steeply in recent years until the 2008 financial crisis and recession. The median price of a single family home and condo in Census 2000, June 2007 and November 2009 were $334,800, $687,500 and $610,000 respectively.



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Public schools in Albany are operated by the Albany Unified School District, a special-purpose district whose borders match the city's. The school district operates three elementary schools, one middle school, one traditional high school, and one continuation high school, in addition to an adult school. Albany High School is known as one of the best public schools of the San Francisco Bay Area for its academic excellence. Each year, 95.9 percent of its graduates attend college across the nation.

There are two private high schools in Albany: Tilden Preparatory School (formerly School for Independent Learners) on Solano Avenue and St. Mary's College High School, whose campus straddles the border with Berkeley, CA.

The University of California, Berkeley owns a large student housing complex in Albany, University Village, which is primarily used for family housing.

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Arts, Culture, and Recreation

Solano Avenue business district

The Solano Stroll, an annual street festival held on Solano Avenue in Albany and Berkeley, attracts more than 250,000 visitors on the 2nd Sunday of September. Started in 1974, the Library of Congress has designated the Solano Avenue Stroll a National Local Legacy.

The Albany music programs are also top-notch. This year, at the High School Jazz Band CMEA Music Festival at the School of the Arts in San Francisco, every group from Albany that went got an overall rating of superior, with 3/4 groups getting a Unanimous Superior rating.

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