Welcome To Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is the largest city in the state of New Mexico, United States. It is the county seat of Bernalillo County and is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 448,607 as of the 2000 U.S. census. As of the 2006 census estimate, the city's population was 504,949, with a metropolitan population of 816,811 as of July 1, 2006. In 2006, Albuquerque ranked as the 33rd-largest city and 61st-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. The Albuquerque MSA population includes the city of Rio Rancho, one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, a hub for many master-planned communities which are expected to draw future businesses and residents to the area.
Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Kirtland Air Force Base as well as Sandia National Laboratories and Petroglyph National Monument. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque and the Rio Grande flows through the city north to south.
The city was founded in 1706 as the Spanish colonial outpost of Albuquerque; present-day Albuquerque retains much of the Spanish cultural and historical heritage.
Albuquerque was a farming community and strategically located military outpost along the Camino Real. The town of Albuquerque was built in the traditional Spanish village pattern: a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes, and a church. This central plaza area has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce. It is referred to as "Old Town Albuquerque" or simply "Old Town." "Old Town" was sometimes referred to as "La Placita" ("little plaza" in Spanish).
The village was named by the provincial governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes in honor of Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, Duke of Albuquerque, viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. The first "r" in "Albuquerque" was dropped at some point in the 19th century, supposedly by an Anglo-American railroad station-master unable to correctly pronounce the city's name. Some New Mexicans still prefer the spelling Albuquerque; see for example the book by that name by Rudolfo Anaya. In the 1990s, the Central Avenue Trolley Buses were emblazoned with the name Albuquerque (with two "r"s) in honor of the city's historic name.
During the Civil War Albuquerque was occupied in February 1862 by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley, who soon afterwards advanced with his main body into northern New Mexico. During his retreat from Union troops into Texas he made a stand on April 8, 1862 at Albuquerque. A day-long engagement at long range led to few casualties against a detachment of Union soldiers commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby.
When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1880, it bypassed the Plaza, locating the passenger depot and rail yards about 2 miles (3 km) east in what quickly became known as New Albuquerque or New Town. Old Town remained a separate community until the 1920s when it was absorbed by the City of Albuquerque, which had been incorporated in 1891. Albuquerque High School, the city's first public high school, was established in 1879.
New Albuquerque quickly became a tidy southwestern town which by 1900 boasted a population of 8,000 inhabitants and all the modern amenities including an electric street railway connecting Old Town, New Town, and the recently established UNM campus on the East Mesa. In 1902 the famous Alvarado Hotel was built adjacent to the new passenger depot and remained a symbol of the city until it was torn down in 1970 to make room for a parking lot. In 2002, the Alvarado Transportation Center was built on the site in a manner resembling the old landmark. The large metro station functions as the downtown headquarters for the city's transit department, and serves as an intermodal hub for local buses, Greyhound buses, Amtrak passenger trains, and the Rail Runner commuter rail line.
New Mexico's dry climate brought many tuberculosis patients to the city in search of a cure during the early 1900s, and several sanitaria sprang up on the West Mesa to serve them. Presbyterian Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital, two of the largest hospitals in the Southwest, had their beginnings during this period. Influential New Deal-era governor Clyde Tingley and famed southwestern architect John Gaw Meem were among those brought to New Mexico by tuberculosis.
The first travelers on Route 66 appeared in Albuquerque in 1926, and before long dozens of motels, restaurants, and gift shops had sprung up along the roadside to serve them. Route 66 originally ran through the city on a north-south alignment along Fourth Street, but in 1937 it was realigned along Central Avenue, a more direct east-west route. The intersection of Fourth and Central downtown was the principal crossroads of the city for decades. The majority of the surviving structures from the Route 66 era are on Central, though there are also some on Fourth. Signs between Bernalillo and Los Lunas along the old route now have brown, historical highway markers denoting it as Pre-1937 Route 66.
The establishment of Kirtland Air Force Base in 1939, Sandia Base in the early 1940s, and Sandia National Laboratories in 1949, would make Albuquerque a key player of the Atomic Age. Meanwhile, the city continued to expand outward onto the West Mesa, reaching a population of 200,000 by 1960.
Albuquerque's downtown entered the same phase and development (decline, "urban renewal" with continued decline, and gentrification) as nearly every city across the United States. As Albuquerque spread outward, the downtown area fell into a decline. Many historic buildings were razed in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for new plazas, high-rises, and parking lots as part of the city's urban renewal phase. Only recently has downtown come to regain much of its urban character, mainly through the construction of many new loft apartment buildings and the renovation of historic structures like the KiMo Theater, in the gentrification phase.
During the 21st century, the Albuquerque population has continued to grow rapidly. The population of the city proper is estimated at 504,949 in 2006, up from 448,607 in the 2000 census, and is projected to reach 553,000 in 2010. The metropolitan area population is estimated at 816,811 in 2006, up from 712,738 in the 2000 census, and is projected to reach 883,295 in 2010, and surpass 1 million by 2020.
During 2005 and 2006, the city celebrated its tricentennial with a diverse program of cultural events.
Arial photo of Albuquerque
According to the United States Census Bureau, Albuquerque has a total area of 181.3 square miles (469.6 km²). 180.6 square miles (467.8 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) of it (0.35%) is water. The metro area has over 1,000 square miles developed.
Albuquerque lies within the northern, upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, based on long-term patterns of climate, associations of plants and wildlife, and landforms, including drainage patterns. Located in central New Mexico, the city also has noticeable influences from the adjacent Colorado Plateau Semi-Desert, Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, and Southwest Plateaus and Plains Steppe ecoregions, depending on where one is located. Its main geographic connection lies with southern New Mexico, while culturally, Albuquerque is a crossroads of most of New Mexico.
Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the United States, though the effects of this are greatly tempered by its southwesterly continental position. The elevation of the city ranges from 4,900 feet (1,490 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande (in the Valley) to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. At the airport, the elevation is 5,352 feet (1,631 m) above sea level.
The Rio Grande is classified, like the Nile, as an 'exotic' river because it flows through a desert. The New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande lies within the Rio Grande Rift Valley, bordered by a system of faults, including those that lifted up the adjacent Sandia and Manzano Mountains, while lowering the area where the life-sustaining Rio Grande now flows.
Albuquerque's climate is usually sunny and dry, with low relative humidity. Brilliant sunshine defines the region, averaging more than 300 days a year; periods of variably mid and high-level cloudiness temper the sun at other times. Extended cloudiness is rare. The city has four distinct seasons, but the heat and cold are mild compared to the extremes that occur more commonly in other parts of the country.
Winters are rather brief but definite; daytime highs range from the mid 40s to upper 50s Fahrenheit, while the overnight lows drop into the low 20s to near 30 by sunrise; nights are often colder in the valley and uppermost foothills by several degrees, or during cold frontal passages from the Great Basin or Rocky Mountains. The occasional snowfall, associated with low pressure areas, fronts and troughs, often melts by the mid-afternoon; over half of the scant winter moisture occurs in the form of light rain showers, usually brief in duration. In the much higher and colder Sandia Mountains, moisture falls as snow; many years have enough snow to create decent skiing conditions at the local ski area.
Spring time starts off windy and cool, sometimes unsettled with some rain and even light snow, though spring is usually the driest part of the year in Albuquerque. March and April tend to see many days with the wind blowing at 20 to 30 mph, and afternoon gusts can produce periods of blowing sand and dust. In May, the winds tend to subside, as temperatures start to feel like summer.
Summer daytime highs range from the upper 80s to the upper 90's, while dropping into the low 60s to low 70s overnight; the valley and uppermost foothills are often several degrees cooler than that. The heat is quite tolerable because of low humidity, except during the late summer during increased humidity from surges in the monsoonal pattern; at that time, daytime highs drop slightly but the extra moisture in the air can cause nighttime temperatures to increase.
Fall sees mild days and cool nights with less rain, though the weather can be more unsettled closer to winter.
The city was one of several in the region experiencing a severe winter storm leaving between 10 and 26 inches of snow in just over 24 hours on December 30, 2006.
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Albuquerque's climate is classified as arid, meaning average annual precipitation is less than half of evaporation, and the mean temperature of the coldest month is above freezing (32F). Only the wettest areas of the Sandia foothills are barely semi-arid, where precipitation is more than half of, but still less than, evaporation; such areas are localized and usually lie above 6000 feet in elevation and often in arroyo drainages, signified by a slightly denser, taller growth of evergreen oak - juniper - pinon chaparral and rarely, woodland, often mixed with taller desert grasses. These elevated foothill areas still border arid areas, best described as desert grassland or desert shrub, on their west sides.
Traveling to the west, north and east of Albuquerque, one quickly rises in elevation and leaves the sheltering effect of the valley to enter a noticeably cooler and slightly wetter environment. One such area is still considered part of metro Albuquerque, commonly called the "East Mountain" area; it is covered in savannas or woodlands of low juniper and pinon trees, reminiscent of the lower parts of the southern Rocky Mountains, which do not actually contact Albuquerque proper.
Those mountains and highlands beyond the city create a "rain shadow" effect, due to the drying of descending air movements; the city usually receives very little rain or snow, averaging 8-9 inches (216 mm) of precipitation per year. Valley and west mesa areas, farther from the mountains are drier, averaging 6-8 inches of annual precipitation; the Sandia foothills tend to lift any available moisture, enhancing precipitation to about 10-17 inches annually. Most precipitation occurs during the summer monsoon season (also called a chubasco in Mexico), typically starting in early July and ending in mid-September.
The Sandia Mountains are the predominant geographic feature visible in Albuquerque. "Sandía" is Spanish for "watermelon", and is popularly believed to be a reference to the brilliant coloration of the mountains at sunset: bright pink (melon meat) and green (melon rind). The pink is due to large exposures of granodiorite cliffs, and the green is due to large swaths of conifer forests. However, Robert Julyan notes in The Place Names of New Mexico, "the most likely explanation is the one believed by the Sandia Indians: the Spaniards, when they encountered the Pueblo in 1540, called it Sandia, because they thought the squash growing there were watermelons, and the name Sandia soon was transferred to the mountains east of the pueblo." He also notes that the Sandia Pueblo Indians call the mountain Bien Mur, "big mountain."
The Sandia Mountains
The Sandia foothills, on the west side of the mountains, have soils derived from that same rock material with varying sizes of decomposed granite, mixed with areas of clay and caliche (a calcereous clay common in the arid southwestern USA), along with some exposed granite bedrock.
Below the foothills, the area usually called the "Heights" consists of a mix of clay and caliche soils, overlain by a layer of decomposed granite, resulting from long-term outwash of that material from the adjacent mountains. This bajada is quite noticeable when driving into the Duke City from the north or south, due to its fairly uniform slope from the mountains' edge downhill to the valley. Sand hills are scattered along the I-25 corridor and directly above the Rio Grande valley, forming the lower end of the Heights.
The Rio Grande valley, due to long-term shifting of the actual river channel, contains layers and areas of soils varying between caliche, clay, loam, and even some sand. It is the only part of Albuquerque where the water table often lies close to the surface, sometimes less than 10 feet.
The last significant area of Albuquerque geologically is the "West Mesa": this is the elevated land west of the Rio Grande, including the sandy terrace immediately west and above the river, and the rather sharply defined volcanic escarpment above and west of most of the developed city. The west mesa commonly has soils often referred to as "blow sand", along with occasional clay and caliche and even basalt, nearing the escarpment.
The Pueblo Deco style KiMo Theater is one of Albuquerque's best-known landmarks.
Albuquerque has expanded greatly in area since the mid 1940s. During those years of expansion, the planning of the newer areas has considered that people don't walk, they drive. The pre-1940s parts of Albuquerque are quite different in style and scale from the post 1940s areas. These older areas include the North Valley, the South Valley, various neighborhoods near downtown, and Corrales. The newer areas generally feature 4 to 6 lane roads in a 1 mile (1.61 km) grid. Each 1 square mile (2.59 km²) is divided into four 160-acre neighborhoods by smaller roads set 0.5 miles (0.8 km) between major roads. When driving along major roads in the newer sections of Albuquerque, one sees strip malls, signs, and cinderblock walls. The upside of this planning style is that neighborhoods are shielded from the worst of the noise and lights on the major roads. The downside is that it is virtually impossible to go anywhere from home without driving.
Albuquerque is geographically divided into four quadrants which are officially part of the mailing address. They are NE (northeast), NW (northwest), SE (southeast), and SW (southwest). The north-south dividing line is Central Avenue (the path that Route 66 took through the city) and the east-west dividing line is the BNSF Railway tracks. Although this is technically the division of the city, in casual conversation Albuquerqueans
This quadrant has been experiencing a housing expansion since the late 1950s. It abuts the base of the Sandia Mountains and contains portions of the Sandia Heights neighborhoods, which are situated in or near the foothills and are significantly higher, in elevation and price range, than the rest of the city. Running from Central Ave. and the railroad tracks to the Sandia Peak Aerial Tram, this is the largest quadrant both geographically and by population. The University of New Mexico, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Uptown area which includes both Coronado and Winrock malls, Journal Center (with over 2 million square feet (180,000 m²) of office space), Balloon Fiesta Park, and Albuquerque Academy are all located in this quadrant. Some of the most affluent regions of the city are located here, including Las Lomas-Roma, Netherwood Park, Academy Hills, Tanoan West & East, High Desert, Glenwood Hills, Sandia Heights, North Albuquerque Acres, and Tierra Monte. (Sandia Heights, Tierra Monte, and some of North Albuquerque Acres are outside the city limits proper.) A few houses in the farthest reach of this quadrant lie in the Cibola National Forest, just over the line into Sandoval County.
This quadrant contains historic Old Town Albuquerque, which dates back to the 1700s, as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The area has a mixture of commercial, low-income, middle-income, and some of the most expensive homes in the city. Northwest Albuquerque includes the largest section of downtown, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and the Bosque ("woodlands" Cottonwood forest), the Petroglyph National Monument, Double Eagle II Airport, the historic Martineztown neighborhood, the Paradise Hills Area, and the Cottonwood Mall. Additionally, the "North Valley" area, which includes some small ranches and expensive residential homes along the Rio Grande, is located in this quadrant. The City of Albuquerque engulfs the village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque and borders Corrales in the northwest valley. The rapidly-developing area on the west side of the river is known as the "west side" and consists primarily of traditional residential subdivisions. Here the city proper is bordered on the north by the City of Rio Rancho.
Eclipse Aviation, Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, the University of New Mexico, the Central New Mexico Community College main campus, the Albuquerque International Sunport, University Stadium, Isotopes Park, and University Arena ("The Pit") are located in the Southeast (SE) quadrant.
The Nob Hill and East Downtown (EDo) neighborhoods lie along Central Avenue, the border between the Southeast and Northeast quadrants. The expensive residential developments of Four Hills, Willow Wood, and Ridgecrest are also located in this quadrant. In sharp contrast to these upscale developments, however, some of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods (The Warzone) in the city are also located in Southeast Albuquerque. During the past twenty years, the SE area, mainly around Gibson Blvd. and Central Ave., has become the highest crime area in the city. However, recent developments in the neighborhood such as the Cesar Chavez Community Center, Veterans Memorial, and the renovated Talin Market have shown that this area is in the beginning stages of reestablishing itself as one of many cultural centers in the city.
Traditionally consisting of agricultural and rural areas, the Southwest quadrant is often referred to as the "South Valley". Although the city limits of Albuquerque do not include all of the area, the South Valley is considered to extend all the way to the Isleta Indian Reservation. This includes the old communities of Atrisco, Los Padillas, Kinney, Mountainview, and Pajarito. The south end of downtown Albuquerque and the Bosque ("woodlands" cottonwood forest), the historic Barelas neighborhood, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Rio Grande Zoo (which is part of the City's Albuquerque Biological Park system), and Tingley Beach are also located here.
The southwest area is currently undergoing rapid and controversial development, including large retail stores and quickly-built subdivisions.
Sandia Heights, Central Ave, Uptown, Coronado, Winrock, Old Town Albuquerque, La Plasita, South Valley, Bosque, Woodlands, Cottonwood Forest, Barelas, Atrisco, Los Padillas, Kinney, Mountainview, Pajarito, Gibson Blvd, Nob Hill, East Downtown, EDo, Courthouse District, Warehouse District, Plaza District, Arts and Entertainment District, Transportation Center District, Casa District, Martineztown, Paradise Hills, North Valley, West Side, Journal Center, Las Lomas-Roma, Netherwood Park, Academy Hills, Tanoan West & East, High Desert, Four Hills, Glenwood Hills, North Albuquerque Acres, Tierra Monte, The Trails, Warzone,Westgate.
Albuquerque lies at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a band of high-tech private companies and government institutions along the Rio Grande. Larger institutions whose employees contribute to the population are numerous and include Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the attendant contracting companies which bring highly educated workers to a somewhat isolated region. Intel operates a large semiconductor factory or "fab" just outside the city boundaries of neighboring Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in Sandoval County, New Mexico, with its attendant large-capital investment.
The solar energy and architectural-design innovator Steve Baer located his company, Zomeworks, here in the late 1960s.
In March 2007 Tesla Motors announced that an electric car assembly plant will be going up on Albuquerque's Westside.
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory cooperate in an enterprise that began with the Manhattan Project.
Arts and theatre
Tricklock Company is Albuquerque's only international touring theatre company. Every January, Tricklock hosts the Revolutions International Theatre Festival, which brings in performers from around the world.
The American Shakespeare Project is a local Shakespearean community theater company which is devoted to staging productions of Shakespeare's plays (and sometimes those of his contemporaries) with heavy emphasis on the textual authority of the First Folio.
The National Institute of Flamenco is located in downtown Albuquerque. It supports the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts and Yjastros, the national Flamenco repertory company.
Popejoy Hall, New Mexico's grandest multi-use theater, hosts a series of touring Broadway shows and national and international performers, The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and performances by the UNM Department of Music and the Albuquerque Youth Symphony.
The hall is located on the campus of the University of New Mexico.
Tourism and recreation
Balloons at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque contains many variety of museums, shops and other points of interest. Some of these include the Albuquerque Biological Park and Old Town Albuquerque
The city hosts the annual New Mexico State Fair for 17 days in September at Expo New Mexico, formerly the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
Albuquerque also has the largest hot air balloon gathering in the world. It is called the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and it is held during early October. It was started in 1972 with 13 balloons. It progressed and in 2000 there were a record 1000 balloons that attended and lifted off in a mass ascension. Since 2000 the officials keep it to no more than 700 registered balloons for safety, and it is the most photographed event in the world.
Old town contains numerous shops and restaurants as well as a ghost tour performed by the Southwest Ghosthunters Association.
The city is also home to the annual Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow, an international event featuring over 3,000 indigenous Native American dancers and singers representing more than 500 tribes from Canada and the United States. Dancers and singers participate socially and competitively at the event, held in April.
The Sandia Mountains to the East offer interesting and varied rock climbing. Climbs from one to 10 pitches can be found at all ability levels.
Albuquerque also annually hosts Bubonicon which is among the largest Science Fiction conventions in the South West.
As of the census of 2000, there were 448,607 people, 183,236 households, and 112,690 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,483.4 people per square mile (958.9/km²). There were 198,465 housing units at an average density of 1,098.7/sq mi (424.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.59% White, 3.09% Black or African American, 3.89% Native American, 2.24% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 14.78% from other races, and 4.31% Multiracial (from two or more races). 39.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,272, and the median income for a family was $46,979. Males had a median income of $34,208 versus $26,397 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,884. About 10.0% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 8.5% of those age 65 or over.
For more information about Albuquerque please visit the following websites.
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