ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Sometime between Friday evening and Sunday morning, the Ten Broeck Mansion Gardens were extensively damaged. The destruction takes up two-thirds of a city block and could cost anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000—or more—to repair or replace.
According to the Albany County Historical Association (ACHA) headquartered at the 225-year-old mansion, a family pulled up on Sunday morning to retrieve an art kit from a custom-built interactive kiosk. Instead, they found a chaotic scene—smashed wood, signs knocked over, and even broken glass. Staff were across the Hudson at the Plant and Garden Expo at Hudson Valley Community College.
A representative from the Albany Police Department was on-site on Sunday morning. As of now, the gardens are closed. Because much of their property is the result of volunteer efforts or donations, it’s difficult to tell how much the damage will cost in the long run, or how soon the gardens will be able to reopen.
ACHA hopes to at least partially reopen this week after reworking their damaged electrical system and stabilizing a satellite structure. The custom-built interactive children’s education kiosk—beloved by community families—will likely take several months to rebuild.
The timing is very poor, with the Ten Broeck Mansion community gearing up for an Easter event on April 7, when their Easter Egg Hunt takes place in the garden. One of ACHA’s free events for kids, it lets them trade in egg they find for prizes. They must register online to take part—and there is already a waiting list. Even so, they’re working on a solution to make sure everyone gets to be involved.
In the two weeks leading up to April 7, however, they hold a spring poster contest that incorporated the now-destroyed kiosk. Anyone who cannot participate in the Easter festivities on April 7 still had the option to participate. They could retrieve an art kit from the kiosk, design their poster, and send in a picture.
Though the Easter Egg Hunt is still on, the custom kiosk is destroyed. Since 2020, it has been a source of endless inspiration and fun for kids. About 7,000 free items and kits have gone out to area kids from the children’s education kiosk. Beyond art kits like the one for the poster contest, they would also get children involved in gardening by distributing seed kits or tulip bulbs kits.
An irreplaceable 18th-century artifact was also damaged in the vandalism. ACHA said that they are in the process of securing it.