Dray Line is cleaned up, cleared out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dray Line is cleaned up, cleared out

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April 14, 2003

Albany--If you've driven through downtown Albany, you've likely see the group of men who gather at the corner of Roosevelt and Washington Streets. Their area is called the Dray line and is a popular spot to pick up day laborers. But now, their lives are changing.

Their corner is being cleaned up, chairs and tables hauled off and they're now under strict guidelines for hanging out there.

The last fire at the Dray Line is out.Day laborers have stood at this corner near the railroad tracks since the 1940's, waiting for people to stop and give them odd jobs.

 Lloyd Price, who finds work on the Dray Line, said "It's sad. This is one of the hardest working places around." Monday morning the city cleaned up the corner, and told the men they can only look for work there from 7 AM to Noon. Gilbert Thomas objected, saying "If they come down after 12 looking for workers and no one is here, they will never come back."

Many of the men at the Dray Line say they have been getting work there for decades. But Albany City Information Manager Kevin Hogencamp says "This area has gotten trashy, with old chairs and camps. This is city property, and it will be cleaned up."

The new bus transportation center will be built here under the Albany Tomorrow master plan. But these men who earn their livelihood on the Dray Line hate to see progress push them aside.

No one is sure how the area got to be known as the Dray Line. A dray is a small type of wagon that was used to unload trains on Roosevelt Avenue in the 1930's and 40's. That is where they think the name originated.

posted at 6:54 by jimw@walb.com