ALBANY -- The Big House could be replaced by condos.
Sing Sing, the maximum-security Westchester prison whose very name once struck dread into the hearts of the most vicious mobsters and murderers, may soon face execution itself.
The 186-year-old penitentiary, which boasts million-dollar views of the Hudson and inspired the phrase "sent up the river," will be closed and sold for its real estate if two local legislators, Assemblywoman Sandra Galef and state Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, get their way.
They point out that the state could make a bundle by selling off the property in Ossining. And Galef said her constituents would not mourn the "Bastille on the Hudson."
"It's just not the central part of our community," she said.
Sing Sing housed some of America's most notorious felons, including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the spies who were executed there for giving atomic secrets to the Russians.
Other guests ranged from Mafiosi to bank robbers to at least one cannibal, a monster named Albert Fish who ate his victims, many of them children, in the early part of the 20th century.
Bandit Willie Sutton added to his legend by becoming one of the few to escape from Sing Sing. The man who will forever be remembered for his explanation of why he robbed banks -- "because that's where the money is" -- was recaptured.
Sing Sing -- a name derived from the Indian term Sinck Sinck, or "stone upon stone" -- boasted its own separate death house where 614 men and women met their ends in the electric chair.
Local residents say they've been waiting for Sing Sing -- which currently houses about 1,700 inmates -- to close since former Gov. Hugh Carey pledged in 1975 to do so.
But even though Gov. Cuomo says he wants to close prisons to help balance the budget, officials have been focusing on low- or medium-security facilities -- not maximum-security ones.
A spokesman for the State Correctional Services Department said only that a review of which facilities to close is ongoing.