The Zodiac Killer was continuing his well-worn method of constructing his communications based upon recent newspaper articles he had read. The snippet on the left from the New York Daily News carried all the ingredients to shape the response given in the Albany letter, including the reply that he was "not dead or in the hospital" and his inclusion of a cryptogram with the letter. His rebuttal came with a threat to kill a female member of the Albany Medical Center during a shift change. Based on everything we know about the Zodiac Killer and his propensity for creating terror, it is extremely likely that this chosen victim was a real individual selected from this hospital.
If the Zodiac Killer applied the same methodology he had used in the past, claiming victims such as Kathie Snoozy, Debra Furlong, Richard Radetich, Donna Lass, Cheri Jo Bates and Kathy Bilek, along with possible future victims such as Diane Kennedy Pike and Daniel Williams, then there is good reason to believe he sourced his potential victim's name from the newspaper, rather than ambling around the hospital identifying potential targets in person or trawling through a phone book. The potential target, more than likely, had been featured in the newspapers which mentioned her working at the Albany Medical Center.
One suggestion by David Oranchak for the name of the woman in the Albany letter was Connie Shenly (as shown below), but this name (in the short format) has not been found in any relevant and recent newspaper articles prior to August 1st 1973 . As David pointed out, some of the characters in the cryptogram are less than clear, so there is margin for error when attempting to decode the cryptogram. Between Nick Pelling and David Oranchak, the name "Consuelo" was put forward as a possibility because this could be reasoned based on the first eight characters of the cryptogram and the newspaper article unearthed by David Oranchak in comments. The newspaper article from the Times Record in New York on April 20th 1973 mentions the upcoming wedding of Miss Barbara Jeanne Zonitch of Watervliet and F. Michael Consuelo on Friday, August 17th 1973. She is detailed as a graduate of Troy High School in 1965, who was working at the Albany Medical Center Hospital at the time. Although "Consuelo" is a surname in this instance, when used as a forename it is sometimes shortened to "Connie". The threat to kill such a woman on the latest available Friday (August 10th) before her wedding, may be something the Zodiac Killer factored into the equation. When the Zodiac Killer mailed this letter on Wednesday, August 1st (or possibly a day earlier) he had every opportunity to select Friday, August 3rd 1973, but for whatever reason chose the weekend before the wedding. Of course, this assumes many things, such as whether this woman was ever the chosen target at all. However, she did work at the Albany Medical Center, she had an upcoming wedding one week after the proposed attack, and her married name fits into 5 of the first 8 characters of the cipher, despite the remaining 4 characters of the first 12 remaining problematic (unless these 4 are not part of the name, and are a mistake connected to the word "only" in the cryptogram message, which should have originally read "this is the beginning").
This is a good line of thinking by Nick Pelling and David Oranchak regarding the identity of the woman threatened in the Albany letter, and it could suggest that the Zodiac Killer spent considerable time in the New York region during this time period. It is fairly obvious that a threat on a female at the Albany Medical Center by the Zodiac Killer would have been taken very seriously by law enforcement, who would undoubtedly have informed the hospital and its staff of developments, and likely upped security during this period. If Barbara Zonitch Consuelo was the target of the threat in 1973, it's very likely she is unaware of the suggestion to this day.
The 408, 340 and 148 character ciphers of the Zodiac Killer have officially been broken, and all revealed coherent messages. The Albany cipher was also genuine, containing the message "Albany Medical Center this only the beginning". Therefore, it's reasonable to assume the opening part of the message contained the name of his target, because without a readable or genuine name the threat would lose its impact through a perceived lack of knowledge by its sender. The specificity of name, location and time undoubtedly carries greater weight from the aspect of terror, despite the fact the Zodiac Killer was unlikely to have ever followed through after giving police notice of his proclaimed intentions. If the woman in the message isn't Barbara Zonitch Consuelo, then the real target may still be found in the pages of a New York newspaper in the weeks prior to August 1st 1973.