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A Schlepp Through Schenectady - Erie Boulevard

- Franny Wentzel - Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 : goo

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Our next visit to the little city of Schenectady - seen here in this 1950s postcard..

image 46151

...is to Erie Boulevard which was once the in-town route of the until the 1920s when the canal was rebuilt as the New York State Barge canal with deeper channels larger locks and more utilisation of adjacent rivers.

image 46152

Postcards presented an ideal image of its run through the city...

image 46153

image 46154

...but by the 1920s the canal reeked of wastes and there was pressure to fill it in.

image 46155

So that factory workers could drive their cars to work...

image 46156

...as they do to this day.

image 46157

Erie Boulevard never lived up to the potential of the name and apart from the morning and evening 'rush hours' was largely abandoned looking...

image 46158

...and is much the same these days.

image 46159

Once the place for luncheon - eat while you get your clothes done...

image 46160

This place was always closed the times I'd ever get to see it.

image 46161

image 46162

A couple years ago it was found to be falling apart - as was the building behind it.

image 46163

It was shored up but proved unsalvagable and ultimately was demolish - as was the building behind it.

image 46164

The old Masonic Building

image 46165

The Wallace Armer hardware store. Noted for its old-time conveyor belt cash management system - money was sent to the back of the store on this little trolley thingie.

image 46166

Killed by the big box stores around the turn of the century.

image 46167

An abandoned Sears store shedding its 1960s facade

image 46168

An old Polaroid image from another article

image 46169

Where Erie meets State Street

image 46170

A sunny day...

image 46171

A rainy day...

image 46172

A lucky survivor - the Nicholaus Block was nearly done in by a gas explosion in the 1970s.

image 46173

A sequential view...

image 46174

of...

image 46175

the lower State Street side

image 46176

and the Wedgeway block

image 46177

The same views on a rainy day

image 46178

image 46179

image 46180

They didn't spend a lot on fancy architectural trimmings here...

image 46181

View across the railroad station's parking lot

image 46182

image 46183

The turn of the 20th century stood this grade-level station

image 46184

100 years ago this station was built as a replacement when the tracks were elevated.

image 46185

Postcard views

image 46186

image 46187

By the 1970s trains no longer stopped in Schenectady so the station and surronding buildings were torn down. This little shed was built when service returned in the 1980s

image 46188

image 46189

At the turn of this century plans were footed to replace the Amshack with a proper station.

image 46190

So far they seem to have gone nowhere.

image 46191

Then and now views of the station platform

image 46192

image 46193

visible from the platform

image 46194

Train from The City...

image 46195

View east from the railroad bridge...

image 46196

As late as the 1950s buildings crowded this view

image 46197

image 46198

North end of the Boulevard then...

image 46199

and now. A fancy gateway to the Stockade District was recently erected.

image 46200

This article has been viewed 25882 times in the last 3 years


joan: 2nd Dec 2010 - 22:32 GMT

There are much nicer places in Schenectady...where are the photos of Union college and the GE Realty plot, Central Park then and now...St John's Cathedral, the nice old homes near where Steinmetz used to live...and the beautiful old Stockade area?

Franny Wentzel: 3rd Dec 2010 - 13:00 GMT

Newly discovered in my collection...

image 46203

Shift change at the GE plant - low building in foreground is the 1938 WGY radio station.

Gary Griffin: 3rd Dec 2010 - 15:00 GMT

I remember Erie Boulevard having the smoothest surface of any road in the capital district back in the mid-fifties. About four years ago, I rode my bike along the bike path near the Mohawk River from Niskayuna to downtown Schenectady. It was near Erie Blvd. that signs for the path suddenly vanished.

Mike Sleight: 3rd Dec 2010 - 18:45 GMT

The Carl Co., founded in Lockport, NY, opened a Schenectady store on Erie Blvd. near the turn of the century. Eventually they enlarged it and moved it to the 430 State St. address, adjacent to Proctors Arcade. The building is now part of the Proctors complex. The Carls were my grandparents.

MIKESL8@COMCAST.NET

Ronald Hofmeister: 3rd Dec 2010 - 20:44 GMT

Nott Terrace class 1956. These photos bring back many fond memories of my growing up in Schenectady. I even got a speeding ticket on Erie Blvd. My dad worked at ALCO for many years.

Rhoffy@aol.com

Bob Wickes: 3DEC10 - 1633 EST: 4th Dec 2010 - 21:50 GMT

My old friend Sleight and Hofmeister have already weighed in with the Ghost of Schenectady Past. What happened to the economic infrastructure of the Dorp happened to most smaller cities in Upstate New York which appeared flourishing when we were kids. I enjoyed downtown Schenectady. Dancing class and Coffee Shop breakfasts at the Van Curler. Myers and Jos. Nusbaum clothiers. Movies, and other shows, at the Erie, State, and Proctors theaters; the railroad station with its smell of cigars and marble, and marching with other Boy scouts down State Street to the little park to commemorate the little "Liberty Statue" which had just placed therein. Remember exhibitions in the Armory on Erie Blvd? And the Sesquicentennial celebration seemed to loom large at the time. How about the time the Dutch Reformed Church burned (for the nth time). I'll close this by saying one of the major joys of being downtown was watching for sparks as catenaries arced when trolley cars passed under the railroad bridge on State street. I was 6 at the time.

Tim Brown: 4 Dec 2010 : 5th Dec 2010 - 05:51 GMT

How about those great lunches, purchased with a handful of coins at the Auto-mat cafeteria next to Wallace's Dept Store on State street.. How many cartoons did we get to see on Saturday mornings at ol' Erie theater back in the 50's. If I remember correctly the Erie had "cheaper" tickets than The State or Proctors and for sure cheaper than The Plaza ~~ of course there wasn't as much second hand gum on the seats at the "pricier" theaters ~~ and who knew what went on in the balconies, nobody said anything..
Schenectady was a great place to grow up and had ALCO and GE and Sch'dy Chemical for employment. Was a great melting pot of first generation Americans with so many of our parents (and for sure Grandparents) coming over from Europe/UK/Ireland/Scotland seeking jobs at Schenectady's industries.
After being transferred away from Sch'dy almost 30 years ago it was sad to see so many buildings gone during recent MPHS 50th reunion gathering in September.. Don't know if the old Cherry & White colors are allowed at Linton, even for memory times..

Franny Wentzel: 24th Feb 2011 - 22:22 GMT

Here's a jumbo sized version of that 1950s postcard...

http://hphotos-snc6.fbcdn.net/175136_1567056945405_1504867971_31264592_8301662_o.jpg

anon (mobile-166-137-136-218.mycingular.net): 25th Apr 2011 - 16:24 GMT

Awesome this was a great read

bill boehm: 25th Nov 2011 - 22:31 GMT

a few more young memory flashes; the junior bootery on jay st that had the x-ray machine that sized your feet, the mohican market also on jay st that had a wood floor covered w/sawdust & handed out cardboard feathered headresses, henrys cycle shop on albany st for all bicycle parts & accessories, the freshly painted locomotives that came in to view after going under the maxon rd rr bridge, the white tower at the corner of nott terrace & state, the shoe shine parlor on the corner of summit ave & albany st, jimmy cesaros barber shop on broadway w/all the superman comics, pleasant valley park at the foot of crane st before the interstate w/the winding pedestrian concrete tower by the hulett st bridge, and of course the freihofer horse & wagon on union st when it was still rte 7

NikkiB: 28th May 2012 - 14:19 GMT

My memories of living in Schenectady from 1951-1969: Hy Sofer's deli on a side street off of State Street (he had the best potato salad); the record store on the corner (name?) where you could listen to 45s before you bought them & where I used to wait expectantly for the next Beatles record; Mr Peanut walking up and down State St.; Mike's Submarines on a corner on State St. They were so delicious!; A&P Supermarket on upper State St with the wood floors; the little library I could walk to from my house on Brandywine; the Van Dyke Restaurant where my mom worked for many years, owned by Mr Marvin Friedman, per mom, "a saint of a man." Jane's Card Shop at the bottom of Summit Avenue (my street). The Big N dept store. The Sealtest plant. I cannot remember the streets, have been away too long. Someone mentioned Nussbaum's Clothing - that was my first summer job when I was 16. I worked in the office. I remember Mrs Nussbaum distinctly.

dee: 27th Jun 2012 - 21:04 GMT

What about Myer's children shop? And yes, truly Sofer's deli was great. But we can't forget Roth's bakery and the black and white cookies. The music store, of course, was Apex. (How could anyone forget that?) All of the stores were awesome (compared to the uniformity and nondescript chains we have now.) There was Wallace's, Barney's, Carl Company, and Nusbaum's. The Imperial where my mom would buy lovely things. (This was long, long before OTB took over that corner.) So we'd shop, and have lunch at Vendome's and later, down the street a bit at Maurice's Roastbeef sandwiches. There also used to be a "lunch counter" at W.T. Grant's where you could get a frankfurter and a drink. Very distinct memories. A new bank in the lower state street block (past the theater) with a sidewalk that glistened in the evening under the streetlights. (It had sparkles in the concrete, but I thought it was diamonds) Christmas shopping, and free gift wrapping.

Ellen Clark Younkins: 6th Feb 2013 - 03:46 GMT

It was interesting but sad to see these photos. I grew up in Schenectady and worked as a high school student in downtown, first at F W Woolworth and then at the prestigious ladies store, The Imperial. I went on to work for the NY Telephone Co. on Clinton St. in order to earn enough money to go to College. I have fond memories of this city which is pretty sad looking these days.

Guest: 16th Mar 2013 - 00:39 GMT

Remember the Apex record store where you had a private booth to hear a new song?

David C.: 28th Mar 2013 - 22:46 GMT

I remember buying magazines and comic books at Baums. Harry Leva would have a sign on the newspaper rack that said, "What the hell's wrong with the first one?" I remember eating at Ruby Diner and going to see a movie at Proctors. We also used to eat at the Woolworth lunch counter (or was that Kresge'S?) My neighbor was an elevator operator at Barneys during summer breaks. Later, I worked at Robinsons Furniture. All these pics were taken in 1981. What the hell happened to the Schenectady that I grew up with?

Judy Kiefner: 6th Jun 2013 - 17:46 GMT

I was an elevator operator at H.S. Barneys after graduating from high school. It was a very classy store. The elevators (Otis elevators) had no pushbuttons, but there was a sliding handle to operate it from floor to floor to floor (5 floors); also a sort of cage door to open and close as shoppers entered and left the elevator. If the elevator was not level to the floor when it stopped, we had to call out the floor number and also call out "going up or "going down". There were some good memories there. Good people coming and going. I miss the store, I really do.

Judy Kiefner: 6th Jun 2013 - 17:46 GMT

I was an elevator operator at H.S. Barneys after graduating from high school. It was a very classy store. The elevators (Otis elevators) had no pushbuttons, but there was a sliding handle to operate it from floor to floor to floor (5 floors); also a sort of cage door to open and close as shoppers entered and left the elevator. If the elevator was not level to the floor when it stopped, we had to call out the floor number and also call out "going up or "going down". There were some good memories there. Good people coming and going. I miss the store, I really do.

Paul E. Morfik: 19th Jul 2013 - 17:54 GMT

As a young man, I worked in the garage part of the National Auto Store on Erie Blvd during the summer of '66, right after high school and before college. I have many fond memories of downtown Schenectady from that summer. Looking back, it was one of my more interesting summers. I would spend my lunch hours walking/wandering around the side streets off of State St. and between State St and Union St. and checking out older shops and a few remaining vintage houses and buildings. My first stop was always the Men's room on the 3rd floor of Carls where I just about took a bath before venturing out on the streets (my job in the garage at NA was pretty dirty). It was a big deal for a kid who grew up in Schenectady's suburbs, didn't drive yet or get into the city much on my own, except for parochial school.

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