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A Schlepp Through Schenectady - Erie Boulevard
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Our next visit to the little city of Schenectady - seen here in this 1950s postcard..
...is to Erie Boulevard which was once the in-town route of the Erie Canal 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.
Postcards presented an ideal image of its run through the city...
...but by the 1920s the canal reeked of wastes and there was pressure to fill it in.
So that factory workers could drive their cars to work...
...as they do to this day.
Erie Boulevard never lived up to the potential of the name and apart from the morning and evening 'rush hours' was largely abandoned looking...
...and is much the same these days.
Once the place for luncheon - eat while you get your clothes done...
This place was always closed the times I'd ever get to see it.
A couple years ago it was found to be falling apart - as was the building behind it.
It was shored up but proved unsalvagable and ultimately was demolished - as was the building behind it.
The old Masonic Building
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 a little trolley thingie.
Killed by the big box stores around the turn of the century.
An abandoned Sears store shedding its 1960s facade.
An old Polaroid image from another article.
Where Erie meets State Street.
A sunny day...
A rainy day...
A lucky survivor - the Nicholaus Block was nearly done in by a gas explosion in the 1970s.
A sequential view...
the lower State Street side...
and the Wedgeway block.
The same views on a rainy day.
They didn't spend a lot on fancy architectural trimmings here...
View across the railroad station's parking lot.
The turn of the 20th century stood this grade-level station.
100 years ago this station was built as a replacement when the tracks were elevated.
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.
At the turn of this century plans were footed to replace the Amshack with a proper station.
So far they seem to have gone nowhere.
Then and now views of the station platform.
Ghost Ad visible from the platform.
Train from The City.
View east from the railroad bridge.
As late as the 1950s buildings crowded this view.
North end of the Boulevard then...
A fancy gateway to the Stockade District was recently erected.
This article has been viewed 36057 times in the last 5 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...
Shift change at the GE plant - low building in foreground was the 1938 WGY radio station. Was demolished in the '50s.
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.
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.
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..
Franny Wentzel: 24th Feb 2011 - 22:22 GMT
Here's a jumbo sized version of that 1950s postcard...
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?
CARRIE: 4th Sep 2014 - 17:04 GMT
CAN ANYONE FIND OR DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I CAN GET A PICTURE OF THE OLD "BIG N DEPARTMENT STORE" FROM THE 60'S? THANKS TO ANYONE WHO CAN HELP! CARRIE
anon (mb25536d0.tmodns.net): 9th Oct 2014 - 00:48 GMT
Wow. All this brings back super memories of Schenectady. I sure miss the good old days and the way things were.
Cindy L.: 24th Nov 2014 - 13:40 GMT
Does anyone remember the restaurant on State St., near the Proctors Entrance, from the 1960's? It was a very popular spot to eat for office folks who worked downtown. I remember as a child that the woman who ran or owned it was a Holocost survivor and would show you her arm with the stamp or tattoo forced during her imprisonment. It had a memorable pastrami sandwich and soup selection.
Franny Wentzel: 24th Nov 2014 - 19:02 GMT
A quick update...
They grassed in the median on Erie
One of the Wallace Armer buildings is now a pizza joint...
...and the Sears building has shed its 1960s facade.
Rachel: 8th Jan 2015 - 03:59 GMT
To Cindy L: the restaurant that had the deli sandwiches and was run by Lillian Roth was actually called Roth's. This was late 50's to sometime in the 60's. It may have been near a little newsroom (not Baums which was Harry Leva's place, this was another one. ) but as the other comment noted there was Peggy's next to Proctors which was good very good in fact it is now the Reel seafood on wolf road, owner Legrand Serras. But it was no Roth's which carried all the charm of a Manhattan deli, black & white cookies, r genuine cheesecake and amazing sandwiches. It was torn down to build a bank ...
Franny Wentzel: 10th Jan 2015 - 14:15 GMT
Here is Roth's little cafe...
Between the bank and Foster's Hotel. Torn down in the late-'60s/early-'70s when the bank expanded.
Ruth Vokins: 12th Feb 2015 - 20:46 GMT
What memories this web site brings to me. I worked in Carl Co. in the 1950's. I worked in the restaurant & ran the elevator. The store was so beautifully decorated at Christmastime, thanks to Mr. Lambert & Gene. Also worked at the YMCA & Ellis Hospital. Then finally decided to get a "real job" & went to GE in 1964 for over 30 years. Am now retired for 21 years in Florida but will never, ever forget Schenectady, N.Y.
Bob Auerhahn: 11th Sep 2015 - 16:24 GMT
As a Union student in the late '60s, I enjoyed going downtown for off-campus meals. One that stands out as unusual was a second floor restaurant called the Vendome, maybe all that was left of the hotel. Beside college student looking for a cheap meal, all the other customers and employees were really old! Can anyone remember a cafeteria which was possibly on Lafayette St. or parallel where you walked up to a counter and ordered. Was very good. CollegeLuigi favorite were Mama Ferros, Mother Bianchis, Papa Luigis and Diamantes. Also NEBA roast beef at Mikes Subs!
Franny Wentzel: 12th Sep 2015 - 22:45 GMT
Woolworth demolished the Vendome hotel when they built their new store in the '30s
Vendome restaurant had relocated to a building across the street...
...between the Witbeck building and the old Hough Hotel
The Vendome was demolished in the late-'70s and replaced with an infill structure for the Canal Square redevelopment. That and the Hough Hotel have since been replaced with the BowTie Cinema.
Susan: 27th Dec 2015 - 02:31 GMT
Yes, the good old days of Hy Sofer's, Kite magazine, AROW, Price Chopper and the best cannolis! I lived there around 1977...the city of GE, SPAC where I saw oh so many music stars! Wallace Armor hardware...
Visitor: 3rd Jan 2016 - 16:58 GMT
If you have not been to Schenectady in several years, by all means go back for a visit now. State Street is actually better than it has been in 40 years.
John Rowe: 6th Jan 2016 - 18:35 GMT
When my wife and I lived in the Stockade, we were members of Schenectady Civic Players, which is still alive and well and mounting great productions. My wife's father worked for "Generous Electric" and saw them fill in the canal. Looking at these photos, it's a shame they didn't just clean it up. It would have added some charm to the city, along with the RR Station that was torn down.
anon (188.8.131.52): 27th Jan 2016 - 12:32 GMT
I so much love looking of historical and present landscapes! it's taking a trip in time without leaving home! Dave Zemanek, Johnstown. NY
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St. Johns Place Then
from the archives
SF in Standard Time
finally - standard time - ending october 2005. warm, mostly clear, sunny and not a cloud in the sky. this is a roof top view from the hillmont in east oakland.
A Schlepp Through Schenectady - Erie Boulevard
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