A Hudson Avenue Symphony

A guest post by Jack Guthy. Our thanks to Jack for sharing with us the lost soundscape of his childhood home. In the mid-1940s, my family and I lived in an apartment at 273 Hudson Ave., across from the Melody Inn, during an era of live music and lively crowds, described in William Kennedy’s O…

Two Families, A Shared Story

Our thanks to Tonia Skinner Hannemann and Leah Strong Schenkel for reaching out and sharing their stories with us. The Radrizzi and Strong family stories have been intertwined for almost a century—beginning before they became neighbors and lasting long after their block of Jay St. was demolished. It all began when Ethel Strong, a Yiddish-speaking…

A Letter to Mayor Corning

Our thanks to Mike and Anita Mullen for their hospitality and their help with this post. On April 5, 1962 Elinor and Leo Mullen sat down to write a letter to Albany Mayor Erastus Corning 2d. They had read on the front page of the morning’s Times Union that the City had obtained a temporary…

The Big A

Our thanks to Debbie, Greg, and Mickey Sherman for their help with this post. On March 31, 1962—4 days after the State of New York seized Albany’s 98 acres— the Knickerbocker News “Night Owl” column reported that Ambassador owner Marvin J. Sherman and his regular customers were “thinking of forming a Citizens Society to Exempt…

Growing up on the “Street of Regret”

A guest post by Barry Levine. Our thanks to Barry for sharing his stories and family photos. I was six years old, when my family moved from Ballston Spa to Albany, NY in 1942. My father, Morris, found a war job in Schenectady, and we lived in a rented 3-room apartment above Dinty’s Tavern, on…

Our Name Means Shoemaker

Our thanks to Angelo Kontis for his help with this post. Hudson Shoe Rebuilders was more than just a shoe repair store. It was also a variety store, selling inexpensive socks, shoes, shirts, and other sundries to residents of Albany’s rooming house district. At the back of the store, Greek immigrants could find cheese, olives,…

Hunter’s Pharmacy

Our thanks to Mary Jane Hunter Kretzler for photographs and extensive email and phone conversations and to University at Albany student Jackson Ciavardoni for conducting an oral history interview with Mary Jane and her brother James on May 11, 2015. Like most of the roughly 400 businesses that once served the 98 acres, Kenneth Hunter’s pharmacy…

On the Street of Regret*

Our thanks to Barry Levine for his help with this post. The regulars at Dinty’s Tavern referred to Hudson Avenue as the “street of regret,” after the song first made popular by The Sammy Kaye Orchestra. A version of the song on Dinty’s jukebox—perhaps Dinah Washington’s from her 1962 album Drinking Again—seemed to describe their…

George & Josephine

On May 22, 1930, George Stalter, a 43-year old bachelor from Speyerdorf, Germany, arrived in New York City with $200 in his pocket and plans to continue on to Albany. That city was where his friend, fellow hairdresser, and future business partner, Alfred Doebbelin, had settled two years earlier, after emigrating from Rathenow, Germany. Alfred…