Saturday, November 8, 2014

Shopping on Warren Street

Today, Gossips returns to the scrapbook of Hudson history created by Walter First in 1991 for his children and grandchildren. What follows are First's memories and musings about the retail businesses in Hudson--past, present, and future.

Hudson's downtown improvements [as part of Urban Renewal] came after the end of World War Two, when many of the immigrant children left home to start families of their own, or in search of economic opportunity elsewhere. Another migration began, but from one part of America to another. The "Mom and Pop" stores, and the founders were also departing--from aging and the changing social-business environment. The movement was first, up-town in the City, an example: The Atlantic and Pacific food chain, with a small store on several street corners, consolidated into one big market at North Seventh. The Schaefer Chain did likewise as Grand Union and located on Union Street Extension. In the late 1950's, First National Foods, from Springfield, Mass., came to Hudson's upper Warren. The so-called "Dime" stores, Woolworths, Newberrys, and Kresges, were booming on Main Street; and Saturday night was the "Big Night" here when everyone from the County came to Town.
The big step that put the finish on the small enclave and downtown stores began in the early 1960's, with the Shopping Mall growth along Route 9, in the Town of Greenport. The City merchants could not compete, and closed or moved into one of the Centers. Every family had an automobile, and the parking facilities provided easy access. The big chains packed a variety of merchandise equal to dozens of "Mom and Pop" shops into one building; and at cheaper prices. Along came the "fast-food" franchises to take out the local coffee and restaurant places.
All these market changes occurring throughout the Hudson Valley, from Albany-Troy, south to include Catskill, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Newburgh. And now WAL-MART comes along to clear out the strip malls; and the City streets are replenished with Antique Stores, who (some people say) will revive the Valley's downtown business districts.
Time will tell.
Time has told, and the story is one of successful revival--at least as far as the business district in Hudson is concerned. The most recent account appeared recently on Strolby: The best small shops in the world: "A Stroll Down . . . Warren Street in Hudson, NY."

PHOTO CREDITS (top to bottom): Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collection, Columbia County Historical Society; Rowles Studio Collection, Historic Hudson, Inc.; Strolby


  1. I enjoyed reading that essay. I have a bit of a different recall for shops in the 60's. Thursday nights was the big walk to the stores on Warren Street by all the locals. There were still many shops, deli's (Lipshultz (sp) Deli between 3rd and 4th), fish market, grocers, bakeries, pizzerias, like Sam's grocery that fed Hudson for decades (Millers and Ginsberg's) was on the corner of 4th then moved down to the corner of third...and it was still there in 1992 when my mother had a fatal heart attack there... In the 60's there was Ippachino's Fish Market between 3rd and 4th, Used to peel shrimp for him for french fries. (lol) Across the street was Slominski's/Weber bakery, Ron Kay was up on the next block, Pierro's grocer was just below 3rd. Sylvia's was selling women's lingerie just above 4th; Richmonds was still selling family clothing, as was downstairs Newberry's, even Finklestein still had a shop near the old Lucy laundrymat in the 60's... although the clothes were already vintage. The Town Fair was beloved by all. There were some great shoe stores too, and I loved the Army&Navy store to buy my bell bottoms and crew neck sweaters, there was Zeinitz's (sp) stationary shop where all kids shopped for schoo land got those wonderful crip books.... lots of shops for the locals... I can't name them all, but plenty will remember them being there beyond the 50's...the 60's was active on Warren St. It had a great community spirit... good people. Lots of Mom&Pops places: Generinos, Paramount, Johnny Wares who moved to S. 3rd, Pizza Pit, so many...

    1. Your memories are a treat. Many of the same stores were in Hudson when I moved here in 1980.

  2. Most stores and businesses were open well into the 70's downtown. Greenport shopping centers didn't really start to happen until the mid to late 70's. Victory Supermarket and Grants where Staples is was the original shopping center and was really the only thing out in Greenport. Healy Blvd didnt even go all the way through and Maple Ave was the main cut across from Rt 66. The major turning point downtown was 1980-82. There were many more people and businesses were located in "ALL AREAS" of the city especially small businesses but the citys zoning now is so prohibitive and keeps everything on or just off of Warren St impeeding progress. Also many more people then, less municipal lots but hardly ever any parking issues. Today we have an over abundance of parking but people are too lazy to even walk a half a block.

  3. This scenario happened in every American city across the continent. Albany was torn down in an attempt to also increase downtown business but coincidentally Malls became the focus.