New Jersey Man Has Fond Memories of Old Saratoga Springs.
I used to come up to Saratoga Springs with my family to visit relatives when I was a kid. One fond memory was of the Grand Union Hotel, the last of the grand hotels. Torn down after the 1953 season. It had a big long porch across the Broadway street side.
I was downtown with my Dad. I guess the ladies were off shopping somewhere and Dad and I went strolling down the street in front of the Grand Union. The porch was above street level, and under the porch there were stores. They were all having Going Out of Business sales. We went into one that was kinda like a doo-dad store. Lots of random stuff for the house that you don’t need. Maybe like an antique store. Anyway, I don’t know if my father had seen something he liked in the window or if we went in there to just kill time, but he bought a couple of things really cheap.
The only one I remember was a porcelain statue of stampeding horses. About a foot and a half long. It was black. It sat on our television set for awhile. I think it might have been like the “Leg Lamp” in that movie “A Christmas Story.” My mother suffered in silence, then one day it was gone.
I remember when we came back to visit in Saratoga later in the winter, probably for Christmas, the hotel was gone. You know what they built in it’s place, don’t you? A shopping center with a Grand Union supermarket as the anchor. Irony of ironies!
I also remember that downtown Saratoga Springs went through tough times, and the malls in Wilton didn’t help. But Saratoga re-invented itself somewhere along the line and somebody deserves a lot of credit.
I remember the A&P on Broadway. It was below street level and we used to take my grand-mother shopping there. I recall the wood floors, the smell of the coffee grinding machine and the conveyor to transport your grocery bags up to street level as parking was in the back.
From the Stan Eddy Collection
I also have one celebrity story. Do you know who Bud Colyer is? Or are you too young? He was host of “Beat the Clock” on TV. Also, he played Superman on the radio. One Saturday we and some relatives went out to dinner at a restaurant west of town. A turkey farm I think. I don’t remember the name.
When we went in, they didn’t want to serve us because they had a big party that night. It was “Dad’s Weekend” at Skidmore College and there was a father / daughter dinner at the place. But we were early so they sat us and served us dinner. As we were finishing, fathers and daughters started to come in and Bud Colyer was one of them. He daughter attended Skidmore. I got his autograph on a napkin, but it’s gone now.
Saratoga Springs, New York; great memories of a great town.
And if you’re into even more nostalgia
Jersey Jim also Maintains the Web Site Wistful Radio Chronicles
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