by Art Gunther
NYACK, N.Y. — It has been a long time since I haunted Nyack’s Main Street as a shopper. Once, my parents shopped here, back when there was no suburbia nearby and downtowns were meccas with a bunch of shoe stores, several pharmacies, two five-and-dimes, hat shops, dress shops, a bakery, meat stores, small supermarkets and a soda fountain to relax in after shopping.
But “progress” came, with strip shopping and malls and loads of cars on the roads. Downtowns could not compete.
Now, as online shopping threatens to similarly retire what progress wrought, a gentle walk through a village like Nyack takes you through deja vu all over again. Some stores are back; some never left, like Koblin’s, that famed pharmacy.
I was in search of holiday cards and a watch battery. And I found all four at Koblin’s, and then went up Main to Herb Lack Paints, a hardware store, to buy an electrical switch. The big-box outlets have the outlets I was looking for, but it was so much easier to pick it up by just walking a few steps from one village store to another.
Herb Lack was once owned under another name, and, as I gave the present people my money, I noticed I was standing above the same counter where so many years ago I had a key made to the front door of the original Journal-News at 53 Hudson where I would work for 42 years.
There was a warm feeling doing this Nyack walk, recalling when my parents shopped here with my brother and me in tow. I also remember others flooding the streets of Nyack, including a special friend who always did her Christmas shopping there with a stop at the old catacorner card store at Main and Midland. Then there is the present long-distance correspondent who would leave rural Congers to weekend shop in the big village of Nyack.
I am guilty of not shopping enough in the Nyacks in my life, instead rushing off to the big mall or, now, online. I assisted in their decline and/or downsizing.
But the Nyacks are there, and is it ever so peaceful and fulfilling to mosey about.
Art Gunther is a retired newspaperman. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. This post was originally published on his blog, The Column Rule.