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Downtown Time Machine

by John Patrick Schutz

People, fashions, attitudes and laws are some examples of things that will predictably change over time. Buildings, however — not as much. Here’s a brief look at some of Nyack’s historic downtown structures and some of their history.

The Hotel Everett: The five-story building that is the home of Pickwick Bookstore at 8 South Broadway was for many years Nyack’s tallest building. The Hotel was host to a special dinner for young John D. Rockefeller, Jr,’s Sunday School Class (though Junior didn’t bother to show up himself ‘€“ shy, I expect) back in 1906 and made the New York Times back in November of 1911 when the mysterious suicide of young man named H.E. Baldwin occurred in one of the rooms (and from some accounts of friends who have lived there, may be lingering on…). The upper stories are now residential rental apartments with spectacular views from the upper floors.

Congregation Sons of Israel: The House of Worship on the corner of South Broadway and Hudson Street was constructed in 1924 for the Congregation Sons of Israel in Nyack ‘€“ in the early 1960s, the congregation required more room and moved north on Broadway to their current home on the border of Nyack and Upper Nyack.

In 1964, the structure became the Berea Seventh Day Adventist Church and remains so to this day. The former temple still displays a number of visible symbols of its’ former use, notably the Stars of David on top of each tower and the depiction of a scrolled Torah in the stained glass above the door. Of course, though not frequently seen on Christian Churches, the symbols are a part of the spiritual heritage of all Judeo-Christian denominations, and so were fortunately kept intact for us to admire today.

Hotel St. George: This gorgeous structure located on Burd Street between Broadway and Piermont Avenues was once Nyack’s most glamorous hotel, the Hotel St. George. Jim Leiner of the Nyack Villager will tell you there were once 25, count ‘€˜em, 25 hotels scattered around the Nyacks and mostly concentrated downtown (He should know, his great-grandparents were the proprietors of the ‘€œNyack Hotel’€ that stretched from Main Street through to Burd Street). Built in 1885, the Hotel St. George was the preferred overnight accommodation for many a Ferry or Hudson Steamboat passenger, and was renowned for its’ Dining Room, particularly their Grand Breakfasts featuring ‘€œFlaming Rum Omelettes’€ ‘€“ proving that Nyack has been doing Fabulous Brunches for well over a century!

The Hotel St. George is now a lovely complex of office suites at 48 Burd Street. I am so grateful that such a gorgeous building with real ‘€œNyack History’€ was so lovingly up-dated’€¦ but I still wish it could have been brought back as downtown’s only hotel. ‘€œBut I can dream, can’t I’€¦’€

John Patrick Schutz is a realtor for Rand Realty in Nyack, NY. You can read his blog posts at AtHomeInNyack.

Photo Credits: J.P. Schutz, NyackDailySnapshot.blogspot.com

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