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Nyack People & Places

Nyack People and Places: From Car Dealership to Drum Store

by Mike Hays

81 Main Street in 1914 showing Kessler’s Westcott Car Dealership with the Tractenberg Building on the left and a market advertising Jello on the right. Two Westcott Touring cars are parked in front. Below, the Long Island Drum of Nyack with The Optical Shop of Nyack on the left, Palmeri Wine and Spirits on the right.

If you lived in Nyack and wanted a car with a longer life a century ago, you went to a dealership located in a small building on Main Street near Broadway. That single-story building, 81 Main Street, was where D.D. Kessler sold automobiles in 1914. He carried two lines of cars, the Abbot-Detroit and Westcott Touring roadsters, as well as auto supplies and tires. Kessler also offered to provide cars furnished with “careful chauffeurs” by the day or hour.

The Westcott Touring Car

Westcott’s cars were hand-built in Indiana and Ohio, starting in 1898. They advertised as “the car with the longer life.” In fact, the cars lasted up to ten years, some 3 ½ years longer than the average of their day. In 1914, the company offered a seven- and five- passenger car and a two-person roadster.  But while the individual cars lasted a long time, the model did not. Custom-built cars were driven out of the market with the assembly–line methods of Henry Ford.

Ferrara and Boasi Market

By 1922, Kessler’s dealership had either closed or moved to a new site. By then, 81 Main Street began housing a longstanding market owned by the Ferrara and Boasi families. The families sold canned goods, fruits, and vegetables. It is unclear how long they ran the market, but it is still remembered by some living today. The Nyack centennial journal, Nyack in the 20thCentury, shows the store was no longer a market at 81 Main in the 1970s. In its place was a loan store.

The Ferrara and Boasi families at work in their fruit and vegetable market in 1922. Below is the interior of the Long Island Drum Center of Nyack from the same viewpoint just inside the front door.

Long Island Drum Center of Nyack

By the 1980s, Nyack was an established center for antiques. Amid all the antique stores was a drum shop located in a collection of small stores housed at the corner of Main and Broadway. A small chain of drum stores in Long Island bought the store and moved to 81 Main Street. The original drum center was in Hicksville, hence the name: Long Island Drum Center of Nyack. Since 1983, the store in its 81 Main location has been the go-to shop for drum sets and specialty percussion needs whether new, used, or vintage.
Current owner, Frank Colonnato, is a professional drummer. Many nights, he can be found at his favorite local club, Maureen’s Jazz Cellar. He once lived in Nyack and remembers when Cheers was a popular club across the street from the drum store, and when the Nyack Street fair had a bandstand. In addition to drum sets, the store gives music lessons for drum sets, hand drumming, guitar and piano.
Although a nondescript building, 81 Main remains a historic icon to the unique commercial world of Nyack.
Photos by Mike Hays. Photo of Ferrara & Boasi market courtesy of the Nyack Library. Photo of the D.D. Kessler Auto showroom courtesy of the Win Perry Collection.

Michael Hays is a 30-year resident of the Nyacks. He grew up the son of a professor and nurse in Champaign, Illinois. He has recently retired from a long career in educational publishing with Prentice-Hall and McGraw-Hill. He is an avid cyclist, amateur historian and photographer, gardener, and dog walker. He has enjoyed more years than he cares to count with his beautiful companion, Bernie Richey. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.

HRHCare Community Health logoNyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is brought to you by HRHCare and  Weld Realty.


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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