"Albany's Premier Food Center"

Empire Food Market 119 Hudson Avenue Albany undated

If you head over to the APL's collection at NY Heritage you can zoom in on the photo very close to read the signs in the window.

We stumbled upon this old Albany photo in the Albany Public Library History Collection online. It's the Empire Food Market that occupied a part of the big Lyon Block building on Hudson Ave that once stood alongside the public market space where the TU Center is now. The date of the photo isn't listed.

That big vertical sign -- "EMPIRE FOOD MARKET" -- caught our eye. Wonder what happened to it.

Empire Food Market was a local supermarket chain founded by Henry Schaffer in Schenectady in the 1920s -- it and would later expand to almost 200 stores around upstate and Western Massachusetts, and Schaffer would sell the chain to Grand Union.

Here's a 1932 full-page ad in the Times Union for the Hudson Ave location -- "Albany's Premier Food Center." (And here's another ad, which mentions Fort Orange Toilet Tissue.)

The Albany Muskrat has a post chronicling the history of the open air Albany Public Market area and the Lyons Block building. The building met its end in demolition for the Empire State Plaza project (which, at the time, most people called "The South Mall.")

And over at the Albany Postcard Project, there are cards depicting the old Lyon Block building and the market area.

Comments

So sad. Another example of how Albany was more livable and vibrant 100 years ago than it is today.

Hey, that's one of my photos! :) Well, sort of anyway - I was an intern in the Local History Room at APL last year, and this is one of the photos I digitized. Thanks for the mention of the library's collections! :)

Andrew - you're right. The ESP, SUNY and 787 really screwed this city but good.

Imagine if those three projects had been done right (in the case of 787, not at all).

Residents of any northeastern city of any significance, past or present, have earned the same rational lament as you see here, but Albany is still doing much better than many of those cities. Throughout much of the rest of the country, on the other hand, you have "thriving" cities of blank walls, parking lots, multiple freeways and virtually endless sprawl. Personally, I'd MUCH rather live in pretty much any city in this region, over a thriving car sewer like Atlanta or Phoenix any day.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Another warm winter on the way?

The weather/climate forecasters at NOAA predicting that the odds favor another relatively warm winter in this part of the country. From the annual winter outlook... (more)

A snapshot of the Capital Region pitch to Amazon

Today is the day that cities and metropolitan areas all around the country are offering themselves up to Lord Bezos as his empire looks to... (more)

How I ended up riding a bike as one of my primary ways of getting around town -- and how that's gone

So here's something I've been hearing lately: "You rode your bike here!?" Because I did. This past summer I made an effort to become a... (more)

Halloween costume parties (for adults)

Halloween is just a few weeks away, and that means there are a handful of costume parties for adults that are also coming up. We've... (more)

Morning Blend

Cyclist hit A cyclist was taken to Albany Med with serious injuries after a crash with a vehicle on Washington Avenue Extension around 5:30... (more)

Recent Comments

The City should take a more proactive approach based on neighborhood consensus. A prescriptive design guideline with great clarity could save lots of graves for aspiring developers and other stakeholders. The City has to be clear upfront on conditions to be met such as overall allowed building volume, easy river connection, parking, pedestrian oriented ground floor usage and etc. It not seems reasonable to expect commercial developers to build something on their own initiative to both maximize ROI and please all city residents.

A snapshot of the Capital Region pitch to Amazon

...has 10 comments, most recently from J

How I ended up riding a bike as one of my primary ways of getting around town -- and how that's gone

...has 8 comments, most recently from Justin

Action Bronson at Upstate Concert Hall

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jen

A shareable reminder of that shop in Troy

...has 1 comment, most recently from Paul

Interior designer or decorator suggestions?

...has 4 comments, most recently from jsc