"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

Drawing: Beer dinner at City Beer Hall

The City Beer Hall has a special dinner lined up for next Monday featuring beers from Common Roots Brewing and Peekskill Brewery (like bookends on... (more)

Gnome away from home

A post shared by Henry Bellagnome (@tourism_gnome) on Jul 1, 2017 at 9:32am PDT This is an Instagram account of a garden gnome --... (more)

If you've been wanting to take one of those State Education building tours, don't wait

Quick follow-up on that new series of monthly tours of the beautiful state Education Building: they are very popular. The tour dates for September, October,... (more)

Neba Sandwich from Mike's Neba

Whoever coined the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" probably didn't mean for the quip to apply to a sandwich. Hey, love comes in... (more)

Tours at Oakwood Cemetery

The historic Oakwood Cemetery in Troy has a handful of tours coming up over the next few months. Each guided walk has it own... (more)

Recent Comments

I'm concerned how much demolition is going on here. Too many important, historic buildings in Albany are already tagged with an 'X' and the city's approach seems to tear down and ask questions later. Not only are these homes part of the city's history but they are what makes this place unique and they should be treasured- not trashed. In addition, these structures are better built and will last longer than new construction. ...

Drawing: Beer dinner at City Beer Hall

...has 25 comments, most recently from Brian

Gnome away from home

...has 1 comment, most recently from Justin

Morning Blend for Aug 22

...has 1 comment, most recently from Lauren Alpert

Finding refuge: Rifat Filkins

...has 1 comment, most recently from Eric F

How to commemorate a traitor

...has 4 comments, most recently from Eric Scheirer Stott