Remember back in the day when great Amsterdam bands played dances every weekend at the Columbian Center and Bishop Scully or were featured live at venues like the Bronze Bell and Meadow Brook? Names like “The Dynamics“, “The Maze“, “Collector’s Item” and “Society” were displayed proudly on the skins of the drummer’s bass and we danced for hours to what were then wonderful renditions of hot top ten hits.
The Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation is currently investigating the feasibility of gathering a group of at least five of these former bands for a reunion concert at Amsterdam’s Riverfront Park to be included as one of the organization’s popular Saturday evening concerts. We’ve set aside July 27, 2019 as a date when such a reunion could take place. Now we need to find out if these classic old bands are interested in participating and if they are, we’d like to also find out how likely members of the Amsterdam community would attend this free admission event.
If you were a one-time member of an Amsterdam band that played local venues at anytime between 1960-2010 we’d like to get your feedback regarding how feasible it would be for your old band to reunite and play a two-or-three song set at this event. Would you be willing to pull out the drumsticks, guitar straps and sheet music one more time to benefit your old hometown and rekindle precious memories for some of your long-ago fans?
If you are a current or former resident of the Amsterdam community, we’d like to get your feedback regarding if you would or would not be likely to attend this free event. Thanks in advance for helping us determine the feasibility of what we think could be a fun and wonderful celebration of Amsterdam’s own golden oldies era. (Note: If you are not a former member of an Amsterdam band but have close regular contact with someone who is and are willing to contact this individual on the Foundation’s behalf, please make sure you submit answers to the last two questions on the following form.)
Answer to Question No. 1:A is for The Armory Grill – The building the grill now occupies actually pre-dates the Armory, which was constructed in 1894. Before it became a restaurant it was The Suits Hotel (pictured above on left), named after the family that owned it. The bar of the popular Amsterdam eatery is one of the oldest in the city. The Armory Grill has been in the competent hands of the Parillo Family for a couple of generations and is now run by Ralph and Jackie Parllo.
Answer to Question No. 2:B is for Bigelow Weavers Club – I’m not sure if there are still any members of this Brookside Ave. organization that actually worked in the Bigelow-Sanford Mills but that’s how it got it’s start, as a social and recreational gathering spot for the men (only) who wove the world-famous carpets that gave Amsterdam it’s Rug-City nickname. Before it became a clubhouse, the structure was the residence of William Barclay Charles, a textile merchant who made his fortune selling cotton and wool to Amsterdam’s gigantic carpet and knitting mills. Charles was at one time Amsterdam’s representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Answer to Question No. 3:C is for Corner Tavern, which was owned by Bill Pabis (pictured above), who also served as the City of Amsterdam’s Recreation Commissioner when John Gomulka was the mayor.
Answer to Question No. 4:D is for Draus’s Grill which stood almost opposite Ludwin’s on the east side of Church Street in the building above (as it appears today).
Answer to Question No. 5: E – stands for East Main Street bars and the only one of the five listed in this question that did not have an East Main Street address was Tower Tavern, which was owned by John and Nell Slusarz. The Tower was on Lark Street less than a block up from East Main in the building pictured above as it appears today. At least you can still see how this once-popular East End watering hole got it’s name.
Answer to Question No. 1:Miller’s – Howard Busseno was a native of South Glens Falls, who moved to Amsterdam as a boy, graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1950 and then served his country in Korea. Shortly after returning from service he was hired by Miller’s. In 1934, Harry Miller had moved his clothing company to Amsterdam, locating it in the upper floors of 68 East Main Street. The Miller Manufacturing Co. made all kinds of occupational and scouting uniforms. Miller also opened a retail store on the building’s ground floor. It was one of the first discount stores in the entire area. While a team of seamstresses was busy making all kinds of uniforms upstairs, the first floor store sold men’s and boys’ dress slacks, shorts and shoes, casual wear, sportswear, work clothes and work shoes, underwear and a large stock of cigars, cigarettes and tobaccos. The uniforms Miller’s manufactured were sold by mail throughout the country. I can remember going in there to buy my Cub Scout uniform when I was a kid and also the gym suits we had to wear as students at Junior and Senior High. It really was a neat business model, perfectly suited for Amsterdam with its large pool of talented seamstresses, who had learned their craft by working in the knitting mills that used to operate in the city. When Harry Miller passed away in 1962, his son Marvin formally became head of the company. Marvin Miller ran it skillfully. For year’s, his biggest competitor for the Rug City’s male apparel market was the more stylish and expensive Mortan’s. Miller wisely focused his inventory and promotional strategy on the middle class segment of the market, who ate up his high quality at low prices theme. His veteran retail crew was a huge reason why the store became one of Amsterdam’s most popular. The sales staff was headed by the indomitable Busseno, who used to handle five customers at once without making any of them wait. Marvin Miller made a couple of moves to different downtown sites during the four decades the business operated in the City proper. But when the downtown Mall came, Miller headed north to Route 30.
Answer to Question No. 2: It is gone now and so is the downtown corner on which it sat, but not enough years have yet passed to erase the aging memories of what was certainly one of Amsterdam’s most favorite five & dime department stores. S.S. Kresge Company’s Amsterdam store was a handsome two-story yellow-brick building that sat proudly on the corner of East Main and Railroad Streets. That corner was a favorite downtown meeting place. “I’ll meet you in front of Kresge’s” was part of Rug City’s lexicon. The second floor housed the offices of Dr. Dunning, one of this town’s favorite dentists and was also home to Gallagher & Trull, this city’s most skilled jewelry and watch makers. Kresge’s was one of those places where as soon as you walked through the front door you smiled. Greeting you as you walked in was one of downtown’s all-time great lunch counters, landmarked with a huge Richardson’s Root Beer Keg, where you could purchase a hot dog for 7 cents, three submarine sandwiches for a dollar and one of Lillian Reichel’s amazing blueberry muffins as a delicious stand-alone breakfast. Generations of Amsterdam’s parakeets and a river- full of this town’s gold fish emanated from Kresge’s pet section, which was situated at the very rear of the store. A sweet little lady everyone called Muggsie ran the toy department with a memorable smile and every aisle in the place was packed with merchandise that cost between a nickel and a dollar. Rug City residents bought enough of it to keep Kresge’s busy for decades but by the time Urban Renewal’s wrecking ball beckoned in the early seventies, Kresge’s was in the process of becoming K-Marts and replacing the five and dime motto with “Blue-Light specials.” I liked Lillian Reichel’s blueberry muffins a whole lot more.
The neighborhoods of Amsterdam are filled with structures that once housed cherished neighborhood grocery stores where Rug City residents would purchase the ingredients they needed for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a pack of smokes, a six pack of beer, a quart of milk and maybe even play a three digit number or two. My next Amsterdam Trivia Quiz will focus on twenty of the mom & pop markets that used to play such an integral role in the life and economy of our community. I’ll be distributing the complete quiz later this week, but here’s a five question preview to rekindle your neighborhood grocers memories. How many can you get right?
1. You can still make out the outline of the now hidden street-level storefront of this home at the corner of Glen and Lincoln Avenues. What was the name of this neighborhood grocery store?
2. Now an office for an insurance agency, this building was once the home of a busy Guy Park Avenue neighborhood grocery store that was named after the first name of its proprietor. What was that name?
3. This building once was home to one of Amsterdam’s very best Italian sausage makers. What was his last name, which was also the name of his West End neighborhood grocery store?
4. This building at the corner of Division and Caroline Streets was once the home of the West End’s largest independently owned grocery store. Do you remember the name the market?
5. Tymotej Laba and Garoslaw Rynar once operated a market named after its Amsterdam neighborhood from this storefront. Do you remember that name?
This new quiz focuses on the City’s West End neighborhood. The complete quiz includes 20 questions. I present the first five questions and correct answers below. I will be e-mailing all 20 questions to members of this blog’s mailing list later this week:
1) Beginning in 1958, his West Main Street business was the only location in Amsterdam’s West End where motorists could “put a Tiger in their tank”. Who was he?
2) An extremely large percentage of the Italian immigrants who settled in the West End during the early Twentieth Century all came from the same town in the southern part of Italy. What was the name of this town?
3) This West End father and son duo both starred for Amsterdam High School football teams thirty years apart. The Dad was the tough-as-nails leader of a defensive unit that carried Amsterdam to a 1948 league championship. Three decades later his son reached the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the Rugged Rams. Can you identify this dynamic duo?
4) This West End native who grew up on Gardiner Street was the first individual of Italian heritage to be elected Mayor of Amsterdam. Who was he?
5) The guy pictured above was the only one of Sammy Pepe’s four sons who did not end up working in the iconic West Main Street restaurant their father founded as an adult. Which of the Pepe brothers is he?
You will find the answers to the above five questions about Amsterdam’s West End neighborhood beginning right below this paragraph. The complete West End Trivia Quiz has a total of twenty questions in all. If you’d like to see the other 15, I will be including them in the next issue of my new Amsterdam NY Trivia Quiz Newsletter which I will be distributing later this week to everyone currently on this blog’s mailing list. If you’re not on the list, you can subscribe here. There’s no cost for subscribing and when you do, you will receive a minimum of six new Amsterdam, NY Trivia Contests which I intend to distribute every month, via e-mail. Now here are the answers to the first five questions in today’s Amsterdam, NY Trivia Quiz.
Answer to question number 1: His name was Albert Turo and he owned and operated the Esso gas station that was located across from the foot of Bayard Street next to the now-closed Sansalone’s Market. Al ran that station for close to a half century. One year after he took over the location, Esso introduced their “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” ad campaign and it became one of the most successful and longest lasting promotions in history. Al’s youngest son Tom later took over ownership of the business from his dad and ran it for many years.
Answer to question number 2: The hillside town in southern Italy that was the original home to many of the Italian families who settled in Amsterdam during the early 1900’s was Pisciotta, in the province of Salerno.
Answer to question number 3: Both father and son shared the same name, Anthony Sculco.
Answer to question number 4: His name was Frank Martuscello. He was first elected Mayor of Amsterdam in 1956 and then again in 1960.
Answer to question number 5 : John Pepe was the only son of Sammy Pepe who did not go to work at his father’s West Main St. restaurant as an adult. Instead, he went to college for his engineering degree and eventually became the long time Commissioner of Public Works for Montgomery County. His three younger brothers, Jim, Sam and Joe all had long careers at the restaurant.
Anyone fortunate enough to have attended the Historic Amsterdam League’s eighth annual Neighborhood Tour this past weekend (6/9/2018), will have an easier time answering the questions in today’s Amsterdam Trivia Quiz than those of you who did not. This new quiz focuses on the City’s Market Hill neighborhood. The complete quiz includes 20 questions. I present the first five questions and correct answers below. I will be e-mailing all 20 questions to members of this blog’s mailing list later this week:
1) What were the names of the husband and wife team that used to own and run Mac’s Confectionary on Amsterdam’s Glen Avenue?
2) Before the Pakenas family opened a dry cleaning business at 110 Brookside Avenue in the mid 1940’s, Elmer Welch ran his own very popular business at that location. Any idea what sort of business Welch operated?
3) When Sammy Fariello suffered a debilitating stroke in the late 1970’s his son took over the running of his legendary Confectionary at 43 Lincoln Ave. Do you remember his son’s first name and his popular nickname?
4) Dave Blinsinger, the very popular head butcher at the original Joe’s Market on Market Street was known by a very popular nickname. Do you remember what customer’s and the Market’s staff used to call Blinsinger back then?
5) The only Market Hill City firehouse opened in 1907 at the corner of Chestnut and Bunn Street’s and remained in operation till the mid 1970’s centralization of all of Amsterdam’s firefighting resources at the new Public Safety Building. Every neighborhood firehouse used to have a number assigned to it. What number was this long-time Market Hill fire house assigned?
You will find the answers to the above five questions about Market Hill beginning right below this paragraph. The complete Market Hill Trivia Quiz has a total of twenty questions in all. If you’d like to see the other 15, I will be including them in the first issue of my new Amsterdam NY Trivia Quiz Newsletter which I will be distributing later this week to everyone currently on this blog’s mailing list. If you’re not on the list, you can subscribe here. There’s no cost for subscribing and when you do, you will receive a minimum of six new Amsterdam, NY Trivia Contests which I intend to distribute every month, via e-mail. Now here are the answers to the first five questions in today’s Amsterdam, NY Trivia Quiz.
Answer to question number 1: Mac’s Confectionary was owned and managed by Mac & Virginia Rianno.
Answer to question number 2: Before Pakenas Cleaners took over the building at 110 Brookside Avenue it was the home of Welch’s Bottling Works which bottled and distributed its own line of soda’s under their own “American Boy” Label.
Answer to question number 3: Sammy Fariello’s son’s name was “Robert” but he was widely known by his nickname “Fadge”. Fadge kept the iconic business moving forward after his father’s stroke until he was tragically felled by a brain tumor in late 1985.
Answer to question number 4: The nickname of Joe’s Market’s legendary meat cutter Dave Blinsinger was “Dynamite”.
Answer to question number 5: The Market Hill City firehouse located at the corner of Chestnut and Bunn Street’s was designated No. 4 by the Amsterdam Fire department.
Don’t forget, there are 15 more memory challenging questions in my new Market Hill Trivia Quiz which will be e-mailed later this week to all members of this blog’s mailing list. If you are not already on that list you can sign up FREE here.
I highly recommend that those who missed the HAL Northern Neighborhoods Tour do not miss the chance to purchase the 48-page companion book HAL put together for the event. It costs $11.00 per copy (postage & sales tax included) and you can order it via mail-order direct from HAL at Historic Amsterdam League, PO Box 132, Amsterdam, N.Y. 12010. Copies of the book will also be available in the next few days at the following Amsterdam locations: Book Hound at 16 East Main St, the Amsterdam Free Library on Church Street, the Inman Senior Center at 53 Guy Park Ave., the PAV Club at 56 Church Street and the Elwood Museum at 100 Chirch Street.
For such a small town, Amsterdam certainly had had it’s share of individuals who have gone on to successful careers in the entertainment industry. Today’s quiz tests your knowledge of ten such Amsterdamians (actually 11 with the bonus question). How many can you get correct? The answers are posted at the end of this post beginning right below the final question. Good luck…or perhaps I should say; Break a leg!
1) In April of 1954, this son of an Amsterdam clothing store co-owner won the Metropolitan Opera “Audition of the Air competition” and was signed by the Met for their 1955-56 season. Using the stage name “Albert DaCosta” quickly became a widely respected rising Opera tenor. Can you identify the clothing store his father owned?
2) This Amsterdam resident became part of one of the most popular and longest running “Tribute” acts in Las Vegas history with his uncanny portrayal of Sammy Davis Junior. Who is he?
3) This Amsterdam native became the operations manager at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 1977. Can you name him?
4) After graduating from St. Mary’s Institute in 1966, this Amsterdam native pictured above with George Harrison got her degree from Stony Brook and headed for New York City where she began a stellar career in the music industry during which she managed the concert tours of some of the most legendary rock bands in history, including the Rolling Stones, The Who and Lynyrd Skinner Band. Her Dad’s family ran a popular Amsterdam Dairy. Any idea who she is?
5) This member of the Amsterdam High School Class of 1970 was one of this town’s all-time great Rec Softball Players before moving south to pursue his career in law enforcement and eventually becoming an actor. His recent credits include appearances in a James Franco film and the Walking Dead TV show. Can you identify him?
6) She was one of Bert DeRose’s greatest talent discoveries from the Amsterdam High School Class of 1954 and she went from regular appearances on the old WRGB talent show, “Teenage Barn” to becoming a headline nightclub singer and scoring a starring role in close to 2,000 performances of the national touring version of the hit Broadway musical, The Flower Drum Song. Who was she?
7) In 2013 she became the only Amsterdam native to be nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Who is she?
8) She’s the sister of the answer to number 4 above and she also happened to put together a great career as one of the most talented seamstresses in the entertainment industry, stitching the wardrobes and set components for some of Broadway’s biggest blockbusters. Who is she?
9) Of all the bodies buried in Amsterdam’s Green Hill Cemetery, her’s appeared in featured roles of the most Hollywood films. Who was this long-ago leading lady?
10) This Amsterdam native became nationally known beginning in 2002 when his wise and witty online reviews of each American Idol episode were drawing millions of hits at the Entertainment Weekly Web site and becoming must reading for fans of the hit show. Who is he?
Today’s Bonus Question: The Amsterdam native has become one of the most respected guitarists in the punk rock genre. He is pictured above (at far left) with his band Krimewatch, which has played major venues all over the world. What’s his name?
The answers to today’s quiz appear below:
1) Albert Sochin DeCosta was the son of Joseph Sochin who at one time was a co-owner of Sochin’s, long-time successful business in downtown Amsterdam.
2) Louie Velez
3) Dave Carlucci
4) Mary Beth Olbrych Medley
5) Eddie Kercado
6) Arlene Fontana
7) Jessica Collins Capogna
8) Melanie Olbrych
9) Mary Duncan
10) Michael Slezak
Answer to today’s Bonus Question: Sean Joyce
Answer to Question No. 1: His name was Robert Briskie and he joined the Amsterdam law office of James Doyle in 1957, replacing Bob Sise. Briskie passionately defended the manager of a local movie theater who had been charged with public obscenity, telling the local newspaper he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary to overturn the guilty verdict of the local judge.
Answer to Question No. 2: Charles E. Hardies Jr. was used to living on the fringe of the spotlight. His father had been considered sort of a legal legend around these parts as both a district attorney and corporate counsel. His sister had married Malcolm Atterbury, Jr, the son of a very wealthy Pennsylvania railroad executive, who went on to become a well known Hollywood character actor. So when the younger Hardies was sworn in as Montgomery County DA in the early 1970’s, it seemed as if it was his time to shine. Alas, his timing proved poor. The state investigation into city gambling and public/police department corruption knocked him off balance and he was never able to fully recover.
Answer to Question No. 3: Erich von Wiegen had arrived in Amsterdam in the late seventies with a flamboyant reputation as a hard-charging malpractice attorney. His son’s unfortunate accident mellowed him and he spent the next few years devoted to the child’s recovery.
Answer to Question No. 4: Amsterdam City Court Judge Howard Aison made it his mission to turn his courtroom into a profit center.
Answer to Question No. 5: Phil Cortese served both Mayor’s Parillo and Duchessi as Corporation Counsel before becoming Montgomery County Family Court Judge.
Answer to Question No. 6: Carl Salmon Sr. began his family’s streak of dispensing legal expertise and services in Amsterdam in 1911. First his son Carl Jr, and now his grandsons, James and Del have continued the practice, now in it’s 107th year.
Answer to Question No. 7: As administrator of the Wasserman Foundation, Amsterdam attorney Norb Sherbunt had significant influence as to how grants from the Foundation’s assets could be expended. He used that influence to steer the organization’s funds to the installation of lights at Lynch Stadium, the home field of Amsterdam’s Rugged Rams. Friday night football instantly became Amsterdam’s very favorite thing to do.
Answer to Question No. 8: The correct choice is C. Guy Tomlinson served as Montgomery County DA and is currently the Surrogate Court Judge but has not served on the State Supreme Court bench.
Answer to Question No. 9: The correct choice is C. Joe Barnett was a popular Amsterdam attorney for many years but never served on the bench in any capacity.
Answer to Question No. 10: The correct choice is D. Paul Wollman was a City Court Judge at one time but it was his son Joseph Wollman who served as Family Court Judge and not Paul.
Answer to Question No. 11: The correct choice is D. Richard Insogna was one of Amsterdam’s busiest private attorneys for a very long time but was never the Montgomery County DA.
Answer to Question No. 12: Dave Vicinanzo is the oldest of the seven children born to former Amsterdam attorney Vince Vicinanzo and his lovely wife Anne. Their sons and daughters have certainly proved to be a most impressive achieving brood. Dave’s brother Paul is a retired US Navy Captain and is currently in charge of USAID relief efforts in Africa, the Middle East and Indo/Asia. His brother Phil is the only sibling still in the area. He went to Harvard and has master’s degrees from the University of Kent in England and RPI. He has worked in a NYC hedge fund for many years. His sister Marie went to Cornell and obtained a masters at NYU. She works in the pharma industry. His sister Jeanne graduated from Cornell and after getting her masters married an attorney and settled in Scarsdale where they are raising seven kids of their own. His youngest sister, Anne captained the cross-country team at Duke, where she received an engineering degree. She moved to DC and helped design what is now called the Capital One Arena where the Capitals and Wizards play. Youngest child Matt graduated from Harvard and and is now a highly specialized eye/brain surgeon in private practice in Alabama and on the faculty at the University of Alabama Medical School. Dave’s dad passed away but his mom Anne is doing well at 85 and still summers on the Sacandaga.
Answer to Question No. 13: Daisy Snook Borst was born in Amsterdam, NY in 1886. Her dad was a member of the same Snook family for whom the Snook’s Corners hamlet in the town of Florida and Snook’s Corners Rd. are both named.She became the first woman ever admitted to Albany Law School, where she graduated at the very top of her class in 1912. When she passed the New York State Bar, she became the first Montgomery County-born female lawyer in history. She would go into private practice with Amsterdam attorney James Ferguson, becoming the first practicing female lawyer in the history of the Rug City. She became the first female president of the Montgomery County Bar Association in 1950.
Answer to Question No. 14: The candidates for Montgomery County District Attorney in the 2016 election were Kelli McCoski and Howard Aison. McCoski was victorious that November, winning nearly sixty percent of the vote.
Answer to Question No. 15: The correct answer is D. Jeff Francisco has never served in the office of Corporation Counsel.
Answer to Question No. 16: John Kosinski. When Kosinski died in March of 1974, his fellow Amsterdam attorney Fred Partyka called the Amsterdam native “one of the Polish giants” for proving that Amsterdam’s Polish-American community could prosper in America.
Answer to Question No. 17: Marcus Breier was the last Amsterdam Mayor to have a law degree though he never practiced law with it. His predecessor as Amsterdam Mayor, Frank Martuscello was the last practicing lawyer to serve as Amsterdam’s Mayor.
Answer to Question No. 18: Former Montgomery County Family Court Judge Bob Sise played minor league baseball in both the North Atlantic and Canadian American Leagues back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Answer to Question No. 19: The former Amsterdam DA who defended Lemuel Smith on those burglary charges was Charles Tracy, whose brother was the AHS baseball coaching legend, Jack Tracy.
Answer to Question No. 20: The Amsterdam lawyer pictured above is Ned Wilkinson, son of an Amsterdam banker and brother of a heroic WWII pilot who was killed in action. The charismatic Wilkinson established one of the most successful law practices in Amsterdam history before a brain tumor felled him in 1986 at the age of just 57.
Answer to BONUS Question No.1: The Amsterdam lawyer pictured above is Richard Horigan, who many considered to be Amsterdam’s best defense attorney during the second half of the 20th Century.
Answer to BONUS Question No.2:Her name was Rosalie Aulisi Riccio. Her father was State Supreme Court Justice Felix Aulisi and she was married to long-time City Court Judge Michael Riccio, whose pictured with her in the above photo.
This category tests your knowledge of the geography and history of some of Amsterdam’s best known thoroughfares. Today’s featured street is Guy Park Avenue. You’ll find the answers to today’s questions beginning right beneath the final question:
1) In 1960, there were four different schools operating on Guy Park Avenue. Can you name them all?
2) Five different congregations have operated Houses of Worship on Guy Park Avenue since I was born in 1954. Can you name three of them? (Hint: two of these houses of Worship are no longer in operation)
3) Can you name the three supermarkets that operated on Guy Park Avenue, all located between Guy and Wall Streets during the 1960s?
4) More Amsterdamian’s have been born on Guy Park Avenue than on all the other streets in our city combined. Can you explain why this is true?
5) What was the name of the street before it was renamed Guy Park Avenue?
6) Where did the name Guy Park come from?
7) What Amsterdam industrialist was the first resident of this Guy Park Avenue home?
8) Which of these well known local television personalities once lived on Guy Park Avenue?
a) Tim Welch
b) John Allen
c) Don Decker
d) Rip Rowan
9) Which of these well known former Amsterdam residents DID NOT at one time reside on Guy Park Avenue?
a) Judge Robert Sise
b) Whitey Murray
c) Recorder Sports Editor Art Hoefs
d) Amsterdam merchant and former mayor, Seely Conover
e) US Congressman Sam Stratton
10) Which of these local businesses was never located on Guy Park Avenue?
a) Quandt’s Wholesale Foods
b) Hardies Electric
c) Morrison and Putnam’s
d) Kem’s Cleaners
Bonus Question: A local public school was named after a one-time resident of the 231 Guy Park Avenue home pictured below. Any idea what school I’m referring to?
The answers to today’s Amsterdam Trivia Quiz questions appear below:
Answer to question number 1: The four schools in operation during the 1960s were Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School, St. Joseph’s School, West Spring Elementary and Guy Park Avenue Elementary.
Answer to question number 2: The five Guy Park Avenue houses of worship include the still active Trinity Lutheran Church, First Baptist Church and Congregation Sons of Israel synagogue and the former St. Joseph’s Catholic and Emmanuel Presbyterian Churches.
Answer to question number 3: The three Guy Park Avenue-based supermarkets that were once located between Guy and Wall Streets were the A&P, Grand Union and Acme Supermarkets.
Answer to question number 4: The reason the majority of babies born in Amsterdam came into this world on Guy Park Avenue is because for close to sixty years both Memorial and St. Mary’s Hospital were located on Guy Park and St. Mary’s, the only remaining hospital in the city today, still conducts its maternity activities there.
Answer to question number 5: Before it was renamed Guy Park Ave, it was called Spring Street because of the natural spring that flowed beneath it.
Answer to question number 6: The name “Guy Park” came from “Guy Johnson” who was a nephew of Sir William Johnson, the man who first settled the land on which Amsterdam is located. Guy joined his uncle in America in the 1770’s and eventually married Sir William’s daughter Polly. Sir. William gave the couple a square mile plot of land alongside the Mohawk River. Guy Johnson built his house on that plot and the square mile estate became known as “Guy Park.”
Answer to question number 7: The original owner of this still-standing majestic home on upper Guy Park Avenue was David Chalmers, founder of the Chalmers’ Knitting Mill that once dominated Bridge Street on Amsterdam’s South Side.
Answer to question number 8: Though he was born in Schenectady where his Mom Clarissa hailed from, long-time WTEN News sports anchor William “Rip” Rowan Jr. did his growing up in Amsterdam, NY. He resided on the lower “200 block” of Guy Park Avenue and he graduated from Lynch High School in 1953.
Answer to question number 9: The correct answer is “b” but though Whitey Murray never lived on Guy Park he spent a large part of his life there. The founder of the Amsterdam Little Giants Football League ran the Texaco Gas Station that was situated opposite the top of Guy Street, where the Stewarts store is now located.
Answer to question number 10: The correct answer is “c”, the long-time Amsterdam music store Morrison and Putnam’s was last located at the corner of Division and Wall Streets, at the site now occupied by the New Dimensions Health Clinic. The other three businesses were all long-time Guy Park Avenue addressee’s. Among these businesses, only Hardies Electric remains in operation though in a new location on Clizbe Ave.
Answer to today’s Bonus Question: The home at 221 Guy Park Ave. belonged to former Assistant Superintendent of Amsterdam City schools, Clara S. Bacon and her husband.
How good is your knowledge of Amsterdam’s political history? Here are ten questions that will test your memory of candidates and office holders from the Rug City’s past. How many can you answer correctly? The answers are posted after the final question, below:
1) This guy ran for Mayor more often than anyone else in Amsterdam history. Who was he?
2) In his first effort to become Amsterdam’s representative in the New York State Assembly, this guy lost a 1980 election to Glen Harris? He has not lost another election since. Who is he?
3) Which of the following women did not serve as an Amsterdam city alderwoman?
a) Marie Gavry
b) Lesley Lanzi
c) Kim Brumley
d) Lorri DeRossi
4) He was Amsterdam Mayor in 1954 when the Sanford Rug Mills announced they were abandoning Amsterdam. Who was he?
5) Which of the following individuals was never a candidate for Amsterdam Mayor in a general election?
a) Joe Jacobs
b) John Mycek
c) Richard Insogna
d) Chuck Bigler
6) Can you name the four candidates who ran for Amsterdam mayor in the 1979 election to succeed the retiring John Gomulka?
7) This individual is the only person to serve as both Superintendent of Amsterdam City schools and Amsterdam Mayor. Can you identify this person?
8) The 1968 election for state assembly between these two Amsterdam natives pitted a powerful veteran politician versus a young and rising upstart and resulted in a shocking upset. Do you remember who the two candidates in this historic race were?
9) Who were the three candidates in the 2011 election for Amsterdam Mayor?
10) Which of the following individuals did not lose a primary bid in their effort to become a candidate for Amsterdam Mayor?
a) Joe Pepe
b) Ed Hardies
c) John Betz
d) Robert Going
Bonus Question: In what year was the former Sanford family home on Church Street officially donated to the City of Amsterdam?
Correct Answers for Today’s Quiz are below:
Answer to question number 1: Arthur Carter ran for Mayor a total of nine times, winning five of those elections.
Answer to question number 2: Paul Tonko
Answer to question number 3: d) Lorri DeRossi never served on the Amsterdam Common Council but her youngest daughter Gina did.
Answer to question number 4: Burtiss Deal
Answer to question number 5: The correct answer is c). The late Richard Insognawas a well known Amsterdam attorney but he was never a mayoral candidate. Former City Corporation Counsel Joe Jacobs was the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee for the office in both the 1953 and 1959 elections. Former Montgomery County Surrogate Court Judge Mycek lost to Republican Frank Martuscello in 1955 and Bigler, the one-time Montgomery County Administrator finished third in his race against Paul Parillo and winner Mario Villa in the 1991 election.
Answers to question number 6:Mario Villawho won the election was the Republican candidate. One time Amsterdam city firefighter Dan Brojakowskiwas the 28-year-old candidate of the Democrats. Vito Dandreano ran on the Liberal ticket and Pete Phelps was the Conservative Party candidate.
Answer to question number 7: Wilbur H. Lynch
Answers to question number 8: Mary Ann Krupsak became the first woman to represent Amsterdam in the state assembly when she defeated the incumbent, Don Campbell, who had held the office for 18 years.
Answer to question number 9: Incumbent Mayor Ann Thane squeaked out a second term in the 2011 mayoral election by defeating former Amsterdam Mayor Joe Emanuele and veteran alderman Bill Wills.
Answer to question number 10: John Betz was the only one of these four choices who actually received his party’s nomination to run for Mayor when he became the Republican candidate in the 1967 election and was beaten by John Gomulka. Former alderman Joe Pepe lost his 1987 bid for the GOP nomination to then City controller John Blintz who in turn lost the general election to Democrat Paul Parillo. Ed Hardies, the long-time owner of an Amsterdam-based electrical contracting firm and Commissioner of Public Works under John Gomulka, lost his 1979 bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination to Dan Brojakowski. Former Montgomery County Family Court Judge Bob Going lost the 1983 Republican primary to Mario Villa.
Answer to Bonus Question: The Sanford family deeded the home to the city upon the death of John Sanford in 1932.