Back in the 1970s I went to work for America’s Litterbug King, the late Tom Constantino at The Noteworthy Company, which was still headquartered on Church Street in Amsterdam at the time. One afternoon he swept into my office and said, “Come with me I want to take you to one of my favorite spots in this city.”
We got in his Chrysler Imperial and knowing how Tom loved to eat, I was hoping we were going to a restaurant. Instead, we drove up to Market Street and pulled into the Shell Gas Station that used to be located on the same corner that now is home to the Fast Trak Mini Mart. I had never been there previously and before we opened our doors there were at least three guys surrounding Tom’s car. One was filling his gas tank, another was washing his windshield and a third was opening his hood to check the oil.
Tom took me inside the station and walked directly into one of the large service bays and directed me to “Look at this floor! Have you ever seen a gas station floor this clean in your life?” I had to admit, the floor was unbelievably clean, not an oil stain or dirty tire track to be found anywhere. The tool racks were just as neat and every wrench, screwdriver and vise grip looked like it had been waxed with polish. The place absolutely sparkled. Since I myself had worked in a West End gas station as a teenager for five years and that place constantly looked as if the Exxon Valdez tanker had cracked open inside it, I was absolutely amazed by the pristine cleanliness of this Market Street auto oasis.
By the time we returned to the station’s front room the three guys who had been working on Tom’s car were back inside. That’s when I found out they were brothers as Tom introduced me to Ralph, Carl and today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant, Jim Iannotti…