A Candy Graveyard: Economy Candy – New York, NY

FullSizeRender1As the years have passed, we’ve all come to know the mind-boggling quantities of sugar that go into some of our favorite candy treats.

With this much sweetness intact, no candy ever dies, it just ends up here…at Economy Candy on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The place is a living museum and monument to not only old time Candy Stores that used to dot the landscape of 20th century New York City but also the candies themselves, some of which haven’t probably seen the light of day in decades other than on the shelves of Economy Candy.

Honestly, if you have never been and live in NY, let alone are visiting the big apple, it’s worth the trip over to Rivington St. because the floor to ceiling selection of chocolates, candies and old time favorites will leave you not only with insulin shock but also nostalgia and fuzzy warm feelings.

The place has everything…I mean EVERYTHING!  Take a look…



Gotta love the fact that a new generation of wannabe hooligans can get their Candy Cigarette on!


More gumballs, jellybeans and hard candies than 20 gas stations put together.


So when I was a kid, Jose Canseco was king and the gum that the Topps Baseball Card company gave you in the package was majorly out of date and stale…god only knows what’s in there now.


Another candy store must have…Astronaut Ice Cream

FullSizeRender12Candy buttons galore


This was one of my Dad’s favorites and he’d always hold out hope that the 7-11 or Mobil Station would have it on the counter, somewhere in the back…who knows where.  No Dad, these guys can only be found here.


The place itself is really beautiful with its copper ceilings and floor to ceiling selection…tight aisles also make for a cozy atmosphere.


Christmas is right around the corner…


Even the scale to weight the candy they sell by the pound is cool…very old school and very NYC.


So here’s to Economy Candy, sweetening all of our lives since 1937 and a treasure that surely will meet it’s demise at some point I suppose, to be replaced by a trendy cupcake shop or worse, a Duane Read.



My Park in MyYonkers

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Bregano7I’m not sure if it’s a New York thing or an urban thing but it seems as though if you grew up in a city environment, you also grew up going to a neighborhood park, over and over, for hours on end of your youth.

For me it was many parks actually, but the one that was awarded most of my time was Bregano Park & Playground, sprawling with 4 acres of fields, playgrounds, basketball courts and more.

Situated on the corner of Rigby and Brandon St., it was like a second home for me, whether that meant playing on the swings, the slide, or as I got older, countless games on the basketball court, football games on the field, or as I got even more in adolescense, lighting off M-80’s in the woods and working on my Night Moves with the ladies.

One way or another, I think I spent more time there then at home during certain times of the year and that was fine by me as my firends and I would take the 5 minute stroll from my apartment down the road and arrive on foot with our basketball, our football, our water bottle and our dreams.Bregano6

If you were wondering, the place is named after Sebastiano P. Scelza or “Buster” as his memorial reads at the foot of the park, apparently a civic leader in youth and adult sports, the guy seemed to be one of those rare Yonkers City workers who actually clocked in and went right to work.

Based on his memorialized depiction, he seemed like a nice guy and obviously the city was much better off for his service; at least I know I was because of the park that bared his name.

Thankfully unlike other childhood haunts that have bit the dust with time, this place is still alive and well and even thriving, hosting various softball leagues, flag football and soccer games year round as well as a steady pace of a new generation of kids seeking the same pleasures we indulged in while young and reckless.

The playground has never looked better and honestly, I’m a bit jealous, as this sparkling new equipment would have made my formative years that much more fun!

Bregano9In terms of the famed basketball court, it’s still intact and still doing its thing and the hoops even have nets attached, a constant disappointment for us when we would arrive and sadly they had been pulled or cut down.  I swear I’ve never seen a city park go through so many basketball nets but either we were way too rough on them or apparently lurking in this predominately Italian neighborhood is a Paisan with a white netting fetish.

Bregano4We certainly ran the gamut though on that court, racing up and down for hours on end and then eventually moving on and making the games…ahem… more interesting you might say by placing wagers on the games.

Some days I would be out in the first game having spent my only $10 for the week while other days, I’d walk away with over $50 in hand.

As you can imagine, the Movie White Men Can’t Jump was like our bible for this kind of hijinx and it grew so large that kids from Mt. Vernon and even the Bronx would come out to Bregano to play and the wait to get into a game would sometimes take hours if not most of the afternoon.

One small but “could have been useful” addition to the park is the Porto Potty that can be found along the eastern edge of Bregano.  Even though in theory this would have be spectacular, I can just picture the older kids pushing the entire thing over or blowing it up with an M-80, especially while I was in it!


But honestly, I love my Park in MyYonkers, I truly do.  How can you not love a place where so much of your childhood story was written?  I’m sure most of you reading this had a park that was your own and I’d love to hear about it so be sure and leave your park in your Yonkers in the comments below.

Thanks for all the memories Buster!



The Death of A&P on McLean

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IMG_4363The older I get, the more I have to stop myself from mourning the loss of all childhood locals as I realize with great pride that I am simply one of a crowd.

A long list of mourners who have watched time march on and their beloved memories and structures pass on by with it.

For me, if it wasn’t the old Finest in Cross County, long gone now or the Waldbaumb’s on Central Ave., long gone as well, it was this place that my family did their food shopping.

This too was a Waldbaumb’s of course, but when it changed over in the 2000’s, the place didn’t seem to skip a beat and while this particular locations was always packed, somehow or another, either through competition, bad accounting practices or otherwise, A&P said goodbye for good on Sunday in New York.

There really is no “bad news” associated to this post, no day of mourning to be had like in the case of Nathan’s or Charlie Browns.

Slated to open back up in a few days as an Acme Food Store, time will go march on, things will be back to business and from what I gathered, most of the dozens of employees at this location on McLean Ave. will keep their jobs.

The place was a ghost town and looked more like a pending Blizzard was about to hit when I stopped by the night before closing…


One thing I will miss though are these guys right here…the quarter machines where quality and plastic intersect to give the customer a prize worth keeping for years to come.


An interesting fact about New Yorkers…all meats are preferred over Bologna apparently.


The Produce aisle…




As with any new business venture in Yonkers, I wish it well and truly do hope that this store can continue to serve Little Ireland for years to come.

Walking around this supermarket, no matter what the name says on the outside of the door, makes me feel like a kid and I can vividly see my Dad frantically racing down the aisles, elbowing old ladies, gleefully grabbing bargains and marveling at his purchases as we make the 90 Degree turn out the door.

Personally though, I’ll stick with C-Town on Katonah Ave for now…Yonkers can get my tax money through its many pizzerias and Deli’s.


Hyatt Place in Cross County’s Place


FullSizeRenderImagine going to a mall and after a long day of Louis Vuitton and Hermes Handbag shopping sprees you suddenly stumble upon a 155 Room business traveler’s hotel, perfect right?

Well for the Kardashian in us all perhaps but for the actual residents of Yonkers, not sure I can say the same.

The Hyatt Place Hotel opened its doors this month and along with its swanky hotel lobby and indoor pool which is currently under construction, one would have to look far and wide as to how the City of Yonkers, the people themselves, actually benefit from the monstrosity.

I took a stroll over to the hotel yesterday and here’s what I found…

First off…it’s weird to look up past the store fronts and see the same exact steel beams that once housed the hospital building now holding up this…

FullSizeRender_3 copyVersus this…


Look it is what it is.  They took an upscale hotel chain and plopped it right in the middle of the Country’s oldest outdoor mall.


There’s an entrance for key card holding guests from the mall…


And some other highlights of the Hotel include the lobby which is actually pretty nice and does have a ton of seating for an evening glass of wine or appetizers.


And there’s a giant satellite photo of the Cross County area, in case you forgot where you were…


Very nice swanky seats and lounge chairs…well worth the $165-$250 a night they charge per room and depending on room size and day of the month and a myriad of other factors.


Like I said, the lobby is actually a nice place to sit and have a drink but other than that…not sure I’m impressed with much else of the Hyatt Place…


I’m not trying to play the role of grumpy old man here but when the Cross County Shopping Center was built, it served the community it surrounded, as did the Hospital that bore its name, but this?  Not sure Yonkers will benefit at all other than a few more jobs and some tax revenue.


By the time I came along in the early 80’s, the Cross County Hospital was a shell of its former-self and was more used as an office building for the mall than anything else and certainly in the last few years, hell even decade, it did become a bit of an eyesore…





Far from its glory days of the 60’s and 70’s, so many Yonkers babies were born here within the same steel beams that now house the weary business traveler and the compulsive gambler…

165277_184743224883690_100000440417040_578033_1052409_n CC04bFullSizeRenderMy heart truly yearns to see the City not just survive but thrive.

Cross County has been in the midst of a decade long revitalization with costs estimated in the $150-200 Million dollar range that the owners have shelled out to make the area what it once was.

Hyatt Place…not the answer Cross County, sorry.

It serves a small consortium of people who have no vested interest in the city or the mall for that matter.

It will serve the businessman who wants to stay there so that the casino is a hop skip and a jump away.  It will serve upper Socio-Economic families who want to spoil themselves while visiting their roots in Yonkers and the surrounding area for a weekend.

And it will serve the young foolish yuppies who have more expendable income than they know what to do with and feel that paying $200 a night for a hotel in Cross County is a value too good to pass up.

Again though…what about the City itself?

Where does it leave the city of gracious living and the people who could have benefited from the services the building could have otherwise offered had it been designated for other purposes such as education, health care, business, etc.

I’m sure in 10 years, we will all forget what life was like without the Hotel sitting there but for now, old habits and sights and IMG_3963eyesores die-hard.

The best case for the city of course will be the raging success of the Hyatt, so that it too won’t become a former shell of itself and sit vacant for decades.

Perhaps the ghosts in the steel beams of the Hospital have other plans though and this property will become a black hole of sorts where any business that dares to take up shop will forever remain in the red, broke and penniless.

For more info on the Hyatt Place, click here and see if there’s any vacancies…and for those who haven’t been to Cross County in a while, they’ve since plopped a Red lobster, Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse in the vacant areas of the parking lot of the mall.


So plenty of rooms and plenty of places to eat at Cross County…for now.


My Younkers???

Back in May, I was working in Wisconsin for the month and since I’m just like any other American, I decided to hit the mall for some downtime.  Most of the time, you might see Sears or Macy’s at the mall, but as I turned a corner, I found this…


Imagine this store in Cross County or Getty Square, I mean it would probably be guaranteed business if not for the ease in regard to its name and convenience.  Apparently it is a subsidiary of a larger chain of department stores in the Midwest and even Northeast.


Inside of course you find all the goodies you would find in any other store, but I couldn’t resist walking up to a lonely employee to show her where Yonkers NY was on a map and emphatically illustrate the connection…but finding one was an issue.


Much like some other abandoned structures and places in the real Yonkers, Younkers Department Store was also a ghost town, void of shoppers or employees, I think I see some old guy near the back…damn it, it’s too late he actually went into the back.


Well abandoned or not, the store lives on.  I’m sure if I went on a five-minute looting spree, rent-a-cops galore would spring into action like flies on you know what, so I casually just walked out.


Why doesn’t Yonkers have a cool looking NEON sign like this?  Perhaps by the pier? Central Ave?  Cross County? Hell even prop it up on top of the Seminary Communication Tower so travelers from afar can see that the City of Gracious Living, is just over those damn hills.


The Abandoned Mailbox of Parkway North

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Sometimes you simply stroll by something in Yonkers and if you are not already hardened and cynical by the City’s underbelly, you can appreciate things for what they are and not really question anything else about your observations.

Case and point, Parkway North, a clean east to west boundary line for Yonkers and the Bronx running from Kimball Ave. to the Thruway, you don’t expect to find something like this in the northern woods of Van Cortlandt Park…

Mailbox3A lone mailbox, sealed shut and who knows how far away from its permanent home.  Moreover, how can the U.S. Postal Service lose track of a mailbox?

Mailbox2I feel bad for this lil guy…

IMG_3514Perhaps he gave it the office and retired some years ago, but I imagine his retirement dreams after a career as a letter carrier were more situated in the Florida sunshine or even somewhere along the Hudson River as a place for seagulls to rest their wings on a sunny day.

Mailbox1Whatever the case, if you find yourself on Parkway North at the corner of Old Jerome Ave, pay a visit to this lonely guy and if any of you have a truck and a saw, feel free to give him a lift to perhaps a more fitting retirement home.  I’m pretty sure once the mailboxes are no longer in use it is not a federal offense to move one…



Hello Again!

IMG_3464Being the curator of this website, I’ve found in the last 5 years that its taken on the characteristics of a relationship, with highs and lows and even falling outs.  Still though, like any good relationship, I’m still here and so are you!

Just as when I began MyYonkers, I still love this city as if it were a person.

And while I’ve moved around a bit, living in Arizona in 2013 and currently residing 5 blocks south of McLean Ave. in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx, Yonkers will always keep its magic and wonder in my eyes, despite gentrification, segregation, litigation, legislation and any other “tions” I may have missed there.

I look forward to expanding the “Outside of MyYonkers” section of this site in 2015, as well as profiling more individuals in the MyYonkers Conversations Section and as always, covering the ins and outs of the city through my own unique lens.

I missed writing on here in 2014 and also, despite the site being dark for a year, I received dozens of email inquiries about former articles, was asked about the site countless number of times and our social media presence even increased, meaning people were “liking” a facebook page for a website that no longer existed.

So to really fire things back up on here, I will be publishing 12 NEW articles in the month of April!

Please know that I look upon this site as an extension of a great community, past and present and the overwhelming number of memories and comments shared over the years have simply been a testament to how great a City Yonkers truly is.

Thank you for continuing to come back to MyYonkers to read the articles and I hope that my ideas and words can create a positive emotional response in your heart and that you can have continue enjoyment on MyYonkers!