November 11, 2012

Wallie's of Greenwich

Wallie's of Greenwich

If you've ever passed through the village of Greenwich in Washington County New York, you will recognize the green and white striped awning protruding to the street's edge. The name Wallie's on that awning has been a staple of this country hamlet for as long as this writer can remember--the better part of fifty years. I did not research the history of Wallies. That was not the goal of this post. 

What I did want to convey was the sadness in witnessing an establishment that holds so many fond memories for such a large number of people deteriorate right before your eyes. It's like watching a dear friend in bad health wither away. As I peered into the dust caked windows taking photographs I could hear the faint murmur of restaurant goers reveling in the joy of a family member's birthday party or anniversary dinner. My personal recollection was as a young boy dressed in my best suit, going here with my grandparents for Easter dinner. That would have been in the early 1960's. Wallie's and the village of Greenwich were both vibrant participants in Washington County's life throughout those years. Then came the outlets in Manchester and the malls in Glens Falls, Saratoga and the entire country. It was just a matter of time before small street America felt the impact. I do not know the reason for the demise of Wallie's but it is not alone. I recently wrote a simple piece on The Ash Grove Inn, another local favorite of the 1960's in Saratoga Springs. It's death was sad and drawn out too. It lays witness to the changing habits of restaurant patrons of the new millennium. 

As I stood on the sidewalk taking these photos a man my age passed by. He gently pleaded for me to buy it, resuscitate it, and bring it back to life. I replied what a shame it was to see and that I too had fond memories of the place and wished that was possible. I don't live my life grousing about the good-ole days. I am engaged with living my life in the present moment. I am optimistic and embrace change in many ways. I simply felt a need to salute an old friend and thank them for the memories.

I could smell simmering steaks and visualize fork tender pork chops with slices of red candied apples beside them. I heard parents telling little boys to sit up straight and get your arms off the table. The clink of cocktail glasses echoed across the jammed packed parking lot. Small town USA oozed up from the sidewalk out front, if only in my head and my nostalgia packed mind. 

Maybe this post will generate some historical interest in Wallies. I will leave that for a lifetime resident of Greenwich. It wouldn't feel right coming from a guy one county over. Here's to you Wallie's of Greenwich. Thank you for the memories. 

Thanks for the memories
If you have enjoyed Wallie's in your past or if you know of others, feel free to send them over here to pay their last respects. 

1 comment:

  1. There are many "Wallies" in my past -- not only restaurants but retail stores, ice cream shops, schools, general stores, whole old four corners buildings, and on it goes. Many places are going over a cliff slowly. What I dislike is that when old buildings are torn down the excellent building materials are land-filled instead of being sent to a used wood, stone and asst parts place for resale. Good post -- barbara