Thursday, May 24, 2007
The first Friendly Ice Cream Shop (above) opened on Boston Road in old Pine Point in the 1930's. The building is still standing, and this is what it looks like now.
It is now called New York Pizza, and I decided to stop in recently to see what this historic building location is like today. I remember when I was small my father used to sometimes bring me to this Friendly's for ice cream on Sunday's after Mass at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart just up the street. In fact my parents used to go to that Friendly's when they were dating. Therefore I felt something of a bond to the building as I passed through these famous doors so many decades later.
I happened to come by around mid-afternoon, a slow time in the restaurant trade, and there were no customers. Just a cook in the back and a cashier in front, who lacking a babysitter that day had brought her young son to work. This is what the inside of the restaurant looks like today.
If memory serves, the only thing that struck me as being unchanged is the brick wall. Other than that the whole place has been hollowed out. Instead of the tables of today they had booths along the brick wall and a counter opposite in a horseshoe shape. There were also stools in front of the window.
I asked the woman at the cash register, who I think would've doubled as a waitress had there been any customers to wait on, if she knew about the building's past. To my surprise, neither the cashier nor the cook had any idea that they were operating their business out of one of the most historic commercial buildings in the Pioneer Valley! I told them that I hope that someday they are as successful as Friendly's, and with that they heartily agreed.
The cashier's son, who had been shyly cowering near his mom the whole time I was there taking photos, suddenly piped up as I started toward the door, "Hey Mistah! Ain't ya gonna take a picture of me?"
Andy and I were awakened last night by a terrible racket outside. The next morning I discovered the cause - someone had set off a whole box of firecrackers in the middle of the street!
However, I can't be too annoyed because I figure it was done by a UMass senior celebrating their graduation. I was a happy college graduate too, many years ago, so I do not begrudge them their festivities, however noisy.
Speaking of graduation, the UMass Democrat Club has declared their position on the visit of Andy Card to the campus this weekend with this banner they hung in the Student Union.
I hope the campus leftists don't ruin the graduation ceremony with some kind of publicity stunt. Let's put politics aside for once and just celebrate everyone's achievements without any incidents that might mar the memory of the happy day.
Finally, here is a video I made while leaving Theodore's in downtown Springfield recently.