– Polachek Square [Google Map]: N. Ferry, Front and Green Streets, at Lawrence the Indian’s Circle, Schenectady Stockade (photos taken June 13, 2009, by D. Giacalone) –
– as always, you can click on a photo for a larger image –
Shortly past noon today, after a brief ceremony, a sign was unveiled to make “official” what we’ve known for several decades: Art Polachek was (and still is) the heart of our Stockade neighborhood, and Arthur’s Market anchors a small plaza that in spirit is Art’s Circle as much as it is Lawrence‘s. Now, the area in the Stockade Historic District marked by the intersection of Front, N. Ferry and Green Streets has been (unofficially but lovingly) designated Polachek Square.
– well-wishers listen as Peter Polachek expresses his family’s gratitude (sad update: see “a sunset without Peter” posted August 8, 2009 to commemorate Peter’s too-early death) –
As the Schenectady Gazette noted this morning (“Plaza to be named for store owner,” by Kathleen Moore, June 13, 2009):
“The man who created a community center in a corner store will be immortalized in steel today in the Stockade neighborhood.
“Polachek died on May 23, 2007, at the age of 87. For most of his life, he lived above the market . . . He knew the name and life story of nearly every customer. Now they won’t forget his.”
Today was a great day for the dedication. It’s the sort of lovely, breezy, blue-sky day, when sitting at a table outside Arthur’s Market with a few neighborhood friends, while watching and greeting others, is especially enjoyable. It’s hard not to think about sharing a table or a few words with Art, and petting his good old doggie. I’m glad Joyce and Artur Wachala are working to continue the Arthur’s Market tradition; now, we Stockade neighbors need to keep the spirit alive at Polachek Square.
afterwords (9 PM): It appears there is some controversy over whether the naming of “Polachek Square” is good or appropriate for the Stockade Historic District. I do not believe that this informal designation in any way detracts from the Stockade as a living neighborhood that is also a Historic District. Yes, I love the architecture and history, but I want to live in a neighborhood with people who feel like a community, not in a museum filled with memories of its prior illustrious inhabitants.
Bob Gavel wrote earlier today that Polachek Square was his idea several years ago, when a member of the Association’s Board. He reminds us that “This is an honorary sign. No existing street names were changed.” Although it “reflects the space around the circle,” it does not rename Lawrence’s Circle.
. . . Note: On July 4, 2007, the family and friends of Art Polachek came together in a joyous celebration of his life. That day, as is the custom in the haiku-poet community to memorialize a beloved friend, I posted at my weblog f/k/a the Arthur Polachek Celebration — a collection of haiku in his honor by a number of well-known haiku poets. ( It is formatted so that it can be printed on two sides of a letter-size sheet and folded into a tri-fold brochure.)