Posted by: David Giacalone | June 13, 2009

Polachek Square unveiled

. . .  Polacheck Square - covered sign 13June2009 . . . . . . . . .  Polachek Square Sign - Unveiling 13June2009 . . .

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 –

PolacheckSqSign 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.

. . . Polachek Square dedication - Audience 13June2009 . . . . . .  Polachek Square dedication - Peter Polachek gives thanks 13June2009

Peter Polachek at the Polachek Sq dedication - 13Jun09 – 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 Square dedication - Crowd 13June2009 “The plaza in front of Arthur’s Market will be renamed ‘Polachek Square’ today to honor Arthur Polachek, who ran his store not as a businessman but as a father confessor. . . .

“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.”

Polachek Square SIgn - the view from the Market's Front Door . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Polachek Square - Signage

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.

Polachek Sq dedication - Pink Glow . . . Polachek Square dedication - Pole 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.)


  1. I am sorry I missed the celebration. I am forty four years old and have heard of Arthurs all of my life even growing up in Scotia. It is historical and I am proud to be living in the Stockade. Pictures of Arthurs are in historical Schenectady books. Beautiful job1!!! :)

    • Many thanks for taking the time to leave your comments, Ginny. Your words are much appreciated.

  2. I used to live in the Stockade many years ago and then moved away to raise my family and then moved back. The one constant that was always there was Art. He was truly a Stockade legend and a gentleman. When my son was two Art made adults wait in line while made up his mind showing that he was as important as anyone else. He was afair and wonderful man. My family was one of the founding families of Schenectady and I draw no offense by the square being named in Art’s name. The world was better because hemade thestockade area better for so many years and his legend should live on.

  3. I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Peter Polachek. He was a wonderful friend to many and will be missed greatly. My thoughts and prayers to Peter’s family.

    • Hello, Eshia. This is a sad way for me to learn the very sad news about Peter. He was indeed a friend to many and friendly and gracious to many others here in the Stockade. I also send my condolences to all his loved ones.

  4. sorry to hear about peter. although i didn’t know him …..i grew up in schenctady and my parents samuel and alice heckman HECKMAN’s JEWELERS were friends of peters grandparents’ jane and herman……i remember arthur as a young man .who worked with his father in the store. ‘

    i have wonderful memories of scenectady.

  5. […] I learned of Peter Polachek’s death that day through a comment at our earlier post “Polachek Square unveiled” (June 13, 2009), which celebrated the centrality of the Polachek family and Arthur’s […]

  6. […] plus a lot of other smiling faces there, Saturday, September 5, 2009 — at Lawrence Circle [Polachek Square] and the contiguous blocks of Front St., Green St. and N. Ferry St. Possibly related posts: […]

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