Antique Store Photos - J. Sharkey - Albany N.Y.

The photos below are from albums I've paged through since childhood.  They are pictures of stores owned by my great-grandfather.  Despite the name on the store, he wasn't Irish.  He was an immigrant from Castiglione di Sicilia named Vincenzo Sciacca, but his customers came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and couldn't quite pronounce that name.  So, at the suggestion of one customer, he changed it to James Sharkey.  At least for business purposes; his granite gravestone is carved with SCIACCA.


The picture below was taken in the early 1920s inside his store on Madison Avenue.  The photo shows him standing in a sort of general store with both drygoods and some groceries.  There's an interesting assortment of items; glass chimneys for oil lamps, matches, canned milk, coffee, and soap. 

Vincenzo Sciacca ca. 1921

Now let's step outside some years later.  This is the same location, a building which still stands on Madison Avenue just below Delaware.  The building since changed from a store with an apartment above to a two-family house, though the upper floor doesn't look too different.  The front of the store here is lined with bushel baskets and stacks of produce ranging from beets and string beans to potatoes melons (there's even cut watermelon in a case on the right).  Here he's with his oldest son.

Vincenzo Sciacca on Madison Avenue

The store below was located on Hudson Avenue near the corner of Swan Street.  This building survived the destruction of neighborhoods that made way for the Empire State Plaza.  The McKinney cast iron details to the left of the windows are still recognizable up close.  There's more produce - lettuce, scallions, radishes, and a large sack of onions propped in the doorway.  For fans of local breweriana, there's cases from Dobler, Beverwyck, and Hedrick.  There's an sign for Red Star Yeast which still exists and a Miracle Whip case has been reused as a planter.  Just above the latter, you can see large bunches of bananas hanging in the window. There's also a glimpse of the shoe repair and cigar store to the left.  This photo dates from the 1930s and, at the time, Normanskill Dairy

The store on Hudson Avenue

Here's another view of the same store with his youngest son in the doorway.  There's yet more produce including asparagus, pineapples, carrots, and grapefruits.  Plus, the Ballantine beer is stacking around (and inside) an ice chest he'd built himself.  There's a little sign for Bond Bread on the beer chest and one for Ivory Salts above the door.  And there's more bananas inside.

Sharkey's Delicatessen and Grocery


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