I am proud to say that I am a Hudson Valley native. I spent time in Beacon before it became the new Brooklyn, I hung out in Kingston before it became the newest new Brooklyn, but Orange County is where I grew up and as far as I know no one is calling Middletown the newer than newest new Brooklyn. Yet. It has been great watching Beacon and Kingston pick themselves up, shake themselves off, and reinvent themselves, but I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic lately. I am almost afraid to type these next few words but – I miss the old Orange Plaza.
The chic arty vibe that surrounds the city I now call home (Kingston) is pretty amazing but I find myself remembering what it was like when the mall was king and no one shopped anywhere else (except maybe Playtogs but we never admitted that to anyone when we were kids). This sudden nostalgia for my teen years could be blamed on my current hibernation state (it’s just so darn cold outside) or the fact that I recently turned 47, who knows why our brains choose to recall anything. All I know is that lately I find myself trying to remember what stores used to be in that old mall and when I found myself stumped I took to Facebook for answers and got way more than I bargained for! Everyone was great about listing where they used to work and shop but we all had difficulty remember the names of all the stores. For those of us that still cannot remember there’s this-
When it comes to stores that everyone remembers we have this usual JC Penneys and Sears but what else was there? Barbra Moss is a blast from the past and so is Sullivans or Flahs. Book and Record was near Baskin Robbins and Hickory Farms (people actually shopped at Hickory Farms year round once), oh and Fanny Farmer was down there too! Record World, Burger King and a smoke shop were downstairs, I think there was a second arcade downstairs as well. I spent so many weekends wandering around the mall that I should have the entire layout committed to memory, but sadly all that remains are mental snapshots. Buying Madonna’s first album at Record World, the day the red fake leather Michael Jackson jackets came in at Chess King (my first job), playing Space Invaders at Just Fun, and on and on…
I thought I was the only person that still had fond memories of the old Orange Plaza but apparently I am not alone. There is a whole Facebook page devoted to this bygone era – The Old Orange Plaza Mall. I even found a mention of it in a site called DeadMalls.com, and then there’s this video that I found on Youtube!
Did you see the price tags on those albums? Mind blowing. The Orange Plaza was THE place to be in the 1980’s, for many of us it was our world. We shopped there, worked there, and socialized there simply because there was no where else we could do all of those things.
Well Hudson Valley, thanks for sharing these memories with me. If the Orange Plaza was part of your childhood then please take the time to share this and if you have any memories or photos of the Orange Plaza please share them with us on our Facebook page! Oh, and since this is a blog for an independent insurance agency (whose VP spent a whole lot of time wandering around Record World and Just Fun) there’s this – Hudson Valley Agents is your family owned independent insurance agency and they offer many different low cost NY insurance plans so call them today and don’t forget to #insurelocal!