I will never set foot in the Stewart’s built where Smitty’s is

To the Editor:

I am not sure whether to term Jon McClelland’s letter in the March 9 Enterprise concerning the future of Smith’s Tavern in Voorheesville condescending toward the people of the village or outright contemptuous.  But to ask for their “support” in a March 14 meeting strikes me as arrogance.

For a couple of generations, Smith’s tavern — or “Smitty’s”— has been a friendly, family-oriented place to gather for some of the best pizza in Albany County, for local poets to meet and read, and for friends to sit at the bar for a brew or two and watch a sports event on TV.  Smitty’s model trains were legendary and the fact that the restaurant was not part of a national chain added immensely to its attraction.

Mr. McClelland assures the people of the village that the Stewart’s coming in has great ice cream — which no one disputes — but that hardly makes up for the loss of a long-time village gathering place.

And the fact is — Voorheesville already has a Stewart’s within easy walking distance of much of the village, and its move to the Smitty’s site will not only destroy a village landmark, it will leave an empty storefront by the railroad tracks whose future seems (pun intended) dark. Voorheesville can hardly sustain two convenience stores within a quarter-mile of each other.

Mr. McClelland closes by addressing what he terms the “very many friends and customers” who are upset about the impending closing and transformation with the belittling comeback, “You’ll be okay.”

Obviously, no one is going to pine away and die from grief with the closing of Smitty’s. But to see a venerable institution replaced by an admittedly efficient but streamlined fast-food-and-gasoline operation like Stewart’s is — believe me — no comfort.

While I have frequently patronized other Stewart’s — and will in the future — I will absolutely never set foot in the one that is to be built on the site of Smitty’s and I hope that the annoyed citizens of Voorheesville will vow to boycott it as well.

Michael Nardacci

Albany

Editor’s note: Michael Nardacci writes the “Back roads geology” column for The Enterprise. “Smitty's was one of my favorite stops after geology or caving trips,” he said.

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