Exploring Albany's inglorious past and dubious future

What Was There: 650 Central Avenue

Greco Brothers Amusement moved out of 650 Central Avenue in January (moved to 30 Kraft Avenue, Colonie). Moving in soon will be Aaron’s Rentals (furniture, computers, etc), from 233 Central Avenue.

At the turn of the century, 652 Central was a one-room grocery store, when this sparsely-populated thoroughfare was Albany’s western frontier. After an apprenticeship at another market, Giuseppi (Joseph) Nigro took over ownership around 1917. As the area grew, the [Miss] Albany Diner set up shop in the empty lot at 650 Central. In 1934, Nigro bought out the diner’s property and demolished the one-room grocery, building the larger structure which still stands. It was incorporated as Albany Public Market, with 8,500 square feet of space.

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By 1947, Nigro’s store had outgrown this space, and he began construction of what would be, at the time, the world’s largest supermarket, just a few blocks to the west. That store opened in 1949 (it would later become King’s Department Store).

Remington Rand, which had begun as a typewriter manufacturer and ended up selling business machines, moved into 650 Central in 1950. Renamed Sperry Rand in 1955, the location added UNIVAC computers and calculating devices to its product line, probably becoming the Capital District’s first computer store.

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In 1965, 650 Central was taken over by the Leach Corporation, auto parts; they were there until at least 1969. Next came Roemer & Zeller automobile parts, which sold out in 1998. Greco Bros. Amusement Co. then moved into the space (from Broadway in Menands).

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