Monday, June 13, 2011

Two Northampton Institutions Ride Into The Sunset


It seems that after nearly 30 years (I think) our beloved Pleasant Street Theater Video store will become Northampton Wools in a matter of weeks. Rumor has it that the Forbes Library is interested in buying the amazing collection of films that has provided so many households with well curated evenings of cinematic joy, horror, thrills, laughs, groans, panic, and even utter disgust. (Did anyone rent Centipede? Yuck!!! The middle segment would definitely be the worst even though #3 got the least nutrition.) Let's hope so. the collection should remain in the town's bloodstream and if it helps increase traffic at Forbes, then all the better. There are no more video stores in Northampton. Thanks, technology! ! I will miss the conversations with Dana, Bill, Philip, Gene, Jennifer, Patty, Chris and the rest as well as the communal rapport that regular customers developed. It's the kind of store where people would feel free to offer unsolicited tips (or warnings) to total (or partial) strangers. Even the staff would discourage me from renting a movie sometimes. Not because it necessarily sucked but because they knew I probably wouldn't like it. Because they knew me.   So thank you, Pleasant Street Video staff, for your years of service and movie lists and good advice and wit and friendliness. (Painting by Robert Sweeney)


Back in the mid-80s, after a late night out dancing at the Northstar Seafood Bar to DJ's Jim McDee or Scotty Dread, or thrashing to the Pajama Slave Dancers and Watch The Teeth Kate at Sheehan's, everyone who was anyone showed up for breakfast at Jake's, which used to stay open until 3AM on weekends.  Aside from ditching the late night hours, Jake's stayed the course and remained largely the same for all these years. Frills? Never had 'em. Never will. This Wednesday is the last day of business as usual at Jake's so come in, get a turkey club, maybe with carrots instead of chips, and say goodbye. After all these years, the black and white photo of the most regular customer, Bruce, must come down. 


And what ever became of the Father's Day poster?


After I took this photo, someone bought one of these last two shirts right off the wall.

10 comments:

Natethousand said...

What I know of Jake's: Danny Workman, longtime owner, split earlier this year (or late last year?) and took most of the artwork, thus the rotating mediocre artwork with price tags and the ability to take credit cards. There was a scare in the past month that Jake's might close as the manager was quitting, but it seems they just need a new manager. Also, my favorite waitress quit, but she's on to bigger things and that's okay, I guess.
I love Jake's, I've eaten there since before I could read and therefore have never even read the menu. Some of the staff know my order by heart. It's one of the few old "Hamp" places in a town that's becoming very NoHo. It's in danger, but maybe it won't close? Northampton is a great food town, where you can get anything you can dream up from any of 50 restaurants within two minutes' walk of each other, but Jake's is one of the few places where you can get a freakin' sandwich or some coffee. When Danny bought Jake's he kept it pretty much as it was (it opened in the late 70s, not sure when Danny bought it) and I hope somebody takes over the management there and takes care of it. I hope Northampton keeps eating at a true Northampton institution. As for Pleasant Street, it's a unique place with a unique selection, not just in the Valley but anywhere in the country. I love Northampton because it's always evolving, but I hope my town doesn't lose the great places that have been there through it all.

Anonymous said...

Do we really need yet another Mexican place? No... No we don't. It will be a sad day indeed.

stalkingsarah said...

Pleasant Street Video! I loved that place! I bought a membership my first year at Smith and used it faithfully until I left the Valley seven years later.

Christine said...

Having worked there for nearly 22 years, I feel that I must add that it's a touch more complicated than just needing a new manager. Yes, that's what we were told to tell people while they tried to put it together, but the financial issues are more complex than just getting someone to take over. And Danny left last July 15th- nearly a year ago. It's been an intense year.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it's far more financially complex than just finding a new manager. Danny left last July 15th and it's been an intense year full of good and bad changes. Jake's was always a special place (particularly to me) but it's no longer the same.

techchick said...

They say that all good things must come to an end, that everything happens for a reason, and that when one door closes, another one opens. But I am just plain sad to know that the Pleasant Street Video store will be closing.

When I left Northampton to take a job in Indianapolis earlier this year, I said that Pleasant Street Video would be one of the things I would miss the most. I still tell people about this wonderful, quirky place, where you can find almost anything that you can't find anywhere else.

I am so very grateful the collection will be staying in the community, but it just won't be the same. I have always been proud of my "lifetime" membership at the store, and it will always be one of my fondest memories of the 8.5 years I lived in Northampton.

Anonymous said...

All good things come to an end...and in the case of Northampton, you can be sure that mementos of the great old places will wind up at Packard's, so at least there's that.

Phoenix Brown & Lars Vigo said...

Welcome to Generichampton. Two great old icons passing away to be replaced by...nothing much. Noho needs another Mexican restaurant like the Queen needs another corgi. What will go where the wool store is now? Let's see, what else don't we need? Maybe a Chinese restaurant!

Nick L said...

Jake's is closing??? I was just there this past Sunday morning and it was packed as I usually see it on the weekends. Bummer to hear this, I hope it's not true!

Anonymous said...

Pleasant Street Video was one of the best things going in Northampton. So sorry to hear that it is closing.