The corridor—the Stockade District, Broadway, and West Strand–is where most of Kingston’s businesses are concentrated, but let’s not forget the scattering of interesting retailers and restaurants off the corridor. Take a peek down the side streets and you’ll find some small gems. Here’s a sampling:
Just a few doors down from Boice Bros. Dairy on O’Neill St., distinguished by its large rooftop cow, is Boice Bros. Ice Cream, which opened in 1975. On mild nights families line up at the windows, manned by polite teenagers in spotted cow T-shirts. The store is managed by Sally Rogerson, one of five Boice siblings (out of six) who are involved with the family business. It’s open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Boice’s ice cream—both soft and hard—is made from all natural, hormone-free milk from the family dairy, which was founded by Rogerson’s grandfather on Boice’s Lane in 1914. The milk shakes—with a choice of more than 30 flavors—are particularly popular, along with the sundaes and banana splits. The coffee ice cream is made from real coffee and is slightly granular, redolent of freshly ground beans. Boice’s also serves a nondairy product that’s lactose free and a sugar-free, fat-free hot fudge. The prices hark back to the pre-Starbucks era: a small cone with a tennis-ball scoop of ice cream is just $1.70; milk shakes cost from $2.50 to $3.85, depending on the size. “My father wanted to keep the business oriented to families,” explains Rogerson, noting that her parents, who still own the business, had a big family themselves.
Across Broadway, at 20 Cedar St., is a 30-year-old landmark, Ferraro’s Mid-City Lanes, still graced by its classic sign. Owned by brothers Dave and Steve Ferraro, the bowling alley offers an evening of affordable fun: the special costs $10 for two and a half hours of bowling, plus $3 for shoes. It’s open every day until midnight—until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday–and bustles with leagues of all varieties. On weekend nights the alley is transformed into a “cosmic space,” with glowing purple black lights and loud music creating a club-like atmosphere, according to Dave’s son John. Friday night is popular with teens, Saturday with middle-aged folks, and Sunday is taken over by the Cosmic League, made up of musicians and tattoo artists.
Kingston’s neighborhoods used to be filled with mom-and-pop grocers. While most have disappeared, Sunshine Market, at 2 Jansen Ave., behind Burger King, is still going strong. For the past 12 years it’s been owned by Iranian Mehrzad Arbani, and it employs nine. The store stocks a good selection of fresh produce, and the deli carries the Boar’s Head brand; the sub special is just $2.99, and you can finish it off with homemade cole slaw or potato salad.
Sunshine advertises produce and deli specials every week in the Daily Freeman, said manager Erika Black, who is just 20 years old. It also sells packaged cookies, brownies, pies, and tea breads home baked by a woman in Stone Ridge. (I can personally vouch for the oatmeal-raison cookies.) Sunshine is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The best pizza in the world is from southern Italy, and Picnic Pizza, located at 501 Washington Ave., next to the Holiday Inn, is a direct relation. Owned by Giuseppe Anselmo, a native of Palermo, Picnic Pizza makes pizza in a wood-fired brick oven, the way it’s done in the old country. Almost all ingredients are authentic, imported from Italy. The eggplant and fresh basil topping is famous. Dominick, the store’s manager and Anselmo’s son in law, said the pizzas’ crisp, thin crust is made from a secret Sicilian recipe.
Picnic Pizza opened in 1987—it has a sister store in New Paltz—and has four employees. It also serves wood-fire strombolis and calzones, along with Philly Steaks, wraps and salads; the full dinner menu features appetizers and pasta, eggplant and parmigiana meat dishes, with waitress service. Beer and wine are also served. Picnic Pizza is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
Terri Lee moved her business, SensatioNail Creations, from Port Ewen to the Millard Building, on Grand Street, four years ago and has prospered. She credits the location, which includes free parking across the street, a loyal clientele and an “amazing” landlord. She also has an unusual business model: instead of hiring employees, she sublets the space to five other business owners–four hair stylists and two manicurists—each of whom has his or her own phone line. Combined, the business owners offer “180 years of experience,” Lee said. Facial waxing and pedicures are also offered. Lee has room for a couple of more beauticians and hopes to rent out more space soon.
Next to SensatioNail Creations is Creative Surfaces, which sells cabinets, custom countertops, wood flooring, tile, carpet, and landscaping stone direct from the factory. Mane Source Barbers and an adjoining store that sells sneakers has popped up at 10 Downs. Abril’s Boutique Plus, at 8 Van Buren, a Mexican grocery selling a little bit of everything–bacalao, sliced beef, limes, rolls, CDs, and elaborately outfitted dolls—is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
This is just a sampling—we encourage you to get out there and explore the side streets to make your own discoveries.