Holsten’s of ‘Sopranos’ fame turns 75: What was your hang out?
If you were a fan of “The Sopranos”, you probably will not forget the final scene – shot (bad pun) in the iconic ice cream parlor Holsten’s in Bloomfield.
Funny how the family all agreed that they needed a “Holsten’s night”.
So they all hopped into their cars and made it over to the restaurant/luncheonette/ice cream parlor/candy store for what many thought to be the place where Tony Soprano was to meet his demise.
Turns out that wasn’t the case, but the booth where the family sat was permanently reserved for the family in honor of James Gandolfini.
So the other night, while talking about Holsten’s 75th anniversary, it occurred to me to bring up the question: Where was your favorite ‘candy store hang out?”
If, like most of us, you lived in an urban setting, like North Jersey, Brooklyn, or Philly; chance are there was a place in your neighborhood that doubled as a candy store/ ice cream parlor/luncheonette/dinner kind of a place that also may have had a juke box in the back, pool table, “ski bowling”, and perhaps a card game, or somebody running numbers.
Holsten’s didn’t host any kind of illicit activities, but has a proud history going back to the 30s.
"We try to keep everything the same as much as possible," said Ron Stark who, along with co-owner Chris Carley had taken proprietorship in 1999 when his father Rudi retired.
Patrons recall visiting Holsten’s as children and returning with their kids, according to Carley and Stark. Residents, who have moved away, stop by on return visits.
"There’s a certain pride that people still come here after all these years," Stark said. "It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of effort, but there’s a lot of reward as well."
"It’s three-in-one," Stark said of the business. "We have a candy store, an ice cream store, and we have the restaurant part.
"There’s not a lot of places like us that have that homemade ice cream, homemade candy, and the food as well. It’s a unique place."
For its anniversary celebration on Sunday, the ice cream parlor will serve free single dip cones and cups all day, have gift card raffles and other surprises.
Candy stores like Holsten’s don’t exist – or if they do, they’re pretty much like the “last of the Mohicans!”
But if you’re of a certain age, when stores like Holsten’s dotted every street corner, sold newspapers, candy, breakfast, lunch, and perhaps dinner – and had all the furnishings to go with it – tell us your story.
Ours was Tommy’s Sweet Shop on Ave. U in Brooklyn – just two doors down from our family bakery. Juke box, comic books, cherry cokes, lime rickeys, candy, cigarettes, the Daily News, Times, the Italian Progresso paper, Jewish Daily Forward – what else?
If you’re neighborhood candy story was anything like ours – you fill in the blank.
Where was it, and what do you remember most about it?