Friday, October 29, 2010

Hudson Camera


State of New Jersey Notice of Seizure “All the property here in”

Shit… Hudson Camera… the latest victim of the times

Yesterday, it was 4 PM and I went there to buy a frame. It’s mainly why I go there, to buy a picture frame. They have a good selection, very inexpensive. I was just there in early September when I broke the glass on an old frame and had to replace it. The guy there has been there forever, nice as heck, real downtown J.C. fellow. Probably one of the oldest ongoing retail establishments on Newark Avenue—been there for the near 20 years I’ve been dislocated in our beloved environs. Longer than that, one of the few business I can say that about.

The gate was closed down. Did he close early? Then I saw the pink bulletins, two bundles of mail, unopened, still bound in rubber bands on the sidewalk, tossed through the slots in the pull down security gate. Days since somebody has been inside.

Halloween Sidewalk Sale sign, going on this weekend, taped to the inside the door, the good neighborhood business proprietor, community minded. Keep hope alive.

Maybe this is a temporary situation, a set back. Maybe...

Photography, it has long been part of my day job—business journalist—but also an intermittent hobby. It wasn’t so much of a hobby in the early 90s when I came to town, except for taking pictures of family and friends on special occasions, documenting this or that Christmas or Birthday, that sort of thing.

Around 94 or so, when I became a freelance journalist, I needed a camera for a gig and bought a beautiful Minolta there, $400 bucks, “reconditioned”. Still have it. Nice camera for the time. In fact, if you are of a mind, if you have an issue of Lenses & Technology from the mid to late 90s and you notice the profile I wrote on Savoy & Siegel, our Newark Avenue optometrists, those pictures were taken with that camera.

By 9-11-2001, I was getting gigs that didn’t require me taking pictures and I wasn’t taking hobby or artistic pictures.

The planes hit, the towers fell, I wanted to document.

I needed a new lithium battery and film, but I didn’t have cash. That day around here, phones, credit card machines, ATMs were all screwy.

I went to Hudson Camera. The guy gave me what I needed, didn’t even take my name. That’s neighborhood. Some of those pix can be seen here. I still have a roll of film from that day in the Minolta. Why I haven’t developed it, well, it was just too sad.

Soon pictures became pix and all pix had to be digital. The gigs that I got that required camera work I was able to use the company camera. No compulsion to revive my photography hobby, which was sort of an 80s thing for me.

Fast forward. Last year, when I started the blog, I realized I should start taking pictures again, for the blog. The fun part would be writing captions or impressions.

It was a Sunday that I had this epiphany, I went to Hudson Camera, and it was closed. I went to Target, got a Nikon for about a hundred bucks.

I hated doing this. Target will not be lending me film and batteries during the next terrorist attack.

I later went to Hudson Camera; they had the digital cameras, but only top of the line. I wanted cheap.

They still sold film, still catered to those die-hards and true believers. And a lot of frames. They did a scanning thing that I’ve used once in a while too.

With film cameras, you had to get specific speeds for the work I did, slides were often preferred. You had to go to a camera store to get the precise film. Indoor or outdoor?

Digital means less camera store needs. Download to computer, fiddle with it on photoshop, post online or print it on your own computer. I guess there was a lot more money in that then in picture frames.

Would longer hours, opened on Sunday have helped? Who knows? Who can compete against Target, a quick ride on the path and you have access to the greatest camera stores in the world.

Shit, I still need a frame.

According to their website: “Serving your photography needs for more than 50 years.”

Half a century ending in an official notice from the state of New Jersey and probably ugly and humiliating legal ramifications. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Another milestone for the neighborhood, I fear not a good one. What businesses are opening up these days? Fallow store fronts; how many years now since has that hardware store on Jersey Avenue been boarded up? Still, their website is still up. Keep Hope Alive!


  1. I am truly sad to hear the news about Hudson Camera, I have some negatives and others things there because Barbara held on to them for me. Is there anyway to contact someone to get them back? Jeff

  2. your guess is as good as mine, they have a website with email address, but it is an old looking site. good luck and thanks for reading the blog.

  3. Aw, what a unhappy bit of news. Peter is one of the most wonderful stand up fabulous person. I am really really sad.

  4. I am just reading this....I live in Jersey City and was going to head over it really gone?