From time to time, I drive through a village in Albany County called Preston Hollow. The town used to have a number of antiques shops, but in winter, nothing is open so I am not certain how many remain. The road through Preston Hollow, Route 145, goes by a number of houses built around 1850 in what was called the Greek style. The houses all have large fascia boards with a straightforward patterned fenestration and a roof pitch that is extremely recognizable.
Antique dealers have always liked to locate their shops in towns like Preston Hollow. The buildings not only have age, but many of them also seem mildly dilapidated, a factor that has a psychological affect on bargain seekers. The reverse is true for shops in the city where the high end client wants the shop they are walking into to reflect some grandeur. That is understandable as you hardly want to write a six figure check out to someone in a house that needs a paint job.
The sad thing about Preston Hollow is, however, not that it is losing its place as an antique center. It is that the Greek style houses are melting away. A house that I have watched for years has been abandoned and is now covered in vines and is being scavenged for materials. Three more years and it will be completely gone. I have seen this happen all along Rte. 145 as well as Rte. 20, the primary east/west road from Albany to Buffalo that long predates the New York State Thruway.
Time levels everything, of course, and I am not enough of a sentimentalist to believe that everything needs saving. Preston Hollow still has some wonderful houses. What I find to be very sad, however, is neglect. And neglect seems to partner with inertia during recessions to encourage even greater dilapidation which leads to even greater neglect. The cycle just increases when the money dries up like it has. It is a sad way to lose our heritage.