Wow! I stumbled upon this site---what a treasure of memories! Since I went to both St. Stephen's and then onto Mercy, I have loads of memories of Stonestown. My parents still live in the house that I grew up in. I have seen it change over the years. My first memories were shopping there with my grandmother and mother. My grandmother loved the Emporium and would always find something. You are right---they had everything. I distinctly remember going there to have my picture taken with Santa every year. He was always stationed in the back, towards the center of the toy department (second floor). The toy department was meager by today's standards but back then there were no Toys-R-Us and so it was fantastic. They had a terrific selection of Barbies, which was all I cared about! That, and Madame Alexander dolls which were carefully displayed in a glass case at the far end of the department. Over the years, the Emporium got sort of frumpy and well, put it this way: my grandmother loved to shop there!
I remember shopping at Joseph Magnin's where you could always find a dress or outfit that was right in style and well made. Not cheap but well made. Very modern and hip stuff. It was a hip I. Magnin and a lot closer----you didn't have to take the streetcar downtown to Union Square! I distinctly remember my mother taking me there to have my hair cut at the beauty salon on the second floor when I was about 6 and it was all glass and chrome and they had some hideous orange plastic that covered the seats. Funny what we remember! It was quite the store, though. They had booths or stalls and the merchandise was organized in each booth. The shoes were to your left and the gift department was to your right when you walked in the store. The cosmetics were also to the right.
The candle store, by the way was "Wicks-N-Sticks." Sort of a Stonestown version of Spencer's gifts. Next door to it was Blum's. I remember they had the best hamburgers and for desert I would always get a coffee crunch cake. It was this HUGE vanilla cake with coffee cream and whipped cream in the center and then frosted with whipped cream and giant chunks of coffee flavored toffee or something like it. The waitresses always wore crisp white and pink uniforms. And you are right, the paper straws faded out half-way through your shake! There was a Dalton's Bookstore to the left and down the alley way from it and then across from Dalton's Books was this linen shop---can't remember the name. When Blum's went out of business another restaurant came in that had a sort of 1970's look to it---dark wood and lots of orange and gold. "Simply Scrumptious" was the name I think...
I remember going to Livingston's with my mother---a bit too old for the teenage crowd. I remember that my high school biology teacher worked there after school to make extra money. I remember getting prom shoes at Leed's or Chandler's where they would dye your shoes to match your prom dress. And then, to Hastings or Roos Atkins to buy presents for my father for Father's Day. I also remember the jewelery store "Granite Brothers." My father would always buy my mother a present from there. There was also Peck and Peck, a very upscale ladies boutique from New York that I remember my mother making a fuss about. It was supposed to be quite chic. And then there was another ladies store (I can't for the life of me remember the name of it but it was right next door to Portals of Music, where I too, bought my first ALBUM...) The inside of the store was sort of out of the Brady Bunch---lots of shag carpeting in lime green and ferns and white lattice that they hung dresses from. Mc something or other. Anyone?