This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This interview with Debbie Fiero was conducted at Debbie’s Lil’ Restaurant in Hudson, New York on July 16, 2012, as part of the Oral History Summer School. Debbie Fiero grew up in Hudson, NY, surrounded by her large Italian-American family. She has spent most of her life here, except for a few years living in nearby towns when her two children were young. For the past 19 years, she has owned and run Debbie’s Lil’ Restaurant on Columbia Street which has transitioned from a breakfast/lunch/dinner and weekend all-night place to a breakfast only place with a primarily local clientele.
The factories she remembers from her Childhood are gone and some of the local Warren Street shops closed as they could no longer compete with the box stores and malls outside of town. Although she misses the tight-knit community she grew up in, she sees a positive change in the revitalization of Warren Street as the antique shops have opened and the buildings have been restored and that many local family businesses remain.
Some of the topics that came up in the interview are:
Family and friendships, Childhood in Hudson, activities at Oakdale lake, the restaurant business, cooking, Hudson during WW11, changes in Hudson after the factories and local businesses closed. (Atlas Cement, McGuires, L & G, JJ Newbury’s, Woolworth’s). Local businesses that remain (Jonny’s Ideal Printing, Vasilow’s Candy Shop, Mulino’s, Stewart’s.) Antique shops and the restoration of buildings on Warren Street, tourists, Route 9 and the Malls, racial tensions in the 1970’s, Hudson High School, changes in education, community involvement.
This interview would be of interest to people looking to learn more about growing up in Hudson, changes in the town, and what it’s like to open and run a busy restaurant.
I live in Brooklyn, NY and work on movies, TV shows and commercials as an electrician. I studied history in college, photography at the International center of Photography and I’ve been an addicted listener to WNYC radio since moving to New York. I recently completed a master’s degree in Media Studies at the New School where I made a short video about tug boats which introduced me to the New York waterfront. I’m involved with waterfront organizations, maritime preservation projects and my local food co-operative. I’ve always been interested in hearing stories of places that no longer exist or have changed dramatically, probably because I grew up hearing stories from my grandfather about the immigrant neighborhood he grew up in that was razed, in the 1960s, as part of an ‘urban renewal’ project.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”