When we were young, growing up in north Stockton meant a lot of time at Tower Records, Hammer Skate and Naughty Nicks. I bought my last album (Animalize by KISS) and my first cassette tape (Not of this Earth by Joe Satriani) at Tower Records... we spent many a Friday and Saturday nights at Hammer Skate and there's no telling how much money we wasted playing 9-ball and snooker at Naughty Nicks... and now they are no more. Hammer Skate announced its closure earlier this year and now sits vacant waiting for (I assume) it's demolition before it becomes a new Walgreens (no word on if the Walgreens that sits one mile down Hammer Lane will close in favor of this location or if Walgreens is employing the Stabucks, put-one-on-every-corner, method). No three words strike up old memories quite like "all-night skate"... more than two decades later and that subject still comes up every now and then. I guess our kids will not know how much fun a skating rink can be... ok, maybe this is a good thing.
Across the street from it's current location, Naughty Nick's was originally Tiptons, which sat in a little shop. When we were young we would go in and try to hustle the younger kids in to playing pool for their arcade money. When they opened up Nick's across the street it quickly became the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights. We all learned to play 9-ball and snooker and learned how to really talk smack. Naughty Nick's will close it's doors soon in favor of The Cameo Club. Again, out with the old and in the with the new. The draw (no pun intended) of poker and the popularity of hold-em was so great that Stockton could not justify a billiard place that size. Everyone knew they made more money on parties than renting out pool tables but even that business seems to have slowed down lately.
I guess iPods, iTunes and Napster finally won... not to mention the $19 they were charging for a CD! Even though it's sad to see Tower go, I must admit that I haven't bought anything there since 11/18/03 when I made our first iTunes purchase - "Remember When" by Alan Jackson.
So, times are sure changing. Is there anyway to say that without sounding (or feeling) old? But with our kids getting older by the day I wonder where it will be that they will hang out on weekends. Hell, even Golfland is gone!