What's red and white and has almost 100 comments on Facebook? The debate currently raging in the New Paltz Community group over the location of a beloved town relic. Want to laugh and learn some history? Buckle up.

Friendly's Ice Cream in New Paltz, NY

The debate started with one simple question: "Where was Friendly's located on Main Street new Paltz back in the day. Where the vets office is or where Ulster Savings is now?" Seems like an easy enough question, but the answer is actually a little more complicated. The question was just the beginning of a magical and hilarious journey through New Paltz history and the search for the correct answer.

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Original Friendly's Location

There was a lot of support for the idea that the Friendly's was where the New Paltz Animal Hospital currently resides. "Vets office" commented a terse Facebook user. "Vet's office!" echoed a more enthusiastic commenter. "Ulster Savings was a private residence belonging to Stanley Hasbrouck... Friendly’s was the where the vet’s is now", argued another. That's when the debate really heated up.

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What's the Big Deal?

How'd this whole debate get started to begin with? From the original poster, Samantha:

My family and I were discussing New Paltz yesterday, & how so much  has changed over the years while growing up in the area. Then the great debate started between us on where Friendly’s was located. My father and I were convinced that it was where the vets office is while my stepmom and my uncle knew for a fact that it was the ulster savings bank location. I decided to post about it to see what everybody else’s thoughts were because when I was looking online I couldn’t find any information about the old location to try and win the debate at home with out help... We all had a great laugh with the back & forth of the debate, & scrolling through the comments.

Ulster Savings Bank in New Paltz, NY

The prevailing wisdom was that Friendly's was where Ulster Savings Bank is. I have to admit, I was one of the many who disagreed. My family has been going to Ulster Savings for decades, and my parents would always stop by the New Paltz location on our way out of town for family trips. There was no way I'd forget the premiere ice cream and hamburger destination in the Hudson Valley sitting next to the bank when the only other treat opportunity was the paltry lollipop from the occasional teller. But people were adamant.

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"The vet has been there forever and ever. Friendly's was at Ulster Bank" said one user. "Ulster Savings" simply replied ten other commenters in a row. It seems, though, that the truth is somewhere in between.

Want to eat at a Friendly's? You'll have to drive to Albany now (Google Maps)
Want to eat at a Friendly's? You'll have to drive to Albany now (Google Maps)
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New Paltz Business History

The definitive answer came from someone with direct knowledge of the situation. "My mom worked at [Ulster Savings Bank] when Friendly’s left. The bank bought the property and expanded. It wasn’t where the vet is located, but where the USB drive thru is. The bank was about half the size it is now." A previous Friendly's employee echoed the same sentiment: "I was an assistant manager at that Friendly’s... [it] was where the bank drive through is now." There was also this hilarious anecdote:

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Multitudes of other comments seemed to corroborate the story. When Ulster Savings Bank expanded and created their drive-thru service, they built it on the land that used to host Friendly's. And I have to say, after I read that explanation, memories of Friendly's being next door when my dad would swing into the bank all came flooding back. No wonder they say eye witness testimony can be unreliable.

The mystery is finally solved (Google Maps)
The mystery is finally solved (Google Maps)
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It also left me thinking what more than a few commenters also expressed: I want to eat at a Friendly's again! Want a different ice cream fix? Check out the best of the Hudson Valley below.

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