Whenever I returned to Rye, be it after a week-long vacation or a year living abroad, one of my first stops was always Tony and Peggy’s, as my family affectionately called one of Rye’s oldest institutions, T.D’s Rye Smoke Shop.
By Tommy Mulvoy
Whenever I returned to Rye, be it after a week-long vacation or a year living abroad, one of my first stops was always Tony and Peggy’s, as my family affectionately called one of Rye’s oldest institutions, T.D’s Rye Smoke Shop. If I came through town during the daytime, I often stopped to see Peggy before even reaching my parents’ house. And, Tony and Peggy’s was always my last stop on the way out of Rye — to say goodbye and fill up a small brown bag with candies that I can’t remember ever paying for. Sadly, I didn’t realize that my visit this past January, a week-and-a-half before moving to Switzerland, would be my last.
Robin Jovanovich concluded her February 5th Rye Record article, “How Sweet It Was, Smoke Shop to Close” by writing, “To say that the community will miss them doesn’t even begin to tell our side of the story.” Anyone who has ever stepped foot in Tony and Peggy’s surely understands Jovanovich’s point. My “side of the story” began as a 4-year-old in 1981, behind the ancient cash register where, after my mom would drop me off so she could run unencumbered errands in town, Peggy would prop me up on a small chair and allow me to count customers’ penny candies. In lieu of paying me, Peggy would let me play the lotto or rub a few scratch tickets. Tony and Peggy’s was also where, when I was tall enough, I saw my first nudie magazine covers hidden on the top of the magazine rack. It was clear to me from the start that Tony and Peggy’s was a place where dreams were made.
On the wall behind the right side of the counter, where Tony used to run the lotto machine and cigar business, hangs a collection of photographs, news clippings, and other decorations. Next to a decades-old picture of Tony at work is a 30-year-old Duplo blocks advertisement featuring yours truly sporting a classic early-1980s’ bowl cut. Peggy never failed to show that photo to my girlfriends. After the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in ’96, Eddie Olczyk brought the shimmering challis to the store. A picture of Anthony (Tony and Peggy’s son), Eddie, and the cup hangs just above my advertisement. In high school, Tony and Peggy would cut out stories about me from the local newspapers and tape them to the front door alongside the likes of Major…