To put things in perspective, early on in the article, the late Marion Harshman, a real estate agent and an early acquirer of Hudson property, was quoted as saying, "It's definitely a buyer's market in Hudson." To illustrate this, the following examples were cited: "a 'handy-man's special' in the $28,000 range; a $48,000 two-family saltbox that can be lived in while restoration work is done, and a late-Victorian house in need of extensive exterior restoration for about $135,000."
Three houses were featured in the article, with exterior and interior pictures: the late Bruce Hall's house on Warren Street, Jeremiah Rusconi's house at Front and Allen streets, and Tom Mabley's house in the 300 block of Allen Street.
The last few paragraphs of the article are especially interesting:
Preservationists see the city's architecture as the key to its revival. But Jeremiah Rusconi, an architectural designer who restored a Greek Revival house here, said it was difficult to make longtime residents realize the value of their architecture.It's interesting how little Hudson's "official" view of itself--articulated by city officials and agency directors--has changed in two decades, while Hudson's image to the outside world has gone from "gritty" to "cool." But, after all this time, preservationists still have to be proselytizers.
More than half of Hudson's buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But, [Bruce] Hall [author of Diamond Street: The Story of the Little Town with the Big Red Light District] said, the city fought the listing "tooth and nail."
[Neil] Larson [a former field representative for the New York State Historic Preservation Office] explained: "The local government was fearful of losing their control to make local decisions. The National Register designation did two things: it brought about more stringent environmental reviews, and it gave fuel to newcomers who had been cajoling the city to be more sensitive to preservation issues."
Mayor Michael Yusko Jr. says he applauds preservation but is wary of gentrification. "One of the biggest problems facing many of the old-time residents is that they can't afford to live here anymore," he said. "The value of property is escalating to the point where it's difficult for a local person to buy their own home and raise their family."
Alan Ferri, executive director of Hudson Housing Services Corporation, a nonprofit neighborhood housing services program, said while the "speculative frenzy" of the local real estate market seems to be declining, problems remain.
"Hudson is a very poor community," Mr. Ferri said. "The 1980 Census listed the median income at $9,900, and by 1985, that figure hadn't changed much." Mr. Ferri also noted the problem of homelessness; Columbia Opportunities Inc., a community action agency in Columbia County, has reported that 290 families in the county have no place to live.
Mr. Larson acknowledged "two separate populations" in the city, but said he thinks they interact fairly well. "It's a low-key kind of place, even with the city slickers," he said. "Hudson is accessible to city refugees of a different economic level. They seem to care; they don't want to just isolate themselves and 'get away from it all.'"
Mr. Mabley agrees: "What you hope is that a town like Hudson will be revitalized, not necessarily gentrified."
"Let's face it: Hudson is not a real slick community to hang out in," Mr. Larson said. "It's not glitzy, it's gritty. But that has a certain appeal: It's lively, more heterogeneous. It's more real."