Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Good Enough

In his book The Spirit of the Place, native son Samuel Shem (a.k.a. Dr. Stephen Bergman), who left Hudson for Harvard in the 1960s, characterizes the fictionalized Hudson as a "town of breakage." Others, especially those who have moved here in recent decades from other places, are wont to describe Hudson as a city with low self-esteem. Considering the recently patched pavement at the entrance to Promenade Hill, that latter description seems most apt.

There was undoubtedly good reason why the pavement needed repair, but this is the entrance to our most historic park, this is the access to some of the finest views on the Hudson River. It should be a showplace, a point of pride, a site where the City puts its best foot forward. So why must the appearance of the brick red pavement be marred by these unsightly patches of asphalt?


  1. Because it's cheaper and faster than doing
    it the right way?

  2. It's beyond irony seeing Hudson's low self-esteem invariably perpetuated by the same new arrivals who are initially able to see it for what it is: resignation. In our house we jokingly refer to "the vortex" of Hudson. It will swallow everything, including your spirit.

    To illustrate this, the Promenade park is uniquely instructive.

    Among the sorts of residents who might be able to appreciate such distinctions, who cares enough to look into the unusual conditions with which we were meant to administer the Promenade? Which branch of local government is supposed to be responsible for this park, and why?

    The DPW may have the authority to conduct maintenance at the Promenade, as it does for all parks in the city, but thanks to the slovenliness of the citizenry from decades and centuries of low self-esteem the DPW eventually ignored the Common Council and started answering to the mayor for its actions at the Promenade.

    It was never supposed to be this way. The city's proprietors could have granted the land for the mayor's administration, but they chose not to. Instead, the grantors uniquely left the park to "the Common Council," which is to say, to The People. Unlike other city parks, the Promenade was specifically designed to be a people's park. Through our representatives, residents were meant to preside over alterations.

    No legislation ever modified the proprietor' wishes for us; we simply came to neglect them. (This should be a lesson to anyone considering granting anything to this city: despite city code to the contrary, any attached conditions will be meaningless once you're gone.)

    The historic significance of the park was at least recognized by someone who got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but our low self-esteem was bound to cave on the democratic gist intentionally embodied in the park's founding.

    For me, the Promenade has come to symbolize the sloth of Hudson's citizenry, the unlovely combination of passivity, ignorance, and low self-esteem of the city's most privileged residents.

    With our habitual failure in mind, the DPW's latest patch job is perfection itself.

    (But thank you for caring, Gossips of Rivertown.)

  3. Perhaps, it's just a temporary fix until the weather is warmer to allow for a matching repair?

    1. Thanks Dick! I agree! I was just about to go down there and throw myself over the fence after reading how low my/our self esteem is. Thanks for saving me!

    2. These expressions of unrequited wonder only serve to remind the political class that the ruled know their place.

      The trouble with Hudson is less the corruption of power - which is anyway a constant in life - but the compliancy of its most privileged residents.

    3. "the ruled"? "compliancy"? Where are you living??? And back to OUR low self esteem issue...I notice YOU are the only person in this string who hasn't used your real name.

    4. I can't do that I'm afraid, identify myself. I'm civil and that's enough.

      But I'd ask the same question you did of everyone here, where it is they suppose they're living? That would be a fascinating conversation, and instead of their names commenters could mention the length of time they've lived here with their opinion.

      The length of time here isn't some seniority thing. I wouldn't care for that a bit! But new folks always imagine Hudson is a little piece of Brooklyn dropped down in the woods. For those who stay around awhile, you come to know what it's like to be "ruled," and who does the ruling, and who in power enables the rulers.

      This place is totally owned by prior arrangement. Just ask someone who's been here all their lives (I haven't). They'll tell you an epic story of futility in the face of bad faith.

      A "compliant" populace, yes. There's almost no evidence to the contrary.

  4. Writing as a Hudson taxpayer, for whom Hudson's unusual "peoples' park" was intentionally designed to answer to residents through the authority of the Common Council, we present our backsides to our public servants when all-we too-politely wonder about the welfare of what's already ours.

    (If the Promenade was a mere "city park," then it's administration would rightfully fall under the prerogative of the executive, the mayor, but the park was specifically granted to our city legislature.)

    It was ever a wonder to my younger mind how the social pathology called tyranny could grow into the habitual state of any people being ruled. It was hard for me to grasp the nature of the transitional steps which so endorse the misuse of power that the derangement becomes customary, and even inevitable.

    The history of Hudson's Promenade, a peoples' park, presents a compact little tale about the ruination of the republic generally.

  5. Promenade park, Oakdale or the Hudson waterfront, the DPW aims for minimal maintenance, which is achieved by minimizing use.

    1. Interesting. And by minimizing use, you also effectively undermine participation.

      For Hudson's political class, control of any conversation is always the first kind of maintenance to attend to.

      (Although those responsible wouldn't see it, the late-posting of meeting Minutes is part and parcel of this phenomenon. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.)

    2. It's a shame that park "goers" can't sue mayors and city councils, like truck drivers do, when accessibility is restricted by minimal maintenance...

    3. Can't or won't?

      I'm still shopping around a suit I've laid out to defend the wishes of the grantors of the Promenade, whose memory we collectively trash. But with no Statute of Limitations on the infraction, it's an easy thing to postpone. (In this case though, the loser pays the legal bills.)

      I'm surprised at you, someone who actually did sue the city! I think you meant to say "won't," which goes back to that old compliancy which our betters in Hudson know that they can depend upon.

    4. I certainly didn't mean your "compliance," Joe.

      By the way, I know you know that the AMTRAK activity at the Knickerbocker Dock is no different than what the Furgarians have asked.

      People ought to stick by the North Dock crowd as a matter of principle (some do), but the rest are too busy asking other people where they think I live (!).

      Please, let's continue to hammer home the city's gigantic double standard. The only difference between what Furgary wants and what AMTRAK is already enjoying is that we'd accept a legal arrangement.

    5. One small difference with a huge distinction, all of North Dock is below the high waterline and its continued use as a wharf should've been protected under federal law.

    6. I believe that for insurance purposes, the Knickerbocker Dock is considered below the high water line.

  6. I have to wonder what would happen to a property/business owner on Upper Warren St. let's say between 5th & 7th "patched' their sidewalk using same material.

  7. This coming week one of our club members will appear in City court to answer the charge of trespassing on lands for public use. City judge Portin will have to reconcile the charge with our understanding of public use of lands along a federal watercourse:

    From the National Organization of Rivers;
    Wherever the land along the river is fairly flat, the ordinary high water mark can be quite some distance from the edge of the water, when the river is at medium levels. So there can be plenty of room for picnics, camping, walking, and other activities. The courts have ruled that any and all non-destructive activities on this land are legally protected. Public use of the land is not part of an "easement," rather it's a case of actual public ownership of the land.

    If one man can’t be removed from the banks of the Hudson for fishing, how than, can an entire group (fisher folk) be stopped from gathering at the river's edge?

    1. Oh, bravo! Citizens who refuse to take the effacement of our traditional rights while lying down.

      Take notice all of you faux ACLUers; you may never again see the likes of such true defenders.

      In historical terms, they'd be known as "Classical Liberals," which refers to their upholding of individual liberties.

    2. Lesson: only AMTRAK and Falkenheimer won't be removed from the city-owned shores of the river.