Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Time for Nostalgia

Fifty or so years ago, those in power in Hudson, both elected and appointed, embarrassed that Hudson had been deemed to have "the worst housing stock in the entire state," decided to take advantage of the then plentiful federal Urban Renewal funds and re-imagine most of the Second Ward and all of Front Street. For those of us who weren't around during that period, what Front Street and Chapel Street and the streets that continued west beyond Front Street looked like was an intriguing mystery. We savored fleeting glimpses of pre-Urban Renewal Hudson in the film Odds Against Tomorrow and bemoaned that fact that Frank Forshew, whose 19th-century photographs of Hudson streetscapes are part of Historic Hudson's Rowles Studio Collection, didn't have the prescience to document the streets we were destined to lose.

Screen capture from Odds Against Tomorrow
Then a few years ago, Peter Cipkowski decided to digitize and share his grandfather's photographs and movies. Cipkowski's grandfather, Jozef Cipkowski (1900-1977), owned Chipp's Market, at the corner of South Front Street and Fleet Street, the continuation of Partition Street that no longer exists, from 1925 to 1970. Jozef Cipkowski was also an avid amateur photographer, documenting the life of his family through the middle years of the 20th century against the backdrop of that stretch of South Front Street.

East side of Front Street between Partition and Allen|Jozef Cipkowski
In the past couple of years, Cipkowski has shown his grandfather's pictures to standing-room-only-crowds at the Greenport Historical Society and the Hudson Area Library and has generously shared them with Gossips and online. On Monday, February 27, he will present some of those pictures in a talk called "Historic South Front Street" at the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 113 Warren Street. The event, which begins at 2 p.m., is open to the public.

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