Thursday, July 29, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been four new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is seven fewer than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that eleven more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There is one more county resident in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, and there is one more hospitalized with the virus. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since June 24.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 1.9 percent and a seven-day average of 1.9 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 3.5 percent and the seven-day average is 3.1 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 2 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 484, and the number of active cases was 13. There were 71 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 3 were hospitalized, and none was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 37.

Third Time's a Charm

Plans for the restoration of 205-207 Warren Street have been presented to the Historic Preservation Commission three times in the past four years. In May 2017, the proposal was to introduce storefronts on the ground floor.

In April 2018, a new proposal was presented to the HPC, one that did not involve creating commercial space in the building.

Both proposals, which were presented by the same owner, were approved by the HPC, but neither was pursued. 

In January 2021, new owners of the building submitted a new proposal to the HPC. The new proposal involves creating five residential units in the building--two on each floor and one in the attic.

This plan was also granted a certificate of appropriateness from the HPC, and work on the building has recently begun.

Posting in January about the plans for the building, Gossips reported:
The plan is to remove the vinyl siding to expose the original clapboard and to restore it. [HPC architect member Chip] Bohl suggested that in the process they may discover that the first floor windows were originally taller than the second floor windows.
It appears, as was the case with at least one other building in Hudson, that the building was stripped of its original siding before the vinyl siding was applied. There may be internal evidence of taller windows on the ground floor, but any external evidence appears to have been covered with plywood. Since there is no clapboard to be restored, this project should go back to the HPC for approval of whatever new siding is proposed.

This sign is currently displayed on the building, suggesting that the project will be overseen not only by our own Historic Preservation Commission but also by SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office).

The same architects who presented the plans for 205-207 Warren Street to the HPC also presented plans for the restoration of 223-225 Allen Street, the house that was damaged by fire in May 2020.

Photo: Julie Metz




Major work on restoring this building, which will have six residential apartments, has not yet begun.


COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

Violence in the City

At 1:16 a.m., Gossips received the following press release from HPD Chief Ed Moore:
At 8:33 p.m. the Hudson Police Department was notified that Columbia County 911 received two calls reporting a large fight at Bliss Towers, 41 N 2nd Street. Patrols responded and called out at the scene one minute later and found a 31 year old male with multiple stab wounds to his chest. He was transported by Greenport Rescue Squad to Albany Medical Center where, as of this hour, he is still undergoing emergency surgery. The victim is a resident of Hudson.
HPD Uniform officers and Detectives are currently on scene collecting evidence and conducting interviews.
HPD was assisted at the scene by units from the New York State Police and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, as well as members of the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.
“There were many people gathered when this violent attack occurred. We are asking for cooperation from anyone who may have witnessed this incident or might be able to provide helpful information. Please call HPD Detectives at (518) 828-3388.” Chief

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been four new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is the same as yesterday, from which it can be inferred that four more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are five more people in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but the number hospitalized remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since June 24.

In a press release from Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, Jack Mabb, director of the CCDOH is quoted as saying, "Going back to Friday with five new cases, it seems there's a bit of a surge going on in the county." The press release continues:
Speaking to positive cases of the virus involving whose who have been through the vaccination process, known as breakthrough cases, Director Mabb said those infected "are divided roughly 50-50 between Moderna and Pfizer vaccines." He placed the rate of those breakthrough cases at "about one in 10 of those who have been vaccinated. However, as we have seen, the vaccinated who contract the virus still don't get seriously ill or wind up hospitalized."
Of the 31 children who recently contracted COVID-19 at Camp Pontiac in Copake, Mabb said all were under the age of 12 and thus unvaccinated. No child over 12 and vaccinated was infected by the virus. He added that many of the infected campers are beginning to return to the camp, with each to present a negative coronavirus test both before leaving home and again upon their return to the camp.
"People need to realize that we're maybe two-thirds of the way through this pandemic, and it's really become a pandemic of the unvaccinated. People need to look at the data--there are news stories every night about it. You can see there's really an imperative to get vaccinated now," said Director Mabb.
The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 1.2 percent and a seven-day average of 1.6 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 3.6 percent and the seven-day average is 2.9 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported 5 new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 482, and the number of active cases was 12. There were 50 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 4 were hospitalized with the virus, and none was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 37.

Let It Be

Last Friday, the Historic Preservation Commission held a public hearing about 59 Allen Street, the Charles Alger House. The subject of the hearing was specifically a proposal to reinstate two doorway openings in the west facade of the building and a window opening in the east facade. 


The two doorway openings, one on the first floor, the other on the second floor, presented no problem for the HPC. The window opening was another matter.

Walter Chatham, the architect for the restoration of this house owned by the Galvan Foundation, has persistently maintained that there should be a window in the "tower" on the east side of the building, although an 1858 engraving of the house shows no such window. Chatham believed that evidence discovered recently of an early window in the wall was proof a window has originally been there and justification for putting a window there again. At an earlier HPC meeting, Chatham tried to dismiss the evidence provided by the 1858 engraving, implying it was fanciful and claiming it included "a witch on a broomstick" in the sky and a "giant gargoyle" on the roof of the veranda.

On Friday, members of the HPC made a site visit to the house prior to the public hearing, to view the evidence for themselves. Later, at the public hearing, they heard from Matt McGhee, the house's most eloquent advocate. McGhee said of the proposed window in the tower, "It is a desecration to consider this." He asserted, "Putting a window there, meant to counterbalance one on the other side of the door, would be a terrible thing to do. . . . The use of blank space to balance built space, that's what's happening here."

As evidence that the wall was intended to be blank, McGhee read a passage from A. J. Downing's 1850 book The Architecture of Country Houses:
We should prefer to light this drawing-room from two sides only, so as not to have cross-lights--and for this reason we leave a blank wall, to be hung with pictures on one side. The semicircular or bow-window, 8 feet wide, is well-placed at the end of the room.
Both 19th-century architects A. J. Downing and A. J. Davis are known to have had a connection with Charles C. Alger, the original owner of the house, but it is not clear if either of them actually designed the house. 

McGhee suggested that a subsequent owner had put in the window, noting that the wall is very damaged. He pointed out there is a load-bearing arch for the window on the other side of the door, but there was none for this window. 

McGhee also addressed Chatham's remarks about the "witch on a broomstick" and the "giant gargoyle," identifying the "witch on a broomstick" as a water spot and the "giant gargoyle" as the chimney on 53 Allen Street, which can be seen just behind the veranda of 59 Allen Street. 

During the HPC's discussion of the proposal, John Schobel summarized, "What we have is this engraving. . . . There is no window in the engraving, and we ought not let them do the window. There is enough evidence there were two doors; there is not enough evidence there was a window." Chip Bohl, the architect member of the HPC, offered, "When I look at the physical evidence for the window, I don't see it. The wall has been modified at least three times." 

Paul Barrett, the historian member of the HPC, told his colleagues, "As much as Alger did have a connection with Davis, there is no evidence that [Davis] designed this house." Barrett suggested that Alger, who also had houses in Newburgh and New York City, may have built the house in Hudson as a pied a terre, a place to stay when the business of the Hudson Iron Works brought him to town. Barrett opined, "I don't believe there was a window there." Miranda Barry added, "It's clear that at some point there was a window, but it was not original."

In the end, Schobel declared, "We don't always have an engraving. We don't always have a house of this significance." He then moved to approve the doors and deny the window. The motion was seconded by Barrett and passed unanimously. Schobel thanked Chatham for his patience, and McGhee thanked everyone on the HPC for their intelligence.

The opinion of the HPC was that the window, the opening for which was recently discovered, had been inserted in the tower by a subsequent owner of the house. That subsequent owner may well have been Jacob W. Hoysradt, who was the mayor of Hudson for two terms (1859-1860 and 1867-1868) and for whom J. W. Hoysradt Hose Co. 8 was named. In a feature called "Private Residences," which appeared in the Hudson Evening Register in 1867 (and quoted extensively by Gossips in September 2010), the house is mentioned as one of the "very nice houses" to be found on Allen Street below Third:
On the Southwest corner of Allen and Second streets stands the residence of Mayor Jacob Hoysradt. This house is a correct specimen of gothic architecture, and was built by Charles C. Alger, from whom Mr. Hoysradt purchased it. . . .
Gossips hasn't yet discovered when Alger sold the house to Hoysradt.
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been nine new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is nine more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that no county residents have recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours. There are five more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but the number hospitalized remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since June 24.  

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 1.9 percent and a seven-day average of 1.9 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 3.3 percent and the seven-day average is 2.6 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported no new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 477, and the number of active cases was 9. There were 44 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 5 were hospitalized with the virus, and none was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 37.

Plans for Seventh Street Park

The Friends of the Public Square HUDSON, which is going by the acronym FOPS, has issued the following press release:
Last week Mayor Kamal Johnson and the Commissioner of Public Works, Peter Bujanow, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Friends of the Public Square HUDSON, or FOPS, a new non-profit formed by Hudson residents. The MOU was previously approved by the Common Council following a presentation by co-chair Dorothy Heyl on how FOPS will raise funds and plan projects for Hudson’s “public square,” known as the Seventh Street Park. The MOU provides a framework for FOPS to collaborate with the City and Hudson citizens on park projects. 
As a first step, co-chair Katherine Kanaga and board members Walter Chatham and David Dew Bruner met last Wednesday with Rob Perry, the Supervisor of the Department of Public Works. On the agenda were interim measures that FOPS would like to accomplish during its first year, prior to any long-term plans or significant fund raises. These measures include addressing the current state of the fountain, which is no longer operable, painting benches a more attractive color until new benches can be chosen, pruning trees in poor condition, and mulching and planting bulbs. Perry was supportive of FOPS’ involvement with the park and agreed that DPW would remove the double fences from the fountain later this year and do certain pruning of trees as recommended by an arborist retained by FOPS, within the limitations of DPW equipment. Two volunteer days, organized by Bruner, are now being planned in the fall, for painting benches and planting and mulching. 
FOPS welcomes community input on any of these initiatives and looks forward to productive collaboration with the DPW. As the volunteer days approach, Bruner will be reaching out to local groups and businesses for participants. Comments can be made via fopshudson@gmail.com, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/fopshudson/, and on Facebook at Friends of the Public Square Hudson or FOPS. 

For those who remember the "re-imagining" of the park proposed back in 2014, it may be reassuring to note that the logo that has been adopted by FOPS seems to reflect the original 19th-century design of the park, with paths fanning out from the fountain at the center, suggesting some commitment to restoring the park and respecting its basic design rather than re-creating it. 

Hudson and Galvan in the Times Union

The Albany Times Union is now touting its coverage of the Hudson Valley, and it appears that Roger Hannigan Gilson, who once reported for the Register-Star and for a time published the news blog The Other Hudson Valley, has been assigned to Hudson. His latest article about Hudson was prompted by last Wednesday's meeting of the Hudson IDA (Industrial Development Agency), at which DJH Advisors presented their financial analysis of the PILOTs sought by the Galvan Foundation for the two apartment buildings proposed for North Seventh Street: "Hudson nonprofit, Common Council in dispute over affordable housing tax breaks."

The next meeting of the IDA, which is still considering Galvan's applications for PILOTs for the two buildings, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, August 4, at 1:00 p.m. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since Friday, there have been ten new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is seven more than Friday, from which it can be inferred that over the weekend three more county residents recovered from the virus. There are eight fewer county residents in mandatory quarantine today than on Friday, but the number hospitalized with the virus remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 reported in Columbia County since June 24.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 1.7 percent and a seven-day average of 2.0 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 2.8 percent and the seven-day average is 2.5 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported three new cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 477, and the number of active cases was 9. There were 5 county residents hospitalized with the virus, and none was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 37.

The John J. Harvey Is Coming to Hudson

In the summer of 2009, during Hudson's "Namesake Celebration" marking the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's historic journey on the river that now bears his name, the fireboat John J. Harvey was among the historic vessels that visited Hudson.   

The John J. Harvey, one of the most powerful fireboats ever built, was first launched in 1931 and had a distinguished career with the  New York City Fire Department before being retired in 1994. The fireboat is most famous for returning to service on September 11, 2001, following the attack on the World Trade Center.

This summer, the FASNY Museum of Firefighting is bringing the John J. Harvey to Hudson and offering free hour-long trips on the historic fireboat. Here's the announcement of the event that appears on Facebook:     

Join us on August 14th, 2021, from 3:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., for a special IN-PERSON event.
Join us as we partner with the crew of the John J. Harvey to provide a FREE ride on a fireboat! This once-in-a-lifetime experience includes a 60-minute cruise. We will also be hosting a FREE gutter regatta for children before the cruises. This trip will launch from the Hudson Waterfront Park [i.e., Henry Hudson Riverfront Park] in Hudson, NY, on August 14th, 2021, at 3:30 p.m. and a second cruise will launch at 5:00 p.m.
This event is FREE, but RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR THIS EVENT and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve your seats today for one of these cruises: 518 822-1875, ext. 17.
This program is made possible by a generous grant award from the Hudson River Bank and Trust Co. Foundation.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

The weather this weekend was close to perfect, and the week ahead promises to be an easy one. The Common Council ad hoc committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday have been canceled, but there is one meeting on Tuesday that is not to be missed: the Hudson Connects public workshop.
  • On Tuesday, July 27, the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) board meets at noon. The meeting takes place in person at 1 North Front Street. On the agenda for the meeting are updates on the sale of the Montgomery Street property and the strategic plan for the future of HDC.
  • Also on Tuesday, July 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Arterial and Creighton Manning, the consultants for the Hudson Connects streetscape improvement project, will be conducting a public workshop at Hudson Hall. This is the first we've heard of this project for six months. Attendees will be encouraged to participate in a visual preference survey and provide input on the design of street improvements. A screen presentation will also be given to update the community on the project schedule and scope of work. 
  • On Wednesday, July 28, the subcommittee of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meets at 6:00 p.m. This will be the first meeting of the subcommittee since HHA executive director Tim Mattice announced his resignation. A revised draft of the RFQ (request for qualifications) for the redevelopment of HHA property now appears on the HHA website, but it is not clear if the RQF has been approved or released to potential developers. The meeting takes place in the Community Room of Bliss Towers and can also be accessed on Zoom
And that's it for the week. Enjoy the final days of July.
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

Reminder About Commenting

If you want your comment to be published, you need to identify yourself in some way--name, initials, pseudonym you plan to use consistently. Totally anonymous comments will not be published.

Having said that, I admit to publishing just now a totally anonymous comment about the new mural in the PARC Park. I did so because it provided a counterbalance to a rather negative comment submitted by someone who did sign his name. If you are the person who submitted the anonymous comment, please note that I am unlikely to do it again. In future, please identify yourself.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

New Mural in the PARC Park

The Hudson Police Department announced today, on its Facebook page, the unveiling of a new mural in the pocket park across from Hudson Hall. The park was designed and created by the PARC Foundation, as a gift to the city, and officially opened in the summer of 2007. 
Pocket Park Mural Unveiled . . .
We are excited to announce that, after weeks of preparation and painting, the mural in the Pocket Park on the 300 block between Warren Street and Prison Alley was completed Friday. 
The 30-foot mural was painted and designed by artist and Hudson High School student Eli Carpenter. The artwork is a nod to the founders of Hudson and features symbols of our city's past, including a whale and ship, and a glorious sun, which alludes to the bright future ahead for the city.
The project was a collaborative effort by the Hudson Police Department and Columbia County District Attorney's Office to address a recent rise in graffiti incidents in the park. Hudson police donated supplies, including paint and brushes. Both agencies are proud to work alongside local youth to clean up our city parks.
"We are very glad we could give back to the community in this way," Police Chief L. Edward Moore said. "Eli's mural will deter future vandals, boost civic pride and give residents yet another reason to enjoy the park."
Special thanks to Mayor Kamal Johnson (who approved the project), the Hudson Department of Public Works, and Eli's mother, Katharine.

Things to Do Today

This afternoon, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., the historic Robert Jenkins House will be open for tours. The house, which was built in 1811, was originally the home of Robert Jenkins, son of Seth Jenkins, one of the original Proprietors and founders of Hudson. Since 1900, it has been the Chapter House of the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who maintain there a library for genealogical research and a museum of local historic artifacts and memorabilia. The house is located at 113 Warren Street.      

From 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. today, the Black Entrepreneur Market takes place in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. The market offers food vendors, jewelry, clothing, skin care, hair care, family fun, music, and more. Click here for more information.

Friday, July 23, 2021

COVID-19 Update

The Columbia County Department of Health has released its numbers for today. Since yesterday, there have been five new cases of COVID-19. The number of active cases being reported today is three more than yesterday, from which it can be inferred that two more county residents are now considered to be recovering from the virus. There are three more county residents in mandatory quarantine today than yesterday, but the number hospitalized with the virus remains the same. There has not been a death from COVID-19 in Columbia County since June 24.

The New York Forward dashboard is reporting a positivity rate for Columbia County yesterday of 3.1 percent and a seven-day average of 2.1 percent. By comparison, the daily positivity rate for the Capital Region is 3.2 percent and the seven-day average is 2.2 percent.

A year ago today, the CCDOH reported one new case of COVID-19. The total number of cases was 472, and the number of active cases was 12. There were 36 county residents in mandatory quarantine, 5 were hospitalized with the virus, and none was in the ICU. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 at this time last year was 37.

Colarusso and the Planning Board

A few months ago, the Planning Board started having special meetings to consider the Colarusso applications for conditional use permits for its dock operation. The next Planning Board meeting devoted to the Colarusso issue is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 3, at 6:00 p.m. The location of the meeting may be somewhere other than City Hall, but that is yet to be confirmed.

In the meantime, Gossips has learned that earlier this week, T. J. Ruane, an associate at Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, the law firm of John Privitera, the attorney for A. Colarusso & Sons, submitted a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request for: "All "records" . . . related to (i) A. Colarusso & Sons, Inc., (ii) the property with an address of 175 South Front Street, Hudson, NY . . . , and (iii) the adjacent haul road used to service the Property (collectively the "Subject Matter), from January 1, 2015 to the present date, including but not limited to correspondence, emails, public comments, reports, studies, memorandums, resolutions, proposed legislations, meeting minutes, committee meeting minutes, etc."  Specifically named in the FOIL request is everyone who has served on the Planning Board in the past five and a half years. From each of those people the following is requested:
All records including correspondence related to the Subject Matter, without any time period limitation, including emails, text messages, or other electronic correspondence, to or from [named Planning Board member], whether sent to or from [his/her] personal email account, work email account, personal cellular phone, work cellular phone, personal computer, or work computer. This shall include any such correspondence that [Planning Board member] is a part of (i.e. copied (cc) or blind copied (bcc) to an email correspondence), including any such records relating to any alleged bias by any Planning Board member.
The last phrase of the paragraph quoted above, which mentions "alleged bias by any Planning Board member," seems to allude to an allegation made by Privitera in October 2020, in a letter to Betsy Gramkow, then chair of the Planning Board, that two members of the Planning Board had a "conflict of interest or bias" regarding the Colarusso matter. The two members in question were Larry Bowne and Clark Wieman, and the alleged "conflict of interest or bias" related to their association with the advocacy group Our Hudson Waterfront. As Gossips reported at the time, Bowne acknowledged that prior to joining the Planning Board he had been associated with Our Hudson Waterfront but maintained he had never advocated for or against a specific outcome, insisting that if he were incapable of being openminded and fair, he never would have joined the board or taken the oath to faithfully discharge his duties as a member of the Planning Board. Wieman called the allegations of guilt by association, because of his partner's activities with Our Hudson Waterfront, "ridiculous and unfounded," asserting, "My views are my own, and I am committed to a full and open process."

The last meeting of the Planning Board to address the Colarusso issue took place on May 4, 2021. At that meeting, the Planning Board completed its review and responses to Part 2 of the Full Environmental Assessment Form. Consideration of Part 3 of the FEAF, in preparation for making a positive or negative declaration in the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process, is expected to happen when the board meets on August 3.
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK

Of Interest

Once upon a time, Gossips would link to any coverage of Hudson in the regional or national media. These days, with Hudson in the news so much, I'm more selective. Today, I was tipped off to a feature about Hudson by Spectrum News 1: "Booming housing market boosts small Hudson city." 

In the report, local realtor Christine Jones is quoted sharing this remarkable statistic: "Hudson itself during the pandemic in one year, from July to July, has sold $93 million of properties sold. So if you think, that's quite a lot of money in a small town of 6,000 people." 

The article also notes that, according to Bloomberg city labs, Hudson had "the best percentage of people moving in versus moving out in the nation."

Gratitude to Martin Salerno for bringing this to our attention