Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day in Hudson

Tomorrow, Memorial Day will be observed in Hudson as it has for at least the past quarter century. At 10:15 a.m., the flag will be raised and a wreath will be laid at the Veterans' Monument in the Public Square. Then the parade begins on Park Place and proceeds down Warren Street to Fourth Street and then across to the Columbia County courthouse, where the Memorial Day services will be held.

A hundred years ago, on May 31, 1919, Hudson celebrated the first Memorial Day after the end of World War I. The parade didn't begin at the Veterans' Monument in the Public Square. The monument wasn't there yet. And it didn't end at the courthouse. Instead the parade concluded at Cedar Park Cemetery, with singing and prayers and reading and speeches. The following is the account of the parade and the ceremony that followed that appeared in the Columbia Republican for June 3, 1919.

As over fifty years ago the Civil War veterans marched in their Memorial Day parade; and again in '99 when the Spanish-American war veterans marched for the first time; on Friday morning the veterans of the world war were in their initial procession to the final resting place of a few of their comrades where they paid their tribute. The weather was all that could be desired and the parade was the finest ever seen in Hudson. 
The world war veterans marched in the first division following Co. F. and escorted by Red Cross women. They were accompanied by several sailors in uniform. The old, gray-haired veterans of the Civil War had the honor place in line and were escorted by the Spanish American War veterans and the Sons of Veterans. The turn out of the school children was most pleasing and other organizations made a fine showing.
The services at Cedar Park cemetery were opened with a prayer by the Rev. D. William Lawrence, chaplain of Lathrop post G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic] There was singing, "Battle Hymn of the Republic," by Christ church choir boys. Reading of General Orders, C. S., Department of N.Y.G.A.R, by Eugene C. Secor, adjutant of R. D. Lathrop post, G.A.R.; "America," by the band; Reading of President Lincoln's address at Gettysburg, by John V. Whitbeck, Jr., Sons of Veterans camp; singing "Tenting To-night," by choir boys; Reading Original Order No. 11, by General Logan, instituting the observance of Memorial Day, by Augustus Hardwick, adjutant of Hudson camp United Spanish-American war veterans; "Star Spangled Banner," by Hudson City Band; oration, Major Albert S. Callan, of Chatham; Benediction, the Rev. W. DeWitt Lukens, of squad of Co. F.  
Major Callan said in part:
Just before his death the great American, Theodore Roosevelt, penned these words:
"Only those who are fit to live are those who do not fear to die, and more are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life." Never was a country worth living in unless its sons and daughters were of that stern stuff which bade them die for it at need.
To-day all over this land and on many foreign shores, wherever there are Americans either in uniform or civilian attire, services are being held to commemorate the memory of those who possessed those qualities who made them ready and eager to give their all for their country. Originated as a day devoted to memorialize the heroes of the Civil War, the occasion now extends into one where not alone are the men who wore the blue to be honored, but their progeny as well, who have so recently and so nobly perished in order that our land might continue to enjoy its established blessings and traditions.
Gone nearly is the mighty phalanx of old, gathered to the hosts of Grant has moved on to that great army which responded to Lincoln's call and few of them are left with us.
But their sight and their presence on this occasion recalls the words of Daniel Webster in speaking to the veterans of our first great struggle--the Revolution--when at the laying of the corner stone of Bunker Hill he said to the few who still remained and were gathered in Boston that day, "Venerable men, you have come down to us from a former generation."
But the lessons of that former generation to which the Grand Army were a part, can never be forgotten. Ever a grateful people will remember that the citizenry of that time, in response to the call of duty, saved this country. To them in the hour of national peril it was not a question of whether the South had a right and a privilege to hold and own human beings as slaves, but rather the basic principles of whether this nation should continue as established, to exist. It was a problem of nationalism in those days fully as much as are many of our problems to-day. It was a question of the future, a disputed point to be solved by the living for the benefit of those to come.
Against those influences coming from abroad and implanting themselves in the minds of the impressionistic we MUST ever be on our guard. We have won our place in the world because of our adherence to God, our faith in our country and our reverence for the sanctity of the home. We cannot tolerate or countenance those who would assail one or all of these standards of ideals. Destruction is the inevitable result if we forsake or deny them. America has been built upon the foundation of simple but old and stern principles; they have been successful in . . . molding our destiny; we have but to examine our history and then compare it with the more modern but savage rule of Bolshevism prevailing in Russia with its resultant chaos and misery, to determine which has been the most beneficent government and ideals to live by and exist under. One nation fearing God, loving country, respecting the home while the other denies the almighty, preaches blatant internationalism and destroys every vestige of decency which surrounds the life of men and women. . . .
Let us preach Americanism, let us being about tolerance and mutual understanding between capital and labor and let us teach those who came here that this is the land in which every one has the right to labor and succeed and to receive in return, the protection of the government which expects of all citizens loyalty of mind and loyalty of body. . . .  
Nations are preserved and defended by those who practice homely virtues in times of peace and who at the clarion call of war are ready to die or to send their dearest to die for a home ideal. The men of the Civil War, the men of the Spanish-American War, the men of the Great World War in vast numbers of cases were such types and came from such homes. They went cheerfully for their ideals and in their going and for their going America is a better, grander, greater land to-day, and the duty they have thrown down to us must not be dropped and their hopes and their purposes carried throughout the peons of time. . . .
Major Callan would probably have delivered his oration from the porch of the cemetery house, the William Brocksbank house, which the City of Hudson acquired in 1898. In 1919, the house was used as a funeral chapel, as well as a residence and office for the cemetery. The picture below, a still from one of Josef Cipkowski's home movies, shows the house during the Memorial Day ceremonies twenty years later, in 1939.    


Get Ready for the Dog Park

Hudson is very close to having its own dog park. To ensure that our dog park is a place of joy for dogs and their people, dog behaviorist Jennifer James has agreed to counsel us on dog park etiquette--how to introduce your dog to the dog park, how to recognize potential problems, and how to avoid them.

The event takes place this afternoon, Sunday, May 26, at 2:00 p.m., in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street. For your dog's sake, be there. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Small Win for the Environment

If you bought cookies from Trixie's Oven this morning at the Hudson Farmers Market, you may have noticed that the bag that held those tasty, "baked with love only this morning" treats was a bit different. That's because Rich Volo, the master baker and CEO at Trixie's Oven, has ditched plastic bags, which survive in landfills for centuries, in favor of eco-friendly bags made from natural renewable materials that are compostable and biodegradable.  

Today, the peanut butter cookies and some of the chocolate chip cookies were in the new packaging. Next week, all Trixie's cookies will be. Another reason (as if you needed another) to buy Trixie's cookies: your self indulgence won't do long-lasting harm to the environment. 

Acquisition Accomplished

On Tuesday, the board of the Hudson Development Corporation met in executive session. The topic of the meeting was the purchase of the CSX property needed to provide Front Street access for the Kaz site. Today, Amanda Purcell's report on the outcome of the meeting appeared on HudsonValley360: "HDC purchases railroad site, chugs ahead to redevelop Kaz." 

One detail from the article will probably not help HDC, famously criticized for its tendency to go into executive session at the drop of a hat, become more transparent. Last year, Gossips reported that HDC was about to enter into a contract with CSX to buy the property, approximately half an acre, for $85,000, using a $90,000 loan from CEDC (Columbia Economic Development Corporation). On Thursday, Purcell reported: "The $175,000 purchase is financed by a $200,000 loan from the Columbia Economic Development Corporation. The remainder of the loan covers the closing costs for the property, surveying and an environmental review. The property cost more than double the original asking price because there were two other local bidders, who primarily wanted the space for parking." 

The last of the eight justifications for going into execution session given by the Department of State Committee on Open Government is this: "The proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof."

Friday, May 24, 2019

Grievance Day

On the Tuesday after the long holiday weekend, which marks the traditional beginning of summer, it's Grievance Day. For everyone unhappy with their tentative assessments, Justin Maxwell, the city assessor, has released the following information about the day and the process.
The City of Hudson Board of Assessment Review (BAR) will hold its annual Grievance Day on Tuesday, May 28, at the Central Hudson Fire House on 77 North Seventh Street.
If you feel your assessment is inaccurate, you must grieve at this point to change it. Tuesday’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. As in any complete reval, we expect a large number of cases, and encourage you to take advantage of the earlier time slot.
People will be heard on a first come first serve basis, with each complaint getting three minutes to state their case and submit their information. There will be a sign-up sheet so you can anticipate when it will be your turn to grieve.
If you cannot grieve in person, you can submit your grievance to the assessor’s office on or before this Tuesday.
To submit your official grievance, you must have the RP-524 form filled out completely, as well as attaching all supporting documents to this form that support your position. The BAR will review your case and come to a determination at a later date.
According to New York State Law, the assessor is assumed to be correct. You must make a case with supporting evidence for why you believe your assessment is incorrect.
Examples of supporting documents would be comparable sales and property appraisals.

The RP-524 form can be found by clicking here

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Good Outcome

This may simply be an example of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but on April 20, Gossips called attention to the crumbling wall at 501 Union Street, the "Apartments of Distinction" . . .


and today, I am happy to report, the wall has been repaired.

Of course, future plans for the building are still unknown.

One Week from Today

On Thursday, May 30, James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and the blog Clusterfuck Nation, will deliver a talk here in Hudson called "The American Small Town Is Where It's At: Let's Get It Right." The event, which is part of the Future Hudson series, will take place at 6:00 p.m., in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street.

Well known for his scathing indictment of suburban-sprawl development and other land-use mistakes, one wonders if Kunstler will share an opinion about our own little example of suburban-sprawl development designed in accordance with New Urbanism precepts: the soon to be expanded Stewart's.

The News We Love to Hear

It was just announced by Chief Ed Moore and Mayor Rick Rector that overnight alternate side of the street parking will be suspended on weekends for the summer, beginning at midnight on May 25--that's overnight this Friday to Saturday--and continuing through September 29. 


What Is the Benefit?

During the years of the City's consideration and accommodation of Stewart's Shops' proposal to expand its convenience store and gas station at Green Street and Fairview Avenue, a project that involves demolishing two houses and losing at least six affordable apartments, the question was often asked by skeptics of the project: "How does this benefit Hudson?" Last night, we got the answer.

Libby Coreno, attorney for Stewart's Shops, appeared at the Common Council Legal Committee meeting last night to present the terms of the host community benefit agreement. The City would receive $200,000 from Stewart's to compensate for the impacts of the project on the community: $135,000 to $140,000 to be used for improvements to the intersection to enhance pedestrian access; the remainder--$60,000 to $65,000--to be used for planning and zoning studies. 

The article that appeared on Tuesday in HudsonValley360 suggested that members of the Common Council would be meeting with representatives of Stewart's Shops to "hash out" a community host benefit agreement, but if there was any hashing out, it didn't take place at last night's Legal Committee meeting. When Gossips asked how it was determined that $135,000 to $140,000 would be adequate to remedy the perceived problems at the intersection, city attorney Andy Howard said that the cost had been determined by the Planning Board and Stewart's. 

The Legal Committee asked Howard to prepare the host community benefit agreement document and unanimously voted to move the agreement on to the full Council for approval.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Let's Be Safe Out There

This morning, someone on Facebook warned drivers to have their car registration and inspection current if they were planning to enter the city by way of Route 9G and South Third Street. While officers may have been glancing at the stickers on the windshield, what they were really interested in was whether or not the adults in the car had fastened their seat belts and children were in their car seats.

Gossips has learned that today the Hudson Police Department and the New York State Police participated together in the "Buckle Up New York--Click It or Ticket" campaign, conducting a road check on South Third Street near the border with Greenport, as part of a statewide enforcement effort. 

The 2019 Buckle Up New York campaign runs for two weeks--from May 20 through June 2. The Hudson Police Department will be actively participating in the effort during this period. So whenever you get in the car, remember to buckle up.

This Friday at the Bronson House

"Get out the broom and sweep the place clean. Dust off the mat so the 'Welcome' can be seen."

Photo: Anthony D'Argenzia
Last Saturday, members of the board of Historic Hudson (at least one of whom remembers the words from the Mickey Mouse Club song used as the lede), reinforced by volunteers, swept the Dr. Oliver Bronson clean and did some other tidying up in preparation for the second annual Design Hudson showcase event this weekend. 

As it was last year, the Bronson House will be the setting for the opening night party, from 5 to 8 p.m., on Friday, May 24.

Also as it was last year, the Bronson House will be the setting for installations of furniture, art, and home decor created by Hudson businesses and artisans, juxtaposed with the historic architecture of Hudson's beloved National Historic Landmark.

For more information and to secure tickets to the event, go to

All the pictures used in this post (except for the first one) show last year's Design Hudson event and were borrowed from  

In the Interest of Transparency

At last night's Common Council meeting, Council president Tom DePietro announced that the Council was hiring a secretary to take minutes at committee meetings and the informal meeting. Traditionally, the informal meeting was just that: an informal meeting. No action was taken, and hence no minutes were recorded. The city clerk recorded the minutes at the regular meeting. Traditionally also, committee chairs kept minutes at committee meetings and submitted them to the city clerk. 

It was been noted in recent years that no minutes exist for many committee meetings. DePietro explained that the secretary was being hired "in the interest of transparency." In the interest of transparency, Gossips details the record of committee meeting minutes for this Council.
DePietro's comments at the meeting indicated that Garriga, Rosenthal, and Johnson will be relying on the secretary to take minutes at their committee meetings. Halloran, Volo, Bujan, and Merante will continue to record their own minutes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

HCSD Budget Vote

The polls closed at 9:00 p.m. tonight, and at the same time, the HCSD Board of Education began its special meeting at the Central Fire Station. By this time, it's probably known by someone in the media if the $49.8 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year was approved or not. The only thing I have to report is that when I voted at 8:20 p.m., just forty minutes before the polls closed, only 270 Hudson residents had voted before me. 

Nine Not to Ignore: No. 7

In April, inspired by the NYS Preservation League's Seven to Save list of endangered sites throughout New York State, Gossips began its list of endangered buildings in Hudson. After a little hiatus, the list resumes today.

7  The Gifford-Wood Building

Tucked out of sight, at the end of a street that was created for no reason other than to give access to it, is the building that was constructed in 1910-1911 to be the new home of the Gifford-Wood Company. The company was established in 1814 by Elihu Gifford, the father of Hudson River School painter Sanford Robinson Gifford. In 1905, Gifford Brothers merged with William T. Wood & Co. of Arlington, Massachusetts, to form the Gifford-Wood Company. In 1911, the company moved from the building shown in the picture below, which stood at the intersection of State and Green streets, to the building at the end of Hudson Avenue.  

When the company made the merger and the move, it was headed up by Elihu's grandsons, Malcolm and Arthur Gifford.

The building was last used as a manufacturing plant for McGuire Overhead Door. McGuire closed the plant in Hudson in 2006, and since then the building has stood vacant. Recently, however, it went on the market with an asking price of $7,625,000. The online listing includes historic pictures of the building and of the tools created there, as well as a photograph of Sanford Gifford and some of his paintings. It also includes this description of the building's location:
The trends in the area include a roster of commercial uses that could be considered as part of an adaptive re-use initiative and/or redevelopment. Local development trends on Warren Street are for gentrification with new investment focused on building-up the Warren Street corridor with new investment in hotels, galleries, restaurants, stores, offices and more. The spillover of this gentrification has transformed older homes and commercial properties nearby to a less degree but generally the area is experiencing new investment originating mainly in New York City and perhaps Boston. The property is walking distance to the train station and the Hudson River waterfront. The site is located n a quiet section of the city of Hudson, the very close to Warren Street, the focal point of the community and the gentrification.
After thirteen years of standing vacant, it seems something new may be happening for this building. Of course, "adaptive re-use initiative and/or redevelopment" does seem to leave the door open for demolition. One can only wonder what its future will be.

The Polls Open at Noon

The Hudson City School District budget vote and school board election takes place today, Tuesday, May 21. The polls open at noon and remain open until 9:00 p.m. Hudson residents vote at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.

The budget for the 2019-2020 school year is $49,792,463--just shy of $49.8 million. There are three openings on the school board and only two declared candidates: Willette Jones, whose name appears on the ballot, and Justin "Jelly" Elliott, who is asking people to write in his name.

Stewart's Update

Amanda Purcell reports about the Stewart's Shops expansion today on HudsonValley 360: "What's next for Stewart's Shops on Fairview?"

Gossips has already published most of the information found in the article, but there are a few things that are new. Members of the Common Council are expected to meet with representatives of Stewart's Shops later this week "to hash out a community host benefit agreement for offsite traffic improvements at the corner of Green Street and Fairview Avenue." There is no starting date for the project, but Chuck Marshall is hoping to open the finished store in early fall.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

In the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, a few things are happening in Hudson.
  • Tonight, Monday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m., the Common Council Fire Committee meets at City Hall.
  • Also tonight, at 6:00 p.m., Mayor Rick Rector holds a town hall meeting on the second floor at TK Home and Garden, 441 Warren Street. This is a change from the venue previously announced.
  • On Tuesday, May 21, the Hudson City School District holds its annual budget vote and school board election. Voters are asked to approve the $49.8 million budget for the 2019-2029 school year and elect people to fill three vacancies on the Board of Education. There is only one candidate on the ballot: Willette Jones. This morning, Gossips learned that Justin "Jelly" Elliott has declared himself a write-in candidate. The polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. The polling place for all Hudson voters is the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • Also, on Tuesday, May 21, the board of the Hudson Development Corporation is holding a special meeting at noon at 1 North Front Street. It has been announced in advance that the special meeting will he held in executive session "for the board discussion of the terms and conditions of a real estate transaction." 
  • Later on Tuesday, May 21, the Common Council Finance Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, followed by the regular meeting of the Common Council at 7:00 p.m. Among the resolutions before the Council is one authorizing the DRI Committee to issue a RFQ (request for qualifications) for a design firm to the redesign of the entrance to Promenade Hill.
  • On Wednesday, May 22, the Common Council Legal Committee meets at 6:15 p.m. in City Hall. No agenda is available for this meeting.
  • On Friday, May 24, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. at City Hall. The agenda for the meeting is not yet available but may include revised plans for new construction at 211 Warren Street, where the early 19th-century building that once stood there had to be demolished last fall.

Attention Dog People

Mark your calendars, tell your friends! Hudson's decade-old dream of getting a dog park is coming close to being a reality.

To get us and our dogs ready for this wonderful new experience, the dog park planners have arranged for dog behaviorist Jennifer James to do a presentation about dog park etiquette--everything you need to know to introduce your dog to the park, avoid problems, and ensure a pleasant experience for your dog and all the other dogs of Hudson. The event takes place on Sunday, May 26, at 2:00 p.m., in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street. For your best friend's sake, be there!

Change of Venue

Tonight's town hall meeting with Mayor Rick Rector will take place in a new location: the second floor at TK Home & Garden, 441 Warren Street. The event begins at 6:00 p.m.