Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Almost Two Decades Later

The picture shows the Fourth Street School, which stood at the southwest corner of Fourth and State streets, across from the library, until 1994. As one of his first official acts after taking office as mayor for his first term, Rick Scalera had the building condemned and demolished.

In the intervening sixteen years, for all but four of which Scalera has been mayor, Hudson has experienced a remarkable renaissance. People have been drawn to Hudson because of its historic architecture and have made significant investments of their own money to restore buildings and revitalize the city. You would think that by now Mayor Scalera would embrace the truth that Hudson's historic architecture has been the goose that laid the golden egg for the city, but it appears not.

There are rumors that the mayor is entertaining the idea of demolishing two historic buildings on the city's waterfront--half of the precious few that remain: the last of the Bentley Meeker buildings at North Front and Dock streets and the former Dunn Warehouse building across Water Street from Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Both buildings now belong to the City, although there's some suggestion that the Bentley Meeker building may belong to HDC.

The story on the Bentley Meeker building is that a developer might be interested in the property if the building were gone. (Two adjoining buildings were demolished last year, but this building, which is stable, was spared.)

The justification for demolishing the Dunn Warehouse building is persistent contamination that allegedly makes the building unfit for reuse, left over from the days when it was part of the gasification works.


  1. To place the blame for the demolition of the 4th St. school and the warehouses on North Front on Scalera is unfair and inaccurate. Both are the victims of New York speculators, who bought cheap buildings, sat on them without addressing their needs, and by the time the City got involved, it was too late to do anything but demolish them. Scalera is not nearly the enemy of preservation as you paint him to be. We need to address the issue of neglectful landlords, of which we have too many in Hudson.

  2. Carole,

    I couldn't finish reading this.... it's too painful, another bitter reminder of what a huge mistake the Hudson Democrats made in endorsing Mr. Scalera.... --pm

  3. "You are tampering with forces you can't understand; we have major corporations sponsoring this event" - Mayor Quimby.

    But where does the Mayor get the money to pay for the municipal vandalism suggested by the rumor?

    In particular, what sort of opportunity might the unusual-looking Dunn's building offer to a salvager?

    Presumably, the demolition people must shell out for some sort of liability insurance (?). Presumably offsetting this and all of the other overhead, the materials which might be useful for something more valuable than fill may also be contaminated (?).

    Imagine standing in the waterfront park and looking east-southeast. Now, take away the Dunn's building and you are standing at the edge of what feels like a 50 acre parking lot. (Oops, here comes a train, cover your ears.)

    Perhaps, if only at the level of a damaging rumor, Hudson is being struck down like a cur for the impertinence of criticizing the DLWRP-DGEIS. We have tampered with forces we can't understand!

    T. O'Connor

  4. Apparently National Grid foots the bill (or so says the latest gossip).

    Whether or not this is true, National Grid's public relations strategy suggests that they'd shy from such a controversy.

    Perhaps it's time to instruct National Grid what a punishment their p.r. will suffer after doing battle in Hudson.

    Starting with this comment, they are on record as a probable party to the destruction of our historical heritage!


  5. Who determines if it's too late to do anything but demolish a building ?
    The fourth street school would have been a terrific police station.
    Shame on anyone involved in destroying that building and the houses around it !

  6. I'd rather see a monumental building needing new energy for a new life than an yet another missing question mark in the Hudson architectural landscape. In most cases the replacement is worse than the problem.

  7. The Meeker building looks different today than it did in that photo you have. The lot next door to it is all a buzz. I could see a "oops" moment about to happen when there is reported an "accident to the structural integrity", made at some point by workers. It is a very beautiful building. Too bad we don't have a nice Hotel with a river view in Hudson.

  8. Chad--The picture was taken two days ago, on Wednesday morning, March 17.

  9. Then it looks like they removed a lot of that rubbish and there are fresh dirt piles in it's place... At least from my driving by this afternoon. Maybe your image is from a better angle.

  10. Chad--I parked the car and walked in the mud to get in front of the building to take the picture, but I don't doubt that the landscape has changed since then. The place was buzzing with men in hard hats when I was there--mostly on the opposite side of North Front Street. It made me wonder if I shouldn't be wearing one, too.