Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Of Interest

The Register-Star's coverage of the demolition of the Colored Citizens' Club, with quotes, some apparently recycled, from leaders of the African-American community: "Historic club goes down." 

Moore Responds

In a letter to the editor in today's Register-Star, Common Council President Don Moore responds to Timothy O'Connor's assertion that the Common Council voted on the zoning revisions without an adequate map that defined the zoning districts: "Map does exist." According to Moore, Figure 27 in the LWRP (reproduced here) is that map.

The map in question has serious shortcomings as it pertains to the extension of the Core Riverfront District to include the "causeway." It does not define the width of this extension; it does not accurately represent how the "causeway" connects back to the larger Core Riverfront District. Both considerations should have been serious concerns for the Common Council in approving this zoning, but apparently they weren't.      

Monday, December 5, 2011

CC Club Leveled

The former Colored Citizens Club at the North Third and Columbia streets was demolished this afternoon. It's been reported that it was supposed to be demolished over the weekend, but the work was postponed until today because of Winter Walk. Residents in close proximity to the structure complained that they had not been warned that the demolition was to take place.

Scott Baldinger provided these photographs and a video of the demolition.

Click here to view the video.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

So Long, Ritter's

At 2 p.m. this afternoon, Ritter's Grocery closed forever--a neighborhood institution that will be sorely missed.

Photograph by Peter Meyer.

Gossips Missed It . . .

but Wenonah Webster didn't. On Thursday night, Annie Leibovitz shot an ad for McClelland's Scotch at our own Red Dot.

Not to Be Missed

A My View about Hudson's architectural heritage in general and 211 Union Street in particular by David Marston, alderman elect for the First Ward. This piece appeared in the print version of the Register-Star yesterday and online today.  

Ear to the Ground

Scott Baldinger reports the latest Hudson rumor on his blog: "Eye on Ian." Can it be that Ian Schrager, creator of the original boutique hotel, has purchased the Warren Inn, the first and only movie theater turned motel in the country?

Friday, December 2, 2011

More About the Dog Attack

In today's Register-Star, Audra Jornov reports on a dog attack that took place yesterday in the Hudson City Cemetery: "Dogs bite city woman.Gossips has since received more information about the incident.

The woman attacked was a 79-year-old peace activist from Claverack who is a regular at the Saturday vigil in Seventh Street Park. Yesterday, she decided to take a walk in the cemetery after attending a meeting of the Interfaith Council in Hudson. 

When the two dogs attacked, the woman turned her back on them and could feel the dogs' paws on her shoulders. During the attack, she fell and broke her wrist. She managed to drive herself to her doctor's office at Columbia Memorial Hospital. There she was admitted to the emergency room, where they set her wrist and released her.

The owners of the dogs have been described as being "very soliticious." The victim was told that one of the dogs could be aggressive with people who had hoods covering their heads. Yesterday was a cold day, and the victim had put the hood of her sweatshirt up. 

Getting the Stone Off Hudson's Streets

The Common Council recently approved zoning amendments that extend the Core Riverfront District the length of the "causeway," an action requested by Holcim/O&G in its "public comments," to protect their right to use and develop this path through South Bay as a route for moving gravel from the quarry to the river. Since July, O&G has been using this route to haul gravel to the river, but empty trucks leaving the dock continue to travel on city streets. According to Common Council President Don Moore, the Common Council will soon take up again the local law that would require O&G to use the causeway in both directions and prohibit gravel trucks on Columbia Street below Third and on Front Street.   

Our 21st-century Common Council is dealing with the same problem a 19th-century Common Council faced 140 years ago--and making virtually the same decisions. This timeline, created a decade ago by Don Christensen for the exhibition Seeing South Bay, reminds us how the railroad that became the berm that became the "causeway" came to be in the first place and poignantly demonstrates how history repeats itself.

1872--Frederick W. Jones forms a company to quarry stone and marble from Becraft Mountain. Mule-pulled wagons begin transporting stone and marble from the mountain down Worth Avenue to Union Street to West Court Street to Allen Street to the river for shipment.

August 6, 1872--Samuel T. B. Heermance, owner of a tract of land on the east shore of South Bay, receives a "grant of land under water" from the State of New York to develop underwater lands through South Bay to the river for "beneficial use."

October 1873--Heermance sells Jones a right of way through his property and through the "land under water" to the river's edge the width of one rod (about 16 feet) to build a railroad. No public announcement is made of this plan at the time.

January 29, 1874--Application made to Hudson Common Council to build a horse-drawn railroad from the quarry on Becraft Mountain through Green Street to State Street, down the center of State Street to Front Street and to the river.

February 23, 1874--Residents and business owners along Green and State streets submit a petition to the Common Council against the railroad application, claiming, "such a track would seriously lessen the value of real estate along its line."

February 29, 1874--Common Council rejects application for State Street railroad.

March 19, 1874--Public announcement of plan by Frederick Jones to build an alternative railroad from the quarry through South Bay.

March 26, 1874--Common Council approves right of way across Bay Road for the Jones railroad.

May 4, 1874--Groundbreaking ceremonies for railroad construction. Engineering contractors promise to have road "constructed, fully equipped with locomotive and cars, and in perfect running order by July 15." Construction is halted shortly afterward.

April 16, 1884--Heermance sells Jones the one-rod wide strip of land through South Bay to be used as a railroad from the river to the mountain.

March 1887--After a delay of 11 years due to "vicissitudes of fortune," work on the railroad resumes.

March 14, 1889--Final rail line to river completed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last Night at City Hall

It was predictable. It was inevitable. Everyone knew the votes were there. Still when it happened, it was sobering and stunning. 

Last night, the Common Council passed four pieces of supporting legislation for the LWRP: the zoning amendments, the amendments to the zoning code and the city charter to create a local Coastal Consistency Review Board, and the charter amendment to create the position of a Harbor Master. These actions are being hailed in today's Register-Star headline as "passing the LWRP":  "Common Council passes LWRP." Only Third Ward Alderman Ellen Thurston voted against adopting the zoning amendments. Third Ward Alderman Chris Wagoner was absent, so his vote too was effectively a no vote.  

According to reports, the action was cause for celebration by members of the Common Council as well as members of the audience--Linda Mussmann and Rick Scalera. Common Council President Don Moore is quoted as saying, somewhat incomprehensibly, "This is a plan with specific projects and it's not something that you run up and down Warren Street proclaiming, but it's a very substaintial [sic] tool for people in the city that want to see the waterfront developed." Similarly, Scalera claimed the plan “brightens the future for our children and unshackles our waterfront for development.” 

By contrast, we're reminded of Nick Haddad's warning during the mayoral debate that it will be "very difficult to get necessary investment in place if it has to coexist with heavy industry," and his prediction that "what we want will not happen so long as the industry is in place."