Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Park Debate Changes Venue

On Monday, John Isaacs, co-creator of Our Town and Imby, responded to Gossips' comments about the "re-imagining" the Public Square: "Seventh Street Park: A case of putting people before preservation." His commentary, which supports the wholesale redevelopment of the park, calls the original design of the park "a typical, run-of-the-mill town square with awkward proportions" and makes this suggestion for the fountain: "Perhaps the Hudson city fathers could find somewhere nearby for the famous fountain. The little triangle at the intersection of State, Greene [sic], and Columbia would be dandy, and nobody could miss it."

Today, Ian Nitschke responds to Isaacs, asking of the proposed redesign of the park: "How is it putting people before preservation when there is so much sentiment in Hudson, by residents and visitors alike, for preserving the irreplaceable "dictionary of American architecture" that survived the ravages of destruction that other cities have suffered over the last 200 years?" Nitschke's response appears in the comment on Isaacs' post.


  1. I can't agree with anything John says here, especially that the buildings around 7th Street park are of no peticular architectural import.
    We can't all be the taj Mahal.

  2. Ok maybe I do agree with some of the points made here but I am a preservationist and that fountain was in our town square/park for more than 100 years. We have the opportunity to bring it back.

    1. No Good reason the fountain can't be restored. The park can be updated and used by so many

  3. funny how grants and money changes the outlook for a historic town (what attracted us all here in the first place) and proceeds to destroy it through ego judgements

  4. Better then to pursue a design specifically prioritizing the needs of people for their sake, rather than preservation for its own sake. from IMBY august 13th

    the needs of hudsonites is for a park that they can use in the next year. as one young man said, i like to eat lunch there. and others said how well the farmers market worked there.

    indeed, we would like to preserve and USE what little is left of hudson. most of it has been torn down, but , as rarely happenes, this much of it has survived.

    i think that is why artist like hudson. its not some nouveau concrete "dream" but an old town thats coming back up. obviously, the art community has responded to old hudson.

    the grants applied for are for the HDC and the designer. hudson the city isnt going to get a finished park that anyone can eat lunch in. it will get a paved over treeless lot with alot of ugly benches and thats about it.

    where does mr isaacs think the 1.5 million is coming from to do the park ? not from the city fathers of hudson. the grant will evaporate into the atmosphere and we will be left eating our lunch on the curb, where so many other hudson concepts have ended up.

    jane jacobs would have fought long and hard for the park. lets try to recover what we can and move on with all the other spaces that can be newly designed and built.

  5. I thought the Olympic torch was already there.

  6. Wow, that's a big chunk of change to redesign 7th St. Park. OK. Let's bring back the Venus Fountain. But are the plans to cut down the trees, tear up the lawn, reposition the walkways, etc.? Why?
    I would much rather see the money invested into looking at Oakdale Park/Lake area. Why not consider adding kayaks & boating, hiking/biking trails, (did you know that there is a former electric rail line nearby that is not in use-it starts near the firehouse & ends near Fairview Ave) restoring the bath house (it did have a interior eatery, fireplace, public bathrooms) planting trees.
    I just hope that we all revisit Hudson's Parks areas (Promenade, 7th St. & Oakdale) before we jump in with shovels & bulldozers.
    And what about that land area behind Hudson High School? What a view. My god, just imagine a park & stage/arena there? Please excuse me from dreaming.

    1. agree totally tmdonofrio

      destroying 7th st park offers absolutely no long range vision for a town filled with other possibilities that need fixing... that bath house sounds like a lost gem needing some polishing

    2. There are many more comments now on the post at including John Isaacs' reply to Ian Nitschke:

      I feel my position is misread. I would never not support the preservation and renovation of a building or urban environment, regardless of its present condition, as long as it has or had intrinsic merit in its original design. Equally, I wholeheartedly favor retaining primary features in radical renovations (as in OMA’s MAI program, Moynihan Station, and the countless brilliant schemes, particularly by a whole generation of Italian architects of great taste and sense of craft, that reimagine historic structures by integrating original and entirely new elements). Equally, I appreciate the authentic, precise replication of urban areas destroyed by, say, war or acts of nature, as a means of restoring and perpetuating cultural heritage—the rebuilding of historic central Warsaw or even London’s Globe Theatre come to mind. And in no way do I oppose vernacular architecture in principle, fraught as it is with post-modern pitfalls.

      What I see no reason to support is the pious and gratuitous wholesale replication of original designs of questionable aesthetic value and functionality, when more refined and appropriate solutions, more compatible with the needs of the times and of the population at large, are proposed.

      The debate, of course, is ancient. Huge hazards exist on both sides. On the one hand, disastrous errors have been made on the part of progressive architects (the existing Penn Station in NYC and Paternoster Square in London being famous and egregious examples). On the other, you have a sentimental dilettante like Prince Charles sounding off (and from his privileged position blocking the ideas of highly trained and visionary architects) on any urban development that violates what he views as sacrosanct principles of bourgeois classicism.

      A city such as Hudson has throughout its history and can today and in the future happily absorb a wide stylistic range. The desire to impose an architectural code that favors tradition is understandable, and in many ways commendable, but is not necessarily the optimum approach for creating the nuanced variety and shadings of difference that produce a vibrant and still coherent urban environment and a distinctive sense of place, as well as reflecting the diversity of that community (there are more modernists than you might imagine in Hudson hiding behind all that antique woodwork). The old can coexist with the new, and both may profit from the symbiosis, but only when both are respected.

  7. Enid you are verbose and dead wrong.

    1. As I said, it was written by John Isaacs, in response to Ian Nitschke's comment on John's IMBY post, not me. However, I do think it's a balanced, reasonable response that applauds and champions preservation of distinguished architecture of the past, while welcoming distinguished architecture of the present.

    2. "Observer" (doesn't go by real name), how can somebody 'dead wrong' in their interpretation of something? When you don't agree with it? What ever happened to 'agree to disagree'?

  8. Enid, Prince Charles has been more often right than wrong in his criticism of many modern eyesores, whether the design elite like him or not.

    One virtue of his position is that he doesn't have to worry about approval from chattering classes to speak out.

    And he has pretty good visual sense. He's grown up surrounded by the world's best paintings and he's a very competent -- albeit amateur -- painter in his own right.

    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss his opinions.

    -- Jock Spivy