Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Rain Date for Talking About North Bay

Because it is predicted that there will be rain all day tomorrow, the public conversation about North Bay, which was supposed to happen outdoors at the Furgary Boat Club at 1 p.m., has been rescheduled. The new date for the event is Sunday, May 22, at the same time and in the same place.


Friday, April 29, 2016

This Time for Real?

A few years ago, Gossips was suckered into publishing (briefly) this picture of Lady Gaga on Warren Street in front of Bruno's. As it turned out, the picture was a fine example of the art of Photoshopping. No one had snapped a picture of Gaga preparing to cross Warren Street.  

Tonight, I may be playing the fool again, but the rumor is that Gaga was sighted earlier this evening at Grazin' Diner. (This time, no pictures were provided.)

Hudson Ranks Among Ten Best

Clearly, we were all too busy with other things to keep voting for our little city day after day, but in spite of that, Hudson ranked among the ten best in two of USAToday's "10 Best" categories. In the category of Best Small Town Weekend Escape, Hudson was No. 7. (Saugatuck, Michigan, just down the road from where Gossips grew up, was No. 1.) In the category of Best Small Historic Town, Hudson was No. 8. 

G. B. Croff and Hudson

In the spring of 1875, the advertisement shown below, for the services of G. B Croftt, Architect, appeared in the upper right-hand corner of the front page of the Hudson Daily Star, with the same regularity that Tiffany & Co. ads used to appear in the upper right-hand corner of Page A3 of the New York Times.

The discovery of this 19th-century ad campaign prompted some questions, the first being: "Why is Gilbert Bostwick Croff's name is spelled CROFTT in the ad?" This question remains unanswered.

We know that Croff, who had his office in Saratoga Springs, designed 4 Willard Place for Frank Chace. An elevation drawing of the house's facade appears in Croff's book, Progressive American Architecture.

Frank Chace's house at 4 Willard Place was completed in 1874.

Croff also designed 5 Willard Place, for Herman Vedder Esselstyn. In its original form, 5 Willard Place had a third floor, but the third floor was destroyed in a disastrous fire in 1941, and that part of the house was never rebuilt.

Esselstyn's house was completed in 1875, the same year Croff ran his ad for days on end in the Hudson Daily Star. One can only imagine that with one house of his design completed and another under construction, Croff was looking for more commissions in Hudson. It is not known if he got them or not.

Thanks to Russell Gibson for providing information for this post

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Place in the Sun

In a couple of spots not far from our borders, fields of solar panels have appeared within the past year. Now it seems someone has had the idea of creating a field of solar panels within the city limits of Hudson, on the capped landfill at the north end of Second Street, adjacent to North Bay.

John Mason reports today in the Register-Star about a proposal to rent land on the former county dump to create a "community solar" array: "Solar for landfill gets cold shoulder." The proposal, which was presented by a representative of Monolith Solar at the invitation of Stuyvesant supervisor Ron Knott, who chairs the county Public Works Committee, was not enthusiastically received by Hudson supervisors Don Moore (Third Ward) and Sarah Sterling (First Ward) or by Peter Paden of the Columbia Land Conservancy. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another Distinction for Hudson

Gossips learned this morning that the officially recognized biggest weeping willow tree in all of New York is located right here in Hudson, at the northern end of Front Street, just inside the entrance to the Furgary Boat Club.

Apparently, "biggest" is determined by the circumference of the trunk.

If the tree's canopy were the measure, the weeping willow behind 32 Warren Street would undoubtedly be a contender.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Alas, They Are Gone

In February 2015, Gossips reported the good news that the row of houses along Route 9, immediately south of Ten Broeck Lane, were to renovated not demolished. People were concerned about them, because all but one of the houses was vacant and had been for a while, and there was a notice on every door. Investigating, Gossips discovered the notices were building permits not demolition permits.

At the time, Gossips mistakenly indicated that the houses had been built by Fred W. Jones, owner of the New York Coral and Shell Marble Company, who, in the latter part of the 19th century, lived directly across the street. It turns out that the houses were probably not built until after Jones's death in 1901, and they are associated with the Ten Broecks, who owned all the land on that side of the road and for whom Ten Broeck Lane was named. At one time, this stand of houses was known as "Ten Broeck Row."

Photo 1928 courtesy Peter Cipkowski
In August 2015, Gossips reported the bad news that the plans for renovating the buildings called for the removal of the front porches. Various attempts were made to prevent the removal of the porches, including nominating the row of houses to be one of the New York State Preservation League's Seven to Save in the hope of bringing public attention to the importance of these humble vernacular houses, but all proved ineffective. (Of the several properties in the Hudson Valley seeking to be one of the Seven to Save for 2016-2017, the League appropriately chose the magnificent Dutch Reformed Church in Newburgh, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis.)

Still, through the months that the porches remained, the hope that they might be preserved endured . . . until just a few days ago. Now they are gone.


Eat Well and Do Good

Dining Out for Life, the annual Alliance for Positive Health fundraising event, happens this Thursday, April 28. The Hudson restaurants participating in the event this year are as follows:
Twenty-five percent of what you spend on your meal will be donated to the Alliance for Positive Health. If you haven't already done so, make your plans now.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday on the Other Side of the River

Sunday, May 1, is the day of the Mayor's public conversation about North Bay. Sunday, May 1, is also the official opening of the newly reconstructed New Studio at the Thomas Cole House and the inaugural exhibition, Thomas Cole: The Artist as Architect, curated by Annette Blaugrund. With a fast car and E-ZPass, you just might be able to do both--or part of one and all of the other.

The original New Studio, designed by Cole, was built in 1846, and it was demolished in 1973. The New Studio--a replica of the original--has been reconstructed on the original footprint. 

The schedule for the events at the Thomas Cole House are as follows:
11 a.m.  Refreshments, live music, and free admission to the Main House
12 p.m.  Ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of Thomas Cole's New Studio
2 p.m.  Curator's Talk with Annette Blaugrund
The public conversation about North Bay, which will take place near the corner of North Front and Dock streets, begins at 1 p.m.

Back in the Day

I'm sure I've published this newspaper clipping before, but I just came upon it again, and since our attention is focused once again on the waterfront, it seemed appropriate to remind everyone what the waterfront looked like forty years ago, with the oil storage tanks still in place.

Although the clipping is not dated, a clue on the back suggests this was April 1975. Bliss Towers and Hudson Terrace have been constructed, but there's still a big hole on the south side of Warren Street, between Front and First, where the ill-fated "neighborhood shopping center," now the Galvan Opportunity Center, was to be built. The caption mentions the railroad station "that will be undergoing renovations that also will include new parking facilities." Although the caption suggests the project would begin soon, the restoration of the train station didn't happen until the early 1990s.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

On April 2, the day after April Fool's Day, Gossips published a little item that appeared in the Columbia Republican on April 1, 1916, with the head "Hudson Is Safe." At the time, it seemed that the item might be a 100-year-old April Fool's joke. A few days later, a reader sent the link to a New York Times article, published on July 27, 1865, which provides evidence that Hudson was not always safe: "RIOT AT HUDSON, N.Y.; Albany Roughs Traveling on Their Muscle--The City of Hudson at Their Mercy, The Citizens Afraid to Let "Daylight" Through Them." The entire article is recommended reading, but here's a sample of what was reported:
Hudson, N.Y., Wednesday, July 26
This city was visited yesterday by a gang of roughs and thieves, who accompanied the excursion of the Emmet Guard, from Albany.
The scoundrels spread all over the city, robbing and knocking down the citizens to their hearts' content. For a long time they kept this up, for there was no one to make them afraid.
According to some sources, the Emmet Guard, or Emmett Guards, was one of the many Irish units that fought for the Union during the Civil War. (In July 1865, when the riot occurred, it had been just three months since Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant.) The Emmett Guards, however, appear to have existed in New York long before the Civil War. In a book called The Anti-rent Agitation in the State of New York, 1839-1846, published in 1887, Edward Potts Cheyney recounts that the Emmett Guards were sent to Hudson in December 1844 to protect the city when two anti-rent leaders, accused of murder, were being held here in the county jail.
The anti-renters threatened to rescue these prisoners, and even to burn the city of Hudson. Movements were noticed among the disguised bands that led the sheriff to organize an armed posse of about a hundred men, and to apply to the Governor for arms and ammunition for the use of the inhabitants of Hudson. After keeping guard with such forces for a week, the probabilities of violence seeming to become still greater, the sheriff and the authorities of the town made an application to Governor Bouck to call out the militia. He consented, and a military force, consisting of the Albany Burgesses Corps of the Emmett Guards, marched from Albany December 25, 1844. 
When the Emmett Guards visited Hudson in July 1865, however, they did little to protect the city, in fact, they brought the "most desperate rowdies, thieves, pickpockets and murderers" with them. According to the Columbia Republican, the visit was the Emmett Guards' "annual target excursion." What follows is the account of what happened when the Guards and their followers landed in Hudson, as it appeared in the Columbia Republican:


And we thought we lived in Hudson in interesting times.

Mark Your Calendar

Next Sunday, May 1, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton is hosting a public conversation about North Bay. The event will begin at 1 p.m., outdoors, near the corner of Front and Dock streets.

The meeting will bring together various community groups for an exchange of ideas for the North Bay area. The discussion will include how to utilize the former Furgary Boat Club, ways to open access to the river for kayaking and fishing, the Columbia Land Conservancy's plan for the North Bay Recreation and Natural Area, and other concerns and proposals for this part of the city.

Following a brief presentation by the Mayor, the format will be an "outdoor open house." Those attending can circulate and speak informally with representatives of the Columbia Land Conservancy, the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee, and other groups.

The Mayor has said about North Bay and the proposed conversation, "Right now, the North Bay area is underutilized, but it represents an enormous opportunity for the city. I hope everyone who shares my passion for our waterfront will bring their ideas and energy to help us create a jewel of conservation and low-impact recreational use."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Hollywood in Hudson

It isn't often that one has occasion to mention the Oscars and Match Game in the same sentence. Of the many celebrities who appeared on the 1970s TV game show, Carolyn Jones may have been the only one who was ever even nominated for an Academy Award. But the disparity between the two doesn't bother the Hudson Democrats. They have no compunction about imitating both at their fundraiser tomorrow to honor Ellen Thurston for a decade of public service as an elected official in Hudson.

At "The Ellen Awards" tomorrow, the very first Ellen will be presented to Thurston for "exceptional public service and advancing the vision of the Hudson Democrats: Progress for All!" Also at the event, Trixie Starr will host a special "Ellen Edition" of Match Game. 

The festivity and frivolity happen from 4 to 6 p.m. at Sarah Sterling's house, 241 Union Street. The suggested donation to the Hudson Democratic Committee is $25. Click here to purchase a ticket, or just show up at the door with cash in hand.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bingo Madness

One thing that emerged from the ninety minute Common Council meeting on Tuesday, the video of which can be viewed here, is that attendance for the senior programming currently offered at the Youth Center is down from its usual peak turnout of thirty-five. The reason given: Bingo has been curtailed because the frequency of games played by seniors at the Youth Center exceeded what the NYS Gaming Commission allows for unlicensed games. Bingo, it seems, was the big draw.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

See for Yourself . . .

The video of Tuesday night's Common Council meeting can now be viewed online. So, pour yourself a glass of wine or grab a beer, settle back, and click here to view what has been described as "the most chaotic Council meeting ever."


A Report on Tuesday's Council Meeting

Gossips is still awaiting word that the video of Tuesday night's chaotic Common Council meeting is available for viewing. In the meantime, John Mason's report on the meeting, which "disintegrated into open rancor and confusion," appears in the Register-Star: "Senior center opening delay continues."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Preservation Vigilantes

This morning, Gossips got word that a concerned resident had called the code enforcement office to report that the multi-paned door and windows, which made the facade of Vico, at 136 Warren Street, reminiscent of a London telephone box, were being removed and replaced.

This vigilance and concern for the integrity of Hudson's precious architecture is to be applauded, but the truth is there was nothing historic about that door and those windows and the Historic Preservation Commission granted a certificate of appropriateness for the work being done on this building, including the new look for the Vico facade, several months ago.

The one regrettable decision that the HPC made just recently about this building was to approve the replacement of the columns on the two porticos.

The columns on the portico at 134 Warren Street (at left in the picture) date from 1820, while the columns on the portico at 136 Warren Street (at right in the picture) date from 1860. Because the 1820 columns are rotted and for the sake of consistency, all four columns are to be replaced with new columns of compounded wood and marble resin that replicate the 1860 columns. This proposal was unanimously approved by the HPC on April 8, with only somewhat anemic and shortlived protest from Miranda Barry, and with that decision, another quirky bit of Hudson's authentic and palimpsest like architecture will be lost.

And Gossips Wasn't There . . .

Last night's Common Council meeting has been described as "the most chaotic meeting ever," "one of the more confusing meetings on record," and "the worst experience you can possibly imagine." Alas, Gossips, still working at the polls, missed everything.

The confusion and contention was, predictably, over the Senior Center, apparently incited by Alderman Abdus Miah (Second Ward) and aided and abetted by his fellow aldermen Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) and Robert Donahue (Fifth Ward). From what can be pieced together from conversations with witnesses to the mayhem, which went on for an hour and a half, Miah, in his role as chair of the Youth & Aging Committee, had requested that Ken Dow, city attorney, prepare three resolutions that the committee had agreed to bring forward to the full Council. Dow had done so, but the resolutions were not presented to the Council because, as Miah claimed, Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton had "pulled" them. Miah had his own versions of these resolutions, which he, Garriga, and Donahue introduced from the floor. The press and the public never got to see these resolutions, and they don't appear on the City website. One was voted on and passed; one was tabled; one was voted on and failed. It seems that a resolution that passed was one appropriating an additional $54,800 for the Youth Department, but that is unclear.

Dan Udell videotaped all the proceedings, so everyone who was not there can view what went on. Gossips will publish the link to the video as soon as it is available. It may not provide clarity about what happened, since participants in the meeting reportedly left the Council Chamber uncertain of what had transpired, but it could be both revealing and entertaining.    

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hudson and the Rest of the State

Photo: YouTube
The New York Times and other major news media are reporting that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the winners in New York today. In our little bit of New York, the story is just a tad different. In Hudson, Sanders bested Clinton in every ward except the Second Ward. Of the 792 registered Democrats in Hudson who voted today, 458 of them voted for Sanders and 334 voted for Clinton. The strongest support for Sanders was in the Third Ward, where 62 percent of Democrats who came to the polls voted for him.

In the Republican primary, Hudson mirrored the state in its support for Donald Trump. A total of 126 registered Republicans voted in the primary: 81 voted for Trump; 22 voted for John Kasich, and 23 voted for Ted Cruz. Appropriately, nobody voted for Ben Carson, who ended his campaign on March 4, but whose name was still on the ballot.

The numbers reported for Hudson are from the Columbia County Board of Elections' Unofficial Election Night Results

The Polls Don't Open Until Noon

This morning, at sometime between 7 and 7:30 a.m., as I was walking Joey through Washington Square Park (by the courthouse), someone stopped his car along West Court Street, rolled down the window, and called out to me, "Where do we vote today?" He was too far away for me to recognize who it was, so I asked, as poll workers do, "Where do you live?" He told me and then said, "I usually vote at St. Mary's, but it's closed." To which I responded, "The polls don't open until noon."

Heading west on Allen, I witnessed someone try the door at St. Mary's. Visibly puzzled, he got back in his car and drove off before I was close enough to yell, "The polls don't open until noon."

So, dear readers, I remind you all: The polls don't open until noon, and they stay open until 9 p.m. If you don't know your polling site, click here to find out.

Graphic: Peter Allen|

Monday, April 18, 2016

What Might Have Been

Adam Ace Wolpinsky|New York Times
Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about Sing Sing: "Where Berkowitz Did Time and Cagney Spent Time." It reminded Gossips that back in 1889, when the State Prison at Sing Sing, then sixty-three years old, was considered "ancient and dilapidated," there was talk of building a new state prison. The civic leaders of Columbia County and the City of Hudson were eager to have a new state prison built in Greenport, just over the border from Hudson, on land owned by Fred W. Jones. Had they gotten their wish, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg would have been executed and the Son of Sam serial killer incarcerated just over the border from our fair city.

Sing Sing State Prison 1855

The Other Life of the Armory

Historic photographs of the Hudson Armory at Fifth and State streets often show uniformed soldiers posing on the steps or document the fire of epic proportions that took place there on the morning of December 31, 1928. 

One thing for which there is little photographic documentation is the Armory's use for community events--everything from hospital balls to basketball tournaments. On Wednesday, April 20, as part of the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Hudson Area Library, local historian and researcher Paul Barrett will present his discoveries about the nonmilitary uses of the building over the years in a program called "At Ease: The Social Side of the Hudson Armory."

The Friends' Annual Meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, in the Community Room of the library, 51 North Fifth Street. The public is invited to attend.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Presidential Primary Prep

By now, everyone should know that Tuesday, April 19, is the presidential primary in New York State. To vote in the primary, you must be registered Republican or a registered Democrat. If you are not sure if you are registered in one of the two major parties, you can check your status by clicking here

If you are a registered Republican, your ballot choices on Tuesday will be easy. You can vote for Donald Trump, John Kasich, Ben Carson (even though he has withdrawn from the race), or Ted Cruz.

If you are a registered Democrat, you will be asked to vote not only for a presidential candidate--either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton--but also for five delegates to the Democratic National Convention from the 19th Congressional District.

The delegates whose names appear on the same line as a candidate's are the delegates who support that candidate. The delegates on Line A support Bernie Sanders; the delegates on Line B support Hillary Clinton. You don't necessarily have to vote for the five delegates who support the candidate you choose. You can vote for delegates on either line, so long as you vote for no more than five.

On the ballot, (F) or (M) appears after each delegate's name, and, yes, that is the indication of their gender. According to New York State Democratic Party rules, the delegation to the National Convention must be made up of an equal number of women and men, hence the gender indicators.

The polls are open on Tuesday from noon until 9 p.m. Voters in the First, Second, and Third wards vote at St. Mary's Academy at Third and Allen streets; voters in the Fourth Ward vote at 401 State Street; voters in the Fifth Ward vote at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.