Tuesday, May 31, 2016

News of the River

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that next steps are being taken in the process of building the Hudson River SkyWalk, a scenic pedestrian trail linking the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and the Olana State Historic Site. A $124,000 grant administered by the Department of State through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program will be used to pay for the planning and design of the SkyWalk and to develop an economic impact study.

Photo: NYS Bridge Authority
The proposed SkyWalk will include "pedestrian-friendly trails" on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. The NYS Bridge Authority is funding the renovation of the bridge as part of its capital program under Cuomo's statewide infrastructure investment plan.

The $124,000 grant was awarded to Greene County through the NYS Department of State's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, as part of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Click here to read the entire press release from the governor's office.

Looking Ahead for the Waterfront

Masters of Landscape Architecture students in Cornell's Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) studio spent the spring semester studying Hudson's southern waterfront--South Bay and the shoreline south of Promenade Hill. The purpose of the study was to design alternatives for a more climate-resilient--as well as a more beautiful and connected--river edge.

The students' designs were presented for the first time on May 20 to a number of city officials and others concerned about the future of the waterfront. From June 4 through July 4, the designs will be on display in the Center Hall Gallery at the Hudson Opera House.

On Saturday, June 4, from 4 to 6 p.m., there will be an opening reception for the exhibition, which is being called Waterfront Future: Designing Resilience for an Epoch of Rising Tides. The event includes a talk by Libby Zemaitis, climate resilience specialist at the Department of Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program and co-creator of Cornell's CAD studio, and Nancy Richards, a leader of the pioneering Catskill Waterfront Resilience Task Force. The talk will deal with the CAD process, the Cornell student designs, and how Hudson River communities can address the risks posed by climate change.

If you can't make it to the Hudson Opera House on Saturday to hear Zemaitis and Richards speak, you can get some background on the exhibition by listening to the Thursday Afternoon Show on WGXC this Thursday, June 2. Beginning at about 4:15 p.m., hosts Ellen Thurston and Tom DePietro will be discussing the project and the exhibition with Jonathan Lerner, chair of Hudson's Conservation Advisory Council, and Liz LoGiudice, from Cornell Cooperative Extension.

June and Gardens

This coming Saturday, June 4, the Garden Conservancy is having an Open Day in Columbia County. Six private gardens, including two gardens in ClaverackKetay Garden and the garden of Peter Bevacqua and Stephen Kingand Hudson Hood right here in Hudson, will be open for viewing and enjoying.

The gardens have different opening times10 a.m., 11 a.m. or noonbut all remain open until 4 p.m. Admission to each garden is $7, which can be paid in cash or by check at each site. Click here for more information about the event and the participating gardens.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Reports on the First Decoration Day in Hudson

As Gossips noted on Saturday, the first nationwide observance of Decoration Day--what we now know as Memorial Day--took place on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the hundreds of thousands who died in the Civil War. Along with the rest of the country--North and South--Hudson observed the first Decoration Day by laying flowers, fashioned into wreaths, crosses, and bouquets, on the graves of its Civil War dead. The following is the account of the solemn observance which appeared in the Evening Register.


There is no photographic record of the first Decoration Day in Hudson, but this illustration from Harper's Weekly, which shows the decoration of the three thousand graves of Civil War dead at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn on May 30, 1868, gives a sense of what probably happened here in our cemetery as well.

The Hudson Daily Star, in addition to reporting about the procession, the strewing of flowers, the speeches, and the prayers, offered this commentary on the day.


The Other Memorial Day Ceremony

Last night, word began spreading that the Memorial Day parade was canceled owing to the threat of rain, and the Memorial Day service, which traditionally takes place in Washington Square in front of the courthouse, would happen instead at the American Legion Post on Fairview Avenue. 

Not everyone got that message, and this morning, shortly after 10 a.m., people began gathering in Washington Square to wait for the parade to arrive. By 10:20, there were about twenty-five people sitting and standing about when it occurred to someone to call the American Legion to find out what was happening. That's when they learned that the service would begin in ten minutes . . . at the American Legion Post. For those who didn't want to rush to the top of Fairview Avenue, Peter Meyer, who lives just half a block away from the courthouse, offered to read the Gettysburg Address. The outcome was a moving, impromptu Memorial Day service, with no color guard or band or three-volley salute--just a four-minute speech read aloud. 

For readers who were not in Washington Square this morning, the text of the Gettysburg Address is provided below. There are few words more appropriate to ponder on this holiday.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate--we can not hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.  

Memorial Day Parade

If you were disappointed that the Memorial Day parade was canceled today, you can satisfy your need for a good, old-fashioned Memorial Day parade by watching some Memorial Day parades of yesteryear in Hudson, preserved in Jozef Cipkowski's home movies. 

Scenes from Hudson, Part 2 has parade footage at 4:20 to 8:00 and again at 9:11 to 12:12. This was back in the day when the Memorial Day parade started at Front Street and marched all the way to the cemetery, where the ceremony took place--and, as someone who has lived in Hudson all his life told Gossips, it happened "in all kinds of weather."

No Rain, but No Parade

It is confirmed that there will be no parade today, in spite of the fact that the sun is shining. A ceremony in observance of Memorial Day will take place at the American Legion at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Parade Tomorrow or No Parade?

According to weather.com, there is a 100 percent chance of rain tomorrow morning. A few hours ago, Scott Vorwald, the director of the Hudson High School Band, a key component in the parade, reported on several Facebook pages that he had received a call at 7:15 p.m. informing him that the parade has been canceled because of the possibility of rain, and, instead of a parade, a ceremony will be held at the Hudson American Legion Post at 7 Fairview Avenue.

Memorial Day Parade 2014
A couple of people replied to Worwald's post saying that the Hudson Fire Department had not been informed and that the fire chief had confirmed that there was indeed to be a parade. 

Sadly, Gossips is not on the American Legion's media list, but Vorwald's report seems pretty credible. The American Legion's invitation to the City of Hudson Common Council stated: "In the event inclement weather, services will be held in the Legion Post." There may be more news in the morning, but with the high school band at the American Legion, it won't be much of a parade down Warren Street.

Hudson in May 1866

There are a fair number of visitors in Hudson this weekend, as there were 150 years ago in the last week of May, when Hudson was host to the Sabbath School (or Sunday School) Convention. But there were also some less upstanding folks in town then, as evidenced by the mid-19th century version of the "Police Blotter" that follows, which appeared in the Hudson Daily Star for May 24, 1866.


The article indicates that Patrick Flarrel, arrested for disorderly conduct on Warren Street, "had no stamps." During the Civil War, and apparently for some time afterward as well, postage stamps could be used as legal tender. When the war lasted longer than expected, people panicked and started hoarding silver and gold coins. The production of new copper coins was restricted because metal was needed for weapons. To address the problem, Congress passed a law permitting the use of postage stamps as currency. Click here to read more about this.

City Hall, where the events described in "Police Doings" took place, was in 1866 the building we now know as the Hudson Opera House. Completed in 1855, it would have been a relatively new building when Clara Williams, Amelia Hines, Patrick Flarrel, and Charles Ludaber appeared before the Justice on that morning in May.

Holiday Weekend: Parking and Trash

Wherever your car is parked this morning, it can stay there all day and through the night. Memorial Day is one of several holidays on which alternate side of the street overnight parking is suspended. If this were an ordinary summer weekend, you would have to park your car on the even side of the street tonight (tomorrow being May 30, an even day), but because the tomorrow is a holiday, your car can spend the night on either side of the street.

This is what the trash barrels along Warren Street used to look like on the last day of a long holiday weekend.

Photos: Sarah Sterling
The good news is that a similar trash overflow won't be happening this weekend. It has been reported that a DPW crew came through this morning and emptied all the trash barrels along Hudson's main street.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The First Decoration Day in Hudson, 1868

This year, Memorial Day, which is now observed on the last Monday in May, falls on the date it was originally meant to be observed, May 30, a day chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle and it was an optimal time for flowers to be in bloom. On May 5, 1868, almost exactly three years after the end of the Civil War, General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the fraternal organization of Civil War veterans who had fought for the Union, issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed nationwide and annually on May 30. The first Decoration Day was observed on May 30, 1868.

For several days prior to May 30 in 1868, this notice appeared in the Hudson Evening Register.

On May 28, 1868, a further appeal to the ladies of Hudson, to volunteer not only the flowers from their gardens but also their flower-arranging talents, appeared in the Register.

There is more to report about the first Decoration Day in Hudson, and Gossips will do so as the weekend continues.


Friday, May 27, 2016

Contemplating Compatibility

This morning, the Historic Preservation Commission voted to grant a certificate of appropriateness for the addition of a partial second story to the building at 555 Union Street.

HPC members Gini Casasco, Peggy Polenberg, Phil Forman, and Miranda Barry voted in favor of granting a certificate of appropriateness; HPC chair Rick Rector and David Voorhees voted against it.

At some point in the discussion, Voorhees asked a critical question: "Is this compatible with the existing structure?" The question should have initiated a deliberate and informed consideration of compatibility, but Forman responded, "Distinguishing an addition from the original building is best practice," and the issue was dropped. While what Forman said is not untrue--additions should be differentiated from the original building--it does not preclude the question of compatibility. 

The National Park Service, which sets the national standards for historic preservation by which our Historic Preservation Commission should be operating, has published a Preservation Brief on the topic: "New Exterior Additions to Historic Buildings." This document begins by citing the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation that address exterior additions:
(9) New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.
(10) New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.
The Preservation Brief goes on to say:
A new addition to a historic building should preserve the building's historic character. To accomplish this and meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, a new addition should: preserve significant historic materials, features and form; be compatible; be differentiated from the historic building.
On the topic of differentiation, this caveat is offered:
To preserve a property's historic character, a new addition must be visually distinguishable from the historic building. This does not mean that the addition and the historic building should be glaringly different in terms of design, materials and other visual qualities. Instead, the new addition should take its design cues from, but not copy, the historic building.
The Preservation Brief provides photographs of additions to existing buildings that are considered to be compatible and those that are not. While acknowledging, "There is no formula or prescription for designing a new addition that meets the Standards," it does say that there needs to be "a balance between differentiation and compatibility in order to maintain historic character." Gossips makes no judgment but invites readers to study Preservation Brief 14 for themselves and decide if the addition approved by the HPC this morning achieves that balance.

Greet Summer at the River

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer. Later today, you can get the long weekend off to a suitable start down by the river, at the Hudson Sloop Club's Friday Fish Fry.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Mayor's "State of the City" Discussion

If you missed Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton's first town hall meeting on May 16 (also called a "State of the City" discussion) or if you just want to experience it again, Dan Udell's videotape of the event can now be viewed on YouTube.


Revisiting the Wards

In January, at the organizational meeting of the Common Council, the new Council president Claudia DeStefano announced her intention to form a "bipartisan committee to examine ward boundaries" with the goal of making a proposal about amending the ward boundaries, presumably to address the inequity of the weighted vote, which would be presented to voters in a referendum in November 2016. The November election is now only five months away, and if such a committee has been formed, Gossips is unaware of it. Since January, it seems, the attention of DeStefano and the rest of us has been focused on other things.

A day or so ago, Gossips' thoughts were drawn back to the ward boundaries (and the inherent inequity of the weighted vote) by a reader who wanted to know when the five wards were formed. The short answer to that question is: They weren't all created at the same time. The Fifth Ward was the latecomer, carved out of what had originally been the Fourth Ward in 1886. But when were the boundaries of the original four wards established?

In his History of Columbia County, Franklin Ellis reports that on May 5, 1785, Seth Jenkins issued a proclamation announcing the incorporation of the City of Hudson and his appointment as mayor and calling for an election to be held on May 9. In that election Jenkins became the mayor by popular vote, and four aldermen were elected: Stephen Paddock, Ezra Reed, Benjamin Folger, and William Mayhem. Four aldermen--but there's no indication that they represented four wards. In fact, at the time, the conceptualized part of Hudson (i.e., streets laid out, etc.) did not extend beyond what is now Third Street.

The city charter of 1823 enumerates the officers of the city, but makes no mention of wards: 
And be it further enacted, That there shall be the following officers in and for the said city, to wit: one mayor, one recorder, four aldermen, four assistants, one clerk, one marshal, one chamberlain, one supervisor, and as many assessors, collectors and constables, as the common council for the said city shall, from time to time, direct to be chosen.
The wards are mentioned for the first time in the amended city charter that was adopted on April 10, 1854.
The said City shall be divided into four Wards, as follows:
The part lying southerly of the centre line of Warren Street and westerly of the centre line of Third Street, shall be the First Ward;
That part thereof lying Northerly if the centre line of Warren Street and Westerly of the centre line of Third Street, extended to the northerly bounds of the city, shall be the Second Ward;
That part thereof lying southerly and easterly of a line running from a point in the centre of Third Street, in the south bounds of the city, along the center line of Third street to the centre line of Warren Street, thence along the centre line of Warren Street to the centre line of Seventh Street, thence diagonally across the Public Square to the centre line of Columbia Street and Columbia Turnpike road to the line of Greenport, shall be the Third Ward, and
That part thereof lying northerly and easterly of a line running from a point in a line with the centre of Third Street, in the north bounds of the city, southerly along the centre line of Third Street to the centre line of Warren Street, thence easterly along the northerly line of the Third Ward to the line of Greenport, shall be the Fourth Ward.
It would seem that the charter amendments passed in 1854 created Hudson's original four wards.

Happy Anniversary, Carrie Haddad Gallery

Photo: Chronogram
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Carrie Haddad Gallery--the first art gallery in Hudson--which opened in 1991, originally at 316 Warren Street. Earlier today, Carrie Haddad was interviewed by Joe Donahue on WAMC. You can listen to that interview here. A favorite quote from the interview is this statement by Haddad, speaking of the people who make up the Hudson community: "We are a large dysfunctional group that functions very well together." Congratulations on 25 years! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Freedoms of Summer

What can do you between Memorial Day and Labor Day that you can't do the rest of the year?

If you are a properly brought up Baby Boomer, you might answer, "Wear white shoes." If you're a Hudson resident, you are more likely to answer, "Park my car overnight on either side of the street on the weekend."

Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton announced this afternoon that, starting on Friday, May 27, alternate side of the street parking is suspended on weekends until September 30. This means that from Friday night to Saturday morning and from Saturday night to Sunday morning cars can be parked overnight on both sides of the street.

Going After the $10 Million

It seems pretty clear that Governor Andrew Cuomo loves a good competition when it comes to awarding state funds for economic development. Last year, it was the URI--Upstate Revitalization Initiative-- which pitted the seven upstate regions against each other for $500 million--$100 million a year for five years. This year, it's the DRI--Downtown Revitalization Initiative--in which the cities in each region compete with each other for $10 million. Some have opined that Hudson is not an appealing candidate because it's not needy enough, having enviably revitalized itself. Others predict that the money will go to a big city like Schenectady or Troy, and a small city like Hudson doesn't stand a chance. Still, with characteristic pluck and determination, Sheena Salvino, executive director of Hudson Development Corporation (HDC), has nominated Hudson and is now working on the application, which must be submitted by June 1. As Salvino put it, "Ten million dollars is going to be awarded to one community in the Capital Region. If we don't apply, your tax dollars will go to some other community. Wouldn't you rather those tax dollars be invested in Hudson?"

Working with input from the business community, the Common Council Economic Development Committee, and members of the public, Salvino has identified broad areas for potential investment, which she wants to keep confidential, since, after all, it is a competition, and you don't want the other guys to know what you're proposing. Should Hudson be selected for the $10 million investment, $300,000 will be awarded in the first year for in-depth planning with lots of community input to generate and develop specific projects to be pursued.

News of the Greenport Planning Board Meeting

Colarusso's proposal for a haul road from the quarry to the river came before the Greenport Planning Board on Tuesday night. Patrick Prendergast, the same person who presented the plan for O&G back in 2009-2010, presented it again last night, acknowledging that the plan was essentially unchanged since then. In fact, Prendergast quipped he'd been "hunting and pecking" through the documents he'd created in 2009 to change O&G to Colarusso.

Gossips remembers, as did at least one member of the Greenport Planning Board, that the NYS Department of Transportation had some unresolved concerns about gravel trucks crossing Route 9G and entering and exiting Route 9, but Prendergast told the Greenport Planning Board that DOT had approved the project in December 2010 (months after the project was before the Greenport Planning Board the first time), but O&G "never got a work permit from DOT." (The project never got site plan approval from the Greenport Planning Board in 2010 and never came before the Hudson Planning Board.) Prendergast told the Greenport Planning Board that Creighton Manning had done a traffic analysis of both the intersection of the proposed haul road and Route 9 and the intersection of the haul road and Route 9G--a study that would be submitted soon, as part of their application. 

During the course of the discussion, some interesting things were revealed. First, although Colarusso purchased all of Holcim's holdings in the City of Hudson, they did not purchase the land owned by Holcim 930 feet from Route 9G (the Hudson border) to Route 9. This land is still owned by Holcim, and Colarusso has a 100-foot wide easement through that property.

Also revealed was Colarusso's plan to move the roadway through South Bay south, to center it on the causeway. It seems the "causeway"the path through South Bay that was filled in during latter part of the 19th century to support Fred W. Jones's mountain railroadonce accommodated two railroad tracks and a service road. The path now being used by gravel trucks making their way to the port is actually the service road. The plan, as Prendergast explained it, is to move the roadway to the center of the causeway and make it wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic, and then to create a "grass filter strip" on either side between the roadway and the wetland. Prendergast said this plan was now being reviewed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), claiming Trish Gabriel and "the wetland" person" are "OK with it."

Ray Jurkowski, the engineer on the Greenport Planning Board (the Greenport Planning Board is required to have one engineer memberwhat a concept!), asked about SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan), noting that what was being proposed was "a disturbance of 8.8 acres." Prendergast posited that it was simply "maintaining a road." Jurkowski countered, "It's a disturbance."

Edward Stiffler, chair of the Greenport Planning Board, disclosed that he had received a call that afternoon from Hudson mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, who was concerned that the City of Hudson was being left out of the review process. Prendergast attested that the proposal had been "hand delivered," presumably to the code enforcement office, on Friday. (Gossips discovered the project listed on the agenda for the Greenport Planning Board on Thursday, May 12--a week and a day before it was submitted to the City of Hudson.)

Toward the end of the Planning Board's consideration of the proposal, Stiffler acknowledged the receipt of a letter from the Valley Alliance, noting that it raised concerns "we may want to address at a future time." When asked if the Greenport Planning Board intended to declare itself lead agency in the review of the proposed haul road, Stiffler said they haven't decided yet. He earlier spoke of gathering additional information to determine whether or not the project "trips a threshold for a coordinated review" with the City of Hudson.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Déjà Vu All Over Again . . . and Something Else

(Is it significant that this is the sixth time in six years that Gossips has used the title "Déjà Vu All Over Again"?)

Tonight, this item appears under New Business on the agenda for the Greenport Planning Board.
Colarusso Quarry Co. – Application for Site Plan Review for a Haul Road from the Colarusso facility on Newman Road to the Hudson River Waterfront. (May require a coordinated review with the City of Hudson Planning Board). 
This same proposal was before the Greenport Planning Board six years ago, in January 2010. That time, the haul road was being proposed by O&G/Holcim; this time, it's being proposed A. Colarusso & Son, which acquired the Holcim property in Hudson and Greenport in 2014.

When this proposal was made more than six years ago, Cheryl Roberts, when city attorney for Hudson, sent a letter to O&G warning that "seeking approval from the Town of Greenport Planning Board in advance of a declaration of lead agency and undertaking a coordinated review . . . amounts to segmentation in violation of 6NYCRR 617.3(g)." This time, the Greenport Planning Board is acknowledging upfront that the project may require a coordinated review with the City of Hudson Planning Board.

As it did in 2010, the Valley Alliance has submitted a written statement about this proposal, which includes concerns about the South Bay Creek & Wetland, possible SEQRA violations, and traffic issues. The full text of the Valley Alliance's letter to the Greenport Planning Board can be read here.

One thing that's different today from the way things were in 2010 is that back then this is what the road going east from Route 9G looked like.

In January 2010, Gossips reported about the road being proposed: "From 9G east, it will be two lanes, each lane 12 feet wide, with shoulders." Today, the road going east appears to be exactly what was proposed in 2010. Gossips sources have reported that the road going east is 29 feet wide.

The first 930 feet of the road from Route 9G east to Route 9 is actually in Hudson not in Greenport, in a part of the Southern Waterfront Area zoned Recreational Conservation in the 2011 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). The agenda for the next Hudson Planning Board meeting, which takes place on Thursday, June 9, is not yet available.  

Also on the agenda for tonight's Greenport Planning Board meeting is an application to build "retail establishments at 161 Fairview Avenue." The address indicated is between McDonald's and the Gothic Revival house that survives from an earlier time. What impact the proposed commercial development will have on the house, which now appears abandoned, is not known.

Photo: Paul Barrett
The Greenport Planning Board meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Greenport Town Hall, 600 Town Hall Drive, off Healy Blvd. in Greenport.

Shad Season on the Hudson in 1959

Yesterday, inspired by Sunday's gathering at the Shacks, Paul Barrett sent Gossips an article that appeared in the Chatham Courier on April 23, 1959, reporting that the first shad of the season had been taken from the Hudson River. The article, which was accompanied by two photographs, is reproduced below.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Meeting at North Bay

The headline in the Register-Star declares: "Furgary Boat Club to be opened to the public."  This is a bit of an overstatement. What Gossips heard the mayor say was that the fence along the southern edge of the site was to be moved several yards north, to allow access to the river while still cordoning off the shacks.

The purpose of the meeting on Sunday was to gather ideas and thoughts about the future of the Furgary site in particular and North Bay as a whole, but, although the event had some moments of contention, the ideas posted on the board provided for the purpose seemed pretty general and somewhat redundant. (Those comments are going to be published, and when they are, Gossips will share them.) 

Two things learned from Leo Bower yesterday are worthy of sharing. First, the question of whether the primary accent in Furgary is on the first or second syllable can finally be put to rest, because the true name of the settlement is simply "The Shacks." Second, there were similar shacks south of Promenade Hill, where the parking lot for the state boat launch now is. Bower had a wonderful picture of those shacks among a collection of photographs he brought to the meeting for people to see. The best Gossips can offer is this screen capture from the 1959 film Odds Against Tomorrow, which shows one of those shacks and a bit of another in the background. The building farthest left, appearing under the bill of  Harry Belafonte's cap, is now the clubhouse of the Hudson Power Boat Association.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

There Was Trash in Them Woods

The Oakdale Lake Community Cleanup took place this morning.

Sarah Sterling, supervisor for the First Ward, provided Gossips with these photographs of the trash that litters the area no more. (It's the same heap from two different vantage points.)


Another Challenge for the HPC

Some of the most difficult projects that come before the Historic Preservation Commission are those that involve new construction in a historic district. Of those, new construction that is an addition to an existing building is the most challenging. There are some useful guidelines available to help the HPC members make such decisions, and some members refer to them conscientiously, while others seem to rely on their own aesthetic sense to determine what is appropriate and what is not.   

A few years ago, in 2012, the owners of 555 Union Street, who find the building too small for their needs, proposed adding a second story to the building.

Although the provenance of the building is not known, the proposed second floor addition obliterated any sense of the building's original design, and HPC denied a certificate of appropriateness.  Recently, on May 13, the owners made a new proposal to the HPC: to add a second story to only the back of the house.

The rendering presented to the HPC makes the design of the addition appear similar to the Edgar Tafel design of the rectory at Christ Church, but the material is not stucco and split timber but rather large sheets of Hardiplank.

The HPC deemed the application incomplete and asked the owners to provide samples of the material to be used and photographs showing it used in the manner they are proposing. The project is expected to come back before the HPC on Friday, May 27. The HPC meets at 10 a.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.