Friday, November 25, 2016

Some Things Take Time

Early images of Promenade Hill show the park without a railing along the edge.

Painting by Henry Ary, 1854

Promenade Hill, c. 1860

We  know from Anna Bradbury's History of the City of Hudson that it was 1878 when "the authorities took measures to improve the Promenade Hill, by the erection of an ornamental iron fence along the full length of its dangerous frontage." This little news item, discovered in the Hudson Daily Star for April 30, 1851, explains why a fence might have been required when it hadn't been before and reveals that the need for such a fence was recognized more than a quarter century before it was actually built. 

Twenty-seven years to provide a barrier to prevent people from tumbling down the frightful precipice. By comparison, the time it is taking the City to solve the problem of providing a handicapped ramp to Promenade Hill that is sensitive to the design of the historic landscape hardly seems extraordinary.


  1. I wonder what moron moved the benches so that you now face the rail, and also sit with your back to the path and its walkers. It's unusually anti-social for a park.

    It was done either during, or after, the 1950s (going by one photo I saw), and should be corrected.

  2. If the benches were set on the side of the path further from the fence, they would face the path and the view, which is the obvious reason they are now facing the mountains, river and sunset.

    1. Give me an example of a park anywhere in the Western world where the benches face away from the walking mall. It's not done.

      As soon as you find that exception, I'll acknowledge that Hudson's arrangement - only since the 1950s - is "obvious."

  3. I always have walked down there to sit and look at the sunset so it never seemed odd to me.

    1. You get a good view from across the path, too, where you're not staring into the rail.

      I was hoping to evoke something about the history of walking malls, and their origins in the 17th century. We have one of the earliest examples in the nation, a fact which we are free to ignore. And so we do.