Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fire on the Waterfront: The Morning After

The last of the Hudson River Knitting Mill buildings was demolished last evening, after a devastating fire that rendered it structurally unsound. On this dismal morning, the foundation and rubble are all that remain of this historic industrial building on the waterfront.

The building belonged to Kite's Nest, and an inspiring vision for the formerly abandoned building was being pursued. The people of Kite's Nest have issued the following statement about the tragic loss and its impact on their mission. 
Early yesterday morning, we learned that the Riverloft building at 59 N. Front Street was burning. This building, and the property it sits on, was a gift to Kite’s Nest, and we stepped into ownership last September. We hadn’t begun construction, but we had begun dreaming: bringing together children, families, and other local organizations to imagine how this site might develop as a place of intergenerational learning and community. Already it is the site of our River City Garden, a public garden and a place of nourishment and gathering for dozens of families. The building was also a home for Hudson Sloop Club boats and equipment, which were lost in the fire.
The building will be demolished. But not our work, our dreams, our relationships, and our commitment to creating spaces of safety, hope and joy for Hudson’s children and families.
We are so filled with gratitude. Thank you to the firefighters, police, the Mayor, and the first responders from Hudson, Greenport, Stottville, Claverack and Catskill, who fought this fire for many hours, and kept everyone safe. Thankfully no lives were lost, and no one was harmed. An extraordinary community of people came down with full hearts, with words of support, with food. To all of our neighbors who had to be evacuated from their homes, who lost water this morning, to the kids who had to miss some school, to the parents who had to shift their schedules, we are grateful. Thank you to everyone who sent us messages of support, reminding us that “the beat goes on,” and that “though this fire was huge, our hearts are huger.” Heartbreaking moments like this one are also moments of remarkable generosity and solidarity.
The loss of the Riverloft building, once known as the Hudson River Knitting Mills, is certainly a loss of a piece of Hudson’s history. But this is also a moment for us to construct new history, together, in its wake. We invite all of our neighbors and friends to join us in rebuilding together. Let this fire our collective imagination for a future that holds all of our dreams. 


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