Friday, November 30, 2018

Wine, Beer, and Intrigue

Four years ago, Gossips reported on the abrupt closing of Fine Wines & Spirits at 40 Green Street. The business closed because the New York State Liquor Authority had revoked its liquor license.

Not long after Fine Wines & Spirits closed, a new wine store, called M & M Wine & Spirits, opened at 720 Columbia Street.

In recent weeks, the wine store at 720 Columbia Street moved to the space at 40 Green Street previously occupied by Fine Wines & Spirits. Not long after that, the Beer Store, which had opened in the same building--the former Schroeder Chevrolet dealership--around the same time as Fine Wines & Spirits and continued doing business after the departure of Fine Wines & Spirits, closed without warning. Richard Moody has the story in HudsonValley360: "Mystery surrounds Beer Store closure." 

A Hour with the Mayor

This past Wednesday, Justin Weaver and Holly Tanner spoke with Mayor Rick Rector for an hour on the WGXC radio show Something to Talk About. That show has now been archived and can be heard by clicking here. In the free ranging conversation, which covers such diverse topics as the DRI, the Youth Department, affordable housing, and a four-year term for future mayors, Rector reveals that he intends to seek reelection in 2019 and predicts that 2019 will be a transition year for the City of Hudson.

Winter Walk Is Nigh

Tomorrow, the first Saturday in December, it's Winter Walk, "Hudson's largest liveliest, and most colorful event of the year"!

Photo: Albert Gnidica
This year, as every year, there will be much to see and hear and experience along the entire length of Warren Street. The official guide to Winter Walk 2018 is available here. Studying it in advance is recommended lest you miss out on any of the delights of the evening.

Here are a few Gossips recommendations:
  • Adam Weinert's Rip the Nut, "a raucous Hudson Valley-inspired mash-up of the Rip Van Winkle Story and The Nutcracker Suite," with a small and subtle homage to The Gossips of Rivertown, will be performed three times--5:15, 6:00, and 6:45 p.m.--with three different casts, at Hudson Hall, 327 Warren Street.
  • The shops below Third Street are having a scavenger hunt called "Find George the Gingerbread Man." Pick up your passport for the hunt at Hudson Hall or Lili and Loo (259 Warren Street), find George at the participating shops, collect ten stamps, and be rewarded with a yummy gingerbread cookie at Dish (102 Warren Street).
  • The Daughters of the American Revolution will be offering guided tours of their historic house at 113 Warren Street.
  • The historic ice boat Whiff will be on display in front of BackBar at 347 Warren Street.
  • The Triform Bell Choir will be performing in the Solaris Gift Shop at 360 Warren Street.
  • Lady Moon will be performing from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Hudson Milliner Art Salon, 415 Warren Street. Afterward, from 7:15 to 8:00, there's an event called "Musical Chairity" to benefit the Hudson Youth Center. A $20 donation is required to participate, and winners will receive a painted and collaged image by Charlotta Janssen.
  • In the vicinity of 426 Warren Street, the ice carver Billy Bywater will be at work creating an ice sculpture.
  • At 427 Warren Street, the old police station, the History Room of the Hudson Area Library will have an exhibition from its extensive collection of vintage post cards.
And then there are the projections--a concept not entirely new to Winter Walk but certainly more abundant this year.
  • At Wm. Farmer & Sons, 20 South Front Street: Mark Morris's "Dance of the Snowflakes" from The Hard Nut
  • In the PARC Park, 326 Warren Street: Rip Van Winkle
  • At 429 Warren Street: Video installations by Second Ward Foundation artist in residence James Autery and artist Carolee Schneemann
  • At 521 Warren Street: Snowflakes of Hudson created by artist Emma Sandall  
And don't miss the new huts in Santa's Village in Seventh Street Park, created by the Hudson Area Library Tween Advisory Council and Like Minded Objects.

So, hope the rain being forecast for tomorrow holds off until after 8 p.m., and come out and join your friends and neighbors to revel in the festive beginning of the holiday season.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Found Cat Alert

Is anyone living in the vicinity of the cemetery missing a gray and white cat with longish hair? If so, please contact Gossips as soon as possible.

Update: The cat's people have been located. RIP sweet kitty. 

Anchor Away

In September, when Gossips reported that 746 and 748 Warren Street had a new owner (748 Warren is now back on the market), we wondered what the future held for 750-752 Warren Street, the building originally constructed, a hundred or so years ago, as the Crescent Garage, where Packards and other luxury cars where sold and serviced.

Photo: Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collecton, CCHS
This was to be Hudson's answer to the Chelsea Market. The project, to be called Hudson Anchor Market, got site plan approval from the Planning Board in 2014, and alterations proposed for the building's exterior were granted a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Commission in that year as well. At the time, an opening in the fall of 2015 was anticipated.

Instead of becoming a food emporium, the building was offered for lease in the fall of 2017, with, if memory serves, a monthly rent payment of $15,000.

When the "For Lease" signage disappeared earlier this year, Gossips learned that the owners had decided to make additional repairs to the building. Now the building is being offered for sale by its owners, with an asking price of $2.25 million. The estimated monthly mortgage payment (owner financing is available) is $9,220.

Photo: Zillow
The building is now being marketed as a two bedroom, two bathroom "loft on Warren Street's East End."

Thanks to Cynthia Lambert for bringing this to our attention

More About Trash

HudsonValley360 reported yesterday that a ban on single-use plastic bags is being considered by Board of Supervisors County Government Committee: "Columbia County Supervisors discuss possible plastic bag ban." The discussion was initiated by Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann.

In October, Ulster County adopted a law prohibiting retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to their customers. The law, which goes into effect at the beginning of 2019, was opposed by the New York Association of Convenience Stores. James Calvin, president of the association and a member of the CEDC (Columbia Economic Development Corporation) board, is quoted in the article as arguing that "convenience stores face a unique challenge from plastic bag bans because customers generally don't plan to go to convenience stores like they do for grocery stores."

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Talking of Recycling

In October, HudsonValley360 reported that Columbia County intends to charge an annual fee to people who bring their recyclables to any one of the county transfer stations and will charge the City of Hudson and the Town of Greenport $20,000 each to accept recyclables collected by those municipalities: "Columbia County discusses recycle fee: reduced rate for seniors 65 or older."

At the last Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting, Alderman Rich Volo (Fourth Ward), who chairs the committee, reported on a recycling conference he had attended recently. The main takeaway from the conference seemed to be that single stream recycling is "causing a mess." Volo predicted that some sort of change is coming in the way the City of Hudson handles recycling and spoke of an education campaign to prepare for that change.

Meanwhile, the dumpster at the former John L. Edwards Primary School keeps getting filled with things bound for a landfill that should be recycled or put to good use.

Gossips recently received a report from a reader who did some dumpster diving at JLE about some of the things found there: many unopened packages of colored napkins, Styrofoam plates and bowls, table covers, various still useful children's toys, tools, and learning games.

There were also many recyclable cardboard boxes, plastic milk jugs, and paperback books.

Found too in the dumpster were a virtually unopened 26-pound box of white drawing paper, about 10 pounds of perfectly good colored paper, and at least a dozen partial reams of copy paper.

The reader who salvaged these things from the dumpster mused on the profligacy: "We all know that our planet and future generations are in peril, yet we continue to waste perfectly good things and spew carbon into the atmosphere as if there were no consequences. We all need a mind shift. How else will the young ones learn that throwing away perfectly good drawing paper is unacceptable if their school is doing it?" Gossips concurs.

Highlights from the HDC Meeting

The Board of the Hudson Development Corporation met last night at 6 p.m. It was the board's first meeting since September, and its first since announcing that henceforward it would hold its meetings at 6 p.m. rather than at noon, which had been the board's custom for decades. At last night's meeting, eight members of the board were present and six members of the public. 

John Gilstrap
Bob Rasner, who is vice president of the board, chaired the meeting in the absence of John Gilstrap, the board president. As a first order of business, Rasner read a letter from Gilstrap, explaining that he was suffering from a bad cold and unable to attend. The message also announced his intention to resign as HDC president, effective at the end of 2018, explaining that he found being the president of the board without an executive director in place to be untenable.   

Gregg Carey
At last night's meeting, the board voted to add another new member, Gregg Carey. In introducing Carey to the board, board member Chris Jones noted that Carey had built several companies in Silicon Valley, had been a contestant on Survivor, and now lives in Hudson with his wife, who has a shop on Warren Street, and their young daughter. Before a vote was taken, board member Steve Dunn asked Carey, "Why do you want to do this?" Responding to the question, Carey spoke of being part of the community and said he saw his role on HDC as one of job development, specifically helping to equip the community with the skills required to work in a remote freelance environment.

The redevelopment of the Kaz site, which ground to a halt last summer, continues to occupy HDC. Last night, several issues related to the site were discussed. The first was a proposal from The Wick to rent from HDC the concrete pad which is the remnant of the section of the Kaz warehouse that was demolished, at The Wick's expense, last year. The hotel wants to use the space for parking. After some discussion about whether or not the proposed lease contract could be discussed in executive session or if Open Meetings Law required that it be discussed in public, it was finally decided that a subcommittee composed of Rasner, Dunn, and Nick Haddad be tasked with analyzing the lease agreement proposed by The Wick and making recommendations to the board. 

Another Kaz-related topic was the acquisition of a portion of the property on South Front Street now owned by CSX. In June, HDC seemed poised to acquire the property in question, but an opinion from former Third Ward alderman John Friedman, advising caution about potential contamination on the site, stalled that initiative. At last night's meeting, two concerns were raised regarding the acquisition, both requirements of CSX: that it be indemnified of any responsibility for environmental issues on the site, and that no residential building constructed on the parcel in question or adjacent to it. On the issue of contamination, Mayor Rick Rector brought up the fact--for the first time in these discussions--that two decades ago the City of Hudson owned the seven-acre parcel where CSX now has its "crew shack." The City had swapped that parcel for land owned by CSX on the waterfront, land that enabled the expansion of riverfront park to include what is now known as Rick's Point. After Dunn suggested that the contract proposed by CSX for the sale of the property might be a "form contract" and therefore "has things in it that are not relevant," and Dunn volunteered to revise the contract "to something sensible," it was decided that Dunn should be the point person "to have a conversation with CSX."

Another Kaz-related issue taken up at the meeting was the $487,160 of DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding earmarked for redevelopment of the Kaz site. Rector explained that the money was for "demolition and a little bit of infrastructure." Reacting to this statement, Haddad asked, "Has it been determined that the building will come down?" 

At the end of the meeting, Rector said of the Kaz project, "This is on the back burner. We're going to digest this. We'll get the DRI going, and we'll come back to this." Don Moore added, "It's madness that anyone's going to suspect anything will happen quickly."

On the topic of the DRI, it was revealed at the meeting that responses to the RFP (request for proposal) for a person or entity to manage the implementation of the DRI are due at the end of this week. The person or entity chosen to manage the process "will facilitate public hearings on every [City of Hudson] project with DRI funding." The City of Hudson projects are: the Complete Streets improvements in the BRIDGE District ($3,982,550); renovation of the entrance to Promenade Hill and ADA-compliant access to the park ($1,100,000); improving safety and aesthetics of Cross Street and the Second Street stairs ($250,000); stabilization of the Dunn Warehouse for future re-use ($1,000,000); repurposing the historic fishing village once known as the Furgary Boat Club as a city park ($150,000).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

In Case It Interests You

The count of absentee and affidavit ballots in Columbia County was completed early this afternoon. The count, which started during Thanksgiving week, is the reason for Gossips' scant activity in recent weeks. That completed, things are now back to normal.

Architectural Treasure Lost

Yesterday, Wildcliff, a house designed by premier 19th-century architect Alexander Jackson Davis, was destroyed by fire.

Photo: New Rochelle Patch

Wildcliff, which stood atop a hill in New Rochelle, overlooking Long Island Sound, was built around 1852. In 1940, Clara Prince, whose family had acquired Wildcliff in 1913, donated the house to the City of New Rochelle, with the intention that it be a destination for children to learn about science and nature. From 1964 to 1981, the house was the Youth Museum. When the Youth Museum closed, the house was abandoned. 

Interest in the house remained. In 2002, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2012, a group formed to lease Wildcliff from the City of New Rochelle and refurbish the building and grounds to create a nursery school, gallery, office spaces, and spaces for adult education. Today, it seems, the house is a total loss.

Learning of such tragedies often makes us hold closer and cherish more the things that are ours. If the loss of an A. J. Davis house in New Rochelle moves you to value more our own A. J. Davis masterpiece, the Dr. Oliver Bronson House, Historic Hudson is making a Giving Tuesday appeal for the house. A project now underway will adapt the house's 1812 cellar into usable space for meetings and gatherings and support for events at the house and on the grounds, thus making the National Historic Landmark a real resource for the community. If you are moved to help make that happen, click here

Monday, November 26, 2018

Upstairs, Downstairs

This just in: The Tourism Board will meet at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27, on the second floor of 1 North Front Street, in the office space of HDC and HCDPA. The HDC Board will meet at 6 p.m. in the Chamber of Commerce conference room on the ground floor of 1 North Front Street. For meeting junkies, it just might be possible to divide your time between the two meetings, which, for a half an hour at least, will be taking place simultaneously. 

Public Meeting Musical Chairs

Gossips learned this morning that the calendar on the City of Hudson website was incorrect. The Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) meeting will NOT take place at the Senior Center in the Galvan Armory. Instead, it will meet in its usual venue: the Chamber of Commerce conference room at 1 North Front Street. It is yet to be confirmed where the Tourism Board will be meeting, but when it is, Gossips will let you know. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

The long Thanksgiving weekend is over, and the week going forward is filled with meetings.
  • On Monday, November 26, the Common Council Fire Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. and the Police Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. Both meetings take place at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • On Tuesday, November 27, the Tourism Board meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of 1 North Front Street. Also on Tuesday, the board of the Hudson Development Corporation will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Chamber of Commerce conference room on the ground floor of 1 North Front Street.
  • On Wednesday, November 28, the Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on the proposal to demolish two buildings at 248 and 250 Columbia Street and build a two-family duplex on the site. Area variances are required for the two new buildings. The public hearing takes place at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall and will be followed by the regular meeting of the ZBA.
At 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, the Common Council Legal Committee meets in the Senior Center at the Galvan Armory, 51 North Fifth Street.
  • On Thursday, November 29, the Conservation Advisory Council will present the maps that have been prepared for the Open Space and Natural Resources Inventory. The presentation will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street.
  • On Friday, November 30, the Historic Preservation Commission will its second meeting of the month at 10:00 a.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

It Only Took a Hundred Years

A record number of women--102 at last count--were elected to the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election.  

A hundred years ago, women had the right to vote in only fifteen states. In New York, where women had won the right to vote in 1917, they voted for the first time in the 1918 midterm election. An item that appeared on the op-ed page of the Columbia Republican on November 19, 1918, comments on the state of woman suffrage in the country at that moment, anticipating the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, and also reports the outcome for the two women who ran for Congress that year.  


Friday, November 23, 2018

Help for Hudson Shoppers This Weekend

Today, tomorrow, and Sunday, the Hudson Business Coalition is providing a free shuttle from Basilica Hudson, where Basilica Farm & Flea Holiday Market is happening, and stops on Warren Street: Second, Fourth, and Seventh streets. The shuttle will operate from noon to 5 p.m. on each of the three days.

Happy holiday shopping to all--at Hudson's local businesses and from local and regional producers and makers.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Great War: November 19, 1918

A week and a day after the Armistice was signed, ending the fighting of World War I, the witty item reproduced below appeared in the Columbia Republican for November 19, 1918. William Hohenzollern was Kaiser Wilhelm II, who abdicated on November 9, 1918, and fled into exile in the Netherlands. General Pershing was, of course, John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front.


Hudson as a Household Name

In the episode of CBS series FBI that aired on Tuesday, a suspect in the kidnapping of a Russian scientist is identified by face recognition technology. Among the information presented by an FBI agent to her colleagues early on in the show is that an obituary for the suspect's mother appeared in 2008 in the Hudson Register-Star.

That detail alone is evidence that the TV show is fiction. Since the Register-Star morphed into HudsonValley360, its entire online archive has been inaccessible--probably even to the FBI.

The image above is a screen capture from the show. The entire episode, called "This Land Is Your Land," can be viewed here.

Thanks to Marty Davidson for bringing this to our attention

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Wondering About Unintended Consequences

HudsonValley360 reports this morning that Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood intends to establish a new health center at 802 Columbia Street: "Hudson Planned Parenthood seeks support for new center." According to the article, the new health center will include a reception and waiting area, four patient rooms, an abortion recovery room, care coordination and counseling offices, and a shared teen space and community room. When the new center opens, the one on Fairview Avenue in Greenport will close. 

All around, this seems like a good thing, but a question arises. Will the ragtag army of pro-lifers who have established themselves across the street from the clinic on Fairview Avenue now be seeking an outpost in Hudson?


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Council Votes to Enact Local Law No. 5

At tonight's Common Council meeting, letters from former city attorney Ken Dow and former Third Ward alderman John Friedman pointing out substantive problems with Local Law No. 5, sometimes known as the "Stewart's law," were received as communications. There was no discussion of the issues raised by Dow and Friedman or the alternative solution suggested by Friedman, nor was there any evidence that anyone on the Council had even read the letters much less given their content serious consideration.

Instead the Council passed a resolution "declaring a negative declaration under SEQR [State Environmental Quality Review] to Local Law No. 5." Attached to the resolution was an already completed Short Environmental Assessment Form on which the response to each of the following eleven questions was "No, or small impact may occur":
  1. Will the proposed action create a material conflict with an adopted land use plan or zoning regulations?
  2. Will the proposed action result in a change in the use or intensity of use of land?
  3. Will the proposed action impair the character or quality of the existing community?
  4. Will the proposed action have an impact on the environmental characteristics that caused the establishment of a Critical Environmental Area (CEA)?
  5. Will the proposed action result in an adverse change in the existing level of traffic or affect existing infrastructure for mass transit, biking or walkway?
  6. Will the proposed action cause an increase in the use of energy and it fails to incorporate reasonably available energy conservation or renewable energy opportunities?
  7. Will the proposed action impact existing: (a) public/private water supplies? (b) public/private wastewater treatment utilities?
  8. Will the proposed action impair the character or quality of important historic, archaeological, architectural or aesthetic resources?
  9. Will the proposed action result in an adverse change to natural resources (e.g., wetlands, waterbodies, groundwater, air quality, flora and fauna)?
  10. Will the proposed action result in an increase in the potential for erosion, flooding or drainage problems?
  11. Will the proposed action create a hazard to environmental resources or human health?
The completed form was not discussed or even reviewed before the Council voted unanimously to make a negative declaration. That done, the Council voted to enact Local Law No. 5. All the aldermen present--Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), Eileen Halloran (Fifth Ward), Kamal Johnson (First Ward), Calvin Lewis (Third Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), Shershah Mizan (Third Ward), John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward), and Rich Volo (Fourth Ward)--voted aye. Aldermen Rob Bujan (First Ward) and Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward) were absent from the meeting. 

With no reference to SmartCode principles or the Sprawl Repair Manual written into the law, it is up to the Planning Board, with no support from the law, to ensure we don't end up with a convenience store and gas station more suitable to Greenport than to Hudson at this corner. It's questionable, however, how much SmartCode principles would actually help the situation. Recently, an advocate for SmartCode sent me this rendering, indicating that is was a "nice image of a convenience store on the street/pumps and parking in back," which some members of the Planning Board have been talking about for Stewart's.

The problem is that the Stewart's location is on a corner, so the pumps and parking will only be "in back" from Green Street or from Fairview Avenue. From the other street, pumps and parking will be completely exposed.

Of Interest

HudsonValley360 reported last night that Cosmic Cinemas, located in the former Fairview Cinema 3 in Greenport, opened yesterday, apparently without much fanfare: "Action: Cosmic Cinema has first showing."

What's currently playing--and the information that all tickets are just $5 on Tuesdays--is available here.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

In the Category "It Was Ever Thus"

In October, the Common Council passed a resolution to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the use of the public dock--the dock in riverfront park, historically known as Curtiss Dock, which for years been used by Hudson Cruises.

The use of this dock by Hudson Cruises is not without controversy, and I was reminded of our current dock situation when I stumbled upon an article from a hundred years ago, reporting on a public hearing about a proposal to rent what was then called the Kennedy dock to a company planning to construct concrete boats in Hudson. My sources indicate that the Kennedy dock, at one time known as the Knickerbocker dock, was located south of what is now the Colarusso dock, on 4.4 acres that the City of Hudson illegally sold to St. Lawrence Cement in 1981.

For its historic interest (and its entertaining intrigue), the article that appeared in the Columbia Republican on November 19, 1918, is transcribed below.

The public hearing relative to the leasing of the city dock to a concrete ship corporation was held in the Common Council chamber last night with Recorder Moy presiding.
Judge Rodgers, attorney for the petitioners, said he had drawn, not a contract but a tentative agreement which was submitted to the Council and changed. He wanted only to put the matter in shape for discussion. Judge Ro[d]gers said they were willing to pay a rental for the property, a good fair price rather than the nominal rental which the Council asked, the latter considering the amount of help that would be brought to Hudson as an offset to any rental.
The proposed "contract" between the concrete ship corporation and the city of Hudson was then read: this empowered the city treasurer to lease to said corporation the Kennedy dock and pumping station dock for $1 per year for ten years. The corporation agreeing to use these docks to construct concrete boats and divers other things; the company to have all the buildings and machinery to use and to reconstruct same, the pumping station and machinery to be kept as an engineering station. The ship corporation should have the right to place any buildings on this property it sees fit; the city to allow the company to construct carrying plants and supports to carry cement [f]rom the cement companies to the docks, the straightest line to be followed and no interference with its street traffic. The privilege of a ten year renewal was also to be granted the company.
Mayor Harvey stated that he had given two contracts and a petition signed by a number of residents to the city treasurer and [he] had refused to return them. A call was then made for the city treasurer or his counsel but there was no response.
Arthur Gifford wanted to know just how Judge Ro[d]gers was willing to modify the terms. Judge Ro[d]gers said he would be glad to waive any rights that would give them the right of carrying cement over the streets if there was any objection. They did not want to monopolize the docks and would only use them as they were pushing the barges out. He said his company wanted to come here to do business and spend their money.
In answer to Mr. Coffin, Judge Rodgers said the barges would run from 150 to 300 feet. One barge called for 15 or 20 men to construct it and they could build 7 barges at a time. He told Mr. Coffin that Mr. Morse had no connection with this proposed plant and that in the contract what was meant by "other devices" was the plant for the wiring which was mixed in the cement.
Alderman elect McLaren asked some pertinent questions and said in Athens where 265 foot boats were built 5 loads of grave were necessary to 1 load of cement. He then asked him why he didn't go where the gravel was rather than where cement was.
Mr. Gifford said the city wanted all good industries here and believed that whatever came should come on a business basis, business terms and with business contracts: "Don't let us give away our only water front with the future of the barge canal at our doors," said Mr. Gifford.
Mr. Coffin called attention to the fact that a lease executed by the corporation didn't look like a "tentative" agreement. It was signed by the officers of the corporation with its seal.
Recorder Moy said he had suggested that this contract be drawn, submitted to the city treasurer, who should employ counsel and see what they thought of it. He believed if the city treasurer had been present at the meeting, as he ought to have been, the whole matter could be "ironed out."
Mr. Coffin told how Peekskill's water front had been sold to the New York Central and Peekskill ruined as a shipping place. He called attention to the fact that Hudson was practically the only place that still owned some of its water front. He drew a picture of the future of the possibility of the value of these docks to the Hudson manufacturers with the barge canal. "Where will our manufacturers get their goods if we let our water front for $1 a year or a $1,000 a year to a corporation employing perhaps 80 men, pouring cement into wire forms for cement boats." He further said that the city had no right to lease the pumping house docks except for water for the city. He said he was appearing only for himself but he was strongly opposed to the letting of this dock.
Judge Reynolds [sic] admitted that the pumping station dock could not be leased and they waived that section. He admitted the barge canal was going to be a great thing but not for Hudson; this traffic would be thru traffic and would not affect Hudson. However, he said, if they were not wanted and if the supply of gravel was insufficient they would give up any idea of coming. They only wanted to go where they were wanted. He said he had organized a great many companies but never one better backed than this one. He said his company was too closely allied to the government for him to give the names of those interested.
In answer to John Malone and Rev. Mr Cole, Judge Rodgers stated that this company would give a bond to forfeit their lease if they stopped building cement ships. Mr Cole was opposed to the city's giving up a water front which might be useful in view of the barge canals.
Charles A. Van Deusen said Judge Rodgers had wanted to know who in Hudson would profit by the barge canal. He said the C. A. Van Deusen Co. had unloaded 5,000 barrels of flour in three months and if 5 or 9 cent per barrel could be saved, and that was only part of the business a barge canal would do here, it would be worth while. He thought that before any lease was executed the financial condition of the Ship Building Co. should be shown. He also favored a substantial rental, if it was decided to lease this property, the same to be returned after a certain number of boats had been built and a certain number of men had been employed and paid a stated sum in wages.
Former Mayor Tator said he doubted the wisdom of leasing the docks under any consideration.
Mr McLaren said the Knitting Mills of this town could load a barge a week with knit goods. Why don't these gentlemen who come here lay their cards of the tables? We have. With whom are we doing business, said Mr McLaren; let's settle that first.
Morris Kosoff thought it was a good proposition and couldn't see what difference it made what they manufactured.
W. J. DeLamater said the clause of the lease led people to think they were coming to manufacture boats but there was a thought that it wasn't boats alone and that the company should explain.
Mr Kosoff said he had lived here eight years and hadn't seen the dock in question net the city five cents. He suggested that the city treasurer's counsel draw up a lease and submit it to the Ship Building Co.
Judge Rodgers said the corporation would be willing to agree to construct so many barges, employ so many men, pay a stated sum in wages and put up a bond that they would do this or forfeit their contract. The corporation will agree to do certain things that will be of benefit to the city of Hudson.
Recorder Moy stated that if that city treasurer had come to this meeting, as he should have, the matter could be cleaned up. The Mayor again stated that he had given the city treasurer the original lease and he had since refused to return it. It is a public document and should be on file here, the Mayor ended.
Alderman Lacey thought the city treasurer was trying to treat the Council and citizens like a lot of "boobs." He did not believe the city treasurer had any right to retain the papers in the case.
Victor Rose said he had lived here a good many years and had seen the dock in question leased year after year for a song and now we had a chance to lease it for real money and we were hesitating. He said he was no politician but he thought there was no excuse for the absence of the city treasurer or his representative.
Mr. Moy said according to the charter, no matter if all Hudson wanted this company, it couldn't come unless the city treasurer favored it.
Mayor Harvey said a petition with 30 names had been presented against this company's coming had been secured; he would guarantee to go out in half a day and get 10,000 signatures.
The Recorder said that the City Treasurer seemed to be "The Kaiser of The Gang" and there was no use in signing contracts without his permission.
Mr Golderman then offered a resolution providing for the appointment of the finance committee with power to secure legal service, to consult with the company and city treasurer and see if the matter could not be adjusted on a basis satisfactory to all. Messers Moy, Wood and Muldowney constitute this commission. The motion was carried and the hearing adjourned, the  Recorder stating that he was in favor of another public meeting before any further action was taken.
Will there be another public meeting? Will the City of Hudson lease the Kennedy dock to this mysterious concrete ship building company "too closely allied with the government" for the principals to be identified? The answers will be revealed as soon as further research discovers what they are.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

In the run-up to Thanksgiving, all the meetings this week take place on Tuesday, November 20. The monthly meeting of the Common Council Public Works & Parks Committee, regularly scheduled for Wednesday, November 21, the eve of Thanksgiving, has been canceled. So, here's what's in store for us on Tuesday.
  • At 5:30 p.m., the Common Council Finance Committee holds its regular monthly meeting. No agenda is available for this meeting.
  • At 6:45 p.m., there is a special meeting of the Common Council to vote on the 2019 budget.
  • At 7:00 p.m., the Common Council holds its regular monthly meeting. All the resolutions introduced at last week's informal meeting will be voted on at this meeting. It is also expected that the Council will vote on enacting Local Law No. 5.
All meetings take place in the Community Room at the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Progress on the Nack Center

The idea for the Everett Nack Estuary Education Center, a project of the Hudson Sloop Club, was first introduced in 2015. In 2016, the Sloop Club received a $91,780 grant from the Hudson River Estuary Program to construct the center, which was essentially a repurposed shipping container.

In 2017, the Nack Center became linked with a proposed public pier, which was identified as a Priority Project in Hudson's DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) application. At the beginning of this year, the Nack Center and the public pier were Phase I and Phase II respectively of a larger project vying for DRI funding called "Railroad Point Pier."

Although the public pier started out as a priority project, it ended up not getting funded. Now the Nack Center is moving forward on its own. Yesterday, a legal notice appeared in the Register-Star soliciting sealed bids on the project. The RFP and the drawings for the project can be found on the Hudson Sloop Club website 

The Everett Nack Estuary Education Center is now Phase I of a two-phased project--Phase II being the restoration of the abandoned railroad trestle over the embayment that borders Rick's Point on the south as a footbridge.


Get Ready for Shopping Small Big Time

Next weekend, spend Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and start your holiday shopping at Basilica Farm & Flea Holiday Market.

As in years past, the market will feature a diverse group of regional vendors selling their wares--handmade and vintage clothing; handcrafted jewelry; locally sourced edibles; handmade soaps; handcrafted furniture and home decor; wild foraged health, wellness, and beauty products; textiles and paper goods; ceramics; home goods and collectibles. Click here for a list of all 101 vendors.

The market is open from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, November 23 , and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 24, and Sunday, November 25. Click here for more information.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Oakdale to Go Solar

At the Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting last night, Alderman Rich Volo (Fourth Ward), who chairs the committee, announced that, as a consequence of the City of Hudson finally qualifying to be designated a Clean Energy Community, the City is soon to have $35,000 to invest in clean energy projects. The first of those projects will be the installation of nineteen solar panels on the roof of the picnic pavilion at Oakdale Lake.

The panels are expected to generate enough electricity to meet all of the needs of Oakdale and, sold back to the grid, some of the demands for electricity of the Youth Center at Third and Union streets.

Another project to be financed by the grant from NYSERDA will be a light bulb exchange, in which residents can exchange their stock of conventional light bulbs for energy efficient LED bulbs.

'Tis the Season

Mayor Rick Rector announced yesterday that, as is the time-honored custom in Hudson, parking at meters on Warren Street and in municipal parking lots will be free during the month of December, relieving holiday shoppers in Hudson of the need to feed quarters into the parking meters. Be aware, however, that the holiday largesse does not extend to the parking lot at the train station.

Correction: About the New HFD Vehicle

I was informed this morning that the chief's vehicle to be replaced using the $25,000 grant from the Galvan Foundation is not the 2013 Chevy Tahoe driven by the fire chief, as I reported yesterday, but a 2004 Dodge Durango driven by the second assistant chief.

In addition to the 2013 Chevy Tahoe and the 2004 Dodge Durango, the Hudson Fire Department also owns, as a chief's vehicle, a 2016 Chevy Tahoe. The new vehicle being purchased to replace the Dodge Durango will also be a Chevy Tahoe, giving the department three Tahoes of different vintages, one for each of the three chiefs.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Stewart's Shops Elsewhere Again

In January, Gossips reported on the efforts of Stewart's Shops in 2015 to get the Village of Altamont to change its zoning to enable Stewart's to demolish a house and expand into a residential district: "Stewart's Shops Elsewhere."

Photo: The Enterprise|Michael Koff
Altamont resisted and refused to change its zoning to accommodate Stewart's, but this past Tuesday the Altamont Enterprise reported that Stewart's is back with its proposal for expansion: "Stewart's again looking to expand Altamont store." The article, which is recommended reading, quotes a village resident as saying, "I thought the community spoke on this issue [three] years ago, and the village board listened and voted to deny the expansion into the neighborhood. So I'm wondering why it's even coming up again?" 

Another quote of interest from the article involves what Stewart's is now promising:
Chuck Marshall, who works in land development for Stewart's, said that the new plan submitted to the village will align more closely with Altamont's existing architecture, citing the former train station that now houses the Altamont Free Library as an example.
"So, there's a larger porch," Marshall said. "There's particular elements that were for the village of Altamont, but again, that'll be discussed if the zoning changes are approved."
The Altamont Free Library

The building Stewart's is proposing for Altamont

This reminds me of how Kevin Walker years ago got the Planning Board (then the Planning Commission) to approve the Elks Club building, a metal structure which was prohibited by Hudson code, by adding brackets and persuading the board it would resemble the historic Hudson train station.

The Altamont Enterprise also reports that in the new Stewart's proposal there will still only be two gas pumps instead of the three that had been previously proposed. Does that sound familiar? 

Again, the article in the Altamont Enterprise is recommended reading; it can be accessed by clicking here.