Friday, May 31, 2019

Kunstler in Hudson

James Howard Kunstler was in Hudson last night, speaking at the Hudson Area Library on the theme "The American Small Town Is Where It's At--Let's Get It Right." This is not the first time Kunstler has spoken in Hudson. He was here more than fifteen years ago, at the invitation of Friends of Hudson. His talk then mourned the destruction to landscape and culture of suburbs, derided the homogeneous and soulless quality of suburban commercial development, and warned of the economic upheaval to come when the world reaches peak oil.

Last night, because of the title and the context (Kunstler had been asked to speak by Planning Board chair Walter Chatham, as part of the Future Hudson discussion series), one expected something more focused on urban design and Hudson, but anything Hudson specific was reserved for the beginning and the end, bookending a discourse about the "Clown Architecture," the unraveling of the global economy, the end of the Industrial Age, the renewed importance of inland waterways for moving goods, and the need to live more locally and at a smaller scale.

Kunstler opened his talk by displaying two pictures that had appeared on Gossips earlier this week: pictures of Charles S. Rogers' home on Green Street and of the building on Columbia Street where Rogers' wholesale grocery business was located.

Kunstler used the pictures to talk about how the economy had changed in the past century, making the point that a hundred years ago a wholesale grocery business provided sufficient wealth to enable its proprietor to own and maintain two substantial buildings in town.

Kunstler returned to Hudson at the end of his presentation, using pictures of a row of buildings in the 300 block of Warren Street--356 to 362--and the east side of South Front Street--8 and 10--to talk about "orders of unity"--orders of unity being pretty much the same as the elements of compatibility: height, scale, fenestration, material, color. He stressed the need for the "orderliness of geometric design" for urban parks and opined that the square in front of the courthouse "needs to be more ordered and formal." Of course, Kunstler couldn't have known that it once was--two courthouse buildings and more than a hundred years ago.

Kunstler then focused his recommendations on the waterfront. Speaking of the oft-discussed area south of Allen Street and west of Third Street, he pronounced it "an opportunity to create a new urban district," with "connective streets that are an extension of the grid of Hudson," echoing what Chatham has been advocating. Speaking of Colarusso and the gravel hauling operation, Kunstler suggested that "truck traffic may be exaggerated as a problem," presumably alluding back to his earlier prediction that moving goods by truck is destined soon to be an impossibility, owing to the decreasing availability of fossil fuels.

Kunstler also critiqued Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, wondering why there was no "continuity of pavement"--the sidewalk along the street is cement, the paths through the park are asphalt made to look like paving stones. He made a comment about there being a picture of the park on the sign for the park, which drew a laugh, but in fact the picture on the park signage is of Henry Hudson's ship, the Half Moon. He also complained that the floating docks in the embayments had been done "with no artistry."

In his comments about the Dunn warehouse, he acknowledged that he had gotten certain of his information from "Hudson Gossip" and urged, "Please do something with that"--that being the building. On the topic of the North Bay shacks, Kunstler commented, "Americans are so hysterical about losing anything old that was once beloved," and urged demolishing the shacks, reiterating his opinion that there was a need for a working waterfront.

Photo: Don Moore
On the topic of public housing, Kunstler cautioned, "You need all classes to live in the city," going on to warn, "If a city is only inhabited by the poor, it will never be able to fix itself up." He stated the obvious when he said that "the scale of Bliss Towers is all wrong" and then expressed the opinion that "to reinvest in it for another generation may not be the way to go." 

Seeming to indicate that the Hudson Correctional Facility may be one of the prisons slated for imminent closure (something that seems unlikely), Kunstler suggested that the ideal reuse of the facility would be as an institution for homeless people, likening its potential for reuse to the poor farms of the 19th century.

Among the more memorable things Kunstler said were these: "It is important to live in a place that informs you of where you are," and when making planning decisions, it is necessary to consider "whether this choice will result in a place that is more worth caring about or less worth caring about." 

Of interest, too, were statements made by Council president Tom DePietro during the question-and-answer period. DePietro spoke of plans to "concentrate our board process." Ignoring the fact that the Conservation Advisory Council has made it clear that it does not wish to become a regulatory board but to remain an advisory board, DePietro spoke of streamlining the review process from four regulatory boards--Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission, and Conservation Advisory Council--to one board. It's an idea inspired by what was done in Newburgh, but it seems both unnecessary and a little reckless. 

Most of the projects that come before the ZBA do so for variances having to do with parking requirements and setbacks. If the parking requirements are eliminated and the setback requirements altered to reflect what already exists in neighborhoods of the city, the ZBA's raison d'etre will be significantly diminished. As already noted, the Conservation Advisory Council has no interest in becoming a regulatory board. That leaves the HPC. 

DePietro won't be the first Common Council president to think the concerns of historic preservation can be rolled into a Planning Board review. Back in 2003, Mike Vertetis wanted to do the same thing. Fortunately, those who recognized the importance of preserving authentic architectural fabric to maintaining a sense of place and who realized that achieving this requires careful case-by-case consideration by people with expertise in architectural history and preservation prevailed in 2003. Let's hope there are still champions of historic preservation in Hudson, and they will prevail again.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Stewart's in Altamont

Stewart's Shops plan for expansion in Hudson is enjoying clear sailing. The Common Council amended the zoning to accommodate Stewart's. The Planning Board, after working to make it almost as good as it could be (the perfect being the enemy of the good), gave the site plan conditional approval. The Legal Committee agreed to move the proposed host community benefit agreement--$200,000 to make pedestrian enhancements to the intersection and to fund a planning study--on to the full Council for approval.

In the Village of Altamont, however, where Stewart's has been trying since 2015 to expand its gas station and convenience store--an expansion plan that involved, as it did here, a zoning change and the acquisition and demolition of a two-family house--things are not going as well. Earlier this month, Gossips reported that a citizens' group was suing the village Board of Trustees and Stewart's over the zoning change. Today, the Altamont Enterprise reports that the Zoning Board in Altamont voted unanimously to overturn the village building inspector's classification of the proposed project as a convenience store rather than a gas station: "Altamont board overturns building inspector on Stewart's designation."

Too Much to Do on the First Saturday in June

Two things of interest and importance are happening on Saturday, June 1, and sadly they are happening pretty much the same time.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday is "The Great Oakdale Cleanup." The Friends of Oakdale Lake and the Hudson Youth Department invite folks to "roll up their sleeves, enjoy a morning in the fresh air with friends and neighbors, and help improve our local environment." The purpose of the event is to better the health of the lake and the park and to prepare for the Youth Department's annual summer camp. All supplies needed for the cleanup will be provided at the Beach House, as will refreshments and treats. Gossips has it on good authority that Tamar Adler will be cooking something to reward the volunteers at the end of the morning cleanup session. For more information, visit

Also on Saturday, June 1, is the ribbon cutting for the Hudson River Skywalk, "the new scenic walkway at the place where American landscape painting began," connecting the homes and studios of Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. The opening day festivities begin in the morning with a Parade of Paintings, starting at each historic site and coming together at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Everyone is invited to join the parade. (Participants will receive a free Hudson River Skywalk gift.) To be part of the parade, be at Cosy Cottage at Olana at 10:30 a.m. or at the Thomas Cole house at 10:45 a.m. Click here for meeting details and to make a free reservation.   

The ribbon cutting happens at noon in the riverfront park next to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge toll plaza in Catskill. At the ribbon cutting, local students will perform "River of Dreams," an original song by Frank Cuthbert, adapted from Hudson Talbott's acclaimed children's book River of Dreams, which explores the history of the Hudson River.

The celebration continues into the afternoon, with live music and food trucks in riverfront park in Catskill until 3:00 p.m. Click here for more information about the event, including parking and shuttle buses.

If these two events haven't offered enough opportunity for food, there is yet another: Food Festival Hudson. This event, hosted by Columbia-Greene Media, will bring more than a dozen food trucks, live music, distilled spirits, and craft beer to Henry Hudson Riverfront Park from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. More information about Food Festival Hudson is available here: "Food truck festival to roll into Hudson on Saturday."

Get Ready to Vote

The primary election is early this year--in June instead of September, as it has been in the past. It's an important primary for Hudson, so don't miss your chance to vote.

If you are not yet registered to vote in Hudson, you have until tomorrow, May 31, at 4 p.m. to do so. You can register in person at the Board of Elections, 401 State Street. If you are registered to vote in Columbia County but need to change the address at which you are registered, you have until Friday, June 5, to do that. Click here for more information.

If there is a chance you will not be in the city on Tuesday, June 25, and cannot get to the polls, you can request an absentee ballot. Click here to access an application for an absentee ballot. Click here for information about requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.

If you won't be here on Tuesday, June 25, there is an alternative to absentee voting: you can vote over the counter at the Board of Elections, 401 State Street. Over-the-counter voting is available right now and every day, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4 p.m., until Monday, June 24--the day before the election.

If you are not sure who is on the ballot in your ward, check out the sample ballots:
If you are not sure which ward you live in, check the map.

Gossips can attest that elections in this city have been won or lost by a single vote. Don't be that person who didn't vote.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

OutHudson Pride Festival

Brush up on your Brothers Grimm. The theme of this year's OutHudson Pride Festival, recognizing the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall and the tenth LGBTQ pride celebration in Hudson, is "Faerie Tales."

The festival begins on Wednesday, June 12, and continues through Sunday, June 16. The highlight of the festival is, as always, the parade down Warren Street, from Seventh Street Park to Promenade Hill, which steps off at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 15. This year, there are no fewer than three grand marshals: New York State Senator Tom Duane; Elena Moseley, director of Operation Unite New York; and drag legend Sherry Vine. To sign up to be part of the parade, click here. The deadline for registering is Monday, June 10. 

OutHudson directors made these statements about this year's pride festival:
Rick Volo, a.k.a. "Trixie Starr": In 2010, I organized a small group of people in Hudson to put together the first Pride parade. Now, the TENTH parade, Pride has helped define the City of Hudson, and Columbia County, as a welcoming home for the LGBTQ community. People now move here, open businesses here, and are raising families under the rainbow flags that line Warren Street. Throughout the years, with over sixty contingents, the Pride Parade and Pride Festivities have become one of the largest events in Columbia County.
Charlie Ferrusi: Our theme, "Faerie Tales," ties in the community-focused and anti-establishment Radical Faerie movement, with the queer fairy that is Hudson. The nature of Pride in Hudson has always been grassroots, supported and organized entirely by local small businesses and community members. Looking back to our first pride in 2010, I remember the joy of realizing that local LGBTQ kids like me didn’t have to move to big cities to feel proud of who they are. That we had all the love we needed right here in Hudson, in a city of 6,000 people. That feeling of “community” is still incredibly important today, as we celebrate our tenth Pride.
John M. Schobel: On behalf of OutHudson, we could not be happier to put on the 10th annual Pride Parade in Hudson. As made clear by the 50th celebration of Stonewall, the entire world is turning its attention to the importance of LGBTQI issues. Given the increase in hate crimes, and the conscious efforts to restrict our civil rights, it's critical that we all continue to celebrate the beautiful diversity of our community. Our Faerie theme expresses that beautifully. 
To learn more about this year's OutHudson Pride Festival, visit

Funding for Festivals and Events

After a lot of angst and dissension, the $20,000 to support local festivals and events is once again available this year, for what will probably be its last year. The Common Council Finance Committee is distributing the $20,000, which comes from the percentage of revenue from the lodging tax which was the Tourism Board's to spend, rather than the general city budget as it has in the past.

The deadline for applying for funding is Friday, June 14. Guidelines for making your application are available here. Applications must address these six questions:
  1. Why do you think the City should sponsor your event?
  2. What does your event contribute to the city?
  3. How will you let people know about your event?
  4. Who else is helping to fund your event?
  5. Have you produced events in the past? If so, please elaborate.
  6. What is the estimated size of your event?    
It was rumored that, without funding from the City, which in 2018 was $850, there would be no Hudson Halloween parade this year. If the rumor is true, Gossips hopes the organizers of the parade will reconsider and apply for funding again this year to make the event happen in 2019.

Photo: Andy Milford

Preservation Reconnaissance: The Doors

Getting the doors right at 260 Warren Street took a lot of patience and attention and persistence on the part of the Historic Preservation Commission, and Gossips covered the whole prolonged process. In the end, it was this historic photo from the Evelyn and Robert Monthie Slide Collection at the Columbia County Historical Society that guided the accurate reproduction of the doors.

The care given to the doors of this significant historic building at a major gateway to our city is why alarms were raised when the doors disappeared yesterday. Gossips received word of the missing doors early this morning.

Rushing to the scene, Gossips discovered that the doors had been removed so that they could be painted black, and today they were being reinstalled.

Now that the doors are back in place, we eagerly await the wine bar that's supposed to open there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

About Those Bounty Hunters in Town

Yesterday, Gossips linked to a report on 98.5 The Cat about a bizarre incident that happened on Sunday night at the lower end of Allen Street. Today, the Hudson Police Department issued the following press release.
On Sunday, May 26, at 9:03 p.m., Columbia County 911 contacted HPD and reported three females were chasing a man in the area of Front Street near the Basilica. Patrols arrived and identified the three females as “bail agents,” duly licensed by the State of Tennessee. Their target had allegedly brandished a knife and stated he would kill everybody, or do “suicide by cop,” before he would let them bring him back to jail in Tennessee.
Hudson police officers Strattman and Roberts chased after the man and caught up to him in front of #3 Allen Street, where they took him into custody without incident. At first, officers believed the man was bleeding, only to discover that he was covered in pepper spray. They were informed that one of the bail agents had pepper sprayed the man after he allegedly threatened her with a knife. The man, in fact, had four knives in his possession when officers searched him.
Arrested was Randolph W. Baker, 51 years old, of Allen Street, Hudson. He was charged with Menacing 2nd, an A misdemeanor, and Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd (previous conviction), a D felony. While in HPD custody, Baker complained of irritation due to the pepper spray. Greenport Rescue Squad transported him to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released back to HPD custody. Baker was arraigned in front of City Court Judge John Connor and was remanded to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.
A HPD sergeant confirmed that Mr. Baker had an active warrant issued by the State of Tennessee for weapons charges. The warrant did not authorize extradition from outside Tennessee.
“The best I can tell, the three female bounty hunters were acting pursuant to the bail agreement Mr. Baker signed. However, we are not too familiar with bounty hunters in our area. Especially when they show up here with a police SWAT type vehicle, pepper spray, and a big dog. Our concern is simply public safety . . . to include our residents, the bail agents, and even Mr. Baker. I can easily see this situation getting out of hand, and I commend the quick response of Officers Strattman and Roberts, as well as Sergeant Hodges’ patience to secure the scene and deliberately sort this thing out.”--Chief Ed Moore
There actually is no 3 Allen Street, so the man was probably apprehended in front of this house, 13 Allen Street, the first house on the south side of Allen Street.

Gossips Update: It appears that Baker made bail. It has been reported that he was sighted on Warren Street and on Allen Street this afternoon.

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

In the last days of May, there aren't very many meetings, but there are two of note.
  • Today, Tuesday, May 28, the Tourism Board meets at 5:30 p.m. at 1 North Front Street. On the agenda is a presentation by the fourth and final consulting firm being considered to help tell Hudson's story to the world, Chandlerthinks. On May 10, the Tourism Board heard presentations from three other consulting firms, and Roger Hannigan Gilson reported about it in The Other Hudson Valley: "Who Should Be Hudson's 'Branding Consultant'?"
  • On Thursday, May 30, James Howard Kunstler will be here in Hudson to present a talk entitled "The American Small Town Is Where It's At: Let's Get It Right." The event is part of the Future Hudson series of discussions and takes place at 6:00 p.m. in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street.

Nine Not to Ignore: No. 8

In April, inspired by the NYS Preservation League's Seven to Save list of endangered sites throughout New York State, Gossips began its list of endangered buildings in Hudson. After a little hiatus, the list resumes today.

 The Dunn Warehouse

Originally constructed in c. 1850 as the Hudson and Boston Railroad Shop, the building, now known as the Dunn warehouse, is the last surviving industrial structure on Hudson's waterfront. It now belongs to the City of Hudson, and, despite its neglected condition, it has gotten a lot of attention in the past decade.

In 2010, the City nearly sold the building for $250,000 to Eric Galloway, whose plan was to open a huge "bistro styled" restaurant and bar in the building, with 200 tables on two floors and in a glass enclosed atrium. The plan was hailed by elected officials of the day as "the ideal catalyst to future development" at the waterfront. 

Fortunately, that plan never made it to fruition. Galloway couldn't find a restaurateur willing to partner in the endeavor, and the City proposed a lot of performance covenants, so the deal never went forward.

In 2015, the City hired Saratoga Associates to do a feasibility study to assess the building's  current condition and envision how it could be used and what it might become. One of the options for developing the building suggested in the study proposed a combination of retail space and community space. 

In January 2017, the City was the recipient of a $500,000 in Restore NY grant funding for the rehabilitation of the Dunn building, but it was unclear if a condition of accepting the money was that the City had to partner with a developer to rehab the building. With that uncertainty hanging over the project, the plans to stabilize the building stalled.

In the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), $1 million was appropriated to stabilize the Dunn building and prepare it for future reuse. Meanwhile, with the terms of the Restore NY money unclear and the DRI projects still at the starting gate, the condition of the building continues--frighteningly--to deteriorate. 

Unlike some other buildings featured in this series, though, this building's salvation seems assured. The money and the will to stabilize the building are there; it is now just a matter of time. At a recent Common Council meeting, Council president Tom DePietro told a questioner that the five City DRI projects had been prioritized, and the Dunn warehouse was second in line after the re-design of the entrance to Promenade Hill. Earlier this month, the Common Council passed a resolution to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the Promenade Hill project. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

What Lies Beneath

The Mexican restaurant Pico de Gallo, now located in Stuyvesant, is opening a Hudson location at 623 Warren Street. On Friday, the plans for altering the facade of the storefront came before the Historic Preservation Commission for a certificate of appropriateness. The HPC requested a number of things: elevation drawings for the proposed Warren Street and Seventh Street facades; a spec sheet for the door; and a commitment that no alteration would be made to anything discovered in the process of removing the existing facade without review by the HPC.

Today, the facade on Seventh Street was removed, and look what was revealed.


The signage dates back to the day when the building was the location of the Oneida Market.

Many thanks to Stephen McKay for providing the pictures of the exposed signage  

And to Think It Happened Just Down the Street

Bill Williams of 98.5 The Cat just reported about a bizarre incident that happened last night near the corner of Allen and South Front streets, involving a fugitive from Tennessee, three female bounty hunters, and a dog. Click here to read all the information that is so far available.

Memorial Days Past

Yesterday's post about Memorial Day in Hudson inspired Bruce Mitchinson to recall in a comment the Memorial Days of his youth and to recount the route of Memorial Day parades, which "started at Front, proceeded up Warren, around the park, out Green St., around what is now Scali's Pizza corner, over Paul Avenue, and into the main gate of the cemetery and over to the front of the house where the ceremonies took place." Mitchinson's recollections in turn inspired Bob Tomaso to share pictures of Memorial Day parades from half a century ago. The first two were taken in 1969; the third is from 1967.

The first two pictures were taken from basically the same vantage point: the intersection of Columbia and Green streets. The last picture was taken a little farther along Green Street. The background appears to be this stretch of Green Street, as it appears today--or more accurately as it appeared last summer.  

Tomaso called my attention to the grand house in the background of the 1967 photo, and I immediately thought of this house, which stood at 24 Green Street and was the home of Charles S. Rogers. 

Charles Rogers owned C. S. Rogers Wholesale Grocer, located just across the intersection at 743-745 Columbia Street, which in 1969, as can be seen from the first picture, was the location of Hudson Billiards and Silvernail Appliance. The picture below shows the building in 1905, when Rogers operated his business there. 

The location of C. S. Rogers' home and business is no doubt the reason why the little traffic island/park where Columbia, Green, and State streets come together is known as Rogers Park.

Attention to the shape and position of the turret and the roof lines of the house in the 1967 picture make it immediately clear that this was not Charles Rogers' house, but it appears it may have been the house that appears in the far left in this post card image of Green Street.

If that's the case, the house in this picture would have stood right next door to the Rogers house. What a grand and gracious place Green Street must have been before it was sacrificed to commercial development, an affront that continues today, and given over to truck traffic.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day in Hudson

Tomorrow, Memorial Day will be observed in Hudson as it has for at least the past quarter century. At 10:15 a.m., the flag will be raised and a wreath will be laid at the Veterans' Monument in the Public Square. Then the parade begins on Park Place and proceeds down Warren Street to Fourth Street and then across to the Columbia County courthouse, where the Memorial Day services will be held.

A hundred years ago, on May 31, 1919, Hudson celebrated the first Memorial Day after the end of World War I. The parade didn't begin at the Veterans' Monument in the Public Square. The monument wasn't there yet. And it didn't end at the courthouse. Instead the parade concluded at Cedar Park Cemetery, with singing and prayers and reading and speeches. The following is the account of the parade and the ceremony that followed that appeared in the Columbia Republican for June 3, 1919.

As over fifty years ago the Civil War veterans marched in their Memorial Day parade; and again in '99 when the Spanish-American war veterans marched for the first time; on Friday morning the veterans of the world war were in their initial procession to the final resting place of a few of their comrades where they paid their tribute. The weather was all that could be desired and the parade was the finest ever seen in Hudson. 
The world war veterans marched in the first division following Co. F. and escorted by Red Cross women. They were accompanied by several sailors in uniform. The old, gray-haired veterans of the Civil War had the honor place in line and were escorted by the Spanish American War veterans and the Sons of Veterans. The turn out of the school children was most pleasing and other organizations made a fine showing.
The services at Cedar Park cemetery were opened with a prayer by the Rev. D. William Lawrence, chaplain of Lathrop post G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic] There was singing, "Battle Hymn of the Republic," by Christ church choir boys. Reading of General Orders, C. S., Department of N.Y.G.A.R, by Eugene C. Secor, adjutant of R. D. Lathrop post, G.A.R.; "America," by the band; Reading of President Lincoln's address at Gettysburg, by John V. Whitbeck, Jr., Sons of Veterans camp; singing "Tenting To-night," by choir boys; Reading Original Order No. 11, by General Logan, instituting the observance of Memorial Day, by Augustus Hardwick, adjutant of Hudson camp United Spanish-American war veterans; "Star Spangled Banner," by Hudson City Band; oration, Major Albert S. Callan, of Chatham; Benediction, the Rev. W. DeWitt Lukens, of squad of Co. F.  
Major Callan said in part:
Just before his death the great American, Theodore Roosevelt, penned these words:
"Only those who are fit to live are those who do not fear to die, and more are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life." Never was a country worth living in unless its sons and daughters were of that stern stuff which bade them die for it at need.
To-day all over this land and on many foreign shores, wherever there are Americans either in uniform or civilian attire, services are being held to commemorate the memory of those who possessed those qualities who made them ready and eager to give their all for their country. Originated as a day devoted to memorialize the heroes of the Civil War, the occasion now extends into one where not alone are the men who wore the blue to be honored, but their progeny as well, who have so recently and so nobly perished in order that our land might continue to enjoy its established blessings and traditions.
Gone nearly is the mighty phalanx of old, gathered to the hosts of Grant has moved on to that great army which responded to Lincoln's call and few of them are left with us.
But their sight and their presence on this occasion recalls the words of Daniel Webster in speaking to the veterans of our first great struggle--the Revolution--when at the laying of the corner stone of Bunker Hill he said to the few who still remained and were gathered in Boston that day, "Venerable men, you have come down to us from a former generation."
But the lessons of that former generation to which the Grand Army were a part, can never be forgotten. Ever a grateful people will remember that the citizenry of that time, in response to the call of duty, saved this country. To them in the hour of national peril it was not a question of whether the South had a right and a privilege to hold and own human beings as slaves, but rather the basic principles of whether this nation should continue as established, to exist. It was a problem of nationalism in those days fully as much as are many of our problems to-day. It was a question of the future, a disputed point to be solved by the living for the benefit of those to come.
Against those influences coming from abroad and implanting themselves in the minds of the impressionistic we MUST ever be on our guard. We have won our place in the world because of our adherence to God, our faith in our country and our reverence for the sanctity of the home. We cannot tolerate or countenance those who would assail one or all of these standards of ideals. Destruction is the inevitable result if we forsake or deny them. America has been built upon the foundation of simple but old and stern principles; they have been successful in . . . molding our destiny; we have but to examine our history and then compare it with the more modern but savage rule of Bolshevism prevailing in Russia with its resultant chaos and misery, to determine which has been the most beneficent government and ideals to live by and exist under. One nation fearing God, loving country, respecting the home while the other denies the almighty, preaches blatant internationalism and destroys every vestige of decency which surrounds the life of men and women. . . .
Let us preach Americanism, let us being about tolerance and mutual understanding between capital and labor and let us teach those who came here that this is the land in which every one has the right to labor and succeed and to receive in return, the protection of the government which expects of all citizens loyalty of mind and loyalty of body. . . .  
Nations are preserved and defended by those who practice homely virtues in times of peace and who at the clarion call of war are ready to die or to send their dearest to die for a home ideal. The men of the Civil War, the men of the Spanish-American War, the men of the Great World War in vast numbers of cases were such types and came from such homes. They went cheerfully for their ideals and in their going and for their going America is a better, grander, greater land to-day, and the duty they have thrown down to us must not be dropped and their hopes and their purposes carried throughout the peons of time. . . .
Major Callan would probably have delivered his oration from the porch of the cemetery house, the William Brocksbank house, which the City of Hudson acquired in 1898. In 1919, the house was used as a funeral chapel, as well as a residence and office for the cemetery. The picture below, a still from one of Josef Cipkowski's home movies, shows the house during the Memorial Day ceremonies twenty years later, in 1939.    


Get Ready for the Dog Park

Hudson is very close to having its own dog park. To ensure that our dog park is a place of joy for dogs and their people, dog behaviorist Jennifer James has agreed to counsel us on dog park etiquette--how to introduce your dog to the dog park, how to recognize potential problems, and how to avoid them.

The event takes place this afternoon, Sunday, May 26, at 2:00 p.m., in the Community Room of the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street. For your dog's sake, be there. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Small Win for the Environment

If you bought cookies from Trixie's Oven this morning at the Hudson Farmers Market, you may have noticed that the bag that held those tasty, "baked with love only this morning" treats was a bit different. That's because Rich Volo, the master baker and CEO at Trixie's Oven, has ditched plastic bags, which survive in landfills for centuries, in favor of eco-friendly bags made from natural renewable materials that are compostable and biodegradable.  

Today, the peanut butter cookies and some of the chocolate chip cookies were in the new packaging. Next week, all Trixie's cookies will be. Another reason (as if you needed another) to buy Trixie's cookies: your self indulgence won't do long-lasting harm to the environment. 

Acquisition Accomplished

On Tuesday, the board of the Hudson Development Corporation met in executive session. The topic of the meeting was the purchase of the CSX property needed to provide Front Street access for the Kaz site. Today, Amanda Purcell's report on the outcome of the meeting appeared on HudsonValley360: "HDC purchases railroad site, chugs ahead to redevelop Kaz." 

One detail from the article will probably not help HDC, famously criticized for its tendency to go into executive session at the drop of a hat, become more transparent. Last year, Gossips reported that HDC was about to enter into a contract with CSX to buy the property, approximately half an acre, for $85,000, using a $90,000 loan from CEDC (Columbia Economic Development Corporation). On Thursday, Purcell reported: "The $175,000 purchase is financed by a $200,000 loan from the Columbia Economic Development Corporation. The remainder of the loan covers the closing costs for the property, surveying and an environmental review. The property cost more than double the original asking price because there were two other local bidders, who primarily wanted the space for parking." 

The last of the eight justifications for going into execution session given by the Department of State Committee on Open Government is this: "The proposed acquisition, sale or lease of real property or the proposed acquisition of securities, or sale or exchange of securities held by such public body, but only when publicity would substantially affect the value thereof."

Friday, May 24, 2019

Grievance Day

On the Tuesday after the long holiday weekend, which marks the traditional beginning of summer, it's Grievance Day. For everyone unhappy with their tentative assessments, Justin Maxwell, the city assessor, has released the following information about the day and the process.
The City of Hudson Board of Assessment Review (BAR) will hold its annual Grievance Day on Tuesday, May 28, at the Central Hudson Fire House on 77 North Seventh Street.
If you feel your assessment is inaccurate, you must grieve at this point to change it. Tuesday’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. As in any complete reval, we expect a large number of cases, and encourage you to take advantage of the earlier time slot.
People will be heard on a first come first serve basis, with each complaint getting three minutes to state their case and submit their information. There will be a sign-up sheet so you can anticipate when it will be your turn to grieve.
If you cannot grieve in person, you can submit your grievance to the assessor’s office on or before this Tuesday.
To submit your official grievance, you must have the RP-524 form filled out completely, as well as attaching all supporting documents to this form that support your position. The BAR will review your case and come to a determination at a later date.
According to New York State Law, the assessor is assumed to be correct. You must make a case with supporting evidence for why you believe your assessment is incorrect.
Examples of supporting documents would be comparable sales and property appraisals.

The RP-524 form can be found by clicking here

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Good Outcome

This may simply be an example of the Post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, but on April 20, Gossips called attention to the crumbling wall at 501 Union Street, the "Apartments of Distinction" . . .


and today, I am happy to report, the wall has been repaired.

Of course, future plans for the building are still unknown.