Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Back to the Alleys

Gossips has frequently posted about the alleys of Hudson and the loss of character being suffered by these back streets of Hudson as the old buildings that were constructed as stables or carriage houses are converted or "reproduced" to create living space.

Photo: William Hellermann
Yesterday, my attention was drawn to the loss of a different kind of character on an alley on the north side of town. What was lost were not buildings but mature trees and an entire ecosystem that was home to songbirds, eagles, and at least one gray fox--an ecosystem that enhanced the neighborhood and provided rare and precious proximity to the natural environment in an urban setting. 

These Google images show Rope Alley between Third and Fourth streets as it was in August 2016 and as it still was until very recently.

These pictures show the same stretch of Rope Alley as it appeared yesterday.

The following pictures, provided by a reader, show the devastation from the perspective of an adjacent backyard on North Third Street.

This diagram, drawn by a neighbor who has been witnessing the destruction, documents the major trees that were felled, including two pine trees estimated to have been between 60 and 85 years old.

One might assume that this is the work of Galvan, whose modus operandi is cutting down trees and which, as Hudson Collective Realty LLC, now owns two houses on State Street that back up on Rope Alley, but no. The property belongs to Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann, a principal in the limited liability company Paperplay. It is said that Mussmann plans to build three new houses on the site, but it doesn't seem reasonable that the construction of three houses necessitates clear-cutting the site and eliminating trees that would enhance not only the settings of the new houses but also the entire neighborhood.

This incident brings up again the need for a tree ordinance--something that has been discussed in Hudson for more than a decade. The benefits of trees in urban areas--reducing air pollution, conserving water and reducing soil erosion, saving energy, modifying the local climate, reducing noise pollution, creating wildlife and plant diversity, not to mention the beauty of trees and their contribution to personal health and well-being--are benefits that advantage entire neighborhoods, indeed entire communities, yet private property owners can fell trees at their own discretion, often with no good reason and without consideration for the impact the action will have on the community as a whole. 

In 2016, the Conservation Advisory Council decided to put off the ambitious goal of enacting a tree ordinance in favor of pursuing more immediately attainable goals. Three years and many lost trees later, maybe it's time for the CAC to take on that ambitious challenge.


  1. Hate to say it, but with Mayor Rector bringing Trumpism to Hudson, there are increasingly fewer moral or legal standards to avail ourselves of.

    1. Peter, with all due respect, this statement is incredibly unfair, uninformed and unproductive.

      Following your recent posts, I am assuming your angst is anchored by the recent assessment process. I witnessed the Common Council recently entertain and vote on a resolution (that you endorsed) that was false (as proven by the assessor), written by anonymous source (which is not transparent), unproductive (the resolution requested the mayor to veto something than he is not allowed by NYS law to do) and unfair to the majority of the residents (by requesting a rollback to 2018 assessment role).

      The final recommendation to revert back to 2018 assessment role is unfair because 42% of the property owners will see a decrease of more than 10%, 38% will see an increase of 10% or more, and 20% will see a change of less than +/- 10%. Reverting back asks the 42% to keep paying more than their fair share, effectively suggesting that they keep subsidizing for the 38% group.

      I found Mayor Rector to display admirable leadership during this process despite the persistent efforts of a vocal minority. He was steadfast in representing all the citizens and supporting the rule of law. That’s not

      I apologize for the public call out - Not my style. This is a small town that doesn’t have room for such acquisitions or labels, so I don’t think they should go unaccounted.

      Please let me buy you a coffee so we can have a dialog in person and set a new trend for the civility our little city deserves.

      Email me at

  2. While you may wish to avail yourself of every opportunity to vilify Mayor Rector, he is not the one responsible for destruction of this little glade.

    Clear cutting a construction site is fairly standard procedure, particularly for those with little sensitivity to anything save their own convenience.

  3. Hudson has few enough trees as it is....losing these mature trees is wasteful, greedy, and with the full impact of global warming yet to be felt, very foolish.



  5. what an unnecessary mess. Careful cutting is always the best way to go -- with the result being that the buildings have some sort of landscaping.

    And i suppose Linda Mussman will make sure none of these houses she is building make it onto the tax rolls -- Does anyone know ?

  6. Dumb, could have been avoided and enhanced the new houses by saving at least some trees here and there. Mother Nature won't be happy. New housing for low income in a more natural setting would have been a better idea.

  7. Some trees that were cut down are clearly on City of Hudson property.

    1. If that is true, there are severe penalties in New York State law for cutting down a tree—even a small one—that you don’t own, at least without explicit permission from the entity that does.

  8. To make an omelette you have to break some eggs. Trees grow back!