This year marks the 25th year of Winter Walk, and the first year without the participation of one of Hudson’s “New Proprietors,” Vincent Mulford, who passed away just a month ago. The term “New Proprietors,” with its reference to the founders of Hudson, was first used many years ago by the late Timothy Dunleavy, himself one of the New Proprietors, to refer to the visionary property and business owners whose passion and investment in Hudson, of both wealth and work, brought the city back from the edge in the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the new millennium.
Vince Mulford is fondly remembered for many things by those who knew him. What he may be remembered for by the greatest number was his commitment to the city clock located in the tower of the First Presbyterian Church. Vince knew well the long tradition of the clock residing in the church tower, a tradition that dates back to 1802. He was always first to raise the alarm whenever the clock had stopped, usually because it hadn’t been wound in a timely fashion. His dedication to the clock compelled him to volunteer to be the one who climbed up into the tower every week to wind the clock, but he was never taken up on his offer.
Vince will also be remembered for his enthusiastic embrace of Winter Walk. It was he who first commissioned Sax O Claus to play his jazzy versions of Christmas favorites in front of 419 Warren Street, the location of Vincent Mulford Antiques and also Vince’s home. In the ensuing years, Sax O Claus has become an icon of Winter Walk.
When decorating the windows of 419 Warren Street for Winter Walk, Vince always went all out, year after year creating something new and stunning, the product of his unfailing eye and impeccable taste. Time and again, his window decorations were acknowledged with awards from the secret team of Winter Walk judges—“Best New Year’s Countdown” in 2013; the “Spirit of Hudson Award” in 2015; “Best Overall” in 2017; “Best Use of Lights” in 2018.
And, of course, there was the eggnog, served during Winter Walk by Vince himself, just inside the door of his shop. This wasn’t any run of the mill holiday potable. It started out with eggnog available only from some dairy in Vermont, and every year, Vince drove to Vermont on the day before Winter Walk to purchase his supply of the precious nog. To this he added a secret touch of spice and holiday spirits, the nature of which he never divulged. Vince’s shop was a favorite place to see and be seen during Winter Walk and to catch up with other revelers, but Vince was careful never to serve his delectable concoction to anyone more than once in an evening. For a few years, from 2010 to 2013, BeLo Third held an annual Eggnog Challenge during Winter Walk. Galleries and shops located below Third Street offered up holiday nogs and grogs, gluhwein and mulled cider in a contest judged by those sampling the quaffs. Though all were amazing, none ever equaled the eggnog Vince served up every year.
This year, the first year of Winter Walk without Vince Mulford, his elegant window decorations, and his incomparable eggnog, Hudson Hall will celebrate his life and his many contributions to our community. At 5:00 p.m., the bell of the First Presbyterian Church, the bell that tolls the hours for Vince's beloved clock, will peal 25 times to ring in the start of the 25th Winter Walk and pay tribute to Vince. After the bell has rung, the festivities will begin with the lighting of the tree in Seventh Street Park, sponsored and organized by Friends of the Public Square. During the hours of Winter Walk, Sax O Claus will be at his old stand in front of 419 Warren Street, and Vince's longtime friend Sarah Lipsky will be there ladling out eggnog. A festive and fitting tribute to a man who embodied the spirit of Hudson.
COPYRIGHT 2021 CAROLE OSTERINK