It's no secret that the street furniture Arterial is proposing for the BRIDGE District is not beloved by Gossips readers or any number of other people in Hudson. Critics have not been shy about expressing their opinion that the wood and metal benches look like something more appropriate to a shopping mall in New Jersey than the streets of a city known for its historic architecture, but that message seems not to have reached the folks at Arterial or the decision makers in City Hall.
In February, James Ribaudo of Arterial told the Historic Preservation Commission that, at the suggestion of someone he did not identify, they now planned to use the Central Park settee, the bench design being used at Promenade Hill, in locations along Front Street.
Unfortunately, they still intend to use their original choice in other locations in the BRIDGE District: "The Persistence of the Ugly Street Furniture."
Recently, the Hudson Dog Park purchased benches for its new pergola. The benches are metal, they have a clean and handsome design, and they are comfortable. Although not exactly the same, they are reminiscent of the benches in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, and they are available in different lengths, with and without a back rest.
The benches at the dog park made me wonder why similar benches could not be used as street furniture instead of the suburban-looking stuff Arterial was proposing. Speaking to the HPC in February, Ribaudo defended their choice of benches by saying they wanted "the flexibility of having some benches with backs, some benches without backs, and smaller seats for just one person." It seems the only thing that might be unique to the design proposed by Arterial is that it is available in a backless bench that seats only one person. It wasn't clear why they thought a bench for one, or a "stool," was so desirable. At the February meeting, HPC member John Schobel suggested that all the street furniture didn't have to match and the "stool" could be of a different design.
It was decided then that Ribaudo would work "offline" with members of the HPC on the design of the benches. In the intervening months, there has been no evidence that this has been happening. In an effort to bring the public into the conversation, Gossips has launched a simple poll, which asks a single question: "Which furniture would you prefer to see on the streets of Hudson?" The options are these:
Option 1 is the street furniture Arterial has proposed. Option 2 is something similar to what is now in riverfront park and the Hudson Dog Park. You can access the poll by clicking here. The results will be shared with Arterial, the mayor's office, and the HPC.
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