Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Sunday in the Park with Shad

On Sunday, June 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, the Hudson Sloop Club will hold the inaugural event at the long-awaited Everett Nack Estuary Education Center.  

Called "American Shad Show & Tell," the event gives participants the chance to try out the center's microscopes while learning about American shad (Alosa sapidissima), an important member of the Hudson River's ecosystem. Shad are currently in the beginning stages of their life cycle. During the event, shad larvae will be gathered and checked out under the microscope while participants learn about the shad's historic and ecological importance.

The event will be led by biologist and educator Chris Nack, the grandson of celebrated fisherman and conservationist Everett Nack, whose activism inspired the Hudson Sloop Club's mission of access, education, and stewardship.

The event is free, family friendly, and open to everyone. Pastries and coffee will be provided by Supernatural Coffee.

One Meeting Canceled; Another Announced

The meeting of the Common Council ad hoc Truck Route Committee, originally scheduled for tomorrow at 6:00 p.m., has been canceled. It will be rescheduled for some time in the next week or so.

To satisfy one's appetite for meetings, there is a meeting of the Columbia County Housing Task Force today, Wednesday, May 31, at 4:00 p.m. The meeting takes place in person at One City Centre, Suite 301, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. On the agenda for today's meeting is a presentation by Nan Stolzenburg, principal consultant at Community Planning and Environmental Associates.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Revisiting the Charles Alger House

This morning, Gossips reported that the drip moulding that formed an arc over the tripartite window at 59 Allen Street had been removed. (Gossips had previously reported that this drip moulding matched neither the evidence in the 1858 engraving of the house nor the elevations presented when the project received its certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.)

This evening, there was a new drip moulding, correctly positioned over the tripartite window.

Happy ending.

Happening This Weekend

With Memorial Day weekend behind us, we have the 14th Annual Pride Festival coming up this weekend, beginning on Thursday, June 1, and continuing through Sunday, June 4. Here is the entire lineup of events. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

The big event, of course, is the parade, which happens at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 3. The parade route is, as always, down Warren Street from the Public Square to Promenade Hill. The theme of this year's parade is "On the Road Again."

There is another event taking place on Saturday and Sunday: "Rainbows and Pride" at the Red Dot.

Enjoy dinner on Saturday or brunch on Sunday while being entertained with song by Terence Law, Kate Medhus, Miranda Moirai, John Philip, Loren Resto, Bronwyn Rucker, and Alana Hauptmann, with Woody Regan at the the piano.

Save This House

There's an old farmhouse on Four Corners Road in Ancram in urgent need of someone's help.

This small, mostly intact eyebrow Colonial is believed to have been built between 1790 and 1820. Its current owners plan to demolish it, but they will sell it for $1 to anyone willing to move it to another location. This rare old house deserves saving. If you are interested and able to be the one who does that, please contact Gossips at I will put you in touch with someone who can provide more information about the house and facilitate making it happen.

Following Up

On Sunday, in a report about last Friday's Historic Preservation Commission meeting, Gossips drew attention, as had Matt McGhee in his comments during the public hearing on 59 Allen Street, to the drip moulding over the tripartite window in the east facade which had been incorrectly done, matching neither the evidence in the 1858 engraving of the house nor the elevations presented when the project received its certificate of appropriateness from the HPC.

This morning, the offending drip moulding was removed.

In historic preservation, as in so many things, God is in the details. Congratulations to Walter Chatham and Galvan for making the correction.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Meeting of Interest in the Week Ahead.

Yep. The singular in the heading is correct. In this week following the long Memorial Day weekend, there is only one meeting.
  • On Thursday, June 1, the Common Council ad hoc Truck Route Committee meets at 6:00 p.m. At the last meeting of this committee, it was suggested that truck traffic passing through Hudson would be reduced if the Route 9G/23B truck route were eliminated, something that could be attainable because this truck route's reason for being, L&B Furniture, ceased to exist more than a decade ago. Thursday's meeting may provide an update on the progress in making this happen. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Will There Be a Do-Over?

On Friday, the Historic Preservation Commission held a public hearing on the exterior metal stairs proposed for entrances on the south and west facades of the historic Charles Alger house, 59 Allen Street. 

Before the HPC heard public comment, Walter Chatham, the architect for the Galvan project, presented "an architectural progression" of historical stairways to justify the choice of metal stairs. He argued that, at the time the house was constructed, iron and steel were being introduced as building materials, and since Charles Alger, believed to be the one for whom the house was constructed, was one of the founders of the Hudson Iron Works, it would be completely logical for his house to have metal stairs. Alger himself, Chatham suggested, might chosen to have metal stairs on his house. Chatham also defended the metal stairs by saying that it was the hope that the simple design, with open risers, would make the stairs transparent, to highlight the restored limestone facade below the water table.

Matt McGhee, the only person to speak during the public comment period, said he had done research similar to what Chatham had done to justify the proposed stairs, and in no case did he find such a "stark steel staircase." He argued that the staircases on this house would have been wood or stone. He cited the Gothic design of the railing that survives that the main entrance to house and asserted that this should be replicated on the staircases at the other entrances.

In his comments, McGhee brought up a problem with the restoration as it has so far been completed: the tripartite window in the east facade.

The 1858 engraving of the house shows that the drip moulding was at the top of the three windows, stepped to trace the different heights of the three parts of the window. 

The elevations presented to the HPC, which were the basis for granting the certificate of appropriateness, show the drip moulding at the top of the three parts of the window, just as it appears in the 1858 engraving.

So why does the drip moulding over these windows, as it was recently done, follow the shape of the relieving arch? A relieving arch, also called a displacing arch, is a structural element intended to support the weight of the wall above the window lintels, lessening the weight of the brick wall on the window frames. There is evidence that the relieving arch was not meant to be visible and certainly not meant to be highlighted with a drip moulding.  

Commenting on Friday, McGhee wondered if the window was finished or not. "I don't know what's intended," said McGhee, "but as it stands, it's incorrect." It seems that "as it stands" is what Galvan considers finished, but one doesn't need documentation to recognize that what was done just looks wrong, not to mention the proportions of the new windows are different from what appears in the 1858 engraving. The center section is much taller in relation to the sections on each side. 

It remains to be seen if the HPC will order Galvan to correct the drip moulding to make it match the historic evidence and the rendering that was presented.

A Temporary Silence

Those who are accustomed to hearing the bell of the First Presbyterian Church tolling the hours have probably noticed that the clock has been silent for the past few days. Gossips' investigation has found that, unlike what happened a couple of years ago, the silence this time is only temporary.

Back in 2021, the clock was deliberately silenced by Kathryn Beilke, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, because a resident living in close proximity to the church complained that the bell was keeping her awake at night. Because the clock in the church tower is the city clock, a tradition dating from 1801, when the First Presbyterian Church was located at Partition and Second streets, the decision to silence the bell was not Beilke's to make, and because the people calling for the return of the bell tolling the hours far outnumbered the one person complaining, the tolling of the hours resumed. 

The situation today is different from what happened in 2021. The clock, although keeping time, is not tolling the hours because of a mechanical issue with one of the pulleys. (The current clock dates from 1913.) Rob Perry, superintendent of the Department of Public Works, told Gossips that a clocksmith has been contacted to fix the problem and allow the tolling of the hours to resume.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Hudson Observes Memorial Day

As is the tradition here in Hudson, Memorial Day will be observed on Monday with ceremonies and a parade. The observance begins at 10:00 a.m. at the war memorial in the Public Square, a.k.a. Seventh Street Park.

After a brief ceremony in the park, the parade steps off, heading down Warren Street to Fourth Street, where the parade turns and heads toward the Columbia County courthouse, where, in Washington Park, a.k.a. Courthouse Square, there will be speeches, music, and a gun salute to honor those who died in battle in our country's many wars.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Opera Coming to the Hudson Opera House

For everyone who remembers the production of The Mother of Us All, the opera about Susan B. Anthony directed by R. B. Schlather at the Hudson Opera House in November 2017, there is some exciting news. Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House has announced an ambitious multi-year series of operas by George Frideric Handel directed by Schlather. The first of these is Rodelinda, which will have six performances to take place October 20, 24, 26, 28 at 7:00 p.m. and October 22 and 29 at 3 p.m. Click here for a video of Schlather talking about Rodelinda.

The following is quoted from a press release from Hudson Hall.
The production features a stellar cast and a re-orchestration performed by early music band Ruckus. Envisioned as an ongoing collaboration to create opera for a new generation, this inaugural production builds on the extraordinary success of Schlather's sold-out run of Virgil Thompson and Gertrude Stein's The Mother of Us All at Hudson Hall in 2017, named one of the Best Musical Performances of the Year by The New York Times.  
"Handel is a perfect fit for Hudson Hall's historic 1855 theater. He's an opera composer whose works become more potent and more thrilling on an intimate scale where the focus becomes the talent and virtuosity of the individual musicians," says R. B. Schlather. "Rodelinda is a crime thriller about a woman protecting her home and her child after the disappearance of her husband. It explores ideas about love, power, loyalty, tyranny, grief, and ultimately, redemption, with characters audiences can deeply connect with. Rodelinda is ideal for people who are curious about opera and want an introduction to it, as well as for people who love opera, especially baroque repertoire."
An immediate success when first performed, Rodelinda was the third opera Handel wrote in twelve months. It followed the triumph of Giulio Cesare and Tamerlano but then fell into obscurity. With the revival of interest in Baroque music since the mid-20th century, Rodelinda is finding its way back into the repertory. When it had its American premiere in 1933 in Northhampton, Massachusetts (just east of Hudson), The New York Times called the opera "Handel at his operatic best."…
Schlather's vision and determination to bring Handel to the Hudson Valley has found the ideal partner in Hudson Hall in Hudson, New York, his hometown since 2014. Schlather's deepening collaboration with Hudson Hall signals an exciting new direction for the artform and reflects a pandemic-accelerated shift of creative artists and theater goers to Upstate New York and the surrounding areas.…
With Rodelinda, Schlather brings together a dynamic group of rising stars and creative collaborators, many of whom hail from or currently reside in the region. Playing Rodelinda, the soprano Keely Futterer was praised by The Wall Street Journal as the "stand out singer" in Tenor Overboard in the 2022 Glimmerglass Festival; mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce debuts as Bertarido, following her string of debuts with Houston Grand Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Fisher Center at Bard College; GRAMMY Award-winning tenor Karim Sulayman plays Grimoaldo; Hudson-based mezzo-soprano Teresa Buchholz (The Mother of Us All) is Eduige; Massachusetts-based early music specialist Douglas Williams (bass-baritone) is Garibaldo; and countertenor Brennan Hall is Unulfo.…
Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in nearby Tivoli, NY, joins as a cultural partner, and is where the cast will be in residence for the month of October. The creative team includes writer and historian Joseph Cermatori as dramaturg, lighting by Masha Tsimring, and Jiayang Zhang as associate designer.

Chartock Retires

About an hour ago, WAMC announced the retirement of its founder, leader, and ubiquitous on air presence, Alan Chartock. 

Chartock, who is 81 years old, was the guiding force behind the public radio station for more than forty years. More information about Chartock and his retirement can be found here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Sentencing Announced

The last time Gossips mentioned DiQuann Powell was almost a year ago when, after being found guilty, he leapt over his defense attorney and tried to escape from the courtroom. Today, District Attorney Paul Czajka announced that Powell has been sentenced to "a total of fifty years to life for several crimes, including murdering a New York City man, attempting to murder a Columbia County woman, and assaulting and seriously disfiguring a Columbia County man." 

The following is quoted from a press release issued by the District Attorney:
Upon announcing his sentence, Judge Jonathan Nichols spoke directly to the defendant, saying that the "brutality and violence" perpetrated in this case "cries out for the maximum sentence provided by law." Nichols issued orders of protection on behalf of the victim's family for a term of ninety-nine years. . . .
The investigation led by retired Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore and [Deputy Chief] ADA [Ryan] Carty revealed that the victim's death was a culmination of a nine-month, back-and-forth gun battle between two warring groups within the city of Hudson that took place in the summer of 2017.
The dispute between the two groups began on November 24, 2o16, when Powell assaulted and attempted to rob a man with a gun, pistol whipping him in the face and causing him to lose sight in one eye. Months later, Powell and another attempted to shoot the same man, but the bullet hit the bystander in the chest instead.
Powell, known by his "street" name "DaDa," is serving time in prison at Attica Correctional Facility on a separate first-degree assault charge out of Albany for shooting the bystander's brother. . . . 
"While I don't consider sending a young man off to prison a joyful occasion, today's sentencing is a testament to the hard work of all involved with the investigation and successful prosecution of this case," said newly appointed Chief Mishanda Franklin. "I hope that today offers some closure to the victim's family, and they may find peace in knowing that justice was on their side."
"There is no celebration when you send a young man off to prison," retired Police Chief L. Edward Moore said. "Only the satisfaction that all the hard work brings some closure to the victim's family and that justice was served." 

The sentencing is the subject of this report in the Register-Star: "DiQuann Powell gets 50 years."

HDC Executive Director Resigns

Photo: Jason Marlow
At yesterday's meeting of the Hudson Development Corporation, executive director Misty McGee announced she was leaving HDC to pursue "a personal passion project." McGee, who officially took on the role of executive director on October 3, 2022, described her experience with HDC as "brief but profound."

HDC will soon begin its search for a new executive director and also for an administrative assistant.  

Meanwhile, the HDC board will be working on a strategic plan for its future, referred to in discussion as a "roadmap" and a "living strategic plan," with Nathan McLaughlin. Among other things in his resume, McLaughlin assisted the Greene County Council on the Arts in reimagining itself as CREATE. Christine Jones, HDC board president, expressed the hope that the strategic planning would be done by the end of the summer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Volunteers Needed

Local Law No. 2 of 2023, which was passed to address the problem of substandard sidewalks in Hudson, establishes a new five-member Public Works Board to oversee sidewalk improvements. The Public Works Board is to be made up of the Commissioner of Public Works, now Peter Bujanow; the ADA Coordinator, now Michael Hofmann; one member of the Common Council, so far not identified; and two community members, one appointed by the Common Council and one appointed by the mayor.

Among the responsibilities of the Public Works Board are:
  • Recommending an annual budget and schedule of sidewalk construction or repair
  • Undertaking a search for a Project Manager to administer sidewalk improvement activity
  • Reviewing and making determinations on appeals related to past work reductions on fees to property owners
  • Holding regular public meetings to review the status of sidewalk improvement activity and reporting such activity to the Common Council
The City of Hudson website provides this information about the requirements for those appointed: "Appointees to the Public Works Board must have a primary residence within the City of Hudson city limits. Ideal candidates will have an interest or experience in construction, accessibility, finance, or public works and infrastructure." Gossips might add the ideal candidates are dog walkers, who are intimately familiar with the condition of sidewalks in the city.

If you want to serve on the Public Works Board, you are asked to submit a letter of interest to Mayor's Aide Michael by email to or by regular mail to Office of the Mayor, 520 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534. For more information, click here.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Restore NY Grants Announced

Today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the recipients of $112.9 million in Restore New York Communities Initiative grants. Seventy projects throughout the state received funding, and one of them is right here in Hudson. The project to redevelop the former Kaz site to create "a vibrant new arts and food district" was awarded $1.5 million in Restore NY funds.

Back in January, the Common Council had to decide if the City would support this project or the adaptive reuse of the Pocketbook Factory for Restore NY funding. The vote was 7 to 4 to support the project planned for the Kaz site.

The full list of projects to receive Restore NY funding can be found here.

Way Above Average . . . Not in a Good Way

Last Tuesday, the 342 people who bothered to vote on the Hudson City School District budget proposed for the 2023-2024 school year approved the budget 258 to 84. Most property owners were probably just grateful that their school taxes weren't going to be increased as they typically have been each year. 

Last Thursday, E. J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy published an article about spending for education in New York State: "NY spending again led US, hitting all-time high in 2020-2021." McMahon reports:
Public elementary and secondary school spending in New York rose to $26,571 per pupil in 2020-21, according to the latest Census Bureau data--setting a new record high even as pupil performance was falling amid the disruption of in-person learning due to pandemic restrictions.
New York's K-12 spending once again topped that of all states and the District of Columbia--fully 85 percent above the national average of $14,347 per pupil. In dollars-per-pupil terms, the education spending gap between the Empire State and the rest of the country has more than tripled over the past 20 years. . . .
With 1,591 enrolled in HCSD schools, the $54.5 million budget for 2023-2024 works out to $34,261 per student. That is more than twice--139 percent above--what the national per-pupil average was in 2020-2021.

Of Interest

A reader clued me in to an article that appeared this morning in New York Magazine's Curbed: "How Much Does It Cost to Live Like This?" Twenty-somethings in New York City were asked to describe their dream futures. Then the cost of their fantasy was calculated.

Of particular interest is the final dream, of a young woman who wants to build a house in Hudson that would have "three bedrooms, have a garden and a stream in the backyard, and would not be super-close to other houses." Clearly, she isn't thinking of a house that would actually be in Hudson. 

Still, the article is interesting reading.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

In the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, here's what is happening.
  • On Monday, May 22, our new police chief, Mishanda Franklin, will be sworn in at 9:00 a.m. The ceremony takes place at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, the temporary City Hall.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Monday, May 22, the Housing Trust Fund Board holds its monthly meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Tuesday, May 23, Hudson Development Corporation holds its monthly meeting at noon. The meeting takes place in person only in the conference room at 1 North Front Street.
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, the Common Council ad hoc Parking Study Committee holds its monthly meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Wednesday, May 24, the Common Council holds a special meeting at 5:00 p.m. to consider a resolution to support of a bill making its way through the state legislature regarding the use of "no-knock" warrants. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Thursday, May 25, the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) will conduct Grievance Day from 3:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street. According to information available on the City website, the term of one of the three members of the BAR expired last September, and there is no indication that someone new has been appointed to fill the vacant position. Since there has not been a revaluation of real property in Hudson since 2019, prior to the pandemic, it is probably unlikely that many assessments have changed and many people will be grieving their assessments. Property owners who want to check their current assessment can do so at the Central Fire Station, where the tentative assessment roll is available for review. Property owners who have not received notice of a new assessment in the mail can probably assume the assessment of their property has not changed since last year.
  • On Friday, May 26, the Historic Preservation Commission meets at 10:00 a.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

Bidding Farewell to Chief Moore

For those who missed the "walking out" ceremony for Chief Ed Moore on Friday, Lance Wheeler's video of the event can be viewed here.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

What Once Was There

Hudson is unusual for many reasons. One of them is that there is a plant nursery on the main street. 

For anyone who has ever wondered what happened to allow this oasis of blooming things to exist in this location, Gossips discovered part of the answer today in the recent scans at

The building that once stood at 252 Warren Street was the original home of Steiner's Sports Center and also housed a restaurant called DeWitt's Tavern. The building was destroyed by fire on a bitter cold Sunday in January 1965. Gossips found this account of the fire, which appeared in the Saratogian on the following day, February 1, 1965


Friday, May 19, 2023

Another Event Happening This Saturday

From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. this Saturday, May 20, Christ Church Episcopal, at Union and East Court streets, will be open to the public as part of the New York Landmarks Conservancy's Sacred Sites Open House Weekend.

The open house will highlight two ten-foot-high stained glass windows, the work of London artist Charles Booth. The windows, dedicated in 1885, are a memorial to teacher and private academy proprietor Elizabeth Peake of Hudson. 
The Hope and Charity window shows women holding an anchor, a symbol of hope, and a basket of bread, symbolizing charity. The Faith and Prayer window shows a cross and praying hands.

On May 2, 1885, the Hudson Daily Register wrote of Miss Peake and the windows dedicated to her memory:
. . . the graceful testimonial of her former pupils to her worth and their affection for her, has taken shape in two memorial windows in Christ Church. These were unveiled on Easter Sunday, and lent an interest of their own to the always beautiful and inspiring Easter celebration. They are designed to illustrate Faith, Prayer, Hope and Charity, and the English artist--Mr. Charles Booth, of London--is to be congratulated upon the happy effect produced.
The Hope and Charity window was restored by Lamb Studios of New Jersey in 2019.  Experts believe the window was fabricated in London rather than New York because of its high artistic and technical quality.

The church has numerous examples of stained glass, the oldest are those in the chancel, dating from 1857 to 1862. More recent windows were installed as memorials in the 1950s and 1960s, designed by Payne and Spier Studios of Paterson, New Jersey, and Cummings Stained Glass Studios of North Adams, Massachusetts. The windows depict scenes from the life of Christ, the Gospel, and Christian saints. The most recent stained glass window is the Good Shepherd Window in the MacGiffert Meditation Room, designed by Cummings Stained Glass Studios and dedicated in 2005.

Also on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:oo p.m., the church will hold its annual Spring-A-Fair, with items for sale that include crafts, household goods, jewelry, toys, plants, knick-knacks, and garden supplies. The Fair will serve baked goods, soups, hotdogs, hamburgers, and beverages.

Things to Do Tomorrow

For everyone wanting to get out and revel in spring, tomorrow presents some opportunities to do just that. 
  • There is another installment of the Oakdale Rewilding Project to reinvigorate our urban forest. On Saturday morning, volunteers will be planting native trees and shrubs. The work begins at 10:00 a.m. and continues until 12:30 p.m. Wear sturdy shoes and bring work gloves, if you have them. 
  • There's a second opportunity to get your hands dirty for the public good at 10:00 a.m., when Friends of the Public Square (FOPS) and the Hudson Rotary Club invite volunteers to Mulch the Park. The task will be spreading 145 cubic feet of mulch, donated by Almstead Mulch of Ghent, around the trees and shrubs in the Public Square, under the direction of professional landscaper David Dew Bruner. Bring your own bucket and gardening gloves and join the mulching effort. 
  • If your idea of enjoying spring runs more toward indulging in the treats unique to the season, or if you want to reward yourself for your hard work at Oakdale or the Public Square, there is the Rhubarb Fest at Stuyvesant Depot. From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., enjoy live music, rhubarb pie, and more. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Much Ado About "No-Knock"

The Common Council meeting on Tuesday was one of the stranger Council meetings Gossips has witnessed over the years. For one thing, it took place in the truck bay of the Central Fire Station, something that has not happened since 2013, when gun owners from all over the county showed up to protest a law being considered by the Council which would have banned guns from City buildings and parks.   

This time it wasn't the size of the crowd that necessitated holding the Council meeting in the truck bay but the fact that the meeting room at the fire station was being used as a polling place for the school district vote.

Another thing that made Tuesday night's meeting bizarre was that Council president Tom DePietro was in a different time zone (literally) and trying to conduct the meeting while he was on Zoom and the councilmembers were physically present in the truck bay. 

Things got unexpectedly testy when it was time to introduce and vote on a resolution supporting a bill (A4369/S4820) making its way through the state legislature regarding the use of no-knock warrants. The resolution, which does nothing more than declare the Council's support for proposed state legislation, seemed simple enough. As the resolution indicates, Mayor Kamal Johnson issued an executive order banning the use of no-knock warrants by the Hudson Police Department on June 15, 2020. Still, Councilmember Theo Anthony (Fourth Ward), who authored the resolution, went on for rather a long time explaining it. When DePietro interrupted, asking for questions from councilmembers in preparation for calling for a vote, Councilmember Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) said the timing of the resolution was bad, because there is about to be a change of leadership at the HPD, and it was "disrespectful to the new chief." He also asserted that the Council had not had sufficient time to review the resolution. Apparently, the resolution had been distributed to councilmembers the previous day. After some back and forth between Merante and Anthony, all of which can be heard here (starting at 33:00), Merante moved to table the resolution, to give the Council "a chance to breathe and be a little more transparent." The motion inspired DePietro to utter, "Oh, God." 

The conversation between Merante and Anthony went on until DePietro interrupted by calling for a vote. He was then reminded that there was a motion on the floor to table the resolution. After more discussion, it was determined that the motion to table had been seconded by Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward). When a vote was taken on the motion to table, all voted in favor except Anthony and DePietro, who said, "Absolutely not. The most ridiculous conversation I've heard in the Council." When Merante expressed the opinion that DePietro's comment was inappropriate, DePietro countered, "Dominic, you use that word inappropriate and transparent, and obviously you should have a dictionary handy because you use them incorrectly, as a cudgel against people who disagree with you. It's really offensive what you do." When Merante said something about wanting to be "democratic and fair," DePietro shot back, "You're not a Democrat. Cut the crap."

Erratum: Gossips has been informed that Councilmember Art Frick (First Ward) also voted against tabling the resolution.

Regarding the resolution, which has been tabled, the Common Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, May 24, at 5:00 p.m., to consider it again. The meeting will be a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Help for the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse

This morning, a frontpage headline in the Register-Star warned "Hudson-Athens Lighthouse in danger of collapsing." While the headline is a tad alarmist and sensational, the beloved landmark in the middle of the river needs the commitment and support of the community if it is to survive.

A press release from the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society (HALPS) explains the situation:
Six federal and state legislators have committed to work collaboratively to secure $7.5 million in federal funding to repair, restore, and protect the damaged underwater foundation of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse (HAL). . . . If work does not start soon to the HAL's foundation, engineers forecast that within five years, the building will likely begin to tilt towards collapse. The legislators are Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Representative Marc Molinaro, State Senator Michelle Hinchey, Assemblymember Didi Barrett, and Assemblymember Chris Tague.
The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is listed in both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, was designated as one of the Seven to Save for 2020-2021 by the Preservation League of New York State, and was described by Architectural Digest as "one of the country's boldest . . . and most beautiful lighthouses." Not only is the light a necessary navigation aid in the upper Hudson River, but this architecturally significant 1874 icon is an important part of the identity of its communities, the Upper Hudson Valley, and New York State, providing historic, cultural, and public service values. . . .
The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, which is owned and maintained by the small, volunteer, nonprofit Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society (HALPS), is now in trouble. Its huge above-water limestone blocks do not go down into the riverbed. Amazingly, the lighthouse is held up by 200 underwater wooden pilings pounded 50 feet into the riverbed and protected by packing mud and rip rap. In 1874, the foundation was engineering marvel.
In 2021, an underwater survey using LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) revealed alarming and accelerated foundation damage. River currents, tides, and weather have taken their toll, but the existential threat to HAL is the unintended consequence of the close-by commercial navigation channel dredged the the Army Corps of Engineers to accommodate larger, faster, and wider vessels. The passing commercial vessels displace a huge volume of water that rams into HAL's foundation. When this water recedes, it scours away boulders and the protective packing mud, increasingly exposing and damaging the wooden pilings. Some pilings are so damaged that they no longer connect to the building. The damage to the foundation is also threatening the lighthouse itself.
Work supported by a $500,000 grant from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation received in 2021 is repairing and protecting HAL's exterior infrastructure. HALPS has raised more than $200,000 from community members and grants from personal foundations, the Preservation League of NYS, the US Lighthouse Society, the Bank of Greene County, the National Bank of Coxsackie, Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, New Athens Generating, State Tel, and the Athens Community Foundation. . . .
The critical foundation work is ready to go, "shovel ready" in an underwater way. Proper & O'Leary Engineering, which produced the 2021 Structural Engineering Report, has generated Restoration Concept Plans. HALPS also continues conversations with other lighthouses, marine contractors, and local suppliers of materials. . . .
Kristin Gamble, president of HALPS, said, "I urge everyone who cares about the lighthouse to add their voice to the campaign by submitting a message of support on the legislators' "Contact" page of their websites, or call their offices. Petitions to sign will soon be available in area shops.". . .