Thursday, August 31, 2023

Hudson News in Chronogram

Sometimes even Gossips learns things about Hudson from Chronogram: "Kasuri Expands to the Former Etsy Building."

Now at Hudson Hall

David McIntyre's new solo exhibition, Walking, opened at Hudson Hall last Thursday. Named after and inspired by Henry David Thoreau's last published work, which advocates protecting the natural world for its own sake, McIntyre's work meditates on the power and beauty of nature and reminds the viewer that nature is not a resource to be exploited but a living ecosystem that deserves respect and protection.

Photo: Caroline Parkinson
This morning, McIntyre spoke about the evolution of his new body of work with Sarah LaDuke on WAMC's Roundtable. That conversation can be heard here

The exhibition of Walking at Hudson Hall continues through October 6. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

News of Shepherd's Run

It's been six months since Gossips published any news about the proposal by Hecate Energy to site a utility-scale solar installation on more than 250 acres of farmland in Craryville. Today, Gossips received the following press release providing an update on the project.

On Friday, August 25, the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES) filed a Notice of Complete Application, concluding that it now possessed sufficient information to decide whether to grant Hecate Energy a siting permit to build a utility-scale solar installation on farmland in Craryville, a hamlet within the Town of Copake. 
This determination came after three previous applications by the Chicago-based corporation had been found to be “incomplete.”
The ORES decision was issued just one week after New York State Senators Michelle Hinchey (SD-41) and Pete Harckham (SD-40) wrote to ORES Executive Director Houtan Moaveni, outlining potential adverse environmental and agricultural impacts of the proposed 60-megawatt solar development and urging that another site be found for the project. ORES’ finding of completeness does not grant permission to build the site, but it does trigger a sixty-day period by the end of which ORES must either publish a draft permit for public comment or deny permission for Hecate to move forward.
The Town has complained that ORES’ “completeness” determination was unwarranted since it ignores Hecate’s failure to submit critical information previously requested by ORES. Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf, who has spearheaded the Town’s response to the Hecate application, has pointed out that the corporation “has not fully addressed the impacts of its proposed 267-acre solar factory on the Taghkanic Headwaters Conservation Plan. It has failed to prove that constructing 200,000 solar panels and inverters and drilling beneath wetlands will not adversely affect the wetlands, streams, and Taghkanic Creek (an important source of Hudson’s drinking water), all of which are on or under the proposed construction site.”
According to Copake, Hecate has also withheld historical information from the public regarding a historically significant Native American presence near the Niver Farm (now Rasweiler Farm), and Hecate has not taken sufficient precautions to ensure the 60-megawatt solar facility will not adversely impact Copake’s nationally significant historical and cultural resources.
The criticism of senators Hinchey and Harckham came after the two met with Copake Town officials and toured the site in Craryville. Senator Hinchey, who represents the Town of Copake, is Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Senator Harckham chairs the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation.
Addressing their concerns to Moaveni, they wrote:Under the current project proposal, 140 acres of prime farmland and 76 acres of farmland of statewide importance will be rendered unusable because of the solar array being constructed on it.”
Copake contends that Hecate’s supposedly “complete” application fails to address the adverse impact of waiving local laws specifically enacted to protect Copake’s high-quality farmland and rural character.
“ORES may have found that Hecate’s application was good enough for them,” said Jeanne E. Mettler, Supervisor of the Town of Copake, “but it is not good enough for Copake.” Pointing out that Hecate is seeking permission from ORES to override twenty Copake laws, Mettler said, “Hecate’s proposal sacrifices prime farmland and tramples on local law. Clearly Hecate was irresponsible in choosing this site in the first place, and they should not be rewarded now for their lack of care. Hecate has demonstrated a complete disregard for this small town.”
“Given the large amounts of missing or incomplete information,” Deputy Supervisor Richard Wolf said, “one can only hope that ORES’ 'Notice of Complete Application' was issued to ‘put Hecate out of its misery,’ because ORES now understands that the proposed site is completely unsuitable for a utility-scale facility. In sixty days, ORES should tell Hecate to find another site.”
Supervisor Mettler concluded, “ORES should deny Hecate’s application and end this ordeal for Copake once and for all.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Keeping Watch on the Morgan Jones Mansion

The Morgan Jones house, 317 Allen Street, was once again the subject of review at the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting on Friday. One of the goals of the alterations being proposed by the new owners of the Jacobean and Dutch inspired house, designed by Marcus Reynolds and completed in 1906, was to bring more light into the house, and to that end, changes in the fenestration were proposed for the south elevation of the house. The photograph below, which appeared in a journal called Brickbuilder in 1910, shows the south elevation of the house as it was originally designed.

The proposal for change to windows for the second-floor bedroom at the southwest corner of the house have evolved from a bay window, to large flat window, to the addition of a third window between the two existing openings, with a transom and lintel identical to what is there now. The HPC was happy with that solution.


The windows proposed for the southeast corner of the house, the location of a redesigned kitchen have also evolved. In the latest iteration of the design, they are not as tall as originally proposed. At the HPC meeting on Friday, there was only one change in fenestration that the commissioners found troublesome: a six-pane window, wider than it is high, proposed for an area of the kitchen that will be a breakfast nook. The images below show the east elevation of the house, which faces the driveway and the neighboring house, as it is now and with the proposed changes in fenestration.  

The applicant agreed to reconsider the breakfast nook window and return to the next meeting of the HPC, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 8. 

Meanwhile, work on the new slate roof of the building, a phase of the restoration granted a certificate of appropriateness previously, is complete. A reader provided this photograph of a section of the finished project.

Photo courtesy Nicole Vidor

Better Safe than Sorry

A reader alerted me to this article that appeared in Porcupine Soup, an alternative news source in Greene County: "Public warned of suspicious vans approaching walkers." Even though these incidents happened on the other side of the river, we should be mindful of this and stay alert here in Columbia County as well.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Famous Visitors to Hudson

Earlier this summer, a marker was dedicated at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park commemorating the visit to Hudson made by the Marquis de La Fayette on September 17, 1824, during his grand tour of America that marked the country's fiftieth anniversary.

Left to right: Virginia Martin, Regent of the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the DAR; Patrice Powley Birner, past New York State Regent of the DAR; Julien Icher of Follow the Frenchmen and The Lafayette Trail; Mayor Kamal Johnson   
Over the years, Gossips has written about various luminaries who have visited or passed through Hudson, among them Henry James, who spent several hours in Hudson with Edith and Teddy Wharton while waiting for their motorcar to be repaired, and ten of the forty-six U.S. presidents, who visited Hudson for various reasons before, during, or after their terms in office. Recently, a reader told me that Charles Dickens also passed through Hudson.

From January to June 1842, Dickens, then 30 years old, traveled in America with his wife, Catherine, and her maid, Anne Brown, and critiqued the experience in his travelogue, American Notes. They arrived in Boston on January 22, and sailed back to England from New York on June 7. In New York, five days before their ship was scheduled to depart, Dickens "had a great desire to see 'the Shaker Village,' which is peopled by a religious sect from whom it takes its name," and so they embarked on their last journey in America. They "went up the North River again, as far as the town of Hudson." (The North River being what the Hudson was called at the time.) In Hudson, they hired a carriage to take them to New Lebanon, which Dickens called simply Lebanon. After spending the night in a hotel, which Dickens described as "inexpressibly comfortless to me," and touring the Shaker Village, they returned to Hudson and "took the steamboat down the North River towards New York." 

Sketch of Dickens in 1842 during this first American tour
Despite his interest in visiting the Shaker Village, he left there "with a hearty dislike of the old Shakers, and a hearty pity for the young ones." He elaborated:  
. . . I cannot, I confess, incline towards the Shakers; view them with much favour, or extend towards them any very lenient construction. I so abhor, and from my soul detest that bad spirit, no matter by what class or sect it may be entertained, which would strip life of its healthful graces, rob youth of its innocent pleasures, pluck from maturity and age their pleasant ornaments, and make existence but a narrow path towards the grave: that odious spirit which, if it could have had full scope and sway upon the earth, must have blasted and made barren the imaginations of the greatest men, and left them, in their power of raising up enduring images before their fellow-creatures yet unborn, no better than the beasts. . . . 
On the way to New York, Dickens and his wife stopped at West Point, where they "remained that night, and all next day, and next night too," staying at what Dickens described as "a most excellent hotel for strangers, though it has the two drawbacks of being a total abstinence house (wines and spirits being forbidden to the students), and of serving the public meals at rather uncomfortable hours: to wit, breakfast at seven, dinner at one, and supper at sunset."

Dickens' final impression of North America was more favorable than the one he had of the Shaker Village: 
The beauty and freshness of this calm retreat, in the very dawn and greenness of summer—it was then the beginning of June—were exquisite indeed. Leaving it upon the sixth, and returning to New York, to embark for England on the succeeding day, I was glad to think that among the last memorable beauties which had glided past us, and softened in the bright perspective, were those whose pictures, traced by no common hand, are fresh in most men’s minds; not easily to grow old, or fade beneath the dust of Time: the Kaatskill Mountains, Sleepy Hollow, and the Tappaan Zee. 

Addendum to the List of Meetings and Events

The week ahead isn't as free of meetings as I led you to believe. Here are a couple that were left out.
  • On Monday, August 28, the Stuyvesant Planning Board meets at 7:00 p.m. at Stuyvesant Town Hall, 5 Sunset Drive, in Stuyvesant. The meeting is of interest because the Planning Board is continuing its review, which has been going on for a year now, of the proposal to construct "farm-stay" cabins, a distillery, a guest house, and other amenities on what is now 58 acres of farmland and open space on Sharptown Ridge. The applicant contends that what is being proposed is permitted as "agribusiness"; opponents of the proposal maintain it is a commercial lodging development, which is not permitted in the town's zoning code.
  • On Wednesday, August 30, the Columbia County Housing Task Force meets at 4:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at 1 City Centre, Suite 301, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

In this week leading up to Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer, there's not much happening on the meeting front. Here's what there is.
  • On Monday, August 28, the Housing Trust Fund Board meets at 6:00 p.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.
  • On Wednesday, August 30, the Columbia County Fair begins its six-day run at noon. Click here for more information.
  • Also on Wednesday, August 30, the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition hosts a virtual Town Hall on Environmental Justice on Black Communities, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. The event can be accessed here, but before joining the Zoom meeting, you are asked to RSVP at 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Of Hudson and Whaling

On Thursday, September 14, at 6:00 p.m., the Hudson Area Library and the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution present "Hudson and Its Whaling Roots," a local history talk by former city attorney Carl Whitbeck. The talk takes place on the occasion of a three-day visit to Hudson by the Descendants of Whaling Masters

The Descendants of Whaling Masters, headquartered in New Bedford, MA, has more than 450 members throughout the United States. Its mission includes encouraging members to save and preserve their whaling records and artifacts, as well as educating and raising public awareness of the history of whaling and the contemporary issues of whale preservation and ocean conservancy.

The Descendants were aware that, in 1783, members of the Jenkins family and others, including many whalers, migrated from New Bedford, Providence, and Nantucket, purchasing land on the Hudson River and establishing the City of Hudson. The historic Robert Jenkins House at 113 Warren St was built in 1811 by the son of one of those original founders, who called themselves "Proprietors," and is now the chapter house of the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Descendants contacted the chapter to arrange for a tour of the historic house and museum and also requested a talk about Hudson and whaling.

Whitbeck, whose family has deep roots in Hudson and Columbia County, will be displaying and discussing items from his own extensive local history collection.

The event, which will take place in the Community Room at the Hudson Area Library, 51 North Fifth Street, is free and open to the public.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

The Summer Ends with Art

The Hudson Eye, the arts festival that takes place annually in the ten days leading up to Labor Day, begins tomorrow, Friday, August 25. 
  • The schedule for the festival can be found here.
  • The participating artists can be found here.
  • The list of venues can be found here.
  • The daily "Hot Topics" can be found here.
  • The "Hot Topics" panelists can be found here.

Benefit or Detriment?

Back in November 2021, the Common Council considered a resolution whose goal was "to ensure that all city streets on which parking is allowed have parking spaces that are clearly delineated with painted stripes." The resolution, which was initiated by Councilmember Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward), made these claims about the benefits of designated parking spaces.
WHEREAS, the lack of parking in the City of Hudson is an on-going and increasing problem; and . . .
WHEREAS, the lack of clearly delineated spaces results in less efficient use of the available parking and creates confusion for vehicles owners seeking to park legally; and
WHEREAS, painting lines for parking spaces would result in a more efficient use of on-street parking by eliminating unevenly parked vehicles, providing more net space for parking and avoiding conflict amongst vehicle owners.
At the meeting on November 8, 2021, when the resolution was introduced, the Council decided to table it after DPW superintendent Rob Perry argued that painting parking lines would actually reduce the number of potential parking spaces and it would cost $64,000, an amount that had not been written into the budget.

At Tuesday night's meeting of the Common Council ad hoc Parking Study Committee, Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward) used the same arguments found in the 2o21 resolution to support the notion that defined spaces should be eliminated altogether. She noted that the defined parking spaces are much larger than they need to be. That is the case not because, as Councilmember Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) suggested, the size of parking spaces was dictated by the Department of Transportation, but because the size of the parking spaces was determined in 1968, when the city's zoning code was adopted and cars were longer than they are today.
The 2021 resolution, which was never voted on, argued that "painting lines for parking spaces would result in a more efficient use of on-street parking." At the ad hoc committee meeting on Tuesday, Morris argued the exact opposite: eliminating defined parking spaces would result in more efficient use of available on-street parking. Of course, with or without defined parking spaces, the real challenge is getting people to park efficiently.


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Meters or No Meters

The parking study that was completed last November made several recommendations, and an ad hoc committee of the Common Council ad hoc committee is pursuing those recommendations. One of them is eliminating parking meters in favor of a mobile payment application, which would be accomplished with QR codes and pay stations on every block.

At a meeting of the ad hoc committee last night, Kim Gaylord, the account clerk for the Parking Bureau, expressed reservations about what had been recommended. She warned that if a pay station went down, parking would be lost for an entire block. She also had reservations about relying on QR codes. As an alternative to what had been recommended, city clerk Tracy Delaney displayed a "smart meter," which she said was available from the City's current vendor. 

The smart meter can take coins and credit or debit cards and can be programmed to display information, such as letting people know when they can park without charge. Delaney said that the new meters would fit into the current housings and would cost $213 each. (There are currently 532 parking meters in the city.) 

Regarding any changes to the way parking revenue is collected, Council president Tom DePietro, who chairs the committee, said, "We don't have the money yet," but suggested that the income from the sale of 10-12 Warren Street and 429 Warren Street might be used to finance the new meters or a new system. 

It was decided that the committee will continue to explore the smart meters to understand their potential.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Town Hall Next Week

Photo: Our Hudson Waterfront
The issue of Colarusso and its proposed two-lane road through South Bay, connecting the quarry and the dock, is back before the Planning Board, seeking a conditional use permit, and the Common Council ad hoc Truck Route Committee has sent a letter to the NYS Department of Transportation asking for information about the process of eliminating one or both truck routes passing through Hudson and requesting that trucks more than 48 feet in length be prohibited from entering Hudson. 

In this context, the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition (HCHC) is hosting a "Town Hall on Environmental Justice in Black Communities" on Wednesday, August 30, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The following is quoted from a press release Gossips received about the event.
The Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition is hosting a highly informative and engaging Town Hall focused on environmental justice in black communities, with a significant emphasis on a critical truck route issue. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Featuring a lineup of esteemed panelists, the Town Hall aims to delve deep into the pressing challenges surrounding environmental justice in black communities. The event will be held virtually via Zoom.
The distinguished panelists for the event include:
    • Arielle V. King--Environmental Advocate and Expert
    • Linda Mussmann--Environmental Justice Champion
    • Kayah Payton--Advocate for Black and Brown Communities
Guiding the discussion as the master of ceremonies will be Lukee Forbes, the campaign manager of the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition.
This Town Hall serves as a unique platform for the community to gain insights into the critical environmental challenges it faces. Notably, the predominantly black and brown neighborhood deals with the ongoing issue of over 200 trucks passing through daily. . . .
RSVP is kindly requested at your earliest convenience, and the event details and agenda will be shared promptly. Email

It may seem predictable that, on the issue of the Colarusso gravel trucks, the town hall will be an endorsement for granting Colarusso the conditional use permit needed to build its two-lane road through South Bay, thus rerouting the gravel trucks that currently pass through black and brown neighborhoods. Even John Privatera, attorney for A. Colarusso & Son, has taken to characterizing approving the proposed haul road as an environmental justice exigency. But you never know.

At the very end of the Planning Board meeting that took place on August 8, Lukee Forbes, who will be moderating the HCHC town hall next Wednesday, commented on the Colarusso issue. That comment can be heard here, at about 2:28:00. In his comment, Forbes seemed to suggest that improving the road through South Bay was not a solution. Rather, it will result in increased truck traffic and an increase in carbon emissions, which will negatively impact not only the black and brown communities in Hudson but the entire city. In a subsequent conversation with Gossips, Forbes confirmed his opinion that approving the proposed "haul road" will only exacerbate the problem. 

The discussion next Wednesday should be an interesting one. The event can be accessed here, but before joining the Zoom meeting, you are asked to RSVP at

Monday, August 21, 2023

Movies Return to Fairview Plaza

As most readers already know, the Madison Theatre in Fairview Plaza reopened this weekend. Today, news of its reopening appeared in the Albany Business Review: "Madison Theatre reopens Hudson location with bigger plans ahead."  

Photo: Joe Masher | Madison Theatre
Among the "bigger plans ahead" for the dine-in movie theater in Greenport are a "custom menu of craft cocktails, local beer, wines, and ciders," an arcade, and an outdoor patio.

Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

This week, as we move closer to the end of August and the end of summer, there's not much happening by way of city meetings. Here is what's scheduled.
  • On Tuesday, August 22, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency meets at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is in person only at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street. Because Monday's meeting of the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners was canceled, the HCDPA meeting may be a place to find out if HHA plans to exercise its option to buy any of the three lots now owned by HCDPA as part of the plan to replace Bliss Towers and Columbia Apartments. 

  • Also on Tuesday, August 22, the Common Council ad hoc Parking Study Committee meets at 6:00 p.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.
  • On Friday, August 25, 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.

Friday, August 18, 2023

About John L. Edwards

Gossips did not go on the tour of John L. Edwards yesterday with Hudson Development Corporation, but Rich Volo did. He reports about it, with lots of pictures, on Trixie's List: "John L. Edwards Elementary School." It's pretty stunning how much stuff, paid for by district taxpayers, has been left in the building.

Photo: Trixie's List
As Gossips has reported, Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) is pursuing the idea of acquiring the building and repurposing it as a work force/job training facility. Meanwhile, Mayor Kamal Johnson, who is an ex officio member of the HDC board, is expressing his opinion that the building should be redeveloped as housing. In an article that appeared in the Register-Star on August 12, Johnson is quoted as saying, regarding properties he would like to see converted to housing, "The two that come to mind right away would be the John Edwards School on State Street and the St. Mary's old school on Allen Street. Nothing is happening in the John Edwards School. The district has it on the market for sale, though it would need rezoning. St. Mary's hosts voting headquarters, and there's some programming that happens there every now and then, but basically it's vacant." The former St. Mary's Academy building is owned by St. Mary's Church, and there is no indication that the church is ready to part with it.

According to the article, Johnson also has his eye on the former Charles Williams School, now the location of Second Ward Foundation, as potential housing. He seems not to recall, or perhaps he never knew, that from 2003 to 2011 the City of Hudson owned that building.

"Lessons from the Land" at Olana

The Olana Partnership has launched a new program series called "Lessons from the Land" at Olana State Historic Site. The series explores how humanity shapes the landscape and how the land shapes us. The program is offered free for all Columbia and Greene county residents as part of a Humanities NY grant award, which also supports Spanish-language translators during each offering, to broaden access to the program and to Olana.

During each program, naturalists, herbalists, and ecologists will lend a new perspective on Olana's 250 acres. By connecting their expertise with Olana's physical landscape through dialogue and hands-on explorations, each visiting speaker will give a deeper understanding of Olana not only as a historic artist-designed landscape but as a site for appreciating the natural world and exploring humanity's connections to and histories with the land. The program series uses this season's exhibition, Terraforming: Olana's Historic Photography Collection Unearthed, as a framework to provide perspective on the earth around us and examine the layered ways humanity interacts with the natural world.

"By bringing on speakers with diverse expertise and backgrounds, I hope this program will provide a wide range of visitors with opportunities to learn more about how we connect with the natural world and the land we inhabit," said Carolyn Keogh, Director of Education and Public Programs for The Olana Partnership.
  • On Saturday, August 26, at 6:00 p.m., Nkoula Badila, founder of Grow Black Hudson, will present "Moving and Healing with Mother Earth: A Sunset Walk with Workshop." During this nature walk and workshop, Badila will guide participants through Olana's landscape, discussing the health benefits of regional species and the ways we can connect with nature through movement and herbal medicine. Badila, a seasoned yoga practitioner and performing artist, will lead a short yoga practice inspired by the flora on site. The program will culminate with a hands-on activity where participants will be invited to create their own herbal tea blend or a mugwort smudge stick to take home.
  • On Friday, September 15, at 5:00 p.m., Antonia Pérez of Herban Cura will present "Turning to the Plants: A Guided Plant Walk Through Olana." Participants will learn about several medicinal and food plants growing at Olana and how we can build mutually regenerative relationships. Participants will turn to the plants to learn some of the stories of the land, how they got there, and the messages the plants have to share with us all about the history of settler colonialism and displacement.
  • On Saturday, October 14, at 10:30 a.m., the series will culminate with "Walking in Wonder," led by The Outside Institute. Laura Chávez Silverman, founding naturalist of The Outside Institute, will guide participants in accessing their curiosity and sense of awe in nature. A walk throughout Olana's artist-designed landscape will give participants a chance to observe ecological conditions and think more about the relationship between humans and their surroundings. Identifying flora, fauna, and fungi's edible and medicinal properties will help participants cultivate a more intimate connection to their surroundings.

Refreshments will be served following each program. The series is free to Columbia and Greene county residents. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. For more information or to register, visit, email, or call (518) 751-6938.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Outcome of the Auction

Two City-owned properties--10-12 Warren Street and 429 Warren Street--were auctioned this afternoon, and, if the results are approved by the Common Council, the City gained a little over a $1 million from the sales. The auction was conducted by city attorney Andy Howard, and, in addition to Council president Tom DePietro and Gossips, there were eighteen people in attendance, six of whom made a least one bid.

The opening bid for 10-12 Warren Street, cast by Alex Freedman, one of the principals in the restoration of 223-225 Allen Street and 205-207 Warren Street, was $100,000. The bidding went on, with painstaking increases of $10,000 and $5,000, until the final bid of $635,000 was cast. The winning bid was made on behalf of Benjamin Rinzler, the owner of the Hudson Whaler, the hotel at 542 Warren Street, and the Hudson Mariner, the guest house at 26 Warren Street. The winning bid of $635,000 is $260,000 less than the appraised value of the building, which was $895,000.

The opening bid for 429 Warren Street was also $100,000, cast by Steven DiLorenzo. Again, the price went up by tediously small increments--with the principal bidders being DiLorenzo and Freedman. The winning bid of $485,000 was cast by DiLorenzo. The appraised value of the building was $595,000, $110,000 more than the winning bid.


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Last Night at the Common Council: Part 3

A late addition to the agenda for last night's Common Council meeting was a law, proposed by Mayor Kamal Johnson, granting amnesty to people with unpaid parking tickets. The law's stated intent is to "promote payment of outstanding penalties imposed for a traffic infraction constituting parking, standing or stopping violations issued within the City of Hudson," but what the law waives are the penalties that accrue if a parking ticket is not paid within thirty days of its being issued. The original fine would still need to be paid. The following is quoted from the proposed law:
There is hereby enacted for the City of Hudson a parking violations amnesty program whereby the City of Hudson Parking Ticket Bureau, with the approval of the City Attorney, may cancel, in whole or in part, any penalties imposed for a traffic infraction constituting parking, standing or stopping violations issued within the City of Hudson as hereinafter set forth and accept payment of the face value of the ticket in full satisfaction of said ticket.
Explaining the proposed amnesty program, Johnson called it "a grace period of 60 to 90 days" for people to pay their original tickets and none of the additional penalties. The text of the proposed law provides more specificity:
The parking violations amnesty program shall only apply to such violations issued on or before January 1, 2020, and shall be effective for a period commencing October 1, 2023, and ending December 31, 2023. Amnesty for such tickets shall only be available to individuals prior to an immobilization device being placed on said individual's vehicle and/or prior to said individual's vehicle being towed pursuant to Article IV or V of the Hudson City Code. 
The law, if enacted, would only apply to tickets that have gone unpaid for more than three years, and to people whose cars have not yet been booted. The boot is a penalty reserved for people with three or more parking tickets that have gone unpaid for more than 45 days.

Here is the current law regarding penalties for unpaid parking tickets, quoted from the City of Hudson code, Article IX, § 305-43, F, G, H:
Failure of the vehicle owner to pay or schedule a court appearance within 30 days of the receipt of a parking ticket . . . will be deemed a plea of guilty and result in the fine doubling and the addition of a surcharge of $25. Failure to play within 45 days of the issuance of the ticket shall result in the filing of a criminal summons and/or issuance of an arrest warrant and the imposition of a second surcharge of $25 for each violation . . . included in such judicial summons or arrest warrant.
Any motor vehicle which has three or more tickets  . . . outstanding in excess of 45 days may have installed upon it a boot or other security device prohibiting the use of the motor vehicle. In addition to the outstanding tickets, the car owner shall pay a boot removal fee in a sum set by the Common Council. Any individual who tampers with or removes a boot on a vehicle without authorization of the City will be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine or not more than $250 or 15 days in jail.
Any motor vehicle which has five or more tickets . . . outstanding in excess of 90 days may be impounded by the City Police Department.
According to the city code, a $15 fine for leaving your car parked overnight on the wrong side of the street becomes a fine of $80 if left unpaid for 45 days.
Councilmember Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward) commented that there is no incentive to pay your parking tickets in a timely manner if you know there's going to be an amnesty. Merante also wanted to know if the amnesty was only for Hudson residents or for everyone. Johnson indicated the amnesty was only for Hudson residents and described it was "a way to give back to the community."

Last Night at the Common Council: Part 2

At its meeting last night, the Common Council approved a change order on the work being done to improve the intersection of Green Street and Fairview Avenue. According to the resolution, the original contract with A. Colarusso & Son, the lowest bidder, was for $367,840.25. The change order approves an additional $20,984.50 to make the southwest corner of the intersection, as Public Work commissioner Peter Bujanow explained it, "more pedestrian friendly and truck safe." The change order brings the cost of the intersection improvements to $388,824.75.  

In July 2018, when the Common Council changed the city's zoning to accommodate Stewart's expansion plans, it was the expectation that Stewart's would provide the money needed to finance improvements to the intersection, for the safety of pedestrians and drivers, in a host community benefit agreement. In May 2019, the terms of the agreement were presented to the Common Council. The City would receive $200,000 from Stewart's to compensate for the impacts of the project on the community: $135,000 to $140,000 for improvements to the intersection to enhance pedestrian access; the remainder--$60,000 to $65,000--to be used for planning and zoning studies. The actual cost of the improvements is almost three times what was anticipated in 2019 and almost twice the amount the City received from Stewart's.

Last night, Bujanow said that the intersection was to be striped today, between 9:00 a.m. and noon. By now, the striping has probably been done, and we can start to understand how the changes to the intersection will benefit pedestrians and drivers.

Last Night at the Common Council: Part 1

Last night, the Common Council finally authorized Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward), who chairs the ad hoc Truck Route Committee, to send a letter to the NYS Department of Transportation seeking information about the process of eliminating one or both truck routes passing through Hudson and requesting that trucks more than 48 feet in length be prohibited from entering Hudson.

After some comment from former mayor Tiffany Martin, who spoke against a possible increase in the number of trucks passing through Hudson on Route 9 that could result from eliminating Route 9G as a truck route and suggested that truck traffic on the Route 9G would be less problematic if Colarusso's gravel trucks were eliminated from the mix, the Council voted on the resolution to send the letter. The resolution carried, with eight councilmembers voting in favor of the resolution, and Councilmember Amber Harris (Third Ward) and Council president Tom DePietro voting against it. The other Third Ward councilmember, Ryan Wallace was absent from the meeting.

Now we eagerly await a response from DOT.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Visit John L. Edwards

As Gossips has reported, Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) is contemplating acquiring the former John L. Edwards School building to be adaptively reused as a work force/job training facility and community center.

Arrangements have been made for the members of the HDC board to tour the building on two different dates, and members of the community are welcome to join the tour. The visits will take place on Thursday, August 17, at 10:00 a.m., and on Thursday, August 24, at 10:00 a.m. The group will assemble in front of the main entrance to the building. People who are mold sensitive are advised to wear masks; everyone is advised to wear serious shoes. Each tour is expected to take about an hour.

Remembering Joan Davidson

For a woman of Joan Davidson's stature and achievement, one tribute is not enough. For this reason, Gossips shares part of a statement issued by Furthermore, a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund which has its office here in Hudson. It stresses the work she did after retiring as president of the J. M. Kaplan fund.  

Joan Kaplan Davidson, president of Furthermore grants in publishing, and president emeritus of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, died on August 11th in Hudson, N.Y. She was 96.
In 1995, Joan Davidson founded Furthermore grants in publishing as a publication program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund and established its office in Hudson, N.Y. Furthermore supports publication of nonfiction books that concern the arts, history, and the natural and built environment. Since its inception, the program has assisted more than 1,400 books, granting over $8 million to nonprofits across the United States, Canada and Europe. 
Ann Birckmayer, Program Director of Furthermore and the Alice Award, said, “Joan loved books for their capacity to expand knowledge, provoke thought, and speak for the public interest. Across the country, exceptional books that might not have come into being without her support stand as a legacy. We will miss her immeasurably and will carry on her good work.”
In addition to her leadership of Furthermore, in 2013 at the age of 85, Ms. Davidson founded the Alice Award, an annual prize for illustrated books, The $25,000 prize is chosen by a jury of professionals and awarded annually to an illustrated book that makes a valuable contribution to its field and demonstrates high standards of production. Books selected by the award jury for the Alice short list each receive $5,000. At the end of 2023, $385,000 will have been given in support of illustrated publications.
Ian Wardropper, Director of The Frick Collection, said, “First for Furthermore and then for the Alice Award, Joan Davidson created a unique mark in the literary world. Furthermore stands out among foundations for its support of nonfiction books with grants that are often critical for funding leading to their publication.  The Alice recognizes books that exemplify the successful relationship of text to image and the lasting value of the well-made illustrated book. Inherent in Alice books is a special sense of intimacy, as the reader turns the pages to discover fresh insights.  Joan Davidson made a heroic commitment to the writers, editors, designers, illustrators, and publishers who create our beloved books. As chair of the Alice Jury, I and my colleagues found great pleasure in furthering Joan's vision and hope that her spirit will carry forward.”
In 2022, at the age of 95, Joan Davidson created a vibrant speaker series hosted at the Carriage House at Midwood, her property in the Hudson River Valley. Ms. Davidson sponsored the program, under the aegis of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, to encourage participants to, “Listen, see, think, agree, disagree, and have fun!”

Monday, August 14, 2023

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

There are not many meetings happening this week, but some of the week's events promise to be interesting.
  • On Tuesday, August 15, the Common Council holds its regular monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. On the agenda for the meeting is a resolution authorizing Councilmember Margaret Morris to send a revised letter to the NYS Department of Transportation regarding the truck routes and a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a license agreement with Big Towel Spa to install two mobile saunas on the beach at Oakdale Lake. A presentation explaining what's being proposed, made at the informal meeting on August 7, can be viewed here, beginning at 57:30. 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, August 16, the Zoning Board of Appeals holds a public hearing at 6:00 p.m. on the area variances required to demolish the building that currently stands on Partition Street behind 228 Allen Street and replace it with a new structure. The meeting takes place in person only at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • On Thursday, August 17, the City is auctioning off 10-12 Warren Street and 429 Warren Street. The auction takes place at 5:30 p.m. the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street. Prior to the auction, there will be public viewings of the properties: 10-12 Warren Street at 11:00 a.m. and 429 Warren Street at 12:00 noon. For more information about the terms of the auction, click here.
Update: The public viewing of the two properties, scheduled to take place today, has been canceled.
  • From 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 17, celebrated photographer William Abranowicz will be at the Hudson Milliner Art Salon, 415 Warren Street, for a reception and book signing for his new book, Country Life. The book has been described as "the equivalent of being warmly invited into the Hudson Valley homes of artists, architects, writers, museum curators, dancers, photographers, antiques dealers, set designers, a social worker, a yogi, and even a hall of fame BBQ chef." The homes featured include those of Mark McDonald, Geoff Howell, and Peter Frank. Abranowicz is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the books sold at the event to Friends of Hudson Youth, the not-for-profit that raises funds to support programming in sports, creative expression, and academic enrichment at Hudson's Department of Youth.