Thursday, September 21, 2023

Planning the Replacement of Bliss Towers

Gossips made the mistake of not attending the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meeting in person on Monday. Alexander Gorlin Architects, the firm engaged by Mountco, HHA's development partner, made a presentation on what's being planned, but the boards they displayed were never visible to the camera, so those participating on Zoom never got to see them. Copies of the drawings were distributed to the commissioners, but they were collected after the presentation. 

What we do know that they are planning to build on the site of Bliss Towers and Columbia Apartments and on the site across State Street from Bliss Towers. They are proposing that State Street be closed to traffic, except for emergency vehicles, between Second Street and what would be First Street and that First Street be extended from Columbia Street to State Street.

On these two sites, on either side of State Street, buildings will be constructed around a central courtyard or park. The buildings, designed to relate to the scale of the neighborhood, will be of various heights--some three stories, some five, some seven. Claire Cousin, who serves on the HHA Board. objected to seven stories, because, as she explained, "Seven stories feels like a highrise." Parking for residents will be around the outside of the buildings or underground. Alexander Gorlin said of what is being proposed, "It is meant to be an ideal community." This ideal community will contain 300 residential units. (The number of units in Bliss Towers and Columbia Apartments is 192.)

In addition to the buildings proposed for the current HHA site, Mountco is proposing fifteen townhouses to be constructed presumably on the three lots owned by Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency, which HHA has an option to buy: (1) the vacant lot at the northeast corner of Warren and Front streets; (2) what remains of the community garden at the northeast corner of Columbia and Second streets; (3) the vacant land along the north side of State Street from Front Street eastward.

It was not revealed how many townhouses are being proposed for each site nor, and it has not been determined how many units each townhouse would have. It was suggested, however, that some of the townhouses should have larger units with four or five bedrooms. 

During the meeting, Jeffrey Dodson, executive director of HHA, stated, "I've been pushing to get as many units as we can." A goal often cited is to build twice as many units as HHA now has, "to serve people here now and new people as well." 

The plan is to build on the north side of State Street, now being called Site B, and have people move from Bliss Towers and Columbia Apartments into the new building. Then Bliss Towers can be demolished, and construction can begin on what is now being called Site A.

In 2019, when HHA, working with a different development partner, contemplated constructing new buildings on the north side of State Street, it was determined that that land there was not stable enough to support the 120 units being proposed for the site. 

At the meeting on Monday, Nick Zachos, who serves on the HHA Board, asked the architects if they were confident they could build on that site. They acknowledged that they haven't yet completed their site studies.

In the discussion, Revonda Smith, who chairs the HHA Board of Commissioners, spoke of 280 North Pearl Street in Albany as an example to be emulated. The building, owned by the Albany Housing Authority, opened in 2019 after three years of construction.

Photo: Albany Business Review
The architects for the HHA project promised the new buildings "will look like market rate but will be affordable."

Mountco and the architects will return in October with the completed preliminary plan that will be submitted to the state, and the HHA Board of Commissioners will be asked to vote on approving it. Apparently, it is at this point that community engagement begins. John Madeo of Mountco assured the board that Gorlin was "very good at community engagement" and "not afraid to come out at night."

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

What's in a Name?

In November 2022, Gossips reported that the Galvan Foundation had changed its name on Facebook and was now calling itself "Galvan Center for the Common Good." Yesterday, Galvan changed its Facebook name again and is now calling itself simply "Galvan Initiatives."


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

We've Waited This Long . . .

Last week, Gossips reported that there had been two bids on the construction of the new Ferry Street Bridge: one from A. Colarusso & Sons, the other from J. H. Maloy, Inc., out of Loudenville. The bids were from $4,595,649 and $4,069,000 respectively. The bid from Maloy was the lower bid and hence the winning bid.  

At the Common Council meeting tonight, there was a resolution before the Council authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with A. Colarusso & Sons to construct the replacement Ferry Street Bridge. What happened? you might ask.

It seems that there were two insurance requirements that needed to be included in the bids. The first was the standard insurance required for all projects receiving federal funding; the second was insurance required by Amtrak. The bid from Maloy did not include the insurance required by Amtrak, the cost of which is substantial. Rather than absorb the cost of the insurance, J. H. Maloy chose to withdraw its bid, leaving only the bid from Colarusso.

When the resolution to enter into the contract with Colarusso came before the Council, Council president Tom DePietro said the resolution would be withdrawn because they were going to recommend that the Department of Public Works issue a new RFP for the Ferry State Bridge. According to DePietro, rebidding the project would only delay things a couple of weeks. Commenting on the situation, Peter Bujanow, Commissioner of Public Works, said the City had two options: they could award the project to the only other bidder; or they could rebid the project, if they determined it would be in the City's best interest. He suggested they could "try to solicit a wider net of bidders" the second time around. 

The meeting moved on from there, but toward the end, when Councilmember Vicky Daskaloudi suggested they should vote to confirm their decision regarding the bridge project and made a motion to rebid the construction of the Ferry Street Bridge, Mayor Kamal Johnson, who had just joined the meeting on Zoom, expressed his opinion that rebidding the bridge was "an extremely bad idea." He went on to say, "People have waited long enough already. To push this back further . . . is showing them a lack of trust in all of us." Johnson's entire argument can be heard in the video of the meeting on YouTube, beginning at 35:35. 

In the end, it was decided the Council would vote on the motion to rebid. The problem was there were only six members of the Common Council present at the meeting and able to vote: Art Frick (First Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward), Daskaloudi (Fifth Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), and Council president DePietro. For a motion or resolution to pass would require all six of them to vote the same way. Voting on the motion to rebid the project, four (Frick, Daskaloudi, Merante, and DePietro) voted yes, and two (Sarowar and Walker) voted no. When it was decided they needed to vote on the resolution authorizing the contract with Colarusso, the vote went exactly the opposite way: two (Sarowar and Walker) voted in favor; four (Frick, Daskaloudi, Merante, and DePietro) voted against.

It was decided that the Council would hold a special meeting on Friday, September 22, at 6:00 p.m., to resolve the issue, when it was hoped that more members of the Common Council would be present. The mayor immediately took to Facebook to rally support for his position. Here is a screen capture of his post on the Facebook group called "Unfiltered Hudson." (Click on the image to enlarge.)

In his post, the mayor makes the question of rebidding the Ferry Street Bridge project all about Colarusso. As a consequence, Friday's special Council meeting will likely turn out to be a prelude to the showdown that is expected to happen next Wednesday when the Planning Board holds a public hearing on Colarusso's application for a conditional use permit to construct a paved two-lane road through South Bay to enable increased gravel truck traffic to and from the river.

Ear to the Ground

By now, it is generally known that the Galvan Foundation has purchased Helsinki Hudson. On July 28, the Albany Business Review reported that the selling price for Helsinki Hudson was $6.25 million, the sole trustee of the purchasing LLC was T. Eric Galloway, and the seller was holding a mortgage of $4.25 million. There may be more to the deal than what was reported in the Albany Business Review.

Knowing that Galvan had sold the Charles Alger House on Allen Street, I decided to check the assessment rolls to see if they might yield any information about a new owner of the historic house. There I discovered that on July 14, 2023, a week before Helsinki Hudson was sold, the Charles Alger House, whose lavish restoration was recently completed, was sold to Water Canyon LLC for $1--yes, one dollar. Water Canyon LLC has an address in Hillsdale which, it turns out, is a house owned by Cameron Melville, the third partner, with Deborah McDowell and Marc Shafler, in Helsinki Hudson. 


Update: This morning, a reader sent me this information about the house at 59 Allen Street, from the county deeds records, which indicates that the house actually sold for $1.65 million.

Happening in October

Back in the day, before Prohibition, Hudson's major industry was brewing and Hudson's largest employer was C. H. Evans & Sons. 

Today, Hudson is returning to its pre-Prohibition roots with four craft breweries: Hudson Brewing Co., Upper Depot Brewing Co., Return Brewing Co., and Union Street Brewing Co. With all this craft beer in Hudson, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with an idea to bring the four breweries together to celebrate the bounty, and that idea is Hudson's first Okterberfest, happening on Saturday, October 7. On that day, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m., Hudson's four craft breweries will be joined by Old Klaverack Brewery in Greenport and Nine Pin Ciderworks from Albany to stage a street festival on the uppermost block of State Street, from North Seventh Street to Green Street. 

All the information about the event can be found in this article that appeared in Chronogram: "The First Hudson Okterberfest Debuts Saturday, October 7."  

Monday, September 18, 2023

The City and the HCSD

Last week, the Register-Star devoted an article and an editorial to Mayor Kamal Johnson's appearance at a meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education on Tuesday, September 12. It wasn't entirely clear from either what the issue between the City and the school district was, but today Gossips got clarification from the mayor's office. 

It the beginning of the year, the Common Council passed resolutions to sell three City-owned parcels to Kearney Realty and Development Group for the purpose of developing affordable housing. The problem with HCSD relates to one of these parcels: the parcel on Mill Street, which is currently part of Charles Williams Park. The plan is to build a mixed-income apartment building on this site.

The City took ownership of this land, which had been the playground of Charles Williams School, in 1983. When the school, now the location of the Second Ward Foundation, was being planned in the 1920s, the Columbia Republican had this to say about the site.
[T]he remarkable feature of the property is the playground facilities. Below the grade . . . is a large tract big enough for two baseball fields and places for all sports. The ground is level and excellent for this purpose and would give this part of the city an essential playground. It was with this big feature in mind that the Board favored this property.
The Charles Williams building, completed in 1924, ceased being a school in 1970, but it wasn't until 1983 that the City acquired the playground, which became Charles Williams Park. The transfer of ownership was done with the understanding that the land would be used for a park and for recreational purposes. This was written into the 1983 deed. If the land is used for any other purpose, ownership would revert back to the Hudson City School District. 

The parcel in question is the part of Charles Williams Park south of Mill Street and does not figure in the plans for park improvements now being pursued. 

Curiously, this reverter clause seemed not to have been a problem twenty or so years ago when the City donated land that was part of the original Charles Williams playground to Habitat for Humanity for the purpose of constructing five single-family houses. It would be interesting to understand why.


Meetings of Interest in the Week Ahead

Remarkable as it may seem, we are more than halfway through September. The week ends with the autumnal equinox on Saturday at 2:49 a.m. In the meantime, here is what's happening.
  • On Monday, September 18, the Housing Trust Fund Board of Directors meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Bliss Towers, 41 North Second Street. At this point, it is not known if the meeting will be in person only or a hybrid.  
  • At 6:00 p.m. on Monday, September 18, the Hudson Housing Authority Board of Commissioners holds its monthly meeting. At the board's July meeting, Mountco, HHA's development partner, said that the results of various soil and topographical studies, as well as more specific drawings of what is being proposed, would be presented at the September meeting. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person in the Community Room at Bliss Towers, 41 North Second Street, and on Zoom. Click here to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Tuesday, September 19, the Common Council holds its regular monthly meeting. Included on the agenda for the meeting are a resolution authorizing a transfer of $140,500 from the fund balance to pay for the new comprehensive plan, the law establishing an amnesty program for parking ticket scofflaws, and the law expanding the number of public places where the consumption of beer and wine can be permitted at events. 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, September 20, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 6:00 p.m. No agenda for the meeting is yet available. The meeting takes place in person only at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street.
  • On Friday, September 22, the Historic Preservation Commission holds its second meeting of the month 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.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Hudson and Its Whaling Roots

For those who missed Carl Whitbeck's well-attended lecture at the library on Thursday about Hudson's whaling heritage, Lance Wheeler's videotape of the event can now be viewed on YouTube

This Week at Stair Galleries

On Thursday, September 21, at 10:00 a.m., an auction of the Collection of André Leon Talley will take place at Stair Galleries. The collection reflects all the facets of this life and is the legacy he leaves behind for all those who knew, admired, and championed him.

Photo: Seth Wenig | AP
"We keep hearing from colleagues, friends, and family that this is their last chance to own a piece of this trailblazer's life!" Muffie Cunningham, Director of Decorative Arts at Stair, said. "This auction is very unique as it is an in-depth and personal look at this pioneering American icon."

With taste and grace, André Leon Talley rose from this childhood in the Jim Crow South to the pinnacle of the fashion world with his unerring sense of style, his intelligence, and his quick wit. As the first Black man to hold the title of Creative Director at American Vogue, Talley's rarified status in the fashion industry allowed him to pursue what was personally important to him, establishing decades-long relationships with icons in the industry and supporting young designers and their nascent talent.

Highlights in this single-owner sale include clothing, handbags, shoes from the 1980s until today, furniture, literature, and decorations from both the White Plains and Durham, North Carolina, homes, including a Victorian mahogany throne chair, numerous giltwood mirrors, a chintz upholstered corner sofa, a pair of large wicker armchairs, Christian Lacroix jewelry, two pieces of Bottega Veneta luggage, stemware, porcelain, mohair throws, numerous hats and books. His personal friendships with iconic fashion designers such as Manolo Blahnik, Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino, and Diane von Furstenberg are reflected in Talley's collection of haute couture as well as pieces from designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermes, Ralph Rucci, Balenciaga, Todd Oldham, Christian Dior, Tom Ford, and Gianni Versace. Selection of artwork by Bruce Weber, Beatrice, Caracciolo, Arthur Elgort, and Sylvester Stallone are also included. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York and Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Apartments of Distinction: Update

This week, work on the storefront is progressing, but the brick, after an apparent attempt last Saturday to remove the lime wash, remains a blotchy white. This is how the building appeared this morning.

Here's the rendering of the building that was granted a certificate of appropriateness by the Historic Preservation Commission.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Preserving Hudson's Landmark Church

Twenty-first century technology is being employed to help preserve the 19th-century First Presbyterian Church thanks to a donation by Taconic Engineering, DPC, of Chatham. The engineering firm is laser scanning the entire building–from the basement to the tops of its two towers. The scans will be used to create a three-dimensional electronic model of the building that can be used in the future by architects, engineers, and construction companies working on the church. Taconic Engineering is donating these services to the church. 

First Presbyterian Church is an important historic, religious, and architectural landmark with a soaring east tower that dominates the skyline of Warren Street, Hudson’s main thoroughfare. The 186-year-old church is located at Fourth and Warren streets and houses the city’s official clock, a tradition that started in 1801. 

“The data collected by Taconic Engineering will provide us a digital representation of First Presbyterian Church that can be used in future preservation work,” said Gary Sheffer, president of the Friends of First Presbyterian Church, a secular non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the church. “It gives us the ability to see the church from all perspectives. We are extremely grateful to Taconic Engineering for this generous donation.” 

"We are honored to be able to help the church take this important first step. This partnership represents our commitment to preserving history and regional landmarks,” said Chad Lindberg, president and founder of Taconic Engineering. “Being a part of this project is a reflection of our dedication to honoring the past while embracing the future of our community." 

Digital scanning of the church should be completed in September. 

The Friends recently completed a project to install a new roof on the rear, original section of the church. Additional repairs are needed, among them masonry restoration, repairs to the towers, improving accessibility, and electrical work. 

The church’s principal stained glass window and its soaring Gothic steeple are well-known to city residents and passersby. A clocks in the tower of the First Presbyterian Church has been telling Hudsonians the time since 1802. Thousands have worshipped in the church, including Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States, and Hudson River School painter Frederic Church and his family.

Today, in addition to being a place of worship, the building is home to community groups that support performance, art, learning, civic gatherings, feeding the hungry. and other ministries, such as Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood and radio station WGXC. 

Following the completion of the roof project, the Friends group is turning its attention to developing a comprehensive preservation plan for the church, with a focus on the north facade of the building. If you are interested in joining the Friends or donating to the preservation campaign, please visit the Friends’ website.

Latinx Festival This Sunday

On Sunday, September 17, the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement presents the third annual Latinx Parade and Festival, celebrating Hispanic heritage and culture.

The event begins at 1:00 p.m. with representatives of the area's Latinx communities parading down Warren Street, from the Public Square to the river, carrying their country's flags and wearing their national colors. At 2:00 p.m., the festival begins at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Performers at the festival include Hip Hop Jibarito, Andes Manta, Mariachi Mexico Tradicional, Triqui Sin Fronteras, Alessandra Gonzales, DJ Ghetto, and JZ Martinez. Food vendors at the festival will be Ja Style, Magdalena's Mexican Restaurant, Peta's Pocket, Robert's Restaurant, Sandra's Pupusas, Tequila Sunrise, and Yeni's Pupusas.

Following the event, from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m., there will be an afterparty at the Hudson Brewing Company, featuring DJ Rymba. Proceeds from the afterparty will support future cultural celebrations for immigrants and their allies.

For more information about the performers and vendors, visit

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Hudson's New Comprehensive Plan

In June, the City issued an RFP (request for proposal) for a new comprehensive plan. The responses were due on July 14, 2023, but since then there has been no news about how many proposals were received or who submitted proposals. 

At the informal meeting of the Common Council on Monday, in the process of the introducing Celeste Frye, who was about to, in his words, "describe what they are going to be doing for us in the comprehensive plan," Council president Tom DePietro told the Council, "The committee selected Public Works Partners." Frye, who is the CEO of Public Works Partners, told the Council that her group would be teaming up with SLR Consulting, a group that specializes in sustainability, on Hudson's comprehensive plan. 

In her presentation, which can be viewed here (beginning at 2:44), Frye said they would start with all of the work already done, e.g. the Strategic Housing Action Plan, the Natural Resource and Open Space Inventory, the LWRP, etc., and would build on that. She presented this schematic to show their process.

She anticipated the process would take from 12 to 16 months.

When Councilmember Vicky Daskaloudi (Fifth Ward) asked about the fee, the answer came that it was $208,000. DePietro noted that a third of the amount was covered by a grant. Presumably the rest is coming from the general fund.

The committee that reviewed the proposals and chose the winning proposal was made up of Kamal Johnson, mayor; Michael Hofmann, mayor's aide; DePietro; Margaret Morris, First Ward councilmember; Michelle Tullo, Housing Justice Director; Peter Bujanow, Commissioner of Public Works; Heather Campbell, city treasurer. 

Gossips has learned that there were five responses to the RFP, and three of the respondents were invited to an interview with the committee. Among the three interviewed was a group headed up by Kaja Kühl, well known to Hudsonians for her work on plans to revitalize Oakdale, conceptualizing Shared Streets during the pandemic, and creating climate adaptive redesigns for Henry Hudson Riverfront Park. Kühl's urban research, design, and planning practice is called youarethecity.

What Wasn't Shared at the Town Hall

Gossips reported about the virtual "Town Hall on Environmental Justice in Black Neighborhoods," held by Lukee Forbes of the Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition, before it took place but not after it happened. Jamel Cutler, however, wrote about the town hall for the Register-Star: "Panel: City truck route 'a nightmare.'" 

Two of the four announced panelists were not present, and the two that were--Linda Mussmann and Kayah Payton--talked mostly about how awful it was to have heavy trucks passing through the city. One of the absent panelists, Peter Jung, submitted a video, which was not shared during the town hall but was sent to attendees afterward. Jung is one of the cofounders of The Valley Alliance, and his presentation in the video speaks about one aspect of Hudson's truck problem: the Colarusso gravel trucks. The video, which can be viewed here, provides a good summary of the current situation, but the last minute of the video is particularly interesting. Gossips recommends it. 


New Partnership to Produce Winter Walk

For many years, it seemed my dear friend Ellen Thurston, as a member of the Hudson Opera House Board of Directors, worked single-handedly to produce Winter Walk. Those days, alas, are over. Today at noon, Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House announced that it will join with the City of Hudson, Hudson Development Corporation, and the Hudson Business Coalition to produce Winter Walk 2023 on Saturday, December 2.

The following is quoted from the press release announcing the collaboration:
Now in its 27th year, Winter Walk offers a magical evening of family friendly attractions, performances, beautifully decorated shop windows, unique holiday shopping, delicious local food, and spectacular fireworks along Hudson's main street. Joining together for the first time to produce the event, the partnership unites Hudson's local government, business, and cultural community to usher in a new and exciting era of the beloved citywide winter festival.
"Over the past 26 years, Hudson Hall has nurtured Winter Walk from its humble beginnings into Columbia County's largest, liveliest, and most colorful event of the year," says Hudson Hall Executive Director, Tambra Dillon. "The success of the event heralds a new partnership with the City of Hudson, Hudson Development Corporation, and Hudson Business Coalition, and we are thrilled to welcome them as official Winter Walk co-producers this year. Their knowledge and experience of the event, combined with a shared commitment to the entrepreneurial and creative spirit that defines Hudson, make them the perfect partners to support the continued success of Winter Walk."
"My family and I look forward to Winter Walk every single year--it's a truly special community event where everyone feels welcome on Warren Street," says Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson. "My administration is excited to join Hudson Hall, Hudson Business Coalition, and the Hudson Development Corporation, and many others to make this year's Winter Walk a huge success."
"Over the past twenty-six years, Winter Walk has become a beloved part of the rich tapestry of art, commerce, and community that is Hudson," says Alexandre J. Petraglia, Hudson Business Coalition president. "Whether you're a long-time resident of Hudson, or visiting us for the first time on the night of Winter Walk, your experience will be nothing short of magical. We're so encouraged by the business community's participation in Winter Walk each year--the work that business owners do to enliven Warren Street, welcome guests inside their shops, galleries, and restaurants, and share in the spirit of the holiday season. There is simply no other event like it--certainly not in the Hudson Valley, perhaps not in the entire world!"
"Winter Walk is magic!" says Christine Jones, Hudson Development Corporation president. "Walking down Warren Street, meeting friends and neighbors and getting in the holiday spirit is one of my favorite nights in the Hudson Valley. Strolling into the many shops with decorated windows, some with performers and music, seeing dancers and musicians mingling with the crowd, watching kids' eyes twinkle at all that is happening around them, and tasting the many delicious foods offered along the way makes Winter Walk a holiday experience second to none.". . .
"There was so much anticipation the evening of the first Winter Walk in 1997," says Sarah Lipsky, Hudson Hall Board Member and Winter Walk founder. "After months of work and planning, we didn't know if people would come, but they did! The Hudson Opera House was not even open, but we wanted to bring people to Hudson to celebrate the ongoing transformation of Warren Street. It is thrilling to be a part of the 27th Winter Walk and see how it has endured and become a lasting community event for all people and all ages." . . .
Vendors, performers, artists, or community groups wishing to participate in Winter Walk may apply by visiting . . .

A Bridge for Crossing

Rob Perry, Superintendent of Public Works, opened the bids this morning for the construction of the new Ferry Street Bridge. There were just two: one from A. Colarusso & Son; the other from J. H. Maloy, Inc., of Loudonville. The bid from Colarusso was for $4,595,649. The bid from Maloy was for $4,069,000. [PLEASE NOTE: The amounts originally published were incorrect; these are the correct amounts.]

Failing any unforeseen problems, the new bridge will be constructed by J. H. Maloy, Inc.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Highlights of the Planning Board Meeting

One of the projects discussed at last night's Planning Board meeting was the hotel proposed by the Casetta Group for 601 Union Street, the former Elks Lodge. The project required a use variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals, and during the ZBA's review of the project, Walter Brett, who owns the historic house at 611 Union Street, expressed concern about the negative impact the additional buildings to be constructed behind the municipal parking lot and his house would have on his quality of life.

At their August meeting, the Planning Board decided to make a site visit to Brett's backyard. They also asked that the applicant to create a rendering of the proposed building from the vantage point of the rear of 611 Union Street. The site visit took place on August 19, and at last night's meeting Kristal Heinz, attorney for the applicant, presented the rendering (below) showing the view of the proposed buildings from Brett's backyard. 

It was suggested that a row of trees might be planted along the hotel's property line to further screen the buildings from view. Gary Mead of the Casetta Group suggested that the trees might interfere with the fire lane, and he needed to consult with code enforcement and the fire department. The applicant also presented a new aerial view of the site map.

It appears that Brett is now in discussion with Casetta in an effort to solve the problem. A public hearing on the project has been scheduled for November 14.

Amendments to the site plan for the hotel proposed by the Galvan Foundation for North Fourth and Warren streets were also presented at last night's Planning Board meeting. As it turns out, the amendments consist of changes to the site plan resulting from alterations in the design agreed to during the review of the project by the Historic Preservation Commission. The biggest change seems to be the decrease in the number of hotel rooms--from 32 to 30--that happened because Galvan agreed not to add a floor to the townhouses on North Fourth Street and a change in the square footage of the restaurant space. The renderings below compare the design that existed when the Planning Board granted site plan approval in September 2022 and the design that evolved during the HPC review.

Although the Planning Board has already held a public hearing on the project, it was decided there would be another public hearing on the amended site plan. The hearing will take place at the Planning Board's October meeting, scheduled for October 11.

Galvan in Savannah

Galvan's acquisition of Hudson hasn't stopped. Over the summer, Galvan purchased Helsinki Hudson, and there is the persistent rumor that Galvan may be acquiring Crosswinds. 

Galvan's acquisition of Savannah continues as well. On September 1, Galvan Center for the Common Good announced on Facebook its plans to restore the Kiah House, a historic house in Savannah that was retrofitted in 1959 by the late artist and educator Virginia Jackson Kiah and her husband, Calvin Kiah, a former Dean of Education at Savannah State College, to establish the first African American-founded museum in Savannah.

Photo: Eric Curl | Savannah Agenda
Today, on Savannah Agenda, Eric Curl provides more information about the Kiah House purchase and an update on the Galvan Foundation's activities in Savannah: "With downtown acquisition, New York nonprofit's local presence grows ahead of Kiah House purchase."

Update: This evening, Wednesday, September 13, Galvan Center for the Common Good posted the following on its Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

What Lies Beneath

If you Google "sewers of NYC," you will find pictures like these.

The sewers of Paris are so remarkable that part of sewer system has been turned into a museum--Le Musée des Égouts de Paris.

We here in Hudson have often heard about our city's 19th-century stone sewers, but we never get to see them. In his report at the informal Common Council meeting on Monday, Rob Perry, DPW superintendent, shared this image of one of the sewers in Hudson, taken by a camera sent into the sewer in an effort to detect a suspected obstruction.

This is workmanship that has served us for way more than a century.