Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Hudson and Greenport

Today, Hudson got the attention of The Transit Guy on Instagram. (The Transit Guy is actually Hayden Clarkin, a transportation engineer and planner.)

What The Transit Guy didn't realize is that one of these commercial corridors is not Hudson but Greenport--built not for people, as Hudson was in the 18th and 19th centuries, but for cars.

Thanks to Peter Spear for bringing this to Gossips' attention.

Promises of Spring

No matter what the groundhog prognosticates on Friday, the next day an event that helps usher us toward spring will happen on schedule. The Hudson Farmers' Market begins its 2024 Winter-Spring Season on Saturday, February 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Winter-Spring Market runs each Saturday from February 3 to April 13 at the Hudson Elks Lodge, 201 Harry Howard Avenue. There you will find a wide range of products from local farmers, producers, and artisans--vibrant greens, hearty storage crops, cuts of meat and seafood, dozens of eggs, delicious cheeses, sourdough bread, spirits made from regional grains, coffee and expresso drinks, hot prepared foods, cutting and serving boards, luxurious soaps, botanical prints, herbal remedies, and much more.

Handicap and elder parking is available in front of the Elks Lodge. All other parking is at Hudson High School, adjacent to the market. The market is on the route of the Columbia County Shopping Shuttle, which conveniently stops at the Elks Lodge three times during market hours.

For a schedule of the guest vendors and musicians at the market each week, visit the Hudson Farmers' Market website.

Nantucket . . . Where It All Began

As we know, the majority of the Proprietors who founded Hudson were from Nantucket, and many traces of Nantucket influence can recognized around our little city. Because of this historic connection, articles about Nantucket are always of interest. This one, which appeared yesterday in the New York Times, is no exception: "On Nantucket, a Legal Maneuver to Protect Historic Homes from Gutting." The topic is not without relevance to us here in Hudson. 

Photo: Matt Cosby | New York Times

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Remember Ockawamick!

"Remember Ockawamick!" doesn't quite have the ring of "Remember the Alamo!" or "Remember the Maine!" but it'll  do.

Back in 2008, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors bought the former Ockawamick School building in the Town of Claverack for $1.5 million. The plan, lavishly researched and vigorously promoted, was to relocate the Department of Social Services to that location and ultimately make the building the centerpiece of a new county "campus" in the geographic center of the county . . . six miles from the county seat and, in the words of the inimitable Ellen Thurston, "in the middle of nowhere." The plan met with passionate protest, and eventually it was abandoned.

In 2014, the building was sold at auction for $502,500--about a third of what the Board of Supervisors had paid for it six years earlier.

Gossips retells the story of Ockawamick because of its relevance to the current situation with 11 Warren Street. Unfortunately, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors doesn't seem to have taken the right lesson from the Ockawamick experience. They should have learned that it is important to engage the community in their planning early on. Instead it seems what they learned from the experience is to be as secretive as possible about their plans and to let the public in on what's happening only after it's a fait accompli. 

Help Needed . . . by the City of Hudson

Get out your cell phone, a coin, and a magnet, and help the City complete its Lead Service Line Inventory.

In 2021, the Federal Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) went into effect. The revised rule requires every federally defined community water system to develop a Lead Service Line Inventory by October 16, 2024. The inventory will serve as a basis to apply for grants to help replace water service lines that contain lead, in order to protect drinking water quality.

The City is asking the help of residents to complete the Lead Service Line Inventory by testing their water line, following the steps illustrated below, and then completing the Lead Service Line Inventory Survey, which can be found here. There is also a video, found here, that shows how the test can be done.

More information about the inventory and the survey can be found on the City of Hudson website.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Contemplating the Future of 610 State Street

The County's grand plan to turn a 50-year-old failed strip mall on lower Warren Street into a county office building involves the County divesting itself of 610 State Street. This former school building, constructed in 1887, is one of three school buildings in Hudson that the County acquired back in the day when school districts could dispose of unwanted property by transferring ownership to a municipality for a dollar or some other token amount. The other two buildings are 401 State Street, built in 1915 as Hudson High School, and Charles Williams School, constructed in 1924. (The County owned Charles Williams School from 1970 to 2005, when the City of Hudson did a swap with the County. The County got land it needed to build 325 Columbia Street; the City got the former school building. The City sold Charles Williams School to the Second Ward Foundation in 2010.)

Photo courtesy Historic Hudson
The building at 610 State Street was designed by the very prolific and successful Hudson architect Michael O'Connor and was constructed in 1887 as the very first Hudson High School. When the new high school building at 401 State Street was completed, 610 State Street became an elementary school, the Sixth Street School, and continued to be used as an elementary school until John L. Edwards was completed in 1965. Very likely it was at that time that the County took possession of the building. The photograph below shows the building in 1960.

The building is a contributing structure in the National Register Hudson Historic District and hence eligible for historic preservation tax credits. 

When it was announced that the County was planning to buy 11 Warren Street, a building owned by the Galvan Foundation, it was thought there might be a swap. The county no longer wanted 610 State, and its location made it desirable to Galvan. It was the missing piece in Galvan's "Depot District." They already owned the rest of that block--the house at 618 State Street and the site of the original Hudson Orphan Asylum, which Galvan demolished in 2019. 

Matt Murell, chair of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, denied the notion of a swap. The following is quoted from an article in the Register-Star, which appeared on August 12, 2023, soon after the acquisition of 11 Warren Street was announced:
Murell said the purchase does not mean the county and Galvan, which has evinced an interest in 610 State St., plan to swap buildings.
"If at some point we decide to sell 610, Galvan is free to submit a bid like everyone else, but the county would like at some point to get rid of it," Murell said.
We can only hope that when the County decides to sell 610 State Street the process will not be as sub rosa as the acquisition of 11 Warren Street has been. The building is architecturally significant and historically significant to the City of Hudson, and it deserves to have a good steward to ensure its future.  


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Meetings and Events in the Week Ahead

In this week that sees the end of January and the beginning of February, not much is happening. There's only one meeting and one event.
  • On Wednesday, January 31, Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) meets at 4:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid, taking place in person at the Central Fire Station, 77 North Seventh Street, and on Microsoft Teams. Click here to find the link to join the meeting remotely.
  • On Friday, February 2, it's Groundhog Day. Get up early to find out if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not.

Another of the "Men We Know"

Last Sunday, Gossips introduced "Men We Know," a series of drawings of prominent Hudsonians in 1909 that appeared once a week in the Hudson Morning Republican, and its companion volume "Just for Fun." Clippings from "Men We Know" and a copy of "Just for Fun" are now in the collection of the History Room at the Hudson Area Library, donated by Frank Meyers. So far, Gossips has featured two of the fifty-two prominent men of the time: William Gray and  J. Homer Luff. Today, we feature a drawing that intriguingly includes Father Time, walking arm in arm with the subject of the drawing.

The rhyme that accompanies the drawing reads:

Here's a City Father and old Father Time,
Convenient it happens, for it helps out the rhyme;
One is a hustler, that all men say,
The other is rather a trifle blase.

The rhyme and the clue in the drawing--a tag behind Father Time's head that reads "We Alderman Eh!"--provide the information that the man depicted was an alderman. Father Time is a clue to his occupation. The picture in "Just for Fun" reveals who he is: P. J. McCarthy.

In 1909, Patrick J. McCarthy had just been elected alderman representing the Second Ward. He served two terms on the Common Council, from 1909 through 1912. His occupation was that of undertaker, which he practiced at 234 Warren Street.

In 1909, McCarthy lived at 206 Fulton Street--Fulton Street then being the name of Columbia Street from Third Street to the river. McCarthy's house no longer exists. Its site is the upper part of what remains of the community garden. 

In 1914, McCarthy's misfortune was front-page news for much of the month of May. On May 4, McCarthy was one of five men who were in a car that "turned turtle" on its way back to Hudson. The following is quoted from the front page of the Columbia Republican for May 5, 1914.
Four Hudsonians were very badly injured last evening shortly before 10 o'clock, when the automobile in which they were riding, turned turtle on the State road, a short distance from the Park Hotel in Stottville. The injured are: John Klemmer, a local police officer; Patrick McCarthy, an undertaker; Joseph Eaton the son of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Eaton; and Augustus Remien, a Front street cafe proprietor. The automobile was owned and driven by Thomas Craig, of this city, but the latter escaped injury by being thrown completely over the windshield and falling in the ditch.
The party had been out in the country for a short spin and were on the way toward this city. The accident occurred in a slight grade this side of Stottville while the car was being driven along. The auto skidded to one side of the highway and then turned completely over, pinning the occupants of the car, with the exception of the driver. The car was completely wrecked.
The final paragraph of the article provides this information: "At 9 o'clock this morning both Officer Klemmer and P. J. McCarthy were pronounced in a critical condition and it was feared that neither of them would recover."

The next day, the Columbia Republican published an update on McCarthy's condition, on the front page:
Ex-Alderman P. J. McCarthy this afternoon seemed slightly improved. He is still too weak to be operated upon. It it understood that his left leg will have to be amputated. It is broken and horribly mangled. The ligaments have been torn into threads. He has never lost consciousness and has bore the severe pain without hardly a murmur. The nurses and physicians speak highly of his strong constitution and endurance. Dr. Whitbeck at 1:30 o'clock this afternoon said that McCarthy's general condition was improved but the condition of his injured limb remained the same. As to amputation, the physician stated that nothing definite could be stated: "We are awaiting developments," he said. "It is simply a matter of time." He intimated, however, that McCarthy's condition was still critical. 
Two days later, on May 8, 1914, the Columbia Republican provided this report on the front page, under the headline "Injured Man's Leg Amputated":
After every available effort had been made at the Hudson City Hospital to save the mangled and broken left leg of P. J. McCarthy, one of the party of Hudson men who was badly injured in an automobile accident on the Stottville road Monday night, it was found necessary Thursday afternoon to amputate the injured member to save the man's life, as gangrene had set in and the danger of blood poisoning was imminent.
The operation was performed by Dr. Whitbeck, assisted by Dr. Bradley and Dr. Harris, and the limb was removed at the thigh. Last night Dr. Whitbeck stated that Mr. McCarthy was resting well. If nothing unforeseen develops now the chances are good for his complete recovery.

The Columbia Republican continued to provide updates on McCarthy's condition until it reported that McCarthy had left the hospital and returned home on Memorial Day, May 30. This is the hospital where McCarthy was treated, a building constructed in 1900, fourteen years before the accident.

It appears McCarthy did make a complete recovery, as Whitbeck predicted he would. On January 24, 1915, he married Margaruite Metz. After the accident, his name appears in the newspaper most frequently, in newspaper accounts of grisly accidents or gruesome deaths, in this context: "The remains were then ordered by the Coroner to be taken to the undertaking rooms of P. J. McCarthy."

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Pocket Park or Parking Spot?

Once upon a time, the space off Prison Alley, behind 540 Warren Street, was treated as if it were a pocket park, one of the several created during Urban Renewal. The picture below, taken in 2013, shows a hedge, a bit of grass, and a segment of wrought iron fence, a remnant of fence savaged from someplace in Hudson. Although it's not shown in the picture, there was also a bench.   

As more evidence that this was a park, back in 1999, when the Common City decided to ban dogs from all city parks, a "No Dogs Allowed" sign was posted in this space.

Today, however, the bench is gone, the remnant of wrought iron fence is gone, the wooden fence separating the park from the yard behind the building is gone, and it appears that now the park does nothing more than give access to a parking space.

Update: A reader provided some information about this space behind 540 Warren Street. It appears on the 1911 Sanborn map as part of the parcel that includes the passage from Warren Street to Prison Alley. On the map, it is identified as 540½ Warren Street.

In today's assessment rolls, the parcel's tax ID is 110.53-1-57.2, its owner is the City of Hudson, it is wholly exempt, and it is described as "Mini Mall w/benches."

Remembering Summer

Last July, AARP filmed a video with Al Roker at the Hudson Farmers' Market. That video, called 3 Things Al Roker Loves to Get When Shopping, can now be viewed on the AARP website. Click here to watch. 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Thank You, SHPO

In 2022, the Historic Preservation Commission granted a certificate of appropriateness to the restoration/renovation proposed for 702-704 Columbia Street. Because the building's owners are seeking historic preservation tax credits, the proposal was subsequently reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). 

Today, the project was back before the HPC seeking approval for the changes requested by SHPO. What was proposed and approved by the HPC is shown in the first elevation drawing below; what SHPO is requesting is shown in the second elevation drawing.  

It was explained that SHPO wants the building to look as much as possible the way it does in historic pictures. 

Photo: History Room | Hudson Area Library
Photo: Columbia County Historical Society
Instead of the windows in the storefronts being divided into eight sections, SHPO requested that they be divided into only four. SHPO also asked that all the windows--the arched windows on the Columbia Street facade as well as the windows on the east and west sides--be restored rather than replaced, and that the arrangement of windows on the west side be the same as that of the windows on the east side. 

A proposal to replicate the cornice on the east side of the building has been eliminated because evidence from the historic photographs suggests that it never existed.

The HPC agreed to accept all the changes to the plans requested by SHPO.

Tomorrow at Christ Church

Tomorrow, January 27, is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, a date that is observed as a day of Holocaust remembrance internationally. Appropriately, tomorrow is the opening of Shoah: A Meditation on the Holocaust, an installation by Phillip Schwartz at Church Church Episcopal, 431 Union Street.

Child's Mugshot. Phillip Schwartz, 2024. Upholstery fabric and satin
Inspired by the Stations of the Cross, the story of the Passion of Christ told through visual art which has been used for centuries in Christian prayer and meditation, Shoah: A Meditation on the Holocaust is a combination of egg tempura paintings, icons, and textile works. Many of the images in these works are based on open-sourced photographs housed in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Schwartz is a Hudson-based artist and iconographer whose work has been shown locally and internationally. His textile work was recently featured in Fiber Art Now. One of his quilts will be on view at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, TX, from March until August, as part of the exhibition "Excellence in Quilts." His work is also included in an exhibition at the Center of Exploratory and Perceptual Arts (CEPA) in Buffalo called "The Power of Resilience and Hope: Photography and the Holocaust: Then and Now."

Shoah: A Meditation on the Holocaust opens on Saturday, January 27, at Christ Church Episcopal, 431 Union Street. There will be an opening reception from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The installation will be on view through Sunday, February 11. Exhibition hours are Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., and by appointment. Call or text (518) 929-4411 to arrange a visit outside of the hours given.

In Case You Missed It

Last week, there was an article in Chronogram about the saunas at Oakdale: "Big Towel Spa at Oakdale Beach: Hudson's Mobile Sauna." 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Public Input, County Government Style

Yesterday, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors held a "public input meeting" about 11 Warren Street, the property the County purchased recently from the Galvan Foundation for $3.35 million. Close to forty people showed up to witness the event or to offer their input. Four of the five Hudson supervisors--Claire Cousin (First Ward), Michael Chameides (Third Ward), Linda Mussmann (Fourth Ward), and Rick Scalera (Fifth Ward)--were among the supervisors present to hear what the public had to say. 

At the outset, Matt Murell, supervisor for the Town of Stockport and chair of the Board of Supervisors, stated unequivocally, "We purchased [11 Warren Street] for county office space, and that will not change." He then explained that Ray Jurkowski, who has been Commissioner for Public Works for the county since the beginning of 2022, would make a presentation about the project, and comments from the public had to be confined to "the presentation and who is recommended to inhabit the building."

Jurkowski's presentation confirmed the departments to be relocated to 11 Warren Street:
  • Board of Elections (now located at 401 State Street)
  • Probation Department (now located at 610 State Street)
  • Public Defender (now located at 610 State Street)
  • District Attorney (now located at 325 Columbia Street)
Jurkowski explained 11 Warren Street would be "the legal building for the county." He also indicated that the County wants to hear ideas from the public about how the appearance of the building could be improved. "It is now a county building," Jurkowski said. "It should look like it belongs in that area. We are looking for ways to improve the facade."

When it came time for public comment, Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward) was the first to be called on. Fearful, as she told Gossips later, that she might be asked to sit down if she didn't abide by Murell's constraints, she began by saying she was concerned about putting the District Attorney and the Public Defender in the same building. She went on to say that the County's plan for 11 Warren was not compatible with what the City planned for the site, spoke of foregone tax dollars since the building will be off the tax rolls, and expressed the opinion that it was unfortunate that there had not been a call for public input earlier.

The next speaker completely ignored Murell's request that comments be confined to "the presentation and who is recommended to inhabit the building" and took the Board of Supervisors to task for not allowing the Hudson Youth Clubhouse, a program run by Pamela Badila, to remain in the building. Although their lease with Galvan was up at the end of November, the County could have allowed them to stay. As Jurkowski indicated in his presentation, the design phase of this project will take up most of 2024. There seems to be no good reason why the Clubhouse couldn't have stayed in the building during that time.

In all, nine members of the public spoke at the meeting, and none spoke in favor of the project. Six of the comments objected because the County's proposed use of the building postpones any hope of replacing the 50-year-old relic of misguided urban planning with more appropriate development for another three to five decades. Typical was this statement by Peg Patterson, proprietor of the retail store Dish, located just two doors up from 11 Warren Street:
This move by the County just throws away any opportunity to rethink an entire block and an unattractive eyesore of a strip mall that is out of character with the neighborhood. With all the money spent and excitement felt about the new Promenade Park with its graceful steps to the river, this seems like a wasted opportunity. . . .
This is the beginning of Warren Street. The first block of our City's commercial and historic street should be an attractive row of buildings offering retail opportunities and apartments. Many have said this but it's worth stressing that retail businesses create money for the City and the County. . . .
So thoughtless. Another missed opportunity. Why does this happen over and over again in Hudson?
In her comments, Annick de Bellefeuille made the point that a 18,632 square foot building taking up such a large space was wrongheaded and wasteful in a small city where the demand for housing is greater than the supply. 

Two of the Hudson supervisors who were present at the meeting--Claire Cousin (First Ward) and Linda Mussmann (Fourth Ward)--also spoke out against the plan. Cousin, who claimed to have "voiced her concern" about the project previously, complained that Hudson supervisors were "the last to have a say in issues that affect Hudson." Mussmann declared that she had been opposed to the project from the beginning but couldn't "reach out" because of the constraints of executive session. She expressed the opinion that "the County should think of reducing its footprint [in Hudson] rather than expanding it." She also echoed what others had said about 11 Warren Street: "That building was the one building that everyone had hoped could be eliminated." 

Interestingly, Mussmann serves on the Board of Supervisors Space Utilization Committee, the committee that, according to some accounts, identified 11 Warren Street as a possible location. Mussmann, however, denied being part of any meeting of that committee which was devoted to the acquisition of 11 Warren Street. Other supervisors on the Space Utilization Committee are Ronald Knott (Stuyvesant), Clifford "Kippy" Wiegelt (Claverack), James Guzzi (Livingston), Brenda Adams (Canaan), and Robert Lagonia (Austerlitz).

The videorecording of the meeting has not yet been posted on YouTube. Gossips will let you know when it is.

A (Thankfully) Rare Occurrence

This morning, part of a utility pole at the corner of State and Seventh streets fell to the ground.

Gossips has no information about what caused the mishap--other than gravity--nor have there been reports of consequent power outages. The picture below, from a 2023 Google Maps capture, shows the utility pole intact.


Thanks to Rich Volo of Trixie's List for bringing this to Gossips' attention.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Of Interest

Roger Hannigan Gilson has an article in the Times Union today about the lawsuit recently filed against the Planning Board: "Hudson sued over approval of industrial road to waterfront."

Photo: Lori Van Buren | Times Union
Unfortunately, Gilson gets a couple of things wrong. Early on, he states: "The Columbia County-based mining and paving company's trucks have been using the road for years on return trips to the quarry, but it was not wide enough to handle two-way traffic, forcing Colarusso's trucks into state roads that wound through city neighborhoods to get to the docks." In fact, it was trucks heading to the dock that used the private road through South Bay, and trucks returning to the quarry that traveled on Front Street and lower Columbia Street. The reason for this was, as it was explained at one time, that the NYS Department of Transportation didn't want trucks coming off the haul road making a left turn onto Route 9G.
Another error in the piece is a bit more egregious. Gilson claims, "Colarusso had working docks for years before Hudson rezoned its waterfront in 2011." Not true. Colarusso did nothing at the waterfront until they purchased the property from Holcim in 2014. Prior to 2005, when St. Lawrence Cement (later to be called Holcim), in the aftermath of being denied critical permits for the giant cement plant it wanted to build, entered into a deal with O&G Industries to ship gravel from the dock, the dock was used only to receive shipments of road salt and store Coast Guard buoys. Colarusso did not begin its activity on Hudson's waterfront until 2014, three years after Hudson adopted its Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP).

The article does talk about the LWRP and the Local Coastal Consistency Review Board. The lawsuit argues that the Planning Board failed to refer the Colarusso application to the Local Coastal Consistency Review Board, as required by city code. The problem is Hudson does not have a Local Coastal Consistency Review Board, and the reason for this is very likely that our LWRP, although adopted by the Common Council, was never approved by the NYS Department of State. Interestingly, as Gossips has explained before, Colarusso seems to have played a role in that shortcoming.

As we were given to understand at the time, the approval of Hudson's LWRP was contingent on fulfilling some conditions, one of which was the transfer of ten acres of land on the waterfront, south of the dock, from Holcim to the City of Hudson. Cheryl Roberts, then city attorney, was negotiating with Holcim's lawyers to make that happen, but those negotiations broke down sometime in 2014. That was because, as Gossips learned in 2016, Colarusso had begun its negotiations with Holcim to buy Holcim's property in Hudson, and Colarusso wanted those ten acres adjacent to the dock to use as a staging area.

Returning to "Men We Know"

On Sunday, Gossips posted about "Men We Know," a series of drawings of prominent Hudsonians that appeared once a week in 1909 in the Hudson Morning Republican, and its companion volume "Just for Fun." In that post, William Gray, proprietor of R. Gray's Sons Furniture was featured. Today, we share another of the images from the series.

The rhyme that accompanies the drawing reads as follows: 

If by any chance if happened that his medicines ran shy,
Why,  it needn't bother him a single bit.
He could cure man or beast with a banjo tune,
From the minstrels in which he made a hit.

The rhyme and the clues in the drawing--the horses, the medicine bottles, the sign on the door--were very likely sufficient to let readers in 1909 know this was the veterinarian Dr. J. Homer Luff. The drawing, with its subject identified, appears again in "Just for Fun."

Luff, who practiced veterinary medicine in the building that is now Governor's Tavern, was the founder of Carter-Luff Chemical Company, which produced very popular liniments for horses.

On April 12, 1979, the Chatham Courier featured an article about Luff and the Carter-Luff Chemical Company titled "The Horse is still king at Carter-Luff Co., makers of equine ailment cures since 1904." The following is quoted from that article:
No. 738 Warren Street in the City of Hudson is a handsome residence whose large pillars pinpoint the date of its construction, circa 1837. Passersby, particularly those of the present generation, probably don't realize it, but immediately behind this old homestead is one of the city’s venerable firms established when horses afforded Columbia County residents with their principal form of transportation.
One has to look sharply to see a small sign with gold leaf letters at one comer of No. 738 which marks the location of Carter-Luff Chemical Co. Entrance to the laboratory is gained by walking through a narrow flower-lined passageway until the visitor stands before a story and a half wooden frame building on Hudson's little known Haviland Place.

Founder of this firm was Dr. J. H. Luff, a native of Felton, Delaware, who came to Hudson in 1897 at the age of 28. He graduated from New York College of Veterinary Surgeons and hung out his shingle at a small office near Van Tassel’s Livery Stable on South 7th St. to be near the horse trade. 

Dr. Luff’s fame as a veterinarian spread rapidly as he not only drove a horse and buggy to all sections of Columbia County but he frequently crossed the Hudson River ice in wintertime to treat Greene County animals. In 1900 he purchased the pillared home at 738 Warren St. and four years later had constructed the story and a half laboratory of Carter-Luff Company at a total cost of $1,000. 

Just how the name Carter fitted into the corporation’s title, no one is quite sure. Mrs. Elizabeth Riley, Dr. Luff’s daughter, who succeeded her father in ownership, believes her father chose Carter, a family name, to give the new laboratory, “a touch of prestige.”
By 1910, Dr. Luff’s reputation as an expert in diseases of the horse was known throughout the Middle Atlantic States. Hardly a day passed without several consultations with prominent horsemen on possible cures for their animals. With the advent of the motor age, horses, particularly runners and standardbreds, were trucked to Hudson for examination by Dr. Luff. 

In the pre-World War I era, as many as 75 pharmaceuticals were prepared and distributed by Carter-Luff Chemical Co. from their Hudson office. Dr. Luff originated the packaging of proprietory medicines for veterinarians and he added a personal touch by placing the doctor’s name and address on every bottle or box that left the lab.
This picture of Luff accompanied the 1979 article
in the Chatham Courier

Dr. Luff, in addition to being an expert in veterinary medicine, was also an adept musician and cook. He played the banjo and appeared in a number of Hudson’s minstrel shows. The kindly, whitehaired gentleman also enjoyed spending hours in the kitchen testing his culinary skill and indeed fortunate were the Hudsonians invited to his home for one of his lobster dinners. . . .

Among the popular medicines still sent out from Hudson is “MAC,” a trade name for a counter-irritant used by horse owners who seek to avoid blemishing a valuable animal by firing or blistering.
Originated in 1900 as “Mist Argenti Comp" compound mixture, it was given its present abbreviated name in 1940 and, by that time, more than 3,000 veterinarians were using “MAC” for treating lameness in horses. Another popular product sent out from Hudson is Carter’s Liniment. A pink solution, it is used to relieve muscle soreness in horses and mules. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Of Interest to HCSD Property Owners

The Register-Star published an article today about Governor Kathy Hochul's proposed budget and its possible impact on state funding to public schools: "Proposed state budget sees $6.3 million funding decrease for Columbia County Schools." For readers in the Hudson City School District, here's the relevant information: The budget as it is currently proposed would reduce state funding to HCSD by 10.5 percent, from $26.8 million to $24 million. If this should happen, it will be interesting to see how HCSD deals with a decrease of $2.8 million in its budget, which for the current school year is $54.5 million.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Four Mesmerizing Minutes

There is an effort underway to repair, restore, and protect the damaged underwater foundation of our beloved Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Since its construction in 1874, the lighthouse has survived weather, tides, and ice floes. 

Today, Glenn Wheeler posted an amazing drone video of the lighthouse on YouTube. It shows the lighthouse in recent days, as ice floes on the river crash into it and move around it. Watching it is definitely a worthwhile experience. 

Breaking News

Gossips just received the following press release: 

Three local organizations have filed an Article 78 proceeding in Columbia County Court to overturn a recent decision by the Hudson Planning Board. In December, the Board approved one of two permit applications for A. Colarusso & Sons for its destructive gravel operation at the City’s Waterfront, disregarding hundreds of letters, verbal comments and petitions from the public.
The groups are jointly represented by the Capital District office of Rupp Pfalzgraf, LLC, a large law firm with branches in Buffalo, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, New York City and Jamestown, as well as Albany.
“The Planning Board had the opportunity to choose a win-win option for the people of Hudson,” said Peter Jung, President of The Valley Alliance. “Denying the applications would stop gravel trucks from harming both downtown and the Waterfront,” Jung continued. “Instead, the Planners rolled over for a Greenport corporation which has put its own narrow self-interest over everyone else.” The Alliance has been working on Waterfront issues since 2006, submitting more than 20 detailed memos and legal briefs on the project—none of them mentioned by any of the Board members in their cursory discussion of the proposal.
“Since the beginning, we’ve sought a thorough review of negative impacts, given the huge economic and social potential of the River District," says Our Hudson Waterfront President David Konigsberg. “Despite concerns expressed by the city’s engineers, and a strong declaration from the previous Board in 2021, the current members disregarded both in rendering their recent decision.”
“For more than a decade,” Konigsberg added, “residents have called for an end to unregulated and steadily increasing gravel truck traffic in both the city and by the river.” OHW expects that Colorusso’s high capacity truckway will only make matters worse, enabling a massive jump in traffic at the waterfront, dampening public enjoyment and job-creating economic development. Since 2019, OHW has has focused on downsides to health, open space and community character, and thoroughly analyzed gravel truck traffic on the Waterfront and on city streets. It has also gathered a petition with more than 1,200 signatures explicitly voicing opposition to Colarusso’s plans.
"The private road serves and dock and gravel operations exclusively," explained Clark Wieman, President of the River District Economic Council, formed in 2023 to promote sound, sustainable economic development. Wieman noted that "The Planning Board's decision to permit doubling the road's size sets the stage for major intensification of industrial activity on the waterfront. This decision flies in the face of a 40-year trend toward low-impact service sectors, retail, light industry, and recreation. It violates the spirit and letter of Hudson's LWRP which envisions a mixed-use, sustainable waterfront. Most importantly, it ignores earlier Planning findings of potential significant environmental impacts of gravel operations, including negative impacts on the River District's character, now defined by these rapidly expanding businesses, recreation, and cultural sectors."
A summary of the Article 78 verified petition follows:
On behalf of three Hudson organizations, the firm of Rupp Pfalzgraf in Albany commenced a "special proceeding brought pursuant to Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules for a judgment to annul, vacate, and in all respects void" the recent City of Hudson Planning Board resolution granting site plan and conditional use permit approval to Colarusso. 
The 29-page petition concludes that the Court should annul the Hudson Planning Board's decision as arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law. 
The three main grounds presented for overturning this decision are:
(1) The Hudson Planning Board failed to determine that the Colarusso application is compatible with the City's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program as required under the City Code.
(2) The Board failed to make a determination that the conditional use permit is in harmony with the appropriate and orderly development of the district . . . and will not be detrimental to the orderly development of adjacent properties.
(3) The Board's determination to approve the site plan and conditional use permit contradicts and is inconsistent with its prior determination in 2021 to issue a positive declaration of significance ("pos dec") in relation to Colarusso's commercial dock operation, including its private roads of ingress and egress.
Specific portions of the City Code which the Planning Board failed to comply with, and/or treated in an arbitrary and capricious manner, include sections § 325-35.2(B)(1), (2), (5), § 325-34, 325-35(H), especially part (2), et al. 
An example of the Board's basic failure to handle the application properly is that the City Charter (at § C32-5) requires the Board to refer projects like Colarusso's to the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Consistency Review Board. However, this required referral did not occur.
Another example cited is the current Board's contradiction of its own prior findings in 2021, which concluded that Colarusso's commercial dock activities and associated haul roads are "out of character with the area around the project site," while also congesting, inhibiting, degrading, and potentially endangering the safety of pedestrians and vehicles in the Waterfront area.

To obtain a complete copy of the Verified Petition, email a request to