Friday, April 18, 2014

Zoning and Development Conundrums

On Tuesday night, the Common Council took the first step toward altering the Schedule of Bulk and Area Regulations in Residential Districts to amend what is believed to be a requirement that apartments in the R-4 district be a minimum of 1,500 square feet.

The legislation introduced would amend the Schedule of Bulk and Area Regulations in the following ways: 
1) DELETING "Lot area:" in the second line of the chart; and
2) INSERTING "of lot", following "(square feet)" in the third line of the chart; and
3) INSERTING the following sentence in footnote 3 at the end thereof: "The Planning Board may, at its discretion authorize a zero side yard set back for one side yard where a structure has two side yards."; and
4) DELETING "1,500" and REPLACING it with "500" in the R-4 Multiple Dwellings, Lot area: Per dwelling unit (square feet) column.
The amendment to Chapter 325 of the city code was undertaken with some urgency after the Planning Board had, on the previous Wednesday, determined that three projects before them, representing a potential of eighteen new apartments in the city, had to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for an area variance, based on the alleged 1,500 square foot requirement.

None of those three projects came before the ZBA this past Wednesday. Instead, a different project, also requiring an area variance but for a different reason, came before the board on a night when Russ Gibson was sitting in for ZBA chair Lisa Kenneally and John Tingley was pinch hitting for ZBA counsel Dan Tuczinski. The proposal, presented by Stephen Dunn, is to build a new structure on Rope Alley behind 235 and 237 Robinson Street that would contain garage spaces for five cars on the ground floor and an 800 square foot apartment on the second floor. The proposed project requires an area variance not because the apartment would be smaller than 1,500 square feet. The regulation, as it is understood, applies only to apartments in multiple unit dwellings not to single family dwelling or a single apartment in an accessory building. Setbacks are the reason the project was denied a building permit and sent to the ZBA.

Dunn owns three properties on Robinson Street: 233, 235, and 237. There are two-family houses on 233 and 237; 235 is vacant.

233 Robinson Street

235 Robinson Street

237 Robinson Street
The proposed structure would be built on Rope Alley, behind the house at 237 Robinson Street and extending across the vacant lot at 235 Robinson Street. The building would be set back one and a half feet from Rope Alley, it would be built right to the lot line of 237 Robinson, and it would encroach about one and a half feet onto 233 Robinson Street, where it would abut an existing garage to be moved from the back of the vacant lot at 235 to behind the house at 233 Robinson Street. Although the proposed building would be on Rope Alley, the entrance to the living space would be from the vacant lot, which Dunn intends to keep vacant and landscape.

Dunn plans to renovate both 233 and 237 Robinson Street as two family houses, which is what they are now, and he is committed to providing one enclosed garage space for each unit. He is also committed to not building anything at the front of 235 Robinson Street, wanting instead to maintain it as an open landscaped space. His goal is to decrease the density on Robinson Street, which in his expressed opinion is "horrible"--an opinion not shared by those interested in preserving neighborhood character.

In 2011, Historic Hudson initiated an effort to make Robinson Street a historic district. The application for designation presented to the Historic Preservation Commission began with this statement:
Robinson Street is a unique survivor of a nineteenth-century working class neighborhood in the City of Hudson. The street, located in the city’s Second Ward between North Third and North Second Streets, represents the type of urban domestic architecture once common in the City of Hudson, much of which was demolished during urban renewal in the 1970’s. Fortunately, the vernacular structures that characterize the architecture of Robinson Street were spared. This quiet street, and related buildings that make up the Robinson Street Historic District on North Third and North Second Streets, is the only intact nineteenth-century neighborhood left in the Second Ward. The Robinson Street neighborhood is a distinctive and valuable part of the city’s architectural, economic, and cultural history.
As a footnote to Historic Hudson's statement, it's interesting to note that in the assessment of neighborhoods in the 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan, Robinson Street, along with Sacred Heart Church and its rectory on Second Street on the west end of Robinson Street, was the only part of the North Bay Neighborhood that escaped being judged substandard.

The attempt to make Robinson Street a historic district was notoriously unsuccessful, which is good thing for Dunn. His project will require approval by the ZBA and the Planning Board but not a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission.

The ZBA will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Wednesday, May 21, at 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Keeping on Top of the Energy Highway

This morning, the Register-Star published an article announcing that National Grid, representing NY Transco, one of the four companies competing for the transmission lines expansion project that would pass through Columbia and Dutchess counties, plans to stay within the existing rights of way: "National Grid takes eminent domain off the table."

This afternoon, Farmers and Families for Livingston and Claverack responded to that article. Click here to see what they had to say.

Back to 1965: North Bay Neighborhood

Today we return to the 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan for its description and evaluation of the last of the residential neighborhoods of Hudson: North Bay Neighborhood. Compared with the glowing review of the High School Neighborhood, the largely positive reviews of the Oakdale and Hospital neighborhoods, and the decidedly mixed review of the South Bay Neighborhood, the plan didn't have anything good to say about the North Bay Neighborhood. The map shows block after block marked with dots, indicating substandard conditions determined to be "critical." 

The only picture in the document representing the North Bay Neighborhood is this one, showing ramshackle buildings in an alley.

A reminder to readers: What follows is quoted directly from a document prepared in 1965, just a year after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was adopted and before our sense of political correctness developed to what it is today. This analysis of the North Bay Neighborhood repeats the cause-and-effect interpretation of Hudson's recent history that was noted in this document before. 
North Bay Neighborhood
The North Bay neighborhood contains some of the most serious concentrations of blight in the City of Hudson. The residents are "blue collar" working class people, largely Negro or of Polish or Italian extraction. Their poverty is obvious. This neighborhood contains the former Diamond Street "red light" district, that became a Negro ghetto overnight when Governor Dewey stamped out the illicit trade (85% of Hudson's Negros live in North Bay). The neighborhood is basically residential, with old buildings on small lots, many used for multi-family housing. Approximately nine-tenths of the structures surveyed were entirely residential. Of the rest, approximately half were in mixed residential and non-residential use. A total of 839 housing units were identified. Of these, two-thirds (568) were in substandard condition, 97 were in intermediate condition, and only one-fifth (174 units) were in standard condition. Reflecting the poor housing was the high vacancy ratio (10% of the units were vacant). The housing conditions were the worst in the City: one-half of the substandard housing units in the City were found in the North Bay neighborhood.
Three-quarters of the block units had major concentrations of structural blight. The area west of Front Street and sloping down towards New Street were influenced by some of the worst environmental conditions in the City.
Although a tabulation of community facilities within the North Bay neighborhood discloses three schools (Charles Williams, John L. Edwards and the Fourth Street School) two of which have large playing fields located just south of Dugout Road, the recreational facilities in this neighborhood are inadequate. West of Second Street there are no playgrounds and the only facility for young children is the small paved yard at the Charles Williams School.
The critical blight found in most of the neighborhood east of Second Street identifies this as an area for predominantly clearance and redevelopment.
It's interesting to note that although the Comprehensive Development Plan recommends "clearance and redevelopment" of the area east of Second Street, it was the area west of Second Street that was leveled soon after this plan was prepared. 

If you're curious about the two streets mentioned here, New Road curved from State Street just east of Front Street to the intersection of Second Street and Mill Street. Part of it seems to survive today was the eastern end of Dock Street.

Dugout Road is probably what is now the bike path connecting Mill Street and Harry Howard Avenue, correctly known as the Dugway.

Turn Your Radio On

At 10 a.m. today, Thursday, April 17, on the WGXC program We the People, Tom DePietro will be speaking with Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River program director for Riverkeeper. A likely topic of discussion will be the threat of the Hudson River becoming a virtual pipeline for crude oil. Listen at 90.7 FM or online

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Work Begins at the Armory

Last month, Gossips reported that the work to repurpose the Armory as the library and a senior center would begin this month, and so it has. Yesterday, in the driving rain, Gossips noticed that what appears to be the construction of the handicapped ramp has begun on the Fifth Street side of the building, at the entrance to the officers' hall, which is to become the senior center.


Gossips' Ten Best Sentences . . . and a Few More

Inspired by The American Scholar, The Gossips of Rivertown set out a few weeks ago to come up with its own list of ten best sentences. Suggestions were requested from readers, and many of you responded with your ideas for the best sentences written in English. As promised, on the day after Tax Day, Gossips publishes, in no particular order, the ten sentences, of the many submitted, that the Gossips editorial advisory board deemed to be the best.

Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

"Take my camel, dear," said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.
Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond

His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.
James Joyce, The Dead

Fail better.
Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho

The knowledge that she would never be loved in return acted upon her ideas as a tide acts upon cliffs.
Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

What is hardest to accept about the passage of time is that the people who once mattered the most to us wind up in parentheses.
John Irving, The Cider House Rules

I loved buildings that had grown silently with the centuries, catching the best of each generation while time curbed the artist's pride and the philistine's vulgarity and repaired the clumsiness of the dull workman.
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

You've got to bear in mind that nobody that ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment, on any neck, without any warning or any regard for justice.
James Agee, A Death in the Family

Trees were so rare in that country, and they had to make such a hard fight to grow, that we used to feel anxious about them, and visit them as if they were persons.
Willa Cather, My Antonia

And then the day came when the risk to remain tight, in a bud, became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
From the poem “Risk,” 
usually attributed to Anais Nin, 
but actually written by Lassie Benton, a.k.a. Elizabeth Appell

Those are the ten deemed best by the Gossips editorial advisory board, but there are seven more thought to be too good not to be included. So, here is that list.

Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. 
Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

She was saved from prettiness by the intensity of her gaze. 
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities 

Some girls you practically never find out what's the matter.
J. D. Salinger, via Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye

You can go home, it’s good to go home, but you never really get all the way home again in your life.
James Agee, A Death in the Family

Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Then there were two final sentences (three actually) that the editorial advisory board thought worthy of honorable mention.

But it is those deep far-away things in him, those occasional flashings-forth of the intuitive Truth in him, those short, quick probings at the very axis of reality:--these are the things that make Shakespeare, Shakespeare.
Herman Melville, "Hawthorne and His Mosses"

And when you love a book, commit one glorious sentence of it--perhaps your favorite sentence--to memory. That way you won't forget the language of the story that moved you to tears.
John Irving, In One Person

Thank you to all the Gossips readers who suggested sentences for consideration. If a sentence you suggested was not included on Gossips' A-list or B-list, you might find solace in considering this. The American Scholar is the publication of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, so you have to figure all the editors there belong to that esteemed honor society. Of the members of the Gossips editorial advisory board, not a one of them has a Phi Beta Kappa key.
But be forewarned, Gossips readers. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest--named for Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the minor Victorian novelist now famous for writing the opening sentence "It was a dark and stormy night"--will announce its 2014 winners sometime in the summer. (The official deadline for entering was yesterday, "a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories"; the actual deadline is June 30.) When the 2014 winners are announced, Gossips just might be inspired to replicate the contest on a local scale and invite readers to "compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back to 1965: South Bay Neighborhood

Today we return to the assessment of Hudson neighborhoods from the 1965 Comprehensive Development Plan. Having covered the respectable uptown neighborhoods--the High School Neighborhood, the Oakdale Neighborhood, the Hospital Neighborhood--the study now turns its attention to the first of two neighborhoods whose descriptions include such words as deteriorating, substandard, blighted, and clearance: South Bay Neighborhood.

Very little in the South Bay Neighborhood escaped being designated substandard--either "serious," marked with diagonal lines, or "critical," marked with dots. Surprising today, all the houses on Willard Place, except for No. 8 at the end, were designated "serious." Aside from the 300 block of Allen Street and West and East Court streets, the only blocks not considered substandard in 1965 were the south side of Allen Street between Third and Second and the north side of Union Street between Third and Second.
South Bay Neighborhood
The South Bay neighborhood is predominantly working class or "blue collar" in character. The neighborhood was defined to include the industries and railroad uses of the Bay, where the survey of the Bureau of Urban Affairs reported severely deteriorating structures, open sewer outfalls, and noise and dust, all contributing to blight.
Of the 615 housing units, approximately one-third were in standard condition. Another 28% were in intermediate condition and 38% were substandard. Vacancies were common (vacancy ratio: 7.0%).
The fewest problems were found near Washington Park; the greatest number were found on the blocks adjoining the industrial uses and west of Front Street between and along Warren Street.
One-fifth of the total number of substandard housing units found within the City were in the South Bay neighborhood. Only in the North Bay neighborhood were there greater numbers of substandard housing units reported.
Although the neighborhood, as defined, extends from Washington Park to Promenade Hill and includes Franklin Park and St. Mary's Playground, the park space is totally inadequate. Washington Park functions well for passive adult recreation. St. Mary's Playground and Franklin Park are much too small for the active sports of the children who use them, and Promenade Hill is a formal monument in a windy and hilly location, not greatly used for even passive recreation.
The South Bay neighborhood is severely blighted. The low-lying area of the neighborhood, bordering the Bay itself, and the blocks west of Front Street require much clearance and redevelopment to eliminate blighted structures and residential uses which are not compatible with the existing heavy commercial and industrial uses.
The blocks closer to Warren Street contain many old buildings of historical and architectural interest. These buildings should be conserved and rehabilitated insofar as possible, to preserve and enhance the historical quality of this area. The City should investigate the creation of an historical preservation district (to include the blocks east of Front Street extending south beyond Partition Street, and east to Fourth Street) in order to aid in the restoration and conservation of these buildings.
The recommendations for "clearance and redevelopment" were carried out only a few years after they were made in 1965, but it took forty-one years for the City to act on "the creation of an historical preservation district." In 2006, the Union-Allen-South Front Street Historic District was created.     

Roberts to Resign

Seven hours after Gossips shared the news that city attorney Cheryl Roberts was resigning, the Register-Star published a report apparently originating from the mayor's office: "Mayor: City Attorney Roberts to step down." Interestingly, according to the article, "the mayor stressed that she is still the city attorney and will preside over tonight's meeting of the Common Council." Carl Whitbeck is expected to replace Roberts as "the full-time city attorney" and Dan Tuczinski to replace Whitbeck as assistant city attorney.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ear to the Ground

The word is circulating that city attorney Cheryl Roberts, who resigned her position with the law firm of Rapport Meyers last August, has now resigned her position with the City of Hudson. This information will very likely be confirmed or refuted tomorrow night when we see who is sitting to the left of Council president Don Moore on the dais at the Common Council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. 

Back to the House of Refuge

Today we wind up our visit to the House of Refuge in Hudson, accompanying Mary A. Worswick, who reported on her visit in the New York Press in August 1890.

In the prison I talked at length with one of the "hard cases," Ida P--, commonly known as "Jumbo," a procuress. She came from a village in Central New York where the whole community was enraged at her shameful traffic. Her own sister, a girl of 16, now in this institution, was one of her victims. Ida was 24 years old when committed and had already served two six month terms in the Albany penitentiary.
"She has been here over two years, but seems to make little progress," said the superintendent. 
Ida was indeed a monstrosity, fat and ungainly, with a double chin and an ample waist, short haired, cross eyed and altogether unprepossessing.
She told me her story very readily, and very ingeniously left out all the facts that reflected discreditably on herself.
"I was brought up in the country," she said, "an' when we moved to the village it was the worst thing we ever done. Says my father: 'The country is the place for girls and the village is the ruin of them.' My father worked in a pork packing place and my mother worked in a knitting mill. My mother was always good to me, but my father used always to be hitting me over the head. 'Tain't no decent way to treat children—hit 'em over the head. My father didn't do right by me. I'll tell you how I got sent here. I didn't do nothing. It was them girls' lies. They went around telling lies about me. If ever a get aholt of that McLaughlin girl—" and Ida shook her fist ominously. "Yes, I was in the penitentiary, but it was all lies that got me there. Yes, my sister Evy got sent here, too, but I ain't what they'd make me out to be. If I live to get free I'll know better'n I did before. I'll never be the girl I was, though. I was never half they says, for I'll take God as my guide!" concluded Ida with a pious uplifting of her eyes.
But Ida will probably not have a chance to exercise her Christian piety outside the Refuge for some time to come.
The next subject was a "Race Problem"—Mary T—, 18 years old, a colored girl with blue eyes and red hair and when she spoke [line missing] modified brogue. Mary was sent to the refuge as a vagrant and prostitute.
"She was loathsome in person and habits, an object of physical as well as moral contamination, when she entered the prison, and is as low down in the scale of humanity as any girl we have," said the superintendent.
"I was born in the city of Washington," Mary related. "Washington, D.C.," she added, with evident pride in her geographical knowledge.
"Me mother died. I coomed North to live with me aunt in Saratoga."
"Was your aunt kind to you?"
"No, ma'am. She bate me."
"Had you no other relatives?"
"Yes'm; me father. He bate me."
"How long did you live with your aunt?"
"Not long. I run away. I went out to wurrik. I wurrik in a hotel. Then they sent me here—me aunt and me father. They wanted me back and I wouldn't do with them. I live in streets first. I will never go with them. They make me wurrik hard, and then they bate me."
Amanda T—, a good natured little mulatto, 17 years old, stupid but smiling, told me what a good mother she had.
"I'd never gone wrong if I'd minded my mother. We was a big family and I went out to work. I only was to school one week. But my mother learned me to sew. She was always so pertickler I should do my work just right, and she'd make me rip out all the stitches and do it over again if it wasn't just so. My mother does washing for a living—there are nine children of us. My mother always told me to do right."
May F—, a tall, slender, dark haired girl, with a very white face, told me her story quietly and sadly. 
"I have been here a month. I came here very unwillingly. I was drunk and having a row when arrested. I was very unhappy to be sent here, but perhaps it has brought me to a sense of my wrong way of life as nothing else could.
"My early life? Oh, I went to school and grew up like other girls. No, I did not have a  happy home. I shall never say a word against my mother—I don't blame my life to anyone but myself.
"I went out to work between 15 and 16. My father ran away and left the family without support. My mother took in washing. I got $2.50 a week in a family, but that wouldn't pay my mother's house rent and dress me. Yes, I suppose I was fond of fine clothes. I did very much as I pleased and got into bad company and bad ways."
Of the 114 instructed during the year in the Refuge school, the majority were practically illiterate.  Less than one third had, in varying degrees, a rudimentary knowledge of the common branches; only five had a common school education or its equivalent, and twenty were totally illiterate.
These are great statistics for our educationalists. Twenty women, gathered from the midst of civilization and free schools in New York State, totally ignorant of the alphabet even, shut out from the world of ideas!
With isolated exceptions these girls lack moral, mental and industrial training to fit them for the work of this life. By moral I do not include religious training, for nearly all of them lay claim to some sort of religious belief and there are a number of church goers among them, a large percentage being Roman Catholics. Religious faith has not saved those unfortunate women for the evils of the life here, whatever it may be supposed to effect in saving souls from the ills hereafter. Here in the midst of civilization we have a class of moral heathen. Fallen women are crowding the jails, poorhouses and charitable homes; brothels and dives are the leprous spots of our cities; prostitution is one of the rankest growths of our social system. With the causes and cure of this great evil are we concerned?
Sad indeed are the stories of these unfortunates—the children of poverty, ignorance, vice; but we can only judge their sins who, in the words of Ingersoll, "has the mental balance with which to weigh the forces of heredity, of want, of temptation."
The reference to "Ingersoll" is to Robert G. Ingersoll, a lawyer, social activist, and orator, nicknamed "The Great Agnostic," who was prominent during the Golden Age of Freethought. He is said to have memorized his speeches, which could go on got as long as three hours. The words quoted by Mary A. Worswick are from an address entitled Crimes Against Criminals, delivered before the New York State Bar Association in Albany on January 21, 1890.

Save Fairview Cinema 3

The Indiegogo campaign to buy another digital projector and help preserve our only locally owned movie theater, just across the border in Greenport, ends at midnight tonight. Don't miss the chance to make your contribution to help Save Fairview Cinema 3. There are only a few hours left.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Faces on Warren Street

On Friday morning, the Historic Preservation Commission approved facade revisions for two Warren Street buildings: one the little infill structure at 419½ Warren Street; the other a former residential building at 739 Warren Street.

The little infill building, which in the 19th century had a storefront, will have a storefront once again.

The HPC requested that the width of the third story windows be the same as the width of the second story windows and that they have only two lights, with a vertical division, instead of six. The applicant agreed to those changes.

The house at 739 Warren Street, the ground floor of which has had a commercial use for at least two decades, is going to acquire an actual storefront.

The aluminum siding on the facade will be replaced with wood clapboard. The second floor windows will be restored to their original size. The portico over the entrance leading both to the commercial space on the ground floor and the rental apartments above, will be removed, and that doorway will access only the apartments. A new storefront, projecting a foot our from the building, with two shop windows and a center door, will be introduced into the facade.

The proposed changes to the building were approved, but HPC member Tony Thompson abstained from voting. When asked to explain why, Thompson said he "cannot figure out what to do about the expansion of commercial activity into a residential neighborhood." While it's a legitimate concern, this area of Warren Street, although originally residential, hasn't been residential for decades.

The building shown in the photograph below stood opposite Eighth Street. It was replaced decades ago with the building, probably originally a car dealership, that now houses the offices of the Social Security Administration.

The remarkable house in this photograph (below), where Anna Bradbury lived as a boarder from 1904 to 1909, stood a few doors down at 729 Warren Street.

It was lost in the 1930s to make way for the Warren Theater, which thirty years later morphed into the motel that is now the Warren Inn.

There are a few buildings on Warren Street that started out as houses and are now commercial spaces. In this 19th-century photograph of the 400 block of Warren Street (below), 421 Warren Street appears to be a residence. Today, it is the location of Olde Hudson. Its conversion to a storefront undoubtedly happened decades ago.

The mid-19th century photograph of the 500 block of Warren Street (below) shows  both 513 and 511 Warren Street as residences. Today, with storefronts that have probably been there for close to a century, the buildings are the location of Eustace & Zamus and A Collector's Eye. (The building in the picture with the arched facade is the original Hoysradt Hose & Chemical Co. firehouse, which ironically was destroyed by fire and replaced by the current firehouse in 1925.) 

Historic photographs courtesy Historic Hudson, Byrne Fone, and Lisa Durfee

What's Happening at the Depot

There is construction activity going on at the old Hudson Upper Depot, which now is owned by the Galvan Foundation. Because no plans for the building, which is in a locally designated historic district, have come before the Historic Preservation Commission, many are curious about what's going on. At the HPC meeting on Friday, Craig Haigh, code enforcement officer, explained.

There was a hole in the roof, and the owner was given an "emergency repair" permit to patch the roof. An emergency repair permit can be granted without HPC review. But instead of patching the roof, the owner set about replacing the whole thing--an action that requires a certificate of appropriateness. So, Haigh issued a stop work order, which was lifted only when the owner agreed that the asphalt shingle roof now being installed was only temporary and would be replaced when a use for the building had been determined and plans for its restoration were presented to the HPC.

Given the demolition that has gone on in Hudson in recent weeks, there is good reason to worry about the fate of this building. Haigh offered this assessment of its condition: "That building is really in bad, bad shape."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Requiem for a Gothic Revival Cottage

On Thursday, Gossips speculated that the pictures sent by a reader were the last ones ever taken of the Gothic Revival cottage on the northern edge of what was once the estate of Dr. Oliver Bronson. It turns out they weren't. These pictures, taken by Gabe Shaftlein, just before the backhoe moved in, were.

Signage Envy

Gossips was in Catskill today and noticed these signs on Main Street.

The message of the first is: "Their job is to fetch, sit, and look cute. Your job is to pick up after them." The message of the second: "He can't. That means you have to."

Hudson is oozing design talent. So why is it this seems to be the best we can do to get the word out?


Tonight in Hudson

As usual, there's lots to do in Hudson tonight--exhibition openings, concerts, a wine & chocolate tasting, the BeLo3rd Dine/Art Gallery Stroll, the opening of a pop-up shop at 314 Warren Street, readings upstairs at Hudson Wine Merchants, and more. To find out everything that's happening, I refer you to Ellen Thurston's list--far too comprehensive to be called "Picks"--but there is one event that Gossips wants to feature because it is so very Hudson.

At 7:30 tonight, Muscia is hosting a benefit concert "to assist in the ongoing challenges of running a world class independent entertainment empire from Tanner's Lane, Hudson, NY." Yup, that's right. The beneficiary is the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, "a unique organization which not only engages and defines the unique culture that is Hudson but teaches, supports and entertains (often gratis)." 

Tonight, three musicians with local roots--Jim Wann, Elana Belle Carroll, and Rob Caldwell--are pooling their talent to benefit the Bindlestiffs. The concert takes place in the loft above Musica, at 17 North Fourth Street. A donation is requested, but there is no minimum or maximum either. If you can't make tonight's concert, donations of support for the "greatest show on Earth" will be accepted at Musica throughout next week.

Reason for a Journey Across the River

Aviary, a latex balloon installation by Jason Hackenwerth, was commissioned by Works & Process for its 30th Anniversary Gala and originally hung in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum. 

Sculpted from 6,000 latex balloons, Aviary has been transported to Catskill and reimagined and reinstalled in the village. The largest portion is at the Bridge Street Theatre, 44 West Bridge Street, where there is an opening reception today from noon to 4 p.m. The remaining portion is on view at 404 Main Street.

Photos by Kristopher McKay and Duke Dang

Of Interest

Defenders of Wildlife recently published report cards on how members of the U.S. Congress--Senate and House--voted on key issues having to do with wildlife and habitat conservation. Click here to see how our representatives did.