A blog about Hudson, New York

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Isn’t It Rick?

The Good (above), The Bad* and The Ugly (below)

Another day, another not very cogent missive in the Register Star by Rick Scalera. (See below for the link to it.) This time it was the mayor trying to make a case for something that had already been remedied:  the delayed release to the public of the proposed final Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Scalera defends the delay with a Newspeak breakdown of who the “public” really is:  “more” than some (whom he doesn’t like) but “including” others (whom I think he does), among them “kids who play outside on the street because they don’t have a back yard.”  (Translation: Scalera is obliquely suggesting that he is looking out for the interests  of those kids by supporting a proposed truck route on the waterfront. My two cents:  one of the things city planners have learned from the bad old days of Robert Moses is that if you build roads merely to alleviate traffic, the end result is that traffic inevitably increases to fill the extra space.  Since no one is planning to ban trucks on Columbia Street,  building an alternative route somewhere else for them will only make room for even more freight on the city’s streets—or at best the same amount.)

On the same day of the publication of this letter, I went down to the disputed waterfront area, where Scalera has actually accomplished something quite laudable– two sizable public boat slips for small craft and kayaks and one improved one for larger boats, all nearing completion toward the middle and southern end of the park.  Put together in what was a blink of an eye – in Hudson time at least– and with no major issues or problems as of yet, it is as much a realization of the Vision Plan for a recreational waterfront as anything built to date.  But as far as I’ve been able to gather, Scalera hardly ever mentions it — either as a counterpoint to those who think him beyond hope in this area, or simply to boast about having shepherded government agencies to complete it quickly and with apparent finesse.  (The project was ably guided by Ellen Thurston; and the funds were attained by Scalera from State Senator Stephen Saland.)   Adjoining the landing dock is a new section of the park  that the Department of Public Works cleared this winter; jutting far out to the river’s edge, it is a place where you can actually touch the water with your fingertips.

While there remain many details that need to be either worked out and/or announced to the public (who will operate them? When will they be ready for use?),  the first impression is that this is a project that any public official can be proud of. Perhaps for the first time since I’ve lived here (nearing eight years now) I see how the Mayor can be an experienced hand capable of getting things done–even things that everyone thinks should be done. But instead of trumpeting this, he sets himself in vociferous opposition to those who simply want this very type of project expanded to the whole of the riverfront.  Or participates in the creation of a ghastly proposed entranceway to the city, pictured below,  to greet all visitors traveling west to the city on Route 23.  This unintentionally Dadaist piece of urban design** is a “beautifying project to enhance the entrance to the historic and banking/business districts of Hudson and Greenport,” according to the committee, headed by Scalera, responsible for creating it.  Looking at it again, reading Scalera in the paper,  and then recalling the profound sensation of touching the water of the Hudson for the first time made me wonder if our Mayor, with only a few months left to his term, simply likes to mess with our heads.   –Scott Baldinger

*Scalera’s letter:


** As it turns out, according to Carole Osterink, Rick Scalera did mean this drawing of the gateway  project to be  a joke,  and everyone believing it was real was evidence to him of “how gullible we all were.” Like I said,  the man likes to mess with our heads.

Food on the March

One of the best indicators of a town’s vitality is its cosmopolitanism,  to me best exemplified by a variety of good, cheap ethnic /regional food.  Hudson seems to be making steady progress in this area. In addition to the continuing deliciousness of Park Falafel and Pizza and the return of Tortillaville this Friday are two new entries on or near 7th Street Park: Italian Market and Deli (518-671-6610), at the corner of Columbia and Park Place, and the mobile Winnie’s Jerk Chicken and Fish Shack, parked Thursday through Saturday (Wed-Sat. starting in June)  in front of the historic freight depot at State and Seventh. Italian Market has a nice assortment of sandwiches made with ingredients such as prosciutto de parma, fresh mozzarella, and grilled veggies. Winnie’s has authentically spiced Jamaican chicken, fish and shrimp meals ($7.50 – $9) along with cheaper wrap and vegetarian variations ($4-5); there are also weekly goat and oxtail specials and fried plaintain, steamed cabbage, and rice and bean side dishes ($3). Owners Winston and Jai Francis, who hail from Jamaica, say they will be at the present location until next winter.

Next step:  authentic Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani. Anyone out there game?   –Scott Baldinger

The Reveal

Lillie K Traders, which popped up last week with a handsome redo of its 444 Warren Street facade, has just opened its doors; it’s selling  stylishly contemporary Anglo Indian –style furniture, fabrics from India,  and clothing hand picked from Italy.  Owners Raj and Lillie Kumar, however, truly deserve a Golden Apple Award (or Bronze Whale …or whatever ) for also doing a lovely job with the interior of their building,  particularly its original mosaic flooring, which Lillie says took some effort to clean up after uncovering under old carpet. –Scott Baldinger

Fresh Starts

Like the Energizer Bunny, Hudson’s home furnishings trade keeps going on and on — or at least seems to be staying on its feet during continuing economic doldrums. Chris Lehrecke (above), who does cool things to wood to create sleekly contemporary light fixtures, tables, and shelving,  has moved from 428 to 415 Warren Street, one of the town’s most glorious retail spaces. A posh- sounding company called Lillie K. Traders (below left) has been handsomely sprucing up 444 Warren Street. And Hudson Home was busily spring cleaning the façade of its building at 356 Warren with a  new coat of paint. (Even the primer, pictured being applied at right, looked good in the afternoon sun.)  Does any Main Street anywhere have better caretakers than these?  –Scott Baldinger

From A to Q

In addition to all of the gallery openings, musical performances, and film screenings this weekend, Hudson will be running even more of a gamut than usual with the following events.

  • The organic: the reopening of the Outdoor Farmer’s Market, this Saturday from 9 am til 1 at 6th and Columbia Streets.
  • The educational: the Children’s Book Festival, being held from 10 til 4 at the Hudson Jr/Sr High School.
  • The politically rousing : a screening of  March On!,  a documentary about the fight for marriage equality, Saturday at 7 pm at Basilica Hudson
  • The outré  (and chances are, not organic):  a live performance by Thirsty Burlington, “one of the finest celebrity impersonators of the day,” and co-stars Musty Chiffon and Stephen Bluhm, at Club Helsinki, Friday the 6 .

See our This Week in Hudson and Events pages for more details.

–Scott Baldinger

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