The concerned, uncomfortable, and forcibly muted citizens who packed last Monday’s council meeting on the Waterfront might have found the process more tolerable had someone in power pointed out the following: that passing the GEIS (Generic Environmental Impact Statement) and changing the area’s zoning from industrial to core/riverfront** were the first steps towards getting the following done … yadda yadda yadda (specific actions that could now be mandated to bring Holcim into compliance. This is all in lieu of the vision thing, of course.) It’s hard to believe that the continued presence of ungainly derelict structures, acres of broken asphalt, and unsafe culverts can be considered compatible with a CR area–why not throw a bone and have someone spell out how correcting these impediments to proper use can now be made part of the package?
And in the meanwhile, wouldn’t it be nice to have a historic civic auditorium for these occasions instead of some stifling meeting room well off the beaten path? A possible source of income for renovating said auditorium (in the Hudson Opera House, of course), among other things: Use the capped methane vents in the northern section of the waterfront (a covered landfill) to heat houses and other buildings here. (See this story in The New York Timesabout the Fresh Kills Landfill Park in Staten Island.) Even if the dollar dividends are not that great, we’ll at least be doing something with a lot of the pent up gas in town and reduce our carbon footprint a bit. —Scott Baldinger
* Hudson these days
** A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the zoning change was to Commercial/ Residential. An Emily Litella moment? Thanks to the ever perspicacious Carole Osterink for pointing this error out in her invaluable The Gossips of Rivertown.
With Eric Galloway purchasing so much of the town, I now know exactly whom to address when compelled to offer a suggestion for its improvement. Here are a couple of ideas that I’m placing into an imaginary Galloway drop box, which, if taken up, could have a salutary effect on some of his newest acquisitions– the Armory, nearby housing, and the library– as well as the area in which all of those landmarks are located.
Suggestion No 1
A cheap, easy fix for the Armory and its environs: Take down the barbed wire fencing bordering the State Street side, which has been there for years. Talk about a polarizing visual feature! I can’t think of a worse vibe for visitors traveling through the town or residents of the area themselves (to whom the message is nothing less than hostile) then this detention camp accoutrement. It certainly can’t be necessary for security reasons–it’s an Armory, after all, with steel barred windows and impenetrably thick brick walls. If you need someone to volunteer to pull it up, feel free to ask. Driving or walking by as I do daily, I’m ready to help and I need the workout. (As you may concede, I’m spending too much time at the computer.) Feel free to plant some trees along the sidewalk, or even put in a nice new fence, but keeping the open green space plain and open might be the best solution of all– and the least expensive.
Suggestion No. 2
At first glance, one of the worst things about the current state of the library building is the dreadful repointing on the front facade. Right now, with oatmeal like mortar slopped carelessly over nice old stone work, the building looks like it’s got Tinea versicolor. Here, from a side wall at Olana, is an example of how it could be done better, and how beautiful a good patch job can be . –Scott Baldinger
When it comes to food on Warren Street, some of the best things arrive in the smallest packages. The petit Bruno’s, for instance, which the Kenneally sisters Wendy and Shannon just opened a month or so ago at 227 Warren Street, is currently packing more luscious flavors per square inch than any other place in town. Recommended: everything (but especially the sliders, the Cuban sandwich, and, best of all, the tomato pie, pictured above, which Wendy aptly described as “the end of summer in your mouth.” It is $6.50 per slice.) The prepared sandwiches at Loaf, usually one special a day on their incomparable bread, are as good as a quick grab and chew can be. (Price: also around $6.50.) This Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a whole mass of eateries will be going small in a big way at Belo3rd’s annual Taste of Hudson festival, with over 20 participating food establishments under one tent, each offering numerous little taste explosions of their own. –Scott Baldinger