A blog about Hudson, New York

Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Costume I Didn’t Wear

Damn global warming (and the increase in precipitation from melting ice sheets  that it brings).  This time it felt almost personal, as an  anomalous snow storm and attendant flu-like symptoms kept me indoors and dependent on terrible TV instead of being able  to experience any of the town’s Halloween events.  Here’s the vaguely Wayne’s World costume I usually don every year, in case you missed it. —Scott Baldinger

Play Mistifying for Me

I’ve often thought that Hudson is a strange parallel  universe.  But nothing was stranger than watching a conservative Republican candidate for mayor expressing support for government subsidies and the use of rent control  to solve a housing crunch, as well as an implied call for affirmative action over merit hiring for jobs in the public  sector (a good place for economic advancement, let me tell you!)  and a belief that, for local office, lifelong work experience in government was inherently preferable to one spent in business.  (There was also mention of  said candidate calling up Chris Gibson, our government- shut- down supporting, anti jobs program,  Tea Bag endorsed congressman, to get more funds for the town’s  youth programs — a conversation that, unsurprisingly, seems not to have borne much fruit as of yet. )

I myself don’t have such a hard time with these ideas, outdated and/or irrelevant in the current political/economic climate though they might be  (although I don’t think anyone has seriously proposed new rent control rules in this country since the mid 60s) — but I’m a liberal Democrat.  Frankly I just don’t believe that, when push comes to shove, the Republican candidate, Bill Hallenbeck, will remain so at ease with these positions. But so it went,  in mind-bending  fashion, at last night’s  debate (sponsored by the Hudson African-American Leadership Alliance ) between Hallenbeck and Nick Haddad, the Democrat, himself a recent switch from the Republican Party.  It fell on the Democrat to bravely touch on the fact that the city and state has limited funds and can’t fully fund all of the programs we may want now; that a town of 7,000 can ‘t solve the nations economic woes on it own was something neither candidate could bring himself to mention in this not very elucidating  environment. –Scott Baldinger

Notes on a Bounty

Sometimes even a cruciferous vegetable can change your viewpoint on things.  Feeling  a tad down this past Saturday, I found renewed spirit while shopping at the Hudson Farmers Market, a joyous confluence of the bounties of the immediate area with the pleasure of seeing people enjoying them so much. The autumnal produce was wonderful, as these pictures show, but so were the appreciative crowds.

The unusual variety of kale that I purchased from Blue Star Farm was one of three available from the stand; it was so luscious, it not only changed my view of kale forever (previously I always preferred the film critic  to the vegetable), but the thought of all local produce altogether. It made it into the following soup, devoured too quickly to photograph.

  • Brown a reasonable amount of chicken sausage (purchased from Shop Rite-buy local!)
  • deglaze with chicken stock  or water
  • add cut up leaves from one head of kale
  • chop two-three  cloves  garlic,   add to soup
  • drain, wash 1 can of small white beans (smaller than cannellini) and add to simmering mixture
  • add low sodium chicken or vegetable broth/water combo to cover
  • cook for about 20-30  minutes at low/medium heat

Next week : fingerlings? (Check out some of the other vegetable porn at this link https://picasaweb.google.com/109584120560307131237/FARMER?authkey=Gv1sRgCKjI4bryvZn2dA#5666533095741533938)

The outdoor market will be open every Saturday 9-12:30 p.m until November 19,  at which point we’ll  be counting the days for the indoor one to open up. Last year that was March 5, a long haul if you ask me. –Scott Baldinger

What a Little Moonlight Can Do…

So Billie Holiday once jauntily crooned–  and something that the staff and crew of the cruise boat  The Spirit of Hudson are putting to the test at the Hudson Riverfront Park this Friday and Saturday night (with the enticing additions of live music, food, and drink ).  Steve Walsh, one of  Spirits’s  captains as well as its events planner and marketing director, and A. Noor Rahaman, executive officer of Hudson Cruises,  which owns and operates the boat,  are determined to make the waterfront an interactive experience day or night, and are planning to have a jazz band, a full bar and food from Wunderbar — perhaps just the combination we need to remind everyone what a lovely recreational spot the waterfront both is and can be in the future.  (Admission is $5; food an extra $5,  drinks in the  $3 – $6 range. From 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) –Scott Baldinger

The Little Flower

One of the many remarkable things about the Ken Burns documentary Prohibition was the footage of Fiorello LaGuardia (above),  then a liberal Republican congressman and soon to become New York City’s greatest mayor, holding a bunch of grapes and saying something to the effect  that “if fermentation could be outlawed we might as well ban the law of gravitation  itself.”  Never having seen that before (one of so many fresh ones from the film, seen on public television this week),  it nonetheless brought back to mind much of what I had learned about this amazing man over the years from various sources, including another terrific documentary, The World of Tomorrow, about the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, and Robert Caro’s book  The Power Broker, about LaGuardia’s collaborator/nemesis, Robert Moses.

It made me recall LaGuardia having said that one of his goals as mayor was to make the life of all New Yorkers not just bearable but genuinely fun on a day-to- day basis.  (The World’s Fair,  still famous today for its Trylon and Perisiphere architectural centerpiece, was one of the many ways he tried to do this, along with public parks, the creation of institutions such as City Center in a former Shriner’s building, and stands on personal liberties,  including the legal use of marijuana,  that would be considered quite radical even now). How, ill and on the eve of leaving office, he panicked about how much power he had ceded to Moses, his parks commissioner, whom he realized would go on to take much of that fun away and grievously harm  the city in the process (which Moses proceeded to do after LaGuardia’s death in 1947,  building monstrous highways and hideous housing projects everywhere, particularly along the waterfronts of nearly all of the boroughs). * How much this man,  a brilliant civic reformer, could also embrace the impudence and common sense of a city that was indeed the most enjoyable in the world, a fighter not only against the restrictive, anti-urban beliefs of the rest of the country but also, on a local level, against all of the  roads paved to hell by all of the supposed do gooders in the world, most especially Moses himself . How true liberalism concerned itself not only with fundamental issues such as the fair distribution of wealth and civil rights but also the concept of  cities and towns  as places of communal enjoyment and the pursuit of happiness– so much so that it sought to plan for it properly on a grand scale.

It isn’t hard to know what side of the current Hudson waterfront debate LaGuardia would have fallen on. Embracing the concept of communal happiness when making long- term decisions for a city –even one as small as Hudson — is still a concept that we don’t have to ever feel ashamed of embracing for ourselves. —Scott Baldinger

*An anecdote from the Caro book:  “LaGuardia and Moses were two titanic egomaniacs who literally could not stand the sight of each other. When the Mayor and his Parks Commissioner would be in the same room together, they would pace around each other like two boxers in a ring waiting to the punch the other guy out. They would yell and scream and call the other loathsome names. Moses would call LaGuardia a ‘dago’ and ‘wop’ or, even worse, an ‘organ grinder.’ And LaGuardia, the lesser educated and refined but more gentlemanly of the two, would call Moses ‘your grace.’

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