Eleanor Ambos confirmed to me today that the Ace Hotel Group has expressed “enthusiastic interest” in the Pocketbook Factory, but added that there have been no detailed negotiations on the property as of yet. She says other interesting things are brewing and would discuss those with me soon. –Scott Baldinger
Another rumor du jour of the could- it- be- true? kind: Eleanor Ambos, who owns the former Elks Club villa on Union, the Allen Street School, and the Pocketbook Factory, is in final negotiations to sell the latter of these properties to the Seattle-based Ace Hotel Group. Ace gave new life to the former Hotel Breslin in New York City (my own pic below) and other properties in Seattle, Portland and Palm Springs, and has been called a “mega-chain waiting to happen” by Wallpaper magazine; the New York branch features a Stumptown cafe and Chef April Bloomfield’s Michelin-starred restaurant, The Breslin. The Pocketbook Factory started out in 1880 as Union Mills, which manufactured shirts and underwear and switched to pocketbooks some time in the early 20th century. Originally, the tower (see above, on the left) had a lovely steeple-like cap, which would be great to see rebuilt. –Scott Baldinger
Recently people have been asking me what is going on with a vacant storefront, sold building or moving sale on Warren Street but in the process have ended up telling me more than I ever knew about some other one. There must be a word for this kind of investigative journalism, but before it is ever hurled at me I’d like to pass on whatever information I have inadvertently gleaned in this fashion.
Yes, Historical Materialism, which has been a fixture in town at 601 Warren Street for around a decade, is leaving its current location at the end of the month; co-owner Dina Palin emphatically points out that the store is not closing but continuing online and at some other locale (or two) soon. The store is having a sale of nearly all items other than lighting, which has been and will remain its specialty. Regan and Smith, currently across the street from Historical Materialism at 602 Warren, will be moving into the HM space, which was formerly a Jupiter and David Petrovsky Antiques store among other retail incarnations. Perpendicular to HM at 558 Warren is where Fabrications was located; the new owners of the building have rented out the ground floor space to author Steven Bluttal, who will be opening up an antiques store. Down at 438 Warren, where Mix used to be, a shop named George will open. It will be devoted to … antiques. At 443 Warren, where Homage and B’s Hats briefly set up shop, the building is being retrofitted for something no one (I know of ) seems to know about yet, while Homage has moved into the cozy nook at 608 Warren; B’s Hats is brightening the Seventh Street park environs at no. 715. At 444 Warren, Indian food will become a part of the Lillie K Traders establishment. More conjecturally, I’ve heard that the new owners of the Ackerman’s building (752 Warren) are looking for someone to open up a Guido’s- style food market, one thing we couldn’t have too much of in this town. –Scott Baldinger
“Architecture is frozen music,” Goethe once remarked, and in the spirit of that quote, Claverack Landing, an offshoot of the Columbia Festival Orchestra, has embarked on a series of chamber music concerts in a number of Hudson’s many eye -opening architectural spaces. “We love the history of this city,” says founder and artistic director Gwen Gould. “We wanted to give our audience a chance to visit some of the great spaces in Hudson and, at the same time, hear wonderful musicians.” The first concert in November, with the Reinhold/Jolles violin duo, took place on the second floor of TK Home and Garden. The second, with the amazing Intimate Voices string quartet, happened this past Saturday in the main chapel of First Presbyterian Church, in front of the Tiffany Glass- designed Christ mosaic (augmented by Roy Volkman’s dramatic logo of a cornet created for the series); attendees could almost see the 1870s ceiling trusses melting as the group masterfully tore through pieces by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and most excitingly, Dmitiri Yanov-Yanovsky, a contemporary Uzebeki- born composer who notates violin and cello rapping and plucking syncopations in his scores. (The group’s lead violinist, Renee Jolles, showed me those notations during intermission — just one example of the casual interactive approach that the series offers its audience.) The concert was followed by a reception in the trippily detailed Tin Ballroom upstairs from Vince Mulford Antiques, catered by the gourmet food shop Olde Hudson. (Great salami and chamber music turn out to go very well together.)
There is something truly tonic about being able to experience well-played classical music –or any other performing art of this caliber — in a large- scale historical space with great acoustics, a melding of the eyes and ears that Hudsonites will hopefully get to experience more often whenever the Hudson Opera House auditorium opens for business. In the meanwhile the town will have just a couple of other such events this season: Paula Robison, flute, and Frederic Hand, guitar, in “Songs without Words,” Saturday, March 31 at Christ Church Episcopal Church, and Elmar Oliveira, violin, Robert Koenig, piano, Saturday, May 12, at The Armory. (The last of these may be a unveiling of sorts of what the Galvan Initiatives Foundation may or not be doing with the interior of the building.) –Scott Baldinger