Having awaken many a morning with the same view on State Street, I think I had probably given up hope of it ever being part of the Hudson renaissance, at least in my lifetime. There’s always been, bless her, Sheila Ramsay’s lush garden, which remains a true gift to the community. But elsewhere on the block long patches of emptiness and decrepitude seem to have remained the same for almost a decade if not more, with the occasional attractive renovation to keeps one’s spirits up.
Recently though I’ve been seeing very nice changes: At 323 Warren a contractor named Kamal Elmasri who lives in a historic house on Rossman Avenue, has fixed up one of those decent looking houses Carole Osterink might label Hudson vernacular. Elmasri has chosen an olive green exterior and done a great job restoring the inside, with hardwood floors and beams. He says he is very anti plastic and I believe him.
Round the corner at 36 Third Street (i.e. Crack Crossroads) something beautiful is happening to the slender but meaty brick pile at 36 Third Street that has been dormant for so long, its renovators even getting the windows totally right, as far as I can see. Another brick charmer, a former church on State between Fourth and Third and its attached dreary seminary buildings, are having LOTS of work done (there’s a whole crane in the back yard)…though it’s hard to see what the end result of that will be (there are cute new plantings in the front of the church, but the other buildings still have their plastic siding on them; time will tell.) At the handsome row of townhouses on 6th and State, No. 558 has had a redo of faulty wood and the facade has been painted a terrific complementary shade that spruces up every other one of the adjoined buildings. The city (or someone) is finally filling in the trench of a sidewalk in front of 445, for so long dangerous evidence that no one really cared about this part of town.
This being me, be assured that I’ve got some quibbling suggestions: SOMEONE at the county level government level should just dig into their pockets and find some extra change to steam clean its building at State and Seventh, as well as remove the hideous awning and plantings that greet visitors there. Eventually a master plan should be put into effect that includes the widening of sidewalks to the former human dimensions of pre-urban development (with more plantings to go with that.) And last but not least, of course, is Eric Galloway, whose work on the Armory Buildings so far still does not include the easiest improvement of all : the removal of the barbed wire fencing surrounding the State Street side that visitors have compared to the ones in Attica or Dachau. It seems like an easy thing to do, and I’d be happy to have a few more Keep Off the Grass signs that Galvan seems to favor for that one improvement alone. In other words, Mr Galloway, tear down this wall!. –Scott Baldinger