A blog about Hudson, New York

Monthly Archives: April 2014

Arrange Your Face: Rules of Pedestrian Engagement on Warren Street

 

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Now that the weather is making it bearable to walk around town, and the street(s) are filling up with faces both familiar and un,  it seems a good time to go over something that  people from other, denser locales do correctly by rote (or get very strong signals that they’re not, like getting hit on the head): pedestrian etiquette. To me, this matter falls into the category of public hygiene as much as washing ones hands after using the bathroom.

As a resident of Hudson for almost 11 years,  I’ve learned that just walking around isn’t as easy as it sounds, particularly in a small town in which one knows almost everyone, and inevitably, about whom one might have a  kaleidoscopic range of feelings. You very well might want to avoid one person one day and then, perhaps a month—or a year later—be perfectly happy to see them.  In other words,  negative feelings between us all might be inevitable –but, unlike in a big city, you tend to run into the person you’re feeling them about the next day; even if you’ve had a serious tiff or been the subject of a negative remark from them one day,  you may very well find yourself a fond acquaintance just some time after…(and then back again, like an Our Town version of Nietzsche’s concept of The Eternal Return.)  As the humor writer Paul Rudnick once said, “Be nice to everyone, because you never know.”  (As far as what you say behind their back, that’s a whole separate matter; this not being a lesson in mind – or mouth– control)

Here are a few observations and guidelines on how to navigate our most public thoroughfare, Warren Street, without spreading a whole contagion of feelings you might not even realize you’re experiencing on a particular day.

 

 How to jaywalk:

crosswalk1-resized-600If you see someone you’d rather not run into walking toward you on the same side of the street, DO NOT automatically cross the street to avoid them. If you must do so, make sure they haven’t seen you yet….something that is sadly usually not the case, our streets having been laid out mostly in an unvarying grid. When this happens (and it will, it will), you have a couple of choices: You can gallantly offer a quick wave and then dash or, if too close, just suck it up and do the same while walking past the person. An actual “hiya” will win you a medal of honor, and perhaps a next life as a pampered dog.  Obviously if you actually like the person do the same or more. (And be sure to look both ways when crossing.)

 

Spitting

I know it’s allergy season and we’re all suffering from post nasal drip and all other forms of bothersome symptoms.  If  truly feeling the need to decongest one’s lungs in person, however (and you will, you will), do not do so right in front of someone, whoever they might be. Wait til everyone has well passed and be sure to aim toward the street (and not on someone’s car).

 

 Do not stare with one’s mouth open:

I’ve been the victim of this and am not – from what I can gather, a particularly outlandish looking individual. Perhaps the starer (more like a glarer in some instances) is visiting Hudson from some tiny agricultural town in the area and is startled to see a groups of individuals wearing color-coordinated clothes — or something. Or perhaps they’re not seeing anything at all and are just in a state of disturbed contemplation. (One may as well assume this is anywhere near the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Police station/court, and hurry along.) Whatever the case, it’s not a certainty that they read this blog,  so if you do and know someone who might fit this description, pass the info along.

All of the above thoughts can come down to the following dictum:

Arrange your face:

This was the memorable personal philosophy of Thomas Cromwell as depicted in Hilary Mantel’s wonderful Wolf Hall, a historical novel set in Tudor times telling the story of Thomas Cromwell and his rise in power and influence under Henry the Eighth. Not only did Cromwell himself flourish (at least for a while)  while practicing this particular useful form of social dissembling,  the thought would often come into his head when seeing someone like Anne Boleyn storming into Henry’s chamber in a rage– just when Henry was considering lopping off her head.

maggioWhile I’m not advising that people walk around with a frozen Cheshire Cat rictus, Cromwell’s thinking seems like a good thing to keep in mind when meeting other people on the street. Sometimes it’s a matter of just getting out of one’s own dark thoughts, and making sure that the face is at least a tabula rasa.  As one might have noticed when seeing plastic surgery victims like Kim Novak at the Academy Awards, this part of our anatomy  has many muscles and often, particularly after a bad night of sleep, can freeze into an unwitting scowl. Just in case,  buy a copy of Carole Maggio’s  Facercise  and practice some of her techniques (pictured at left). Just be sure to do this in the privacy of one’s home or on some deserted side street. Scaring people half to death is also not a very hygienic thing to do in public.

                                                                                                                                 —   Scott Baldinger

 

 

Things That Are Confused – A Hudson Guide

 See our listings sections for addresses and links. 

Olana   olana

The sprawling estate of Hudson River School master Frederic Church,  the centerpiece of which is the painter’s wildly designed Persian-inspired home.

HOH-4-10-_006Alana (Hauptmann)       

The demure, dulcet-voiced proprietor of the Red Dot Restaurant and Bar, which opened in 1999 and is celebrating its 15th anniversary this upcoming Bastille Day.

 

 

Towne & Country

A wholesale food outlet (open to the general public ) that offers comestibles such as home-made sausages and lasagnas, as well as a big supply of ketchup, beverages, and party favors.

Town & Country Realty

Part of lawyer and former judge Brian Herman’s triumvirate of businesses, which also includes the kosher and vegetarian Park Place Falafel and Pizza.

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Fern         6a0134884a362e970c01901e362a31970b                                                              

Gail Peachin’s store of “personally picked objects, including folk art, photographs, primitives, textiles, useful and useless objects, with great form and texture.”

 

Fern     harvest_table_1-146x110

A handcrafted furniture showplace that specializes in wood furniture and accessories, as well as lighting and weavings.

 

House

A realty company with a “small team that comes from the creative and design professions”  who “approach real estate from an artistic perspective.”

521-7Home

The Warren Street branch of a store with a “mix of Asian antiques, ceramics, Buddhas and folk art, furniture, one of a kind objects, tabletop, jewelry, home accessories, baskets, pillows and textiles.”  The other branch is in South Egremont.

 Hudson Home

A multilevel store “filled with products chosen for their tactile qualities, integrity of materials, and organic nature.”

 

Route 9      Route 9     Route 9G     Route 9W     Route 9H 

Do me a big one:  Figure these out on your own on Google Maps.

 

imgresColumbia Memorial 

Hudson’s own hospital complex, with more divisions, specialists, and services than even they may be able to keep track of.

Columbia Presbyterian

A university hospital in New York City affiliated with two Ivy League medical schools: Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medical College.

 

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Rural Residence

A retail destination for all rooms of the home,“founded on the pursuit of beauty derived from a refined perception of the sentiment of nature.”

Rural Intelligence

A webzine that focuses on Dutchess, Columbia, Berkshire, and Litchfield counties.

 

Red Chair   

DSC_0049

A store with “a concentration of Swedish, Belgian and French antiques” that “provides a cool palette of grays, blues and whites.”

Red Chopstick

A Chinese takeout restaurant just a few steps down from ….

Red Dot                     

(see “Alana” above),  which potentially is just a few steps away from the…..

imgresRed Door

A 13-bed halfway house in Hudson, NY for adult men from Columbia and Greene Counties who suffer from chemical dependency.

 

                                                                                                                                    — Scott Baldinger

Serving Danish

827 Union Street-26 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In times like these, particularly after the frozen standstill of the polar vortex we’re just defrosting from, sometimes I think that everyone in Hudson should turn their homes into B&B’s and move into FEMA trailers  –placed perhaps around the parking lot of Lowe’s. Whatever the weather, plenty of people still love coming to Hudson, and even with the addition of the Barlow Hotel and the numerous lovely B&B’s already out there (see our business section for a complete list), there’s still a dearth of pleasant accommodations for them.

Kim and Jennifer Arenskjold, the dynamic duo of Arenskjold Antiques, didn’t have to move out of their own home and into a trailer, but they’ve joined the tourist fray by buying a 1950’s cottage at 827 Union Street and turning it into a B&B of their own, calling it the Upper Union Street Guest House. (This is an area of town not known for its historic attractions, so its gussying up a bit is a welcome civic improvement.) Formerly a two-family home with a one bedroom apartment upstairs and a larger downstairs apartment with two bedrooms and a study, it’s gorgeously decorated with the handsome, mostly 19th and 20th century Danish furniture, art, and accessories that their store is filled to the brim with (the sofa set pictured above is actually by De Sede, a Swiss firm—but who’s counting?) An oversized early 19th century Danish pine secretary, pottery by Kahler, paintings by local artist David Paulson and 19th century Danish artists, a Danish walnut coffee table, Turkish kilim rugs, and lush dining room with a Swedish farm table, six grand Edwardian leather chairs, and an alabaster chandelier from the early 20th century also grace the rooms. Jennifer says that the whole enterprise began because Kim is “looking ahead to the future. He’s a creative genius and likes to have a project to work on.”

Quickly agreeing with Jennifer’s assessment, Kim adds that “ I liked the property because it has a 2,500 square foot garage in the back that has a lot of possibilities.” The couple were so proud of their efforts that they produced a Rizzoli-quality hardcover coffee table book with images of the rooms, not available at your local bookstore. (Go into the store and ask to look at a copy.)   For per night or temporary rentals, contact Kim or Jennifer at 518-821-9840 or 518-828-2800  or by email at info@arenskjold.com.  Prices are (for now) as follows: $175 per night (two night minimum); $900 weekly; $2,900 per month. As for the breakfast part: there’s no Danish but complimentary coffee, tea, and croissants from among Hudson’s best, Bonfiglio & Bread Café Bakery . – Scott Baldinger

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