Anyone concerned that Warren Street might be transforming ever so slowly into a high-end shopping mall will take comfort in the sidewalk signs on the 400 block, which certainly express a personal — if not occasionally otherworldly– way of selling things. — Scott Baldinger
It might be hard to believe now. But there once was a time when people bemoaned the miraculous transformation of Hudson’s historic Warren Street from a nearly abandoned strip of what was considered “obsolete” old buildings to a decorative arts center so sophisticated that it became as renown as it tended to be pricey. Now some might be concerned about its changing identity from a town made up of businesses that primarily sell antiques and home furnishings to one that focuses equally on other areas of style—and food– with the arrival of so many new non-antique stores that even a daily passerby could be forgiven for not being able to keep track. The 400 block is the most glaring example.
Just in the last year we’ve seen Kosa (clothing) moving from a spot on the 500 block to 443 Warren, only now to be replaced by the newly opened Hudson Clothier. Hudson and Laight Gallery has been replaced by Cesare + Lili, “a luxe beauty bar” at 437. Harvey’s Counter has been replaced by a boutique of scarves and shawls, fig & bella, at 443. Up a block, at 527, Savor the Taste is setting up to take the place where Mark Frisman Antiques once was. And most dramatically, Matt McGhee’s high-end, year-round Christmas store, fresh from Greenwich Village, will be taking the place of the boutique Laloon in the handsome building at 445, some time around Thanksgiving.
To this observer, although almost none of the wares at these venues seem to have been chosen with him in mind, the town’s gradual shift from its first reincarnation is far from something to be concerned about: Jane Jacobs herself addressed this issue in her essential The Economy of Cities. The major premise of her book is that one-business towns (Detroit for instance), i.e. those that lack diversity in their economic backbone, are far more vulnerable to distress, if not complete collapse, than those that have nurtured it. Granted, “style” here –in whatever form– is roughly equivalent to “automobiles” in Detroit, but the ever-changing form that it has been taking recently is a sign that people are as beguiled by our town as ever, and that our motors are running smoothly. –Scott Baldinger
Chis Gibson, Republican Sean Eldridge, Democrat
Mid-term elections in recent years have made Halloween genuinely ghoulish for most of the last two decades, just about ruining the holiday for me. This year is no exception, with our Republican incumbent, who votes the Tea Party line far more often than not, masquerading as a moderate and gaining substantial support from 41 percent of Democrats. Moderation is quite a costume for the congressman. What shocks me is that this is the same area where registered Democrats voted overwhelmingly for the liberal Zephyr Teachout over Andrew Cuomo (who would be regarded as more than liberal enough by most of the nation), and they seem to have bought the Gibson act hook, line, and sinker. According to The New York Times, Democrats interviewed said they liked Gibson “because he’s down to earth,” “a good man” and “because he’s run a positive campaign.”
Frankly I can only attribute this impression to the local public radio station, WAMC, and the obsequious treatment of Mr. Gibson by the station’s president and omnipresent host, Alan Chartock (“WAMC: all Chartock all the time”). Chartock, who is someone I generally admire, concur with politically, and also find very annoying to have to listen to all day, is notoriously unctuous to politicians from all parties, but, during a recent interview, what he did with Gibson had me switching to Shostakovitch in a heartbeat. Essentially he let Gibson play the “reasonable non ideologue” role to the the hilt, and — at least for as long I was able to listen –not once challenged him on his voting record: no on the Affordable Care Act, of course but also anti- Planned Parenthood, abortion rights, same sex marriage and a sundry other pieces of legislation, including stopping the government altogether, just to ruin President Obama’s day. In reality, his worthy Democratic opponent, Sean Eldridge, would win any sensitivity contest, but it’s doubtful that doing so would be of any help at this point. –Scott Baldinger