If, because of the wear and tear of the holiday hustle, you’might be craving a hit of methamphetamine but don’t want to ruin your teeth, health and life, a good alternative is the gourmet quality, highly charged coffee at Swallow (433 Warren Street). In addition to its fulsome flavor, there’s something uniquely powerful but dextrorotory (in medical/pharmaceutical parlance: non jittery) about the buzz just one cup of their brew provides, and the café from which it is dispensed has gained enormous popularity, keeping its always hip-looking customers up way past their bedtimes for a number of years now.
For a month or so the sign at top right has had me scratching my head. After speaking to owner Aaron Dibben, I now have the answer to what it all means: The café will be moving right down the street (hence the arrow and directive) to the space previously occupied by the graphic design company Sorted at 357 Warren Street, a haven of Helvetica lettering. The new locale, Dibben says, will be called Moto Coffee Machine, meaning of multi (but as of yet unspecified) uses, with Swallow a central part in it. (He said that the name change had nothing to do with a suit he and wife Sarah are bringing against a coffee establishment in Brooklyn also called Swallow, and that name will be added to the new storefront window.) As for their still current location, there were hints that the building would become a hotel, with the first floor its lobby, but Dibben says with a smile that he thinks that’s just a little rumor he himself started. — Scott Baldinger
For nearly each of its 15 years as Hudson’s most essential watering hole and casual dining spot, the Red Dot has fulfilled its theatrical temperament by scenically dressing up its dining spaces for the holidays. Previous years have included floor-to-ceiling makeovers to themes such as Moulin Rouge, Xmas at Tiffany’s and even a Blair Witch Xmas. ( I missed that one, or at least I think I did.) In previous years, owner Alana Hauptmann did this with her husband, the late Perry Cooney, but his sad passing earlier in the year did not deter her from coming up with the goods this season. In fact, she and her friend—the immensely talented artist, theatrical set designer and film art director Wendy Frost – have outdone themselves with as good an interpretation of the Hotel Carlyle’s Bemelmans Bar in New York City, with Madeline as the expected central character, as could possibly be done with brown craft paper and pastels. It really is a sight to be seen, a warming, elegant and light-spirited tonic for an emotionally strained time in Hudson’s recent history. –Scott Baldinger
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, and all I can say is mea culpa — but there’s just something about the holidays that are—no, not depressing ( I like being with my family and, in lieu of that this year, the lovely new friend whose kin I shared Thanksgiving with this year) but a little distracting. Thanksgiving day itself was something I should have written a little panegyric about: the snow coating all the trees, and the complete and utter quietude of the day, compared to even a slow weekday in town (particularly with the hammering, sawing and other noisome sounds at construction projects on either side of 4th and Warren) was almost magical. Days like these remind one that yes indeedy… Hudson is a busy little town, even on days when most of its stores aren’t open. But I think I was under too much of a tryptophan haze to hit the keyboard.
This week, there’s a mad dash for owners of said stores to do something with their windows in time for Winter Walk this Saturday. A few have gotten a nice jump on things; whle so many of the other storefronts are so richly elegant, even under everyday circumstances, that they could pass muster as holiday displays. The photos to the left include a few of the ones that have gotten in Winter Walk mode relatively ahead of time. I’ve also included a Union Street house –which I displayed and discussed in a previous post—whose exterior paint job, now completed, could be counted as a holiday display all year round. –Scott Baldinger