A blog about Hudson, New York

Creative Evolution

The handsome handiwork of Hudson's own Digifabshop

A lot of the divisiveness that surfaced during the Hudson mayoral race suggests that, among certain quarters,  there is far less faith in the new “creative” economy—one based on aesthetic, environmental, and cultural forces—than in the older industrial one, even though the former led to a stunning revival of  the town in the last decade or so and the latter essentially abandoned it decades before that. (Or wanted to usurp it completely with oversized projects like the St. Lawrence Cement Plant.)

It’s true that the creative  economy tends to be small in scale, comprising mostly of individual mom and pop (or mom and mom and pop and pop) stores and b&bs. When you put it all together, however, it comprises an ensemble that not only brought the city’s tax base up from close to zero but also resulted in one of the most dazzling  renaissances in all of upstate (bringing restaurants, clubs, and thousands of tourists here). The ability of the vintage and antiques retail trade, which can hang on a thread even in the best of times, essentially spun magic out of  thin air,  through taste and appreciation for everything beautiful yet unacknowledged all around us,  rescuing  a neglected town in the process.

While looking good in a pinch is a great first step in getting yourself up, dusting yourself off and starting all over again, it’s always great to see signs of a diversifying business base. Two fabulous examples, which grew from the mother starter dough of the decorative arts trade: Lotus Energy, the solar and renewable energy systems company at 703 Warren Street, and Digifabshop, a self-described “digital fabrication company that specializes in residential and commercial woodwork, furniture, sculpture, reproductions and prototyping.” Lotus does consulting and installation of solar systems and helps with the application for  state and federal tax credits. (Customers can get up to $12,250 back from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority alone.)  Digifabshop,  hidden away in the former L B furniture building near the waterfront,  is something I didn’t know anything about before reading  the following  article in last week’s Home section,  A Minimalist Loft, With Touches of  Chipotle.  I almost feel  nachas for Hudson when I see work that looks so good.  —Scott Baldinger

2 Responses to Creative Evolution

  1. Nicely put, Scott. I hope the magic continues, and I have faith that it will in spite of an LWRP barrelling to closure on Nov 30 which will bring us an industrialized corridor through the South Bay and an ever increasing amount of trucks to the riverfront. I expect we’ll have to keep dusting ourselves off.

  2. While this is beautifully written, this piece reveals that you have started to sip the KoolAid.

    What has amazed me from Day One of The Great Rescue, has been those who go on at great length about the importance of, and interest in, local history, as a way to further their own agendas, or use it as leverage for their own better, more suitable, higher brow, projects.

    Well, here’s a significant historical fact regarding the cement plants: they paid for ALOT of braces; they paid ALOT of mortgage payments; the steady, high end wages allowed for ALOT of family vacations; ALOT of kids went to four year colleges because a parent worked at a cement plant.

    Isn’t that a bit of fascinating history?

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