Nietzsche once wrote that life is a process of becoming. And so — if one wants to take a broader view of its erratic upkeep and progress— is the cityscape of Hudson itself. It can be quite a show for its fans: chic and miraculously transformed one day and eternally stuck in down at the heels splendor on others. At the same time a handful of boarded up, empty faves—the Pocketbook factory, the former Allen Street School, the planned hotel at 4th and Warren, the train depot on State and 7th Street to name just a few—bring a downbeat existential cast to the drama as we continue to pass by, each time with hope and wonder (and the feeling that we’re growing old), as nothing continues to happen year after year. On rare occasions one of these buildings might be suddenly converged upon by workers, who proceed to perform a strip tease in reverse, erecting scaffolding, tearing down walls and then, just as suddenly, disappearing. After that all work ceases and everything falls back into unoccupied limbo.
Every once in a millennium, such as at the gorgeously restored Club Helsinki, the edifice interruptus comes to a wonderful climax. But it’s often the town’s quirkier smaller structures that give us a chance to see something clean up real good, real —relatively— fast. Two making nice headway caught my eye the other day: the niftily streamlined former gas station/City Glass/John Doe shop at 347 Warren (above), soon to be an industrial-style lighting and furniture store, and the picturesque pile of bricks on City Hall Place seen below, a former back-street bar that simply must have had a Some Came Running type neon sign over its corner entrance. Even in their process-of- becoming states, both look good enough to eat— or at least eat in some day. — Scott Baldinger