Our Time at Foxhollow Farm

Our Time at Foxhollow Farm is a remarkable pictorial history of an eminent Hudson Valley family in the early decades of the twentieth century. Illustrated with the family’s extensive collection of personal albums compiled during the nascent years of photography, it provides a fascinating insight into the regional, social, and architectural history of the era. In 1903 Tracy Dows, the son of a successful grain merchant from Manhattan, married Alice Townsend Olin, whose Livingston forebears had settled in the Rhinebeck, New York, area in the late 1600s. Dows purchased and combined several existing farms to establish his estate, Foxhollow Farm, next to Alice’s ancestral home. He commissioned Harrie T. Lindeberg, a sought-after architect trained under Stanford White, to design the family home and other buildings on the property, and the Olmsted Brothers to landscape its rolling hills. The Dowses raised their three children on the estate, and led a busy social life of tennis tournaments, weddings, dinners, and dances with such friends and neighbors as the Roosevelts and the Astors. Tracy Dows devoted himself largely to the pursuit of agricultural and civic affairs at home and in the Rhinebeck community. Olin Dows, Tracy and Alice’s son, became a notable painter active in President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Our Time at Foxhollow Farm follows the Dows family from 1903 through the 1930s, documenting their life at home, social activities, and travels in America and Europe. An enthusiastic amateur photographer, Tracy Dows took many of this book’s photographs himself, offering a vivid and warmly intimate perspective on privileged early twentieth-century American life.

The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City

row house rebornThe Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City, 1908-1929 by Andrew S. Dolkart (Author) Hardcover – August 7, 2009

Hudson River towns have (or had) an abundance of row houses. This fascinating study is the first to examine the transformation of residential architecture in New York City in the early 20th century.

In the decades just before and after World War I, a group of architects, homeowners, and developers pioneered innovative and affordable housing alternatives. They converted the deteriorated and bleak row houses of old New York neighborhoods into modern and stylish dwellings. Stoops were removed and drab facades were enlivened with light-colored stucco, multi-colored tilework, flower boxes, shutters, and Spanish tile parapets. Designers transformed utilitarian backyards into gardens inspired by the Italian Renaissance and rearranged interior plans so that major rooms focused on the new landscapes. This movement—an early example of what has become known as “gentrification”—dramatically changed the physical character of these neighborhoods. It also profoundly altered their social makeup as change priced poor and largely immigrant households out of the area. Dolkart traces this aesthetic movement from its inception in 1908 with architect Frederick Sterner’s complete redesign of his home near Gramercy Park to a wave of projects for the wealthy on the East Side to the faux artist’s studios for young professionals in Greenwich Village. Dolkart began his study because the work of these architects was being demolished. His extensive research in city records and contemporary sources, such as newspapers and trade and popular magazines, unearths a wealth of information detailing the transformation of New York’s residential neighborhoods. This significant development in the history of housing and neighborhoods in New York has never before been investigated. The Row House Reborn will interest architectural and urban historians, as well as general readers curious about New York City architecture and neighborhood development.

Mid-Hudson Traffic Bridge, Poughkeepsie, NY, Leading to Roosevelt Memorial Library and Home

DIMENSIONS OF NEW BRIDGE

Corner Stone laid by Governor Alfred E. Smith, October 11th 1925.
Length, 3,000 feet Main span, 1,500 feet.
Shore span, each, 750 feet Poughkeepsie approach, 1,100 feet.
To cost over $6,000,000.

M-id-Hudson Traffic Bridge, leading to Roosevelt Memorial Library and Home, Hyde Park

Mid-Hudson Traffic Bridge, leading to Roosevelt Memorial Library and Home, Hyde Park

The Poughkeepsie approach consists of three small bridges over two streets and the New York Central tracks.  The Highland approach cut will consist of a twenty-foot concrete highway, the length of which will be a mile and a quarter.

Amusement Parks: Rye Playland

Ride on: An iconic Westchester amusement park is at a turning point

Rye Playland, photo from Hudson Valley Magazine (May 2014)

Rye Playland, photo from Hudson Valley Magazine (May 2014)

Even if you’ve never been to Rye Playland, you might recognize it from the 1980s blockbuster movies Big and Fatal Attraction, which used the amusement park’s Art Deco buildings and retro rides as a stylish backdrop. But nothing can replace a visit to this nostalgic spot on Long Island Sound. Playland debuted in 1928. “It is the first totally planned amusement park,” says Peter Tartaglia, deputy commissioner of Westchester County Parks. “It is also the only government-run amusement park on this scale in the country.” In addition to seven of the original 1920s rides — the most famous being the wooden Dragon Coaster — the 280-acre park has contemporary attractions (like the gravity-defying Super Flight) and a kiddie land with 21 rides, bringing the grand total to 47. There’s also a pool and, of course, the beach. The boardwalk is also back: Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of it, but the original pine was replaced by a more durable Brazilian hardwood. (The landmark Ice Casino skating arena also took a big hit, but is set to reopen this fall.) “It clearly needs a face-lift and some updating,” says Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham, chairman of the committee overseeing the transition of the park’s operation to Sustainable Playland Inc. (SPI), a nonprofit which won a bid to restore the park and keep it financially viable. “The discussion is about how best to keep it as a park. Playland is on the National Register of Historic Places, so anything we do has to be within that context.” While SPI’s proposal originally called for reducing the number of rides, that idea has been nixed. “A number of people, and I’m one of them, feel that the amusement component is critical,” says Harckham. “They’re maintaining the size and bringing in Central Amusement International as an operator. They’re the folks who did the renovation of Coney Island.” Another part of the plan that has changed is a reduction in the size of the field house to be built in the parking lot, from 95,000 to 82,500 square feet. An aquatics activity center, restaurants, and a children’s museum are all part of the Playland Improvement Plan (PIP), available to read at www.sustainableplayland.org. Reaction has been mixed. Foes say that the field house is still too big and the overall plan will create noise and congestion, among other issues. Others welcome the idea of a year-round recreation destination, as it would stimulate the local economy. For his part, Harckham is optimistic. “No matter what decision we make on the PIP, people should know that Playland is open for business this summer — and it’s only going to get better.” Opening day is May 10. $30, $10 spectators (no rides), under 3 free. 914-813-7000; www.ryeplayland.org

Reprinted from Hudson Valley Magazine, May 2014

Hotel Gramatan

Hotel Gramatan

Built by real estate developer William Van Duzer Lawrence, on Sunset Hill in Lawrence Park, in 1905, this Spanish Colonial/Mission styled hotel was  a symbol of exclusivity. With 300 guest rooms, three restaurants, a gracious lobby and grand staircase leading into a ballroom, this hotel represented high style and elegance.

After the Depression hit, the hotel started a slow and prolonged decline, until it was torn down in 1972, to make way for townhouses.

 

 

Little Chapel on the River: A Pub, a Town and the Search for What Matters Most

little chapel on the riverNestled along the banks of the Hudson River directly across from the United States Military Academy at West Point sits the rural town of Garrison, New York, home to Guinan’s—a legendary Irish drinking hole and country store. While searching for a place to live and a temporary haven following the September 11th attacks, Manhattan journalist Wendy Bounds was delivered to Guinan’s doorstep by a friend. And a visit that began with one beer turned into a life-changing encounter.

Captivated by the bar’s charismatic but ailing owner, Bounds uprooted herself and moved to tiny Garrison. There she became one of the rare female regulars at the old pub and was quickly swept up by its motley characters and charms. What follows is a riveting journey as her fate, and that of Guinan’s, unfolds. Told with sensitivity, humor and an unflinching eye, Little Chapel on the River is a love story about a place—and the people who bring it to life.

Along Bounds’s journey you’ll meet the people of Guinan’s: Jim Guinan himself, the stubborn high priest of this little chapel who spins rich tales of the town’s robber barons, castles and mythological swans that feed at his front door; his grown children, whose duty to their father, and the town, have kept Guinan’s up and running against immeasurable odds; Fitz, a tough-talking Vietnam vet who eventually takes the author under his wing; Tom Endres, who first rowed to the bar illegally as a cadet and who returned as a full-fledged colonel in the U.S Army; Walter, the kindhearted and neurotic next-door neighbor who torches dandelions with his lighter; and Lou-Lou, the overweight doe-eyed hound and the most faithful four-legged parishioner at the pub.

This beautifully written, deeply personal and brilliantly insightful book is as much about remembering to value the past as it is about learning to seize the present. Filled with stories of joy and sorrow, of universal family struggles with loyalty, love, betrayal and redemption, this work ultimately brims with hope as Bounds expertly captures a nostalgic slice of quintessential American life. And while chronicling the pub’s fight to endure and her own search for a simpler way of life, she shares how and why the spirit moves those who come to worship in this little chapel on the river.

Written by Gwendolyn Bounds; Published by William Morrow (2005)
ISBN-10: 0060564067
ISBN-13: 978-0060564063

 

 

The Magic Of The Hudson

Information here is for archival purposes, and is not current

300 miles north of New York City, up in the Adirondack Mountains, a tiny stream trickles southward through fragrant spruce and pine trees. This is the beginning of the Hudson River. Gathering force and volume on its downward course, it emerges at Albany as a well defined river and continues south into New York Bay.

New York City copy

Along the banks, nature lavishly shows itself in stupendous rocky cliffs, picturesque waterfalls and towering mountains, while man’s achievements dot the shores in far flung bridges, historic mansions, palatial castles and huge industrial works of many kinds.

As long as people are people, a boat ride on the legendary Hudson River will have die same magical appeal. It has cast its spell over many generations of Americans. Every year it calls to thousands of young and old who dance, dine and play on the broad and leisurely decks of their favorite Hudson River Day Line Steamer-the Robert Fulton, the Alexander Hamilton or the Peter Stuyvesant.

A trip on the Day Line is a favorite American institution. Its thrills are known to all. It is a unique entertainment experience, bound up with amiable traditions and sentiments of good fellowship. It is the only way to become acquainted with America’s most beautiful river.

Manhattan Skyline copy

Whether for commerce, or for history, or for folklore, or for just good looks, the Hudson is pretty hard to beat. Taken altogether, the combination is unsurpassable. It is the Hudson which has made New York City what it is—the greatest seaport in the world.

The heroism of George Washington, the treachery of Benedict Arnold, the antics of Washington Irving’s immortal Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane, the busy whirr of business, of Fulton-Vanderbilt steamboat wars and the color and tradition of the 129-year old Hudson River Day Line—these and many other dramas have been played against the Hudson’s handsome and picturesque background.

 Sovenir Guide Cover

 

 

 

Birthplace of the American Circus

Source: Oblong to the Hudson by Harry Wirth; 1976

Information here is for archival purposes, and is not current

Routes 202 and 100, Somers

Hachaliah Bailey purchased an African elephant in 1815 and set upon the countryside to make his fortune. Menageries were an early form of American entertainment; but unfortunately, a disgruntled Somers farmer shot Old Bet and brought to a close Bailey’s preBarnum activities. The monument, originally erected by Bailey and later restored, stands in the center of Somers, which considers itself “The Birthplace of the American Circus”.

The Lightbulb Project

CLOSING RECEPTION:

Ann Street Gallery
104 Ann Street
Newburgh, NY 12550

Saturday June 29th 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Curated by Gerardo Castro

Curated by Gerardo Castro

A Newburgh Illuminated event featured over 52 ARTISTS creating an eclectic & unique collection of public art! Engage with 52 4 foot light bulbs as diverse as the artists who created them!

Light bulbs will be displayed in front of businesses and at Festival events around Newburgh from June 15th through 29th See many of the light bulbs at Washington’s Headquarters June 18th through 26th

That afternoon the 52 Light bulbs will be exhibited on the Liberty Street lot adjacent to the gallery
Select light bulbs will be available for purchase

For more information contact Gerardo Castro 845-561-5552 or gcastroart@gmail.com Thanks to all the sponsors, in partnership with Newburgh Art Supply

Peekskill’s Drum Hill

Source: Oblong to the Hudson by Harry Wirth; 1976

Information here is for archival purposes, and is not current

I

South Street, Peekskill

Peekskill’s oldest church dominated Drum Hill when it was constructed in the 1840’s. Its spire, once visible for miles, has since been overshadowed by Drum Hill School and cramped by the congestion of today’s urban Peekskill.