Posts Tagged ‘Olde Hudson’

Letter From Claverack 07 14 2017 Thoughts on Bastille Day, from the creek side…

July 14, 2017

 

It’s Bastille Day today and that is also the anniversary of the opening of the Red Dot Restaurant and Bar.  Happy 19th Anniversary!

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Today, I woke to the drumbeat of rain upon the roof, another grey day in a summer of grey.  Last night, at dinner, friends quipped that the weather reflected our mood.  We discussed hygge, and we agreed it was a great defense mechanism in these days of our political travails.

Tuesday morning, I rose at five to catch the first train from the city home, ran around, prepared for that night’s radio drama [a success by all accounts].  I produced it, helped direct it and catered it, took some tickets, tended bar a little, set some lights, announced it, broke it down, cleaned up, came home, too wired to sleep and so when the alarm went off at 5:30 Wednesday morning, I just couldn’t.  By force of will, I made it to the station for my program but it was with the help of a great quantity of caffeine.

As I drove to the station, I thought, rather randomly about how amused, bemused, confused I am by everything going on in our political universe.  We have had days of the most amazing revelations regarding the actions of Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.

Tuesday morning, the New York Post, the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch, upholder of the Conservative Way, editorialized that the one takeaway from all these revelations is that Donald Trump, Jr. is an idiot.  Wowza!  The New York Post.  Mine eyes dazzle.

At the end of my radio program today, I spoke a little about hygge.  We need a lot of hygge these days.  This morning, I’m having it as I sit at my dining room table, sipping strong coffee, a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan beans, the land across the creek a verdant riot of green, leaves dripping water; there is smooth jazz playing and I am prepping for a quick trip to Florida to help a friend drive his parents’ car back to New York.

Last night, Dena, owner of Olde Hudson, which is the stalwart of fine food in Hudson, her husband, Dick, came over for a dinner we have worked for months to organize because of complicated schedules.

And that felt very hygge.

And I think we need hygge these days.

Our President, caught in the thrall of Russian scandals, real or not, is jetting back from Europe after spending Bastille Day with Macron in France.  The White House has released a partial transcript of the President’s comments to reporters on his way to France.  You can read them here.

And make your own judgment.

Tuesday, an iceberg the size of Long Island broke off in Antarctica, the map of which will need to be redrawn as a result.  It’s a big deal but it won’t cause flooding in cities.  Yet. We need to keep watch as the ice shelf is holding back the real danger and if the ice shelf goes there will be many cities that will be under water. It makes me think of my friends who own a condo next to the water in Miami.

Are they going to be okay?

Are any of us going to be okay?

Yes, I think so but we’ll need a lot of hygge between here and there.

 

Letter from Claverack 11/05/2016 All about Hudson…

November 6, 2016

It is fall like but not November fall like.  In Minnesota my brother went to a football game wearing Bermuda shorts; it was 75 degrees there.  In Claverack, it scraped 65 and I was warm in my pullover fleece.

When I left home this morning, I wandered the Farmer’s Market, picking up a few things I craved like the Sea Salt and Onion cashews from Tierra Farms and some of their Free Trade Honduran coffee.  Meandering over to the Red Dot, I had the omelet of the day and then went wandering the streets of Hudson, marching up one side of Warren Street and returning on the other side, an adventure that took me three hours.

There are all kinds of changes on Warren Street and while I have been aware of them, I haven’t walked the street the way I used to when I first arrived here.  Some antique stores are gone and seem to have been replaced by clothing stores.  Several times I thought I could be in SoHo in Manhattan.

A fancy pizzeria has opened and Olde Hudson has expanded beyond belief.  Dena, who owns it, is a friend so I had seen that.

Many of us have been joking lately about the number of expensive cars seen on the street.  Not so long ago I spotted a Ferrari parked on Warren Street as I was on my way to meet Larry Divney for lunch.  We both said it was the beginning of the end.

When I arrived here fifteen years ago there were no expensive cars on the street.  My Acura was an anomaly for the time as was Larry’s Infiniti.

Hudson is becoming a destination.  For better or worse.  Better for my house value but perhaps worse for those who liked the edge Hudson had when I arrived, a little bit of rebelliousness that was a treasure.

The center of it was the Red Dot, owned by Alana Hauptman who is the Texas Guinan of our town.  Don’t know Texas Guinan?  She ran the hottest speakeasies in New York during Prohibition.  After 16 years, the Dot is still here and still a center of life in Hudson.  And Alana is our Texas Guinan.

And walking Warren Street today, I was astounded by the changes.  To think that I would be thinking it was a bit like SoHo, which is where I was living when we bought the house, is something I would never have thought then.  Sometime, long after I am gone, it will be a lot like Provincetown, I suspect.  Or Edgartown on The Vineyard.  It’s becoming that kind of place.

But will never be exactly that kind of place.  That’s what makes Hudson so special.

There were Porsches everywhere on the street today.  When I went back to the Dot after my tour of the street I ran into James Ivory, the director of films like “A Room with a View.”  He’s become a bit of friend,  has been at parties at my home and dinners too, and one Christmas I spent with him at his house.  With Alana…

It has been an interesting escapade to have lived here through all this, to witness the transformation of a community from rough and tumble to almost respectable.  It was and is an artist’s haven, a place where writers and painters and actors gather.

Across the river in Catskill, there is the Bridge Street Theater and I went last week to a performance of “Frankenstein.”  It was brilliant.  And I mean brilliant.  Steven Patterson, who did every role, was as riveting as Paul Scofield [“A Man For All Seasons”] when I saw him in London on my first trip there.  It was a forgettable script but his performance was transcendent.  Steven Patterson’s performance was like that.

Transcendent.

John Sowle directed.  Equal kudos to him.

Tonight, I am not talking about politics or world events.  I can’t tonight.  We are at the near end of the most awful political period I have ever experienced.  No matter who wins, the contentiousness will not end.

 

The creek at night.

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Letter From New York 03 04 2016 Far from Damascus…

March 4, 2016

Chet Baker’s “Jazz in Paris” plays while I am typing, courtesy of Amazon Prime, the service I am learning it is hard to live without.  It pays for itself with free shipping around Christmas not to mention being able to find things there I can’t find easily in stores.  I mean it seems like everything is there.  They have just released a new device, Amazon Tap, that works with their Echo.  Have to learn more about that…

When I woke this morning, it was chill but bright and light speckled on the creek as I looked out the window waiting for my electric kettle to boil the water for my tea.

It was an easy day.  I spent the morning in the annual great American adventure, preparing information for my taxes for the accountant who does both my business and my personal returns.  Finishing that, I went to Hudson and had lunch with my friend Dena Moran, who has moved her shop, Olde Hudson, into larger digs.  Afterwards, I had my oil changed and then came home and gathered the piles of receipts and prepared for them to be stored away.

While we were at lunch, Dena and I both checked out what Mitt Romney said about Donald Trump.  While I was doing taxes, Mitt was skewering The Donald, calling him a “phony,” “a fraud” and many other things.  Good for Mitt… It’s the most I have respected him in years.

Trump responded in The Donald’s way.  He looked back on 2012 when he said Mitt would have dropped to his knees to have The Donald’s endorsement.  That’s not a pretty picture…  According to The Donald, Mitt’s a failed candidate and the only person who “chokes” more than Mitt is Marco Rubio.

Does anyone get tired of this?

Shockingly, among Muslims who vote Republican, he’s the most popular candidate.  What?  Not something I understand but it’s real.  It seems they think once elected, he’ll become pragmatic and work on economic issues, which is their greatest concern, and forgot all the anti-Muslim rhetoric.  There is a part of me that suspects they are delusional, rather like Jews who couldn’t really believe Hitler was serious.

Caitlyn Jenner is supporting Ted Cruz, which seems as crazy to me as Muslims supporting The Donald.

In other happy news, Kim Jong Un of North Korea has ordered his military to be ready to use nuclear weapons at any time.  Perhaps preemptively, as the UN voted in the most severe sanctions in twenty years against his country.  The pudgy young man is determined, desperately determined, the world give him respect.  I suspect bad parenting.

In Syria, the fragile truce has given some respite to the desperate inhabitants of that poor country.  Thinking about them helped me realize how grateful I am to be here, poised above the Claverack Creek where sun speckles in the morning on the water, where I can listen to jazz and think about the issues of the world while not dodging mortar fire or bombs from above.

Letter From Columbia County 09 09 15 Thinking about life, ruminating on its joys…

September 9, 2015

It is getting dark as I sit here on my deck, there are still some small glimmers of light off the creek and the sky to the east is pearl grey. A wind has come up in the last few minutes, a bit of blessed relief after a day when it hit 95 degrees with humidity nearly as high.

It has been a gentle day, spent here at the cottage and in its environs. I woke late for me; the alarm went off and I continued to hit the snooze alarm, up until the moment the plumber arrived. He will come on Friday and replace the device that increases my water pressure. Until then, I am to use as little water as possible. I feel a bit like a pioneer.

A few weeks ago I went to an event for the Hudson Library that was a joint venture of DISH, a relatively new store in town on lower Warren Street and the wonderful Olde Hudson, run by my friend Dena. At the event, I spotted something that would make a wonderful Christmas present for my friend, Nick. I returned today to buy it as well as other things that went into the armoire that is in the guest bedroom. In it I place gifts that I have collected throughout the year for Christmas giving.

After dropping shirts at the cleaners, I went to Lowes for some cleaning supplies I hadn’t found at the grocery store yesterday. Summer is gone; Halloween is here. I was met at the entrance by all sorts of Halloween supplies. At CVS there were displays of Halloween candy. The year is moving on.

Relish, my favorite little sandwich joint, has just moved to their winter hours, closing an hour earlier than before. Winter hours? It’s 95 degrees out there! But yes, the world is moving on. Summer is unofficially over.

As I mentioned yesterday, a few leaves have begun to turn. Acorns are falling all around me. One hit the ancient metal chair to my right and scared me.

I am relishing sitting here on the deck, with the wind blowing, all too aware that the days that I can do that are now numbered. So I am doing the best to enjoy it. After the plumber left this morning, I was out here, reading the Times, sipping my coffee. It was a most pleasant way to start the day.

Now it is getting dark and I am here ending the day, sipping a martini and thinking about life.

The Week is one of my favorite magazines and I read in it an essay by Oliver Sacks, the doctor who wrote “Awakenings,” made into a movie starring the late, great Robin Williams. He wrote as he was dying; it was filled with the sense of wonder of having been alive, of having made his own unique journey through this thing called life, a mystery that we often fail to appreciate. As he was dying, he viewed his life as a rich experience and prepared to go gently into that good night.

Now that I am entering what is the third and final act of my life, I hope that I can face the reality of my own inevitable death with the same awareness that Oliver Sacks did, appreciating that he had been alive.

In the last year, I have learned such lessons of gratitude. That I am alive this day, that I have the resources to survive this day, that my health is good, that I can see and breathe and resonate with the world and give something to it.

My friend, Medora Heilbron, mentioned last week in our weekly call that she does her best to leave in her wake, goodness and gratitude, shown in courtesy to clerks and strangers and the people she loves. I work to do the same.

I do my best to remember the names and the faces of the people who I interact with, such as Heather and Dana at Relish and the cab driver I met yesterday. I do my best to be easy for people who have to interact with the public because so many people don’t make it easy.

Night falls. I am joyful. I hope you are too.

Letter From New York 04 08 15 From the heat of Delhi to wearing a winter coat…

April 8, 2015

Outside, it is still grey and chill; I have taken to wearing my winter jacket again, worse luck. It’s also been raining today with my mantra being: April showers bring Mayflowers.

Though, for all the grey, it’s been a very pleasant day. I am not quite so time zone loopy as I was yesterday or the day before. I am a little more centered and not quite so forgetful. I feel good and am looking forward to dinner tonight at the Red Dot, with a group of friends, for whom I have souvenirs of India.

I still almost expect to look out my window and see the vivid amber colors of Jaipur or the greens of Delhi but, instead, am greeted by the muted colors of the Northeast, struggling to come alive in the early days of spring.

There is a glorious freshness to the air I breathe here, clean and sweet with the smell of damp earth. The air in Delhi always has an acrid undertow, not so pungent as my first trips but still residing.

Out in the wide world, from which I feel sheltered here at the cottage, the news is much about the guilty verdicts given to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his role in the Boston bombings of over two years ago. Certainly not unexpected given that his defense admitted guilt in their opening statements; it has, for some, brought some closure, some finality, to the wounds, physical and emotional, that were inflicted that day. Now we will see if he is sentenced to death or if his defense team can save his life.

One of the necessities of life is coffee, so I ran down into Hudson to get some good espresso roast from Olde Hudson. As I went, the radio played an interview with Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of Energy, who ended up playing a big role in the Iranian Nuclear talks. I couldn’t tell from the interview if he was defending the outlined deal or simply reporting on his role. He seemed guileless in the little bit I heard him, very much the scientist and not very much the diplomat.

Last night, as I devoured my fajitas at Coyote Flaco, I saw the video of the South Carolinian shot in the back by a police officer, not quite able to assimilate what I was seeing. The officer has been dismissed and is charged with murder as a result of the video. And tension runs high.

Rand Paul is finishing his first full day of campaigning for President, promising “shocking” revelations about the Clinton Foundation [and Hillary]. In the meantime, it seems many people are looking at him and his candidacy and asking: is this for real?

Certainly for real is the chaos in Yemen. Doctors Without Borders announced that a ship had arrived in Aden with 2.5 tons of medical supplies though no one was sure how they would be unloaded given the situation there. Iran has sent two naval vessels toward Yemen while the Saudis continue bombing. The US is underscoring its support for Saudi Arabia. 100,000 people have fled their homes, seeking refuge from the fighting.

A Pakistani plane has arrived in New Delhi, carrying refugees from Yemen, a gesture that will help the usually frayed relations between those two countries.

The Iraqis are hoping to build on the victory at Tikrit by advancing into Anbar province, the Sunni heartland now mostly under the control of IS. At least that’s what the Anbar province regional council has said. Seems to be a bit of a surprise to the central government.

What is also a surprise but not in debate, is that IS has released more Yazidis. What is unclear is why they’re doing this.

Fighting for cyber security, the US is attempting to deflect attacks on White House and State Department computers, which seem to be coming from Russia. The Russians deny this.

In the UK, the election is “hotting up” as the May election draws closer, with Scotland appearing, quite extraordinarily, to end up playing a pivotal role in what shape the new UK government takes.

I do know the shape of my evening. That dinner out with friends and then gathering together the things that need to go with me to the city in the morning, an early rise and off on the 7:20 train in the morning for a 10:30 meeting.

It feels good to have my body and my mind in the same time zone, almost.