Monday, December 29, 2008

Sailing into the Quadricentennial year

Mark the start of the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial with the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club's display of ice boats in front of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park. After all, ice sailing technology is of Dutch origin and FDR owned an ice yacht as a young man. FDR's uncle, Commodore John E. Roosevelt, started the club, which still exists today.

The club plans to have an outdoor display of up to 12 Hudson River Ice Yachts dating from the late 1800s in front of the Presidential Library. Included in the exhibit will be world-championship winning ice yachts owned by John A. Roosevelt and his Hyde Park neighbor, Col. Archibald Rogers.

The exhibit runs through January 3 but will be closed on New Year's Day. (It also may close during inclement weather, so they advise calling ahead to confirm exhibit hours at 845-229-9115 or 1-800-FDR-VISIT.) Ice Yacht Club members will be there each day to talk about their boats, their sport and the history of ice yachting on the Hudson.

The Ice Yacht Display is sponsored by the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club in cooperation with the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library , the Hudson River Maritime Museum, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area and Dutchess County.

Poughkeepsie Journal photo by Darryl Bautista

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Photo competition winners!

William Panuska's dramatic photo of the Mid-Hudson Bridge is the November 2008 Poughkeepsie Journal Quadricentennial Photo Contest winner. Although the judges had more than 90 photographs to view and critique, Panuska's image of an ominous bank of clouds appearing to rest on top of the bridge was the clear winner. The photograph is technically outstanding, very well-framed and perfectly timed, said Spencer Ainsley, director of multimedia, photography and videography at the newspaper. Panuska, 63, who is now retired and living in Highland, taught in the Poughkeepsie School District for 30 years.

Bob Kallman's moody photo of a Hudson River scene in heavy fog takes honorable mention. Kallman's early morning photo showing a collection of oars and small boats lined along the east bank of the Hudson River with another boat approaching in the mist under the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge is serene and artistically produced, said Ainsley. Kallman owns Kallman Insurance Agency in Poughkeepsie and is an avid outdoorsman.

Congrats to them both!

PS We'll post the photos here shortly -- in the mean time, they are in this group on the Hudson Happenings photo contest page. UPDATE: The winning photos can be seen here.

More money for railroad bridge

More money for the Poughkeepsie railroad bridge project:

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) has announced that a $440,000 federal grant will be added to the funds being used to transform the bridge into the Walkway Over the Hudson linear park. Hinchey said the funds would be used with money already obtained for the project, including $874,000 in federal funding that he obtained in 2005, to pay for upgrades to the overpass. The funds for the bridge come from the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures grant program.

His entire announcement is at his Web site.

The $35.5 million Walkway construction project is scheduled to wrap up in September of 2009, in time for the Quad celebration. This past September, Walkway Over the Hudson said its fundraising goal stood at $12.5 million, which it hopes to raise via government, corporate, private foundations, individuals and other funding sources. Donors that have made significant contributions to the project include the Dyson Foundation ($2 million), Scenic Hudson ($1 million), and the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency ($500,000) and the Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, a Poughkeepsie-based foundation, ($500,000).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hudson River photo contest, 2

The November edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal's Hudson River photo contest is being judged ... stay tuned for results, to be posted later ....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NY's First Lady to lead celebrations

New York's First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson has been named Honorary Chair of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration, according to an announcement today by her husband, Gov. David Paterson.

She'll lend her support to several projects, including the “Walkway Over the Hudson” Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge project. The other two main projects of the Quad celebration are the newly refurbished Crown Point Lighthouse on Lake Champlain and New York City's Governor’s Island, the site of one of New York’s first Dutch settlements and a strategic 19th-century coastal fortification. That last project will soon allow visitors to have access to the entire perimeter promenade and will create a picnic area with views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and the Manhattan skyline.

Here is her reaction, according to the governor's statement,

“This is a momentous occasion in our State’s history,” said First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson. “I am so proud to be able to serve this important role as ambassador for the 400th anniversaries of the exploration of our historic Hudson River and Lake Champlain, celebrating our rich history and our embrace of diversity, tolerance and innovation. Perhaps most importantly, we are utilizing the occasion to focus attention on the most important legacy of all -- environmental and
economic sustainability starting with the next 100 years.”

"New York's First Lady will bring the prestige and gravitas to usher in this plan on the eve of the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial," said Tara Sullivan, executive director of the state Quad commission and a Dutchess County resident.

Quad commemoratives

One fun thing about historic anniversaries is that they generally produce a good number of collectibles. In an earlier post, I wrote about some of the free stuff already being handed out in anticipation of next year's Quadricentennial celebrations. Now, there's something a little higher-end available ...

Jaymark Jewelers has designed an enamel and 14k gold Quadricentennial pendant that memorializes Henry Hudson's ship, the Half Moon. Here is more about the piece from a recent issue of Rising Tide, the Quad newsletter.

The pendant is based on the Dard Hunter stained glass window depicting Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, which was shown in our first issue. To honor the discovery of the Hudson River in 1609, Jaymark will produce 1,609 numbered pieces of this fine collectible, priced at $1,609 each. In addition, Jaymark will produce another 400 numbered pieces, with a 30% larger stained glass portion set in platinum, completely surrounded by a diamond bezel, at $16,090 each. ... Jaymark Jewelers is committed to the principles of fair trade and sustainability in the jewelry industry, and ensures that the companies and countries it partners with do the same.

Jaymark is a fourth generation family- owned company in the Hudson Valley, with showrooms in Cold Spring, Wappingers Falls, and Katonah. They can be reached at 1-888-483-6335.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Poughkeepsie digs in for Quad celebrations

Volunteers from Cub Scout Pack 10 and the South Avenue Neighborhood Association, along with city of Poughkeepsie workers, recently planted bulbs in several city parks. The plantings are part of a Heritage Plants Tour that will bloom from spring to fall in Poughkeepsie next year to mark the Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial. The planting project was made possible through a grant from the state Quadricentennial Commission and community services from the city of Poughkeepsie. In the photo above, Cub Scouts Riley Faulkner and Brian Panzar plant bulbs.

Also, two bronze plaques were set in concrete in front of two historically significant sites in the city of Poughkeepsie: the original City Hall in Poughkeepsie, currently the Dutchess County Commissioner of Jurors Building at 228 Main St., and in front of Alex’s Restaurant at the corner of Market and Main streets, site of the first church in Poughkeepsie, the Reformed Dutch Church.

"These events are underway to help bring tourism back to downtown Poughkeepsie, and to highlight Poughkeepsie’s eventful ... history that began in 1687," City Historian George Lukacs said in a press release.

Wallkill artist Alexandra Baer helped design the plaques and has been working with the city as part of a 2006 Greenway Trail Grant to provide pedestrians with a way to view the buildings as they originally looked in the early 18th and 19th centuries.

The description on the plaque in front of Alex’s Restaurant notes the building of the first church in 1723, and the historic context of the church with the Revolutionary War. The plaque in front of the Commissioner of Jurors building notes its construction in 1831 and the modest building costs associated with its construction. Both plaques will be officially dedicated as part of the Quadricentennial celebration in 2009.

"We are very excited at the enthusiasm we are receiving in preparing for next year’s celebration of 400 years of progress in our river communities," said City of Poughkeepsie Chair of the Quadricentennial celebration, Nancy Cozean.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hudson River monster returns ...

A colorful city of Poughkeepsie mural depicting "Kipsy," a mythical serpent that lives in the Hudson River, has been repaired, repainted and restored by students from The Art Institute of Mill Street Loft's chapter of the National Art Honor Society. The mural was originally created by Poughkeepsie artists Margaret and Richard Crenson in 1989 on the wall of the Hudson Valley Office Furniture building at the corner of Main and Crannel Streets. In consultation with the artists, more than a dozen student volunteers participated in the project, repairing damaged areas, erasing graffiti and touching up the sun-faded colors earlier this month.

According to a press release from Mill Street Loft, local legend holds that "the ancient creature is believed to have existed and was said to have been sighted by sailors on many vessels including Henry Hudson's Halfmoon, the Livingston's Clermont and even our own Clearwater. The 'Kipsy' mural features many familiar Hudson River images."

The Art Institute of Mill Street Loft is a pre-college portfolio development program for motivated high school art students interested in pursuing careers in the visual arts. Students accepted into the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) commit to participate in community service projects and the mural restoration project is one of them. The Art Institute offers courses in figure drawing and painting, metal welding, figurative clay, portfolio development and photography. For a full listing of Winter-Spring 2009 courses, visit or call 845-471-7477.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have a winner!

The first winner of the Poughkeepsie Journal's monthly Hudson River photo contest is Brian Connor of East Fishkill for his photo, "Guardians of the Hudson," of a seagull resting on a Battery Park City dock with the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

Elisa Shaw of Red Hook won honorable mention for her photo, "As the fog lifts at Bard Rock," depicting an early morning scene along the eastern bank of the Hudson at the Vanderbilt Estate in Hyde Park. The newspaper's staff photographers selected the winners.

Congrats to both of them! I felt that all the submissions for the October contest were great and I am looking forward to seeing what our region's photographers send in for the November contest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photo contest update

News for those who are waiting for the first month's results of the Hudson River photo contest sponsored by the Poughkeepsie Journal -- the photo staff has selected their favorites and are just waiting for the winner to return their message before they can announce it online, hopefully later today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Valley's delicious traditions ...

Peter Rose, a nationally-recognized expert in colonial Dutch cooking and food customs, will visit Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz at 1 p.m. on Sunday (November 9) to talk about the "Dutch Influence on the American Kitchen and Life." She is the author of several books, including Matters of Taste: Food and Drink of Seventeenth Century Dutch Art and Life. She has lectured on Dutch-American culinary history at the Smithsonian Institute, the National Gallery of Art, the Culinary Institute of America, New York University and the New-York Historical Society.

I've had the pleasure of working with Peter (we both once were frequent contributors to the same food magazine) and also of cooking with Peter (years ago she did a daylong open-hearth cooking and baking workshop for a culinary historians group I belonged to at the historic Elmendorph Inn in Red Hook.) She's a fantastic source of information about our region's food culture.

The talk, which is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Humanities, is offered free of charge.

Here is more information about the program:

The region's earliest settlers, the Dutch, left a lasting mark on the Hudson Valley and on America's kitchen. Rose will explore the foods and culinary customs brought to America by the Dutch more than three centuries ago. She will also talk about the ways in which foods and cooking were adapted to the circumstances settlers found in New Netherland. Finally, she will also talk about how these Dutch customs influenced our American cuisine and the last impact this influence has on us today.

"Food is integral to the American culture, something which, despite the many differences in our multicultural society, we all share," says Eric Roth, the executive director of Historic Huguenot Street, "What is less known, however, is how many of the foods we love and share today have their roots in the colonial Dutch period of the 1600s."

The talk begins at 1 p.m. in Deyo Hall on the Historic Huguenot Street site in downtown New Paltz. Deyo Hall is located on Broadhead Avenue between Huguenot and North Chestnut Streets.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Time's running out!

Today is the deadline for the first contest in the Poughkeepsie Journal's year-long Hudson River photo competition, held in conjunction with the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial celebrations and the planned opening of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge pedestrian walkway project.

The contest began on October 5 and ends on Sept. 30, 2009. A winner and runner up will be selected monthly, with one grand prize winner chosen from the monthly winners when the contest wraps up in the fall of 2009. For more information on the contest, and to see the photos already entered in the contest, visit There are some impressive entries so far.

Quad kickoff at boat show

According to the BYM News online, the 2008 New York National Boat Show, which takes place from December 13-21 in Manhattan, is a BIG day for the Quad. (BYM reports on international boating, marine & maritime news.)

Here is some of what they report:

The official kick-off celebration of the 400th birthday of the Hudson River -- the Hudson River Quadricentennial -- takes place Saturday, December 13, in conjunction with opening day of the show. The Quadricentennial (is) a year-long celebration that will include many local boating events and takes a rich look at the history of the Hudson River, a waterway essential to the history and present enjoyment of recreational boating throughout all of New York.

So if you like to float on the Hudson River, this is a date you might want to mark in your calendar.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The vision of its artists

UPDATE: Save the Date! The Fine Art Auction at Locust Grove has been rescheduled for Sunday, April 26, 2009.

“As we move toward the Quadricentennial celebration in 2009, there is no better way to celebrate our valley than through the vision of its artists,” Locust Grove Executive Director Kenneth F. Snodgrass says.

Four studies that had been made for the historic Poughkeepsie Post Office mural are among the works that will be sold during Locust Grove’s first-ever Invitational Fine Art Auction. Originally scheduled for early next month (see update), the auction will also include work by contemporary painters, graphic artists, sculptors and photographers of the Hudson Valley. Visit or call 845-454-4500 ext. 17 for more information.

“Locust Grove and fine art are a natural pairing,” Snodgrass said in a press release. It was the 19th century country estate of Samuel Morse, who founded the American Academy of Design and was a celebrated artist before gaining even more fame for patenting the telegraph and inventing Morse code. The Young family, subsequent owners and founders of the museum, collected art in Europe as well as from the Hudson River School and this collection can be seen in the Poughkeepsie mansion today.

Locust Grove will team with gallery owner James Cox, a regional art expert and the force behind the annual fine art auction at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (WAAM), to present the auction, online catalog, pre-sale exhibition and preview gala. A portion of every auction sale will benefit Locust Grove, supporting free public access to its gardens and hiking trails, educational programs for school children and preservation of the 40-room Italianate mansion.

The mural studies that will be sold were created by Charles Rosen, who was chosen to participate in a New Deal program administered by the US Treasury Department. Rosen died in 1950, and the studies were only recently discovered by his estate. There is an interesting article here on the Poughkeepsie Journal Web site about the Poughkeepsie Post Office and its historic mural.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Other Side of History

Here's an interesting story planned for noon today from Vermont Public Radio about Abenaki scholar Fred Wiseman and his new film, "1609: The Other Side of History," about the European discovery of Lake Champlain from a Native American perspective.

(The Quad is marking the European discovery of both the Hudson River and Lake Champlain.)

UPDATE 3:42 p.m. -- If you go to the Web site, you can listen to an archived version of the show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Traditional American music

This could be an excellent opportunity to get into the "Quad state of mind" with music, as we prepare for the 2009 commemoration of Henry Hudson's journey up the river that now bears his name. The beautiful Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass. (just over the Columbia County border) is an easy (and enjoyable) drive from most parts of the Hudson Valley.

Close Encounters With Music will present American Holiday Tapestry, a performance in which the 12-member Rose Ensemble "reincarnates itself in the 17th through 19th centuries on American shores. Traditional Acadian and Scottish dance music, Shaker melodies, spirituals, wassail songs, and colonial Jewish synagogue hymns are featured. The remarkably broad selection also includes Mexican Baroque and Hawaiian selections with mandolin and vihujela de mano accompaniment, as well as guitar, Native American flute, and foot stomping!" Sounds like there will be something for everyone!

Show starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 6. Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for students, and are available through the Mahaiwe Box Office at 413-528-0100 or at More info is available at Close Encounters With Music .

Here is more info about the group:
Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Jordan Sramek, The Rose Ensemble creates imaginative performances of vocal music, connecting each individual to past worlds with stories of spirituality and humanity. Each presentation brings research from the world’s manuscript libraries to new audiences, illuminating centuries of rarely performed repertoire. Called “first class” (Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung), “Engaging…satisfying” (Gramophone), with programs that are “flawlessly performed and smoothly structured” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), The Rose Ensemble is the recipient of the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and first-place winner in the sacred music category at the 2007 Tolosa International Choral Competition (Spain). With seven critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has thrilled audiences across the US and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and over 25 languages, including new research in Hawaiian, Swedish, Mexican, and American vocal traditions.
This is Close Encounters With Music's 17th season in the Berkshires, offering programs of chamber music. The audience is invited to a reception to meet the artists immediately following The Rose Ensemble performance at the Mahaiwe Theatre.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quad mini-grants available

The New York Council for the Humanities is offering mini-grants of up to $2,500 to not-for-profit groups planning public programs related to the upcoming Quad.

And to help those groups plan their programming, the council also has a list of humanities speakers who are available to lecture about Quad-related topics (for a nominal fee for organizations and for free to any New York state high school). The council also has info on its Reading Between the Lines reading and discussion series focused on Quad-related themes.

More details are at the New York Council for the Humanities Web site

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quad activity in New Paltz

Lots of Quad-related activity going on this week at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, as the organization prepares to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river that bears his name.

According to a press release from the group, a crew is on site today, filming scenes for a Quad-related video for its local Quadricentennial committee. Filming will start early this afternoon, with scenes that feature the importance of archival collections. They will also be filming scenes that show the discovery of prehistoric Native American artifacts on site, and the story of Sara Freer, whose brother apprenticed her out as a seamstress in the early 1700s.

On Saturday, volunteers will finish planting 1,000 tulip bulbs in several spots around the six-acre site, as part of a larger effort by Ulster County Tourism. Tulips have long been associated with Holland, which found the New Netherland colony soon after Hudson’s voyage in 1609. Volunteers are still needed to assist with planting. Call 845-255-1660, ext. 108 or email for information.

Historic Huguenot Street features seven original stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church, provides charming green space and public programming to the local community and visitors from around the world.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The money is in

The state Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Office says in a news release that more than 250 schools, grassroots organizations and local governments in the Hudson and Champlain valleys have been awarded "mini grants" to help with Quad preparation and planning. Each award of approximately $1,000 is funded through a combination of state funds and a donation from the Dyson Foundation.

A sampling of recipients include the Dutchess Arts Council (Hyde Park Visual History Project - Establish a community history through donated images, home movies and video, all of which will be projected on the screen of the historic Hyde Park Drive-In Theater.) Beacon Arts Community (To fund the fifth annual Beacon Hat Parade and workshop- 400 Years of Hats). Rhinebeck Chamber of Commerce (Rhinebeck's Old Dutch Tradition. Kick off Rhinebeck Quad. Celebration, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) will arrive on a Boat on the Hudson. Children will perform Dutch songs and dances.) City of Poughkeepsie (Printing and design of brochure for self guided tour of stain glass window tour in the city of Poughkeepsie's religious and business district, "Divine Inspiration” with Dutch education and industrial revolution innovations. And The city's legacy will be the dedication of the Revolutionary shipyards, a full day military pageantry.)

The full list is here as a download.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

River photo contest begins!

Have a passion for photography? The Poughkeepsie Journal has launched a year-long photo contest to coincide with the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial celebrations and the planned opening of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge pedestrian walkway project.

The contest is open to residents of Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Putnam, Columbia and Greene counties. It began earlier this week and ends on Sept. 30, 2009. A winner and runner up will be announced for each month, with one grand prize winner chosen from the monthly winners when the contest wraps up in the fall of 2009. The winners will be announced at the newspaper's Hudson Happenings Web site each month. Full rules are at the Hudson Happenings Web site.

Photo entries must show the Hudson River or an identifiable location along the river. Of course, the photos have to be your own and cannot be digitally altered. Photos must be uploaded using the form on the Hudson Happenings Web site as jpg files (see full rules for sizing), no photo prints will be accepted. You can enter as many times as you like (though you can only win once).

The contest will be judged by the Poughkeepsie Journal's photographers. (Some of their amazing river shots are archived at the Hudson Happenings Web site.) Here's more about it:

“During the past 200 years, the river has been a beacon for both artists, who developed the Hudson River School of painting, and photographers, who have passionately camped out along the shore at sunrise and sunset to take a beautiful, one-of-a-kind picture,” said Spencer Ainsley, multimedia director for photography and videography at the Poughkeepsie Journal. "We know there are many photographers in the region who are passionate about taking beautiful pictures of Hudson River scenes.

“This is a great opportunity and we encourage anyone with a camera to enter the contest."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quad commission to meet

The state Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial Commission will meet on Oct. 20 (a Monday) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the state Department of Transportation (DOT) Building ( Conference Rooms A & B), 50 Wolf Road, Pod 53, in Albany.

The meeting will also be web-cast through the NYS Department of Transportation Web site, according to the commission's Web site.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Huguenot history

The story of the Huguenots is an important part of our region's early history. Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz is a good introduction to that story, which began in 1678 when 12 French-speaking Huguenots settled on the banks of the Wallkill River. Today, Historic Huguenot Street has seven original stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church which offer green space and public programs.

A concert by composer and concert pianist Clifford Smith celebrating the Huguenot influence in America is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 17 at the Reformed Church on Huguenot Street in New Paltz, and will benefit the Historic Huguenot Street and the church. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students and are available from the Reformed Church, which can be reached at 845-255-6340, or at Historic Huguenot Street, 845-255-1660. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dutch officials in NY

So what's the connection between "bowling, the Bowery, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem, Stuyvesant Town, the Yankees, the Roosevelts and cole slaw?"

According to New York City podcaster Sam Roberts, they’re all part of New York’s unique Dutch heritage. He's got an interesting, Quad-related piece in the New York Times this week. Among his observations, the news that Dutch officials (including the prime minister, the foreign minister and the heir to the Dutch throne) were in New York City this week to kick off the NYC-Quad celebration. With all that's happening in the news these days (Economy. War. Mets!) I guess the visit kind of slipped under the radar for major news outlets.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hudson Valley Dutch heritage

Learn about the cultural practices brought here by the region’s 17th century Dutch settlers that had a lasting impact on American life. "The Forgotten Holidays" is a free program that takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 25), presented by the Hurley Heritage Society at the Hurley Reformed Church, 17 Main St., Hurley.

Peter G. Rose is a Hudson Valley resident and native of the Netherlands who has written and lectured extensively about the Hudson Valley’s Dutch heritage. A noted food historian,
she won the Alice P. Kenney Award for research and writing on the food customs and diet of the Dutch settlers in New Netherland in 2002.

During her talk in Hurley, Rose will discuss not only the recent-day celebration of Christmas, but also the festivities surrounding New Year’s, Pinkster and other celebratory events such as the birth of a child. She’ll also show slides illustrating the various festive occasions.

Refreshments will be served. For more information and directions, please call 845-338-1661.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All aboard!

A full-scale replica of the ship that Henry Hudson sailed in 1609, the Half Moon is a traveling museum that sails the Hudson River and offers programs about our area's history as the Dutch colony called New Netherland.

The ship will be open for public tours in Albany this weekend, Sept. 27-28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children above the age of 12, and free for children 12 and younger. It also will be giving public tours in Newburgh and in Yonkers later this fall -- the schedule is here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

More cash in Walkway coffers

The Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, a Poughkeepsie-based foundation, is chipping in $500,000 to support Walkway Over the Hudson's effort to transform the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into the world’s longest elevated public park.

“This significant award by a venerable local philanthropic institution demonstrates how much the Walkway dream is shared in every corner of our community,” Walkway Chairman Fred Schaeffer said in a press release.

The $35.5 million Walkway construction project is scheduled to wrap up in September of 2009, in time for the Quad celebration. This recent Poughkeepsie Journal article describes the work that's underway.

Walkway Over the Hudson said its fundraising goal currently stands at $12.5 million, which it hopes to raise over the next year via government, corporate, private foundations, individuals and other funding sources. Other donors that have made significant contributions to the project include the Dyson Foundation ($2 million), Scenic Hudson ($1 million), and the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency ($500,000).

"Between these large contributions from community-minded benefactors, significant support from our partners in government, and the hundreds of smaller donations from Walkway’s members and supportive individuals we’re well on our way to completing this project,” Walkway Executive Director Amy Husten said in the release.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Light on New Netherland

There is an ambitious four-part project underway to mark the Quad in 2009.

Sponsored by the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York, the New Netherland Project was established to complete the "transcription, translation, and publication of all Dutch documents in New York repositories relating to the 17th-century colony of New Netherland." The Dutch presence in North America began in 1609 when Henry Hudson explored the river that was to bear his name. "New Netherland"extended from the Connecticut River to Delaware Bay, including within its boundaries much of the current states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and western Connecticut.

The Albany-based New Netherland Institute (formerly Friends of New Netherland) seeks to increase public awareness of the work of the New Netherland Project and supports the project through fund raising. With a mission like that, it's no wonder that 2009 will be a big year for the group.

According to the group's press release, the Quad project will include:

* An exhibition on the scope of the 17th-century Dutch in the New World, from Connecticut to Delaware, including Beverwijck and New Amsterdam.
Light on New Netherland, “a traveling exhibition of first-class quality,” will be shown throughout the former New Netherland area and beyond. Exhibits in general present history far more effectively than any other medium. This exhibit will introduce adults and children to important, but not well-known aspects of American history and culture. It will travel beyond Albany and New York City, ultimately becoming a part of the permanent exhibit of NYC's New Amsterdam History Center; reach an audience greater than that of a lecture series, catalog, or book; go far beyond what is currently offered on the subject in schools; attract those who normally do not read history books; present material not readily available to the average person.

* Discovery and Invention: The Worlds of Henry Hudson, an exhibit to be developed by the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) in co-sponsorship with the New Netherland Institute. This co-sponsorship will include the assistance of Dr. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Project, and support with funding and content.

* Illuminating New York’s Dutch Past, a documentary DVD focusing on the New Netherland Project and its connection with modern times. This video will provide some historical background about New Netherland; explain the importance of using documentary evidence; make clear why the New Netherland documents are unique and important; relate the journey the documents took from 1674 to the present; describe the necessary skills for translation; explain the translation process; give examples of the fascinating information found in these early records; and dispel some of the Dutch folk myths and misrepresentations of the Dutch in sources such as literature, history books, and social history.

* A history/exhibit book, a production that will focus on the Dutch-American heritage. The publication will be a Liber Amicorum: a book in praise of New Netherland. Resembling a Festschrift, it will praise the legacy of the Dutch rather than one person. Its introductory essay, setting the stage for the remaining texts, will be written by Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World: the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. The volume's emphasis will be on previously undeveloped topics and will consist of essays by prominent authors and historians working in the field.

Jumping Frog Jubilee

Update to my post from Friday about the 2009 Quad celebration having been named the top tourist event in North America by the American Bus Association:

The Canadian Press reports that a few other interesting events are also on the top of the ABA's list, such as the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee at Angels Camp, California, which dates back to the 1800s and was made famous in a story by Mark Twain. It takes place in May, so shouldn't compete too much with the major Quad events planned for our area.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Get on the bus

I hope Albany has a lot of parking spots -- bus-size ones, that is.

According to a report I read in the Business Review (, the 2009 Quad celebration has been named the top tourist event in North America by the American Bus Association. That is a trade group that represents motor coach and tour companies. The Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau nominated the event to the ABA, the report says.

Wonder how many of those buses will also be heading down the river to Poughkeepsie?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Get a piece of the bridge

Want to own part of the 120-year-old Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge?

Walkway Over the Hudson, the not-for-profit organization overseeing the bridge's transformation into the world's longest linear park/pedestrian walkway, is raising money for the project by selling pieces of the steel and iron elements (including railings, posts and spikes) that have been cleared from the bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"We’ve sold railroad spikes and nearly 200 stanchions that once held up the railings on the bridge. I’m told people are using these distinctive stanchions as decorative elements for gardening and landscaping," the group's Executive Director, Amy Husten, said in a press release.

The group has several hundred stanchions still available and they are being offered for $50 each. Spikes can be purchased for $10 each. Call 845-454-9649 for more information.

Workers needed to remove the pieces so they could start repairing steel beams and other elements of the bridge’s superstructure before installing the 6-foot-by-32-foot prefabricated concrete panels that will make up the Walkway’s new deck. They are now assembling a mammoth 100-ton crane that will be used to lay the concrete decking panels.

“If all goes as it should, we expect the construction crews to reach the western shoreline and begin heading out over the Hudson River by mid-October,” Walkway Chairman Fred Schaeffer said in the news release. “This puts us on schedule to finish the project by August, 2009” -- just in time for the area's major planned Quad celebrations.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quad mural at the fair

During my visit to the Dutchess County Fair tonight, I saw a Quadricentennial display in one of the main buildings. On the wall is a Hudson River mural celebrating the Quad created by resident-artists in the Fine Arts Program of the Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine. The Ulster County-based center serves those who are challenged by traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and related conditions.

The charming and colorful mural depicts the Hudson River and several local landmarks in Dutchess, Ulster and Greene counties. (I photographed a small section of it, above.) It is tucked away in a corner of the building that houses the Grange cafeteria, but on the opposite end closer to the carnival rides. It's well worth checking out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

License plates

I read in the Burlington Free Press that Vermont residents have a new commemorative license plate design for the Quad.

The news story says that the official Quadricentennial commemorative plates, “Vermont Celebrates Champlain,” are being sold online through Vermont Life magazine (which is published by the state) and at various retail outlets for $25. The special plate, approved by the Legislature last spring, may be placed over front plates of Vermont cars now through June 30, 2010. A limited edition of numbered license plates are expected to be available by early fall.

The New York Quad Commission's Web site says a similar commemorative plate will be introduced for New York in 2009. We'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fulton anniversary

Starting last year, Clermont State Historic Site has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton’s development of the first practical steamboat. The Fulton anniversary is connected to the Hudson River's history and has been woven into the Quadricentennial commemoration. As the historic site writes on its Web page: "(The steamboat's) first official trip along the Hudson on August 17th and 18th, 1807 changed forever the way Americans understood travel and distance. The record-breaking speeds first altered travel along the Hudson River and later Westward Expansion and Trans-Atlantic immigration”

Clermont, which is the Livingston ancestral home, has more info on its Web site about the Clermont-Livingston-Fulton connection as well as how it marked the past year. Be sure to look at the "home" page for a new announcement of special events planned for later this month.

The historic site is owned by New York state and administered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. In addition to the historic home and exhibition building, it has a small park with exceptional views of the Hudson River and is located off Route 9G just north of Tivoli and the Dutchess-Columbia county line.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sensitivity and celebration

Our sister newspaper, the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, reports that the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum began hosting an American Indian encampment last year in anticipation of the approaching quadricentennial celebration of the arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain (the companion celebration to our region's ceremonies marking Henry Hudson's journey). The newspaper writes:

The Elnu Abenaki, based in southern Vermont, are dedicated to taking time to practice traditional skills in order to pass them to the next generation. Some take days or weeks from their modern lives to dress in buckskins, sleep in wigwams and cook over a fire -- singing, drumming and telling the stories their ancestors told.

Many Elnu feel the process brings them closer to their ancestors, tribe member Roger Longtoe said.

The value of their efforts extends to anyone interested in the history of the Champlain Valley, said Eloise Beil, communication relations manager for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

"If you're going to talk about life in the Champlain Valley -- we're the newcomers. There have been 10,000 years of Native Americans here beforehand," Beil said.

Finding the appropriate ways to recognize the people who were already here when the European explorers arrived is one of the sensitive issues tied to the Quad commemoration.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quad souvenir

Here are two Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial "collectibles" I've seen turn up around the region. (These pins and sticker were handed out by HFCQ executive director Tara Sullivan during her recent appearance before the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and meeting with our Quad coverage group at the Poughkeepsie Journal.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's here!

Well, Hudson Happenings has launched. The Web site was created by the Poughkeepsie Journal to share info about the upcoming Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial and the planned opening of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge linear park project, Walkway over the Hudson.

In the coming months, I expect that planning for this event will grow more intense and we’ll have lots of updates from around the region, including messages from some of the key people involved in that planning. Already, Ulster County has announced it will give out thousands of tulip bulbs next month so its residents can enhance their yards and celebrate the area’s Dutch heritage. Communities along the river are announcing plans for waterfront access enhancements. (Want to know more about that? Read about it Hudson Happenings.) It’s all so exciting! Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Welcome to the Quad Updates blog, where you'll find information about the upcoming Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial from the Quad coverage team at the Poughkeepsie Journal -- as well as our special guest bloggers who are directly involved with planning the celebration!