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 www.millstreetloft.org 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.