On Tuesday, 10 October 2017, I went to Hudson, NY while in its namesake…the Hudson Valley. This double Hudson inspired my blog post title, but didn’t exactly inspire my will to go.
I actually went to this town because we were supposed to go a couple of weeks ago as a class, but ran out of time to actually get out of the van to explore it. So I took it upon myself to hop on a train from the city and pass by Poughkeepsie to Hudson. The train ride to the town was pleasant, but it was a little weird that I didn’t get off at my usual train station. However, the bright oranges and red of the leaves changing colors on this new scenic route made it worth it!
Once I got into town, I noticed that it was largely silent. I came in around late-afternoon time, just because I thought it would be post-school and pre-dinner AKA the perfect time to see what people do outside of their societal obligations. However, it was just quiet. There were faint shouts from run-down town houses and the occasional car trudging up a hill, but I actually stood in the middle of the street to take a picture of the seemingly-dead Hudson.
This leisure wouldn’t have bothered me so much if I weren’t traveling the entire day — I really had to find a restroom! But the majority of the main street once you get off of the train was residential buildings. This lack of public space (and my bladder) intrigued me to go down even further to see what Hudson had to offer. As I explored, there were many old and historic buildings lined up, but newer models of cars next to them. I couldn’t help but wonder about the socioeconomic status of those living here.
Continuing down the street, I realized that the most noise that I was hearing was the slow drive of cars passing in-progress renovated houses. I even wrote in caps on my phone: “SO MUCH RENOVATION”. There was construction everywhere. I realized that the primary construction was interior renovation. The outsides were being refurbished, but left to their otherwise notable and antique features. I also realized that it may have been quiet because as I peered into shop windows, I noticed that everything closed at 4pm.
The fact that everything was already done for the day made sense as to why there was no noise, but I thought it was crazy that nothing was open on a Tuesday afternoon! What about high-school aged kids who need after-school jobs? What about people searching for a quick bite to eat before supper? The lack of noise also started to get to me because the noise pollution was largely nonexistent, so things such as sodcasting (the act of publicly playing otherwise private music) was extremely obvious to me. I got to hear a crazy rendition of 80s music, recognizable only because we listen to the Woodstock station so much in the van.
Continuing further along the main street, gentrification started to make it’s mark. Storefronts became more niche, more expensive, more aesthetically pleasing. I started to see crazy murals as well as oddly painted buildings. There were, perhaps historical, buildings that had a significance to the townsfolk. For example, I saw an opera house that I really wanted to explore (I even jaywalked for it) just to find out that it closed at 5pm…a whole 10 minutes from when I managed to get there. It was a little frustrating to know that I couldn’t go inside any stores that truly and genuinely intrigued me, but it made for a good adventure.
Because it was gentrified, I was starting to hit the points of town where I was actually seeing people. Not everyone was approachable, but I had to make do. The majority of the townsfolk were 50/60 y/o white couples with some Generation Y white people sprinkled in the mix. Just before I was about to suck my teeth and start framing some questions beginning with “So I’m in this class…”, I stumbled upon a familiar store.
I somehow found a Woodstock General Supply Store in Hudson, NY!
This was the same chain store as one I had ventured in with Sofia and Sarah on the Woodstock field trip. I had asked the lone worker (who was closer in age and seemed like he resented the fact that he was one of the two stores that was open until 8pm (like a normal store)) about the town. He told me that Hudson was more of a weekend getaway for city folk who look to venture outside of the concrete jungle. However, as I had probably noticed, Hudson was extremely slow during the week. He suggested that I check out the book shop across the store, if I wanted to see something more lively.
I didn’t really get pictures, but it was a rather revolutionary and radical book store that a bunch of Bard students tend to pick up some of their books. They had required texts next to a cute children’s books that seem just as required in this day and age, seen here:
Amongst the books was a bar, where many Generation X people were having a drink and loudly laughing about who-knows-what. In the back of the store, there was a large selection of overpriced art supplies. I know that prismacolors are expensive, but I also knew that what they were offering was because it was one of the only close resources for people like students so the store knew they could get away with adding a buck to the price tag. By advertising this, the books, and the bar…the profit really does add up!
I continued wandering around Main Street. At this point, my phone was at 5% and there was nowhere to even catch my breath. Everything was closing. The only things open were gas stations and bars, but because the gas stations were so put off from Main st. and I’m not yet 21, I was stuck milling about. While I still had battery, I wandered off of Main with the intention to find a tattoo parlor. Although I didn’t get #es291 tattooed on my wrist, I did manage to find a really interesting building.
Ivy and fall-touched leaves snaked up the brick walls of this otherwise abandoned space and I couldn’t have been more simultaneously intrigued and afraid. As I approached the building, I noticed that on the columns were torn and worn photographs of historical and revolutionary figures. As I approached the doors (but not too closely), I noticed that vintage and just really old newspaper articles reprinted from the 1800s were plastered over the barred windows of the doors. When I backed up in attempt to discover what purpose the building served (and to not be the next host of any spirits), the only thing that the grand property read was Community Tennis.
Color me surprised because I had thought that the building had to do with the theatre community. It was clear to me that it wasn’t in use anymore, but the newspaper articles were largely theatre-related. It turns out, the property was bought by someone in hopes of building a community center from an abandoned movie-theater-turned-tennis-complex. There is a NY Times article on it here as well as a slideshow including pictures that I couldn’t have possibly taken here. The article was written almost ten years ago and as much as I would hate to say it, but I believe those dreams, like the lot, were abandoned.
As soon as I took the last picture, my phone died. I took that as an omen and scurried back to Main st. and beelined for the train station before it got dark. I couldn’t find any restaurants to test out in Hudson (that weren’t crazy expensive), so I hung out in the train station for about an hour and a half. It was nice, but I don’t think I’ll be back. I may have left some of the undead waiting.