A JOURNAL OF COMFORTABLE LIVING IN THE CATSKILLS AND HUDSON VALLEY
They ANGRY Might Be WATERS Giants
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
BUT THEY ARE CATSKILLIANS
VOLUME 1 No. 3 WINTER 2011 $4.99
the best LOCAL SKIING
PAINT BY NUMBER WITH TREY SPEEGLE $4.99
CULTURE WARS how far does your food travel?
DISPLAY UNTIL MARCH 5, 2012
GREETINGS Winter Don’t Wonderland
FOLK They Might Be Giants
WINTER IN THIS ISSUE
But they are Catskillians
11 INTERIORS Tay Home Away From Home An exquisite trip around a Tea Bar in Andes, New York.
18 ART Trey Speegle It’s a numbers game when it comes to making art.
22 KIDS Holiday Gifting 23 WOODSHED Spot-On Music Winter Playlist 25 NEIGHBORS Local Calendar 28 LIFE 28 Four Dead in Ohio 29 Becoming An Icehole 30 TRAVEL 30 Hotel Review 31 The Bookshelf 32 LOCAVORE 32 Culture Wars How far does your yogurt travel?
34 Recipe 36 Restaurant Review 38 Winter Libations 39 WELLNESS 39 Changing The Marinade
40 Angry Water 41 Snow Days 43 ENDPAPER 43 Flexible Flying 44 The Sound of Snow 46 Goodnight Irene 48 Divine Inspiration
INSIDE PHOTO: BAS MEELKER
Talking to New Yorkers about changing up their lives.
EDITOR Akira Ohiso PUBLISHER Ellie Ohiso MARKETING DIRECTOR Aaron Fertig ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Carole Joy COPY EDITOR Donata C. Marcus CIRCULATION DIRECTOR John A. Morthanos CONTRIBUTORS Vanessa Geneva Ahern James Beaudreau Simona Fish Leifer Joel Sanchez Catie Baumer Schwalb CONTACT US Green Door Magazine P.O. Box 143 Liberty, NY 12754 firstname.lastname@example.org www.greendoormag.com 917.723.4622 facebook.com/greendoormag twitter.com/greendoormag greendoormag.tumblr.com
Printed on recycled paper
Green Door Magazine (ISSN # 2161-7465) is published quarterly - Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - by Green Door Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Subscription rate is $8.00 annually. U.S. subscriptions can be purchased online at greendoormag.com or by mail. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Address all letters to email@example.com. Postmaster: Address all inquiries to Circulation Department, Green Door Magazine, P.O. Box 143, Liberty, NY 12754. No part of may be used without written permission of the publisher ÂŠ2011. The views expressed in Green Door and in advertising in the issue are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion, policy, or endorsement of the publication.
GREETINGS AKIRA OHISO
Winter Don’t Wonderland Snow and blizzards mark time in my childhood. The Long Island Blizzards of 1978 and 1983 are memorable for their shutdown impact. My town’s Main Street was buried in 4-foot snowdrifts against closed stores. No one ventured out in cars. No one went to work. And of course, no child went to school. And that was okay. My father couldn’t open our front door and had to dig his way out. Our shoveled path and sidewalk became a walled canyon. Adults around the neighborhood began digging out, slowly. It was an all day affair. Blizzards brought people together. Kids from all over the neighborhood would begin to venture outside in the mid-morning to test if the large accumulation had enough moisture to be considered “packing snow” – just right for making killer snowballs. If it did, there were snowball fights in the street. Teams were selected, walls were built and snowballs were stockpiled. The older kids on my block – junior high - made large snowballs and sometimes threw too hard, but we little kids took it. I always tried my hardest not to cry. Younger siblings cried from wet socks and frost-bitten fingers. I remember mothers putting plastic bags over doubled socks and then slipping them into boots to protect against moisture. There was no Gore-Tex and high-tech gear to conquer The North Face. My parents bought my winter coat at A & S or B. Altman’s on sale. My hat and scarf were hand knit. My gloves didn’t always match. There were three hills for sledding. The first hill was behind the high school and mostly for younger kids. There were too many parents around to really have fun. Then there was the big hill behind the post office that was for elementary and junior high kids. Here you tested your mettle and fortitude in the unsupervised world of adolescence. “Suicide Hill” on a local golf course was so scary only high school kids dared go. Plus, our parents wouldn’t let us. The Manhasset Bay usually froze over and we unsupervised kids would sometimes walk on the shallow parts of the ice. There was a local myth that a man got drunk and drove his car across the frozen bay, but when he got to the middle the ice began to crack and he had to abandon ship, I mean car.
The legend is that the car is still at the bottom of the bay covered in algae. Of course, that was in the black and white past with no one to verify authenticity. At some point, my snow pants, boots and gloves could no longer keep the moisture out and I would begin to fight the cold. I held out as long as I could, but, by late afternoon, I looked forward to hot chocolate and a warm fire. I watched my father roll newspapers for kindling and light the magical fire. During the holidays, my parents played Johnnie Mathis songs like “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire” and “Winter Wonderland.” And for us, as children, winter truly was. Today winter is a nuisance. It is catastrophized in the media. We are shocked by snow instead of accepting that winter has snow like summer has sun, spring has flowers and fall has foliage. People with the means go to warmer climes. Those without go to tanning salons. Medical providers diagnose Seasonal Affective Disorder (sure it’s winter’s fault). We do everything in our power to avoid this season because it would mean we would need to spend time with ourselves. When people can’t get to the office or the mall, we threaten with lawsuits. Public officials get fired for not responding fast enough. Snow threatens our economy as the stock market cascades through our consciousness like digital news alerts. Below the ice of our minds and behind the frozen wall of our existence, snow threatens the fragile worlds we have created out of consumerism, plugging in, and a need to be constantly entertained. When we can’t master nature, we are reminded of our mortal limitations and so we do everything to avoid it. But, the thaw only happens when we acknowledge our mortality and its opposing weight in the balance of life. Imagine a life without winter. We would listen to Vivaldi’s “The Three Seasons”, read Steinbeck’s The Summer of Our Discontent and dream of a brown Christmas. This is not a life I want. Enjoy winter. Or at least feel its cold.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
To the Editor, Thanks for bringing the Beekman Boys to life for me. It may be a reality TV show, but it was great hearing what they are like without the cameras rolling. Your magazine, like Josh and Brent, is Fabulous. Shane Meyer, New York, NY To the Editor, The Fall issue was gangbusters! Plenty to see and so much to read. But not fair! It took me over an hour to realize your apples and leaves software story [iLeaves AppApp] was a joke. James Ellison, Brooklyn, NY To the Editor, I just had to drop you guys a line regarding Akira Ohiso's piece in your first issue. It was a pleasure to read. Simple, sans pretense; short, sweet and human. So many publications here in the Hudson Valley feature writers so eager to show their chops, that the stories are more frustrating than informative or entertaining. Good on ya, as the Aussies say. Keep up the good work. Thomas Berton, New Paltz, NY To the Editor, The story about the designer with the Great Danes [Finding Avalon] was very moving. I loved seeing his home and deeply felt the affection he has for his dogs. When he said that he learned unconditional love from his pet, I cried. Eleanor Kalka, Phonecia, NY To the Editor, I really enjoyed the Fall issue of Green Door, but I think you should have had at least some mention of the devastation that the Catskills suffered from Hurricane Irene. It would have been the ‘socially responsible’ thing for you to do. Jessie Lynn, Liberty, NY Editor: We agree, and share the pain of those affected, but the last issue of Green Door came off the press the day before the hurricane struck. Please see our story ‘Goodnight Irene’ on page 46.
Have a letter to the Editor? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to PO Box 143, Liberty, NY 12754. Want to sell Green Door advertising? Email your resume to email@example.com or mail to PO Box 143, Liberty, NY 12754.
FOLK AKIRA OHISO
PHOTOS: SHERVIN LAINEZ
They Might Be Catskillians
In 1982, I was a seventh grader at Weber Junior High School in the Port Washington suburb of Long Island, the year John Flansburgh and John Linnel formed They Might Be Giants. A new radio station called WLIR was starting to play an exciting new music called “New Wave” – a style and spirit mainstream radio stations would not touch. “Alternative” music in the early eighties was truly alternative, before people considered Pearl Jam alternative and IFC mainstreamed alternative. CONT’D ON PAGE 8 7
FOLK THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
My friends coined people who listened to New Wave “LIR-ians”. I was an LIRian who listened to Adam & The Ants, Bow Wow Wow, The Cure, Devo, Erasure, The Fixx, Gene Loves Jezebel, Human League, INXS, Joy Division, Kraftwerk, Love and Rockets, Missing Persons, New Order, OMD, Pet Shop Boys, Quarterflash, REM, Siouxsie and the Banshees, They Might Be Giants, U2, Violent Femmes, Wall of Voodoo, XTC, Yaz and Warren Zevon. Much like a They Might Be Giants song, call this my Alphabet of New Wave. In 1986, my sister had a cassette tape of a new group called They Might Be Giants. I remember listening to the eponymous song “They Might Be Giants” and thinking it was quirky and smart with clever lyrics. I first heard “Don’t Let’s Start” in an art class when a girl I had a crush on was playing the song incessantly on her Walkman. It was a happy upbeat song with dark lyrics. Who did such things? The lyrics fed my teenage angst: No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful/ Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful I didn’t end up getting the girl and that was beautiful. Well not really, but it made me feel better to hear those existential lyrics. My sister would blast “Istanbul” from her closed-door bedroom with her friends who donned boy cuts and Doc Martens. I started playing music in a band and veered off towards glam metal and then grunge, but always appreciated a They Might Be Giants song on the radio.
“The album we just recorded was an interesting challenge. In a lot of ways the music is still evolving.” Their newest effort is Join Us, which was released in July 2011. John expressed that it is sometimes hard to articulate how he feels about his music because they are always working and don’t have time to reflect. Interviews are his reflection time. He remembers that someone recently called Join Us their “second first album.” John talked about a getting-back-to-basics approach to this album where songs are “simply arranged” with a lot of “drum space” and pared down instruments. He says this album was a challenge and raised the stakes for them because a simple well-crafted song is difficult to write. He states, “simple works if it is a persuasive effective song.” If a song “doesn’t stand on its own two legs in simple form it will not be very exciting to listen to.” He exclaimed, “No gimmicks!”
He exclaimed, “No gimmicks!”
Then in 2007, my 2-year old son started requesting “High Five” during car rides, a song that appears on TMBG’s children’s album, Here Comes the ABCs. It was an album that also reintroduced me to a band I first listened to 20 years earlier. They were just as quirky, melodic and relevant as they had ever been. Who else could pull off a children’s album that adults wanted to listen to as well? We went to see them at a Border’s Bookstore in New York City and could not get close to the stage because it was filled with former LIRians. In 2012, John Flansburgh and John Linnel of They Might Be Giants will celebrate their 30th anniversary in music together. I recently spoke to John Flansburgh about their 8
career and where their music can go after 30 years.
He knows that “old-fashioned songwriting with verses and choruses is not the latest thing.” But, he reiterates, “the evolution of the song is not over.” The trend right now in music is sonic over harmonic, but says people are “missing out on some of the power you have with a harmonic song.”
He is on tour for most of the fall and winter, but states that if he wasn’t on tour he would be spending time in the New York Catskills, where he has a second home. “I love New York State. It is a beautiful world with its “topography” and “waves of woods.” He says he does “nothing” when in the Catskills and uses the Catskills as a retreat to hang with friends and get out of the city. In a recent interview with Gothamist, John called the Catskills “the new Williamsburg.” He explained that he has lived for years in Williamsburg and “it evolved into a different place over the decades.” He sees the same influx of people coming to the Catskills. “It’s changing.” He likes the “new blood, new business and improving economy,” but knows it will change the environment and many locals like their “sleepy part of the world” to stay sleepy.
He does not do as the Romans do and partake in fishing and hunting. “I’m afraid of hunters. No guns across the board.” He says he just likes spending time in the woods and remembers when winters were a lot colder and snowier 15 years ago, when he first bought his home.
He is self-conscious though about being like everybody else, which is a hallmark of their culty following and their less traveled journey over the course of 30 years. One song on the new album is called “Canajoharie “ about a small town in New York State where John Linnell’s ancestors are from.
During the interview, he was listening to Sam Cooke and raved about “an amazing new act with African-inspired rhythm stuff,” but could not remember the name. This is not out of disrespect, but the trait of a music lover who eats music voraciously for sustenance and doesn’t always look at the package beforehand.
Canajoharie/ Call me sentimental/ But I want to go back/ And commemorate the place/ With a historical plaque
He says he also likes Best Coast, but disclaims “like everybody else.”
There is nothing sentimental about They Might Be Giants, musically. They are always evolving and changing and approach music with a sense of wonder and discovery. Now 30 years deep in creating music the only thing that can change is their name. Today, there is no mistake, they are giants.
INTERIORS TAY HOME
In 1979, Nini Ordoubadi, the daughter of an army general for the Shah of Iran, came to the United States to attend university. A year later, her family was forced to leave the country as the Ayatollah Khomeiniâ€™s new Islamic Republic was overthrowing a 2,500 year old Iranian Monarchy dating back to Cyrus The Great. Her father lost most of his contemporaries during the revolution, but he was able to leave unharmed with his CONTâ€™D ON PAGE 12 family to New York City.
PHOTOS: TESS MAYER
Tay Home Away From Home
INTERIORS TAY HOME
CONT’D FROM PAGE 11
In New York City, Nini attended Columbia University. She received her degree in Economics and Political Science, but states that her time spent under the tutelage of abstract-expressionist painter Milton Resnick changed her life. She would stand outside his art studio like a pest until he finally let her into his class. Her father was not happy with her choice to pursue the arts, but, ironically, her persistence is a trait she learned from her general father. Back home her father was always the center of the household. He would wake Nini and her brothers early in the morning and say, "Get up, you can sleep all you want when you’re dead.” She remembers frequent getaways to the mountains where she grew fond of the slow pace of village life centered on family, friends and food. When her father died, so did her center and things were never the same. Nini has spent the past 20 years as an interior stylist and designer decorating homes and freelancing as a prop stylist. She has recently been working with Lisa Scalf, an experienced pattern maker and a veteran of Seventh
Handmade pure beeswax Buddha Candles made by L'ouvriere 12
Tay Home's expansive retail product lines include tabletop, packaged goods, custom teas and spa treatments.
The retail philosophy of Tay Home comfort is seen in the gentle restoration of her century-old storefront.
INTERIORS TAY HOME
Better Than Sex Tea in Birch Box with Amber Rock Candy & Infuser Clip Tay Tea, $30 Andes, NY (845)676-4997 taytea.com
Handmade Nepalese Felt Poppy Slippers Tay Tea, $60 Andes, NY (845)676-4997 taytea.com
Saffron Rock Candy Tay Tea, $4 Andes, NY (845)676-4997 taytea.com 14
Her store in Andes, NY, reflects Niniâ€™s eclectic tastes and personality.
Blending antique with modern accessories gives the space a unique air.
INTERIORS TAY HOME
CONT’D FROM PAGE 12
Avenue, to design her own woman’s clothing line. The “Nini O Collection” was launched in November and is inspired by the “working garments of exotic lands.” She started Tay Tea six years ago, a dream that was steeping since her childhood in pre-revolution Iran. Her great-aunt, Nooshafarin Saad, was a tea blender whom she followed around collecting herbs for her blends. Today, a black and white picture of the Persian beauty keeps watchful eye over the teashop. Nini has artfully designed all the interior vignettes and spaces. She has a keen eye for the eclectic and can easily mix styles and periods. Discarded period landscape paintings from antique shops are mixed with clean modern touches, a country chic lime cupboard, and hints of her Persian culture – golds, purples, oranges, and ornate metal work you want to rub your fingers over. My favorite room is her showcase bedroom on the second floor. It is saturated in minimalist white – white walls, white linens, gossamered window treatments – with a mint blue washing bowl and the pop of
Uniquely blended teas originate with locally sourced ingredients. 16
Tay Home offers excitement and stimulation for all the senses.
INTERIORS TAY HOME
a Persian pillow. “Austere,” “monastic,” “bohemian,” “earthy “can describe her design choices, but “global” best suits her. For Nini, blending is the great equalizer. Nini moved to the Catskills seven years ago and says it has connected her to her childhood. She has gone from a New York minute mentality to “stretching her life out like Pilates.” Her teashop is a gathering place to talk and sip blended teas. She has a Samovar in her home shop surrounded by tea sets from around the world. Her husband, Anthony Chase, says she is not a tea blender, but a “people blender.” Maybe, her center has returned. Nini is grateful for her life and states that many people take their freedom for granted. She expresses a refreshing love for America and the communities in the Catskills. To her, the farmers and families who have worked the land for generations are the heart of the Catskills. She is proud to be part of the community. She supports her community by using locally sourced ingredients. The concept of Tay Home has evolved in the six years. She has added global teaware and showcases the work of local artisans. Last year, Tay Home ventured into serving organic vegetarian food and tea-infused baked goods by collaborating with local chefs and bakers. Nini had me pick out a tea blend and I chose Dream, a blend of chamomile, lemon balm, and spearmint known for its calming effect. For lunch, she served a simple potato leak soup with leaks grown on a nearby micro farm, a local green leafy salad with sesame dressing, and crusty bread from Bread Fellows, an artisan bakery in the nearby town of Bovina. She sprinkled a spice she uses on potato dishes on the potato leak soup. It was angelica, heracleum persicum – its Persian origin revealed in its botanical name. At times, her political science background pokes through and she talks passionately about the media, Iran and the state of the world. She has “lost faith short-term,” but knows long-term good will win out. She wakes up every morning and reminds herself that she “makes a choice to be good or bad.” She has no problems saying she is “anti-religion,” because she knows what religion has done to her Iranian homeland. “If there is a God, God is sleeping at the wheel.” There is a Japanese saying she likes, “I-chi-go, I chi-e” – one encounter, one chance. Nini believes “extending hospitality to another person is a special occasion and an honor, never to recur again.” She is always searching for “unrepeatable moments of sharing, tranquility and friendship.” Nini’s hospitality was generous, inspiring and unrepeatable. That’s not to say that I won’t return.
Nini always finds children in the second floor meditation space.
ART TREY SPEEGLE
A Numbers Drive through the quaint town of Jeffersonville, NY, turn into Peck’s Market parking lot and you will behold an unexpected sight- an 8’ x 18’ paint-by-numbers mural by artist and local resident Trey Speegle. You might expect a quilt pattern or carved bear sculpture, but not a large-scale pop art piece juxtaposed against the rural backdrop of Sullivan County. Speegle was approached to create a mural by Echo Letterpress owner Robert Fisher, who is vice-president of the Jeffersonville Enhances Main Street ( JEMS) committee. “I presented a mock-up and they approved it,” says Speegle. The mural is a five-panel series depicting the seasonal changes of the year. There is something interesting about five panels as opposed to four, which would logically refer to each season. Emerging from the mural, revealing the line work beneath, are the words “Cultivate Your Community.” Trey Speegle emerged from the eighties East Village art scene when the frenzied juxtaposition and appropriation of mediums and techniques mixed with commercialism and a burgeoning mass-media culture. It was the decadent eighties when conspicuous consumption, wealth, and greed fueled American culture. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring became superstars - fast and young - as dealers pushed their nascent works for astronomical prices. These talented artists died before their full potential was realized. Speegle spent 25+ years art directing and designing for many top magazines, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Allure and Us
Game Weekly to name a few, which honed his pop culture sensibilities. There is a deliberateness, discipline and focus to his work that only comes with time and experience. Working in the viral Petri dish of the East Village, he was exposed to the belief that “medium” and “technique” were secondary to “art” as “message” – artists were reflectors, interpreters, loudspeakers or an ironic product of the mass media culture where Warhol’s “15 minutes” was something to strive towards. In the early nineties, his friend Michael O’Donoghue had a collection of 250 vintage paint-by-number paintings. At the time, these paintings were a curiosity. Paint-by-number hobby kits took off in the early 1950’s, produced by a company called Craft Master, and symbolized the standardization and mass production of the fifties. Art critics despised the hobby kits as rote, mindless, and the epitome of the decade’s culture of conformity. But millions of Americans purchased the kits and a craze was born. Craft Master’s tagline claimed, “Every man was a Rembrandt.” Speegle helped O’Donoghue organize an exhibit that garnered a lot of media attention. The Smithsonian also held its own paint-by-number retrospective which gave credibility to the fifties’ phenomenon. O’Donoghue died in 94’ and his widow bequeathed the collection to Speegle. “I lived with them displayed in the 4-story staircase of my Clinton Hill brownstone for years and they began to seep into my subconscious.” It also began an obsession for Speegle who now has over 3,000 paintings in his collection
that he uses directly as source material for his work. In the late nineties he merged his word art with the paint by numbers schema. “Paint by number is not the subject but rather a visual vocabulary and framework with which to offer up my own recipe to create an interesting life... for myself, and the viewer if they're inspired.” He describes the process:
SELF-PORTRAIT BY TREY SPEEGLE
“I work with the vintage paintings in many ways... For a large-scale painting on canvas, I take the vintage painting, redraw the underlying line work and make a new numbering system. I then print the line work on canvas, stretch it, block out the words and mix a new palette and paint in everything but the words. But I also use silkscreen, letterpress, collage and I've started making some prototypes for sculptures.” Speegle is sometimes inspired by an image, but states that “a body of work is created around an idea.” Speegle further explains, “As I was working on my last body of work, I woke up one day thinking about how self-centered artists and art-making can be. The phrase ‘IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU’ popped into my head.” “Ultimately my work is about transformation... transforming and elevating these oft-derided relics into works of art, transforming my own life using the CONT’D ON PAGE 20 19
ART TREY SPEEGLE
words and affirmations in the work and offering the possibility of personal transformation to the viewer by engaging with the work.” Whereas Barbara Kruger’s iconic “I Shop, Therefore I Am” work reflects the reactivity, inevitability, and disillusionment of the self-centered eighties, Speegle’s work is open-ended, proactive, and thoughtful. “Cultivate Your Community” asks us to act for the benefit of others. Speegle was tapped by Anthropologie to apply his work on a line of home furnishings and gifts and is quite comfortable with the commoditization of his work. “I look at products, 20
merchandise (and inexpensive prints) as another way of extending my work and reaching out to art appreciators who maybe can’t afford a painting; retail and online sites are another type of message delivery system.” But, he also is careful about the message. “Paint by number has commercial origins, so, it naturally goes back in that direction without much effort... but I try to give it a twist and elevate the work, rather than just slapping it on any old thing.” His art would work on almost anything: mugs, rugs, key chains, plates, puzzles, ad nauseum. One can easily envision a Speegle Swatch, Trey Speegle for Chuck Taylor, or perhaps A Wal-Mart Collection? No, he insists that if he
PHOTO: AKIRA OHISO
went “really mass,” it would be “Target not Wal-Mart.” He alludes to Picasso and Dali as his forbears in the commoditization of art, but one can see a direct influence and synthesizing of Warhol, pop art, and the East Village art scene. In an age of limitless information, social media, and real-time streaming, Speegle’s work is refreshing for capturing a moment of reflection. Speegle volunteers, donates work, and organizes events around issues he is passionate about and for the past 15 years, he has worked with The Trevor Project, the country's only 24-hour LGBT teen suicide hotline. Recently, Lady Gaga has been outspoken about anti-gay bullying in the wake 14-year old Jamie Rodemeyer’s suicide among others.
“Growing up bullied and gay in Texas, it’s a charity whose mission hits home. The fact that we lose young kids to this bullying epidemic is heartbreaking, but Trevor’s work is ultimately life-affirming.” Speegle eventually wants to open a paint by number museum to house his growing collection. He adds, “Perhaps it’ll be in Sullivan County, who knows. I could see it up here. I have a number of paint-by-numbers that look like the area, several show up in the Jeff mural...and naturally, there would be the ubiquitous museum gift shop...I've got a head start on that...”
OUT OF THE BOX Great ideas for children’s holiday gifts.
Performing Toys 1970s Children’s DIY Craft Book $12 http://www.etsy.com/people/backgarage
Christmas Tree Bowling Set - Solid Wood by Applenamos $15 http://www.etsy.com/people/applenamos
Playing Marbles 24x30 Oil Painting by Karla Voelker $290 http://www.etsy.com/people/MixUpGallery
Personalized Wooden Toy Camera by Little Sapling Toys $34 http://www.etsy.com/people/littlesaplingtoys
Solar Powered Wooden Toy Airplane by Berty and Masha $98 http://www.etsy.com/people/BERTYandMASHA
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS
Petunias Owl Pillow by Petunias $16.50 http://www.etsy.com/people/petunias
A Spot-On Music Winter Playlist As you can see in my byline, I have no problem admitting to my music nerditude. I am, in fact, a super music nerd. And as a SMN, when I'm compiling a Wintertime Playlist, I am not going to choose tracks that are well known or, god forbid, obvious. No “Charlie Brown Christmas,” wonderful though it is. No “Sleigh Bells.” Because one of the blessings – and I'll own, burdens – of being a SMN is that I know lots of great music that practically nobody else knows. When I flip through the racks at one of NYC's remaining record stores, I invariably want to press some underappreciated gem into the hand of an innocent bystander and explain that for $3.99, you'd be a fool not to buy this! Embarrassing though it is, I hope this little imaginary anecdote helps you understand that my playlists have to have some deep cuts. Like every SMN I have a database (well OK I have a spreadsheet) for my music collection. This is square one of the Wintertime Playlist compilation process. I scrolled through the list of albums to jog the memory, and decided to narrow the scope down to jazz. All along I knew that despite what I really wanted on the list, I'd have to make some concessions when it came time to make the playlist public via the latest step in music industry hyper-evolution, streaming. But then something interesting happened. Every track I looked for in Spotify, the leading streaming service, was there, including an obscure track from a 1964 Blue Note album that was only briefly available on CD in the States. This was remarkable! Had you been with me in my studio at that moment, you would have seen what paradigm shift looks like on a human face. Spotify was founded in Stockholm in 2006 and launched there in 2008, but it only became available in the U.S. in July of this year. It works like iTunes: there's an app you install on your computer or mobile device that acts as your player. But unlike iTunes, you don't keep the music files locally. Spotify accesses the files, out on the cloud somewhere, and streams the music to you in a compressed format similar to mp3. It works impressively well. Currently, the free version is by invite only from other Spotify users, though anyone can buy into the $5/month or $10/month plans.
Myself, I like having albums around. Physical ones. LPs, EPs, CDs, SACDs, DVD-As – all kinds of acronyms! Music with heft. Having a physical collection makes room for serendipity. I like happening upon an album I haven't thought of in ages. I like the synesthesia that comes through the artwork and packaging. Ultimately, I think, I'll remain a physical-media guy. But the new streaming model might find a place in the listening life of even a hardcore muso like me. For one thing – and this is big – on Spotify you can share music – albums, tracks, or playlists – legally with friends. That alone is pretty fantastic. But even more, given all the following: a deep catalog, the right subscription pricing, and ease of use (no file managing) streaming is set to solve a couple of interrelated age-old music collector issues. The first one is the purchase of an album that stinks. Now you can listen to the whole thing and find out it stinks before bringing a copy home. The second issue is the “mediocre- album- with –a- few –great- songs” mystery. Now you can make an informed decision whether the great song / eh song ratio is high enough. Case in point: I'm interested in B.B. King's Live In Cook County Jail album. Its reputation is such that, in the olden days (last week), I would have just gone and bought it – especially since catalog CDs are very cheap right now. But I punched the album title into Spotify's search field, and a split-second later there it was, Live In Cook County Jail, ready to play in its entirety. I listened to the whole album. The first track is a spoken introduction. The second and third tracks, “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “How Blue Can You Get” are brilliant. But the rest of the album loses me except for one more peak at “The Thrill Is Gone” toward the end. Now, I'd like to hear those three tracks more, but the other five I could live without. Should I buy the CD just to have those few in better sound? Maybe. But I'm not sure. It might be enough to be able to stream them when I want them. The sound won't be that great, but I'll save the space and money for albums that have a higher ratio of awesomeness. Once I came down from the “paradigm shift” moment, and played “stump Spotify” with some heavy-duty esoterica, I CONT’D ON PAGE 24 23
did in fact make a playlist. It's comprised of twelve tracks of classic jazz, mostly by well-known names, which should make for good listening on a wintertime day. There are four groups of three songs, corresponding to morning, afternoon, evening, and night. ( Just because.) The connection between wintertime and these tracks is, I'll admit, tenuous and entirely in my head. But instead of explaining why I think these are great tunes for a winter day, you can listen for yourself and see what you think. Welcome to the future. To hear these Spotify selections online, visit: www.greendoormag.com/wintermusic2011.html
James Beaudreau is a musician, recordist, composer and all-around music nerd living in the "upstate Manhattan" neighborhood of Fort George. He's currently at work on his fourth album of original music and blogging about the process at www.jamesbeaudreau.com
Green Door Winter 2011/2012 Playlist (Morning) 1) Isfahan by Duke Ellington 2) I Have a Dream by Herbie Hancock 3) Brown Sugar by Freddy Roach (Afternoon) 4) Night and Day by Joe Henderson 5) Parisian Thoroughfare by Bud Powell 6) Blue Silver by Horace Silver (Evening) 7) Central Park West by John Coltrane 8) Crepuscule with Nellie by Thelonious Monk 9) God Bless the Child by Sonny Rollins (Night) 10) Soul Lament by Kenny Burrell 11) Requiem by Lennie Tristano 12) Warm Valley by Duke Ellington
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NEIGHBORS Events & happenings around the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley DECEMBER 2011 1 Gilded Age Christmas Celebrate a Gilded Age Christmas at Staatsburgh State historic site. Wednesday through Sunday from December 1 - 31 (closed December 25). See the splendid dining room decorations at this landmark, also known as the Mills Mansion. For More Information, call 845 889-8851. Staatsburgh, NY. Dutchess County. 1 Edward Hopper's Orangetown A historic snapshot of the surrounding area formative to Edward Hopper's early years. 1-2 pm. Featuring objects, photographs and personalities of the late Victorian Era in Orangetown. Born in Nyack in 1882, Edward Hopper’s development coincided with the late onset industrial revolution. The spectacular light off of the Hudson River was to follow Hopper throughout his creative life as he developed his particular aesthetic. The DePew House, 196 Blaisdell Rd, Orangeburg, NY. Rockland County. 1 Franz Erhard Walther Exhibition Featuring a selection of Handlungsstücke (Action Pieces) from the early 1960s, including the complete presentation of 1. Werksatz (First Work Set), 1963–69, from DIA's collection. Acquired in 1978, 1. Werksatz comprises 58 fabric elements, or “instruments,” meant to be activated by visitors to the museum, drawing attention to the body as material form. Through February 13, 2012. 845-440-0100. DIA Beacon Riggio Galleries, 3 Beekman Street, Beacon, NY. Dutchess County.
1 Shakespeare and Other Subjects Prints and Drawings by Milton Glaser through January 2, at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum. 845-679-2940. 28 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY. Ulster County. 1 Second Saturday Beacon A city-wide celebration of the arts held on the second Saturday of every month when galleries and shops stay open from noon until 9pm. Gallery openings and music are just some of the ongoing events. City of Beacon, Main Street, Beacon, NY. Dutchess County. 2 Celebration of Lights Parade Enjoy the Poughkeepsie High School Jazz Ensemble and Middle School choir in their annual parade. 6:30pm. Free. 845-473-3072. Poughkeepsie NY. Dutchess County. 2 Beer Holy Wars Beer Holy Wars featuring flights of Christmas & Hanukah beers from 5pm- 11pm. Featuring different flights of beer each Friday. Aroma Thyme Bistro, 165 Canal St, Ellenville NY. Ulster County. 2 Pizza and music! In The Pocket is a Hudson Valley-based party band performing an exciting mix of rock, pop, and soul. 845-625-7569. Friday 11pm to 3am. Grimaldi's, 119 Main St, New Paltz, NY. Ulster County. 3 Winter Holiday Trains Catskill Mountain Railroad Company. Board at Kingston Plaza and ride the first passenger
trains through Kingston in more than 50 years. Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, and 26, 2011 and Jan. 1- 2, 2012 only. No train service December 24, 25 or 31. Phone: 845-688-7400. Adults: $6, Children (ages 2-11): $4. Children under 2 ride free with paid adult fare. Catskill Mountain Railroad Co., Kingston, NY. Ulster County. 3 David Kraai Singer-Songwriter, Folk/Traditional, and Country singer David Kraai doles out two solo sets of fine country folk music at this intimate cafe & restaurant with extremely tasty eats. Saturday, 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The Jonesville Store, 989 Main Street, Clifton Park, NY. Saratoga County. 3 15th Annual Winter Walk Produced by the Hudson Opera House, Winter Walk transforms Hudson's commercial district into a festive thoroughfare to create a celebration unlike any other. Acknowledged as one of the premier holiday events in the Hudson Valley, Winter Walk attracts visitors from near and far who join the residents of this small, energetic river town to revel in the delights of the evening. Saturday, from 5pm 8pm, Free. Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 3 Art in the Barn Go on a family tour of the house to be inspired, then come down to the farm to be an artist. Music, story-telling, dance, movement and open art studio time for our youngest artists. New projects every Saturday. For ages 3-5. 12pm to 4pm. Free; $5 vehicle use fee. 518828-1872 x 109. Olana State Historic Site,
GREAT LOCAL SKIING IN NEW YORK Belleayre Mountain Belleayre Mountain in Highmount, NY is located in the heart of the Catskill Mountains and is operated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It offers skiing for all ages in a pristine setting. Because it is run by New York State, they charge less than other mountains and is often less crowded. Belleayre has 171 acres, and the trails are very good; an excellent mountain for all skiers.
the Northeast. It offers a diverse trail network from super-gentle to super-steep, with over 30 trails and park areas in all.
Catamount Catamount is located just across the Massachusetts border in Hillsdale, New York. You'll find terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities at this popular ski area in Hillsdale, NY. Catamount is one of the oldest original operating ski areas in
Hunter Mountain Hunter Mountain in the Catskills calls itself the snowmaking capital of the world. All of Hunter's trails have snowmaking, and all of the ski area can be covered by 1,100 snow guns. Even if winter doesn't cooperate, Hunter Mountain is a great place for skiing,
Holiday Mountain Ski Area Located in the Catskill Mountains in Monticello, New York, Holiday Mountain appeals to everyone from first-time skiers to daredevil snowboarders. Although it is not in the high peaks of the Catskills, it has family fun for all.
and is the most popular of the ‘big 3’ mountains. Hunter’s popularity perhaps comes from its size, with a 1600 foot vertical drop and 240 skiable acres. It has the highest elevation of the three and the second highest peak in the Catskills, which allows for a slightly longer season. There are 58 trails to choose from, with a good balance of difficulty between slopes. Plattekill Mountain Ski Area Just 2-1/2 hours from New York City, Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, New York, has both beginner ski trails and some of the steepest slopes in the East. This Catskills outpost appeals to families, natural snow enthusiasts and anyone who is looking for great skiing with a small ski area atmosphere. Nestled in the heart of the Western Catskills,
it features skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing fun for all ages, with 35 trails, 1100 feet of vertical drop and 190 inches of average annual snowfall. It has 2-mile long beginner cruisers hills to continuous top-tobottom double black diamond slopes. Windham Mountain Windham Mountain, also known as Ski Windham, is one of New York State's premier skiing destinations. The northern Catskill Mountain area boasts a 3,100-foot summit, 46 trails covering 267 acres for skiing and snowboarding, and a snow tubing area. Windham is the largest of the three mountains, and has several high speed lifts which offer access to almost every trail. They offer night skiing on Thurs through Sat and upgraded their snowmaking capabilities. 25
LOCAL EVENTS & HAPPENINGS
Wagon House Education Center, 5720 Route 9G, Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 3 Fineries at the Wineries Take a self-guided tour of the Shawangunk wine trail as each winery decorates for the holidays. December 3, 4, 10, and 11. Call 845256-8456 for details. 3 Woodstock Holiday Gift Fair Holiday Gift Fair- buy from local artists and vendors. Baked Goods, children's gifts, accessories, jewelry, pottery, artwork, makeup, and apparel. Come do all your holiday shopping and support the Woodstock Elementary PTA. 10am-3pm, 888-255-2796. Route 375, Woodstock, NY. Ulster County. 3 Olana Holiday House Tours Sculptor Frederic Church's picturesque and eclectic home, Olana, in Hudson, New York, will host Holiday House Tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays December 3 through January 2. The tours focus on how the Church family celebrated the holidays at home and feature a reading of eldest son Frederic Joseph's 19th-century letter to Santa Claus. Olana also holds a popular, free annual Holiday Bonfire on Sunday, December 5, from 3-4 p.m. For tour reservations, call 518-828-0135. Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 3 Handel’s Rodelinda Sensational in the 2004 Met premiere of Stephen Wadsworth’s much-heralded production, Renée Fleming reprises the title role. Joined by Stephanie Blythe and countertenor Andreas Scholl, and Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts. 12:30pm. 518-8228100. Time and Space Limited, 434 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 4 Sinterklaas Day This ancient Dutch tradition is alive in Rhinebeck on the first weekend in December. Parades, puppets, and pageants. Visit www.sinterklaasrhinebeck.com for details. Rhinebeck, NY. Dutchess County. 5 Christmas at Locust Grove Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie is best known as home of telegraph inventor Samuel F.B. Morse, but the mansion's original owner, Henry Livingston, Jr., also has a claim to fame. Some scholars believe he's the true author of the classic Christmas tale, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas." On Saturdays in December and the week after Christmas, December 26-31, Locust Grove celebrates the magic of Christmas past with special holiday season tours. 845-454-4500. 2683 South Rd (Rte 9), Poughkeepsie, NY. Dutchess County. 26
8 Make a Buche de Noel Jessica Bard will guide you through the process of making this holiday classic cake - shaped like a log - complete with little mushrooms made from meringue! Making a chocolate sponge cake is easy. Making a yummy filling is easy. Making icing that will look like bark is easy. Putting it all together takes a little work. All classes include recipe handouts and tastings. 845-576-6208. Country Cupboard, Rhinebeck, NY. Ulster County. 10 Tom Humphrey Guitar Series The Ritz Theater Presents the 2011-12 Tom Humphrey Guitar Series at 8pm, Frank Vignola’s Hot Club, back by popular demand. In celebration of Django Reinhardt, guitar virtuoso Frank Vignola, a leading proponent of Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz style of playing, has assembled a topnotch trio for a searing tribute to one of his earliest musical influences. $25. 845-784-1199. Ritz Theater, 107 Broadway. Newburgh, NY. Orange County. 11 Sunday Musicales Concert Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary, and Acoustic Artist Vickie Russell in a one hour intimate concert in a beautiful setting. 2pm to 3pm. 845-255-0051 Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church, 90 Route 32 South, New Paltz, NY. Ulster County. 11 Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art Linking Connections, Building connections. Works from the Hudson Valley Visual Art Collections Consortium at SUNY New Paltz. 845-257-3858. New Paltz, NY. Ulster County. 12 Boscobel Holiday Tours Boscobel, a Federal-style mansion in Garrison, overlooking the Hudson River will offer Yuletide Teas on Wednesdays and Sundays in December and a special Children's Tea December 12. Reservations are required. Daytime Holiday Tours of Boscobel are also offered December 1-31 daily except Tuesdays and Christmas Day. Visitors will have a chance to see the mansion decked out for the holidays and to learn about holiday traditions and entertaining during the Federal period. Garrison, NY. Putnam County. 16 4 Guys in 2011 Rock (classic), Country, and Comedic Times with Four Guys in Disguise. Come and enjoy a fantastic evening combining one of the greatest Breweries around and one of the greatest Bands around. 9:30pm at the Hyde Park Brewing Company, 4076 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, NY. Dutchess County. 17 Art in Rhinebeck
Village-wide celebration of the arts featuring gallery openings, author readings, performance and music. Noon to 9pm. Village of Rhinebeck, Montgomery & Market Streets, Rhinebeck, NY. Ulster County. 27 Victorian Holiday Tours Wilderstein, an imposing Queen Anne Victorian mansion in Rhinebeck, will be decked out in floral splendor for the holiday season. For 30 years, talented florists and designers have transformed the first floor of Margaret (Daisy) Suckley's home into a Christmas wonderland, and visitors can enjoy self-guided tours of the mansion's Victorian and modern decorations on weekends through December 26 (closed Christmas Day), plus Monday, December 27. Make reservations for the special Yuletide Tea on Saturday, December 11 by calling 845-876-4818. Rhinebeck, NY. Ulster County. 31 New Years Eve Party Ring in the New Year with Xcalibur Rock (classic), Pop/Soft Rock, and Rock (50's-60's) at the Knights of Columbus. St. Joseph’s Church of Wurtsboro - Annex. Doors open at 7:30pm Open to the public. Tickets are $50 per couple $30 for individual. There will be a buffet dinner, appetizers, dessert, and mixers for drinks. Bring your own alcoholic beverages. 845-888-4841. St. Josephs Church – Annex, 180 Sullivan St., Wurtsboro, NY. Orange County. JANUARY 2012 6 LongShot Live Come on out for a kickin' good time with LongShot. Country, Rock (classic), and Rock (50's-60's) Friday. 9:30 pm to 12:30 am at Brendyn's. Middletown, NY. Orange County. 8 Gounod’s Faust Live with Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, René Pape as the devil, and Marina Poplavskaya as Marguerite, Gounod’s classic retelling of the Faust legend couldn’t be better served. Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff updates the story to the first half of the 20th century with a production that won praise in London last season. Yannick NézetSéguin conducts on the heels of his Don Carlo success. Starts at 1pm. $25. 518-822-8100. Time and Space Limited, 434 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 19 Bryan Adams Grammy award winner Bryan Adams with his Bare Bones Tour. 7:30pm. $75. Call 845-3311613. Kingston, NY. Ulster County.
WINTER FARMER’S MARKETS Enjoy the bounty of the Catskills and Hudson Valley as many markets move inside but continue to offer farm-fresh fare. ULSTER COUNTY Gardiner Winter Green Market Gardiner Library Community Room Third Saturdays, November to April 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. New Paltz Indoor Market Deyo Hall, Broadhead Ave off Rt.32 Second Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saugerties Winter Holiday Markets Sundays: Nov. 21, Dec 19, Jan 16, Feb 13, Mar 13, Apr 17, May 8, Noon to 4 p.m. Market St., Saugerties Rosendale Farmers Market First Sunday of the month Rosendale Community Center DUTCHESS COUNTY Amenia Farm Market
Amenia Town Hall December: Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. January through April: second Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Beacon Farmers Market Train station parking lot Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Cold Spring Indoor Farmers Market From November 27 to May 14. Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Rhinebeck Farmers Market Rhinebeck Town Hall Alternate Sundays, Dec. 5 to April 24 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vassar College College Center Third Saturdays beginning Jan. 15
20 Mavis Staples Grammy winner, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples comes to Bardavon. 8pm. $45. Call 845-472-5288 for details. Poughkeepsie, NY. Dutchess County. 20 Ice Festival January 20th-23rd- The 14th Annual Catskills Rock and Snow Ice Festival. Gear testing, clinics, and more. Shawangunk, NY. Ulster County. 21 The Enchanted Island In one extraordinary new work, lovers of Baroque opera have it all: the world’s best singers, glorious music of the Baroque masters, and a story drawn from Shakespeare. In The Enchanted Island, the lovers from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream are shipwrecked on his other-worldly island of The Tempest. Starts at 1pm. Cost: $25. 518822-8100. Time and Space Limited, 434 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 29 Piano Festival 2012 The Howland Chamber Music Circle proudly introduces Soyeun Lee for its 19th season. Subscriptions to the chamber music series are available for four to eight concerts, from $110 to $185. The subscriptions for the Piano Festival are $80 for three and $105 for four concerts. Individual tickets are $30. All student tickets are $10. All concerts take place on Sundays at 4 PM at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main Street, Beacon NY. Dutchess County.
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY Briarcliff Indoor Farmers' Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Briarcliff Congregational Church, S. State Road, Briarcliff Manor
SULLIVAN COUNTY Catskill Harvest Route 52 Liberty, NY Daily, 9 to 5
Gossett’s Farm Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gossett’s Nursery, Route 35, South Salem
Main Street Farmers Market Livingston Manor, NY Daily, 10 to 5 ORANGE COUNTY Indoor Winter Farmer's Market at Pennings Saturdays and Sundays through Easter 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Route 94, Warwick Pine Island Farmers Market The last Saturday of January, February and March. Rogowski Farm, Glenwood Rd, Pine Island
FEBRUARY 2012 11 Wagner’s Götterdämmerung Hear the Met live at noon. Time and Space Limited, 434 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 14 Harriet Tannin Art Exhibit Saturday, February 12, 4-6 pm Opening Reception for Harriet Tannin: A Retrospective. The exhibition features paintings and assemblage works, along with a selection of portrait photographs of Woodstock artists from the WAAM Permanent Collection. Tannin, who died in 2009, was a longtime Woodstock area resident and WAAM member who exhibited widely in the region. Hours: Fri & Sat 12-6 pm, Sun, Mon & Thurs, 12-5 pm. 845-679-2940. Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, 28 Tinker St., Woodstock, NY. Ulster County.
Hastings Farmers Market Second Saturday Jan 9, Feb 13, March 13, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Palisades Indoor Farmers Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 7 to April 25 Palisades Community Center
Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Columbia County. 25 15th Annual Chili Bowl Fiesta If you are in the market for a new ceramic bowl, and happen to love chili this is the place to be. Over 800 bowls and tumblers, handmade in the Women's Studio Workshop's ceramics studio by interns, resident artists, staff or community volunteers will be on sale. Come find the perfect bowl and then use it to enjoy a hearty helping of chili. 845.658.9133. Early admission 24pm $5; 4pm-7pm Free. Rosendale Recreation Center, 1055 Rt. 32, Rosendale, NY. Ulster County.
25 The Met: Live in HD Angela Meade takes center stage in Ernani, Verdi’s thrilling early gem. Marcello Giordani is her mismatched lover, and all-star Verdians Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto round out the cast. Starts at 1:00pm. Cost: $25. 518-822-8100. Time and Space Limited, 434 Columbia Street, Hudson, NY. Columbia County.
26 Piano Festival 2012 Alessio Bax concludes this popular piano series with Rachmaninoff and Liszt. Italian pianist Alessio Bax, now resident in New York, counts an Avery Fisher Career Grant among his many prizes. Following his New York debut at the Metropolitan Museum, the New York Times felt he “is worth getting excited about.” His recital will comprise Rachmaninov’s Ten Preludes, the same composer’s transcription of two Kreisler pieces, and Aprés une lecture de Dante by Liszt. Starts at 4:00pm. $30, $10/Student. Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St., Beacon, NY. Dutchess County.
25 The Met: Live in HD Angela Meade takes center stage in Ernani, Verdi’s thrilling early gem. Marcello Giordani is her mismatched lover, and all-star Verdians Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Ferruccio Furlanetto round out the cast. Starts at 1:00pm. Cost: $25. 518-822-8100. Time and Space Limited, 434
Want to be included in the next Neighbors? Submit your entries via email by February 1, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use subject line: Neighbors Submission, or mail to Green Door Magazine, Ideas for Neighbors, PO Box 143, Liberty, NY 12754. 27
Four Dead in Ohio
On May 4, 1970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University students, killing four and wounding nine. The impact of the shootings was dramatic, triggering nationwide student strikes, galvanizing anti-war sentiment that forced the government’s hand, and as Nixon-aide H. R. Haldeman claimed, began the slide into Wa t e r g a t e , eventually destroying the Nixon administration. It would be hard, if not impossible to believe that with no provocation, soldiers opened fire into a group of students. Four young people were killed, shot in the back, including two women who had been walking to class. It would indeed be hard to believe that is what really happened, but for what we just saw on the campus of University of California, Davis. Campus police used pepper spray on seated peaceful protesters in a confrontation that has sparked outrage across the nation. There was no YouTube in 1970 to document the tragedy, there was just the dramatic photograph of Mary Vecchio on one knee screaming over the body of Jeffery Miller, which appeared on the front pages of newspapers and magazines throughout the country. The answer to why did members of the Guard fire into a crowd of unarmed Kent State students offered by the Guardsmen is that they fired because they were in fear of their lives. Sound familiar? The nearest student was 390 feet 28
from the Guard, but it was self-defense? Since that tragic day, many authors (Stone, 1971; Davies, 1973; Kelner and Munves, 1980) demonstrate that the Guardsmen's lives were not in danger. Instead, the evidence shows that certain members of the Guard conspired on the practice football field to fire when they reached the top of Blanket Hill. But time and monetary settlements heal all. Right? We’ve learned our lessons. Not so. We see the power of Twitter and FaceBook around the world, as a medium for freedom. But we think that cannot happen here. Today’s social media is endemic and so is the relentless image of members of the UC Davis campus police emptying cans of military grade pepper spray into the faces of those seated helpless students. It is in a way more powerful an image that seeing Miller’s body; for the UC students do not react in the face of clear assault and provocation. Seeing them sit through the trauma is as shocking as when we learned of the Kent State shootings. There were no virgins in 1970 after the Ohio massacre. If you sat on a fence about war and peace before the shootings, you now were solidly for or against the significance of what happened on that campus. Four dead in Ohio. Nine wounded at Kent State. Nine pepper-sprayed at UC. When will we ever learn?
Becoming An Icehole
“ICE FISHING” BY RYAN E. CRONIN ©2010 WWW.CRONARTUSA.COM
Ice fishing doesn’t come up much at business meetings in Manhattan. Not only do I not know anyone else in the city who has ever done it, I’m too embarrassed to tell my friends – even after five beers – that I did something so hokey. But then I have my upstate neighbor, Mark, to thank for my frozen lake expedition. I use that term, because it is a sport where you have to bring your own living quarters to the event. Where I come from, you get someone else to carry your golf clubs. Here you have to turtle your own house. I tell Mark that if I wanted a house on the lake, I would have bought a house on the lake. He reminds me that I did buy a house on the lake. So much for my appreciation of the great outdoors.
I ask him for a beer and he tells me that the drinking doesn’t start until after the hole is done. I didn’t realize that White Lake had a Happy Hour. We are there less than an hour and I am freezing. Mark picks up an auger and hands me an axe to start the hole. At this point I am tempted to use it on him. Apparently you don’t get to drop in the fishing line and relax. You have to keep jigging the line to keep the hole open and avoid having your bait become minnow ice pops. I am still waiting for my first drink, and have become an angry non-drunk. When my hands start getting very cold, I grab for my genitals to keep them warm. Soon I realize that I can feel neither. I remember my small bottle of suitably-named Blue Ice Vodka and chug it like cough syrup, but it barely dents the cold.
He regales me with tales of catching chilled trout with lines through an opening in the ice while consuming mass quantities of alcoholic beverages. Sounds good to me, although the frozen part didn’t quite yet resonate. I had visions of ice wine, tender grapes chilling on the vine long after the fall harvest. He left out the part of dragging the ice shanty onto the lake using an ATV. I’m afraid to ride his ATV on dry land; ice road trucking should be reserved for the History Channel and Sarah Palin. We get to White Lake and haul his shanty out to a point where I am convinced that my body weight is no longer supportable by the ice. I ask him how he determines the thickness of the ice. Mark jokingly tells me that if I didn’t fall in, we’re OK.
The guys in the neighboring ice shanty have satellite television, bathrooms, heat and beds and look like they just refinanced their ice palace for 3.4%APR. We’re shivering our butts off, and our fishing hole is looking better and better as a place to relieve myself. When we get home, having caught nothing except pneumonia, Mark asks if I’ll go with him again next year. I am now convinced that the word ice, as in ice fishing, refers to your body temperature, not the fish’s. “When hell freezes over,” I say.
Serenity Now: The Fairlawn Inn P.O. BOX 182 7872 MAIN STREET (HWY 23A) HUNTER, NY 12442 518.263.5025
This restored Victorian home, formerly belonging to a New York City architect who built it to entertain his friends for long weekends, beckons from Main Street and rests just down the block from Hunter Mountain. The Fairlawn Inn may be just one of the many places to stay in the Northern Catskills, but it is certainly one of the best. Casual elegance meets the claw foot tub.
Chuck Tomajko, the innkeeper, spoils you with breakfast to order served in the sunny breakfast room. In truth, there is no choice of what to have for breakfast, for if you left the inn without tasting his unique – read ‘over the top’ – French 30
I chose to relax with a nice bottle of wine in the gazebo located in the turret. The Victorian house is beautifully decorated and spacious. The lamps and stained glass add warmth everywhere. And there is so much to see. From the dramatic view of Hunter Mountain at one end of the long porch to the deer grazing through the gardens; it is one visual delight. Ask the innkeeper for help in finding many of the beautiful sites of the Hudson River School of Art paintings. The Hunter area is rife with spectacular scenery like Kaaterskill Falls year-round, so you do not have to know how to ski to want to stay here. One thing is certain: you will be back.
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE HOTEL
It’s most relaxing to enjoy a book on the patio warmed by the striking fire pit, entertained by the sounds of the waterfall, and the visual spectacle of Fairlawn’s extensive gardens. You will need this refuge in which to relax because there is so much to see and do in the area.
Toast; you have not lived. His rooms all have private baths and queen-sized beds. Some are ‘dog-friendly,’ and many have fireplaces.
TRAVEL THE BOOKSHELF
PHOTO: MAX TOPCHII
Winter Reading A MIND OF WINTER: POEMS FOR A SNOWY SEASON Robert Atwan
JOURNEY AROUND MY ROOM Xavier de Maistre
This is the perfect book to have next to you on a cold winter night in front of the fireplace. With poems selected by Robert Atwan, editor of The Best American Essays series, A Mind Of Winter is a reflective collection on the inward experiences of winter. From the traditional poem such as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s The Snow Storm where one enjoys the “frolic architecture of snow,” to the innocent experience of a Boy At The Window worrying about a lonely snowman in Richard Wilbur’s poem, to an urban poem about the usually dismissive experience of seeing a fellow human being Begging for Change In Winter, the book has a chill for everybody. A Mind of Winter is the perfect holiday gift for someone who wants to embrace winter and the slow tick of time.
To most, a “journey” means traveling from one physical place to another - hop on an Easy Rider, cruise the ocean like an Argonaut or walk the earth like Carradine in Kung Fu. But, what if, instead of jet-setting to exotic locales or hiking through a preserved forest, or even going to your local supermarket, you simple stayed in your pajamas for six weeks and traveled around your room. This is what Xavier De Maistre did in 1790 when he was under house arrest for partaking in a duel. Very much a psycho-geographical work of its time, A Journey Around My Room challenges us all to slow down, embrace the tangential and unexpected nature of life and find wonder in the world right before our eyes and in our minds.
FOR MORE WINTER READING, VISIT GREENDOORMAG.COM 31
I used to go to the dairy section of my local supermarket and unconsciously choose brands based on loyalty. The supermarket shopping experience is a spectacular panoply of plenty where American abundance and wealth is on display for your viewing pleasure. Recently, a family member married a man from an African country and she told me a story of his first time in Costco where he took pictures of forklifts with pallets of food to send back to
Africa. He was just mesmerized by our consumption. As I morphed from an urban shopper in the canyon walls of New York City to a more rural shopper in the Catskills of New York State, I started to see the once glorious sheen of American supermarkets in a different light. I grew up with Dannon yogurt and have been eating it for all of my adult life. Dannon’s Cherry Yogurt is my favorite. Then I realized it contained high-fructose corn syrup, so I wanted to find a yogurt that did not. I found Stonyfield
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Organic yogurt at my local Shop-Rite. It tasted fine and was I proud I chose my health over comfort. I didn’t think too much about the environment at this point.
market just two blocks from my home, I found a yogurt made by Tonjes Farm Dairy located in Callicoon, in western Sullivan County and only 25 miles from my home.
One day, I happened upon the book ‘Plenty’ by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon in a local market. It tells the story of two people who embark on a yearlong experiment to eat only food produced within 100 miles of their home. The 100-Mile Diet was born.
While Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon learned that they would have to forego such staples as sugar, beer, and even flour, they also learned about the food industry and how local farmers and passionate people are changing the way we think about food.
I did some research and learned that Dannon yogurt is produced at a manufacturing plant in Minster, OH, approximately 620 miles from my home according to Mapquest.com. It was then shipped to a distribution facility in Orefield, PA before it miraculously landed on my dairy shelf in my local Shop-Rite. Stonyfield yogurt is produced in Londonderry, New Hampshire and approximately 280 miles from my home. Wow, with my new choice I had reduced my carbon footprint as well.
What I learned is that becoming “greener” is a process and small changes in our food choices can have profound effects on our environment.
But, I wanted to see if it was possible to find a yogurt produced within 100 miles of my home. At a local farmer’s
On Twitter: @stonyfield @dannon Off Twitter: Tonjes Farm Dairy
Tonjes Farm Dairy is at the Union Square Market in Manhattan on Saturdays. Although Callicoon is about 120 miles from New York City, I say go for it. Take a subway to Union Square and pick up some delicious organic yogurt made from the fields and cows of Sullivan County.
Pumpkin Tagine with Preserved Lemons BY CATIE BAUMER SCHWALB 1 1/4 TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON 1 TEASPOON CUMIN SEEDS 1/2 TEASPOON CORIANDER SEEDS 1/2 TEASPOON GROUND TURMERIC 1/4 TEASPOON RED PEPPER FLAKES 1 TEASPOON SWEET PAPRIKA 1/4 TEASPOON WHOLE CLOVES 1/2 TEASPOON YELLOW MUSTARD SEEDS 1/4 TEASPOON FENNEL SEEDS 1/2 TEASPOON WHOLE BLACK PEPPERCORNS 1/8 TEASPOON NUTMEG
3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL 1 MEDIUM RED ONION, THINLY SLICED, 1 1/2 CUPS 2 CLOVES OF GARLIC, THINLY SLICED 1 1/2 TEASPOONS FRESH GRATED GINGER 8 CUPS (2 1/2 LBS) PUMPKIN, PEELED & CUT IN 1” CUBES 1 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS, SOAKED BRIEFLY IN WARM WATER TO REHYDRATE THEN DRAINED 1 PRESERVED LEMON, FLESH DISCARDED, PEEL FINELY DICED 1/2 CUP FRESH CILANTRO, FINELY CHOPPED 1 CUP UNSALTED STOCK, OR WATER
In a skillet, combine all dry spices over medium heat, until fragrant. Remove and grind to a powder. Heat oil on medium heat in a large, wide stew pot. Add onions and sauté until starting to caramelize. Add garlic and ginger. Add all of the dry spice mix, about 2 ? tablespoons. Add pumpkin, raisins, preserved lemon, half of the cilantro, and stock/water to the pot. Cover, turn down heat slightly, and simmer for 20-25. Sprinkle with remaining fresh cilantro and serve warm. Side dish serves 6-8.
Gift it with the accompanying recipe for Preserved Lemons (see page 32) FOR THE FULL RECIPE VISIT WWW.GREENDOORMAG.COM 33
Eating seasonally and locally in the northeast is a challenge. Eating seasonally and locally in the northeast in the dead of winter is a particular challenge. It is now when I begin to envy friends in warmer climates with thriving herb gardens and lemon, avocado and fig trees sprinkled about their yards. During this long season of the same heavy root vegetable and winter green offerings at the farmers’ markets, a little citrus helps add some variety and helps, ironically, to keep me on the locavore track. Preserving lemons is a centuries-old practice, started as a way to preserve a bounteous crop of lemons for use later in the year. Most popular in Moroccan cooking, they are a glorious way to add brightness to a dish. All at once tart, briny, sweet, and deep with citrus flavor, they are brilliant for waking up heavy wintery stews, roasted meats and fish, sautéed winter greens, tapenades and compound butters, and even as a stand-in for both the olive and the twist in a martini. In addition, the vibrant jar is a welcome guest in a cook’s winter pantry, and an exotic, thrifty, easily transportable holiday gift for the culinary enthusiasts in your life. Gift it with the accompanying recipe for Pumpkin Tagine (see page 33), which takes advantage of the abundance of bright orange winter squash available at local farmers' markets now and throughout the season.
CATIE BAUMER SCHWALB
Preserved Lemons MAKES ONE QUART JAR
8-10 LEMONS, UNSPRAYED AND ORGANIC IF POSSIBLE KOSHER SALT 1 QUART GLASS JAR, WITH A NON-METAL LID (PLASTIC OR GLASS), WASHED WELL AND DRIED 1 CINNAMON STICK 1 DRIED CHILI PEPPER 1 BAY LEAF 1 TEASPOON WHOLE DRIED CORIANDER SEEDS Note: The spices are optional, but add a lovely subtle complexity to the overall flavor.
Wash the lemons under hot water, scrubbing gently with a vegetable brush. Just barely slice off the stem end of a lemon. Cut in quarters the long way from one end, but not all the way through the other, so the quarters are still attached. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt in the bottom of the jar. Fill the space inside the cut lemon with about a tablespoon of salt. Place the salt-packed lemon in the jar and repeat with as many remaining lemons as you can squeeze in, pushing down as much as the lemons will allow, usually fitting six to eight. Somewhere in the middle of the jar add the spices. Top with additional salt and any juice from the cutting board. Top the jar with a lid and mark with the date. Allow the jar to sit overnight on the counter. The following day, and for a couple of days after, press down on the lemons to release more juice. If after three days they are not completely covered in juice, add additional lemon juice, usually using the juice of two to three lemons. Let sit in a cool, dry place for a month, turning over occasionally to redistribute juices. After a month the lemons are ready to use and should last for up to a year, if stored in a cool place, or the refrigerator, away from sunlight. To use, remove one of the lemons from the jar with a clean utensil. Rinse off the rind to remove any extra salt. Scoop out the flesh. The flesh is generally discarded, but can be squeezed for the juice, which also has a great flavor to add to vinaigrettes, cocktails and marinades. Thinly slice or dice the rind and add to a myriad of recipes. A little goes a long way, and typically one or even one half of a lemon will be plenty.
PHOTO: CATIE BAUMER SCHWALB PITCHFORKDIARIES.COM
A Roadside Bistro To-Go BLUE MOUNTAIN BISTRO 948 ROUTE 28 KINGSTON, NY 12401 845.340.9800 WWW.BLUEMOUNTAINBISTRO.COM
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: FILET MIGNON STACKS, WITH CRISPY POLENTA, MOZZARELLA AND SPINACH, HOISIN CHICKEN, STEAK KABOBS, SOCKEYE SALMON WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA
When I took the hour drive to Kingston, I wondered if doing a story on a take-out restaurant would be worth the trip. As a former New Yorker, I am still learning to value my time in experiences instead of money, so initially I was a bit expedient about the assignment.
went with the plate of the day, a salubrious and bountiful Mediterranean Plate, and settled at a table in the back to talk with Mary Erickson, the co-owner and wife of Chef Richard Erickson. Chef Erickson popped his head out to say “hi” but was busy cooking for a busy lunch crowd.
When I arrived at the Blue Mountain Bistro-To-Go on busy Route 28, I saw an unassuming building that did not connote “bistro.” On an old shopping center sign above the bistro sign is a sign for a tattoo parlor. Route 28 winds through Catskill State Park and many weekenders pass the bistro on their way to skiing destinations and quaint Catskills towns like Margaretville. It is the kind of busy road that might feature fast-food restaurants, holiday inns, and gas stations. Under the tattoo parlor sign, in movie theater marquee letters, reads, “Slow Food Feels Good.”
Like many New York City transplants, Mary and Richard moved because they wanted to get away from the crime and grime. They were tired of working for other people. They opened the Blue Mountain Bistro in 1993 and had a successful run until 2005. They were burned out from running a restaurant that required late nights and little time at home with their son. They brainstormed and came up with a bistro-to-go that would prepare quality affordable food that customers could take home. The bistro opened in 2007 and is a business model that has proved successful, not only monetarily, but also in quality of life.
Once I opened the door, the aroma of Mediterraneaninspired food immediately whisked me away from the oscillating zoom of speeding cars. The glass display cases showcased a wide assortment of mouth-watering dishes. I 36
It seems like such a simple idea to prepare locally-sourced food to go, but no one seems to be doing it the way that Mary and Richard do. Wherever possible they use local
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE RESTAURANT
farmers like Gill Farms “right down the road” for their fresh produce. It is one thing to cook with local food, it is another thing to respect and care about the local food you cook.
handed me her book Vanishing Roadside to peruse, a collection of her paintings that documents the “vanishing” roadside industry that catered to the American “road trip” and “drive-vacations” of her youth. She writes:
Chef Erickson is a graduate of the “school of pots and pans” and like many great artists and musicians learned his craft by doing. He has traveled the world, picking up the flavors and styles of different cultures, but is passionate about the Mediterranean region and its way of eating. He developed his cooking chops in posh NYC neighborhoods like Tribeca and Union Square, before opening his bistro in 1993.
In the 1950’s post-war America there was a sense of adventure connected to setting out on a “road trip.” Many families explored vacation playgrounds from sea to shining sea, celebrating our rich diversity of landscapes and traditions. Family-owned motels, restaurants, and diners catered to travelers with their regional themes and local food specialties.
Johnny Cash once said, “that your style is a function of your limitations, more so than a function of your skills.” I always find the most creative and different people do it their way. Chef Erickson has refined his limitations into delicious slow food that feeds people and souls. At one point in the interview, Mary had to excuse herself to help at the counter with the busy lunch crowd. She
Maybe this is the reason the Ericksons picked Route 28 – to become the purveyors of a new roadside culture – the re- appearing roadside, if you will. The economy is tanking, air travel is a headache, and Americans are looking to simplify their lives again. Busy Route 28 now seems like a perfect location for Bistro-To-Go to feed fast-paced travelers looking to slow down, if even for a weekend. Instead of drive-thru McDonald’s, take a few moments (just a few) to stop at the Bistro-To-Go. You may find yourself staying.
LOCAVORE WINTER LIBATIONS
Drink Up! CAPTAIN LAWRENCE NOR’EASTER PLEASANTVILLE, NY Available at Grand Cru Beer and Cheese Market in Rhinebeck, NY www.grandcrurhinebeck.com This Belgian-style strong dark ale is aged with elder berries in Bourbon barrels. Tart, slightly bitter, with warming dark fruit notes, this is the ultimate winter warmer. 12.0 % ABV
KEEGAN SUPER KITTY KINGSTON, NY Available at Grand Cru Beer and Cheese Market in Rhinebeck, NY www.grandcrurhinebeck.com This much sought after winter favorite takes their Hurricane Kitty recipe and adds 1000 pounds of local Hudson Valley honey (the bee hives are on the brewery’s roof ), oak chips, and copious amounts of hops. This rare treat comes in hand numbered bottles and make a perfect gift if you can find it. 12.0% ABV
BLACK CHOCOLATE STOUT BROOKLYN, NY Available at Grand Cru Beer and Cheese Market in Rhinebeck, NY www.grandcrurhinebeck.com This winter offering is smooth, rich, and a perennial favorite. Chocolate lovers take notice. 10.0% ABV
HOT CHOCOLATE WOODSTOCK, NY Available at Oriole9 in Woodstock, NY www.oriole9.com Made with whole milk, heavy cream, raw sugar, and chopped chunks of Vahlrona chocolate, Pierre-Luc Moeys' hot chocolate makes for a decadent winter treat. For the exclusive recipe, visit www.greendoormag.com 38
Changing The Marinade Talking to New Yorkers About Changing Up Their Lives JOEL SANCHEZ BRONX, NEW YORK
Monday morning, going to work in the Bronx. A small blue car is slowly driving in front of me. An SUV drives past us, cuts off the driver of the blue car. The blue car accelerates, cuts the SUV off in retaliation, slams on his brakes, forces the SUV and me to screech to a stop. I see a man get out of the blue car. Words are exchanged, and the man suddenly and viciously wallops the driver of the SUV in the face. I feel a gasp leave my throat and I get out of there quickly. People have been killed in road rage scenarios like this. Angry drivers pull out guns and kill other drivers and innocent bystanders. It’s not safe here. I debate calling 911 to report what I’ve seen. As I drive away, in my rear view mirror I see the man continue to hit the driver of the SUV as the other cars also drive away without stopping. As I continue driving to work, I hear sirens in the distance. Maybe someone else called 911. I have never lived outside of a city. Born and raised in Chicago, I got bored and decided to see if I could make my life in New York, moving there in 1996. For many years, the energy and intoxicating vibrancy of the city fed me and
came to define me. I felt a complete symbiosis with New York. I had the life I wanted, but as time passed and I got older, I came to realize there was a cost. The city gave me much, but also robbed me of my humanity: of the ability to feel compassion, of the ability to connect, of having time. It eventually turned me into someone I didn’t like, someone who got angry at old ladies walking too slowly, someone with thin, raw skin who became angry and impatient at the drop of a hat. A wise old rabbi once said that the mind is like tofu: it will absorb any flavor in which it is marinated. For too long, I’ve been marinated in noise, aggression, pollution, apathy, and anger. After 15 years, it’s time to change the marinade. My wife and I have been spending an increasing amount of time in the Catskills over the past few months. When we return to the city, a piece of our hearts stays behind. Our desires point us towards another way of life. We want to undo what the city has done to us. We want to marinate in beauty and tranquility. We want to remember where we came from.
Joel Sanchez is a clinical social worker in a Bronx middle school. He continues to spend time in the Catskills with his wife and dog.
SIMONA FISH LEIFER ALBANY, NY
If someone had told me two years ago that I would marry a farmer and move to upstate New York I would have told them to renew their meds. Yet, here I am, a farmer’s wife living in Albany, NY and spending my weekends on my husband’s hay farm in Windham. I am a consummate New York City dweller who thrived on the chaos of the city. My Sundays were dominated by finding the perfect spot to brunch and read The New York Times. Now on Sundays I get up early, load up the hay trailer and spend four hours driving down to Long Island to unload five tons of hay into a hot barn. In my dating life, I was always looking for someone a little different. The doctors, lawyers, and accountants didn’t excite
me and I always told people I was looking for my marine biologist. Then I met Mark, a railroad worker and a hay farmer. At first I was apprehensive because he was so outside the box. But after our first date I knew he was the man I was going to marry. Every weekend, I would take the bus upstate and spend my weekends on the farm. As much as I loved the country I wasn’t ready to leave New York City behind. The discussion (or argument) Mark and I had the most was about where to live. Eventually, we decided on Albany because it was still city enough for me but slow enough and close to the farm for him. I have my own vegetable garden and buy eggs from our friends in Windham. We married in June and while I miss my friends and family I am really enjoying a slower, more rustic lifestyle.
A native Long Islander, Simona now lives in Albany, NY after marrying a hay farmer. She possesses a Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Policy from Columbia University and plans to use her degree to grow the most environmentally sound vegetable patch. She also brings uncomplicated environmental health information to the masses at www.enviromentalog.com 39
If you live upstate, you know that you are sitting on a gold mine, or at least a natural gas reserve, called the Marcellus Shale. And apparently you are also sitting on a tinder keg. As the conflict over hydrofracking, the controversial practice used to remove the gas from the shale, rages on, one question has surfaced in the local news: Who is responsible for ensuring the environmental protection and water safety in the face of numerous recent catastrophic drilling events?
earthquake in neighboring Lancashire. A study of the quake, commissioned by energy firm Cuadrilla, blamed the fracturing process and the geology at the well site.
There are many jurisdictions that have weighed in on the issue, the EPA, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Although it lies beneath a huge area of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, I am more concerned about where it is NOT. New York City.
They claim that the solution is good well design. But even if the ultimate goal of well design is to ensure environmentally sound and safe production by containing the gas inside the well, protecting groundwater resources and isolating the productive formations from other formations are not the industry’s major focus. Yet, despite known hazards, the oil and gas industry is exempt from important provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other long-standing environmental laws. When the faucets in Manhattan condos spew flames, like they do in Pennsylvania, the Mayor and City Council may be in for a rude awakening.
This mile-deep, rock-bound natural gas reservoir could yield 400 trillion gallons of natural gas. But it also houses large amounts of highly radioactive radium. Many environmentalists claim that fracking causes everything from earthquakes to above-ground explosions, and that it can irredeemably pollute groundwater, with chemicals and radiation. An example surfaced in Blackpool, England, where a hydrofracking well start-up was acknowledged, even by the well company, as the cause of a magnitude 2.3 40
This is not just a local upstate issue. It affects tens of millions of people all the way to Battery Park. But why does it take local voices and local politicians and local scientific experts to call for a ban on hydrofracturing when the leaders in the No-Frack movement should have always been New York City leaders. Could it be the millions in advertising dollars that the oil and gas industry is showering New York City with these past few months? Could it be that hyping job creation and energy independence trumps having safe water to drink? Where will New York City go to get fresh water when the Pepacton, Ashokan and the Neversink start bubbling radioactive radium? Action was just taken to protect the Delaware River; why not the entire New York watershed? Why isn’t New York City angry?
“HONEY, THE WATER IS ON FIRE” BY BRANDI MEROLLA WWW.SCENESFROMTHEATTIC.COM
Water, or its loss, does not respect jurisdictional boundaries, and although we have heard from the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, why is New York City not jumping up and down to stop fracking in its tracks? The Delaware and Catskill watershed, 90% of New York City’s source of sweet drinking water, sits directly over the Marcellus Shale. Something happens anywhere here and the five boroughs go dry.
The gas industry disputes that hydrofracking is dangerous but acknowledges that setting up wells is an intensive industrial procedure, and that the drilling process itself uses and pollutes huge amounts of water. A single well can require up to 5 million gallons of water.
VANESSA GENEVA AHERN
Snow Day One writer finds the Hudson Valley most lovable during the winter. Call her crazy.
Growing up as a kid in Long Island, NY in the late seventies, it was always exhilarating to wake up to knee-deep snow on a Monday morning knowing that I wouldn’t have to deal with elementary school angst that day. My weather compulsion didn’t really start until I became a Hudson Valley resident in 2004. Pre-smartphone in 2002, when my husband and I moved into our Woodstock rental on November 15th we woke up to the season’s first snowfall. Today, checking the next day’s weather forecast on my smartphone is part of my bedtime ritual. My pulse rate goes up when I see a bright red number 3 hovering over the “severe” tab. A few times a year, I may even see “Tornado Watch” which puts me in an altered state of consciousness even though my chances of seeing a tornado in the Hudson Valley are pretty slim. I have a better chance of seeing a black bear! I love it when a soothing country song is followed by repetitive loud beep of an important update from the National Weather Service in Albany. I thought I was alone in my weather obsession until I started talking to other weather nerds. Meteorologist Steven DiMartino, owner of NJ NY PA Weather (NYNJPAWeather.com) thinks that the greater reach of weather information has created more "weather junkies" like me. One late August night foray on Facebook led me to weather enthusiast and Kingston resident Alex Marra’s new Hudson Valley Weather Page where a hundred or so weather buffs were trading weather news, rumors, gossip, helpful info, and posting detailed descriptions of the weather, and commenting on Marra’s forecasts. It is a social media weather love fest! In the week leading up to Hurricane Irene, word of mouth traveled fast and Hudson Valley Weather’s Fan Page number of ‘likers’ spiked to over 4,000. I have a feeling these fans share the same habit I have of checking the iPhone for weather updates when awakened mid-sleep by a loud clap of thunder. Marra has been tracking the weather since he was 7 and even has a weather journal from 4th grade. He is self-taught weather enthusiast, and has read over 50 books on weather, climate change and Meteorology and took a college course on
climate. Most of his forecasts are spot on. “I wanted to come up with a way I could talk everyday about what I love and people would actually care to listen, so I created "Hudson Valley Weather" on Facebook,” says Marra. “When Hurricane Irene was targeting the Hudson Valley it was natural for me to want to dedicate every hour I could to tracking the storm and helping people stay safe. It felt great to see the page grow and the response I got,” recalls Marra. The weather and helping people are two things that Marra loves the most so he kept everyone posted about the storm all the while feeling a large range of emotion as the area he loves so much was being devastated. Friends, family and strangers alike were losing all they had. “It was a life changing experience that taught me a lot about myself and the heart of the Hudson Valley,” adds Marra who is thinking about going back to school to make weather his career. Things I hate about Hudson Valley winters? I don’t like dealing with black ice, power outages, snow storms that fall on important days like birthdays or hard-to-book doctor appointments, below-zero wind chill factors that turn us into weekend hermits, mice that seek shelter behind our walls. This year, I got smart and adopted a cat so I rarely see mice these days. No live ones anyway. The Hudson Valley is at its most lovable during the winter. I love the reassuring roar of the snow plow truck gliding down my quiet street, the pre-blizzard buzz at grocery stores, the sore thighs that come from hours of sleigh riding with the kids. Snow storm dinners. Hunkering down. Keeping my socks on in yoga class. Ordering the firewood and then watching my husband and a few neighborhood kids stack it. I love how a good blizzard can clear your mind. Last year, a server at a local restaurant told us that we needed to brace for a hurri-blizzard – a blizzard with hurricane force wind gusts. I ordered a margarita. I asked my 99-year old friend and poet Anne Porter what her favorite season is. “I don’t really have a favorite season. 41
VANESSA GENEVA AHERN
I like the transitions,” she said. Maybe I should try to savor the transitions a little more. Could that be a key to longevity? But what is there to love about the transition of Halloween to Thanksgiving? When the clocks change I need something to get me to the start of the holidays. An early snow season is welcome! For meteorologists significant snowstorms become their own kind of holidays. “There was the super storm of 1993 that created major havoc throughout the New York City metropolitan areas. Then there was the 2003 severe thunderstorm outbreak in Oklahoma where I chased my first tornado. As a meteorologist, every storm is special because it's like a major new challenge - a super bowl and world series wrapped in one, and you want to be the meteorologist that got the storm right. For meteorologist, there is very much a competition as to who got the forecast
right,” says DiMartino. So, what kind of winter are we in for this year? “The fact is we don't know exactly how strong La Nina will get. We still have to monitor the snow pack development in Siberia and northern Canada as well to determine the potential strength of polar air masses. Basically, there are a lot of wild cards that will become much clearer in the next few weeks. I do expect an active winter given the developmental characteristics of this La Nina, but whether that means a lot of snow or just a lot of rain, I'm not sure just yet,” says DiMartino. Rest assured though, Hudson Valley, chances are it will not be dull.
Follow writer Vanessa Geneva Ahern’s winter adventures at www.hudsonvalleygoodstuff.com
My older brother and I could hardly see eye to eye on anything, but we both promised to share when our parents asked if we wanted a new sled in December of 1958. Fall had quickly morphed into winter and we needed a better reason to stay outside. Neither one of us liked schoolwork much.
PHOTO: ELZBIETA SEKOWSKA
Dad handed us our first Flexible Flyer with the same care given by a father teaching his son how to handle a rifle. He took complete credit for the gift, but we knew it was Mom who pushed him to buy it. It came all the way from a place called Philadelphia, wherever that was, and we had to promise to take care of it. Sure, we knew how to use a sled; what was there to know? But this one was different; it had red metal crossbars and could steer. Until that moment I was certain that steering was something you did with your feet. Dragging your feet on either side caused your sled to head to the left or right. I had ruined many pairs of shoes that way in my short life, but nothing could prepare me for this new technology. My brother took to it right away and he could steer with either hand. I had trouble remembering whether to use my hands or feet, and eventually developed a rather nuanced combination of both. There wasn’t much of a hill near the house, but we practiced every day until dark.
We were ready for the big test: Sandy Hill, on a high berm next to the railroad tracks. Our parents never wanted us to go there alone, not just because of the danger from passing trains. Our friend Jim died there last summer when he got trapped by collapsing sand and choked to death. We didn’t even know what death was until that point in time, but we knew we didn’t have Jim to play with anymore. My brother and I decided to go there after the next big snow. We were home from school for two days when the next storm hit and headed out to test our mettle on the steep slope. Not once did we fight over whose turn it was because when it was your turn, it meant you had to drag the sled all that way up the hill. Each run was breathtaking, starting right at the tracks and going downhill for hours. OK, so it was a few seconds, but time was transcended by a new dimension of flight and velocity. I didn’t know what Flexible meant, but it had to have something to do with the space-time continuum. We decorated Sandy Hill with countless serpentine tracks and had it all to ourselves until the sun began its descent. We have both had much excitement in our lives since, and have passed that sled through two new generations. But thanks to a place called Philadelphia, it was the best day I ever spent with my brother.
The Sound of Snow
B.R. Strahan’s poem observes, “It's so very quiet, you an almost hear the snow, falling from the leaden sky,” and we all long for the first snowfall of winter. Based on National Climatic Data Center records, New York State is home to the snowiest cities in the United States: Syracuse averages 115 inches of snow per year, and Rochester averages 93 inches per year. Each year an average of over a hundred snow-producing storms affect the continental United States. A typical storm will have a snowproducing lifetime of two to five days, and sooner or later will likely result in a snow day being declared. In some areas, a certain number of extra days are included in the school calendar as built-in snow days, and such is the case throughout the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. Not so in areas that normally have very little or no snow, where a snow day occurs when there is only light accumulation or even the threat of snowfall. Up here, they are stingy with snow days. To a typical school age child there is the sheer exuberance
of an unexpected day off from school. But this freedom is often frowned upon in an age where schooling equals daycare. What will happen when in the future, with web tools driving many educational elements, there will be no snow days? Perhaps educators will need to be reminded that with a day off to accommodate nature, some good will come from the isolation. Perhaps they need to read the children’s book, The Snow Day, written and illustrated by Komako Sakai. The story chronicles the stillness when a baby rabbit awakens to his mother’s news that school is closed. His day is filled with equal parts of activity and inactivity and the story perfectly captures the feeling of being alone in a snowy world while enjoying having it all to oneself. Ms. Sakai beautifies the visual starkness of a snow-covered landscape, like being in a silent movie. But is the snow really silent? No. It is not. Fresh snow is made largely of air trapped among the snow crystals, which influences the movement of sound waves. Snow cover as thin as two centimeters can change the acoustic properties of a landscape. When there
is fresh snow on the ground, the surface of the snow absorbs and muffles sound waves. As it ages or is blown around, snow can become hard and flat which reflects sound waves. Under these conditions, sounds may seem clearer and travel farther. When the temperature falls below -10°C, snow will squeak when walked upon due to the crushing of the ice crystals within the snow.
PHOTO: OLEG KOZLOV
Abinadi Meza, a sound artist based in Minneapolis, produced a pure field recording made of snow falling onto a soup pot lid. He refers to the surrounding ambience as sonic architecture, a good metaphor for the context in which we experience Mother Nature’s albino child. A more powerful expression can be found in Jeremy Larson’s lyrics from The Sound of Snow “It is you in the sound of snow, in a winter's glow. So this is where I must live, just above the sunrise.” The same personification of the beauty of snow’s isolation can be found in A Patch of Old Snow and An Old Man’s Winter Night, where Robert Frost discusses the darker
topics of isolation and oblivion, describing an old man whose only remaining sense of identity is tied to pointing out a once-beautiful patch of snow that is now mistaken for a worthless piece of old newspaper. People often talk about being creative while being isolated. Alone. Just you, a desk, an easel and self-expression. Some writers and artists even say they thrive on that. They say there’s nothing they would like more than to hole up in the snow in a cabin in the woods and be one with nature. I have always enjoyed being alone, becoming more comfortable with each time it snows. Solitude is an art form that must be cultivated, not even thinking about anything, but being alert and aware. The result isn’t boredom; it is acknowledging the passage of time in a space of our choosing. If we aren’t booked every minute of our lives we can still be fulfilled; not busy, but fulfilled. Hooray for snow days. Snow melts, life goes on.
SIMONA FISH LEIFER
The country is often referred to as an ‘escape’ for a quiet weekend or a lively family gathering. For some, though, the country served as a more literal ‘escape.’ For my husband’s grandfather and grandmother, David and Paula Maier, it was the place they settled in order to escape the advancing Nazis in 1930’s Germany. David and Paula were living quite comfortably in pre-Hitler Saarbrucken, Germany. David was a wholesale leather and hide dealer who also dabbled in politics and frequently held political meetings and salons in his large home. When he sensed that the political tide was changing, he moved his family first to France and then to Windham, New York, located in the upper Catskills. At that time, he was fearful that Hitler was going to conquer the world. Therefore, he looked to settle in a very remote area where he couldn’t be found. He told 46
no one that he and his family were Jewish. David Maier went from being a prominent member of German society to being an anonymous dairy farmer in upstate New York. After farming for about 20 years, the farm went through its next transformation as a boarding house until the 1960’s when David and Paula Maier began to split their time between New York City and Windham. It became more of a summer and weekend home for them, their children and their grandchildren. Dr. Maier was living and practicing medicine in New York City, but following a divorce in the early 1980’s she moved all five of her children back to Mayfair Farms. She subsequently opened her medical practice in the house in 1988. When you walk the streets of Windham today you cannot run into someone who hasn’t been her patient or who doesn’t have glowing words about her. Windham once again became her home. Mayfair Farms is the home to another business as well. My husband, Mark, works the land as a hay farmer. He spends many hours and expends much energy in order to bring the land back to its original glory. The business was just beginning to bloom and we were building our client base.
“THE WAVES” BY RYAN E. CRONIN ©2010 WWW.CRONARTUSA.COM
In the weeks following Hurricane Irene, I asked my mother in-law, Dr. Jacqueline Maier, what feeling, in regards to the loss of her medical practice, her car and the main floor of her 200-year-old farmhouse, was most overwhelming to her. Her response was striking, “This place has always been a haven for my family–my parents, myself and my children, and now I am afraid it will no longer serve that purpose because clearly bad things can happen here too.”
The Batavia Kill behind the house has been known to flood in the past. The water rises and creates a soggy mess in the fields and in the garage but it is has never come close to the house. On the morning of August 28, 2011 I was relaxing on a beach in Ft. Lauderdale, in the area for a friend’s wedding. Mark, upon hearing about the forecast of torrential rain went to check the creek at 4 am. It was still within its banks and didn’t seem to be threatening. He went to sleep but at 7 am was awakened by his mother’s words, “Mark, I think we have a problem.” As they watched the water rush by at high speeds and inch closer to the house by the second, they rushed around trying to get the vehicles, pets, and valuables to higher ground. When it was no longer possible to fight the rushing waters, which began to bubble up through the floorboards they grabbed fresh drinking water, food, the two cats and the dog and headed to the second floor. There they would remain for most of the day. They watched the water rise up the staircase and became concerned about the propane tanks rushing by the house, spewing fuel in the angry waters. They had very little outside contact. There was no electricity so no radio or TV for news. Their two cell-phones had dying batteries. When the waters receded Mark and his mother hopped in the truck to survey the damage. What they saw was
astonishing. Sidewalks and roads were washed away. Entire farms no longer existed and homes and stores were inundated and destroyed. There was even a school bus swept away by the rushing waters and implanted in the creek bed. As my husband has told me, there was no way to predict the severity of this storm. All of his regular flood preparations were futile. However, instead of dwelling on the damage we are now focusing on rebuilding the businesses. But what gives me the most hope is the outpouring of volunteerism and the resilience of the town. Strangers and friends alike showed up at the farm to lend a hand, whether it was shoveling mud, ripping out wet sheet rock, offering contracting advice or just dropping off food. The gas station repaved its parking lot within a week and all the roads through Windham essentially have been restored. The storm created havoc and destruction. But, as observed in many disasters, the people have banded together to restore this little ski town nestled in the Catskills. Hopefully, our next transmission will be from the repaired cozy living room that is once again our weekend haven.
TAKEN AT HAPPY AVENUE IN BETHEL NEW YORK BY JERRY COHEN
The ice has frozen over the pond; branches and leaves trapped beneath its crystalline surface. A few of the fallen boughs seem to be clutching for freedom above the ice, glazed backstops to the blowing snow. The whiteness is solemn; almost sacred. There is a sense of power within the starkness of the landscape. Nature bowing to a greater will.
The same might be said of winter. We are warm and content in our homes, with glowing embers and flickering light. Outside is something of awe. Let us say Amen. 48
PHOTO: JERRY COHEN
The theologian Ernest Renan asserted that monotheism began with the early Hebrews because they were desert dwellers. â€œThe desert is monotheistic,â€? he said, referring to its austerity. It focuses your thoughts.
Published on Dec 20, 2011
Our winter issue features a talk with Catskillians They Might Be Giants, celebrating 30 years in music. We also take a little trip to Jeffer...