Monday, December 27, 2004

More Milestones

LOW GRADE: from League of Conservation Voters (“political voice of the environmental movement”); for his voting record in past year; to GreeneLand’s U.S. Representative, John Sweeney. On crucial issues, according to LCV’s “expert” judges, Sweeney took pro-environment side on only 18 per cent of opportunities. This made him fourth worst among New York’s 29 Representatives, above two zeros (Quinn and Reynolds, 26th and 27th districts) and a 9 (McHugh, 23d district). By contrast, Maurice Hinchey (22d district) scored 100% rating (as did 15 other members of New York delegation) and Sue Kelly (19th district) scored a 64 (highest among Republicans). For more information: HIGHEST GRADE: from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, to English-born French Polisher Mark Nicholas Cooper, as applicant for precious Green Card (=permission to say and work in U.S.A.). Grade of EB-1, for “alien of extraordinary ability,” is rarest, highest they give. It’s granted, says official screed, only to “that small percentage who have risen to the very top of [their] field of endeavor.” A Nobel laureate qualifies. So would somebody who meets any three of ten stringent criteria. After supplying abundant evidence of his handiwork, along with suitably glowing testimonials and other forms of recognition, Cooper passed six of those tests. Consequently, he and wife Susan, and sons Zakary and Luc, can look forward with no small measure of confidence to remaining in GreeneLand, in their home/showroom/workshop in Catskill (former home and dentistry office of Dr Paul Engler). “French Polisher”? It’s English English name for specialist in refinishing wooden surfaces. Cooper does that, to be sure; but he also performs more subtle and esoteric feats involved in restoration of precious antique furniture. Hence his professional titles Conservator and Restorer. Shortly after celebrating prized EB-1 status, Cooper relaxed with minor job for Birdland Music: [French?] polishing venerable double bass viol. “A singularly pleasurable experience,” he sighed to Seeing Greene. “Like stroking a Rubenesque woman.” NEW CHEF. Brando’s Alley delicatessen/bakery has been rented by proprietor Michael deBenedictus to chef Michael LaRosa of Orange County (no relation to Angelo LaRosa of Village Pizza), from January 1. Says Michael deB of Michael LaR: “I hope everyone will give him an opportunity to serve them his great dishes for dinner and parties, along with his fine lunch menu. He also will offer takeout service for people who want to have a great meal at home with family or guests.” FLORENCE BOUND. Having delegated the Brandos Alley operation, Michael deB will devote himself, more than ever, to his music composing/performing/producing career. On January 16 he flies to Italy to take part in screening of “The Maestro,” movie about disc jockeys—about which he is more than a mite expert. Michael’s gig is improvising on synthesizer as CDs are played, then deciding whether overdub has yielded viable new cover of a tune. RETIRING as of December 31, after 35 years of pill-rolling: pharmacist Dennis O’Grady. He toiled first at Mikhitarian (“by the Post Office”), then at Price Chopper. Long-time partner John Konsul will take over. Also retiring (in mid-January) is Dennis’s wife Judy, from Greene County Long-Term Care. They’ll winter in Florida, make fuller use of three time-shares, but remain GreeneLanders. Dennis will stay with Rotary, Bank of Greene County directorship, landlording, and grciously thrashing golf buddies. NOT RETIRING: Richard Tannenbaum, dean of GreeneLand pharmacists. He has been doing drugs, mostly in Jefferson Heights, for 50 years. ANY TRUTH? Not confirmed at this time is report that ski patrolmen on Hunter Mountain’s Black Diamond run arrested an exhibitionist on charge of indescent exposure. Dick May

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Hard News &

GRANTED: to Joseph Capone; by New York State Council on the Arts; $2500; toward staging Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” this summer (August 19-22) at Catskill Point. Period costumes to be crafted by Korine Mason of Chatham. Set design and dramaturgy provided by GreeneLanders Kico Govantes and Richard Philp. Casting call (13 parts) to be sent out through local media in February or March. This production will be sequel of sorts to Capone-directed performance of “The Cherry Orchard” at Beattie-Powers House in summer 2001. An erstwhile professor of theater at Pace University, Joe has been GreeneLander, along with wife Eileen, for 18 years DENOUNCED: major GreeneLand hostelry; for allegedly foul conditions; by professed victims,. “Dirty, dangerous, and smelly.” “Unsafe.” “Horrendous.” “Travesty of hospitality.” “Reminded me of ‘The Shining.’ The only way I could sleep in the room that was deemed newly renovated was to get totally intoxicated. This way, I did not care about the flies I could not kill, the mildew covered walls, the noisy bathroom and what was under the sheets.” “Sheets and pillows and rug had a disgusting SMELL that stuck" “Why is this hotel still open?” Some other reviews—in www.weatherunderground, zip code 12414; TripAdvisor--are not so lethal. DEMOTED: Jules Molenda; from publisher of Hudson Valley Newspapers (Catskill’s Daily Mail, Hudson’s Register-Star, Windham Journal, Chatham Courier); to advertising director; abruptly. Replacement was signaled (vs. announced) by change in masthead and 30-column-inch profile of successor Roger T. Coleman--with no mention of predecessor. It happened last September; we’re just catching up. BLOATED: obituary of one Catherine Johnson of Watertown NY; in Daily Mail and other up-State newspapers; to extent of record-setting 63 column-inches. Possible explanation (vs. news value justification): deceased was matriarch of parent newspaper company. CONJECTURED: that new publisher Coleman’s main mission here is complete consolidation of already-integrated mid-Hudson dailies (Register-Star and Daily Mail) plus termination of weeklies (Courier and Journal, Greene County News having already been buried). Main consequences would be unemployment for staff and further shrinkage of already-emaciated local coverage. (This could be wishful thinking on part of competitors). END OF COMMERCE? Greene County Chamber of Commerce web site offers link to, among other things, its “quarterly” newsletter. Which turns out to be LAST winter’s newsletter. Whose big page-one headline (edited, apparently, by Tar Riedinger) says “…Coalition UnvAiled” (emphasis added). Chamber President Don Gibson says whole site is being done over by Mid-Hudson Media. Not a moment too soon. Dick May

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Hello anybody. Here's latest installment of what I hope will be collaborative communication exercise. Read and respond--via Comment key below or to my e-mail address, Dick May THE TIP. When Eurotis (sic.) Horace Darling delivered coal for Walt Henderson back in late 1920’s and early 1930’s, a good customer was GreeneLand’s star gangster, Jack “LegsDiamond. After Otie dumped his truckload down chute at house in Acra, Legs would sling him a $10 tip. Which in those days was a fortune. Of which Walt wanteda cut. Which Otie adamantly refused. That sawbuck amounted to a third of a month’s wages. And Otie was battling to support a wife and (eventually) 11 sons. RUBBED OUT: Petty philanthropist and part-time GreeneLander John T. Nolan, a.k.a. aforementioned “Legs” Diamond; at Kenmore night club in Albany; by revolver shots to skull at point blank range; after sanguinary career as bootlegger, dope trafficker, gangster chief, killer; on this date (Dec. 18) in 1931. Muscle man for mob boss Arnold Rothstein, guarding high-stakes poker games (and liquidating big winners), and guarding truckloads of bootleg whiskey (and hijacking some of same). Distributor of bootleg lager emanating, by long underground pipe, from Barmann (no joke!) brewery in Kingston. Thrice wounded by fellow gangsters prior to career finale. Touted as “dude of all gangsters,” “most shot-at man in America” (Saturday Evening Post). “most publicized of public enemies” (in tabloid Press, pop magazines, Warner Bros. movie, Broadway musical…). On fatal night, “laughing in alcoholic glee at his latest victory over the law,” Legs “marched from the arms of titian-haired dancer Kiki Roberts"--principal dancer at Hotsy Totsy Club--into the fatal revolver blast of Manhattan underworld assassins…” (New York Daily News). “He advanced the cause of joyful corruption and vice. He put the drop of creature on the parched tongues of millions. He filled the pipes that pacify the troubled, loaded the needles that puncture anxiety bubbles” (William J. Kennedy, Legs, 1975). STRANGLED. GreeneLand jail inmate who, Daily Maul opines (11/5/04), died “after he accidentally hung [sic.] himself inside his cell.” Not easy to do. And, says State Police Investigator Dave Darling, not true. Gary Wilgias used cell bars and clothing to achieve self-strangulation. ARRESTED. According to a radio newscast out of New Hampshire, some alleged pornographers were arrested in town of Fellows Balls. Oops! It was Bellows Falls. INJURED: Australian visitor Mungo McCallum,who lost control of rental car when driving north on Highway 9W, piled into tree just after passing business sign touting Lady Rooter. As Mungo explained to State troopers, in his homeland, rooting is not done on or in pipes. Nor is it done, as matter of course, in grandstands. “Rooting’s like, well, having a naughty, mate….”

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


JEFFERSON HEIGHTS, Dec. 15—In a daylight operation at the Elks Club today, 294 GreeneLanders, all elderly and hence scarcely able to resist, were punctured. In the upper arm. With influenza vaccine. Voluntarily. Gratis. By a big contingent of Public Health Department staffers, personally supervised by the chief himself, Dr Martin Kosich, and with Sheriff Richard Hussey personally directing traffic. Candidates for inoculation were warned of a possible 90-minute wait. They found that the operation moved along faster than that. According to Nanette Cance, communicable disease and clinic supervisor of the Public Health Department, the shooting “went especially well. We’re so pleased that the public could see we kept our word.” Supplies of flu vaccine, she added, now are abundant. And another round of free inoculations for residents who are 65 and over may be provided at the Senior Center in Coxsackie. For more information, try telephoning the Greene County Public Health Department at (518) 719-3600. (So hello anybody. This marks third installment of fresh experiment in communication. We'll see if it lasts) BIG PROPERTY DEAL. Largest single commercial property in downtown Catskill is changing hands. Allan Oren is selling what had been his furniture store, capacious basement, overhead walkway, and four-floor warehouse to new GreeneLander Hassan Gholizadeh, of Leeds (100-acre spread, formerly owned by Ruben Garcia) and Manhattan (parking garages). He bought, he told Linda Overbaugh (Heart of Catskill Association), with aim of “contributing to the renaissance of this wonderful place.” For $600,000 (modest sum, properly considered) Hassan acquired a 55,000-square-foot complex. As soon as deal (via Win Morrison Realty) looked ripe, Hassan went to Linda in search of ideas about optimal utilization. And Linda happily shared her dreams: “Transform the old store into a mini-mall of boutiques. Convert the upper floors of the warehouse into studios, techie offices and creek-side apartments. Put a micro-brewery on the warehouse’s ground floor. And under the warehouse, yet again, let there be a restaurant—this time a brew pub.” Hassan will do more brainstorming soon with country government people (Industrial Development Agency, Planning & Economic Development, Village trustees), as well as with savvy downtown business people. RENTAL MARKETING AHEAD. Availability of space in former Oren’s complex may coincide neatly with imminent push to lure more enterprisers here as renters of store spaces. In point of fact, there are plenty of vacancies—even with imminent proliferation, previously reported, of art galleries. Mesa Trading came to and went rapidly from, former Adventure Travel/Smart Systems building. Mayflower CafĂ©/Coffee Shop/Chocolate, bought by Andrea Lowenthal from Regina Doebler, re-opened, then re-closed—perhaps temporarily. And in just a few weeks, there could be still more choice storefronts for rent , as our stirring Community Preservation project, implemented by restoration ace Rich Rappelyea and his Dimensions North crew, comes to fruition. So: fresh tenants will be hunted by means of $17,000 advertising campaign, concentrated on publications circulating within 60-mile radius of the Village. Funding will come from Greenway Model Community and County Planning & Economic Development Agency dollars. VACANT BUT probably not available is rich-with-potential building at 352 Main Street, affording extraordinary rooftop view of Village, creek and mountains. It housed what Todd Martin dreamed would be mid-Hudson media empire. It’s slated for auction ($74,000 lien) in foreclosure proceeding January 13 in county courthouse. But according to reliable sources, it’ll be sold before that. OPENING AHEAD. Not vacant, and soon to be opened as a glittering new showroom, is former Sterling Trophy building, which also is former Perkins Plymouth-DeSoto showroom, at 495 Main Street. Peter Grasse III, having for years operated his car servicing business in the basement, took over whole complex, made extensive repairs, ran into usual scary structural shocks, gulped, persisted, and plans to open for business ”in early January.” New showroom, says Peter, will house retail end of Team G Performance Center: snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, related personal gear (helmets, jackets, boots…).

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Hello anybody. Welcome to installment 2 of an experiment in communication—in, I fervently hope, two-way or plural communication. I solicit help. Immediately needed, among other things, is help in compiling a hit list of e-addresses of people to whom notice of installments should be sent. Also earnestly invited are corrections, suggested additions, leads, tips, and even denunciations. They could help to pave the way for an on-line Seeing Greene magazine. Responses can be voiced by clicking Comments (bottom of blog) or by e-mailing me at --Dick May MOVIE HOUSE SOLD? Rumors of sale of Catskill’s Community Theater (and two store fronts, and capacious upstairs apartments) by Tom Thornton, are afloat yet again. And again there’s happy talk about restoring old Vaudeville stage so as to house live performances. But sale is only a prospect, via New Yorker who’s genuinely interested, and theatrical, but must sell a city property first. If it happens, maybe Art Klein would reprise his tournament-winning joke fest; Jim Riley would dust off his professional stand-up routine; Kenny & Denny & Ron would provide musical intervals; Jerry Smith (Broadway pit orchestra veteran) would tootle; Joe Capone would stage one of his plays here; Flo Hale would draw on rich casting and directing experience; and let’s not get carried away. NEW NAME? If sale and conversion occur, new owner might wish to revive theater’s first (1888) name: The Nelida, derived from Nelly and Ida, names of original builders’ wives. Years later, after boisterous New Years Eve party, according to Philip H. DuBois (A Catskills Boyhood, 1992), The Nelida burned to ground. Resurrection under present name, as Vaudeville AND movie house then was achieved under direction of Howard Silberstein. Nelida’s first show was “Rip Van Winkle.” New Nelida could be launched with new musical version of “Rip,” composed by our Frank Cuthbert. ANOTHER REVIVAL. Restored legitimate theater would be GreeneLand’s second. Already well under way is $2 million restoration of 400-seat Orpheum in Tannersville. Built in 1956, on site of silent movie-era picture palace that burned down, Orpheum had been shuttered for 22 years before being bought, as prospective state-of-art performing arts center, by Catskill Mountain Foundation. TOO LATE FOR MANDALA. Already transpired (expired?) here is weekend Haines Falls retreat devoted to enabling women to “practically experience their positive inner self and be moved and transformed by their experiences, moving more deeply into the self’s inner treasures….” Promised too (in Press release) was mentoring in “mining the depths of your loveliest diamond qualities, to learn how to bring one to the surface, to appreciate its radiance, and to polish this quality that it can shine brilliantly in life.” A “life-size mandala” was to be created collectively at Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization’s Peace Village Learning and Retreat Center. For future diamond quality mining opportunities, telephone 518 589-5000. (Since you immediately looked up mandala, you do not need to be told that it’s Hindu or Buddhist symbol of universe, in form of circle enclosing square with deity on each side). ATM CUSTOMERS of Bank of Greene County must insert card, then punch in password numbers, then obey instruction “If this is correct, press Yes” even though the PW numbers do not appear on screen. “Don’t Know” not an option. SEX ON SCHOOL BUS? Not this year. So far. Maybe. HOMEOBLOCK= name of unique trademarked medical device that, according to new GreeneLander Theodore R. Belfor, DDS, “straightens teeth as a result of developing facial structure.” It’s removable, bioengineering-based orthodontic device that corrects malocclusions in adult mouths without removing tooth tissue. No ugly braces, or hammer and pliers. When not in Manhattan, Ted and wife Pamela work on the project here, in their Hudson-hugging house. ( NOT THAT JIM. The Jim Palmer who now inhabits 60-acre GreeneLand spread called Catwalk, along with wife Purcell, is NOT baseball’s pitching Hall Of Famer. He’s basketball’s 80-inch, shooting, passing, shot-blocking ex-Olympian and Knick- erbocker. SAGGING FORTUNES? Rumors of money problems at Catskill Golf Club are false (although more members would be welcome). What DID sag was front deck. All of it. While people were sitting on it. All fixed now. AND FINALLY. “If a person does not take his time and deeply checking, looking, examining or research in helping something, he might miss something important and it might result in a very big mistake. That is why all people and things better have to be considered equal to be treated fairly, or you can be to cause like a crime yet too, even you’re not intend really to.” Got it? From Gone Wind of GreeneLand’s Mahahayana Buddhist Temple, in our Daily Maul.

Monday, December 13, 2004

News of Greene County NY

Hello anybody. Here's first, experimental, installment of intended notes about life in Greene County NY. SOON TO BE FIVE. Art galleries. In Village of Catskill. On Main Street. Sole present gallery, in County Council On [sic.] the Arts building at number 398, soon will be flanked by showroom at southeast corner of Thompson & Main. After completing top-to-bottom hands-on makeover, new GreeneLanders Julie Chase and Dina Bernstein will live upstairs and display art, including own sculpture and pottery, on former Kentucky Broiled Chicken site. Similarly, up at 460 Main, just north of Second Baptist Church, Hudson Talbot and Rudy Berkhout have been doing (actually doing, with own labor) radical restoration of building where, again, they’ll show art of own as well as others’ creation. And across street, in beautiful curved building at ___ Main, entrepreneur Frank Cuthbert (with versatile tradesman Todd Wade and others) has been preparing elegant space for works of art. Finally, down south near Community Center, Patrick Milbourn, himself an artist of distinction (as GreeneLanders know especially from his Beaux Arts Ball posters), has been toiling daily to create yet showplace of art. And maybe he and Alyson will occupy elegant upstairs apartment. Those projects have been funded partly by Downtown Revitalization grants. So have many other Main Street makeovers. By next spring, cumulative results will be dazzling. 50 Ways to Feed Your Lover. That’s title of latest book (2002) by new GreeneLander Janeen Sarlin. As head (and mid-section, and tail) of Cooking With Class Inc., Janeen works as executive chef (for editor of Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado), caterer, columnist, cookery coach, and butt of sundry farmer’s daughter jokes. Other Sarlin works such as Everyday Roasting, Brunch Entertaining, and New Meat Lovers Cookbook, she maintains demurely, are only about food. . FILM COMMISSION IN OFFING? Another new GreeneLander, Michele Saunders, is exploring creation here of film promotion group. Michele’s specialty, cultivated in New York, Miami and Paris, is finding, and touting, locations suitable for fashion advertising shoots as well as movies. If you meet her, say Bonne chance avec cette affaire. TOO MUCH BUSINESS. Kilt-maker Anne Stewart has put her bonny Main Street (Catskill) shop on market. Reason: “too much walk-in business.” Wants to concentrate harder on needle-wielding end of mission to clothe northeastern America in clan tartans. She’ll remain here, in Leeds, along with husband Ron, ace fiddler and premier Santa Claus.