Monday, May 02, 2005


EYE OPENER. Star attraction at re-opening this weekend of Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole Historic Site, was George Inness (1825-94). Thanks to efforts of curator Elizabeth Stevens, original works by that luminary of the Cole-founded Hudson River School of landscape painting—devotees of depicting nature as manifestation of the divine--were loaned by four museums, by the New York Grey Collection, and by LaVerne Decker of Catskill. Saturday’s preview and party for Benefactors, lenders, volunteers and Associates filled Cedar Grove. Sunday’s main event was lecture by Adrienne Baxter Bell, author of Painting Philosophy: George Inness, William James and the Metaphysical Landscape, delivered in anteroom of Cole’s old studio on topic of “Inness’ Sense of Place.” Now get ready for this, GreeneLanders: the place was packed out; people had to be turned away. In words of C.G. executive director Betsy Jacks, “turnout surpassed our highest expectations.” SWEET REVENGE. Especially clever of exhibition curator Stevens was posting scathing reviews aimed by contemporary critics at Inness. Back in 1867, for exmple, a Clarence Cook wondered in print whether “pretender” and “charlatan” were most apt labels for Inness or for “men who cry him up for a great colorist and call his pictures…poems on canvas.” Soon thereafter, Inness was being hailed by critics as America’s preeminent landscape artist; and being paid accordingly. NOW OPEN: Michael Angelo La Rosa’s eponymous La Rosa’s Café & Market at 1 Brandow Alley, Catskill, succeeding Michael deBenedictus’s operation. Ten days after opening, “Masterpiece Sandwiches on Tuscan Panini” at $6 each were being consumed at rate of 3 dozen per lunch time. “Italian Stallion” variety composed of Italian ham, salami, roni, provolone, roasted peppers, mozzarella, and mayonnaise infused with Italian dressing sufficed for two people. Meanwhile, nearby Bells Café on Main Street has undergone big interior renovations—pressed tin ceiling exposed and refinished, walls and floor painted, booths replaced with tables--whereby décor begins to catch up with quality of menu. And Keith and Yael soon will be licensed to serve wine with meals. HAMMER HELPER. Our Congressman, John Sweeney, aligns himself with 30 staunch Republicans who—says his spokeswoman, Melissa Carlson, in Associated Press item of 4/29—aim “to bring the focus in Congress back to issues at hand: tax cuts and economic growth, not individual members’ trips abroad, or individual attacks on members.” Translation: make no concessions; let’s stifle talk about ethical standards of our Leader, Tom DeLay. Further translation: would that tax cuts and economic growth were current issues, rather than Social Security, school financing, military equipment, national debt, or crashing stock prices. Anyhow, his avowal of stout support for The Hammer was not posted, as of today (4/30), on Mr Sweeney’s web site. Neither, for that matter, is verbiage about public policies. Among postings, meanwhile, is text of Sweeney bombast in response last January to President Bush’s State of Union Address: “Bold agenda for moving America forward at a time when we face a war for freedom abroad and a race for personal and financial security here at home”; “Armed with principle and motivated by purpose, the President outlined a program for the next four years that will be remembered for generations to come.” ELEGANT is apt adjective for new web site of ellipse-happy, Surprise-based artist Jeanette Fintz. And her site is one of dozens crafted for GreeneLand (and other) artists, enterprisers and organizers by ace web designer/manager Tony Rago ( TOLLS for Thruway use will go up on May 15, by 25% for passenger cars, 35% for commercial vehicles, but with 5-10% discounts off new regular toll for E-Z Pass users, and further discount deals available for heavy users. Rationale given by Thruway Authority is need for $2.6 billion to fix up some 500 of the complex’s 641 miles of roadbed along with 220 bridges. Also to add E-Z Pass lanes. First increase since 1988. (But increased volume has not generated savings for capital works?) CEMENTUM INTERRUPTUS = how some wags characterized termination of St Lawrence Cement Company’s plan to build mammoth coal-powered plant in Greenport. News stories have cited figure of $56 million as what SLC spent before giving up. Could land acquisition, drawings, submissions, advertisements, lawyers really cost that much? Anyhow, company mavens say SLC will put $10 million into work on existing GreeneLand (Cementon) plant without changing “footprint” and “throughput.” Incidentally, usually reliable sources report that Friends of Hudson’s 4/23 victory party left behind 95 empty champagne bottles. . WIDE AWAKE. At Sleepy Hollow Lake these days, things are anything but sleepy. According to owners’ association president Doug Calkins, 25 homes are currently under construction, plans for 14 more constructions have lately been approved, 10 applications are in pipeline. Gated 2200-acre residential community, with glistening 320-acre lake, 22 miles of roads, lodge, swimming pools, marina, tennis courts, driving range, meeting rooms, and other amenities now contains 615 homes. Property values have “increased substantially. My guess is about 250 per cent.” They’ve come a long long way from days when county took ownership of multiple lots for non-payment of taxes. “BAREY” is name of cartoon character who urges visitors to website to “escape from the hustle, bustle and overly clad daily grind.” He particularly commends escape to 65-acre, 50-campsite, “family oriented clothing optional resort” in westernmost Athens. Among “’natural’ fun” offerings this summer, on some Saturdays, are “Draw the Nude” classes. “Overt sexual behavior” is verboten, though, and “When nude [at poolside, e.g.] “please sit on your own towel.” Discounts await members of American Association of Nude Recreation or of Naturist Society. Not advertised and possibly fictional is tale that daughter of famous Doctor Ruth will be there some weekends to provide Gender Empathy training.

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