Friday, July 18, 2008

Hot Greenews

IN PROSPECT: a new GreeneLand performing arts complex, in a building that once was a flourishing performance site. An offer has been made for, yes, the Athens (or Brooks) Opera House, on Second Street. Opened back in 1893, it has been the site at various times of Vaudeville shows, silent movies, Odd Fellows, basketball games, bowling alleys, high school dances and graduation ceremonies, Major Bowes-type amateur hours, a kosher meat market, antiques stores, and dress-making (1943-83, under the brothers Brooks, as distinct from the Brooks Brothers). Harvey Durham, who attended high school in Athens before the construction of today’s Coxsackie-Athens High School (and who taught history at the latter), recalls playing basketball there on the second floor, under beams that made it hazardous to attempt high-arc shots, thereby handicapping visiting teams. The prospective buyers, who are negotiating with owner Don Fontaine, are theatrical veterans Rita and John Carver, of Bear Fly Designs (“designers, consultants, doers for the visual arts”). The Carvers moved recently from Dutchess County to Earlton, and proceeded to launch an instructional venture (various stage techniques, for various age groups) called Dragon Fly Performing Arts.

152 = number of Kittis sold at auction Saturday in downtown Catskill. The ceramic figures, painted by children and then fired by Lillian Johnson of Imagine That! (“come on in and paint a piece”) fetched between $10 and $170, with $30 being the average. Champion bidders, in number of Kittis acquired—13 apiece--were Pamela Howard and Village President Vincent Seeley. The top sellers were made by Athena McIndoo, aged 10, and by Tristan Arg, aged 4 (!). The artists get 25 per cent of gross sale price. Sales, according to Ms Johnson’s account, came to about $4600. Most of the money will sustain the Community Center’s burgeoning programs.

DEEP DIVISION? While most school board trustees agree in their votes most of the time, a different pattern evidently prevails in the Cairo-Durham district. As reported by David Gordon (Daily Mail, 7/12), the Cairo-Durham trustees divided 5 to 4 in votes for board president (August Freemann over Susan Kusminsky) and vice-president (William Alfeld over, again, Ms Kusminsky).

SWINGER ALERT I. The former Saint Bridget’s Church, next door to The Inn At Leeds, is now Catskill Sportsplex, an indoor practice facility for batters (hardball and softball) and golfers, as well as, eventually, for socceroos and laser tag snipers. The proprietor, Chris Quinn, is a State Trooper when he is not playing or coaching. The Sportsplex stands about mid-way between alternatives in Albany and Saugerties. Use of a cage, with its hand-fed pitching machine (so: bring a partner), costs $20 per half-hour. 947-0611.

SWINGER ALERT II. The new golf course called The Lazy Swan, on Old Kings Highway north of Saugerties, gets high marks from recent GreeneLand visitors. “Even though it’s only nine holes,” says K.A., “it’s worth a visit. Excellent design [by Barry Jordan], lush fairways, appropriately placed traps, daunting contoured greens that are fast but true.” “Best physical condition of a new course that I’ve ever seen,” says well-travelled A.O. “But the price,” adds D.O., “is steep.” Indeed, the greens fee per cart-riding adult for 18 holes is $58. Discounts for juniors and seniors (weekdays) are trifling. Annual memberships, according to the rate card, cost $1850 for singles, $3000 for couples. Members are entitled to discounts in the Pro Shop; but that facility remains to be built. Members also, presumably, have the right of access to the club house—once it gets built. Information about rates is not given on the Lazy Swan’s web site, which is semi-literate and variously touts “The Lazy Swan Golf and Country Club Resort” and “The Lazy Swan Golf and Country Club Village.”

LAYOFFS, substantial ones, have affected employees of GreeneLand automobile dealers. As one would expect.

NEWS NOTES. Two recipients of Rotary International awards were joined in a ceremony by previous winners of “the distinguished award.” “Heavy flooding in recent years have altered” a stream. A fiberglass cat “rest’s in the window of her shop…waiting for it’s time to return to the street.” An “ingenious training implement was first used to train Jose Torres before his 1965 bought against;…Pastrano.” “In portions of the county…water quality and preventing soil erosion is a top concern.” “Free hots and refreshments were provided, along with inflatable rides for children.” “In other business, trustees discussed setting guidelines for groups wishing to use Athens Riverfront Park with their attorney’s representative suggested they might want to check with their insurer regarding village coverage for liabilities.” “’We wouldn’t be here today without the support [of the town council]. We’re very gracious of that’” versus “’We would not be getting grants, donations or fund raising if it were not for the town’s support. I cannot underscore that enough.’” Senator Seward “secured $100,000 in capital funding for Greenville’s wastewater treatment plan—the sticky widget that has been a thorn in the side” of officialdom. Rene Van Schaack joined the Greene County Soil & Water Conservation Agency “under a newly created title…and he was there ever since.”

DOINGS this weekend in GreeneLand include bluegrass music, classical music, Irish music, a crafts festival, a Wacky Raft race, a play (“Amadeus”), a theatrical funding celebration, a big antiques auction, a movable feast, an art galleries tour…. Details at,,, ,,,

1 comment:

river222 said...

Wish I had a dollar for every time the owner (DF) of the Brooks Opera House spoiled a deal, quite a few over the last 25 years. He likes to hold the royal jewels of the hamlet of Athens in the palms of his hands...
as this beautiful structure continues to crumble.