Sunday, April 24, 2005

Times a-Changing

HOT TIP. To see what richly deserves its billing as “treasury of Catskill mountain history,” get into MOMENTUM. In March, Village of Catskill issued 52 building permits. That all-time record (according to Mayor Vincent Seeley, at recent Heart of Catskill Association meeting) probably will be surpassed soon. Pace of (re)construction likely will grow in wake of apparently definitive end of mammoth St. Lawrence Cement scheme, and of feature stories such as last Friday’s in Escapes section of New York Times. Says author David Wallis: “Urbanites from New York, priced out of more traditional weekending locales east of the Hudson, are making Catskill their port of call.” Though “rising fast,” prices of our quaint cottages and decayed Victorians still are well below east-of-Hudson equivalents. Despite “rough edges,” petty crime, exorbitant taxes and dearth of good restaurants, Catskill “retains a grandeur from its days as a busy port.” Among attractions are Thomas Cole Historic Site, specialty shops (he got that wrong), golf club, proximity to ski resorts, farmers’ market, riverside events, and—quoting a new weekender—“Everybody’s friendly and seems to care about each other.” . OLD AS NEW? East bank of Catskill Creek soon will be home, again, to Harbor Lights restaurant. That was its name when built and opened by late Lloyd Newcombe. In subsequent years it has been Watercolors, Verandah’s, and J.D. Morell’s, as well as vacant. New operator Cynthia Marotta currently runs Shady Harbor Marina restaurant in New Baltimore. Front end manager would be Tina Ottinger of The Garden Gate. Assuming wrinkles concerning lease (from Tower Water Edge, owner of condos on south side) and health inspection get ironed out, Ms Marotta anticipates opening in mid-May. LAWYERS. Joining stampede to GreeneLand is burgeoning Albany law firm of Tully, Rinckney & Associates. All being well (lease-wise), Tullyans soon will occupy second floor of Brown, Kelleher & Zwickel building at corner of William & Main in Catskill. Two of firm’s nine attorneys will move here, one will be recruited locally along with secretary and paralegal. While he’s no stranger to GreeneLand courts, Tully is known more widely as survivor of Twin Towers horror in Manhattan who subsequently represented pro bono an Arab American who was being victimized by workplace discrimination. In course of expansion, we hope, Tully will add editor who forestalls dreaded numerical disagreement between subject and verb, as in “our team of attorneys, paralegals and secretaries are available to assist you….” GALLERY #8? Another building has just changed hands on Main Street, Catskill, and buyers plan, for ground floor, an art gallery. From Peter Colges, for about $190,000, and with optimal mortgage terms from Bank of Greene County, Hudson Talbott and Rudy Berkhout bought 3-story, 4-apartment, 4000-square foot building at 462 Main. Which is right next door to what they are currently restoring for use, on ground floor, as—what else?—art gallery. POTS. Catskill’s Main Street soon will be dotted with 50 big new flower pots, replacing 10-year-old oak half-barrels. They’ll grace streetscape thanks to $1000 gifts from Garden Club and Heart of Catskill Association. And any merchant who wants storefront pot, replete with flowers, can have one for a measly $10 fee. CONDEMNED: Two brick, partly roofless buildings along Catskill Creek, at 125 Water Street, just north of erstwhile Oren’s Furniture warehouse. Task of clearing out will be monumental. They are crammed with engineer Frank McDonald’s lifetime accumulation of machinery, books, model trains, treasures, junk.... Once site is cleared, part of it would provide link in Walkway running along creek from Catskill Point north. DEPARTED: Tina Gagliardy, popular manager, from Creekside Restaurant in Hop-O-Nose Marina, to Sysco food company in Clifton Park. Tina and ex-boss Sean Mahur, sources say, are on speaking terms. DEALS OFF? Prospect that Catskill’s Community Theater would be sold by proprietor Tom Thornton to buyers keen to bring back Vaudeville, sources say, has receded. Parties are too far apart on price. And negotiations over rental of erstwhile Mayflower café, sources say, have collapsed--close to finalization stage, over issue related to crockery. (Notice use of Sources Say dodge). PETITION seeking construction of new Thruway exit here, connecting to Route 23A in west Catskill, is being offered to Dan Berkowitz’s customers at Whole Donut. Case for such an addition is fortified by imminent presence of Wal-Mart and other stores in “Catskill Commons”; getting there from Thruway by way of Exit 21 will be awkward. Petition sponsors say proposed connection “was originally planned for Catskill, when the New York State thruway was originated.” . PADDLING. According to Daily Mail (4/16), Ron Rausch is forming club for canoe, kayak and rowboat hobbyists. Organizational meeting to be held April 28, 7 pm, Coxsackie Village Hall. For more information, ring 731-6077 or e-mail FILM DEAL? Rumor has it (or doesn’t) that GreeneLand screenwriter Robert Hervey has been approached about adapting recently published anthropological treatise Lust of the Mohicans for movie script. Producers could have been impressed by imaginative Hervey entry in 2004 Scriptapalooza competition: “A humiliated comedy writer steals a nasty TV producer's limo and kidnaps his precocious kids on the pretense of taking them to summer camp. The kids love it and never want to go home, and he becomes the successful producer of his own comedy showcase theater. (Saturday Night Live goes to Woodstock).” If film project eventuates, however, product may not qualify as family entertainment. Producers’ other credits may include R-rated Das Booty, All Hands on Dick, On Golden Blonde and Good Will Humping. If this item, like next one, were anything but fantasy. CRANK CALL. Cyber correspondent claiming to speak for elusive Rohrlich Trust denies sponsorship of anthropological/genitalogical research culminating in aforementioned Lust of the Mohicans. Claims instead to have backed Revolutionary War-timed study published as Yank My Doodle—It’s a Dandy.

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