[Editors note: I apologize to anyone who has left a comment, my spam trap is overzealous and I believe I may have deleted several that were mistakenly marked as spam by my filter software (I get hundreds of spam comments a week so its hard to sort them them).]
In September of 2012 I flew to New York to attend the wedding of two college friends. Sarah and Mary Katherine had been living together as a couple for a number of years before gay marriage was finally legalized in the state of New York and they could get around to making an honest woman out of each other. Their wedding was held in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York (culturally and economically, anything outside of NYC city limits can be considered “upstate”) and the nearest hotel was in the city of Kingston.
I had lived across and just down the Hudson River from Kingston in the city of Beacon but had never visited as I don’t drive. Occasional articles from the New York Times tried to paint the city as the New New Brooklyn but the NY Times isn’t exactly known for its accuracy in reporting when it comes to cultural matters. It didn’t take long to discover the part of town that the Times had been raving about as it consisted of two blocks worth of upscale restaurants and bars. The food was quite good and I enjoyed what it had to offer but outside this small area the town was rather subdued and I generally found it uninteresting visually.
What I did find interesting was the remains of the industry that had formerly animated the Hudson Valley but most of all I was drawn to the river.
Even as the industry has dried up the footprint it left on the region is still there in the form of railroads and of course, the river itself. Some of the rail lines were still active but the river itself has ceased to be important to industry and is now primarily for pleasure and tourism. Again, industry affected the growth of towns as most of the residential structures in Kingston were well away from the river which used to be lined with factories who used the water for power and transporting goods. Strangely this has worked out well for the post-industrial Hudson Valley as it leaves the waterfronts open for parks and scenic walks once the factories and docks are renovated or torn down.