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Showing posts from June, 2008

West Point Grad and Guinan's Patron Quoted in NYTimes on Religion & Military Controversy

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One familiar face at Guinan's during its last few years was a West Point cadet named Brad Hoelscher. He came to Guinan's on his 21st birthday and continued to support the store both as a patron and as an extra pair of beer-slinging hands on several of the busiest nights during Guinan's final hours.

Brad is quoted in this New York Times story yesterday about the controversy over what kind of role religion plays and should play at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and other service academies.

It's an interesting piece, even if you don't know Brad. For those of you who do, he graduated on May 31st. I was lucky enough to attend the ceremony and spend time with his family and friends that day. They are an incredible bunch. As for Second LieutenantBrad's next steps, I'll keep you posted here.

Music from Liz Carroll & John Doyle @ Philipstown Depot Theatre Friday

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From Nancy Montgomery:

This duo is on the Irish Echo's top 10 list. Their last recording - In Play - "one of the best Irish traditional recordings of the year" - Earle Hitchner, The Irish Echo.
They play BIG venues, but because of a generous sponsorship from The Morton McGrath Group of RBC Wealth Management, they are playing at our tiny 1890's gem (the old stone train station at Garrison's Landing) on the Hudson - The Philipstown Depot Theatre:

Philipstown Depot Theatre
Music Tracks and Bull Hill Productions Presents:
Liz Carroll & John Doyle
Friday June 27th at 8:00pm
$30 by calling 845-424-3900


Note: John Doyle has been named to Irish America's Top 100 for 2008. His profile appears in the April/May 2008 issue of Irish America magazine, now on newsstands.

Salute to "Barkeep" John Guinan

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The Poughkeepsie Journal published this nice tribute to John Guinan last week by Barbara Nackman. She talks a lot about his commitment to Braking the Cycle (aka, "The Ride") that he participated in every year -- and which his daughter Kelly now does in his stead with a group of us from Guinan's.

We're approaching the three-month mark for the ride. All the rain has kept a lot of Team Guinan off the road, but training has to begin in earnest soon. (Or we'll all be sorry.)

We're also entering into serious fund-raising mode. Please consider making a donation to help us meet our $50,000 goal at the Team Guinan link. It's a large amount in an economy that's got everyone watching their dollars. But it's for a very important cause that meant a lot to a man who meant so much to us. We're very appreciative of your help.

Photo by Kelly Guinan titled "I am my father's daughter." All Rights Reserved.

And 1,000 Names It Is...

Congratulations and thank you to all signers. We've just reached 1,000 names supporting a new store at #7 Garrison's Landing.

Please continue to forward the link to your friends and family. Remember, your voices have been heard.

Only 8 More Signatures To 1,000

Your enthusiasm for and commitment toward seeing a new store at #7 Garrison's Landing is contagious. We're approaching 1,000 names on the petition now, and the wonderful comments keep coming.

Here's to passing the thousand-name milestone today. Please encourage people in the area and who know about what Guinan's represented to this town and greater public good to read the mission statement and sign in support.

Again, thank you for all who've already done so. Everyone has busy days, and we're extremely appreciative that you spared a few minutes for this.

Letter From LTC Kenny McDonald

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Below, a letter from a U.S. officer recently wounded in Iraq:

Dear Station Plaza Board Members,

I would like you to consider Mary Ellen Yanitelli's proposal for the Guinan's Country Store and Pub. There is a great opportunity to keep "a warm and special place" in Garrison.

I am a career military officer stationed at West Point and have been attending the Irish nights at Guinan's since 1995. I just recently returned from two years in Iraq after being critically wounded. I was more hurt by the news that Guinan's was closed than I was with my physical wounds. One of the "things" I clung to during my recovery were memories of Garrison and Guinan's. You can not imagine how important this was to my recovery.

I believe there is something so very special about this community. This is an opportunity to keep the community together....

God Bless,

LTC Kenny McDonald
Deputy Commander
US Army Corps of Engineers
New York District

Photo by Gwendolyn Bounds. All R…

Garrison Station Plaza Board Formally Requests Proposals for ex-Guinan's Building

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This ad was published in this week's Putnam Country News & Recorder soliciting proposals for new businesses to operate at #7 Garrison's Landing. As the ad notes, "many people have expressed hope that at least some portion of that building ... will continue to be leased to a tenant whose business contributes to community interaction and convenience."

Thank you to all who have signed the petition backing a new general store or similar venue in this spot. We're closing in on 1,000 signatures. Please continue to encourage new signers and throw your support behind those who might have a viable plan to serve our community in this space.


Journal-News: "Barkeep a giving person right up to his own death"

Barkeep a giving person right up to his own death
Barbara Livingston Nackman
666 words
17 June 2008
Poughkeepsie Journal
1B
English
(c) Copyright 2008, Poughkeepsie Journal. All Rights Reserved.

GARRISON - For a decade, Fishkill resident John Guinan each year rode his bike hundreds of miles to raise money to combat AIDS, the disease that took the life of his brother-in-law. Now, friends and relatives of the man whose family founded the legendary Guinan's pub will do the same to honor his memory this fall.

Guinan, 56, died June 3 at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie after a two-year battle with brain cancer. Guinan first realized some numbness in 2006 during his last ride for Braking the Cycle, which benefits health services at New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

Garrison resident Gwendolyn Bounds rode with Guinan. A columnist for the Wall Street Journal, she wrote "Little Chapel on the River," chronicling how Guinan's p…

Garrison Station Plaza Agrees to Revisit Store Issue; But Outcome Still Unclear

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Members of the Garrison Station Plaza board agreed this morning to revisit whether there should be a store or similar public venue housed in the building formerly known as “Guinan’s.” While this is a positive move to those of us supporting such an establishment, it remains unclear what direction the board will ultimately take.

Edward N. Preusser, a shareholder who is not on the board, presented the results gathered so far on a public petition started this week that calls for preserving such a store on Garrison’s Landing. To date, 910 people have signed both from the New York region as well as around the country and overseas.

The board discussed how and where they might solicit proposal for such use of the space. (One such proposal has already been submitted and may still be considered despite earlier indications that it would not.) GSP board members agreed they would study the matter and make a decision about their direction in the near future.

Those who have not signed the petition, but…

823 Signatures and Counting..

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Your support for a new public venue or store at 7 Garrison's Landing (the building formerly known as "Guinan's") is overwhelming. As of this writing, there are 823 signatures to the online petition with page after page of heartfelt, eloquent comments accompanying them.

Thank you. And thank you again. I'll keep everyone updated here -- as live as I can -- on the outcome of tomorrow morning's board meeting at 10 a.m. at the Desmond-Fish Library.

There have also been many people who have emailed their stories and reasons for support. Here is one:

My visits to Guinan's were primarily as a commuter getting coffee and a paper before jumping on the train for the last 15 years. That may not sound like a big deal, but when it comes with a friendly neighbor behind the counter sharing 15 seconds of the latest news, a joke or a commiseration about the weather or whatever, it is a big positive deal. You can understand why I, like most of the people who take that train …

Petition to Preserve the Spot Formerly Known as Guinan's Pub & Country Store

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A petition is now online strongly encouraging the shareholders of Garrison Station Plaza, which owns the building formerly-known as Guinan's, to include a new store in their renovation plans.

While several members support this idea, the board is also considering converting the building into all office space and/or apartments or other configurations with no cafe or store, according to people familiar with the plans. The board already has turned down a proposal to build a new cafe from former Guinan's regular, Mary Ellen Yannitelli. No specific explanation was given. (See this Journal-News article by Barbara Nackman for more.)

Many residents, myself included, and tourists who've visited Garrison's Landing feel that to not include a public gathering spot here would deprive the town of a much-needed resource in a critical location for commuters, Garrison Art Center patrons and talent, cadets, tourists, boaters, Landing businesses and other citizens.

The petition is a move to …

"The Man Behind the Bar..."

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Garrison resident, friend to John Guinan and morning commuter Dwight Garnerwrote this fine tribute to John Guinan today on his New York Times book blog, Paper Cuts.

Last year Dwight posted about his commute from Garrison, and noted how Guinan's was one of the "Hudson Valley’s last great establishments."

No argument here.

In today's post, Dwight fittingly described Garrison's loss of John this way: "The town feels atomized without him." During John's battle with brain cancer, Dwight often sent John books he thought he'd shine to -- just another example of the small ways the morning commuters paid back the man behind the bar for his kinship.

Dwight lives here with his wife, author Cree LeFavour, who writes this interesting, visual foodie blog called On the Plate.

NYTimes on John Guinan; Community Donates Graciously to Weekend's Memorial Services

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New York Times "Our Towns" columnist Peter Applebome Friday penned this tribute to John Guinan and the Garrison's Landing store his family ran from 1959 until 2008.

Peter has written two other stories about Guinans, one in 2007 and another this year.

In his most recent post, Peter included a moving quote from John about what the store meant to him all these years:

“I’m not sure exactly how, but we became a comfort zone for people,” [John] said, “a place that reminds people of a place they went to when they were young, something that makes them think good thoughts. People need a place like this, but the reward you get for the kindness you provide is worth much more than whatever you give out. It blows me away to be a part of it.”


John also would have been blown away at the generosity of the community during his wake, funeral service and memorial reception at Garrison's Landing. One of his dear friends, Mary Ellen Yannitelli -- who has proposed opening a new store to carr…

A Celebration of John Guinan

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Friends of the Guinan family gathered yesterday to celebrate the life of John Guinan at Our Lady of Loretto in Cold Spring, N.Y. and later on Garrison's Landing at a reception hosted by the Garrison Art Center. Bagpipers (from the Cold Spring Fire Co. Pipe & Drum Corps, I'm told) gave a wonderful farewell to him.

Several riders from Braking the Cycle came by train from New York to commemorate John, who has pedaled with them since the ride's inception. The organizers of Braking the Cycle, among them Eric Epstein, Blake Strasser and Steve Bratton, have graciously made John honorary Rider Number 1 this year.

This ride was enormously important to John. He rode every year to celebrate the life of his late brother-in-law Tommy. His wife Mary Jane often crewed; now his daughter Kelly leads a team of us from Guinan's who ride in his stead.

In lieu of flowers or other tributes to John, the family has asked that donations be made to Braking the Cycle and Team Guinan. (Any dona…

An Irish Memorial for John Guinan

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This is the outside of now-closed Guinan's Pub & Country Store yesterday, where flowers, dolls, photos and even a bottle of Harp are being laid in honor of John Guinan who died Tuesday night.

While the store has been gutted and is empty inside, it's still filled with the stories and souls of the people who loved it and the family who kept its doors open nearly 50 years. Today, we will gather to honor John Guinan both in church and later on the shores of the Hudson near the store where so many of us first came to know him.

Photo by Christine Ashburn

Garrison School Blog Spring Edition Launches

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"Garrison rocks."
That's what 10 seventh-grade students have to say about their town. Today they launched their Spring edition of the "Cougar Times" online. [NOTE: I'm with them live-blogging from their classroom.]

Included in the edition are book reviews, stories about summertime, articles on school issues, photos and community news about where the 8th graders are going to school next year.

The students have been working for two months under Charlotte Rowe at the Garrison Union Free School District.
Journalists working on the project include: Lianna Culp, Richard Stiehl, Eryn Kelly, Nicklas Clemente, Simon Close, Lindy Labriola, Robby Schartner, Olivia Mennillo, Madison Freeman and Chloe Wareham-Gordon.

Congratulations to them all.

Poughkeepsie Journal Obit for John Guinan

An obituary for John Guinan ran today in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Many people know John mostly from his days behind the counter at Guinan's Pub & Country Store. But reading this testimony to his life sheds light on the many other facets of his character.

For details about the memorial services being held for John, as well as how to reach the family, please see this post.

Journal-News: "Yearning for a new Guinan's, but Garrison owners say no"

Yearning for a new Guinan's, but Garrison owners say no
Barbara Livingston Nackman
880 words
5 June 2008
The Journal News (White Plains, NY)


GARRISON - It's been more than four months since Guinan's pub and country store closed - and pining for a reopening has become something of a local pastime.

The old glass-fronted counters inside the Garrison Landing shop are gone, and the interior walls have been stripped bare and opened to the studs. No neon signs suggest beer varieties, and there is a clear view of the Hudson River from the front entrance.

There is no final word from the building's owners, Garrison Station Plaza Inc., on what exactly will replace the beloved Irish pub begun by Jim Guinan in 1959.

One resident, Mary Ellen Yannitelli, whose family is historically connected to the site, is hoping she can make it into Hudson Cafe.

"I don't want to do this for melancholy sentimental reasons. I don't have a claim on it," she said from her home, a short walk …

John Guinan: 1952 to 2008

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John Guinan died last night after a long, and extraordinarily brave fight with brain cancer. He is survived by his wife Mary Jane, children Sean, Kelly and Casey, granddaughter Zoe, his siblings Margaret, Christine and Jimmy and his father Jim.

Your notes and calls to John over the past 18 months have meant more than you'll ever know. Rarely does someone hear such widespread affection from so many corners of the world. He deserved all of the love but took none of it for granted. And he changed many lives, my own included, in big and small ways.

The family will hold a wake from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday:
Clinton Funeral Home
21 Parrott Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516
(845) 265-3333

John's funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday:
Our Lady of Loretto
24 Fair Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516
(845) 265-3781

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Braking the Cycle and Team Guinan. This link will take you directly to Team Guinan's donation page, or t…