Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"...We Have Been Given Courage and Fortitude..."

Sunday marked the 51st Annual Candlelight Thanksgiving Service for the Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry School Museum. Held in the non-denominational Chapel of Our Lady Restoration in Cold Spring, a dramatic piece of Greek Revival architecture perched on a rock bluff over the Hudson, the service paid tribute to past proclamations of thanks by various U.S. leaders.

This one, read by Elliott Sumers, seems particularly timely:

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1934

"... During the past year, we have been given courage and fortitude to meet the problems which have confronted us in our national life. Our sense of social justice has deepened. We have been given vision to make new provisions for human welfare and happiness, and in a spirit of mutual helpfulness we have cooperated to translate vision into reality.

More greatly have we turned our hearts and minds to things spiritual. We can truly say, "What profiteth it a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its own soul." With gratitude in our hearts for what has already been achieved, may we, with the help of God, dedicate ourselves anew to work for the betterment of mankind."

Photo courtesy: www.chapelofourlady.com. The chapel was rescued after abandonment and vandalizing, by human hands and those of Mother Nature, in 1970 by a group of concerned citizens. Read more at its Web site above.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bearded Dragon Gets Personal Reading of "Little Chapel"

How many times will I get to read a copy of "Little Chapel on the River" to a Bearded Dragon on camera for The Wall Street Journal?

Just one. Which is why I'm posting this video about composting here. Bearded Dragon cameo is midway through. Meantime, Walter -- my frugal neighbor from the book -- makes an appearance too!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Welcome Home Team Guinan!!!

Welcome Home Team Guinan! ... Here are photos of this year's two fearless riders: Ed Preusser and Christine Ashburn. They braved cold and rain and what was universally agreed to be the HARDEST hill in the history of Braking the Cycle.

With them on the ride was Team Guinan Captain, Kelly Guinan Preusser, who couldn't saddle up this year because she and Ed are expecting a Baby Preusser in coming months. Her mom Mary Jane Guinan was there helping and cheering as well.

In total, all the riders raised more than $273,000. Really fantastic in a tough economy so THANK YOU to all who generously donated. It means more than ever this year. You are champs! And John Guinan would have been so proud.

Photos by Kelly Guinan Preusser. All rights reserved. If you are on Facebook and friends with Kelly, you can see more of her photographs from the ride here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years Later...

"...the disaster itself had a ripple effect. The pain and the horror and the tragedy of it spread out through the world like the ripples on a pond when a pebble's been thrown in. But the healing travels back the other way, like the same ripples coming back towards the center after they've reached the shore." -- from the book "Where Was God on September 11th" by scientist John Horgan and Rev. Frank Geer, Garrison NY.

Friday, September 4, 2009

FREE Guinan's-Inspired Trivet for Donations to Team Guinan

Local "tile guy," pro photographer and graphic designer Russ Cusick has graciously offered to give away free one of these Guinan's-inspired trivets to anyone making a final week $50 or larger donation to Team Guinan -- led by Kelly Guinan -- for Braking the Cycle.

Russ designed the trivets and they were sold at the store during its final weeks of operation.

After you've made your donation, simply forward your donation confirmation email to Russ at rvc845@yahoo.com along with your mailing address and your trivet will be on the way.

AND MOST IMPORTANT -- Here's the link to donate. Time is short. They ride next week. Please be generous and thank you to Russ for his generosity.

If you need any more inspiration to donate, check out the short video tribute Russ put together of Team Guinan and John below.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Only 2 WEEKS LEFT to Support Team Guinan

Time, and the cold weather, is catching up with Team Guinan. The latter isn't so bad -- the former is harder because they still need your donations to ride.

It's the Boston to New York leg, and if you've never ridden a bike from Boston to New York, think about how long it feels in a car. Now imagine it on a bike. (That's Kelly Guinan in 2007 pictured.)

They really need your financial support to ride because any money they don't raise, they are responsible for paying themselves. And $3500 per person is not small change.

So, please give a little, give a lot. Just give!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happy 40th to Two Parishioners...

Happy Birthday to Ed Preusser and Christine Ashburn! Everyone should look so stylish at 40...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Garrison Art Center Fine Arts & Crafts Fair Opens Saturday

Price: Admission $8/adult Kids 12 & under free
Start Time: Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 10:00am
End Time: Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 5:00pm
Location: Garrison Art Center
Street: Garrison's Landing
City/Town: Garrison, NY
Phone: 845.424.3960
Email: info@garrisonartcenter.org

On August 15th & 16th, 2009, the Garrison Art Center 40th Annual Fine Arts & Crafts Fair (FACF) will host this annual gathering for collectors of fine art and craft. Organized by the Garrison Art Center, a not-for-profit community cultural organization, the event is a longstanding community event and the Art Center's largest annual fundraiser.

Some 90 regionally and nationally known artists with traditional and alternative crafts are expected. There will be free rides upon the sloop Woody Guthrie, regional food artisans and wineries, Acoustic Music Series live performances, a new Gourmet Food Court.

More about the event on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When the Shamrock Still Shone By the River...

...Nights like tonight, when a cold beer's sweat and good conversation in a tight space could cut straight through this humidity, make me wish again it still did.

(photo taken circa 2004. all rights reserved.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Summer Scoops" @ Lincoln Center -- August 18th

Hi everyone -- I'm borrowing the blog for something personal, but in keeping with the spirit of community and collaboration and partnerships. On Tuesday, Aug. 18th at 7 p.m., I'll be moderating a panel about collaboration at Lincoln Center in New York City featuring a group of extraordinary artists. Among them: rock musicians Stew and his creative partner Heidi Rodewald who co-wrote the Tony-award winning musical Passing Strange (video clip above) and the incredible choreographer Bill T. Jones whose musical Fela! is headed to Broadway this fall.

The event is part of The Wall Street Journal's "Summer Scoops" series at Lincoln Center, and I'm pretty damn humbled to be a part of the evening. It would be awesome (and reassuring!) to see some Hudson Valley faces in the audience so if you are interested, tickets are still available online here or by calling 212.721.6500. And please email to let me know if you are coming so I can look for you...

Hope everyone is having a great summer.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pete Seeger Musical Tribute to Benefit Clearwater

When: Saturday, August 15th, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Where: Chapel of our Lady Restoration-Opposite Metro North in Cold Spring (Free Parking on Weekends)
Why: To support Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Cost: Tickets are $60-seating is limited.
for further information, contact Clearwater at (845) 454-7673

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jim Guinan & The Single Rose

Christine Guinan D'Onofrio, Jim's youngest daughter, recently shared these two compelling photos she took.

The first she shot last year when her father had returned to the Hudson Highlands for his son John's funeral. While there, Jim went down to #7 Garrison's Landing to see his old home again. The image speaks for itself.

The second is a single flower that Christine found blooming unexpectedly on an old family rose bush at her home in Florida after she arrived there from her father's funeral in April of this year. There had not been blooms on the bush for a couple of years. Christine says she took this single flower as a sign from her Mom, Peg, that Jim had arrived to his wife safe and sound in heaven.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Irish Night Musicians Move to the Stadium

Many of the musicians who played at "Irish Night" at Guinan's will now be playing at "The Stadium" on Route 9 in Garrison, near Graymoor.

Guitarist Jack McAndrew writes that the crew will be playing outdoors during the summer weather permitting. (Given Mother Nature's track record this June, don't hold your breath.)

They will play on the same schedule as established at Guinan's, i.e, the Thursday of the full moon or the first Thursday following a Full Moon. For example, if the full moon is on a Saturday, they will have their seisiun on the following Thursday.

July 9
Aug. 6
Sept. 10

Monday, June 29, 2009


Team Guinan will ride again this year for Braking the Cycle with a smaller, devoted crew who needs your support and donations more than ever.

Riders include: Kelly Guinan Preusser, Ed Preusser, Christine Ashburn and Dean Bradshaw. Kelly's Mom, Mary Jane, is likely to be part of the crew. They ride/crew in honor of the late John Guinan, a long-time rider who has been dubbed honorary Rider #1 for Braking the Cycle, and his late brother-in-lawn, Tom Caruso.

The ride goes from Boston to New York this time -- a tough terrain. They leave on September 11th and ride into New York City on September 13th. Those of us former riders who can't make the ride this year hope everyone who supported us individually will send donations to Team Guinan.

CLICK HERE to donate online to Team Guinan.

More updates on the team and their training progress to come here on the blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Book of Poems Reflects on Guinan's

One former patron of Guinan's has just self-published a book of his poetry titled: "Writing in My Head: Guinan's, God and Other Things." There are several poems dedicated to the former pub and country store as well as members of the family.

With permission, here is an excerpt:

"The Communion of Saints"

It's Irish Night at Guinan's
first Thursday after the full moon
and the place is packed.

And there is a harp
And a bodhran
And a few accordions
And a whistle
And a few guitars
And a few fiddles
And some singers
And a lot of beer.

There are some writers
And plumbers
And a Governor
(with a State Police guard).
And restauranteurs
And real estate agents
And professors
And whoever else walks in.

And there is much talk and gaiety
until there is a hush when
Jim is ready to sing
"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"
And we all listen.
Kelly's behind the bar
Jim's in the kitchen
And we all take turns
putting money on
the deli register.

Trust abounds, laughter is king,
joy reigns, and we are friends
with people we don't even know.

And then it ends
And we all go home.
We are a funny people.

Copyright 2006 John F. McMullen (Originally published in "Cashing A Check.")

"Little Chapel" Chosen as Summer Read by Town of Waco, Texas

This is kind of cool and unexpected. The story of Guinan's will fall into the hands of readers in Waco, Texas later this summer. Little Chapel on the River was picked as a summer read for the community's One Book, One Waco program.

The book was selected for exploring "themes of family and friendship as well as the importance of building a strong community." Last summer's pick was "Marley: A Dog Like No Other." Clearly they hadn't heard of Lou-Lou yet.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dar Williams to Play for ecoartspace and Habitat for Artists

Date: Saturday, June 27th, 2009
Location: McKenna Theater SUNY New Paltz campus
Street: 1 Hawk Drive
Town: New Paltz, NY
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25 At the door: $30
Phone: 8452573844
Email: amy@ecoartspace.org

Cold Spring, N.Y.-based singer/songwriter Dar Williams and special guest Nick Panasevich will perform at the McKenna Theater/SUNY New Paltz to benefit the work of ecoartspace and Habitat for Artists, a collective of artists based in the Hudson Valley including:

Chris Albert, Richard Bruce, Sharon L. Butler, E. Odin Cathcart, Ryan Cronin, Simon Draper, Kathy Feighery, Marnie Hillsley, Matthew Kinney, Grace Knowlton, Michael Natiello, Sara Mussen, Steven Rossi, Todd Sargood, Matthew Slaats, Lynn Stein, Dar Williams, Grey Zeien, Donald Kimmel and Flying Swine live Theater.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Memories of High Holy Day 2006

This nice photo comes from Jim Donnery. Pictured: John Guinan and Mike R. Mihalik on St. Patrick's Day, 2006.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Final Toast...Thank You Jim Guinan

Photo taken May 24, 2008 by Roy Gumpel. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Russ Cusick to Jim Guinan...

From Russ Cusick in honor of Jim Guinan:

"Sadly, As many of you are aware, the incomparable Jim Guinan died on April 1st. I had some "Guinan's" photos from 1/29/08 (two days before the closing of "Guinan's,") with which I've put together a youtube video (above.) The camera crew shown in a couple of the photos is from Fox Business News....they were on location, shooting a story on Mr. Guinan and the "Guinan's" legacy in which the Author of "Little Chapel on the River," Wendy Bounds, John Guinan, and Jim Guinan were all interviewed."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Donations in Memory of Jim Guinan

From the Guinan family:

"Jim was involved with many organizations and if you would like to make a donation, in lieu of flowers, please consider one of the following: the James & Peg Guinan Family Community Award fund at the Garrison Union Free School - established in 2006 to honor the GUFS student who most strongly exhibits leadership by giving back to their community during the school year (for more information please contact Sue Huetter @ 845-424-3689); The Garrison Volunteer Fire Department; the Garrison Volunteer Ambulance Corp. or the American Diabetes Association in his memory. "

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Signing a Guest Book for Jim Guinan

There is a short, sweet obituary for Jim Guinan on the Web site of Loyless Funeral Home in Florida. The site has a online guest book where you can leave a note about Jim.

The family is currently deciding where they may request donations be made in lieu of flowers.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

James Guinan: December 27, 1925 to April 1, 2009

James Guinan died last night at Tampa University Community Hospital following complications from a chest cold. He was 83 years old.

Jim was with his daughters Christine and Margaret, his son-in-law Mike and some of his grandchildren. His friends and family in the Hudson Highlands were fortunate to have seen him here in "God's Country," as he called it, around St. Patrick's Day.

The family is still working out details and timing of the memorial services, and I will update everything here when they are ready, but here is the information they have so far. They thank everyone for their thoughts, good wishes and prayers:

Monday, April 13th and Tuesday April 14th
Clinton Funeral Home
21 Parrott Street, Cold Spring, NY 10516(845) 265-3333
2-4PM and 7-9PM (both days)

Funeral and Mass:
Wednesday, April 15th
24 Fair Street, Cold Spring, NY 10516(845) 265-3781
Interment to follow at the Cold Spring Cemetery

He was the Mayor of Garrison, he was equal friend to loved ones and strangers, and he touched and changed many, many lives, mine included. Thanks to his family of blood, and extended family of choice, he was never alone, even at the end.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Last Call for Tickets to Garrison Yacht Club Spring Dinner

Garrison Yacht Club will present The Eilen Jewell Band for its 2009 Spring Dinner. Details below:

When: Sunday, April 5
Time: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Dutchess Manor -- 263 Rte. 9D, Beacon, NY
Cost: $75 per person including full dinner and beverages and music. Checks should be made payable to Garrison Yacht Club and sent to P.O. Box 176, Garrison NY 10524

Tickets are available on first come, first serve basis until Sunday, March 29th. No tickets will be available at the door.

Contact info: fleetcaptain@garrisonyachtclub.com

Sponsors: Polhemus Construction, Nick Roberti's Marine, Samalot Marine and Sea Tow Central Hudson.
Photo by Jennifer Lucey-Brzoza @ eilenjewell.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Note About Guinan's, "Profitability," and the Future of # 7 Garrison's Landing

Two interesting pieces in this week's Putnam County News & Recorder neatly capture the tenor of the ongoing push to have a public gathering space in the old Guinan's building.

One, written by Michael Turton, does a nice job painting the scene of last week's lively Philipstown Planning Board meeting while a second by titled "A Brief History of the 'Little Chapel,'" describes the long, rich tenure of this particular gathering spot along the Hudson. (You need a subscription to view these pieces in full.)

Lindsley cites my book saying that Jim Guinan was determined to keep the place going even though the operation was losing money. It's true that at various points in time in its nearly 50-year history Guinan's struggled -- early on when Jim and his late wife Peg were launching the business, after Peg's death.

However, as my book also notes, according to the family the store also was profitable during its long history, including when it was under the leadership of Jim and Peg's daughter Christine and her husband Mike D'Onofrio; they say the store's business had tripled after their second year. And when Jim and Peg's other daughter Margaret finally shut the doors of Guinan's in 2008 after years of running it with her brother John and later help from her niece Kelly Guinan Preusser, she says the store was profitable.

Some board members of Garrison Station Plaza have suggested that a public enterprise like Guinan's on Garrison's Landing cannot succeed financially. Certainly there will always be struggles as the economy ebbs and flows for just about any business, large or small. Over nearly five decades, the Guinans weathered rough patches that will sound familiar to many entrepreneurs -- the death of a business partner, rising heating fuel prices, vendors who requested stricter payment terms, the loss of business from fuel tanks being removed at the Garrison's Landing boaters' dock. They had good years and bad years. But there was never an absence of foot traffic at the store, which rests at a critical entry and exit point for the hamlet. Demand was there.

Judging by the outpouring of support for a new gathering spot, it appears there are still a lot of people willing to spend their dollars again down at #7 Garrison's Landing in the right venue. Hopefully, they'll have a chance.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Possible Compromise for Old Guinan's Building?

At last night's Philipstown Planning Board meeting, a public hearing was held, which included discussion on the new site plan approval for the old Guinan's building at #7 Garrison's Landing.

The architect for the Garrison Station Plaza, which owns the building, presented his drawings and elaborated a bit more on last month's proposal, adding that the GSP was considering investing in an energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system for the property. (This technology uses heat generated from the earth versus fossil fuels.) Currently the plans are to convert the space into residences and an office.

However, there was a robust appeal from the public at the meeting to include some sort of a public space (ie, cafe) in the new plans. The question also was raised about whether the Guinan's building qualifies as a "historic property," which could affect rules around its change of use and structural alterations.

There was also discussion about whether the GSP's current plans are in keeping with the Philipstown Comprehensive Plan. Two members of the community, Christine Ashburn and Barbara Feldt, presented the board with results of a petition with 1086 signatures asking the GSP to please retain some portion of the building to serve the residents, commuters, Garrison Arts Center patrons, West Point cadets and tourists who pass through at this critical juncture by the train stop. And two residents, Shelley Boris of Fresh Company catering and Mary Ellen Yannitelli expressed interest in exploring business opportunities to serve the community at the space. Hank Osborn, a member of the Garrison Station Plaza board, reiterated his dissent with the organization's current plans while emphasizing how much he valued his ability to serve the on the GSP board.

After listening, the Philipstown Planning Board decided to solicit more public comment. A couple of members said they couldn't support the building's "change of use" as currently outlined and encouraged the GSP to reevaluate and see if some sort of compromise might be reached to include a public meeting space.

Hopefully, with some thoughtful dialogue, the end result can be a win-win for everyone, including our neighbors on the Garrison Station Plaza board. The goal is fostering community and preservation of what makes this town so unique -- and that indeed was the original goal of Garrison Station Plaza and its majority owner, the not-for-profit Garrison Landing Association, as outlined by its founders in the late 1960s.

Photo by Gwendolyn Bounds. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Cafe (& Martini Bar?) Coming at Old Garrison Market Site

Updated: Tonight I ran into Michael at Angelina's. He's leaving that business in the hands of his partner to run this new project at the old Garrison Market full-time. The atmosphere was a little sad in the restaurant, but Michael was upbeat about his new project and the food was outstanding at Angelina's, so maybe Philipstown will have the best of both worlds.

Michael says he plans to unroll his vision for the new business in two stages. The first will be a market and cafe until 7 p.m. He says he is aiming to have tables, wireless access and serve wine and beer. But it won't be a full-fledged restaurant. He's planning to build a deck, and is debating whether to open at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. Says he's a nighttime guy and the new routine will take some adjusting to for him. He'll be testing different brands of coffee next Mon. and Tues. in the store and wants folks to stop in.

His Stage 2 involves taking the apartment area next door and converting it into a late-night Martini Bar. Yes, a Martini Bar in Garrison. Maybe music, maybe open from 8 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Sounds like he's still feeling his way and figuring things out.

Whether or not he opens on April 6th, as the sign currently posted says, remains to be seen.


Word is that Michael Pizzolongo from Angelina's in Cold Spring (next to Foodtown), just closed a deal take over the spot of the old Garrison Market next to the Garrison Post Office. People familiar with his plans say he'll operate a restaurant and invest in renovations, including adding a deck on the south side of the building.

I haven't seen it yet, but hear there's a sign on the door that reportedly says: Opening April 6th, 5am-7pm M-F, Sat & Sun 7am-7pm.

More details soon...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy High Holy Day

This photo of the "high priest" himself, Jim Guinan, was taken on Guinan's Day 2005. We're lucky to have Jim back in the Hudson Valley for the High Holy Day 2009. He heads back home to his daughter Christine and son-in-law Mike's in Florida soon after a good long visit with his daughter Margaret.

Jim will be out and about in town tonight with some of the parishioners and his granddaughter Kelly...maybe even singing Danny Boy. (Hint: somewhere on Main Street in Cold Spring) So shhhh.....

All rights reserved on photo.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thanks to the Mystery Snow Plower

I loved this random letter to the editor this week in the Putnam County News and Recorder. Solange Muller of Cold Spring wrote in thanks of a mystery snow plower who plowed Muller's driveway -- twice -- this winter unasked, unpaid.

Wrote Muller: "Your gift of plowing my driveway this winter has been like a ray of sunshine making it's way through a dark cloud, bringing light and hope into my life and strengthening my believe that we are surrounded by goodness."

It's remarkable how far a small gesture of unexpected kindness can reach.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Excerpts from Two Letters Regarding Fate of Old Guinan's Store

Two letters in support of preserving a portion of the old Guinan's store building as a public gathering spot, such as a cafe, appeared in our local paper the Putnam County News and Recorder this week.

One letter from resident Mary Ellen Yannitelli, who made her own bid to open a cafe in the space, included the following: "Garrison Station Plaza Inc. has decided the ultimate use for the building at #7 Garrison's Landing, and it appears that they have disregarded the Town of Philipstown's goals in the Comprehensive Plan, and were uninfluenced by public pressure (we submitted a petition in support of a store with over 1,000 signatures.)

Over 75% of the GSP corporate stock is owned by their not-for-profit sister company, the Garrison Landing Association. As a 501c3 company they receive public funds from both individuals and State and foundation grants. It is possible that if their decision about the use of the building at #7 Garrison's Landing favors what the majority of the public wants to see there, the public would be more generous in supporting their charitable organizations."

Full letter can be read here with paid subscription and for free four weeks after publication.

Another, from resident Tim Donovan of Garrison, says that "Covenants are written in Philipstown to preserve rights or the environment. As a gathering spot for generations the Store has a covenant that is no less bound.... That a community noted for resisting mediocre change would permit the silencing of this store so central to our "aesthetic," "historic" and "community" interests is profoundly short-sighted. Replacing the store with an apartment and a couple of office cannot satisfy your covenant....

Formed as a not-for-profit, the GLA memorialized its 'Purpose' in corporate filings and therefore the reason for its legal existence. The 'Purpose' includes: the "aesthetics," "history" and "community" of the Landing; the GLA's goal was to protect it."

Full letter can be read here.

Local Artist and Curator Featured on Mother Nature Network

Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and a founder of the new environmental Web site Mother Nature Network, talks to local art curator Amy Lipton and artist Simon Draper in the Carl Van Brunt Gallery in Beacon N.Y. Amy and Simon discuss their two projects -- ecoartspace and Habitat For Artists -- with Chuck.

Cool projects with national reach; check them out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Guinan Family Community Service Award--How to Contribute

Readers have asked how they can make a contribution in memory and thanks of Guinan's now that the store has closed.

Through the Garrison Union Free School District, I established the Guinan Family Community Service Award in 2006 to honor the GUFS student who most strongly exhibits leadership by giving back to their community during the school year.

The annual award, typically given out in June, is designed to encourage students to think the importance of service and community much in the same spirit as Jim & Peg Guinan and their children and grandchildren did while running Guinan's Pub & Country store for nearly 50 years. Each student selected receives $100 as thanks and acknowledgment for their contributions. A member of the Guinan family has been present each year to help present the award.

While the award is funded in perpetuity, additional donations would help expand the gift to more than one deserving student. If interested, checks can be made out to GUFS with an accompanying letter indicating funds are earmarked for the Guinan Community Service fund and a note indicating the same in the memo line of the check.

Please mail to the attention of:
Susan Huetter
Business Manager
Garrison Union Free School, 1100 Route 9D , Garrison, NY 10524
For more information please contact Sue Huetter @ 845-424-3689.

Public Hearing on Change of Use for Former Guinan's building

Host: Town of Philipstown
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2009
Time: 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: VFW Hall
Street: Kemble Ave.
City/Town: Cold Spring, NY
Facebook Event Link

The Garrison Station Plaza Inc.(building owners) submitted plans to the town to change the use of #7 Garrison's Landing from a store and residence to offices and a residence. Is this a good use for this historic property? Should/could the building accomodate a small gathering spot for the public as well as offices and a residence?

This event is a public hearing where you can share your thoughts.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ned Sullivan of Scenic Hudson on the Mother Nature Network

The Hudson Valley's own Ned Sullivan of Scenic Hudson talks with Chuck Leavell of the Mother Nature Network (and Rolling Stones keyboardist) about smart growth, brownfields and conservation easements in the Hudson River Valley.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who Will Be the New Tenants at 7 Garrison's Landing?

There are some interesting comments, on both sides of the issue, attached to Sunday's Journal-News story on the new use of the Guinan's building, including one speculating that one new tenant may be another not-for-profit. The comments are mostly anonymous, however, so sourcing is far from firm.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Journal-News: "Guinan's site slated to become office space"

February 22, 2009
Guinan's site slated to become office space
Barbara Livingston Nackman

The Journal News
GARRISON - The former Guinan's Country Store and Pub is all but gone from its Garrison Landing location.

The nearly 4,000-square-foot space, tucked into a ledge at the Hudson River shoreline just steps from Metro-North tracks, has been gutted. It is ready for new tenants - two local businesses and a resident.

Garrison Station Plaza, the owner of the property at 7 Garrison Landing, presented plans Thursday to the Philipstown Planning Board showing how it wants to reconfigure the structure. It is more than 100 years old and is in dire need of renovations, which include a septic system and new electrical wiring.

Guinan's operated as a local gathering spot for morning coffee and newspapers and for evening beers and Irish music for nearly 50 years before Jim Guinan, its patriarch and owner, retired in January 2008.

Guinan's customers, many of whom think of themselves as extended Guinan family members, gathered 1,000 names on an online petition to encourage the building's owners to welcome a new deli or food-service operation at the site.

The Garrison Station Plaza group sees a different future for the prime riverfront real estate. While the property owner acknowledges the store's history, a majority of the group's eight board members believe it is time for a change, said Delmar Karlen, president of the group.

"Putting in a new restaurant or bar did not seem to make sense," Karlen added, noting that his board considered many proposals, including some for food operations.

"My father and I patronized Guinan's for years," he said. "The Guinan's business ended not through our doing but at their own timing."

Planning Board member Michael Gibbons said he wasn't upset at "losing a tavern" but was disturbed that the property would become office space. "It is short-sighted in what the building has meant and can continue to be. … It would be a great little deli and serve the community for years," he said.

Mary Ellen Yannitelli had sought to build and operate a cafe at the site but was rebuffed even after securing a letter of credit showing financial backing for her business plan. She and others believe the community needs a place at the train station for commuters and local residents to gather day and night. She said she was disappointed that some sort of food service won't be there, even if it isn't her operation.

"They are taking something that was a lively center and pulling the plug," she said. Others agree that creating more office space at the site would be a mistake.

"I just feel they haven't listened to what people want," said lifelong Garrison resident Lisa Light, whose family has lived in Philipstown for generations. "There is historic value to that place. The landing is not the same. The dynamics have changed."

Tim Donovan first came to Garrison in 1978, when his Amtrak train to Syracuse University broke down. He said he was instantly enchanted by Guinan's. "Clearly, it was different from anything else I had seen," said the Long Island native. "In the back room of the store, there were men in suits and men in muck boots - and they were all talking to each other, easily." He said he knew he wanted to raise his family in this community, where people of different walks of life and ages shared their stories.

Many people are hoping the Station Plaza owners will change their minds. "They are not obligated to sell coffee. But at the end of the day this is about civilized behavior," Donovan said.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Guinan's Celebration at the Depot Theatre

A CELEBRATION FOR GUINAN'S: An evening of traditional Irish music, storytelling, and video

March 11th, 2009, 7 p.m.: Philipstown Depot Theatre, Garrison, NY (directions below)

COMMEMORATE Guinan’s, Garrison’s most renowned gathering place. LISTEN to Irish music, played by musicians who played during Irish NightsHEAR stories of favorite memories of the bar/country store and SHARE stories of your own SEE videos of life at Guinan’s CELEBRATE community, and the love of small places.

Admission:$15 Adults; $12 Students/Seniors. Note: As this is a one-night only event, all reservations must be paid in advance. All proceeds will benefit the creation of an original play about Guinan’s that will be performed at the Depot Theatre in 2010.

For tickets and info, call the Depot Theatre box office at (845) 424-3900. The Philipstown Depot Theatre is sponsored by Philipstown Recreation and Philipstown Performing Arts.

Directions: By Car: Four miles north of the Bear Mountain Bridge off Route 9D - Garrison's Landing. Parking is available in the Metro North lot. By Train: MTA Hudson Line to Garrison (Theatre is adjacent to station). For more info, go to http://www.philipstowndepottheatre.org/

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Appeal for Public Comment on Fate of Old Guinan's Building

Message from the Committee to Preserve Community on Garrison's Landing:



First, thank you all for expressing your support! The Board of the Garrison Station Plaza was presented with a print copy of the petition including all the signers and comments at the meeting on June 14. As a result, the members of the Board agreed to revisit whether there should be a store or similar public venue housed in the building formerly known as “Guinan’s.” In July, the Board solicited for proposals and received several including one from Mary Ellen Yannitelli that was in keeping with the spirit of Guinan’s.

Ultimately they rejected all proposals for a new cafe or gathering spot similar to Guinan's. A Journal-News story by Barbara Livingston Nackman quotes several board members, one of whom says the board is now considering proposals for offices and a rental apartment. People familiar with the board's plans say it is close to or has already signed a contract with at least one new tenant. The board cited liability concerns but said little more. In the story, board member Hank Osborn, whose grandfather once owned the property, stood apart from the board and said he disagreed with its decision -- calling it a "magical space."

The new site plan for the building contains 2 offices and a rental apartment. The GSP Board is on the agenda to present this site plan to the Town of Philipstown Planning Board meeting Thursday, February 19 at 7:30 at the VFW on Kemble Ave. in Cold Spring, NY. The public can review the plan but not offer comment until the public hearing on Thursday, March 19.

If you have commentary that you would like to share, please plan on attending the meeting or you may write to:

Town of Philipstown
238 Main Street
P.O. Box 155
Cold Spring, New York 10516

Photo by Jim Donnery, 7/2/2005

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Letter & Appeal from a Guinan's Fan in Australia

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This email recently was sent to savegarrisonslandingstore(at)yahoo.com:

"I might be too late for this email to matter, as I've just found the news about Guinan's closing just a few minutes ago.

I think it is essential that a similar store is retained on that site as without such an establishment, the little Village of Garrison's Landing will simply fade....

I can appreciate the need to service commuters, tourists and the like; but the spirit of community that a place such as Guinan's represents is irreplacable and should not
be allowed to go the way of so many small, quirky places that used to be so much a part of the Hudson River Valley.

Guinan's was a very important part of my life and my mother's life for over 30 years. We used to drive up from Bergen County, New Jersey, either together, individually or with friends, to drop by for a cup of coffee and a chance to relax either out the front of the store or in the bar. Guinan's, along with Lulu the ageing basset hound, made those drives and visits a truly unique experience that allowed each of us to step outside of the usual and customary, and back to a much simpler, more reasonable time.

Please do you level best to not let this unique spot and the history it represents become yet another victim to 'alleged' progress. Banality and homogeniety are not progress; they're expedient and brainless. Guinan's represents a unique and special way of living life. To have anything else would be a very sad state of affairs, indeed.

As a bit of information: I currently live in Australia, in a little seaside town called Trinity Beach, which is north of Cairns in Far North Queensland. We're in the wet tropics and have been an area of unique homes, etc. not unlike the feeling one gets at Cold Spring, Garrison's Landing or even Nyack. Unfortunately, developers, greed and people with no clue have taken something very unique and, one by one, have managed to reduce something special to special rather ordinary and predictable. We've all paid the price for this stupidity.

The people who live around Garrison's Landing and that very special region of the lower Hudson Valley, are not stupid people and deserve the best that life has to offer. My partner and I are back in the area next autumn; and we look forward to having a cup of coffee or a beer at Guinan's carefully crafted predecessor.

Many thanks for reading this. I hope I am not too late in this effort."

All the best,

Rob Stahl
Trinity Beach, Queenland, Australia

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Programs for Families at The Desmond-Fish Library

Here is a list of upcoming events and programs for families at the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison.

Math Homework Help with Laura Meiselman– resumes Jan.6, 4-5 p.m. for
children in 4th through 6th grades. Ongoing except for school

Kid's Craft Hour–Tues. Jan. 13, 4 p.m. Make some snowflakes and
enjoy cocoa and marshmallows.
Jan. 20, 4 p.m. Edible and non-edible snowmen
Jan. 27, 4 p.m. Celebrate Chinese New Year with lanterns and Fortune Cookies.
Feb. 3, 4 p.m. Sew some Warm Mittens.
Feb. 10, 4p.m. Valentine Extravaganza. Cards and treats for all.

Preschool Story Hour -Wednesdays 1:30 p.m. Stories and a related craft
for children from 3 to 5 years old. Ongoing except for school

Parent-Child Workshop Play Group
Monday and Wednesday, 10:30-11:15 a.m. resumes Jan. 7 & 12. For
toddlers and their caregivers. Free play with circle time, songs and a
story. No PCW on Jan. 19th. To register for any of these programs, please call 424-3020

Jan 6 & 20 6-8 p.m.- Basics of Positive Parenting. Presented by the
Putnam County Department of Health's Maternal and Child Health
Program. For more information, please call Anka at 278-6558

Jan. 19th, 2 p.m. Children's Program for Martin Luther King Day.
Free and open to all.

Puppet Show– Jan 24th, 12:30 p.m. 4H Puppet Players will present a
show for all ages. Free and open to all.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Memorial Services for John Marcinak

Note: the window for Monday's calling hours is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; the times in the Journal News are incorrect.

The Journal-News ran this story today about John Marcinak's death. Police are still looking for help resolving the circumstances his death.

Calling hours will be held at the Clinton Funeral Home, 21 Parrott St., Cold Spring, from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday. A memorial service will take place at the funeral home at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Family and friends are making memorial donations to the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Police Seek Help in Death of John Marcinak

Police are looking for anyone with information regarding the homicide of John Marcinak, owner of Garrison Garage. He was found with multiple gunshot wounds on the roadside in front of the garage on Wednesday.

In addition to his wife, Janet, Marcinak is survived by two sons and a daughter. He was a longtime volunteer firefighter and a familiar and welcome face to anyone in Philipstown who needed a tow. (He once towed me and refused to take a dime for his services.)

His garage was once used as a backdrop in scenes for a 1995 motion picture called "Smoke," starring Harvey Keitel, William Hurt and Forest Whittaker, whose character was a garage mechanic.

Memorial bunting was hung at the Garrison Fire Department station, a short distance from the Marcinak residence, according to the Journal News.

Anyone with information concerning the case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 845-225-4300. All calls will be kept confidential.

Suggestion and Offer of Donation for "Guinan's Memorial Marker"

Tom Brennan of Garrison wrote this week to say he and his wife Ann had been hiking in Bear Mountain Park this fall when they stopped on Garrison's Landing to see the now-gutted Guinan's.

Says Tom: "I tried to visualize the bar in the back and where Mr. Guinan sat in his chair in the living room. The thought came to me that I was in a cemetery. But then I also thought that at least in cemeteries they have grave markers and memorials."

Tom suggests a memorial of some sort to be placed near the walkway to the store near the train station ramp and has offered to make a contribution toward that. The Garrison Station Plaza, which owns the building that was Guinan's, has said it plans to put a plaque there commemorating the store.

Here's Tom's idea for a memorial:

Guinan’s Store

1959 – 2008

Also Known As

The Little Chapel on the River


On the Rising of the Moon

Strangers who gathered

Were only friends

Who never met.