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