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Showing posts from 2010

Call for Letters to NYDEC to Keep Guinan's Building a Public Space - DEADLINE DEC. 24

As the Garrison Station Plaza group, which owns the old Guinan's building, makes preparations to convert it into primarily office space, Garrison resident Mary Ellen Yannitelli has sent a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requesting they reject the project on the grounds that such a conversion will have a substantial impact on the environment and character of the surrounding area.
Mary Ellen asks that anyone supporting the effort to keep Guinan's old building as a pub, cafe, restaurant or other public gathering spot also email or mail NYDEC by Dec. 24th and says her letter may be used as a template. Here's who to direct it to:
Joseph R Murray
NYSDEC Region 3 Headquarters
21 South Putt Corners Rd
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845)256-3054
r3dep@gw.dec.state.ny.us
In her letter, Mary Ellen calls into question specific "no" answers provided by Garrison Station Plaza in its application to change the building's purpose:
19. Will Proposed Action …

Guinan's "Cadet Brad" - Now "LT Brad" in Afghanistan

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Here is an update on one of my favorite readers - a young man named Brad Hoelscher III who I met while he was still a West Point cadet. He wrote an email to me in 2005 after reading Little Chapel, and came to Guinan's for his first "legal" beer after turning 21. He was also quoted in the New York Times about religion and the military.
"Cadet Brad" is now "Lt Brad," and he left about a month ago for deployment in Afghanistan. Between graduation and deployment, he was married to Aleece Mihok. I asked Lt. Brad's father - also a West Point graduate, also named Brad - for an update and he wrote this on Halloween:
"Lt Brad left 27 days ago from Ft Polk LA, arrived in Manas, Kyrgyzstan on 7 Oct, spent a few days waiting for lift to Bagram AF in Afghanistan, making his way through Logar Province, finally making the final 15 miles from Altimur to COP Kherwar by road convoy in 9.5hrs!!??on Thursday afternoon, 14 Oct. LT Brad is in the advanced battalio…

"What Was Once Hallowed Ground ..."

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This is a recent email and photo, reprinted with permission from Jim Donnery, one of Guinan's regular parishioners and the man who inspired the name of the book: "Little Chapel on the River." The shot here is where the old bar and Coca-Cola beer cooler once stood.
The proposal to create a new restaurant and store in the spot where Guinan's once operated was turned down by the board of the Garrison Station Plaza based on what it said was inadequate financing for the project. The board is planning to move ahead with renovations to include office space.

From Jim Donnery:

"I had been home this past weekend to attend a funeral for a family member and had some time for goofing off before a dinner engagement in Cold Spring, so I bought a few beers and went down to sit on the rocks by the Boat Club to admire the sun setting on "the river that flows both ways". Old memories brought me over to the Chapel entrance and I peeked inside the front door past the plywood.…

Pedaling 4,300 Miles to Honor a Parishioner

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In March, I wrote about a tribute bike ride for Jim Donnery, one of Guinan's most loyal parishioners and the inspiration for the title of the book "Little Chapel on the River." When Jim was diagnosed last year with prostate cancer, one of his dearest friends, Frank Hanes, began training to cycle 4,300 miles across the United States to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Frank recently completed his fantastic journey. He kept this inspiring blog along the way.
Jim Donnery writes:

"To all of you who were thinking of me, and praying for me, and made a generous donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, I am grateful from the bottom of my heart. Our friend Frank Hanes (of the Inn at Manchester) has completed his monumental journey across the northern section of our country and has raised almost $22000 by last count. Here are a few pictures of his triumphant finish, with his wife, children and friends."

Photos courtesy of Jim Donnery and Frank Hanes. Top an…

Artwork of Guinan's Pub - Van Gogh Style

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This piece of artwork was created by Andrea Marie Highsmith of Raleigh, North Carolina. She calls it: "Little Chapel on the River and my fascination with Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' sky."
She rendered it using Gouache, a type of paint consisting of pigment suspended in water and some oils as well. Andrea is a recent graduate of East Carolina University. You can see this and more of her artwork on Facebook.
Pretty neat stuff. Thanks Andrea.

A Visit With Ohio's "Omni Book Club"

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Last week I had the pleasure of dropping in on the Omni Book Club in Huron, Ohio (60 miles West of Cleveland) by speakerphone as they discussed Little Chapel on the River. It's always surprising to me how five years after publication, I still get new questions about the book.
One reader, Elaine Waterfield, pointed to the book's descriptions of the Hudson River with its ebbing and flowing, which led the Indians to dub it "river-that-flows-two-ways," and said she saw it as a metaphor for the advancing plot of Guinan's and the memories of my childhood. "Was that plan or an instinct?" she asked.
I'd always intended for the Hudson River to be a character in the book - in part because I thought it symbolized the ability to create a fulfilling life that included both the country and the city. "Like the river that flows two ways, the trick was finding room for both currents," I write toward the end of the book. The deeper I got into the book's…

Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #7

These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.
“I am your home“ by CL
I am your homewhether you have one or need onethe place where you bring your joys, your sorrow, your worries, your lifea place where everyone fits inand has their own opinionan open discussion is always availabletogether we create a unionconsider me your counselorI may not reply to your questions,but rest assured that once you step inand you hear the sound of the wind chimes,the members of the chapel will give you your medicinea beer, some comfort, an ounce of closure

Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #6

These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.
“The Bar” by TC
Individuals go to Guinan’s for closure and to spend their leisure time in such a preferred placeA Peaceful area that resides next to the Hudson RiverIt appears to be like a chapel on the river to some folksCaptivated by the bar’s charisma, a gathering of families and friends get personal with their internal feelingsIt appears to be such a relaxing place where you can actually find the character that resides within youAs son as you step into Guinan’s, you’ll eventually have a different state of mindYou actually get to meet people that are very sociable and generousWell slowly but surely it becomes a regular thing to attend Guinan’sThe odd place where comfort can sometimes be found

Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #5

These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.
Guinan’s by LD
The way everything falls in place everydayThe way my heart opens up to everyoneWarmth infects all within my reachThe love spreads throughout the chapelGlamorously filling each soul with a bit of happinessTo be in a place where everyone knows youTo have the same familiar faces around youTo need the place as much as it needs youI am THE place because of you I am THIS place because of…...you

For Jim Guinan - Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #8

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In honor of the late Jim Guinan ...
These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.
“Jim” by CL
He is…
He is the centerHe is the fatherHe is the friendHe is the final wordHe is the father-figureHe is the guiding forceThe one that doesn’t have to speak to be understoodHe is the overseerHe is the welcome and come againHe is the powerHe is the decision makerHe is Guinan's


Photo by Roy Gumpel.

Highland Harper to Play Easter at Maizie's Tea Room

Candace Coates, a.ka. the rat-affectionate "Highland Harper" from Irish Night at Guinan's, writes that she will be playing this Saturday, April 3rd for Easter at Maizie's Tea Room, which has opened in the village of Fishkill, N.Y.

She'll be there performing from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. Maizie's Tea Room is located at 1129 Main Street Fishkill New York 12524. Their phone number is (845) 896-4103. Candaces notes that founders are a mother/daughter business team who are new to the area from California and trying to fulfill a dream with the new endeavor.

Here's a link to a map for Maizie's

Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #4

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These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.

My Place on the River by VB(about the area)
The chapel stands with a beautiful sunrise with wispy clouds. The shallow waters surrounding it, ever flowing this way and that way.A mosaic of people gathering together in the usual attire and with all the same purpose…to love, to share, to belong.
…and to drink!
Photo by Jim Donnery

Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #3

These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.
A Chapel without Pews by VB(from the perspective of the bar itself)
Here I sit, year after yearA chapel without pewsBig crowds come to visit meAnd leave transformedFamilies reunite hereI make it feel like home…away from home
Love visits, and staysMusic comes and goesThe beauty of what I do for others will stay for years, decades, and centuries.

Ferris High School "Guinan's Poem" #2

These poems were written by students at Ferris High School after reading Little Chapel on the River for their honors English class. More on the class here.
Guinan’s Bar by LN
An old, old bar founded in the 1960’sAn Irish barA comfortable atmosphereA crowd of regularsA sweet-talking ownerThe Bar that attracts you,Makes you want to stayTells you to come back next timeWelcomes you with good manners
No matter weekends or weekdaysDuring hard times or good timesWhen something misfortunate or fortunate happensGuinan’s Bar is wide open for you
Guinan’s Bar is always there physically and in your heartIt’s there.

N.J. Students Pen Poems About Guinan's: Poem #1

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Last October, an email popped into my inbox from James J. Ferris High School English teacher, Michael Ferrara in N.J. At the beginning of the school year, he'd read his honors class a chapter of Little Chapel on the River. (How cool is that?) The class decided to study the rest of the book and so HarperCollins donated copies to Michael's class. (Thank you HC).
The class finished up in February and Michael sent me a collection of poems the students wrote. And they rock. For privacy reasons, students initials are used. They are a mix of freshmen and sophomores, ranging in age from 14 to 16.
Poem #1:
Within Movement by GB(from the perspective of the bar itself)
I stand in the same spot(But) I always feel like I am moving within myselfThe sense of peace, love, and joyExplains what I stand forStand for the silent movement
But still be known as a presenceI am one with themAnd although we speak no wordsThe greeting is natural

Tribute to the Man Who Named the "Chapel"

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Of all the nights I spent at Guinan's, the one that burns most clearly is still, perhaps, the first. It was the night I first met many of the parishioners -- including Jim Donnery, the man whose fierce love for the green-walled pub he fondly dubbed "The Chapel" inspired the title of the book. Anyone who knows Jim, knows loyalty is core to who he is: loyal to Guinan's, loyal to his family - including his mother Dorothy who he brought to Guinan's regularly - and to all his friends at the chapel.
He is also loyal to another family-run joint in Vermont - the Inn at Manchester - where he and his wife Gail have spent many weekends and befriended the owners Julie and Frank Hanes. And when Jim was diagnosed last year with prostate cancer, Frank decided to return that loyalty.
Frank is cycling solo across the United States starting June 1 in honor of Jim. He'll dip his bike's back wheel in the Pacific Ocean in Anacortes, Wash. and 4,500 miles and approximately two m…

Facebook Tributes to Guinan's, St. Patrick's Day 2010

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These comments were just a few of the warm sentiments posted on Facebook by "parishioners" on St. Patrick's Day, 2010, in honor of Jim Guinan, his family and the Guinan's Pub & Country store. First posting was mine, the rest are responses. Cheers everyone.
"Happy High Holy Day to all parishioners...and a toast to the late high priest himself, Jim Guinan. This day a year ago was the last time most of us saw you."
Carolyn McDonough Smith, Sandra Souza-desimone, Missy Nibert Fescemyer and 15 others like this. Kristi LafoonStill one of my favorite books ever. Thanks so much for the picture! Yesterday at 8:43am · Patti AndersonSt. Patrick's Day is the day one just automatically thinks of the Guinan's! Yesterday at 8:48am · Brian BosleyI never met him, but your book made me feel I knew him. Happy St. Patrick's Day Yesterday at 8:53am ·