Showing posts from February, 2008

Preserving St. Philip's Stained Glass

St. Philip's Church in the Hudson Highlands, whose history is nearly as long as that of Philipstown, N.Y. is one of the region's most historical and beautiful buildings. One of its greatest architectural details is its stained glass windows. Currently St. Philip's is restoring five of these windows and donations are welcomed to help preserve this art.

"Irish Mouth" Music/Literary Gathering--March 14

This note came in over the weekend: On Friday, March 14, the first ever Irish Mouth will be presented at Arts on the Lake in Kent/Carmel . The lineup will include local and regional talent--musical and literary--who share a love for Irish culture. Join us that evening.

"Where Peggy's Still the Boss"

This is a tribute to the late, and by every account I've ever heard, undeniably great Peg Guinan, Jim's wife and mother of John, Margaret, Jimmy and Christine. It was written Philipstown resident Tim Donovan in 2003. Peg died in 1988 on Easter Sunday; she remains the pride of her family and was a pillar of Guinan's when alive. Tim framed the poem as a gift for the Guinan's and it hung on a wall in the store until its closing. Ed Ashton took this photo of it before the store closed. WHERE PEGGY'S STILL THE BOSS Back in the day when darts did fly And Friday's train poured out. The store would fill and Jim held court For all form of man and lout. Now as the moon does rise, merry makers come Good Thursday of each month. Then the life we knew Of the old folks grew, And the land their songs came from. And Danny Boy, 'tis himself does sing To no sound but a foot rhythm tap. Then the pipes, tin whistles and strings combine, In the store with the pub in back.

Service for Mike Mihalik (and a poem)

A memorial service for Michael R. Mihalik ("Old Mike") will be held this Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Philip's Church in Garrison. Friends of the family will gather afterward at the Parish House next door. Below is a poem written by Mary Ellen Yannitelli this week in honor of Mike. Mike Mihalik At the end of the bar near the corner he stood his everyday stop A transition from toiler to loving husband and pop. Releasing his day talking with the boys of history, politics, religion and big toys. When talks in the bar turned to debates that got heated Mike very quickly and nonchalantly interceded. He'd look off in the distance, put his finger to his lip and reduce everyone to laughter with an amusing quip. A "Guinan's Google" original- he knew a bit about everything and much about things mechanical. Discussions about engines at times were tyrannical. Mike's big frame belied his gentle soul and everyone wished he'd remain- for the warmth it ema

A View of Guinan's from Boscobel

One of Philipstown's great treasures is Boscobel , a federalist period house museum with sweeping views of the Hudson River and U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Boscobel is home to the critically-acclaimed Hudson Valley Shakespeare festival . You've never seen The Bard's work performed quiet like this -- and never in a setting like this. Here's a Wall Street Journal review of last summer's "As You Like It." Meantime, I recently received a note from Rick Soedler, who oversees Boscobel's immaculate buildings and grounds , about his Guinan's memories. Here are excerpts: "My wife and I met in 1996 and stated dating in 1998. We met aboard the Sloop Clearwater which at the time frequently docked at Garrison Landing. Guinan's was a favorite stop for the crew. When my wife and I started to date one of our first nights out was the Rising of the Moon which we frequented from 1998-2000. Marriage, moving further north, and children have unfortu

"Where the Hudson Meets the Heart" - Part 3

Here is the third and final installment of Joe Jamison's story about his journey to Guinan's. He captures a lot of what's good and right about places like Guinan's in this world. It's a good read. I've borrowed two of the photos Joe took while at the chapel from his blog and am posting them here. Thanks to Joe for taking time to make the trip and for chronicling what it meant to him.

Your Chapel: Pirates Cove Yacht Club, Josephine, Ala.

My introduction to a place called Pirate’s Cove was to hear Kacey Jones sing her song, Never Wear Panties To A Party. Being fresh out of a divorce, this was exactly what I needed. It was the dead of winter. I was at a place that drew its name literally from the cove on which it sat, surrounded by water, the wind whipping from Wolf Bay just off the Gulf of Mexico, blowing through cracks that any of the dogs walking around the joint could have passed through. It was also so far out in the boonies that I suppose even pirates didn’t dare venture there. The little bitty space (Guinan’s fans understand that term, right?) had two wooden picnic tables brought in for the uppity customers such as myself that thought you should sit to listen to a performer. In fact, it was my first night at Pirates Cove that I was introduced to The Sweet Potato Queens and their theme song written by Kacey Jones . There was one outdoor heater that had been brought into the middle of the room where people huddl

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Home Again...For a Night

Last night, in honor of the late Mike Mihalik ("Old Mike" in Little Chapel), a group of us gathered privately at the chapel to toast his life. Around 10 p.m., we stood just outside the bar where he made us all laugh with his booming voice and wide grin, and with Ed Preusser leading the way, hoisted cans of Coors Light -- Mike's drink of choice once Schaefer wasn't available -- to our friend's memory and his family. Guinan's is nearly empty of product now; the once-overflowing candy counter barren and the Coca-Cola beer cooler down to the final few bottles. There's an echo when you speak in the store. But there was nothing forlorn about last night. With the fire glowing, Margaret's cooking in the oven, Kelly's laugh and two dogs scurrying underfoot, we were transported home again, if for a brief while. Things will change soon. But last night it seemed clear that Guinan's can be immortal so long as we never forget the people like Mike Miha

Michael R. Mihalik (1944-2008)

One of the chapel's most loyal parishioners, Mike Mihalik , passed away yesterday. He was the balancing force to Guinan's, the guy who made everyone breathe a little easier when he was around. Mike was born at Butterfield Hospital in Cold Spring, N.Y. He is survived by his wife Sue and daughters Lisa, Jennifer, Krista . His ashes will be buried at St. Philip's Church next to the grave of his son Michael W., who died on July 27, 1997. A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 23rd at St. Philip's .

The Candy Counter

The following are excerpts from Eric Gulley's "Guinan's Story": "My Guinan’s story is a childhood memory story. My folks bought a small summer place in Garrison in 1960, the year after Guinan’s opened. I was three years old at the time, so as far as I was concerned Guinan’s was always in existence.... What I remember most was a hulking freestanding wooden retail case with a glass front that resided about two-thirds of the way to the back of the store. It had rows for candy bars on top, which as I recall took a number of years for me to be able to reach, but it didn’t matter because kids were allowed to walk around to the back and make selections from inside the case, then bring the goods up to the counter to pay. Thinking back, the products I found so enticing were awful stuff, mostly.......candy dots on strips of paper, boxes of Cracker Jax and Good & Plenty, baseball playing cards packaged with cardboard-like chewing gum, and of course, candy cigarettes

The Guinan's Waltz

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a love song by Hank Beukema. It was inspired by a romance stoked at Guinan's. I've posted in the past about Hank , and published links to his work. Here's to keeping close the people and places we love: THE GUINAN'S WALTZ It's been quite awhile, my darlin Since we first took those long river walks Past the shops down in Garrison When I first heard the ways your eyes talked I think it was the start of the romance When you put your mouth close to my ear You whispered Forever, it's only forever I've waited for you to appear Are they still serving beers down at Guinan's? Do the ladies still dance Irish nite? Do you think we can waltz by the fire Do you mind if I turn down the lights? La da da, da da da, la da da dee La da da, da da da, la da da doo La da da, da da da, la da da day La da da, da da da, la doo.... We push and we strain, we run thru the rain Trying to find the right one There's no way to n

Your Chapel: Shannon's Tavern, Jersey City, N.J.

This is a poem written by Raymund Reddington about the last night of Shannon's Tavern in Jersey City, a joint also frequented by Fitz. (See page 46 of Little Chapel on the River.) What Was That Place? February 22, 2002 was the wintry date The for sale sign had been up for years Patrons were not surprised, it was fate Yet, the closing of the doors brought tears. Danny worked his last night behind the bar His eyes twinkled brighter than stars I asked, “Will you cry and be sensitive? He responded, “That’s a negative.” It was a place to catch a game Though the gamblers’ talk got heated You entered the place, you got greeted Everyone did know your name. Like lost children, the ex-patrons now roam Every so often by chance they do meet It’s here, there, or passing in the street Sometimes it’s in a bar, but it’s just not the same As that place named Shannon’s, we called home. By Raymond Reddington April 15, 2004

New Irish Music Sessions

There will never be another session like the "Rising of the Moon." But some of the musicians who kept Guinan's Irish Night alive for so many years are sharing there talents in other venues. Jack McAndrew and Mike O'Hanlon , who plays accordian, are hosting a session on the first and third Sundays of each month at O'Malleys in the heart of downtown Mt. Kisco. ( O’Malleys Pub 30 E. Main St, Mount Kisco, New York) It goes from 6-9PM. On the alternative Sundays, he plays down in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx at a place called the "Rambling House" . It's on Katonah Ave and 236th St, near the Woodlawn cemetery. That session starts at 7PM and it goes on usually till 11 or 12. Candace Coates , the Highland Harper , writes that she's teamed up with Rita Mack to play in Wappingers Falls at Ciarnan's Pub on the 3rd Sunday of the month from 4:00pm until 7:00pm. Ciarnan's is located at 235 Myers Corners Road Wappingers Falls, Ne

"Where the Hudson Meets the Heart" - Part 2

Here is the second installment of Joe Jamison's recent journey to Guinan's. Joe lives in Bucks County, Pa. and was inspired to make a road trip to Guinan's. He hit the deck just before the store closed and describes his impression of what he found. Read more about Joe and get a link to Part One . One clarification to Joe's tale. Margaret Guinan makes that famous chili he references.


Even though snow is still on the ground, Team Guinan -- led by Kelly Guinan -- is preparing for next year's Braking the Cycle ride. Several of us have attached our bikes to trainers inside so we can pedal through the winter. Our fund-raising, the hardest part of this ride, just got a great kick start thanks to Russ Cusick who is selling Guinan's tribute tiles and donating 25% of the proceeds to Team Guinan . Each rider must raise $3500 to participate; team proceeds are evenly split between riders. Thanks for your support!

Finding the Way Back Home ...

Cathy Seeber , who grew up in Garrison, N.Y., took this photo on a trip home in 2005. The image is of a sign Ed Preusser hand-crafted in his basement to help folks find the chapel. He made two; one was stolen. He reclaimed the other on closing day . Meantime, Cathy, who now lives in Fall City, Wash. , shared these memories of Guinan's: Guinans…Where I bought clandestine cigarettes in my teens; Where my dad got the paper every morning before jumping on the train. Where my brothers had their first beers. Where Lucien Hold probably bought a soda the day he sailed out alone and was dragged under by a tug-line, not to be found for over a year. Where all the kids went to get an ice cream bar and then go sit on the dock for the afternoon. Where we all got snacks when building sets for the Garrison Depot Theatre which my mom and dad founded. Where my sister Mindy and I played guitar in the gazebo pretending we were Joan Baez.

Videos: "Closing Time" & "Jim Guinan Tribute"

Russ Cusick of In Focus Designs adds this video to the growing body of tributes to the Guinan store legacy. (Click on the "video" tab on the right side of this page to see others.) What I like best about this one "Closing Time" -- a collage of images from Guinan's last day in business -- is the repetition of shots and how his camera canvases each nook and cranny of the pub and store as well as the faces there. The style is one of preservation, and that's what the spirit of all these creative efforts is about.

Reflections of a Session Leader

Jack McAndrew wrote a short thank you essay about his time at Guinan's Irish Night music sessions. You can still get copies of recordings of some of the last Irish Nights; details are posted here . Meantime, a CD called "Long Time Coming" featuring Jim Guinan is out with five songs and it's fantastic. The folks behind this venture are making another run of the CDs, and I'll post here with details on how to buy when they are ready. Photo by Christine Ashburn.

"Where the Hudson Meets the Heart"

A week and a half ago, I received an email from Joe Jamison of Bucks County, Pa. He'd read about Guinan's closing and was inspired to make a road trip to the pub. Joe is Music & Arts Contributing Editor for the Newtown Ourburbs Community Web site . He's chronicling his trip on one of his blogs, Life in the Key of Joe. You can read Joe's first installment, "Where the Hudson Meets the Heart" Part I here ; I'll update with his second chapter when it's posted. He also helps write another interesting blog called Memeticians . For those curious, here's Wikipedia's definition of a "meme."

Video: "Last Train to Guinan's"

Joe Foster shot this video during Guinan's last night in business. The good-bye ran for many until after midnight, for some until 3 a.m., and for a diehard few, until the first morning commuter train pulled into Garrison station. Joe does a nice job piecing together still shots with moving video and captures a lot of the regulars in this footage. The words in the beginning are borrowed from Peter Applebome's New York Times column last Sunday .

Song: The Hudson Is a River

A poet from Nyack/Pomona, Hank Beukema , wrote this song dedicated to the Hudson River and Guinan's. If you want to hear Hank reading his poem, you can through this Web site . Hank has visited Guinan’s with Rebecca "Becka" Rogers (pictured above) from Alabama; I'll be posting about Becka's "chapel" down there soon. Hank, meantime, maintains a MySpace page where he penned a nice tribute to Guinan’s. Read more of his writings at this Web site. Thanks for sharing this poem Hank. THE HUDSON IS A RIVER The Hudson is a river The natives used to say That runs in both directions Evry mile along its way From the mountains to the city She's cut her winding course and There's a piece of her in all of us Who grew up on her shores Was at Guinan's on the Landing We fell in love that day But then the current caught us And we turned the other way Somewhere south of West Point And north of the Tappan Zee I let the river turn me To a man that could not

Fox Business Guinan's Story

In addition to the many print stories written about Guinan's closing over the past few weeks, Fox Business Network visited Garrison a few days ago to shoot a farewell piece about Guinan's. They even got a clip of Jim singing "Danny Boy" and used it at the end of the segment. Since we don't get FBN up in this neck of the woods yet, here's a link to a digital clip of the story. If you know of any other stories about Guinan's, let us know through the comment section here and I'll try and post a link.