Showing posts from March, 2008

Jim Guinan's Last Night in Garrison (For Now)

On Thursday, Jim Guinan flew to Florida with his youngest son Jimmy where he'll be living with his youngest daughter Christine and her husband, Mike , and hopefully getting on the golf greens soon. Wednesday night, a group of us gathered for one last round with him in his home of nearly 50 years. Christine Ashburn and Mary Ellen Yannitelli led everyone singing "Will You Go Lassie, Go." We've been saying goodbye over and over since the store closed . But this really was last call for the parishioners--at least at this chapel under Jim Guinan's rule. Pictured front row, left to right: Lisa Light, Todd Nielsen, Jim Guinan, Lisa Bernhard, Dean Bradshaw. Back row, left to right: Wendy Bounds, Kelly Guinan, Mary Ellen Yannitelli, Chris Robinson, LiLach Shani & David Lant. ( Image courtesy of Christine Ashburn. ) The good news: Jim called his other daughter Margaret to report he's happy, doesn't miss the snow, and is waking up to tea and sun. We'

And Another Irish Night ...

Guinan's Irish Nights are big shoes to fill--so it may take more than one venue. In addition to a session this Wednesday the 26th at the Depot in Cold Spring , some of the musicians report that there will be another session held in Peekskill. Thursday, March 27th PJ Kelly's Pub & Restaurant 914.734.2100 300 Railroad Avenue Peekskill, NY 10566 View Larger Map

Hudson Valley Book Blog

Check out reporter Barbara Livingston Nackman's book blog where she often illuminates local voices and works -- including choice reads of some of our own politicians . Many of you know Barbara for her interesting stories about Guinan's in recent years as well as for her tireless reporting about the Hudson River Valley for The Journal News . Image from

"At the Store" -- A Poem

The words to a beautiful poem by the late New Hampshire Poet Laureate, Jane Kenyon , were sent to me last week from Little Chapel reader and Hudson Valley advocate, Mike Koutsourades . (Photo by Donald Hall.) It's called: "At the Store" and reminds me of Guinan's, as it clearly did Mike. To read the poem in full and hear an audio version of it, you can visit the Writer's Almanac site of NPR. Here's a snippet: "The store is a bandstand. All our voices sound from it, making the same motley American music Ives heard; this piece starting quietly, with the repeated clink of a flagpole pulley in the doorway of a country store."

Guinan's Art Show Reception TODAY

Yesterday, most of art went up on the walls at the Garrison's Art Center for the Guinan's Art & Photography Show , which opens today with a beer and wine reception from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. I had a chance to see everyone's work, and it's absolutely fantastic. There's something for everyone whether you know and love Guinan's from near or afar, or if you're just interested in beautiful photography -- and have never heard of the place. Christine Ashburn's chair series conveys an incredible sense of home, while Kelly Guinan's unflinching eye has captured architectural and other details of Guinan's that will be missed the most. Mary Ellen Yannitelli has created a sculpture that's an homage to the family and volunteers who helped keep Guinan's going in recent years, while Ed Preusser hand-crafted a wooden shamrock sign that's surely going to start a bidding war. I have a few images of Guinan's regulars going about their daily r

Art Show Preview: Ed Preusser

Not long after Little Chapel on the River was published, Ed Preusser crafted some signs to show newly curious (and lost) patrons how to find Guinan's. He did such a good job, someone stole the signs once or twice and they were often photographed by people making a journey to Guinan's. Now he's making a more elaborate, special version to sell at the upcoming Guinan's Art & Photography show . WHY ED CHOSE THIS WORK: "I did the shamrock sign because the original neon one in the window was always a feature everyone remembers from their visits (in addition to the one made of brass in the fireplace hearth). This one, unlike the wooden signs, is a true hand made, one of a kind." Photo courtesy of Cathy Seeber.

Art Show Preview: Christine Ashburn

Christine Ashburn is one of the featured photographers in the upcoming Guinan's Art & Photography show this Sunday. She has chosen "the chairs and stools of Guinan's" as her main theme. I've seen many, and they are lovely. Speaking of chairs, here's one filled with none other than Jim Guinan. Christine shot this last August during "Guinan's Day," where we raised money for Team Guinan . A minimum of 50% of the sale of each piece from this upcoming show will go the Guinan Family and Team Guinan's 2008 ride. WHY CHRISTINE CHOSE THIS PHOTO: "This image of Jim Guinan is my most favorite photo of Guinan's. It is a simple photo that depicts Jim sitting, laughing, and enjoying a beer; encapsulating what Gunian's meant to me. This photo was taken last August during Guinan's Day."

Art Show Preview: Russ Cusick

Russ Cusick -- "the tile guy" -- has visually captured a wide gamut of moments at Guinan's in recent months, many of which he's given away to the regulars or sold with a portion of proceeds going to Guinan's. He has helped lead the organization of the upcoming Guinan's Art & Photography show where he will exhibit and sell some of his work. Again, 50% or more of proceeds from the show will go to the Guinan family and Team Guinan's 2008 ride. WHY RUSS TOOK THIS PHOTO: "I took this Photo (series of photos) on Feb 4th, '08..........because I love Guinan's (and the Guinan Family,) I also love the Hudson River and the two are a combination that I've never as a photographer been able to resist. On this particular morning....I was was both sad and pissed-off that I couldn't walk into the store and see a friendly face and get my cup of coffee."

New Wednesday Irish Night in Cold Spring

A couple of Guinan's Irish Night musicians say they will start a new session at The Depot in Cold Spring, N.Y. Their session will now be the first Wednesday after the full moon and will start at 8:00pm. While nothing can ever replace the magic that happened under the Guinan family's roof, this is a way for the music, spirit and talent celebrated there to live on nearby. Jim Guinan has been a frequent face at The Depot, which consistently serves very good, affordable food to a loyal clientele. The first session at The Depot will be on March 26th at 8:00 p.m. Address: 1 Depot Square Cold Spring,New York 10516 Phone: (845)265-5000. There are a few other sessions happening in other towns. View Larger Map

Art Show Preview: Kelly Guinan

Don't forget the Guinan's Art & Photography show that opens this Sunday on Garrison's Landing. This week, I'll post previews of some of the artists' work that will be for sale. A minimum of 50% of the sale of each piece will go the Guinan Family and "Team Guinan's" 2008 ride. These two pieces are from Kelly Guinan , Jim Guinan's granddaughter. WHY KELLY CHOSE THESE PHOTOS: "I chose these because they represent those little things about Guinan's that I miss. Those little things that were part of the everyday of being at the store and you would never see anywhere else. My photos for the show will all be those little things, the register, the coke cooler, the candy counter, the fireplace, the bar back - there are lots! It was hard to choose!"

"The Hour Is Late..."

The following is a quote from the epilogue of an unpublished book penned by the grandfather of Ed Preusser , one of the characters in Little Chapel. A Knight (pictured here with the Queen of the United Kingdom) and a Major General in the English army, he was Irish by birth and from County Cork. The words speak to how many of us felt down at Guinan's: "The hour is late, the flames are dying down, the embers glow, the glasses require recharging. A guest rises to leave and the spell is broken. Realization dawns that it is another day and we have to face once more the problems of reality. But if I have been able to beguile you for an hour or two into forgetting the pressing problems of today it will have afforded me infinite satisfaction." -Major General Sir Rupert Brazier-Creagh K.B.E, C.B, L of M, D.S.O (12/12/1909 to 4/3/02) Photo courtesy of the Preusser family.

Nod to Guinan's from Seattle

Out in the Seattle area, Guinan's got a nice nod from the Bothell-Reporter paper. The editor, Andy Nystrom, writes about the concept of endings and new beginnings in his column. Here's an excerpt: "...I, too, must move on ... to a new book, that is. For the last week, I’ve been caught up in Gwendolyn Bounds’ book, “Little Chapel on the River,” which tells the story of Guinan’s bar in Garrison, NY, and its struggle to keep its old-time charm in a world of change. The family doesn’t want to alter one thing from the golden days, and clearly doesn’t want to think about closing up shop — even though it seems to be inevitable at times. (Read the book and check the blogs for all the heart-wrenching details.) You see, it all ties in, locally and nationally. We’ll all make it through just fine." Photo from

Upcoming Guinan's Art & Photo Show

Please save the date for this very special upcoming event: "Guinan's Pub and Country Store Remembered in Art and Photography" Artwork will be on display March 16th-19th at the Garrison Arts Center. A a reception will be held at the Garrison Arts Center from 3pm-7pm on March 16th. Jim, Margaret, John and other members of the Guinan Family will be in attendance. The show will feature work from local artists and photographers including Kelly Guinan, Jim's granddaughter, Christine Ashburn and Russ Cusick who creates beautiful tiles from images, like the one above. Please put this date on your calendar...we look forward to seeing you on March 16th.

Your Chapel: Benny Havens, Highland Falls, N.Y.

This note came to me from Mike Koutsourades , brother of Georgia Christy who is an excellent licensed massage therapist on Garrison's Landing. (See page 31 of the paperback version of LC) Mike runs The Hudson River Shop on the side while he works in taxes for a large accounting firm. He resides in Delmar, N.Y. "I think your book will make Jim Guinan as famous as Benny Havens and Abe Sammons in Hudson Valley inn keepers folklore. I came across this Benny Havens website below. Interestly his place was so loved by West Pointers it was disassembled and moved after his death. Jim Guinan could be considered a modern day Benny Havens. This thought came to me as I read the chapter on Colonel Tom making his way across the Hudson as a cadet. Have you ever been to Highland Falls? The village is full of little homely bars: The Fireside, Benny's, The South Gate. Consider a evening out for "'research.' " Sincerely, Mike Koutsourades