Chichester-Silver Hollow

J.M.W. Turner's "Chichester Canal" at the Tate Gallery, London

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shandaken parks benefit from grant

A story in the Daily Freeman from 8 June 2017 Shandaken town parks to benefit from NY state grant

Town parks are getting $12,000 worth of upgrades this summer thanks to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The money is part of a $28,450 Smart Growth grant the state gave Shandaken last year. Besides park improvements, the money is being spent on solar-powered lighting, landscaping for town signs and maps in parks that show the locations and amenities of other parks in the town.
The $12,000 will be spread across all of the parks in Shandaken, according to town Supervisor Rob Stanley: Smith Park in the hamlet of Pine Hill will get a moon rock climber; Big Indian Park will get six new picnic tables, a park bench and a mini-disc golf set; Parish Field in Phoenicia will get a chipmunk spring jumper; and Glenbrook Park is to get a new gym climber.
Stanley said the new picnic tables and benches will be made of steel with a plastic coating.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Phoenicia top-rated tourism spot

If you’ve got plans this summer to vacation in the queenly Cape May, N.J., or some other resort community in the Northeast, consider scrapping them. An even better destination is right here in Ulster County, according to Curbed New York, a real-estate and travel blog. Editors recently ranked Phoenicia, a hamlet in the town of Shandaken, as the No. 1 destination outside of New York City. The bohemian mountain community not only beat out the internationally known Victorian seaside resort, but Mystic, Conn., a historic seafaring village known widely for its tourism appeal.

Story from Hudson Valley News Network on 6 June 2017: Phoenicia Ranked No. 1 as Tourist Spot

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Shandaken pauses review of Catskill Mountain Railroad request

The town of Shandaken Planning Board has taken a step back from its review of the Catskill Mountain Railroad’s request for a permit to store equipment on the company’s property in Phoenicia, in part because such storage might not be allowed.
Board members say they want to talk with their lawyer about an opinion he recently issued on the matter.
In a May 1 letter, attorney Richard Olson told the Planning Board it could not act on the railroad’s application because there is a notice of violation regarding the site that must be cleared up first. Olson also said the permit the railroad is seeking does not exist.

From a story in the Daily Freeman on 16 May 2017
Shandaken hits pause button in review of Catskill Mountain Railroad’s train storage request

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Catskill Mountain Railroad cited for keeping trains and related items on Phoenicia property

A story from The Daily Freeman.

The town of Shandaken has issued a Notice of Violation to the Catskill Mountain Railroad for placing trains and related equipment on the railroad’s property in the hamlet of Phoenicia

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Woodstock stepping up enforcement of rules regarding short-term house rentals

Story about short-term rentals in the Town of Woodstock in the Daily Freeman.

The town plans to strictly enforce the local zoning code that equates Airbnb-type rentals to bed-and-breakfast businesses. Supervisor Bill McKenna said after a Town Board meeting Tuesday night that stepped-up enforcement is a response to complaints from neighbors of short-term rental sites. In the summertime, we were getting a couple calls a week,” he said. The Woodstock Town Board has been fielding complaints for about two years about disruptive short-term renters, but McKenna said most renters are respectful of neighbors.

“There’s probably ... 800 Airbnbs in Woodstock,” McKenna said. “The problem is there’s a couple of these big party houses, and ... if you live next to one, you’re miserable. A horde of people show up on a Friday night and start to party, and the party rolls through until they leave on Sunday.” Similar complaints have been lodged with officials in the nearby town of Shandaken.

Woodstock has a law that requires rentals lasting less than a week to have the same permits required of B&Bs and to operate only on owner-occupied properties.

"Our zoning law allows for bed-and-breakfasts anywhere in town,” McKenna said. But “they need to have an operating permit, which you can get from the building inspector’s office, and they need to be inspected by the fire inspector.”

McKenna said any short-term rental that does not have an on-site owner is considered a motel or a hotel, subject to geographic restrictions and separate approvals.

“Where they are permitted, they need to go through site plan review of the Planning Board,” he said.

McKenna said long-term house rentals, such as those lasting all summer, are not restricted by the town’s zoning code.

Microbrewery in Phoenicia

A Daily Freeman story on 4 February 2017 reported Proposed micro-brewery at Phoenicia Plaza faces Shandaken Planning Board review. The location is in Phoenicia Plaza, on Route 28, near the Phoenicia Diner.

Woodstock resident Rick Shobin has his eye on the largest space available at the Phoenicia Plaza on state Route 28 just east of the Phoenicia Diner. Shobin has been talking to planners, most recently as early January, when he laid out his plans. A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Town Hall on Route 28 in Allaben.

A story on 15 February 2017 reports Final approval of micro brewery in Shandaken waits on input from NYC environmental department.

The town Planning Board has given conditional approval for a micro brewery to operate in the Phoenicia Plaza on state Route 28, but the board’s chairman says he cannot certify the approval until the board receives input from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The property is in the city’s Catskills watershed, and because the business is to produce a significant amount of wastewater that will need to be hauled away, the department’s opinion is necessary.

The proposal appears to be noncontroversial at the town level. No opposition to it was voiced at a Feb. 8 public hearing, and Planning Board Chairman Don Brewer said last week that the site plan appears to be in order.

But Brewer noted the lack of New York City’s input, and he asked project architect John Wasylyk, of North Engineers and Design Associates, when it can be expected.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Stoney Creek in winter

A look at the swimming hole on 4 February 2017, at 4.40 in the afternoon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stoney Clove Creek

Pictures from early January 2017 (Thursday the 5th, 3.30pm):

Improvements to Phoenicia water system in 2017 expected to total $415,000

Story in Daily Freeman on 1/11/17.

Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley says the Phoenicia Water District will finally get some much needed improvement in 2017.

Speaking at the annual Town Board reorganization meeting earlier this month, Stanley said the state has accepted the town’s environmental review of a plan to install a new way to deliver water to the High Street area of the hamlet of Phoenicia.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Catskill Mountain Railroad says it topped $1M in business in 2016

Article in the Daily Freeman.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad did more than $1 million in business in 2016 operating tourist trains on tracks in Shandaken, N.Y., and Kingston, N.Y., a company official says.

In fact, according to railroad President Ernie Hunt, the company has been doing over $1 million in annual business every year since 2014, a big jump from what he said had been annual revenue of about $150,000 a year through 2013.

Hunt said the railroad spent $700,000 over three years in litigation with Ulster County, the owner of the tracks on which the railroad operates, when the county tried to evict the company.

In a letter to volunteers and supporters, Hunt called 2016 the toughest year ever for the railroad, which offers scenic and themed train rides, but said he looks forward to 2017, which he expects will be better

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Grant money for new Shandaken Town Hall will allow payment of debt to NYC DEP

A story from the Daily Freeman.

The Catskill Watershed Corp. has awarded Shandaken a $114,000 grant to buy land for a new Town Hall.

The better news is the town already owns the land and can use part of the money to repay a debt to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The town applied for the grant over the summer. The watershed corporation’s board of directors voted in favor it earlier this month.

The town now can move ahead with securing the property, where the voter-rejected Phoenicia sewer system was to be created, and can use $70,000 of the grant to pay back the New York City department.

Before the sewer project was shot down by voters, the town used $70,000 from the department to buy the property. When the project was rejected, the department wanted its money back. The town hoped to sell the property and use the proceeds to repay the environmental department, but a buyer could not be found.

Of the $114,000 awarded by the Catskill Watershed Corp., $105,000 is for the land and $9,000 is for legal and closing costs. The money was authorized under the corporation’s Flood Hazard Mitigation Implementation Program, which helps move to safer ground such “critical facilities” as firehouses, schools, town hall and water and wastewater systems.

The new Shandaken municipal complex is to house the town’s government offices and highway and ambulance departments

Part of the town’s current municipal complex, on state Route 28 in the hamlet of Allaben, was inundated by Esopus Creek floodwaters during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The town then was forced to use an alternate location for day-to-day government operations and to operate a command center for post-flood responses.

The 3.2-acre Allaben site has been designated a Special Flood Hazard Area, with the Highway Department garage actually located in the floodway.

A recently completed Local Flood Analysis for the Shandaken hamlets of Mount Tremper and Phoenicia recommended relocating the Town Hall and highway garage to the 4-acre parcel that was to house the Phoenicia sewer system.

As part of the state-funded NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, the town engaged Latham-based engineering firm C.T. Male Associates to conduct a feasibility analysis about the planned relocation. The analysis is to be completed in 2017, and the Town Hall move, also financially aided by NY Rising, is anticipated by the end of 2018.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Phoenicia man ticketed for killing black bear

Daily Freeman story.

By Jay Braman Jr.,

A man has been ticketed for illegally shooting a bear in this town of Shandaken hamlet, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The man, a Phoenicia resident whose name was not provided, was cited after the environmental department and Shandaken police were notified about 11 p.m. Oct. 11 about a firearm being discharged in a residential area.

The incident happened at 10 Main St., according to Shandaken Police Chef Chad Storey.

Officers from the town and state agencies found a black bear in a backyard that had been fatally shot. The man who shot the bear told officers he did so out of fear, but an investigation found no evidence to support that claim, the state agency said.
Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Wendy Rosenbach said there were no signs the bear had broken into the man’s home or tried to do so. The state officer did find trash strewn about the man’s backyard, Rosenbach said.

The man was ticketed under the state’s Environmental Conservation Law for illegally shooting a bear and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of nearby houses, Rosenbach said.

The agency spokeswoman said it’s legal to kill a bear without a permit if the animal has attacked or tried to injure a person or pet; has broken into a house; or is destroying livestock or an apiary, but that authorities must be notified immediately after. Also, she said, the state can issued a permit for a landowner to kill a bear if there is proof the animal is causing property damage.

Asked why she would not provide the name of the Phoenicia man who was ticketed, Rosenbach said: “We don’t typically release that information.”

A person answering the phone at the Department of Environmental Conservation’s main office in Albany also would not provide the man’s name.

The man is to appear in Shandaken Town Court.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Stony Clove Creek stabilization project

Daily Freeman story: Ashokan Watershed program completes Stony Clove Creek stabilization project

The Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program completed a project to stabilize 1.5 acres of slumping hillslope bordering the Stony Clove Creek along state Route 214 and Wright Road.

[Wright Road is in Lanesville]

The project cost $1,237,162 to complete. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection provided the town of Hunter with a 25 percent local cost-share to match federal dollars from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program. The federal funding covered the remaining 75 percent of the cost.

Project Manager Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil & Water Conservation District said there was a “surprising amount of groundwater moving through the hillslope. The stabilization was started after project managers saw the soggy slope moving over time toward the stream channel. Geotechnical engineers called to the site determined the problem would only get worse if not corrected.

Approximately 13 landowners benefitted from two years of work at the site to stabilize the channel and hillslope. The projects were designed to reduce the amount of fine sediment and coarse material eroding downstream where they might deposit and destabilize channels, or pollute New York City’s drinking water supply.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Reopening of Route 28 bridge in Shandaken pushed back to mid-November

An unexpected problem amid the replacement of a Route 28 bridge over the Esopus Creek in the town of Shandaken have moved the anticipated reopening of the span from Oct. 7 to sometime in mid-November, according to the town supervisor.

Rob Stanley said he was told of the new target date for completion by the state Department of Transportation.

The project began in April. So far, two of three new concrete abutments have been positioned, and steel has been laid over the top of them. But construction of the third abutment, on the west side of the creek, has been held up, Stanley said.

When excavators dug down, it was discovered a shelf of bedrock on which the abutment was to sit on wasn’t exactly where expected.

It was only a few feet away, but that meant that the abutment, under the original plan, would be sitting on soft ground instead of solid rock unless changes were made. So design engineers were called in to rethink the plan and devise a new one that takes into account the real location of the rock shelf.

The result was a delay of several weeks.

When completed, the new bridge on Route 28, near the intersection with Route 42, will be longer, wider and higher than the old one and will eliminate a rail crossing where development of a recreational trail is planned.

The old bridge was 233 feet long and 33 feet wide. The new span will be 293 feet long and 40 feet wide, and the road will be 8 feet higher above the creek than the old bridge.

The anticipated traffic volume is 2,600 vehicles per day.

The posted detour for Route 28 drivers includes Route 42, Creekside Drive and Firehouse Road.

Shandaken Town Hall move could help settle debt to NYC environmental department

Daily Freeman story dated September 14, 2016:

Plans for a new town office complex are taking shape, and a fringe benefit of the project is the town could be off the hook for $70,000 it owes to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The complex, which is to be on land set aside for a Phoenicia sewer project that voters rejected, would house the town’s government offices and highway and ambulance departments.

Before voters rejected the sewer project, the town used more than $70,000 of Department of Environmental Protection money to buy the property. The department asked for its money back after the project failed at the polls.

Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley said the town has tried to sell the land but has been unsuccessful, and now the city department is demanding payment, sale or no sale.

But thanks to the Catskill Watershed Corp., which provides funding to relocate municipal buildings out of floodways, the town could be able to both keep the land — which is on Route 28 in the hamlet of Phoenicia, just east of the Phoenicia Plaza — and pay back the New York City department.

The current town office complex is on Route 28 in the hamlet of Allaben, on land within the Esopus Creek floodway.

The Town Board on Monday agreed to file a funding application with the Catskill Watershed Corp. If the application is approved, the town will use the money to pay back the Department of Environmental Protection.

Asked what would happen if the funding is approved but the town office move fails to materialize, Stanley said it would be better to owe money to the Catskill Watershed Corp. than the Department of Environmental Protection.

Friday, September 9, 2016

New dividing weir gates in place at Ashokan Reservoir

Story in Daily Freeman

And old gate is removed, left, and a new one is installed, right.

OLIVEBRIDGE >> The Ashokan Reservoir’s dividing weir has been restored to full functionality with the replacement of four large cast-iron gates that control the flow of water between the reservoir’s two basins, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection said Friday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


A few photos from this summer.

Saturday July 30, after the rain:

Sunday August 14, 6.30 in the evening:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Averting danger at the detour

Story from Daily Freeman:

New stop sign in Big Indian helps reduce dangers caused by Route 28 bridge detour in Shandaken

The intersection of Creekside Drive and Firehouse Road in this town of Shandaken hamlet, once a sleepy fork in the road, turned into a dangerous place about a month ago when it became part of a detour for traffic to get around a bridge project on Route 28, according to town Police Chief Chad Storey.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Crossing Main Street in Phoenicia

Posted to Phoenicia Library Facebook page, photo of Momma & cub on Main St. in Phoenicia Wednesday night (6/8/16), by Burr Hubbell:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Cuomo Grants Hudson SkyWalk Life

Story  from Hudson Valley magazine.

Thanks to a new contribution from the State, pedestrians may yet be able to traverse the Hudson from Greene to Columbia Counties.

Photos courtesy of NYS Bridge Authority

A brand new pedestrian walkway connecting Greene County and Columbia County is in the works, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. A feasibility study for the Hudson River SkyWalk, which would connect two of the Hudson River's popular tourist destinations—the Olana State Historic Site in Greenport and Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill—has been initiated thanks to a $124,000 grant awarded by the Department of State through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

a visitor to Phoenicia

Photo by Liz Potter, Phoenicia Library Director

Friday, May 20, 2016

Stefania Skrabak takes readers to Phoenicia

Today on Go Design Go’s travel guide series, Stefania Skrabak of Art Home Garden takes readers to the Catskills of New York. A small, artsy upstate town, Phoenicia is Stefania’s favorite place to visit for its relaxing, outdoorsy vibe. Read on for her go-to spots to sleep, eat and shop, as well as some “hidden treasures.”

Despite some grammatical and spelling faux pas, it makes for interesting reading.

Phoenicia is more about a feeling then it is a subject or a “to do.” That is what’s inspiring. It’s about being outside and taking inspiration from nature, the river, campfires, cocktails and friends.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sweet Sue’s has reopened

Daily Freeman article from 5/18/16:

Sue Taylor is shown inside her Phoenicia restaurant, Sweet Sue’s, on Monday.
Sue Taylor is shown inside her Phoenicia restaurant, Sweet Sue’s, on Monday. Photo by Jay Braman Jr.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Phoenicia Library becoming Main Street mecca

Daily Freeman article:

Phoenicia Library, Phoenicia, N.Y.
Phoenicia Library, Phoenicia, N.Y. FILE PHOTO BY TONY ADAMIS

Officials at the Phoenicia Library on Main Street have been expanding its role into something much more than simply a depository for lending books.

The building was destroyed by fire in 2011, and, when it reopened in January 2015, the caretakers of the institution sought guidance on its operation.

“The library believes the community should determine its future direction,” said librarian Liz Potter. “We did a town-wide survey and held three focus groups of library users and non-users. People strongly indicated they love the programming and want more of it. In particular, people felt very proud of all the local talent in these mountains and wanted to see more programs celebrating our community, so we’ve added programs that feature our local musicians, our writers, our anglers, our local police, our seed experts and our crafts people.”

Across the country, libraries roles are changing and expanding, increasingly offering a diverse programs for all ages and moving into a more central role as community gathering place.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Don’t be dumping it in Phoenicia

Story from Daily Freeman:
Phoenicia won’t be dumping ground for Catskill Mountain Railroad items from Kingston, group’s president says

Railroad cars and equipment are shown at the Catskill Mountain Railroad site in Phoenicia. Photo by Jay Braman Jr.

The head of the Catskill Mountain Railroad says most of the railroad’s belongings that have been ordered removed from the Kingston rail yard will not be relocated to Phoenicia.
“In Phoenicia, there’s no change in operation,” Ernie Hunt said this week. “It’s going to be no different than last year.”
But Anique Taylor, who lives on Lower High Street in Phoenicia, just a stone’s throw from the railroad’s property in the town of Shandaken hamlet, has doubts.
Taylor says she has seen equipment being trucked into the Phoenicia yard over the past couple weeks. She’s also concerned about the railroad’s effort to get town approval to build more infrastructure on the site. That matter is to be discussed by Shandaken Zoning Board of Appeals during a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in the Town Hall on Route 28 in Allaben.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Day 2016

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Tiso’s was Mount Tremper institution

Column written by Stan Fischler, renowned sports columnist.

Author-columnist-commentator Stan “The Maven” Fischler resides in Boiceville and New York City. His column appears each week in the Sunday Freeman.

The former Tiso’s Restaurant in Mount Tremper. Tania Barricklo — Daily Freeman

This one isn’t about sports — as in games — but it is about sports, as in good people, and a very special restaurant in Mount Tremper with a sporting background.
I am telling you all about this because that venerable trattoria called Tiso’s has closed its doors. That’s an awful shame for the people between here and the Isle of Capri who love this place.
Like myself, everyone wants Tisos to remain open forever.
Many of us Tiso-lovers remember the original Tiso of Tiso’s. That would be Joe’s father, Emilio, also referred to as Jack or Butch.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Cooper Lake

One of the great spots in our neighborhood: