Monday, June 7, 2010

The Awe of Awnings

Do little things make a difference? Are these small efforts contagious? I hope so.

Driving down Broadway the other day, I noticed an awning over what I thought was a storefront. I think it’s new, but I can’t say for sure. It wasn’t a commercial sort of awning you’d expect to find over a store with a bright color and the store name screaming out at you. This was a subtle awning with deep red and beige stripes and coordinated perfectly with both the color of the brick and the pointing between the bricks.

However a small a detail this might be, it brought to mind images I had seen of the Palatine Hotel (opened in 1893, and demolished in 1970). When I first came across a picture of this hotel years back, I fell in love with it. I couldn’t understand how they could tear it down, but that was exactly the imagery I wanted to see when I’d think of the future of Newburgh.

In writing this, I was looking for a picture of that grand hotel. When I found one, I realized why that new awning reminded me so much of the hotel, it was practically identical to the hotel’s awnings in both style and color The Palatine must have left a positive impression on someone else, too, enough for them to want to mimic the style of the former hotel’s awnings. I hope this triggers some similar thoughts in someone else’s head, and they in turn do something small in nature to remind us of how great Newburgh was, and so on, and so on…

I still don’t understand how you could let such a structure fall apart and get torn down. The Palatine may be gone forever, but to me, this small insignificant awning symbolizes the return of what was once great.


  1. Excellent comparison. I love awnings. If you look at old photos at Newburgh, especially on Broadway and Water Streets were full of them. Broadway would be beautiful if more stores buildings would put them up. This is next to the fruit market isn't it?

  2. I really hope to see more of them. Aside from the City Hall area, I don't recall seeing these style awnings around much now. You're right, this is right next to the Broadway Market.