Thursday, October 21, 2010

Safe Harbors of the Hudson: Cornerstone Residence

"Safe Harbors of the Hudson, incorporated in 2000, is a nonprofit organization that is committed to transforming lives and building communities through housing and the arts in the City of Newburgh."

This week, I had a chance to see what is within the walls of the old Hotel Newburgh. Renamed "The Cornerstone Residence", this space now offers supportive housing, and this probably the exact opposite of what you think of when "affordable housing" comes to mind. I didn't see any of the actual apartments, but I had met a Cornerstone resident on a previous occasion, and he had mentioned how much he loved his place, with the high ceilings, hardwood floors, etc. Although this is nothing like the old Hotel Newburgh, you'd find many amenities available in hotels today. Some of these features include a fitness room (complete with a meditation room), library, computer lab, and rooms for group events.

After signing in with security and entering the lobby, you're surrounded with artwork from one resident artist. The artwork changes monthly, where a different resident's work is featured each month, and its almost a shame that this isn't visible to the general public (some of the residents do have works displayed at the Newburgh Free Library, if interested in viewing some of the talent residing here). The lobby being so spacious, there was so much more than I had a chance to look at in the brief period I was waiting there. This month, the walls were adorned with paintings from "Tusay". While seeing the artist studios, Tusay was painting away- the art being displayed is only a fraction of his inventory. While down there (in what used be be part of the Sears automotive department) he was more than happy to show me more of his work and was sweet as can be. I'm lucky to have the Cornerstone and its residents in my neighborhood!

Tusay sporting his "Ritz Kidz" t-shirt

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cindy Cashdollar And Steve James Perform At The Ritz Theater

On Saturday, October 16, 2010, the Ritz Theater and La Bella Strings (which is actually based in Newburgh), in association with the Bardavon, welcomed Cindy Cashdollar and Steve James. The concert is a part of the 2010-11 Tom Humphrey Guitar Series.

Cindy Cashdollar is one of the foremost steel and dobro players in the country and has collaborated with everyone from Bob Dylan to Rod Stewart.

Steve James is a well known name among devotees of contemporary acoustic folk and blues.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Opportunities Just Around The Corner, at The Cornerstone

I just happened to be in the neighborhood today, and me being me, had to wander around the area aimlessly. I saw the sign for a job fair around the corner, and just checked it out.

Independent Living Inc. is sponsoring the Diversity Job Fair, and it was in a beautiful setting, being held at the Green Room at The Cornerstone, and had a large variety of participants attending. Such participants include the following (in no particular order and may not be all inclusive):

Check it out if you happen to be in the neighborhood!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Touring Newburgh

    Two weeks ago, when I attended the "Hudson Valley Ruins" lecture at the Newburgh Free Library, I met a lady briefly at the end of the event, and she was more than enthusiastic on sharing what Newburgh had to offer with me. She gave me her phone number, with the idea of her showing me around the area.

    I gave her a call, and after a couple of rounds of phone tag, we met up at the Captain David Crawford House, home to the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. The house itself is something worth seeing, from the ornate front door with its antique hardware, to it being situated on a corner lot overlooking the Hudson River.

    This lady, being a Newburgh native and holding a seat on the Historical Society's Board of Managers, was a wealth of information. I could ask her just about anything, and she gladly answered. If she felt she didn't have enough information, she was more than happy to the contact information of someone to get in touch with. She took  me all over Newburgh, pointing out houses and different neighborhoods, and providing information on each unique area, whether it be relating to the types of houses, architects involved, or the general use of the areas today. What I liked best was the fact that she didn't try to sugarcoat anything, or avoid places you probably wouldn't want someone to judge the area on. In fact, I think those areas are the best to see.

    Aside from just wanting to get to know the area more, she also pointed out how many things there are to do in the area, reasons to just come spend a few hours or even a day there, such as the Ann Street Gallery, the Karpeles Manuscript Library, the Downing Film Center, and the Ritz Theater. Other places not to be left off the list of to-do's here are the restaurants and shops on Liberty Street and the Waterfront area. A friendly stop at Newburgh Art Supply and lunch at Caffé Macchiato were also on our itinerary.

    What she really showed me is that the true essence of the area isn't in the historic buildings or quaint shops, but the people in the community. I can't even say how I came to talking to to her that night, but she went above and beyond making someone new feel welcomed.

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Heating Up

     It's damp outside, there's a chill in the air, and heat comes to mind. I can already imagine that faint smell of the dust burning off the baseboards (no, I don't move the furniture and vacuum the elements of the baseboard heaters). One thing I want at home is radiant heat, which we installed as part of this project.

    The hallways seemed narrow, but needed to be heated. For brief moments, I wondered if we really needed to heat those small areas, but after spending some cold days there, there was no doubt the halls needed heating. Baseboards seemed clunky and I just envisioned them getting trashed in no time, with things being moved in and out and trying to maneuver those tight spaces. We went with the option of underfloor heating, running PEX tubing (polyethylene), over the sub floor and under the tile, throughout the halls and in the basement.


    Installation starts out with prepping the sub floor with moisture barriers and wire mesh. They are rolled out to cover the sub floor surface, similar to the way carpeting is laid out. Next came the rolls of PEX tubing. This starts out as a neatly rolled coil and ends up looking like a big mess of spaghetti as you work with it. As it is being unraveled, the tubing is placed over the grid in loopy snakelike patterns and is secured to the grid with tie wraps, so the tubing will lay flat in the placement pattern.


    After, a layer of cement is poured, in order to provide a level surface to install the floor on. From there, floor installation proceeds as usual. I don't know the technical aspects of feeding this into the heating unit (this is where a plumber's expertise comes in), but some sort of a fluid is cycled through the tubes, which are then connected to the boiler. The result is an evenly heated area, without signs of any heaters in sight.

    For me, the benefits are no baseboards getting in your way, having a nice toasty feel wherever you are, since the heat is laid under the entire area (rather than a heater running along one wall of the room), and no scent of burning dust. Now if only I get this installed at home...