Curating and curing in Hudson

warren street hudsonThe ongoing transformation of Hudson continues to draw media attention. And two articles this week -- one in NYT, the other in Esquire GQ -- had us wondering if there's a bit of a Hudson bubble.

From "Cultivating Hudson: Enter the Tastemakers" by Penelope Green in NYT, about the influx of people from cities such as New York and San Francisco and their desire to "curate"... everything:

Whether or not the Marina [Abramović] effect is real, Ms. Duffy [a real estate broker] averred that the "market here is gangbusters. We've never had buildings on Warren Street for over a million before. Two years ago, they were maybe $400,000. Ten years ago, you couldn't give them away." As for the Warren Street rents, she added, last year's average was about $1,600 a month; now they are close to twice that, at about $2,800. Mr. Coleman is paying $2,300, a deal in New York City, but a jaw-dropper for the area.

The article touches some of the complicated facets of the upswing, including questions about gentrification and how the prosperity on Warren Street can be extended.

A big part of the current Hudson scene is its restaurants, and the one getting the most attention right now is Zach Pelaccio's Fish & Game. From a two-visit review by Alan Richman titled "Is Hudson New York's Next Great Dining Destination?" (a question the review doesn't answer):

The first was bread, more formally a "bread bowl." It held a couple Parker House rolls, a few slices of sourdough, and a schmear of the house spread, made with butter, yogurt, and ash, one of those slick concoctions that doesn't taste as good as plain butter but guarantee an elevated price. In this case, the bread bowl was $8, quite a climb from what bread in fancy places used to cost, which was nothing. The slightly grainy schmear wasn't nearly enough, so we asked for extra, and that was another $2, please. Our bread had climbed into double figures.

$10 bread? The bread bowl was the beginning of a string of items Richman found to be "random" and of "little coherence" and to include "considerable curing." He concludes: "Fish & Game isn't close to being the great restaurant it seems to think it is." (The restaurant got a much better review from the TU last fall.)

By the way: If you're interested in Hudson, Sam Pratt's blog is worth keeping up on. Example of a recent item: A "venerable" old bar was reportedly sold to "a hedge fund manager and his spouse, said to have managed nightspots in Manhattan's Meatpacking district."

Comments

I wrote a cover story for New York magazine in 1983 called "Hail Columbia," that snapped a shot of Hudson and Columbia County. Back then the antique dealers were transforming Warren Street. Many of them are gone now because people don't buy antiques much anymore. Restauranting was a little thin and you could fire a canon ball down Warren Street and few would notice. Now it is difficult to get a parking spot. I love the architecture of Hudson and I hope all the businesses do well. Hail, Columbia!

Here's a link (via my site, thanks for the props) to Larry’s 80s-era piece on Columbia County:

http://www.sampratt.com/sam/2010/04/hail-columbia.html

I wrote a feature about Hudson for the same publication, New York Magazine, in 1998. The magazine did yet another update in 2010.

The Times likewise has revisited the “growing” scene with a similar frequency—I remember a big feature on Hudson by Dinitia Smith in 1997.

As for Richman's hit piece, an irony is that this is the second GQ piece on Fish & Game; the first one was over-the-top excited about it. Richman is known for courting controversy and garnering attention by stirring the pot. I’ve had three excellent dinners there (and I’m a vegetarian). Seemed he was more miffed at having trouble getting a reservation than being objective.

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