fragile-hi

Given the robust number of New York City voices one hears on the streets of Ulster County even on winter weekends and the growing number of Hudson Valley residents who travel to make their living in the big city and its inner suburbs during the week, it was timely that Gotham’s leading civic planning organization held a meeting on the SUNY New Paltz campus last Wednesday morning in the throes of the preparation of a broad new 31-county regional plan. More than 50 people found themselves seated around a large U-shaped table in the Student Union Building asked to share their views of how the Hudson Valley was going to change in the next generation or so.

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NYPortAuthority_Sym

“A regional cargo distribution hub will be established at Stewart Airport by growing its current cargo capacity, which will relieve JFK Airport of most cargo shipping facilities and create room to expand potential amenities and services for JFK Airport,” announced a press release from New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on October 20.

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poor
“This is not the type of thing which a democratic society, a capitalist democratic society, can really accept without addressing.”

– Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman

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Zumtobel_modifiedsymbol

“Awkward” would be a kind word to use to describe the appearance of Zumtobel executive Bill Simoni at the Ulster County IDA county agency’s monthly meeting in Kingston last Wednesday morning.

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microjob

As large businesses continue to shrink, smaller ones become even more important to the American economy. Federal 2012 census statistics counted 4267 establishments in Ulster County with fewer than 20 employees each. In 2000, the same count of small establishments had shown 3950. That’s an average of about two and a quarter such small new enterprises a month. Not bad, though not great, either.

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broken cent_sm

When I was a kid in Zena, most of the dads in the neighborhood put on their mandatory blue dress shirts and ties and drove off each morning to their jobs at the IBM plant in Kingston. They made good money and their children went to college. When IBM left, the job market for those kids and their dads dried up. My first career job was in the Capital Region. I left Ulster County, too.

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photo by Dion Ogust

photo by Dion Ogust

Every autumn holiday brings to the Hudson Valley a swarm of upwardly mobile creative visitors of every level of success. Every infestation of the members of this visiting “creative class,” made famous by Richard Florida’s now-classic 2005 theory that the cities to which knowledge workers congregate will prosper and other cities will not, represents a potential opportunity for the region. They look for nature, culture and community. If they find the Hudson Valley attractive enough for them to want to escape the increasingly expensive and rapidly gentrifying metropolitan centers from which most of them come, our region is likely to be reinvigorated. If they don’t we won’t.

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