See what’s in our mailbox for December 2009
Photograph by Frank Roberts
Where in the Hudson Valley...?
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It stretches to 13 feet, weighs two tons, and its eyes glint of bronze. No, this fearsome monster isn’t the latest creature to crawl out of a polluted sewer (though it did come from Manhattan). Once part of a flock of fliers that sat atop Grand Central Station during the Gilded Age, the Shandaken Eagle — which now keeps watch over Route 28 in Phoenicia — is still a sight to behold. Kudos to eagle-eyed Leslie Malley of Big Indian, who was the first to spy this bronze bird of prey. For our current quiz — about a slumbering statue — see the article “Rip Rises Up.”
It probably likes [the area] because of the beautiful mountains and the Ashokan reservoir nearby!
It’s definitely a good omen for attracting a pair of real eagles, which have been seen soaring over the Esopus Creek.
The eagle was restored by my friend Dakin Morehouse of the Empire State Railway Museum.
Readers: The Empire State Railway Museum and Catskill Mountain Railroad in Phoenicia hosted our lovely fall fashion spread this year. Check out our favorite fall ensembles set against the backdrop of this charming Ulster County rail station.
I used to travel from Hunter on Route 214 and always admired the open-winged eagle. It seemed to be protecting the village.
I attended the Best of the Hudson Valley Party at the Poughkeepsie Grand for the first time since I moved up to the area in 2000. It was fabulous. Thank you for providing such a great affair for the community.
Gimme Some Water
Great story (“A Resident Outraged,” Nov. ’09). Debra Hall kept it going long after her neighbors walked away. My neighbors in the Shenandoah site also dropped the cause as soon as the settlement with IBM was finalized. Six years later, in the spring of 2009, they finally got a community water system. The supply comes from Fishkill and contains road salt. I guess that’s better than PCE.
Denis Ryan Callinan
Sunset Beach, N.C.
I know that at the Indy 500, “Gentlemen, start your engines” is one of the most famous commands in sports, but “Gentlemen, Start Your Leaf Blowers” (Final Word, Oct. ’09) doesn’t tell the whole story! What about the women? My friend Liz and I initially bonded over our shared enthusiasm for the [leaf-blowing] task, discussing the techniques involved and our mutual ownership of the most high-powered blower on the market. Here’s her take on the “thrill of the blower”:
It’s my secret pleasure. At first resistant — due to the gas-powered, environmentally incorrect nature of using a leaf blower — I have become an ardent fan. My house sits in the middle of eight acres of a groomed wooded area; spectacularly serene and private, yet demanding tremendous maintenance — hence the blower. As a woman, this might seem strange to some. So I ask myself, “What is the particular thrill?” Most obviously, it gets things done in a hurry. I’m a big fan of “the right tool for the right job” theory of home-ownership. It’s also a fantastic form of exercise. I view it as my workout for that day, and of course I’m outside wallowing in the beauty of this place all the while. Lastly, there is the power thing. Undoubtedly holding that big tube and dominating my environment is thrilling in itself. Women don’t get to have this kind of fun often enough... I’ve got my finger on the trigger.
Susan J. Ragusa