Photo by Robert Umenhofer
Median Household Income: $34,313
Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Unit: $173,200
Our Hudson Valley cities are characterized by natural and architectural splendor, foundations of blue-collar grit, and quality of cultural offerings. Hudson exhibits all of these qualities at their peak. The grit can be seen in reminders of past trades. Ancient brick shipbuilding warehouses and little whales on the street signs are evidence of the town’s history as a center for whalers.
Hudson’s rise from grit to glory began with antique stores taking hold in the ’80s and art galleries following throughout the ’90s. James Male, a broker with HOUSE Hudson Valley Realty, describes the current real estate trend as a “downtown or village” feel.
It’s easy to express yourself here. “If you want an art gallery,” says Male, “you can just do it.” Big- and small-time artists alike are taking those opportunities. Internationally renowned performance artist Marina Ambromovic is in the process of renovating a historic 33,000-square-foot building to house her Marina Ambromovic Institute, a center for artistic collaboration, innovation, and education.
Creative minds in the food and music fields are also carving out their niche in Hudson. James Beard Award winner for Best Chef Northeast, 2016, Zak Pelaccio, is leading the culinary arts scene with his restaurant Fish & Game. Hudson offers dozens of other fine and casual dining options, including Pelaccio’s Malaysian fare at Backbar, wood-fired pizza at Oak and classic French at Café Le Perche. Music venues Club Helsinki and the Hudson Opera House showcase a spectrum of top talent on a regular basis. And Time and Space Limited brings the latest in independent film.
The city’s architectural slate offers every American style of the last three centuries. Hudson’s proudest street, Warren, boasts the full spectrum, in well-preserved and artfully painted form. Historic houses in the surrounding residential area are smaller in scale but equally charming. You would be surprised to know that some of those neighborhoods were home to an infamous red-light district in the early 20th century. Nowadays, houses on those same streets fetch prices around $500,000, according to Male. But don’t despair: a fixer-upper, or a house in the more suburban outer circle — a 10- to 15-minute walk — can sometimes be had for under $300,000.
This new wave of arts and culture in Hudson isn’t the first. Hudson River School master, and prized pupil of Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, also moved up from the city to plant roots here with his family way back in the mid-1800’s. He built what is still the best house in town, Olana, a one-of-a-kind Victorian mansion with strong Arabic influences and also now a New York State historic site.