Little Water Place | Community Pages | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Little Water Place 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 4:08 pm

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Tkazyik is proud of his efforts to make city government nimble and user-friendly, for businesses and residents alike. “It used to be, ‘You don’t want to deal with Poughkeepsie government,’ and I think we’re turning that around.” According to Kowalski and Valdivia both, Tkazyik is succeeding—and Poughkeepsie’s new breed of entrepreneurs seem determined to give as good as they get. Café Bocca on Mount Carmel Street (another Walkway neighbor) hosts an eclectic array of fare indeed: film screenings, readings, art openings, belly dancing, and music, and participants in a “Mount Carmel Community Forum” discussion in late July included a retired state mental health worker, a grandma and IBMer, a hipster DJ, a retired postmaster/technical analyst, a Hudson River Housing employee who’s heavy into transformative mediation, and representatives of Vassar and Bard.

And it’s an easy guess that folks from Lola’s circle will show up, and that the Irishers at Mahoney’s are cheering on the birth of the Bull and Buddha. “It’s all about collaboration, not competition,” says Charlie North, president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “There are plenty of opportunities to make capital when you collaborate—it’s the right thing to do and the polite thing to do. When you become partners you become family. The waterfront, Main Street, the Walkway—they’re entrees on the menu of success for the capital city of the Hudson River Valley. Keep watching—we’re percolating right now, and it’ll come to a boil fairly quickly. There are new initiatives about to be announced in the next few weeks.”

The fermentation of New Urbanism can be left behind, when so desired, by simply driving east on Route 44 and crossing the border into Pleasant Valley, a town of about 9,000 souls that prides itself on keeping the finest traditions of American small-town life alive and thriving. Residents come together often, for free concerts and art shows or exercises and brain games. Postcard-pretty, Pleasant Valley boasts a quadruple handful of community organizations, ranging from the classics like Rotary to the Women in the Wind bikers and an active children’s theater. North is a big Pleasant Valley fan: “It’s the town everyone would have liked to grow up in—a classic small town with a thriving business corridor. They even have an actual department store. Everybody knows everybody, but they’re a warm and welcoming bunch—it’s a pleasure just to drive through because they keep it so nice.”

Pleasant Valley, laid-back and sweetly traditional, offers low-key and intriguing retail alternatives to the big-boxes: besides the department store, there are a hobby shop and a thrift shop. Several restaurants are thriving. The historic Mill Site Museum offers a window into the past, and the Bower-Quarry Trails network beckons walkers, bikers, and cross-country skiers to peace and fresh air. “It’s just what it says it is,” says North. “A really pleasant valley. How can you top that?”

Indeed. Pleasant Valley, quintessential small town, and Poughkeepsie, venerable city dancing happily along to its own new rhythms, near neighbors offering complimentary, contrasting flavors of Hudson Valley life—and perhaps, models other towns and cities might learn from. For if each community is thriving in difficult times, the key would seem to lie in being exuberantly, unashamedly exactly who and what they really are—and loving it.

RESOURCES
The Artist’s Palate www.theartistspalate.biz
Bananas Comedy Club (845) 462-3333
Bardavon www.bardavon.org
Barrett Art Center www.barrettartcenter.org
Bull and Buddha www.bullandbuddha.com
Café Bocca www.cafebocca.net
Catherine Street Community Center www.catharinecenter.org
The Chance www.thechancetheater.com
Crave www.craverestaurantandlounge.com
Cunneen-Hackett Center www.cunneen-hackett.org
Dutchess Community College www.sunydutchess.edu
Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce
www.dutchesscountyregionalchamber.org
GAS www.galleryandstudio.org
Lola’s www.lolascafeandcatering.com
Mahoney’s Irish Pub www.mahoneysirishpub.com
Marist College www.marist.edu
Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum www.mhcm.org
Mid-Hudson Civic Center www.midhudsonciviccenter.com
Powerhouse Theater www.powerhouse.vassar.edu
Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute www.ridley.edu
St. Francis Hospital www.sfhhc.org
Vassar Brother Medical Center www.health-quest.org
Vassar College www.vassar.edu
Walkway Over the Hudson www.walkway.org

click to enlarge The Poughkeepsie Railroad Station - NATALIE KEYSSAR
  • Natalie Keyssar
  • The Poughkeepsie Railroad Station
click to enlarge Agnieszka Zimny (left) of Long Island, and Caitlyn Letterii of Poughkeepsie, both students in the Pre-College Program at Marist College, search for fish and other signs of life in the fall kill creek under the instruction of teacher Chris Bowser. - NATALIE KEYSSAR
  • Natalie Keyssar
  • Agnieszka Zimny (left) of Long Island, and Caitlyn Letterii of Poughkeepsie, both students in the Pre-College Program at Marist College, search for fish and other signs of life in the fall kill creek under the instruction of teacher Chris Bowser.
click to enlarge The Pleasant Valley Department Store brings old-time charm to Pleasant Valley’s Main Street. - NATALIE KEYSSAR
  • Natalie Keyssar
  • The Pleasant Valley Department Store brings old-time charm to Pleasant Valley’s Main Street.
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