Too often, the city of Hudson gets unfairly synonymized with Warren Street, its increasingly touristic main thoroughfare. So when Chronogram asked portrait photographer and Claverack resident David McIntyre to shoot a photo essay titled “Off Warren Street,” he jumped at the chance to capture this oft-unseen side of his own town. “I learned a whole lot shooting this story,” he says. “I just went down the rabbit hole and followed different leads as they happened.” What emerged was a complex tapestry of a town held together by overlapping legacies of art, activism, and entrepreneurship.
He started with Elena Mosley, executive director of Operation Unite, who’s worked with students for 30 years, giving them work experience, involving them in art shows, dance performances, and local nonprofit work. After photographing Mosley and her students, McIntyre went on to spend time capturing the programs and participants at Kite’s Nest, which offers daytime, after-school, and summer programming for kids and young adults aimed at fostering personal transformation, social connection, and systemic change. He also photographed the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition, which runs teen media workshops through the Housing Justice Tech League, in addition to their affordable housing advocacy work.
“I began to realize Operation Unite was only one of many organizations working with the next generation of activists and leaders,” says McIntyre, who met multiple people who had come through the programs in Hudson and are now organizers themselves. “It became a theme that I saw in art, activism, and then in entrepreneurship—these people being involved in these programs as young people, learning skills locally, and then passing them onto the next generation,” McIntyre says. “It’s kind of how it should be, but I’m not sure that’s always what happens.”
Another theme that emerged was the geographic and cultural shuffle that is happening in Hudson now as the waterfront city readjusts to another wave of tourism and urban relocators. He spent time at Half Moon, Hudson’s beloved dive bar, which, in a pandemic pivot, began slinging pizzas alongside well drinks and draft beer. “Suddenly all the people that previously had hung out in Spotty Dog or Governor’s were all down there,” McIntyre says. “In a way, it seemed like the locals—especially the gay and artist communities—had just surrendered Warren Street to the tourists but were finding great value in other places.” Half Moon is a place where local bands play and nonprofits hold fundraisers. The house pool team recently qualified for nationals in Las Vegas. “It was just a good reminder how one place can really become a beacon in the community—anything can happen there,” McIntyre says. “It’s really encouraging, like ‘Okay, you can have Warren Street and we’ll take your tax dollars, but we still have an identity, and it’s here and here and here.’”