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Both Cold Spring and Beacon have the geography of the Highlands to thank for their sense of scale. Hemmed in by the mountains one one side, the river on the other, and preserved land all around, neither of them succumbed to the disease of sprawl that has adversely impacted other towns over the last 30 years. As Jonathan Rose, author of last year's The Well-Tempered City, explained to me, the scale and relative density of the Highlands towns and their rings of protected, open spaces and farmland can serve as a model for sustainable development in the 21st Century. Rose is more than just a fan of the area: He lives in Garrison and is the co-founder of the Garrison Institute, a combination mediation center and think tank that focuses on turning inward peace into outward change. Along with the Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center, and the estate at Boscobel where the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival makes its summer home, it forms a ring of hidden cultural treasures that most day-trippers to the area make the mistake of driving right by.
That ring is about to get a little bigger in June with the opening of Magazzino on Route 9 in Cold Spring. Magazzino is Italian for warehouse, and the name is appropriate on numerous levels: The space is a renovated former warehouse that will specialize in displaying works from the Arte Povera movement that blossomed in Italy in the late 1960s and `70s as a European twist on both American pop art and minimalism. Just as Arte Povera artists sought to redefine the relationship between a work of art and its audience, Magazzino will not be a museum. Instead, it will serve as a sort of combination research center and library for those curious about this little-known movement. The center will be free and open to the public, but only through advance appointments.
- John Garay
- Jose De Los Santos and Chico at the Mount Beacon trailhead
But no discussion of the Highlands' cultural centers can omit Dia:Beacon, which took over an old Nabisco box factory in 2002 and turned it into an international pilgrimage site for lovers of large-scale modern art. While many lifelong Beaconites will argue that Dia gets maybe a bit too much credit for the city's resurgence at the expense of the locals' own tireless efforts, it's also possible to argue that it still doesn't get enough credit. As one native Beaconite and local business owner recently said to me, "They took an abandoned, shuttered, corporate factory, a symbol of everything that's wrong with America, and turned it into the perfect example of why we're fucking dope."
That owner was Paul Yeaple, who won national acclaim with his farm-to-table burger restaurant Poppy's but recently decided to sell the shop and take a break. Beacon has come a long way since the days when tourists would simply hit up Dia, grab a sandwich at Homespun Foods, and leave. An innovative crop of small business owners transformed a shuttered Main Street into one of New York State's liveliest throughways. Now that Beacon is back, those same owners have to figure out how to keep a good thing going. Sometimes that means taking yourself out of the game for your own sanity and letting someone else have a go.
- John Garay
- Natalie Amendola at the Cold Spring Apothecary
So Poppy's is closed, but the team behind Beacon's Kitchen Sink Food & Drink will be opening up a similar burger bar in its space, Meyer's Olde Dutch, this month. The breakfast spot Quinn's shuts down and turns into a Japanese restaurant/live music club with the same name and decor. The Hop may have unexpectedly closed last fall because of, as they say in rock 'n' roll, "creative differences," but the chef has already moved around the corner to take over the kitchen of the new Beacon Hotel, one of two new hotels opening this spring in the city. The former bar manager at The Hop is now across the street and running Hudson Valley Brewery, one of the city's two craft breweries (the other one, 2 Way Brewing, is down by the train station.) Beacon Barks and the Beacon Bagel recently changed hands. 4th Wall Theater is out at the Beacon Theater and Beacon's own gang of roving cinematic gypsies known as Story Screen are moving in to build Beacon's first movie theater.
- John Garay
- Taylor Kurrle and Alex Demmerle at Niche Modern