This Site's Top-five Stories of the Year, in Case You Missed them


I wanted to write to thank everyone who pre-ordered the book of interviews, which should be to those who purchased them within a few weeks’ time. Between online sales and mailed-in donations and sponsorships, I sold a good number of books, for this being a digital world and all. I also want to thank everyone who sat for interviews this year and who helped with other stories.

As I’ve been planning, I will be, after this post, pouring some antifreeze down the pipes of this site, winterizing it, and opening it back up in the spring.

Since April, I’ve posted about fifty stories—fifteen of them being the transcribed interviews, which ranged in length from 2,000 to 8,000 words and which became the backbone of the site.

But, here are the most highly-viewed non-interview stories of the year, in case you missed them:

Six Things to Know About Hudson’s Furgary Shacks, Which the State May Have Just Saved

With this one, I had a bit of luck on my side, timing-wise. For about a week leading up to the state historic preservation office’s decision in July to deem the seventeen riverfront structures eligible for the national and state historic registries, I was researching and writing an in-depth piece exploring the history of the shacks before the city tore them down, which at that time, seemed not very far away.

In fact, I was putting the finishing touches on that story when Leo Bower—who I had interviewed in May about his history at the Furgary and his feelings of the looming demolition—called to tell me of the state’s decision.

After some re-working, I published the piece in a suddenly much different context.

It was shared widely and was picked up by the All Over Albany news site and by Abandoned Hudson Valley, and, for reasons I’m not quite sure of, has continued, months later, to be viewed around fifty times per week.

Here it is, in case you missed it (open in a new tab, with a right-click, please!):


The Lasting Effect of Levon Helm

My Dad was a major fan of Levon Helm and The Band, as am I. Something about the genuineness of the music. Helm, a Woodstock resident since the ’60s, died from throat cancer in 2012, but, each year, there’s an open house at his residence, where he used to host the intimate concerts known as the Midnight Rambles.

My Dad and I made it to the open house this year, in April, for the second straight year. I took that trip as an opportunity to write a reflection on Helm.

The article was shared twice by the official Levon Helm Facebook page and Sandy Helm, Levon’s widow, wrote in the comments section:


Inside the Dollar General Proposal that has Germantown All Riled Up

The hot issue for most of this year in Germantown has been the proposal by a development company to build a store for the Dollar General corporation on Route 9G in the town. It has many people who fall on either side charged up, boots dug in, and those of us who can see both sides having complicated inner-debates, thinking of globalization vs. Mom & Pop stores, whether Germantown is unique enough to successfully buck modern trends, clarity and purpose of town zoning codes, et cetera.

The store is yet to be approved or denied. In fact, this Thursday, Dec. 3, there’s a public information session at 5:30 p.m. in the town hall hosted by the developer, which is scheduled to precede a planning board meeting on the proposal.

Here’s the analysis I wrote in April, which was one of this site’s top-viewed stories of the year:


Beacon to Manhattan, Two Days on the Hudson

Though most years I try to paddle the tidal Hudson in one five-day stretch, this year was fairly busy, making a one-shot trip tough. But I paddled, in five different installments spaced from June to October (and out of geographic order), from Troy to Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan and wrote about each stretch. The two-day final trip of the year in October, covering the last fifty or so of about 140 total miles, was the most-viewed of the series:

Remembering the Time All Germantown Residents’ Guns Were Taken

The first time I read Walt Miller’s book on 1700s Germantown, I was pretty taken aback by the amount of real drama that once boiled in my sometimes-sleepy hometown. This story was one of two that I gleaned this year from Miller’s book. This one centered on the events that led to the confiscation of all firearms held by the malnourished German refugees that settled the town.


See you in Spring!