Pike Plan or Parking

In an article in the most recent issue of the Kingston Times, the future of the Pike Plan seems to be torn between those who see it as a needed resource to the area while others — mostly the building owners — are simply done with paying added taxes to keep it up.

Over the past week, I began asking friends and relatives who live elsewhere, but visit Kingston’s uptown area, what they thought of the Pike Plan canopies. Although not very scientific, I admit, most liked the overhanging structure. One friend from New York City described it as “unique” and “an interesting feature.”

However, trying to gain a fresh perspective on the Pike Plan, I watched cars driving down Wall and North Front from the corner of those two streets. In this unscientific study and observation of 20 minutes, over 40 cars drove by. Two stopped and parked. One person went into the health food store, two passengers from the other car went into Catskill Art & Supply. I guess for a weekday afternoon that’s about average.

Then I thought of the constant stream of cars heading to other places in and around Kingston such as the Plaza and the shopping centers on 9W. At the Plaza, for example, I would guess that most the cars entering the site are stopping to do business.

Someone once said that most of the cars taking up spaces in the uptown belong to people who work there. Of course many of the businesses — such as Hudson Coffee Traders and the other eateries — depend on these workers for income.

Still, I have to wonder why parking is less of a critical issue (to the success of businesses here) than the Pike Plan. Or is it?

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

11 thoughts on “Pike Plan or Parking”

  1. Arthur, I have conducted my own survey on the Pike Plan that is probably about as unscientific as yours. But my survey had 100% of the ten or twenty people I surveyed advocating the complete removal of the Pike Plan so that finally once again people can see what the buildings look like. A local businessman I talked to just yesterday cited a friend from out-of-town who drove down Wall Street and observed that he couldn’t see into the stores. The arcade hides them. Ever notice how during the wonderfully successful street market in the summer there is no one in the stores that are hidden back in the shadows?

    Most of the time that the Pike Plan has existed during my residence here of perhaps too many years it has been in a slightly grungy condition of genteel decay. It looks fake, according to at least one person I surveyed and of course it is fake. Why do we hide these varied and interesting examples of 19th century commercial architecture? Cities like Hudson would never make this mistake, I hope for their sake.

    Kingston once made the serious mistake of moving out of its historic City Hall but had the wisdom finally to move back in (at considerable cost to the taxpayer, the building having been let go for many years). The Pike Plan is a similar mistake that may have seemed right at the time. But it’s time to reclaim the original historic Uptown and we need the collective wisdom to do it. Let’s spend the money to fix up the Pike Plan on restoring the building facades.

  2. Agreed! Especially with these buildings being in the heart of the stockade district with the Senate House just around the corner.

    And I totally understand your friend. As I drive down these two streets during the day, it’s hard to tell if the stores are open. It does look like a dark tunnerl.

    I emailed Hinchey to find out if the Pike Plan repair money could be used to tear down the structure. A few people told me that his office said the money can be used any way the Pike Plan commission deems suitable.

  3. The Pike Plan seemed to be an attempt to associate Kingston with the semi-famous and quasi-celebrated artist, John Pike, for whatever reason someone thought this plan would attract customers uptown. It was our own little “Pike’s Peak or Bust” plan and it never reached the pinnacle or the business goal and it went bust years ago. Maintaining this ill-conceived leaking umbrella in its grand ugliness has never been successful. I always felt the uptown district had been turned into some colonial western movie set without the cameras and the drugstore cowboys/girls. The sooner it is removed the better off the entire town will be. If they had banned vehicular traffic like Poughkeepsie did with their project many years ago, perhaps a certain quaintness might have been achieved. Chalk it up to another optimistic attempt at combining urban renewal with drumming up business which didn’t quite get off the mark. The excision of this eyesore will allow light to enter the facades of the stores and might turn the shopping district around. Snow shoveling will return its old meaning but that should be the least of the worries.

  4. No word directly from Maurice, but Tom Hoffay was kind enough to forward an email from the Congressman’s office that is intended to clarify Maurice’s position on the matter. Here’s an excerpt:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Ahouse, Dan
    Date: Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 1:32 PM
    Subject: RE: checking in with you….
    To: Tom Hoffay
    Cc: “DuBord, Lori” , sfinkle@ci.kingston.ny.us

    I am, unfortunately, very well versed in the tale of woes that you spun. I have had several conversations with Maurice on this matter….none of which left me feeling particularly confident. However, after speaking with him again, just two minutes ago, I can share with you his official position with regard to Uptown:

    Maurice asked Jimmy and Steve several years ago to put forth a plan for making improvements to the Uptown Business District, committing to seek funds to implement such a plan. He envisioned the needs to include sidewalk replacement, curb cuts, historic lighting and historic street signs to name a few. Subsequent to the City’s preparation of such a plan, Maurice secured a substantial amount of federal dollars to implement the plan — as promised. Additionally, we worked to reroute previous federal dollars awarded to the county for a visitors center to be used for “gateway improvements” in the historic district — again for the same purposes as previously stated — with the hope that perhaps facade improvements could be included. At some point in this process, we were approached by the City, RUPCO and the Pike Plan Commission and asked if some of the funds could be used to assist in restoring the Pike Plan. After reviewing with the DOT, it was determined that because the Pike Plan could be considered an extension of the sidewalk, DOT dollars could be used to make necessary improvements. Maurice agreed that SOME of the money could be used to leverage existing dollars for Pike Plan renovation. However, Maurice’s priority for uptown remains sidewalk repair, curb cutting and historic signs and lighting. Furthermore, Maurice will not support the use of any federal dollars to remove the Pike Plan. Anyone who represents a different position has confused Maurice’s comments on the matter. If the City decides it wants to remove the Pike Plan, they will have to find a different source to fund the project and ALL of the federal dollars earmarked for Uptown improvements should be expended on the priorities listed above.

    I hope this clarifies the congressman’s position with regard to the uptown project. Lori and I are available to discuss this further if necessary.



    Dan Ahouse

    Chief of Staff

    Congressman Maurice Hinchey

    291 Wall Street

    Kingston, New York 12401

    (845) 331-4466

    2431 Rayburn HOB

    Washington, DC 20515

    (202) 225-6335


  5. Please, don’t worry about what the stores have to offer, please, don’t worry about the mortuarian malls that were being introduced after the Pike Plan emerged…..

    No, just tear it down & they will come to buy, buy, buy what ever it is that the shops have to offer……….. Don’t bother to creatively market the area with the unique shops, just tear it down……….!

    When Poughkeepsie re-designed Main Street, it was also with no knowledge what was happen behind closed doors with those political cronies and “gifts” in their children’s names in far away places; only they got caught – to no avail! When the Pike Plan was built they came from all over the country to view it, they came from Europe to view it.

    Some property owners bitched because their insurance rates went up & spitefully refused to maintain the structure leaving it to the city to do! When urban destruction tore down everything east of B’way in Rondout many re-opened their businesses on wall street; daily, each proprietor would be there a half hour before opening, connect the hose to the outside faucet & wash their sidewalk & sweep the street in front of their shops! They were there to EARN A LIVING, not see how they could cut corners to the buying public to increase their PROPHETS………..

    By the way, there was mass transit in this city & THEY WERE ON TIME so that people could get to work on time, so that people could get home to their familes on time!

    Hey, where is the Temple of God? Flip your paper $ over for a change: in coporate abused USA that Temple of God is the government buildings @ the 5 points of the Massionic Star & the center of that star forms the corporate Pentagon!

    keep marijuana illegal, I’m sure CVS style Drug industries will find a way for our youth to roll a Ritalin cigarette! Is there anyone left alive out there? Hello, hello! When our car battery has 5% life, we call it DEAD, when our children & us have 5% access to our body’s left & Right, intentionally seperated, Brain, we brag & laugh, we brag & laugh…….. How truly pathetic!

    Hurry up & tear it down, don’t forget the $1.00 an hour parking: must punish those people that dare not shop in the shopping mortuaries…….

    Does anyone remember the term MARKETING! Once again Mr. Sottile, you should resign. TR Gallo, if your listening, your intentions were good when but now severly abused. Hurry home soon, before this child called the First capital of the Royal Dutch Empire in the America’s goes into A TOXIC breech position!

    What ever happened to niave America, WHERE WE EARNED A LIVING! We send our children to school to find their falts, no other country does a child’s wrestlessness accent their files to the degree in does in our U.S. never acknowledging their talents. Falt finding is what we, ME INCLUDED, have been reduced to.

    Sickness has become the major industry not to be reccond with. Got cancer go HERE, got pain, go THERE, incontenent, we got just the place to direct you too! Health care? How dare you, sickness maintaince is the industry complimented by a sysnthetic food supply! Can we be fed organic/natural diet? Yes, everything to make it happen is in our unique valley/county!

    Shops struggling to stay alive? The money is here, now how do we get them out of their Temple Homes & away from buying on the internet! Yes, when we build an atmosphere! We walk blocks at the mall but god forbid we walk on the streets of what once was America? Barac Obama, our president & how proud I am to utter those words, to type those words, has afforded us to finally be American’s in this country with no name in the America’s. United States of – of – of, in the America’s!

    I said in in 2001 & it never happened! We need true Town Hall meetings at the midtown center; it’s not going to happen, unlees U get involved. We have a police force of out of area police men viewing an enemy out there & I don’t blame them! Video games training future remote control gladiator glorified soldiers for the cause are killing each other & we boast how full our jails are with the “BAD GUYS.”

    My apologies, for the length of this missive! I have been here since 1952 By 1956, mom had over 100 craft pople earning a living in the needle trade. And yes, she was a proud single mom with 2 young boys, taking a job in the needle trade because she loved to sew. You and TR Gallo are sure missed and we could sure use your input!

  6. Oxclove Workshop recently moved from Tech City to uptown Kingston. All 20 employees are delighted with the move. We all LOVE the uptown Kingston community. But I have to say, if removing the covered sidewalks took place, it would be difficult to sustain a business here. Most of us enjoy the walk over from the municipal park lots – but in foul weather, that wouldn’t be feasible without the sidewalk overhangs.

  7. I, personally do not feel the pike plan should be left up so that people can avoid walking in foul weather for a block or two. It’s difficult for me to believe that that is one of the compelling reasons for keeping it up.

  8. Tear it down; build it up ~ they will come, they will come! No promises, know one knows the future! Get with it, tear it down, it was a mistake in the first place; authority says so & we better listen! My generation is better than your generation, see look how beautiful Rondout is; did someone say it still lacks an economy?

    I remember when Rondout was torn down east of B’way. No one was around to question; 2 wars took the dad’s, brothers cousins; so tear it down they did & the merchants moved into the shops on Wall Street because they were vacant at the time and Rondout stood idle for decades. Every one of those shop owners were so elated, every day before opening they swept & washed the sidewalk down; some of them were in business 50 years with their children now running the business. They had opened in Rondout to earn a living and build an economy. Weird term: Build an Economy, isn’t it. Shops complimented each other; each had their “specialty” and their staples to maintain the overhead. The ferry was soon to be gone, replaced by the publics need (?) to be mobile in an automobile as they climbed the economic money ladder and bus/trolley service also increased for the displaced as they searched for new employment.

    Men watched the children as their wives entered the needle trade or cigar factories while the children got to spend meaningful time with both parents together & separate, being a “Daddy~Mom” was a beautiful new, out of necessity, concept. Work was seasonal, men worked in the still-here brick yards & cement plants and during the winter the women were in the factories. The economy kept going. Oppps, then IBM bought the farms on 9-w paying higher wages on their manufacturing assembly lines than the already established industries in the area and a new age of financial leadership emerged.

    What the hell does that have to do with the Pike Plan? Hilly Goldman opened the first shopping center over in Port Ewen, where Iron Mountain maintains record keeping facilities because the caves are now used for ________.

    Yes, the Pike Plan came about to build an atmosphere of community within the Town Square. The elders were aware of the social isolation that was happening. The Pike Plan concept and drawings were shared with the community, it was an attempt to bring the “IBMers” and the working families that toiled together to keep the valley going thru 2 diabolic Days of War reduced to a few sentences in the school books; yes, WW-I & WW-II following a “biblical” script.

    Consolidation of school systems came about, civic involvement was a requirement for those that wanted to grow within the new IBM society; yes this was all well and good, EXCEPT that our new school systems wasn’t involved with the magic of the new age of computers. No programs of early age computer learning, not even in the high school level. That was the diet of those days in local history, as a surgeon would say, now how do we address the issue? Tear it down, because it didn’t work? Why, why doesn’t it work?

    Enough of the past why’s; What is lacking; what is missing; I’ve heard the comment that the whole city should be assisting in footing the bill; is that going to make the difference? From others I hear, tear it down, no one ever looks up anymore, they’re afraid of tripping over a piece of liter because they are physically so off balance due to their chronic need of medications! Tear it down, we could have had an apartment complex, of course where you purchase your apartments so now we have fresh air where the truly ugly garage was! tear down the Pike Plan & let some fresh pollution into our lungs, opps, that’s already going on.

    Where is the marketing? What are we marketing? It is a cancer that keeps us as a community apart? I remember one real-estate broker wearing the mask of Realtor that was sick of hearing about affordable housing and the need for a bedroom Westchester community promising little impact o the school system. You said it, change is great but doesn’t pay the bills, does it?

    They came from all over the US when the Pike Plan was built, they came from Europe, Japan when the Pike Plan was built and they saw it as a new beginning; they saw shops with accordion door glass walls opening the shops like you see in the mortuary of shopping centers. They went back home and built with the Pike Plan as a guide but they had what we do not; a personality, municipal transportation, guilds employing craftsman. Again that is there; not here. What are we offering? How do we market it, just exactly what are we marketing? A vision, a product that is not really affordable? Shops opened uptown for the same reasons they opened in Rondout over a century ago: to earn a living at what they enjoy. A century ago the American Vision was alive and the universal American dream was born throughout the globe and lead we did! Today, until last Friday, more people would gather out of FEAR of this or that or out of ANGER about this and that; let’s not forget punishment! Why isn’t the health dep’t. guiding the D.A.R.E. program where the CHEMICAL’S in the cigarettes would be addressed instead our youth are being legally strung out on Ritalin and other legal DRUGS…… get with it, there is a collective conscientiousness of GREEN. Now, how do we formulate that GREEN into ___$$$___ and defy history by build an economy.

    Last Friday evening at BSP we observed a new 21st century beginning after a long, long, looong start; it was a milestone statement for our county & city to go GREEN, progressively GREEN, ecologically GREEN and with it come viable GREEN economies where SUNY New Paltz has the incentive to open the College of the Ecological Arts, etc….. Tearing down the Pike Plan is ABSOLUTELY not the answer; utilize it, invest GREEN, bail-outs alone are NOT the answer; funding gas run cars is archaic and toxic; we must have GREEN investments; hemp is the premier and model crop for a new decentralizing agricultural-industrial trend called bio-regional economics, also known as the “closed circle” concept that has captured the interest of industrialists and environmentalists alike (a.). Hemp must be reintroduce into the industrial sector, a century ago Hemp was our nations most vital plant from medicines to fabric, to paper, to plastics, to food, body & bath products, etc. What is happening out there in corporatized society is infecting all of us ~ wait to reach the cross-roads instead of taking this Fork In The Road and we will become vultures feeding on each other.

    Philip Gurrieri

    copy & paste (a.) hemp industry in America.pdf

  9. Phil, chill pill buddy…

    Is it that bad? Maybe I’m crazy but I kinda like it- I bet the money could be spent on something better

  10. I would personally like to see it removed and a new parking garage be built in the vicinity.

    I’ve lived in Kingston my entire life but hardly ever go shopping in that part of of the city due to the parking, traffic and all around terrible road conditions.

    Burlington,VT has a wonderful proposal for new road construction in their business districts to curb traffic problems. Do a quick search and check it out.


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