Living in Cornwall

MICHAEL FALCO          Publish Date: 07 August 2020 

                    ‘Ten months – hard labor.’ Yes, this is my response when people ask me how long a duration was the all-new Willow Avenue Bridge project in Cornwall. Crews began on location in earnest in October 2019. At that time, I thought it unusual to begin an open-air project with the weather rapidly becoming colder. Ten months later, July 2020 – with zero fanfare, the new bridge overtop Rt. 9W quietly opened. Work crews continued landscaping assignments the entire month of July. 

                    Two of the biggest challenges to area residents during the all-new Willow Avenue Bridge project were logistics and sound/volume. For friends and neighbors residing in Firthcliff it was a daily challenge, during those ten months, to work your way around the project to get to town. Regarding sound – the graveyard shifts/overnight work details to completely remove the former Willow Avenue Bridge were deafening! Yes, I understand that the graveyard shifts offered the least disruption to keeping Rt. 9W traffic flowing. That said – who, in the immediate vicinity, could sleep?        

                    Come to think of it – a beloved friend to my family, Mr. WALLY REDDINGTON, of Perry Road, sleep well through the ten-month bridge replacement project. Wally simply removed his hearing aids, he told me, and slept like a baby.    

Storm King Adventure Tours

                    COLIN COYNE, Owner of Storm King Adventure Tours, encourages you to ‘Kayak the Hudson!” You will discover the Adventure Tours office at the foot of Duncan Avenue, near the street corner of Hudson Street, Cornwall-on-Hudson. All ages take to these kayak adventures. This includes upper elementary school students’ right on through senior citizens adventure seekers. Immediately upcoming: Colin tells me he and his staff run multi-location, exciting tours including, Bannerman’s Island, Fishkill Creek, Moodna Marsh, Little Stony Point, and there are Sunset Tours, Full Moon Tours, Hidden Cove, and their Kowawese Tour. Your choice of private or group tours to these landmarks through mid-October! Open seven days per week. Also – Storm King Adventure Tours kids program for ages 9-16, “Kids In Colorful Kayaks (KICKS)” is in full swing, going out every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday until September. KICKS is run in collaboration with the Town of Cornwall Recreation Dept. Colin Coyne encourages you to call 845-534-7800 for complete details. 

                    Cornwall Coffee & Mercantile Company, 326 Main Street, is experiencing excellent opening business! It is interesting to note business owner OSCAR DOTTER imported to Cornwall an Italian, manual steam machine to offer to you the freshest of coffee taste. Pastries are fresh for you every day. Coffee beans are specifically roasted just for this particular Cornwall location. Roasting work takes place when the store front is closed. An especially powerful grinder is on site – to custom grind beans for the coffee machine you happen to have in your home. Hours for your delightful visits from the July Grand Opening through August are Wednesday & Thursday 11-5pm; Friday’s 11-7pm; and Saturday & Sunday 8am – 4pm. Oscar Dotter tells me, “Starting September 1st we are hoping to switch to an earlier AM schedule which would be 8-4pm Wednesday – Sunday. 

                    Yes, we are in the ‘dog days of summer.’ By the close of the first week of August we (collectively) have already pulled through two separate heat waves here in the beautiful Hudson Valley. Residents who may ordinarily appreciate a health walk tell me they find temperatures too hot even in the early morning. There has not been a whole lot of health walking going on the past two or three weeks. 

                    We opened this first week of August with 90-degree temperatures as well as a threat via a TROPICAL STORM WARNING. A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm-force winds expected somewhere within this area within those next 36 hours! Peak Wind Forecast possible: 25-35 mph with gusts to 50 mph. Potential for wind 58 to 73 mph. That’s some way to have begun this week, no?! I received a courtesy automated telephone warning from the electric company – that I may want to consider leaving my home! When the electric company suggests (in their automated calls) we senior citizens go elsewhere I can’t help but wonder – WHO is supposed to have electric in those times when we don’t have electric ourselves??? 

                   “I am all for much needed rain. It’s the flooded basement that slays me.” – Mike Falco 

MICHAEL FALCO          Publish Date: 31 July 2020  

                    “Mystery of the Abruptly Disappearing Porta Potty.”  

No, this is not a contemporary version of the Hardy Boys or the Nancy Drew series. Rather, it would seem a sign of the times we find ourselves in. The one & only Porta Potty that was located down at Donahue Park at the Hudson River seems to have vanished overnight. I had inquired of at least two Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Officers where had it gone? Why? They told me they had no idea!  

                    There are visitors to the water front who spend hours on location. Fishermen, for one example. There is actually a human need for more than merely one Porta Potty at Donahue Park. Multiple kayaking groups enjoying the river through the day add to a need for relief. Where’s the potty?  

                    Mystery solved. I learned via Village Hall that unfortunately, we are not able to have a returned Porta Potty at the park for the foreseeable future. The Orange County Health Commissioner issued very strict guidelines regarding outdoor restroom facilities (i.e. it must be completely sanitized after each use) and the Village is unable to facilitate such intense, repetitive cleansing. Candidly, it occurs to me, there’s no way to know who is using it or each individual’s COVID-19 status. Probably not a good idea in these dark COVID-19 times. All of that said – I guess you are just going to have to ‘hold it’ till you bust!  

                    Our Cornwall Medicaid eligible residents may want to know of a new-to-Cornwall (and the entire region) transportation service. Need a ride? The Cedar Bus Company will transport you back & forth to meet your medical needs. It’s easy enough to discover if you can participate in this service. Call 845-444-2992 and let the regional office assist you. You may even be speaking with a former Cornwall resident.  

                    Productive theatre news from CINDY TOPPS, of Cornwall, who just wanted to let me know that Creative Theater Group at Museum Village in Monroe plans to reopen in 2021. “We have been sprucing up the Playhouse,” Cindy tells me, “(new paint without and within) and cleaning and organizing the inside of the building. Don’t know how Museum Village is doing and whether the ‘Scream Fest’ will be able (Covid-19) to be back for Halloween. Fingers crossed. They bring in a lot of money that keeps the Museum Village operating. Sadly, the goats, ducks, chickens and pea hens (favorite animals among visitors to this location) have all been removed.” God willing – those favorite animals and also live theatre will all merrily return in the New Year.  

                    Movie Theatres remain closed during these COVID-19 months. How about a Drive-In Movie? Yes, Showtime Cinemas, Rt. 300 in the Town of Newburgh, have offered an outdoor Double Feature this past week. On that bill were the blockbusters “Jaws” doubled featured with “Mission Impossible.” As I understand it, a new double feature begins on Friday, 31 July: “The Goonies” doubled with “Gremlins.” There is an admission price per person. It’s good to get out of the house!  PS There is a Dairy Queen across the street, on the corner. I guess I know my priorities (said with tongue firmly in cheek).  

                    Sweet Peas Café, 318 Blooming Grove Turnpike, New Windsor, is happy to announce their re-opening on Saturday, August 1st. with limited capacity in house dining. They will also be doing curbside pick-up. Delivery with Grubhub and DoorDash also available. NINA & JOHN & Staff look forward to seeing all the dedicated patrons & military & fans again. Temporary new hours will be Thursday thru Sunday; 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. Welcome back, my friends!  

                    The joy of having absolutely no place to go! When a freight train experiences a break down adjacent to Donahue Park, we (collectively) on the Hudson River side of the train tracks become trapped! Any of us who just happen to be visiting along the river are there for the duration. At least our vehicles are there for the duration. You could otherwise walk – but it is all uphill from the river, and then, where are you? Hudson Street, that’s where you would be! Makes zero difference if you had an appointment elsewhere. You don’t get your car out till the freight train clears the tracks. I believe this was my second such experience. Nobody knows when they will be able to go home! Candidly, it’s a fantastic moment to have a tumbler of cocktails on hand. Who knew?  

                    “Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.” ― Will Rogers  

MICHAEL FALCO          Publish Date: 24 July 2020

                    Get ready for another Grand Opening here in Cornwall! This very weekend, please welcome FRANK and EILEEN FRASCA & Staff on the opening of Twins Eating House, an all-new restaurant. Open six days per week, Tuesday through Sunday. Your choice of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Indoor seating in air-conditioned comfort. I mention this as we have gone through a heat wave this past week here in the beautiful Hudson Valley. Or you can pick up a grab & go menu. You may remember the location of Twins Eating House from that building’s most recent visage as Woody’s. Best wishes to Frank & Eileen Frasca!

                    I just found out in this month of July about – “Informed Delivery.” This is a great function from the USPS. Go to the USPS Website and click on the Informed Delivery Option. Sign up! In brief – You will get an E-Mail daily telling you the mail you are getting later that day. It takes 2-3 days to get registered into their system. Of note: This is great when you are expecting packages and feel the need to stay home until they are delivered (or not) via USPS. The service may not be 100% for every house or apartment, but it’s close. A big time saver.  Another thing, if you’re getting a package delivered USPS you can sign up to get updates on the delivery and in transit status.  A good & helpful feature, don’t you think, as some people can’t see their mailbox from where they live so don’t know if items have arrived or not. From your E-Mail you’ll easily agree you don’t have to go to the mailbox if nothing came in or is unimportant.  It’s a wonderful service by the post office. 

                    In recent weeks, bears have been making recurring appearances in Cornwall. What’s the reason? Food! Bears are more likely to seek out human food sources in the spring, when natural food is scarce, and in the summer, particularly during periods of drought. Follow some well-seasoned tips when hiking or camping to avoid attracting bears—they’re active in nearly all parks in our region. Yes, it may be easy to forget the fact that the mountains and hills cradling Cornwall are still wild. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provides a great explanation why feeding bears — intentionally or accidentally—causes trouble for both humans and the bears themselves: “Bears are intelligent and curious. They spend a great deal of time exploring for food, and this can bring them close to humans. If an activity results in food, they will repeat that activity. When bears learn to obtain food from humans, they become bold and aggressive. Bear’s natural foraging habits and behavior are changed. When feeding from human sources, bears will often eat unhealthy materials such as soap, shaving cream, insect repellant, food packaging, etc.”

                    When we go hiking and camping, it is our responsibility to understand that doing something that may seem harmless—like throwing an apple core into the woods, spitting toothpaste behind your tent after brushing your teeth, or burning food wrappers—can have significant negative impact on bear behavior. 

                   Here are only some of the DEC’s tips to avoid attracting bears:

Never Leave Food Unattended – Bears often watch, hidden in woods, waiting for opportunities to steal food. If you encounter a bear: Never Approach or Surround a Bear – Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened or cornered. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective. Do Not Throw Your Backpack or Food Bag at an Approaching Bear – This practice will only encourage bears to approach and “bully” people to get food. Use Noise to Scare Bears Away – Yell, clap or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite. Never run from the bear. If you feel threatened, back away slowly. Avoid Walking Trails at Night – Stay in your campsite to avoid chance encounters.

                    Please, please, please (did I ask you please) check on senior citizen neighbors. Some of our seniors are completely alone, with no family anywhere nearby. This past week in the immediate area we have endured a heat wave. Multiple days of temps above 90 degrees. Kindly encourage senior neighbors to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, and stay out of the sun. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles
under any circumstances. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9-1-1.

                    Parent/student/teacher angst. My heart goes out to the multitude, across these beautiful United States, as people agonize over the pending opening of school buildings in this new school year. COVID-19 safety precautions – whatever they may be, are going to have to be enough. Enough to permit people to stay alive. If a person cannot afford to retire there becomes no financial choice but to return. Ultimately, if it is true – “safety first”, what is it that students and teachers and staff are supposed to do? Invest in a hazmat suit?

                    For me, the element of time seems to be racing by. Before we (collectively) know it – it will be time for the Presidential vote. I can’t help but wonder – where will time and this vote lead us come January 01, 2021?

                    “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.”   John Lewis

MICHAEL FALCO          Publish Date: 17 July 2020

                    Established July 2020! All new and ready to serve you! Welcome to Cornwall “Cornwall Coffee Co. & Mercantile.”  Business owner/proprietor OSCAR DOTTER & Company are eager to have you check out the exciting redesigned space created in what was, for decades, WINNIE SWENSON’S Insurance Agency at #326 Main Street. It is visually rousing indeed, to see creative Oscar Dotter’s vision for this space. Most of all, you want to check out the coffee and the gifts. Gifts for those on your special person list. Gifts for yourself! Behind the all-new counter you will discover your coffee to be prepared the old-fashioned way. In fact, Oscar Dotter imported to Cornwall an Italian, manual steam machine to offer to you the freshest of taste. Pastries are fresh for you every day. Coffee beans are specifically roasted just for this particular Cornwall location. Roasting work takes place when the store front is closed. Oscar & Staff hand shave chocolate as per your order. Iced beverages are available for scorching hot NY summer days. An especially powerful grinder is on site – to custom grind beans for the coffee machine you happen to have in your home. While Oscar gets the feel of the Cornwall pulse, he is starting out with opening hours of Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. opening on weekends, and 11:00 a.m. opening on week days. Treat yourself soon to a visit at Cornwall Coffee Co. & Mercantile.

                    ANITA KASSNER MANLEY announces “Volunteer Training – Give the gift of a lift!”  The Town of Newburgh Friends of Seniors is looking for volunteers to grocery shop or drive our seniors to medical appointments. Make your own hours. If you are interested in helping, new trainings are scheduled on line on July 28 at 3 p.m. Interested? Call Paula Blumenau for more information or reservations at 845-341-1173, Ext. 305 or leave a message at 564-8936. The need for drivers is urgent!!! Anita Manley tells me, “We often get requests from Cornwall so we would certainly welcome Cornwall residence to our training.”

                    With the Bannerman Island Tours aboard the Estuary Steward having started in this month of July there is a search for more tour guides and volunteers to help during the current season. Interested in finding out more? Please contact NEIL CAPLAN at 845-831-6346.

                    ELLIE MILLKEN, beloved and long-time organist for the Cornwall United Methodist Church is celebrating her 90th birthday this weekend. Ellie is still making music, both singing and playing, and enjoying every minute of it.  We wish her a joyful and melodic birthday and God’s blessings for many more happy and healthy ones.

                    By the bus load! As I sat at Donahue Park this past Monday morning, sipping coffee and reading a newspaper, a luxury bus arrived. It was interesting to me that this was a luxury bus as opposed to a yellow school bus. Unloaded was a large contingent of elementary school aged children. The group leaders appeared to be early high school aged.  Life jackets and kayaks were aligned and ready for this big group. Life jackets adorned; the children then were assembled into what has become the classic ‘kayaking circle of information.’ Everybody had better listen up! These ‘how-to’ lessons are brief and then it’s into a kayak you go. Talk about an adventure! I couldn’t help but notice the teenagers were wearing blue tee shirts with ‘Role Model’ on the back of the shirts. The children were wearing red tee shirts with “Adventurer” on the back. Off they all proceeded on a Hudson River adventure.

                    The group noted above excitedly traveled out of sight. I returned to what was left of my morning coffee and continued reading my newspaper. Later gazing at the stunning mountain & river views I couldn’t help but wonder – with a complete understand that you want to enjoy the company of people your own age would I rather be a role model or an adventurer?







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