there goes Rosendale
Monday, May 15 2006
After a rainy day spent mostly in my laboratory, I met Gretchen for dinner and a movie in Rosendale. At first it seemed it might be a double date with our friends from High Falls B&J, but they'd brought a whole crew with them in support of the movie we'd be seeing, The Kinky Boot Factory. The original plan was for us to have dinner at the Alamo, but when I arrived the place was mysteriously closed so wandered the streets until I found Grechen. We all ended up at the far more prosaic (and vegetarian) Rosendale Café, where the only beer on tap tasted like something someone might have made in a dorm room (and I don't mean that in a completely good way).
The dogs had been bored all day because of the weather so I'd brought them along with me. Between dinner and the movie Gretchen and I walked them in a brand new park behind the theatre parking lot. There are some old brick-lined kilns in the cliff face here where limestone used to be cooked into cement powder. The park used to be a swampy, brushy area with a fair accumulation of trash, but now it's a mowed lawn with a little wooden bridge crossing a lazy creek carrying away the surplus water. From here there's a trail that I didn't know about but which Gretchen showed me. It led away into the wooded cliffs north of Rosendale, a perfect place to walk a dog. If one lived in downtown Rosendale, taking a dog for a substantial offleash walk would be no problem at all.
But that presupposes actually wanting to live in Rosendale. It's one of the must beautiful villages in all of Ulster County and until very recently was considered an up & coming center of Upstate gentrification. This was entirely due to the efforts of a single gay power-couple, who established first the hip & upscale Rosendale Cement Company (a restaurant) and then the Alamo (an uncomfortably fussy Mexican joint having a sign reading "Food Worth Fightin' For" over the door). Tonight over dinner, though, J stunned us with the news that the Rosendale Cement Company had been closed and was up for sale. As for the Alamo, who knew? It seemed mysterious that it would be closed tonight. "I think we'll hear some day," said J, "that [the couple running the Rosendale Cement Company] fled under the cover of night." "There goes Rosendale!" I sighed, "Next thing you know the Rondout will go dry!" According to J, the Rosendale Cement guys encouraged a lot of other people to move to Rosendale, contributing to the ongoing wave of gentrification. But now everyone is wondering if Rosendale's days as a hip little Upstate town are over.
As for The Kinky Boot Factory, it was a sweet little predictable film that only barely managed to salvage what had the makings for a disasterous culmination scene.
The Rosendale Theatre always attracts a pretty lefty crowd, no surprise in a village that makes bumpersticker claims of being a peoples' republic. But a movie like The Kinky Boot Factory brought out an even leftier scene than usual. There were not one but two Prii in the parking lot, and of course the bumperstickers were a nonstop rebuke of Bush, war, and the idea that families were institutions best kept far away from rainbows.
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