June 11, 2011
A Walk Up Warren Street Part Two
So we were walking up Warren Street a few weeks ago, looking at musical Hudson locations but we ran out of time. Let’s re-initiate our stroll from the corner of Fourth St. and and Warren Street.
I like this spot - the southwest corner boasts a large Presbyterian church which offers a Haitian mass, International community nights featuring music and food and a cross section of Hudson’s diverse community as well as an occasional venue for intriguing musical concerts. The northwest corner houses the legendary Register Star Building where a young lady of “negotiable affection” spent the last few months of her life awaiting execution. Yes, there are ghost stories.
Looking past the creepy stuff down North Fourth we find a portal to a few music and art venues. Musica (17 N 4th Street), the musical instrument store has an erratic but interesting performance schedule int the interior an from time to time both interior and al fresco. The “Cannonball Factory” (359-361 Columbia Street), which is now approaching finality of restoration by the Etsy.com website people and has been the location of a number of significant musical occurrences is down Prison alley to the west of Musica. To the east and across the street is the back of Club Helsinki where the bands load in for the diverse and exciting performances that are constantly happening within. If one walked though the Club Helsinki (405 Columbia Street) and looked through the front window they would be faced by a striking mural on the home of musician, visual and performance artist Ryder Cooley. Looking to the right, we can see Time and Space Limited (434 Columbia Street), a performance space which has offered many musical performances as well as high definition screenings of the Metropolitan Opera.
Enough sidetracking, we’ll go back to Warren Street and take a left, passing a strange mural hiding part of what the rumor mill claims may eventually be a hotel. Continuing up the grade we scratch our head at the weird little box of a police station on our right. We pass Byron Parker Plumbing (the storefront with the unworldly potted plants dominating a strange window display and arrive at the Spotty Dog, (440 Warren Street), part art supply store, part book store, part pub and one of the hippest performance spaces in the Northeast. Across the street is Swallow Coffee (433 Warren St.) which is appropriate because like many other creative communities, Hudson runs on caffeine and alcohol. Musicians of all age but mostly in their twenties can be sighted at either of these establishments as loungers, patrons, bartenders, baristas and the sometimes smiling faces behind a counter.
A few doors up from the Swallow, Hudson & Laight Gallery 437 Warren Street and Posie Kviat Gallery 437 Warren Street have both presented musical experiences for gallery openings or just for the fun of it. The grassy section on the south west corner of 5th and Warren is another popular busking location where one can often find groups of musicians performing and on the opposite corner Nolita’s is a favorite haven for octagenarian Wayne Hall, who claims to be a veteran of the Grand Ole Opry and in pleasant weather will be happy to entertain passersby with a few Ferlin Husky or Conrad Birdie tunes.
Mid way up the south side of Warren, between Fifth and sixth Streets, the former Jason Upstairs Bar/Hudson River Theater/Stray Bar facility lies dormant after many skirmishes between patrons and residents and shop owners, a hard drinking rock and roll void that will be difficult to replicate. The Third floor performance space was home to three generations of theater and music and is sorely missed. Just past this former venue is Mexican Radio Hudson (537 Warren Street), site of occasional DJ dance parties and mariachi madness and once we cross Sixth Street Arenskjold Antiques Art ( 605 Warren St) is home to an impressive collection of guitars built by Yngve Barlev, a respected Danish luthier who worked after WWII to the late 1970’s designing and building a variety of archtop guitars.
Almost at the top of Warren on the corner of Seventh Street at the former site of music store in the seventies is (Hi)story Labor(atory) 624 Warren Street, an artist collaborative where there has in recent months been a number of eclectic multi-media and musical performances. Following Warren street along the park, we shouldn’t ignore Meri Avratin’s Sideshow Clothing, 707 Warren Street where the hipsters purchase their tragic and ironic gear and a popular gathering place for local musicians, artists and dancers.
So we continue across the street about thirty five steps to John Doe Books and Records (4 Park Place). Proprietor Dan Seward has been instrumental in bringing first class musicians into Hudson for years and has produced and organized some of the best shows in memory. This new location is his fifth or sixth in Hudson (he’s a restless guy) and his store is a magnet for musicians. There are plans in the works for him to produce regular weekend shows in Seventh Street Park.
Thanks for bearing with me and keeping up, we’re almost to the end the street now, just passing the new tattoo shop on the left we find the Parlor Coffee and Tea Shop (742 Warren St.) site of a song circle every Thursday night and two doors down, the Wunderbar and Bistro (744 Warren Street) which recently hosted a concert for a songwriting seminar. Across the street at the Warren Inn, one might bump into “Demon Dave” a hair metal virtuoso looking for a guitar with a Floyd Rose bridge and an amplifier to plug it into.
That’s it. Warren Street. There are nine blocks. Thirty or so live music venues. The main artery of the Hudson music scene. It’s a nice walk.