Photo: Tony Cenicola for The New York Times
More and more, people are hyping up the small cities that make up the Hudson Valley as the Williamsburgs or Brooklyns or East Villages of the country.
In tomorrow’s New York Times, there will be an article on this very subject.
I’m a sucker for hype. So when I see these kinds of articles, I get excited. The New York Times definitely has a thing for the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley. Between the articles and the house tours, I read about our region far more than I do, say, the Hamptons. Why? Well, I’d bet a lot of these writers live or vacation up here. Dwight Garner recently tweeted from the Berkshires. Susan Orlean and Ruth Reichl – also big tweeters – live full-time in Columbia County. John Hockenberry has been weekending here for years. So the media seems to be tapped in to the area. But as a more high-level editorial endorsement, I think the Times is also advocating the laid-back, locavore lifestyle. Sure we like our good restaurants (we had an amazing meal at Nudel last weekend which completely overrode two previous so-so visits), but there’s no real scene. At least not where we eat. In fact, I think people tend to come here not to be seen. They come to hike, kayak, maybe hit a few antique stores. They come to share a homemade meal with friends on the deck. A big night out might include a theater performance or trip to Tanglewood. We don’t have cable, and I can’t name a single weekender friend who does (we do have wifi – we’re not total Luddites). The celebrities around here are farmers, not Gywneth or P-Diddy.
I’ll stop before I start getting too haughty.
Photo: Benjamin Norman for The New York Times
The point is, I see the press and I get excited because it’s a sort of validation of our decision to buy up here. It’s also great advertising for the folks who may not have considered visiting or even buying themselves. That said, the last thing I want to see is the Hudson Valley go the road of the East Village (which I was in last night for a so-so meal at Prune) and have it become so overexposed and overdeveloped that the very artists and long-time residents that defined the neighborhood can no longer afford it. Although the truth is, after last night’s visit I wouldn’t want to live in the East Village again even if I could afford it. I didn’t recognize any of the buildings or bars, and everyone looked 22. In plaid. And topsiders.
It’s a mixed blessing, press. What do you think?