As most of you know:
John Halle and Marka Gustavsson and Ben
now live on
41 Garden St.
Red Hook, NY
We have mixed feelings about having joined (albeit belatedly) the exodus from big cities where we have lived for almost all our adult lives.
This classic article in the New Yorker itemizes the basis of a lot of our misgivings.
But what is life in the new century about if not living in a more or less perpetual state of denial!
So a few words about the Hudson Valley which is truly glorious, as I've discovered in the year since we've been here.
We are not far from Hyde Park and the Franklin Roosevelt library where visitors are greeted on their entry with the most radical statement ever made in a state of the union: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
"Freedom from fear" was, of course, quickly shunted aside first during the Cold War and now by the Global War on Terror which markets the same rancid goods in new packaging.
A visit to Hyde Park is a bracing reminder that political power need not serve exclusively to comfort the comfortable and afflicted the afflicted-one increasingly necessary in this most cynical of epochs.
Speaking of cynicism, Red Hook is next to Barrytown-memorialized in song by Bard College dropouts Steely Dan. It is also the former residence of Gore Vidal from which he would come close to being elected to the US Congress, having received the endorsement of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Red Hook, unlike the nearby Rhinebeck-a favorite weekend getaway of New Yorkers-is a working class town whose history goes back to a feudal aristocracy three centuries ago. The history lives on in the form of class antagonisms which we are only now beginning to get some inkling of. A gaggle of addled descendants of Astors, Livingstons, and Vanderbilts or still, so we are told, manage their old estates along the river, with whatever funds their ever dwindling inheritances provide.
What this means is that the surrounding area has largely escaped the metastasic pox of subdivisions which are among the most conspicuous feature of ex-urban perimeters. Red Hook is surrounded by landscapes which make one feel one has walked into Martin Heade, Frederick Church or Thomas Cole painting. It is an open question how long the will be able to be maintained.
My guess is not much longer which is why everyone should visit us.
Here's where we live:
Front porch-needs rocking chairs.
Back yard-needs sheep or goats.
There he goes!
Barn/studio/guest house-for guests. (Dog visit optional.)