Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I still cant believe we are throwing "good money after bad" in this economic environment. The 35 year old wooden canopy over the Wall & N Front Street sidewalks is attached to historic buildings uptown. They are rotten and should be removed.
It's well known that this is the last structure of this kind of the five thousand that were erected in the 70's. The others are gone for the same reasons. Rotten, expensive to maintain and yield no evidence of attracting additional business for merchants.
The trees that were in the "Bump Outs" occupies 30+ much needed parking spaces. My opnion? The streetscape would be better off with trees planted in the main sidewalk path like everywhere else in Kingston and across the country. 

Ask yourself this question; If the canopy helped business so much, why aren't they everywhere? 
Fair Street? Broadway? West Strand?  
Advocates for the repair are good people, don't get me wrong, but they're misguided. Hanging onto something that pretty much deters business in an homage to late 20th century nostalgia. It's almost some kind of religion. What I mean by that: there is no room for open dialog regarding it's extinct charm and purpose.
With most of the property owners begging authorities to take it down permanently, you'd think we'd get right on it. But this is Government. We leave logic at the door.


Anonymous said...

Mike, agree with you on this. The uptown should be returned to the historic look it had before and bring back the parking spaces. It cannot be worse then this "dark" cover which makes it hard to promote business.

Anonymous said...

In The Sun...

Anonymous said...

Mike, when you were on the common council did you make your thoughts known? Did you ask the public or hold meetings regarding this issue?This whole discussion is almost a moot point as the Mayor and Hoffay have been barreling this thru for several years along with Hinchey's blessing.
I agree with your posting but were you there when this all started to happpen? You had quite a few terms on the council to raise a flag of discontent.

NYPatricia said...

Take the asbestos ridden things down. Not part of the original architecture, which is historic. Doesn't matter what the past politics were about it, the time is now since the money is there to do 'something'.

Anonymous said...

I defy anyone to show me another historically significant area that has been knowingly and with absolute forethought, allowed to be mutilated as our Stockade area has been.

Sottile has left some legacy. Inept, incompetent and ignorant of public opinion.

Hinchey is so far gone, he does not care what the money is used for as long as he gets it back in his district. I think he would work to get money for a whorehouse if he could get it.

Anonymous said...

Mike, Not sure how I feel about
the canopies, but take a look at this years Ulster Savings calendar.

Photo's of Wall and North Front in
the pre canopy days, not exactly what I would call attractive or historic.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you say these canopies are the only ones left of 5,000 installed are one reason they should be kept.

Anonymous said...

Where all those towns have come to their senses and removed something that hurts business and historic landmarks, heaven forbid we follow suit.
Not very different from saying "Other towns stopped hitting their fingers with hammers, we are the last ones doing so, so we should continue"


Anonymous said...

Uptown should be returned to its historic look. No this mess as it is now and the planters need to be removed for more parking too.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how I feel about the canopies issue, but the lack of successful business Uptown is definitely not due soley to those canopies.
America doesn't want to shop local. We prefer to drive our cars to the big WalMarts, Targets, Sam's, etc. and buy, buy, buy in bulk and as cheap as we can.
Oh, some will frequent the little guy because of ease or sentimentality, but not the majority.
Spend more time and effort on getting people to shop and support local small business.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to shop uptown, and support the local stores if they're not open. I happened to walk through there this morning and noticed that most of the stores are open from 10-6, when they should be open from 12-8.

To enjoy any degree of retailing success, the shops uptown need to be reliably available to their customers, and sell products their customers NEED!!

BTW...I agree Mike, the canopies are a disaster, and they need to come down.

Anonymous said...

Something the Belfast City commercial industry did was Thursday night shopping. As in, all high street shops (yes, they are called shops rather than stores), as well as most other outlets stayed open until 9pm. Rain, sun, sleet, or snow, they were open, and you could count on being able to leave the office at 5 and do your weekly shop at all the nice shops you enjoy. It was a great night for business naturally and with generous lighting everywhere, it was business as usual. Could be something to consider for Kingston rather than have stores change their entire schedule for the week.

Here's a suggestion, as an observer, if everyone stayed open until 9pm, you would be able to stop in at the barbers, by some art, get some pictures framed, antiques, or what ever your fancy, and not have to rush out on Saturday morning, when not all businesses are open either. Perhaps other outlets in the region would follow suit and Thursdays, and the weekends would become hotspots for the banking.

Robb Kinnin said...


We have differed on many issues in the past but on this one we are in agreement.

The canopy ought to be removed. The tree removal already has shed light on what openness can and should look like.

I have heard the Mayor say that the majority are in favor of the Canopy. I can't understand what majority it is that he refers to.

Lastly, just because we are offered money for an improvement does not mean we need to accept it. Remember this, the "business tax district" will have this burden for a very long time. Lets get rid of the canopy and get rid of this unfair tax.

Anonymous said...

I think I remember that the Uptown stores were open late on Thursday night back in the 1980's? Can't remember if it was a JC Penney or was it Montgomery Wards that stayed late. I used to pick up catalog orders when I got out of work.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I thought the contractors were supposed to take down the canopy in sections and put up new,not just add new lumber to the rotten lumber.The way they are doing it now will only last maybe acouple of years.

Anonymous said...

If the stores close before everyone gets out of work, they are limiting themselves to the people who work uptown. How about evening and Saturday hours?

Anonymous said...

We are doing this because there was a grant and God forbid the grant money would be turned down.
Is it a foolish operation? In my opinion, yes it is for all the reasons you cited Mike and more. While there was nothing particularly more appealing to the eye before they went up, historic or otherwise, unless you mean by "historic" you got rained and snowed on while window shopping, having them or not having them is not the issue. More parking is needed. In the old days there were quality stores:J.C. Penney, Flanagan's, Yallum's,London's, and even Woolworth's. You even had Diskay on Fair St. Today there are just Mom and Pops--nothing wrong with that but it changes the landscape with competition in the Town of Ulster. On the other hand can anyone blame city fathers for taking grant money thus putting it to some use, even if it is less than the best use? I doubt that either.
"History" is not the answer. "History" is what thwarted saving the space where the parking garage collapsed, and in the good old days the area was built for colonists--not even haberdashers of the 18th through 20th centuries. Yes, maybe bring back horses and hitching posts, that might work because you have no room for parking.
The entire issue however illustrates what we've learned through long experience(9 years' worth) which is Sottile has no skin on his body and continues to behave like a kid whose candy was taken when anyone criticizes him. We should replace the national debt count readout in Manhattan with a clock counting down the days when this bully retreats into relative obscurity.