Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Getting Urbanized

Posted: January 28, 2012 by in Sustainability, Uncategorized

A new documentary by Gary Hustwit (Helvetica and Objectified) explores the changes happening to our cities, villages, and other settlements. The world is urbanizing and the places that do it well will ultimately win. Places with the best quality of life and the best urban environments (all places are ultimately “urban,” even suburb and rural places: remember that) for its citizens will attract the most people and have the most vibrant economies.

Lower the Floor in the Haverstraw Tunnel?

Posted: November 29, 2011 by in History, Sustainability

W Haverstraw Station - NY Central Line

The great Cap’n Transit wrote a blog post on the virtues of lowering the floor of the Haverstraw Rail Tunnel, which is seen by State officials (and the CSX freight rail company) as the biggest impediment to restoring passenger rail service on the West Shore Line. Before 1959, New York Central ran passenger service from Hoboken/Jersey City to Albany, New York on the line, stopping in the Village of Haverstraw, West Haverstraw and Stony Point. By lowering the floor, a cheap alternative to blasting a larger tunnel cavity, vertical clearance is increased allowing for double-tracking through the tunnel. It seems suspicious that the tunnel is the biggest deterrent to restoring passenger service. It is more likely that CSX doesn’t want to share its tracks with passenger services, as this would limit the number of freight trains that can use the line per day. Since 1990, New Jersey Transit has been studying passenger service restoration to West Nyack with the option of building a terminal in Haverstraw or West Haverstraw.

Oil Depletion and Production Decline

Oil Depletion & Production Decline

More and more analysts are blaming financial market turmoil, real estate market stagnation and decline, and high rates of unemployment on expensive and volatile prices for oil. Since oil and other sources of energy are embedded in every aspect of our economy, this claim has a lot of teeth. In your opinion, how might the growing price of oil affect the Village of Haverstraw? Might we see an influx of new residents as suburb dwellers seek ways to avoid driving expensive cars? Might a rebirth in local manufacturing and commercial river traffic emerge? Perhaps the future of the Village will look much like its past?

Haverstraw Village Local Currency Plan

Posted: October 14, 2011 by in Downtown, Events, History, Sustainability

The Concept: Haverstraw Notes

Local currency is a powerful, local economic development engine. The problem with national currency like the U.S. Dollar is that value is quite often removed from a local economy, as that value is transferred to national retailers (chains) or is spent elsewhere, in other communities. By creating a local currency system value is retained within the community, and additional value may be funneled into the local economy. The United States Constitution explicitly states that bank notes or paper currencies are legal, however, minting coin is prohibited.

How it Works

Village patrons can use the currency in the same way they use the U.S. Dollar; they can use the Haverstraw Notes as a replacement for, or in addition to, the Dollar. They might receive a discount for using the Notes at a local restaurant. The Haverstraw Note will grow in value over time, which is its interest rate. Essentially, a Bank of Haverstraw is created to administer the Haverstraw Notes.

Local Currency Plan for the Village of Haverstraw

One concept that can provide value to the Bank of Haverstraw, and allow the bank to pay an interest rate on its Notes, would be to invest the Bank’s holdings of U.S. Dollars into growing the fresh produce for the restaurant. The Bank would accept Notes as payment for produce, and can also sell the produce in exchange for U.S. Dollars in order to increase the value of its holdings. This means we are “pegging” the Haverstraw Note to both the value of produce and the U.S. Dollar. The Note’s value is literally backed by fresh produce. Cool huh? Remember the Gold Standard? This is the Produce Standard.

We can start this process by calling the Notes “Gift Certificates.” This allows the conversation to run more smoothly, and more people would feel comfortable adopting this concept. Have any questions?

Actual National Bank of Haverstraw Note, 1875

While trekking through the blogosphere, I came across a nice article from the Toronto Sun about a $14 per day option to vacation in “New York City.” Instead of paying $150+ per night at a New York hotel, a visitor might enjoy more rustic accommodations for, yes, around $14 per night. The article highlights that visitors to the New York area can stay in rustic, stone cabins in Harriman State Park and make it into midtown Manhattan within 1h15m via Hudson River Ferry from Haverstraw. It’s a great article, and it makes for an incredible and memorable trip. Here’s the article. Tonto Sun: New York City on $14 a Night (The Real Deal)

A Winning WalkScore

Posted: July 23, 2011 by in Downtown, Sustainability

More and more new home buyers are looking for housing options that are located within a walkable community. “Walkable” means that basic necessities, entertainment, dining, and other daily errands are accomplished and obtained by simply taking a short walk rather than jumping in a car and burning gas., an online tool that scores communities (and specific addresses) for their inherent “walkability,” is aiding these home buyers and apartment searchers in determining their ideal walkable neighborhood.

North Rockland County is not exactly a walker’s paradise, however, the Village of Haverstraw scores unusually high on Walk Score in this region. The Village of Haverstraw is considered “Very Walkable” with an average score of between 80% and 85%. Compared to other towns within the North Rockland area, Haverstraw scores highly. The Town of Stony Point (just to the north) scores a mere average of 29% and the rest of the Town of Haverstraw (including hamlets like Garnerville and Thiells) scores just 35%. While the Village does score fairly well considering its surrounding neighborhoods and towns, there is much room for improvement. New businesses that cater to various residents’ needs, such as grocery stores, butcher shops, coffee shops, additional companies that can offer employment opportunities, and more options for entertainment will ultimately lift Haverstraw into the 90%+ range. Expanding the existing ferry service will also boost the score.

The West Village in Manhattan scores a 100% and is considered a model for walkability.

City/Nature or Nature is NOT a Saint Bernard

Posted: July 18, 2011 by in Downtown, Sustainability

I just finished reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by renowned urban theorist and critic Jane Jacobs. Much of her writing exactly echoes my sentiments toward suburban sprawl development versus more community-oriented (or city/urban) development. Her book is entirely felicitous for the current state of Haverstraw, as the ever present tide of suburban ideology continues to infringe upon the Village’s urban nature. This excerpt is particularly appealing:

“In real life, barbarians (and peasants) are the least free of men — bound by tradition, ridden by caste, fettered by superstitions, riddled by suspicion and foreboding of whatever is strange. ‘City air makes free,’ was the medieval saying, when city air literally did make free the runaway serf. City air still makes free the runaways from company towns, from plantations, from factory-farms, from subsistence farms, from migrant picker routes, from mining villages, from one-class suburbs. (more…)

On Friday evening, I met a Haverstraw-bound New York Waterway Ferry at ten minutes to 9:00pm. The sun had just brilliantly set over the Palisades Escarpment on the far side of the Hudson. The River surface was like shimmering pitted chrome, a striking hue of white, silver and teal. The newly reconstructed Ossining Ferry Landing is impressive; the pier had been recently reconfigured with new and wider ramps and floating platforms to accommodate the increasing popularity of the ferry route. The ramp lowered to the ferry boat’s bow revealing a smiling gaggle of travelers aboard. . .

Five women in their 70’s, as I might guess, were returning from a fun evening in the Village. I approached them and asked how their trip was, and all they wanted to discuss was Union Restaurant. Essentially, these women took a dinner cruise to Haverstraw after googling “River + Ferry + Haverstraw + Restaurant.” Conveniently, google bestowed upon them HaverstrawLife. The women walked to Union Restaurant from the Haverstraw Ferry Landing and back. They were then returning back to the City via MetroNorth into Grand Central.

As I settled into my seat on the starboard side of the boat, and as other passengers came aboard, I couldn’t help but think of these women. Five elderly, but incredibly spry women thought nothing of making a trip from the City to Haverstraw so they might enjoy a fine dinner — and a unique journey — together. They likely made their way along Maple Avenue or West Street to New Main, where Union Restaurant is. If these (seemingly wealthy, considering how they were dressed) women can do this, then why is it so hard to get Stony Pointers and other Rocklanders (shall I say: suburbanites) to frequent downtown Haverstraw?

I think, perhaps, they are afraid to see the world. . . out from behind their car windshields.

For Immediate Release

Posted: June 6, 2011 by in Activities, Cafes & Restaurants, Downtown, Events, Sustainability


MICHELLE NATALE at 845-429-8447 or
MIA MARSH at 917-547-0682

Farm Fresh from our table to yours!  

Haverstraw’s Harvest Farmers Market is growing.

Join us on June 12 for our Opening Celebration! 

Cooking Demonstration

Haverstraw, N.Y. – Last year the Market was in dire straights due to a lack of funding when The Greater Haverstraw Chamber of Commerce, through its members Michelle Natale and Mia Vaculik-Marsh, assumed management.  They re-imagined and revitalized the Market by reaching out to the community, recruiting volunteers and new vendors, and expanding with demonstrations and events. (more…)

Our History of Trains

Posted: March 9, 2011 by in Downtown, Ferry Service, History, Sustainability


I have been both amazed and frustrated by the recent “national conversation” on high speed rail. Never before in the history of these United States has transportation (especially railroads) become part of the partisan divide. It seems the R’s need more issues to fight over with the D’s; and where are the I’s in all of this? The argument – that’s probably not the appropriate term to use; blither? – spans a wide spectrum of talking points, including a liberal conspiracy to dismantle the American “freedom delusion” and a conservative conspiracy to pump more of our money into the palms of CEO’s. I would like to move beyond the national stage and discuss Haverstraw’s rich history of rail. Could it be that we have gone backwards on transportation choices in Rockland County since 1900? (more…)

Imagine that! Maximum parking ratios, with no minimum parking requirements for new development! But, our zoning won’t allow it! Well, maybe it’s time to think about changing our zoning?

If the Village of Haverstraw were to embrace a future with less cars (this may happen whether we like it or not; declining global petroleum production is a near certainty), we could perhaps see more enlivened Village streets, which can spur community connectivity and even increased business for our downtown stores and restaurants. Think car-free. It’s the future. has been broadcasting innovative short films that are focused on introducing new ways of thinking about our own communities and our streets. The street is arguably the most important piece of any downtown. The street is where community is built, where we forge our local identity. Should we dedicate our streets to metal and rubber boxes that zoom by, or to the people that make up our community?


How Climate Change Affects Haverstraw

Posted: October 11, 2010 by in Downtown, Sustainability, Waterfront

polar_wideweb__430×272.jpgProbably the most pressing question of the 21st Century is: What affects will Global Climate Change have on our local community? The recent and unprecedented release of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presents a bleak forecast for our future on the global scale and in our own backyards. The panel, which consists of hundreds of climate and meteorological scientists and experts from all over the world, says it is more than likely that by at least 2020 average temperatures in the northeastern United States will rise by at least 4 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature rise of this magnitude means a climate that is more like Georgia or even Florida’s climate today. Florida will become uninhabitable by scorching temperatures and drought, and the Sunshine State will become submerged by rising tides. The sea level of our oceans is expected to rise upwards of three feet because of melting glaciers and ice sheets at the north and south pole. If the oceans were to rise three feet in the next 20-40 years, much of the Village of Haverstraw and most of the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. will be inundated by seawater.

On October 10, 2010, I drove on Beach Road just north of the Village of Haverstraw and witnessed an unnerving sight. The Hudson River had poured over the sea wall at high tide (a super high tide) and flooded homes and the road. View a video of the flooding here: This is quickly becoming a major issue. The floods are not being reported by local or national media. Notice the dock ramps in the distance in the video, they are “negative,” or are leading up to their floating docks. This means that these docks were built with the historically-motivated notion that the water level would never reach any higher than a “neutral” or horizontal ramp level/angle; the builders of the docks could have never imagined a water level this high outside of a major storm event. Notice that October 10, 2010 was a perfectly calm and sunny day.

U.S. News & World Report recently conceded that the New York area has around 7 years before it is inundated by the rising tides. Other major cities across the world share the same fate. Read the article here:

What will our government do to protect citizens’ private properties? Can they do anything? Will insurance companies continue to drop policy holders, and not offer relief when the inevitable floods come? These are all important questions to ask at this point. Now, what are the solutions? Read the report on Global Warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change here.

Built to Last

Posted: September 13, 2010 by in Downtown, History, New Construction, Sustainability

There’s something about old fashioned communities that attracts so many of us. What is it exactly? Can you pinpoint that special something about Nyack, or Piermont, or Hoboken, or Brooklyn, or . . . Haverstraw Village that creates excitement, the platform for a thriving community? That thing is anti-sprawl, anti-suburbia. Do you know what I’m speaking of? These places, built before the advent of 30-minute-car-rides-to-the-mall, are walkable, community-oriented, and containing human scale, quality architecture. Watch the video below to get an idea of what I’m talking about, and also to realize that these very principals are alive and well in Haverstraw and in the Village’s future.

Haverstraw Central Community Garden

Residents and businesses in the Village are making some good progress with regard to the Village’s overall sustainability. On the “Local Food” or “slow food” front, much is being done to transform the Village from being outwardly reliant on fresh produce to becoming slightly more self-reliant on local produce. Much of America’s fresh produce travels at least 1,500 miles before reaching your plate; think of all that diesel or gas! Of course the first step for any village, town, or city in becoming more economically and ecologically sustainable (from a food perspective) is to implement an active community gardening network, which is what the Village has recently begun to do. (more…)