Our home hamlet of Pine Hill was the host this year. We kept the bookstore open, had carts on the sidewalk in front of the store, and also had three tables in a vendor's tent across the street. The day turned out to be very hectic, running back and forth between the booth and the store, but we had a great day. It was fun to see the Main Street of Pine Hill filled with people. It reminded me of the old photos of Pine Hill in the 1890's with the street full of carriages, or the curvaceous cars of the 1940's and 50's.
I was also running back and forth to the Pine Hill Main Street Committee table in front of the Community Center. We were raffling off some special T shirts we had made which celebrated the recognition by the State of the Pine Hill Historic District.
Our seven year old grandson was with us last week, and at different times both Chelsea and I were making sure he was occupied and having a good time. For kids there was a scavenger hunt through the Historic District, relay races, and a watermelon eating contest.
The crowd was very mellow, and it was a good time to catch up with friends and neighbors. To me the day exemplified the joy of living in a rural area. Seeing people in the community and saying hello. The sunny but not so hot weather made the trees shine and the mountain streams running through town sparkle.
|Old friends sit in front of Elena's lace and fine sewing shop on Main Street. The sign in the window of the Pine Hill Bookstore is visible on the right side of the picture.|
|The Shandaken Ambulance Corp is recognized as one of the best in New York State, but their Tug of War team sometimes ends up on the ground just like the others. The spectators really got in to cheering the men on.|
|Concentration shows on the face of Rich Muellerlele, Captain of the Shandaken Ambulance Corp, and evident leader of the tug of war team.|
MAIN STREET COMMITTEE
Pine Hill has an active Main Street Committee which is focused on the revitalization of the Main Street of the hamlet. ( http://pinehillcommunitycenter.org/events/pine-hill-main-street-program/ )This committee was behind the effort to have the Pine Hill HIstoric District recognized by the state this year, and hopefully, by the Federal Government eventually. The Main Street Committee has also created a new, updated, and expanded web site for Pine Hill (www.pinhill-in-the-catskills.com). A third project has been the development of walking, hiking, and bicycle tours which are recommended to visitors to the town. One of the unique aspects of Pine Hill is that the hamlet is very pleasant for walking.
Pine Hill resident and Shandaken Town Supervisor Rob Stanley did a great job as coordinator of the relay races and other games for children. Stanley and the kids obviously had a good time while parents and grandparents watched from under a shade tree behind the Pine Hill Arms. Kids from 6-14 competed in the events. There was a relay race involving teams of two and large inner tubes, a "carry an egg on a spoon" race, and a "throw and catch the water balloon" contest. The winners in these events received medals at the awards ceremony.
Earlier there had been a scavenger hunt through the town as kids tried to identify the buildings, places, and things which had to be identified in the hunt. The first person to correctly identify all the things listed on the hunt answer sheet was the winner. This was a great way to familiarize the kids with Pine Hill, a safe town for children to play in as long as a bear doesn't get them and they down drown in a creek.
|Oliver and Caleb with the medals won in the children's relay races.|
|Rob Stanley awards a (plastic) gold medal to (my grandon) Caleb Soria.|
|Supervisor Stanley directs traffic while the competitors concentrate on the eggs they are carrying. If you dropped you egg you had to go back to the beginning and start over.|
SHANDAKEN DECLARES TONY LANZA A "HAMLET HERO"
The afternoon of Shandaken Day 2011 was the start of the Hurricane Irene in the Catskills. Tony Lanza was the head of the Belleayre Ski Resort at that time, and came to play a critical role in helping Shandaken and Middletown cope with the flood crisis in the aftermath of Irene. Bellayre took in homeless people, was a distribution point for food, was a landing spot for helicopters flying in supplies and taking seriously injured people out to Albany or Kingston, and was a center of communications. Lanza already was well known and liked in areas around Belleayre for his successful leadership of the ski area over many years.
In the year after Irene the decision was made by New York State which owns Belleayre decided to shift the responsibility of the facility from the Department of Environmental Conservation to the Olympic Regional Development Asociation (ORDA) which supervises Adirondack ski areas at Whiteface and Gore Mountains and Lake Placid. Lanza was dismissed in the management change. In addition he is under investigation by the State for as yet un-named matters. The Watershed Post has examined the issue of free passes which Lanza issued to VIP's and local police officials, but no charges have been made.
Many people and leaders in the Town of Shandaken like Lanza, and wanted to express their appreciation for his role during Irene, and for the many services he has rendered to the people and regional economy around the Belleayre Mountain Ski Area.
|Tony Lanza speaking to the people assembled at the awards ceremony.|
|Close-up of Lanza addressing the crowd at the awards ceremony.|