Arts

Hundreds line up for free driftwood

Above: Tyler Borchet, center, searches the driftwood pile at the Jan. 23 driftwood giveaway in Olivebridge. Photo by Julia Reischel. 

Driftwood is the Catskills version of the iPhone -- people line up around the block to get it.

Hundreds waited in below-freezing weather in the Ulster County hamlet of Olivebridge on Friday, Jan. 23 for a chance to pick through a pile of free driftwood being given away by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The NYC watershed agency removes driftwood from the shores of its Catskills reservoirs every year. To get rid of the driftwood, the agency used to burn it. But this year, it tried something new: giving it away to the public.

Above: The line for driftwood. Photo by Julia Reischel.   Read more

DEP: Artists, come get our driftwood

Above: "Driftwood Cove" in the Ashokan Reservoir. Photo via the NYC DEP.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is hosting an odd event this Friday, Jan. 23: A driftwood giveaway.

The DEP has a driftwood glut on its Ashokan Reservoir, one of the city's upstate lakes that supplies NYC's drinking water. A portion of the reservoir's west basin is dubbed "Driftwood Cove" because of the large amount of wood that piles up along its shores after washing down the Esopus Creek through the Catskills, according to a DEP press release. 

For years, the DEP has given its driftwood away to artists, who use it in sculptures and crafts. But in that past, the DEP has also burned some driftwood, which has disappointed some artists who wanted as much of the wood as they could get.  Read more

Follow us on Instagram

Above: An ice-covered plant, photographed by John of Catskills Photography and shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr pool and on our new Instagram account.

Sharing and regramming photos on Instagram is one of our New Year's resolutions. So far, we're sticking to it.  We're posting photos from our news stories and sharing images from the amazing photographers among our readers and neighbors from around the Catskills. 

Follow us and share your photos with us on Instagram by clicking here.

This weekend: Grand opening party for the rebuilt Phoenicia Library

Above: The Phoenicia Library's snazzy new sign, via its Facebook page

After the Phoenicia Library burned down on March 19, 2011, it took almost four years for it to rise from the ashes. But rise it did, with the close-knit Shandaken community raising $800,000 to support the rebuilding project with state grants, insurance monies, bake sales, restaurant fundraisers, and large donations from neighbors.  

The library re-opened in its totally restored 48 Main Street building on Jan. 2. The structure now boasts a state-of-the-art design that cuts its energy costs to the bare minimum, and a lot of exciting architectural and technological bells and whistles. From a press release from the library's director, Liz Potter:   Read more

Will 2015 be the year of the Catskills?

Above: Barnes Hill on a sunny fall day in 2014. Photo by Dennis Schevjda, via Flickr

If the national travel press has anything to do with it, the Catskills will be flooded with tourists in 2015.

Two separate publications, Fodor's and Travel + Leisure, have put the region on their lists of the best places in the world (the world!) to visit next year.

Fodor's Go List 2015 lumps "The Hudson Valley and the Catskills" together, and lists them as #2, right after "The Arctic" and before Namibia and Guatemala:  Read more

$15 million in grants go to Catskills organizations

Above: Americorps team members work on the storefront of Catskill Mountainkeeper in Livingston Manor in June 2014. Mountainkeeper received a $1.8 million grant from the state of New York on Dec. 11, 2014.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo handed out early Christmas presents on Thursday, Dec. 11 in the form of $709.2 million in economic and community development funding to hundreds of organizations across New York state. Several Catskills organizations, including MTC Cable, Catskill Mountainkeeper and the village of Sidney, received over a million dollars each. 

Through the program, called the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, New York State issues grants to businesses, community groups, nonprofits, and municipalities. The Catskills did well this year, picking up over $15 million overall, according to our back-of-the-envelope math.   Read more

This Weekend: Catskills holiday shopping guide

Above: A window display at Ragtime Clothing Exchange in Callicoon, which hosts its first Dickens on the Delaware event this weekend. Photo via the Dickens on the Delaware Facebook page. 

The snow is on the ground, just in time for the fourth installment of our holiday shopping guide. (Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar.) 

Here's what's happening over the weekend of Dec. 13 and 14: 

Delaware County

Santa comes to the town square in Delhi on Saturday, Dec. 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., along with horse and wagon rides and hot cocoa. The town's holiday lights contest ends the next day  Read more

Shop Catskills: Post-turkey edition

Above: Sparky the Fire Dog, Santa and Frosty the Snowman will be guests at the Tannersville Annual Holiday Craft Fair and Spirits of the Holidays on Saturday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo via the Great Northern Catskills website.

It's holiday shopping season in earnest, now that Thanksgiving is over. You can spend all your gift-giving dollars this year with Catskills merchants and businesses, and maybe see a few Christmas trees and even Santa himself while you're at it. To help you shop local, here's the second installment of our holiday shopping guide

Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar

Here's what's happening over the weekend of Nov. 28 to 30: 

DELAWARE COUNTY

Margaretville hosts its annual holiday celebration on Saturday, Nov. 29. Shops will be decked to the nines, lots of kids’ activities will distract your little ones, and Santa will show up late in the afternoon on a fire truck. Hot cocoa and doughnuts will keep you fortified, and you can grab a hayride when your feet get tired.  Read more

This Weekend: Christopher Williams Open Studio

Above: "Wolf-in-Skins," a work-in-progress dance-opera by Christopher Williams and Gregory Spears. Photo by Andrew Jordan.

By the time audiences usually see a dance, it’s the final, perfected product—the polished result of months of work. But New York City-based choreographer Christopher Williams is giving viewers a chance to see what a movement piece looks like at the very beginning of its lifespan, in a free open studio on Sunday, Nov. 23 at Mount Tremper Arts. 

Left: Christopher Williams. Photo via his website. 

Williams has been commissioned to create a series of dances for "Dardanus," a Baroque opera by 18th-century French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. In those days, dance was an integral part of operatic structure; minuets and gavottes popped up in interludes between arias. This new production of the rarely-seen opera, directed by Michel Fau and in collaboration with the musical group Ensemble Pygmalion, is set to begin performances at the Opéra National de Bordeaux next April.

But Williams’s contribution has to start somewhere, and he’s making his first moves during a weeklong residency in Mount Tremper. Armed with a recording of Ensemble Pygmalion’s arrangements for "Dardanus," he and six dancers have come up from the city to work out the beginnings of what will become the final pieces.

“What the audience will see are very rough attempts at dance material that in some way relates to the music,” Williams said. “I think it will help demystify the process of dance-making. By inviting people in at this stage, people can get a taste of what it’s like to be in the studio as a dancer, having to deal with the material that’s given to you by a choreographer.”

  Read more

This weekend: Shop local, shop the Catskills

Above: The Hudson Valley Hullabaloo features indie crafters and makers selling their wares in Kingston. One of the many vendors that will be there this weekend is Wishbone Letterpress, which is run by the Hullabaloo's founder and co-organizer Danielle Bliss and her husband Joe Venditti. They make snazzy cards like the one you see above. Photo via the Hullabaloo blog. 

Giving gifts to loved ones is great fun. Getting those gifts is great fun too, when you stay clear of the mass markets and head instead to the local merchants and makers. Supporting those folks makes our communities better all year long.

Here, then, is the first installment of our Catskills holiday season shopping guide to where and when you’ll find the good fresh local stuff among smiling faces. We'll be posting each week with events to check out around the region. Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar  Read more


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