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More than a funny girl: "One Night With Fanny Brice" at the Open Eye Theater

Above: "One Night With Fanny Brice" musical director and accompanist Kent Brown, playwright Chip Deffaa, and Patricia Dell starring as Brice.

For a few days in July, the legendary Borscht Belt musical comedian and Ziegfeld Follies superstar Fanny Brice returns to the Catskills -- at least in spirit.

Actress and singer Patricia Dell stars in the upcoming one-woman show “One Night With Fanny Brice,” by playwright Chip Deffaa, staged by Margaretville's Open Eye Theater. In her role as Brice, Dell takes on the indomitable persona of the first female star of the Jewish entertainment circuit, and breathes fresh life into musical classics nearly a century old.

“‘Wow’ was my reaction reading the script,” said Dell. “My only exposure to her was the movie, ‘Funny Girl,’ starring Barbra Streisand. There’s a lot more to her.”  Read more

Here comes the rain again...and wind, too

Look out, Catskills: Yet another round of thunderstorms is taking aim at the region, with the possibility of high winds, damaging hail and even the chance of a tornado. 

As of late Tuesday afternoon, a line of storms is organizing in western New York and Pennsylvania, and moving steadily eastward across the region. A severe thunderstorm watch is currently in effect across Central New York, including Delaware County in the Catskills region, until 8 p.m.

Storm trackers at the National Weather Service caution that there is a slight chance the storms could spawn a tornado or two as they swirl across Central New York. 

The eastern Catskills are not yet under severe weather watch, but thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and evening. Locals should keep an eye on the weather as the storms move eastward.   Read more

Catskills under flash flood watch, but the Fourth should be sunny

Above: Forecast detail from the National Weather Service in Albany.

The forecast for Fourth of July weekend in the Catskills looks bright and clear -- but before Friday arrives with cooler temps and sunnier skies, another round of intense thunderstorms has the region under flash flood watch. 

All five of the Catskills counties in our coverage area -- Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster -- are currently under flash flood watches issued by the National Weather Service offices in Binghamton and Albany. In the western Catskills, Delaware and Sullivan counties, the flash flood watch will last until 9 p.m. The eastern Catskills, which will see storms later into the evening, are under flash flood watch until midnight  Read more

Floods damage roads in Delaware and Schoharie Counties

Above: The back of 330 Main Street in Middleburgh after the wall had collapsed in the storm Wednesday night. Photo by Katherine Speller.

Multiple towns across the Catskills region declared a state of emergency after flooding caused by thunderstorms, forcing the closure of a number of roads.

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather warning early Thursday morning for severe thunderstorms in central New York — followed by a flood warning at 8:57 a.m. for the Mohawk River at the Delta Dam.

Schoharie County

Around 7:30 last night, amidst the heavy storm that flooded several areas of Schoharie County,  police received a report of a husband, wife and cat trapped in their mobile home on South Gilboa road.  

“Water was rising around their home and in ditches surrounding it,” Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said. “They couldn’t get out.”

Grand Gorge Fire Department’s rescue squad was sent out on the call but soon realized they weren’t able to get the couple out on their own, Desmond said, so they called in for assistance from other local departments from Schoharie and Delaware Counties.
  Read more

Cycling the Catskills: From steep trails to smooth sails

A cyclist takes a break for the panoramic view from Castle Point on the Shawangunk Ridge, at the southeastern edge of the Catskills. Photo courtesy of Riding the Catskills (ridingthecatskills.com).

Climb up and over the rocky Shawangunk Ridge to a spectacular vista overlooking the Hudson Valley. Meander along hundreds of miles of carriage lanes and trails through the Mohonk Preserve. Ride through rolling pastureland on 19th- century dirt roads, lined by mossy stone walls and shaded by tunnels of overarching trees. Travel winding country roads for hours without seeing more cars than you can count on your fingers.

The Catskill Mountains were made for cycling. And if you’re not here already, they’re easier to get to than you might think. From New York City, in less than two hours by car, you can leave urban sprawl far behind and discover a cycling utopia. You don’t even need a car to get here: Bring your bike on a scenic 90-minute Metro-North train up the majestic Hudson River to Poughkeepsie, cycle across the Walkway Over the Hudson, and you’re practically in the Catskills.  Read more

Storm leaves Delaware County residents without power

Above: Fallen trees along Main Street in Bovina as a result of the storm that hit Delaware County early this morning. Photo by Ray LaFever

A storm with winds in excess of 60 mph that swept through Delaware County early this morning has left thousands without power, according to New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG).

The storm was brief, beginning at midnight and lasting roughly 20 minutes, but caused major damage, especially to the towns of Bovina and Delhi, according to Director of Emergency Services and Fire Coordinator for Delaware County Steve Hood.

Hood said the storm resulted in a large number of fallen trees throughout the area and sections of two roads in Delhi — Federal Road No. 2 and Glen Burnie Road— have been blocked off because of it.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Binghamton issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 11:45 p.m. last night, effective until 12:45 a.m. Wednesday for Broome, Chenango and Delaware Counties.

The NWS warned that the line of thunderstorms found by the doppler radar were capable of producing quarter sized hail and damaging winds.  Read more

Flash flood watch issued for western Catskills

Above: National Weather Service radar shows two bands of thunderstorms headed eastward across central New York. Screenshot taken at 3:25 p.m. on Friday, June 13.

Bands of thunderstorms and heavy rain are headed eastward across western and central New York, prompting National Weather Service forecasters in Binghamton to issue a flash flood watch for south-central New York and the western Catskills.

Forecasters are expecting over two inches of rain to fall over a period of less than three hours on Friday afternoon and evening, which could cause flooding in small streams and areas of poor drainage.

Included in the flood watch are Delaware and Sullivan counties. The watch will remain in effect until midnight. 

Below: A forecast posted on Facebook by NWS Binghamton forecasters.

   Read more

Horseback riding in the Catskills

Riders head out on the trail. Photo courtesy of Bridle Hill Farm.

Strapping on your hiking shoes isn’t the only way to see the Catskills: You can also hit the trail on horseback. Trail-riding companies operate throughout the region, and they offer an alternative way to enjoy the spectacular views and fresh mountain air that make the Catskills a paradise for hikers.

Novice and experienced riders alike should have a pre-ride safety check with the trail ride leader, says Laura Phoenix, a riding coach and equestrian specialist at Country Meadows Equine in Delaware County. Before embarking, beginning riders should be shown how make their mount turn left or right — and most importantly, how to stop.

As you ride, the group should set the pace at the comfort level of the most inexperienced rider, in order to ensure a successful ride for everyone in the group.

After horse and rider have gotten acquainted, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the views.

Spring is a great time to take a trail ride, Phoenix says.  Read more

Green Door closes

Green Door, a Liberty-based quarterly magazine about Catskills life and culture, is shutting down.

It's been a good run; in their three years and 13 issues, Green Door's founders have launched a multi-use art space on Liberty's Main Street, popularized the word "hickster," gotten a nod from the New York Times for their "Narrowsburg Not Williamsburg" T-shirts, and earned plenty of love from the local arts and business community. But, as the sage says, sometimes love just ain't enough.

Founders Ellie and Akira Ohiso announced the news on the magazine's website and Facebook page on Tuesday:  Read more

A few good Catskills paddles

Photo by Courtney Ross; submitted to the Watershed Post's 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest.

Water is everywhere in the Catskill Mountains, even their name: The “kill” in “Catskills” is a Dutch word for “creek.” There’s plenty of open water to go around for kayakers, canoers, sailors and rowers — especially now that four of New York City’s vast reservoirs have been opened to recreational boating, a development in the past few years. (See our guide to boating the reservoirs.)

Another aspect of the Catskills great outdoors that’s improving: our bald eagle population. If you spend time on our rivers and creeks, you’re likely to have a close encounter with one of these fish-eating eagles, who have been brought back from the verge of extirpation over the past few decades and are now a common sight near Catskills waterways.

Catskills creeks have a tendency to be broad and shallow, and water levels can vary a lot depending on recent rainfall and reservoir releases. When preparing to go boating on running water, check out the water level, or ask a local boat rental company, to make sure there’s enough water to keep you from running aground.  Read more