Follow Up on the
If The City Filters?
The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the State
Department of Health, is taking a close look at how things
are going in the vast watershed region before deciding whether
to allow the City to continue avoiding a Federal mandate to
filter its water supply. Such a filtration system is estimated
to cost $8 billion to build and hundreds of millions a year
On Thursday Alan Rosa, the Executive Director of the Catskill
Watershed Corporation, said that EPA is seriously considering
a filtration requirement, and if they come to that conclusion
people can blame Mother Nature. The rampant flooding over
the past couple of years has caused more water quality problems
than anything man made, he said, and unless the City devises
a method to get that under control filtration may be necessary.
Rosa said that back in the 1990’s a number of programs
were designed to keep the water, which mostly comes from the
streams and brooks of the Catskill Mountains, running clean
but most were designed to take care of man made pollution.
Many of the programs have benefited the people of the Watershed
region, Rosa said, like the popular septic program, in which
the City pays to replace inadequate systems with state of
the art ones. An average system costs about $8000, complicated
ones can cost 10 times that.
The City has also paid millions to build wastewater treatment
plants for Hamlets and Villages. Only a handful are complete,
but 22 are planned.
The list goes on, with even more millions sent to the watershed
for stream corridor protection, extensions for existing sewer
districts and forestry management programs. There is even
a fund for public education, a program that doles out grants
to schools, arts organizations and even individual artists
that teach the wonders of water.
But all this could go away if EPA says filter.
It is, of course, a little more complicated. Rosa said that
When the Coalition of Watershed Towns was negotiating the
terms of the 1997 watershed deal it made sure to tie the fate
of those programs to one big one. The Land Acquisition Program
gives the City hundreds of Millions of dollars to buy up as
much land as it can in the watershed. Back in 1990’s
the Coalition saw this is the main threat to the regions economy
because the City’s goal is to buy land that would otherwise
be developed and leave it undisturbed as a natural buffer
against man made pollution. The big question, Rosa said, is
whether the City would keep buying land if forced to spend
billions to filter the water.
“Everything is tied to the land acquisition program.
If the City decides they don’t want to buy land the
programs go away,” Rosa said.
Only two, he added, would remain. The Catskill Fund for the
Future, a large bank account the Catskill Watershed Corporation
uses to fund economy boosting projects, and a program to reduce
the effects of storm water. Between the two, Rosa said, about
$90 million has been set aside.
Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection, would not comment on the fate
of the watershed programs, but said that his department if
confidant that EPA will allow filtration avoidance to continue.
Rosa’s not so sure, and he added another element to
the mix. Another part of the 1997 watershed deal is a slew
of restrictive land use regulations to keep the water clean.
They would remain intact even if filtration were required.
Dan Ruzow, the former Counsel for the Coalition of Watershed
Towns and a major voice in the development of the watershed
agreement, said Thursday that he believes that all elements
of the deal would be reviewed.
“In the event of filtration, still an unlikely event
in my view, I think that renewal of the the City’s land
acquisition permit would be questionable along with the need
for several provisions of the Watershed Regulations,”
Under ‘New Business’
The theme is relevant in countless rural towns today
and to the following glimpse of several new business ventures
in the area, in which the Come Heres outnumber the Been
Heres two to one.
The "Been Here" in the trio is the Black Bear
Restaurant on Route 28 between Olive and Woodstock, the
first of the three businesses to open, which it did on January
1st this year. Proprietors Scott and Kelly Nadler boast
homegrown roots, having schooled at Woodstock and West Hurley
Elementaries respectively before their graduations from
"We've been together since then," said Kelly,
comfortable in a booth at the restaurant. "My mother-in-law
was a teacher at Phoenicia and my father worked at Onteora.
So, we're local yokels."
Having jointly owned a video store with her own mother about
a decade back, Kelly received some early experience in dealing
directly with the public before opening the Black Bear Deli
on Route 375 (across from the Hurley Ridge Market) with
her husband. The deli stop proved so
popular after four years, she said, that they lost their
lease because there was too much traffic at the site.
"We had hoped that, eventually, we would buy a restaurant
with a big bar and everything," Kelly said, "but
I knew the people who owned this place and they were looking
to retire. I have two children and the idea had been to
do it a little later but the opportunity presented itself
when it did, so we did it a little sooner than we anticipated."
The idea of a "casual, reasonably priced place you
could go with your kids or your friends" seemed well-suited
to the location that used to be known as The Mountainside,
and the breakfast/lunch idea which had worked well at the
deli was extended alongside the restaurant menu.
"We serve breakfast all day long, so if you want pancakes
at night, you can have them," Kelly said. "Of
course, there's also the lunch menu with burgers, BLTs,
grilled pastrami, tuna melts and so on and a dinner menu
with seafood and pasta, New York strip steak, Alfredo dishes
with scallops and chicken, vegetarian dishes, smoked salmon,
Italian and Mexican meals; we try to give everybody something
at a price they can afford."
On weekends there's an outside market to draw people coming
through who might stop for something to eat at the same
time. That was an idea of her father's, who's now retired
from the school system, Kelly noted. And it was actually
her son who contributed the "Black Bear" name
when they were pondering titles with local significance
before opening the deli.
"My mother-in-law had all these pictures of black bears
and I had them on my wall while we were thinking and he
said why not Black Bear?' So, we started collecting local
photographs at the deli and I put up a sign saying I'll
buy your breakfast if you bring in a picture of a bear in
your yard or wherever.' I got a couple of dozen of them
and framed them and they're in the dining room (at the restaurant)
now. They're not out of a book or anything. Bring them in
and we'll put them up. Every picture in there is local."
Another theme that unites these three stories is that each
of them has a soundtrack. In the case of the Black Bear,
it emerges in the welcoming form of what musicians fondly
refer to as "venue." A portion of this year's
Woodstock Blues Festival, for example, took place at the
restaurant site, which also has a large upstairs catering
hall with a private bar.
"We do parties up there, retirement parties, bowling
parties- the Woodstock Harley Davidson group meets there.
We had a wedding up there last weekend. This weekend, it's
a surprise birthday party," Kelly said. "And we
have Saturday night bands. Originally, when we opened, we
were doing the music upstairs but now we do that and the
dancing in the dining room. For the bluesfest, we had it
in there, outside, upstairs; it was all weekend long. But
we'll be having a bunch of local bands and some deejays
coming in for the summertime to give people something to
do on a Friday or Saturday night without having to go all
the way to Kingston."
B- WEST SHOKAN GENERAL STORE
Phil and Barbara Mansfield, who opened the American General
Store on Route 28A in West Shokan in July, have their own
musical connections and the upstate cultural lure is a part
of the local charm which drew them here. A freelance photographer
for magazines and major newspapers who could put his work
on hold as the store established itself, Phil concedes an
unsteady grasp of the surroundings and finds the prospect
of people stopping in for directions a bit scary.
"My wife was a music major at Boston Conservatory,"
said Phil. "Our son, Killian, plays Irish fiddle and
bass. I play guitar and each of us writes songs. Someday,
we'd like to see this place have some music going, on a
small scale, obviously, whether it's the odd concert in
the back yard or something else, we'd love to see this develop
creatively. Having this place become a kind of social center
is an exciting idea. We love creating the food and my wife
has come up with some marvelous stuff but we already love
people just sitting in here and talking and jawing. The
more we can do in that the direction, Sunday kids' days
with projects or whatever, the more it would balance having
to be open longer hours. It'd be easier with creative things
going on here."
The store's hours are still a subject of debate in the family.
Weekend hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The decision to close
at 5 p.m. on weekdays, excepting Fridays when hours are
extended to 7, accommodates the family's desire to provide
adequate time for personal activities but Mansfield readily
acknowledges comments from customers that suggest a longer
business day would be more suitable for a neighborhood store.
"We understand the need for it but, at the same time,
there's a need for personal sanity," he said. "We
didn't come up here simply to run this business. We love
doing this and it's my wife's dream, especially. We love
the area and, so far, we're loving the people, as well.
Of course, we want to enjoy what's here- not only the outdoor
activities but, since we're all sort of musicians in the
family, we'd like to find some involvement in the arts and
music scene and things like that. That was part of the dream
of coming up here and what we really liked about it. We
need to find a way to balance that with the needs of the
"We've got all these diverse people here," he
continued. "People who come up here and people who
have been here for generation upon generation, carpenters,
workers, transplanted New Yorkers and weekend New Yorkers
that are used to Starbucks prices for a cup of coffee that
locals would scoff at. We'd like to keep prices down and
still meet the different needs and wants of the community-
not just food but in terms of the vibe' or energy of the
store. So, it's kind of juggling all those things to find
a way to give them all what they want."
Although both Mansfields have restaurant experience in their
backgrounds, from management to waitering and bartending,
and Barbara has retail experience with bookstores, the concept
of running a general store is an entirely new one to them.
Phil notes that while the public service side of operation
wasn't something that inspired concern, details like timing
provision orders and calculating demand has them learning
at a "fast and furious" pace.
"We're technically a general store and, obviously,
we operate the deli. It IS a mom and pop operation,"
Phil said. "Right now, the only day we close is Wednesday
but we're open at 6:30 a.m. during the week because we have
the DEP and the town and state workers starting around then
and we can put together an egg sandwich or whatever, real
standard stuff, and they can be in and out in five minutes.
It's home style. My wife cooks everything- like these great
eggwhite frittatas with feta or goat cheese and other things-
and, of course, the deli stuff. But we also want people
to just sit, read the paper and drink their coffee. That's
why we have the sort of farmer's table where people DO congregate
For the past seven years, the Mansfields were living in
Riverdale, in the north Bronx, in a home they felt was too
small for family growth, and Barbara was becoming increasingly
dissatisfied with a career in fund raising when the idea
of opening a store surfaced. Barbara, who was originally
from North Carolina, and Phil, who grew up in Manhattan,
decided it was time for a change. After finding the possibilities
for a retail location in Riverdale "a bit too pricy,"
they looked in Westchester, where everything was "ridiculously
pricy," and on to Putnam, searching for an ideal place
to start anew.
Charting their course through Craigslist, a free online
classified ad service that started in San Francisco and
expanded internationally, region by region, they explored
outward from their original target area.
"Someone told us about New Paltz and we checked that
out as well as Saugerties," Phil noted. "Then
we went to Woodstock, which we loved except for one issue.
It didn't look like it needed anything in the way of another
business. But we saw the Wittenberg Store and got excited
about that until someone put something down on it at the
same time we were looking and we didn't get it. But Barbara
noticed how disappointed she was and that just strengthened
the idea of changing careers, so we kept surfing."
That's when they surfed into a listing for the West Shokan
store. From there, Phil said, things happened "remarkably
fast" and, inside of three months, it all timed out
to when the kids were finishing school, "so that wasn't
an issue," and Barbara was able to come up in June
to prepare for an opening.
"We're liking everything that we're seeing at the moment;
socially, personally- just the vibe of the people here,"
Phil Mansfield said. "That all contributes to us wanting
to make it work here."
C- RESERVOIR MUSIC
If Fredrough Perry, who opened the Reservoir Music shop
on Route 28 in Ashokan in June, had not become involved
in music, he would have been an "ugly duckling"
in the family.
"My mother (Sylvia) was a concert pianist and my father
(Mack) was one of those people who messes around on a million
different instruments," Perry explains. "One day
my brother brought a drum home and they took a look at it
and saw it was crap. They said We could build a better drum
than this' and, so, they did."
The incident led to the founding, in 1942, of Peripole Inc.,
which has been active in music education and the construction
of instruments since that time. In 1992, a merger with a
leading French manufacturer of instruments, Bergrault (Percussions
Contemporaines, S.A.) whose products Peripole had been importing
since the 1970's, created the Oregon-based firm now known
as Peripole Bergrault. But much of the earlier story took
place in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Perry recounts how his parents, who both taught at Brooklyn
College, started making instruments for children in the
40s and 50s and, while establishing a business relationship
with the Gretsch guitar and drum company- which was still
based in Brooklyn at the time, became one of the premier
companies catering to the needs of musical education. His
mother initiated the recorder program in the New York City
school system and the instrument is still a significant
item in the firm's catalog.
"My father passed away in 1985 and my mother and younger
brother Andrew moved out to the west coast to run the company
from there," Perry said. "So, it's the two of
them at the helm and she's getting near retirement now.
With a baby grand piano and a stand-up bass in the living
room, a drum set in the basement and musicians dropping
in all the time, Fredrough found that music was part of
the very air he breathed as a child.
"I went to Pete Seeger's house when I was a little
kid. I met Alan Freed when I was six. My father invented
a lot of unusual musical instruments. Three out of four
brothers are players or make their living from music or
both," he recited, making the inevitable obvious. "My
were always active with musical education programs for the
schools and got lifetime awards from national music educators
associations and things like that. Then there was always
the conventions and shows that I was going to since I was
eight, like the National Association of Music Merchants
and all the guitar and drum company shows and presentations;
Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Ludwig- my parents were friends
with the heads of all these companies."
It was Fredrough's older brother Richard, however, who REALLY
set a pace at an early age by founding a doo-wop group,
The Escorts, that recorded for Decca. Perry still recalls
being the little squirt that imitated Elvis Presley for
the amusement of his brother's friends.
Richard Perry went on to become a remarkably successful
record producer with album credits from Theodore Bikel to
Bill Medley listed in Muirhead's book "Record Producers's
File." But that's only a tiny edge of it. Richard produced
strings of hits for Carly Simon, Leo Sayer, Harry
Nilsson, the Pointer Sisters and dozens of other major artists
from the genuinely hip, like Captain Beefheart, to the terminally
dull (artist name withheld out of respect to innocent relatives).
His talent could expand to make almost ANYONE sound great.
He produced the only classic album of Ringo Starr's solo
career, for instance, after a couple of lackluster attempts
by the Beatle drummer. Or try to imagine a "folksy"
Barbara Streisand singing to Eric Weissberg's guitar, as
she did on the Perry-produced "Stoney End." He
even had a hand in "Trilogy," perhaps the most
unusual album of Frank Sinatra's unparalleled career.
At the height of his career, Richard was a translator between
the world of standard pop and the best music emerging from
rock, a kind of "bridge from Brooklyn" that could
interpret "Black Magic Woman" into the style of
Percy Faith or introduce James Taylor tunes into the repertoire
of Johnny Mathias. He inserted songs like "Lady Madonna"
into a comeback album by Fats Domino and hipped Ella Fitzgerald
to the charms of songs from a different groove. Conversely,
he produced a series albums featuring standards sung by
the golden rasp of rockster Rod Stewart. His sense of humor
surfaced in collected work like "Golden Throats, Vol.
4- Celebrities Butcher the Songs of the Beatles."
Such were the roots that Fredrough climbed upon to form
his own country rock band, The Brooklyn Cowboys, which he
founded in 1996 with Walter Egan, known for his top-ten
hit "Magnet and Steel." Augmented by Buddy Cage's
pedal steel guitar, which had drawn
worldwide notice in the 1970's band New Riders of the Purple
Sage and, later, the bass work of Supe Granda, formerly
of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and vocals and rhythm guitar
from Joy Lynn White, who had registered an Americana hit
with her own previous CD, the band hooked up with the local
talent in Nashville to record three very well received albums.
"About two years ago, I decided to move out of the
City, where I had lived most of my life," Perry explains,
pointing out that he considers the move a hiatus for the
band at a time when a downturn in the economy made it impractical
for the group to continue touring- rather than its
It was the stress of racing up and down the Thruway for
production meetings while working on writing projects beyond
songs, like screenplays, that prompted the thought of finding
a more locally based occupation.
"I got the idea to open a music store as something
I could do that would keep me in the loop' because it seemed
to me that many of the artistic people in Woodstock had
been pushed away for economic reasons and every musician
I knew seemed to be living west of town- Mt. Tremper, Phoenicia,
Ashokan," he said. "Oddly enough, the day after
the idea occurred to me, I noticed this location was available
and I convinced the landlord to rent to me. Then the panic
attacks started. I was a drummer, so I knew drums and a
lot more about guitars, keyboards and so on than the average
person but what did I know about selling instruments?"
So, Perry, who originally had hoped to open last November,
got on a learning curve and began contacting some of the
family connections to the major companies. While he was
doing that, someone running a red light in New York City
plowed into the side of his car and put the entire
motion on hold for months.
"It's funny now when people come into the store saying
they've been waiting and waiting for us to open, and I just
tell them well, that was my marketing plan'," Perry
laughs. "I thought I'd put a sign on the store and
just go away to let suspense build. If that was the plan,
it must have worked pretty well because the whole neighborhood
was wondering what was going on."
Since opening, things have gotten markedly smoother. Local
musicians are coming in all the time and people with vintage
instruments they'd like to sell on consignment have given
the shop an unexpected avenue toward a successful venture.
"I'm hoping to build that part of the business up,"
Perry said. "It actually works better than the new
instruments because, although all the major manufacturers
have given me long lines of credit, consignment items don't
work against your bank and vintage instruments, which are
hard to find, are what a lot of people want."
Meanwhile, an instrument and amplifier rental service is
being set up as well as music lessons, a sheet music service
and all of the other products and activities that go into
a full service music store. As for munchies, well, Perry
won't be serving any frittatas but he's happy to be within
easy walking distance of a pizzeria.
The latest of a number of events planned to keep people's
attention, Perry adds, will take place on Saturday, August
12th, when guitar ace Todd Wolfe, known for his years as
Sheryl Crow's lead guitarist, will display his talents at
At a time when there seems to be more businesses closing
in Olive than opening, all three of these new business owners
are counting on their wares and ambitions to assure themselves
that, whether they're Been Heres or Come Heres, they'll
wind up being Stay Heres.
Ashes In Ashokan
days there were no back hoes and trucks so man powered
shovels and horse drawn wagons did the job.
There were some graves whose residents were unknown
and in some cases there were living relatives who
could not or would not do the transfer of the bodies.
About 80 bodies were disinterred and buried in the
Bushkill cemetery in West Shokan, The burial sites
are marked with small white concrete markers and
the appearance of the area is like a military graveyard.
The records for these remains have been lost but
those in charge of the cemetery were told that the
names were not known. The president of the Bushkill
cemetery association is Andrew Burgher, the great,
great grandson of Mathias Burgher, my grandfather,
who was in charge of the removal of the bodies from
the reservoir site. His son Alonzo, was the on site
manager for the job, as Mathias was employed by
the New York City Board Of Water Supply as a property
appraiser for the Dam project
. I was born in 1911 at a site which the reservoir
now covers and thus was just a baby when the project
was under way I was too little to know hat was going
on . Our family lived next door to my Grandfather
and no doubt at the time of the actual reburial
process there must have been some interesting tales
told. I do remember that it was said that one of
the bodies had turned to stone . I learned later
that if a coffin is in a place where water seeps
into it that the calcium which high lime water contains.
is deposited on the body and explains this phenomenon.
While the basis of this reburial lies in the deeply
rooted tradition that the remains of the dead should
be revered and they should be properly buried, there
is another aspect, the aesthetic . It is a bit difficult
to imagine that a few long dead bodies could in
any way cause illness However, can you imagine fishermen
in the reservoir finding their hooks bringing up
human bones, belt buckles, skulls etc.? That idea
is a bit farfetched as all bodies were buried in
coffins and were clothed. And there was dirt on
top of the coffin. It is possible that there are
some still resting peacefully beneath he the waters
of theAshokan reservoir. Requiescat in pacem.
I would like to say here that we old timers always
pronounced Ashokan as though there were three syllables,
all the same stress ash-o-can not a-SHO-can.
Vacationing Near Home
column is not really going to be about food. I would
like to use that Olive Pizza to explain the Large
Parcel bill in its simplest terms. Please follow
my analogy. Each town gets its wad of dough (pardon
the pun!) to make its own pizza. That amount of
dough would correlate to the total amount of taxable
land within the political boundaries of that town.
When Olive makes its special Olive Pizza, we, like
other towns and restaurants, would cut it into serving-size
pieces. The pieces would be the individual lot owners.
However, we are cutting pizza, so we will make pizza
slices. One diameter cut, then quarter cuts, then
eighths. Finally the eight pieces would look like
the slices offered at Winchell’s, Village
Pizza or the Boiceville Inn. Have I lost anyone
so far? Can you picture my Olive Pizza cut into
The going rate for pizza is about $12.00 a pie.
So Olive makes and pays for its “pie.”
Olive pays the full $12.00. Since over half of Olive
is owned by New York City, imagine four slices plus
a sliver as that part of our Olive Pizza. Just as
we are about to feed our family, someone comes along
and snatches four pieces of pizza and takes a bite
out of the fifth. What’s left? Three pieces
and a fourth with a bite from a stranger remain
on pizza tin. Now remember. The pizza still cost
us $12.00. Some other towns are nibbling on our
pizza free of charge. The price per slice of Olive’s
pizza goes up. That’s why taxes would more
than double with the Large Parcel in place.
If the same thing were to happen to Shandaken with
the state land, six of those eight pieces would
be taken by surrounding towns leaving Shandaken
to pay the entire $12.00 and only get one full piece
and another with a bite out of it. That’s
because the State owns 76% of Shandaken’s
“pizza.” Even without the Large Parcel
in place there, it explains why taxes in Shandaken
are so high because the state land is valued so
low. But that’s another pizza and another
My granddaughter Dana eats the best part of the
pizza. She leaves the crust piled high on her plate.
Actually, that’s what the Ashokan Reservoir
did to Olive’s pizza. The fertile valley and
best land (cheese and toppings) lay submerged in
the center of our town. The displaced residents
and the people who came later were left to climb
up and settle on the hills and mountains (the remaining
The moral of the story is that each town, with home
rule as the guiding force, should make its own “pizza.”
My husband would never eat a pie with anchovies.
Pizza and topping choice are a personal matter.
Neither a school board nor a county legislature
should have the right to decide for the towns. That
would be meddling in a town tax issue. So, I’ll
take my pizza with Olives!
No olives in the cupboard? The Deli Dairy might
have some, and you can check out the set used for
a local film shoot. The Night Listener, which will
be released on August 4, was shot there in Shokan
with Brian’s wife Julie in a scene. You can
be sure the “lunch bunch” of Jack Darwak,
Bert Leifeld, Bruce La Monda, Bob Wilkens and Walter
Wilmoth will be there for the premier.
Joan Trowbridge Berger and Linda Marlatt Gray are
the movers and shakers planning the fifty-year reunion
of the Onteora class of 1956. They are also inviting
classes from the fifties and sixties to join in.
Those interested in attending should contact Joan
Berger at 657-2081 or e-mail email@example.com
or Linda Gray at 657-2498 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to add names to the reservation list.