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Letters to the Editor in March 2015

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Where in the Valley…?

In our February issue, we tasked readers with identifying the Poughkeepsie Ice House mural by Frank Palaia. The 9-by-18-foot masterpiece depicts the bustling businesses on the Poughkeepsie waterfront in 1888. From the 1600s to the 1800s, those businesses were full of merchants selling everything from lumber to machinery. One burgeoning industry was ice harvesting, the removal of large chunks of ice from the river to be sold all around the world. However, with the invention of manufactured ice in the pre-World War I era, these harvesters were run out of business. Congratulations to Tracey Olulenu of Otisville for being the first to name this iconic work. This month, click here to name a religious statue’s locale.

Frank Palaia did a nice job with this mural.
Fred Schaeffer
Former Chairman of the Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie

Help for a Hero

I was stunned that the article about three foreign heroes of the American Revolution (“Foreign Legions,” January) attacked Tadeusz Kosciuszko, the one that had done the most to fight for the freedom of the Hudson Valley. It questions the motives of the source, Paul Ackermann, who works at the U.S. Military Academy Museum and is not a historian, an expert on Kosciuszko, or a spokesman for the Military Academy.

Ackermann falsely claims that Chief Engineer Kosciuszko wanted to desert his post at West Point, and wrongly says Kosciuszko was “extremely overrated.” If anything, he’s underrated. During a speech in 2013, USMA Superintendent Gen. David Huntoon stood next to the President of Poland during his visit to the Academy and said, “Without Kosciuszko, there would be no West Point.”

Ackermann claims that “Kosciuszko was not a highly skilled engineer.” That’s not true. Kosciuszko studied at military academies in Warsaw and Paris and was the most talented engineer in the Continental Army. That’s why Congress and George Washington chose Kosciuszko to be the Chief Engineer at West Point.

At a time when the Friends of the American Revolution at West Point, Inc., are raising funds to restore Kosciuszko’s redoubts, and museums and historical and cultural organizations in the USA, Australia, and Poland are petitioning UNESCO to declare 2017 “The Year of Kosciuszko,” Ackermann’s malicious words are destructive to these efforts.

If anything, the people of the Hudson Valley should be helping to restore the significant historic redoubts and artifacts of the American Revolution, and not besmirching heroes that fought “for your freedom and ours.”
Alex Storozynski
President Emeritus, The Kosciuszko Foundation; author of The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution; and director of Kosciuszko, a documentary film for PBS.

Wow! we received several letters from angry Kosciuszko supporters who thought we didn’t represent their hero — or the Polish people — in the right light. In our April issue, we’ll revisit this issue and take a look at the local Polish community, too. — Ed.


Corrections

In our review of The Bear Cafe (January), we reported that it is illegal to serve wild game at restaurants. New York State’s policy is that restaurants can serve game if it has been handled and prepped under specific provisions and codes.

In our private school listings (February), we ran incorrect statistics for Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School. The school’s current enrollment is 677, its student to faculty ratio is 15:1, its current tuition is $7,400, and it offers 11 Advanced Placement courses.

The recent article about the Garrison Art Center’s 50th anniversary requires several clarifications: The American Craft Museum is now called the Museum of Arts and Design. It is no longer across from the Museum of Modern Art; it is now on Columbus Circle.


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