Ah, December. The passing of yet another year always catches us unawares. The weeks between Halloween and New Year’s Eve just seem to zoom by in a whirl of activity, from tailgate parties and Thanksgiving feasts to making travel plans and shopping for those “just right” gifts. (Still haven’t found something for Uncle George or Cousin Sue? Check out our Holiday Gift Guide for some unique suggestions.)
The year 2009 is likely to be remembered as an up-and-down time in the Valley. The mortgage crisis and economic meltdown certainly hit us hard, with many local residents continuing to cope with the reverberations of those twin events. But there were positives too, perhaps the most notable being the yearlong Quadricentennial celebrations, capped off in October with the long-awaited opening of Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson. Whether the Walkway stimulates the local economy as predicted remains to be seen, but already it has drawn people from throughout the region — and beyond — to experience the Hudson River in a new way.
The end of the year is traditionally a time to both look back, and look ahead. Throughout 2009, we’ve marked the Quadricentennial with a series of articles about our local history. To cap off this coverage, this month we feature a photo essay by noted Peekskill photographer Joseph Squillante. We feel that Squillante’s black-and-white images of the Hudson — taken from atop Anthony’s Nose, aboard the sloop Clearwater, and from six other unique vantage points — provide a fitting tribute to what Henry Hudson called “the River of Mountains.”
Our cover story, entitled “People to Watch,” is — in a sense — a look ahead. From a community activist to an award-winning teacher, a thoracic surgeon to a husband-and-wife team of restaurateurs, we profile a dozen Valleyites who have earned their stripes in various fields of endeavor — and seem poised to continue making news in the months and years ahead.
And our end-of-year issue certainly would be incomplete without “Holiday Happenings,” an exhaustive listing of candlelight house tours, concerts, goings-on for kids, and other holiday-themed events (more than a few of which, we’re happy to note, are free). So, when yuletide stress begins to take its toll on your holiday spirit, stroll through a beautifully decorated historic mansion, sing along with a concert of traditional carols, or marvel at a fanciful display of holiday lights — and take the time to really enjoy this festive season.
Happy holidays to all!
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief