Kingston Rules

The latest Hudson Valley hotspot honors its roots and embraces newcomers in equal measure.

—by Joshua Lyon

New York State’s original capital, Kingston, has literally risen from ashes—British troops torched it to the ground during the Revolutionary War. Its prime location on the west bank of the Hudson River, roughly 100 miles north of Manhattan, helped it bounce back as a crucial rail and water transportation hub in the 19th century, and in the mid-fifties, IBM swooped in with high-paying jobs, until massive layoffs in the nineties plunged the area into a depression.

It didn’t take long for artists to discover the town’s suddenly affordable living spaces and studio opportunities. The O+ Festival in 2010, an event where artists and musicians create works and performances in exchange for healthcare services, sparked offshoots nationwide and helped place Kingston back on the map as a city worth investing in due to its caring community. Over the past decade, more and more small businesses and artists have populated its three distinctly different neighborhoods: the uptown Stockade District, where some original stone houses still stand; downtown, usually referred to as the Rondout due to its Rondout Creek waterfront location; and midtown, a more residential/industrial area that connects the two. Explore it all with these recommendations from the shop owners, artists, and writers working together to keep Kingston’s renaissance one of the Hudson Valley’s crowning achievements.

Hotel Kinsley

JANET HICKS

Owner & Curator, One Mile Gallery

BSP (323 Wall St., 845.481.5158, bspkingston.com) is a huge part of what Kingston is today. The building was originally a Vaudeville theater built in 1872, and now acts like Kurt Vile, Grizzly Bear, and Television all play there. There’s a small front room for more intimate performances, but the back area is massive—it stretches the width of the entire block and has a real spiegeltent built of wood, mirrors, and antique stained glass inside. Just around the corner is Boitson’s (47 N. Front St., 845.339.2333, boitsons.com), which is excellent for dinner before a show, or even just for oysters and champagne. I’m obsessed with their Devils on Horseback. I love digging through the secondhand treasures at Half Moon Books (35 N. Front St., 845.331.5439, halfmoonusedbooks.com) and Rhino Records (6 N. Front St., 845.255.0230, rhino. com), while Milne Inc. Antiques (81 Broadway, 845.331.3902, milneinc.com) has fantastic vintage furniture. Down the street is Clove & Creek (73 Broadway, cloveandcreek.com), a home goods shop full of beautiful pieces by local makers. It’s run by a total sweetheart who serves great coffee.

BRENT FELKER

Executive Director, Arts Society of Kingston

Lis Bar

I’ve been seeing a lot of younger families moving into the area, and the Rondout is a great place to find cultural institutions with kids’ activities that teach about the area’s history from different perspectives. TR Gallo Waterfront Park runs along the creek, where you’ll find the Hudson River Maritime Museum (50 Rondout Lndg., 845.338.0583, hrmm.org) and the Trolley Museum (89 E. Strand St., 845.331.3399, tmny.org). They both offer a lot of fun, often free programming, and the AJ WilliamsMyers African Roots Center (43 Gill St., 845.802.0035, africanrootslibrary.org) hosts educational events about African roots culture and history. The Arts Society of Kingston: ASK (97 Broadway, 845.338.0333, askforarts.org), where I work, is a multi-use art space with two gallery spaces. We have two shows a month, 24 shows throughout the year. Our upstairs theater space hosts stand-up comedy, dance, music, theater, you name it. For food, I love Graziano’s Downtown Café (91 Broadway, 845.338.3380, grazianosdowntowncafe.com). It’s a tiny Italian place; I usually order pasta carbonara; it’s the real stick-to-your-ribs kind. In midtown, Lis Bar (240 Foxhall Ave., 845.514.2350, lisbar.com) is a cozy bar that serves Polish tapas like fried pierogies with bacon and rabbit confit. My favorite cocktail is their Polish Daisy: mezcal with orange liqueur, plum syrup, and a spicy rim.

CARLA ROZMAN

Artist & Graphic Designer, Carla Rozman Graphic Design

My work studio and gallery space are both uptown, and I always go to Outdated (314 Wall St., 845.331.0030, outdatedcafe.com) for lunch. It’s super healthy and very community oriented; I get to socialize and see everybody. They’re very into the health benefits of all the dishes. So the tempeh isn’t soy-based; it’s fermented chickpeas. Plus, Outdated isn’t just a café—they sell all sorts of vintage items, from scarves to school supplies. The offices of the arts and culture magazine Chronogram (chronogram.com) are located right upstairs, so there are always fascinating people hanging around. I also love popping into Flora Beauty (36 John St., 845.514.2360, florabeautyhudsonvalley.com), where you can get your hair done, and they carry their own line of small-batch perfumes and body treatments called 58Flora. My favorite scent is Essentia, with sandalwood, gardenia, cacao, and musk. I put it on constantly! Every Saturday morning from May through November, I go to the Kingston Farmers Market (Wall St. between Main St. and John St., kingstonfarmersmarket.org), where I always run into tons of people I know and shop for fresh veggies.

DARBIE NOWATKA

Musician, Owner of Lovefield Vintage

Brunette Wine Bar’s Hiyashi
Chuka

Often after work, my husband and I go to Brunette Wine Bar (33 Broadway, 845.802.0837, brunettewinebar.com), in the Rondout. They have the best wines, but a lot of people don’t know that they have good food. I love the butter noodles, which come with capicola and Piave. Another great spot is Le Canard Enchaine (276 Fair St., 845.339.2003, le-canardenchaine.com), a French restaurant that’s super legit. I’ll sit at the bar with a glass of Côtes du Rhône and their French onion soup, which is next-level delicious. In summer, on the first Saturday of every month, One Mile Gallery (475 Abeel St., 845.338.2035, onemilegallery.com) hosts exhibition opening parties that are so much fun. Everyone comes out of the woodwork, and the curator has an excellent eye for contemporary artists like Mark Hogancamp, Derek Erdman, and Guy Maddin. My new favorite bar is Tubby’s (586 Broadway, tubbyskingston.com), in midtown. Their karaoke is not to be missed.

ERIN FLAHERTY

VP, Content Director, Digitas

Kingston Wine Co.

I always find something new and offbeat to try at Kingston Wine Co. (65 Broadway, 845.340.9463, kingstonwine.com); they have a wild selection of organic and biodynamic wines, sake, and even bottles of what they call “farmy reds” with notes of earth and barn. Be brave! If you’re shopping on two wheels, you can pick up a bicycle wine carrier down the street at Jay Teske Leather (25 Broadway, 845.514.2599, jayteske.com), where everything is handcrafted with master precision. He makes flyswatters look glam.

It’s a city worth investing in due to its caring community.

LISA PADOVANI

Costume Designer, Boardwalk Empire, Gotham, Sneaky Pete

River Mint Finery

Don’t let the modest exterior of Tony’s Pizzeria (582 Broadway, 845.338.3978 ) fool you. It opened in 1937 and their thin, crisp crust pizzas are delicious. I like that it’s old school—they don’t try to look trendy. Cake Box Bakery (8 Fair St., 845.339.4715, cakeboxbakery. net) is family owned, with fantastic desserts. I love their lemon bars. The Beverly Lounge (224 Foxhall Ave., 845.514.2570, thebeverlylounge.com) is my favorite bar because I always see somebody I know. The bartenders are friendly, they have a great beer selection, and there’s a room in the back for live music. Jonathan Richman played there, and they book a lot of eclectic acts. Newcomer River Mint Finery (270 Fair St., 845.481.5060, rivermintfinery.com) brings in beautiful jewelry designs and trunk shows.

MATTHEW PLEVA

Artist

Pugsly’s

If you want an old-timey barbershop experience, head to Pugsly’s (3 Main St., 845.331.2299, pugslysbarbershop.com). It’s first-come, first-serve, so you usually have to wait, but that’s part of the whole experience. Keegan Ales (20 St. James St., 845.331.2739, keeganales.com) is a craft brewery that turned a rundown place around, and I love what they’ve done for the community; if you go to the owner with an idea for an event, he’s happy to help if he can. Duo Pantry (297 Wall St., 845.340.123 7) sells great day-old bread from Duo Bistro (299 Wall St., 845.383.1198, duobistro.com), a popular brunch spot. I had an art show recently at Arcane Video (728 Broadway, 845.332.5491, arcanevideo.com), and the guy who runs it collects and sells late seventies and early eighties video store ephemera and other kinds of tchotchkes. You never know what you’re going to find. Same goes with Zaborski Emporium Architectural Salvage (27 Hoffman St., 845.338.6465, stanthejunkman.com), where a lot of new homeowners, interior decorators, and prop stylists go to find everything from barn doors to fireplaces.

SEAN NUTLEY & JT MCKAY

Owners, bluecashew Kitchen Homestead

JT McKay and Sean Nutley

We’re all about building a community and developing relationships, so our store bluecashew (37 N. Front St., 845.514.2300, bluecashew.com) also hosts cooking classes with renowned local chefs and edgy new ones who come up from New York. A recent workshop for a duck burger on brioche sold out in two hours, and we’re booking incredible guests for spring. We like to go to Rough Draft (82 John St., 845.802.002 7) for coffee during the day; it’s a bookstore/bar/coffee shop that hosts events and readings. Our location is surrounded by amazing shopping: Lovefield Vintage (37 N. Front St., 845.514.2720, lovefieldvintage.com) is next door, and the owner has an incredible eye. The guys at Hamilton & Adams (32 John St., 845.383.1039, hamiltonandadams.com) are great contemporary men’s clothes curators. Our new go-to for dinner is the restaurant at Hotel Kinsley (301 Wall St., 845.768.3620, hotelkinsley.com). They squish their burger with caramelized onions and cheese. Be sure to get it with béarnaise sauce! Stockade Tavern (313 Fair St., 845.514.2649, stockadetavern.com) is a perfect nightcap stop before home. The cocktail menu always changes, but there’s one bartender who still makes my favorite from their very first one—a Japanese, which is cognac, orgeat, and lemon, shaken.

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