Center for Spectrum Services, Ellenville

I visited the Center for Spectrum Services, at the invitation of Sandy Armstrong Brownsey.

Their website describes what they do as follows:

"For nearly forty years, Center for Spectrum Services has been improving the lives of people with autism. Since its inception, Spectrum Services has earned a national reputation for excellence in serving people across the autism spectrum."

As I expand my "Life in Ulster County" photos beyond just people working, taking pictures of these kids and the adults who care about them was a really cool opportunity. It was great to see the joy that the adults got from working with the kids. I also learned a bit about autism, as it's not something that I know much about. It was a great morning.

Update: I visited the Center again in 2019. Click here to see the photos from 2019.


Knox, in front of a whiteboard where Sandy, the Program Coordinator, had written down 1:64 to show me how many kids these days are being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

Dolores "Pee Wee" Allen

Dolores Allen has been working at The Roost in Stone Ride for a few years, and I enjoyed chatting with her while having lunch. She told me about how she's worked several bartending and waitressing jobs around Ulster County, including at The Postage Inn, The Atwood Inn, The Red Brick Tavern, and more. She moved to Ulster County when she was 5 years old, and has lived in Tillson, on Main Street in Rosendale, High Falls, and now she lives in Stone Ridge. 4 generations of her family all live in houses together down one driveway. 

When I posted this photo on Facebook, the likes and comments poured in, and it became clear how well she is loved by so many in the community.

Here is my favorite quote:

 "It always makes my day to see Delores. She is upbeat, beautiful and a true Stone Ridge treasure" - Mary Ellen Fleming

Sevan Melikyan - Wired Gallery

Sevan Melikyan runs The Wired Gallery in High Falls.  Besides running the gallery out of his home, he also curates many off-site events and locations.  I've been happy to get to know him over the past few years.

Below:  Just after setting up a group show and sale at Mohonk Mountain House

Below: Sevan prepares for art show at Mohonk

Below:  Sevan also enjoys playing drums, seen here with Talking Fire at Uncle Willy's in Kingston

Carl Cox - Photographer in Rosendale

Carl Cox moved to Rosendale and opened a photography studio in 2016.  I've visited a few times and enjoyed chatting with him, and caught a few fun photos.

It is a welcoming place

Carl shot free portraits of people for Frozendale.  I had my photo taken while taking a picture of Carl,

and there is also one below where Carl got in the picture and I did the shooting.

Above from left to right:  Jude Pernot, Megan Sperry, Kimberley Spignardo (plus Carl in the 2nd one)

The Donkey Park

Outside his home in Ulster Park, Steve Stiert runs "The Donkey Park".  The Donkey Park website describes the operation as "Dedicated to enriching the lives of donkeys and the communities with which they interact through education, research, and ambassadorial activities.  It also calls it the "Home of the Little Brays of Sunshine therapy donkeys".   I enjoyed my visit in October of 2016 and enjoyed talking with Steve.  

The Rosendale Pool

After the 2011 season, the Rosendale Pool closed.  It was a great asset to the community for many years, but it just was no longer fit for use.  Tara Burke, the recreation director, told me that the pool "Didn't owe us anything" and had been in use for longer than it was designed to last.  In 2012 I took the photos immediately below.

After a few years of hard work, grant writing, and tons of community support, 2 new pools were built and opened in 2016.

Recreation Director Tara Burke has a lot to be proud of

As of January 2017, the inside of the pool house building is still slated to be renovated.  I shot the below photo of it in 2015.

Bentley Potter

Bentley Potter is a life-long resident of Kingston, and has been contributing back to the community by running Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley.  Below is a photo of Bentley at home with his dog Otis, at his computer, doing his thing, working on the computer to help reunite pets with their owners.

Some more photos of Bentley doing other things besides helping people and their pets.

Tuning skis at Potter Brothers Ski Shops in Kingston, which his family owns

The Culinarians' Home, New Paltz

December 2016 -

The Culinarians' Home in New Paltz, New York was originally the home of the maitre'd, of the Waldorf Astoria, Oscar Tschirky.  It became a retirement community for chefs, and now for several years has been an assisted living facility, open to the general public.  Terry Newman, the administrator for the past 27 years, showed me around the inside of the house, and told me some of the history of the place, which I quite enjoyed.


Gladys Portalatin - The Bridal Cottage

December, 2016:

I visited Gladys Portalatin today, who runs The Bridal Cottage in the Kings Mall in Kingston, but is closing it down at the end of January.

When arriving to the mall, I could barely even find a parking spot, but the section of the mall that she is in was super quiet, and almost noone was walking by.

I opened the door and walked in, and she asked me what I wanted to do for the photos, so I told her that I didn't want her to do anything out of the ordinary. I just wanted to learn about her business and see what she does. So, she worked on this sewing beaded appliques onto a sheer net jacket, which she said she'd be doing whether I was there or not.

Her daughter Imani and I went to the same high school, so Gladys and I were discussing that, discussing a mutual friend Imani and I have, discussing the Kings Mall, and talking about some of the businesses that have come and gone through there. We talked about her business, and why she was closing down. She said she'd been doing it for a long time, and that it was time to "have some fun".

At one point, I realized I wasn't sure if she was working on a piece that was pre-made and that was she customizing, or whether she had made the whole thing, so I asked. She proudly said "I made this" and I spouted out "That's beautiful". I got a bit self conscious, because I don't say that about objects much, but it was true that it was beautiful, so I'm glad that I said it. At that point I knew I had to get a good up close photo of her working on the stitching.

Thank you Gladys for showing me a bit of your life, and best of luck on whatever you do in life next!


Keegan Ales - Kingston, New York

Keegan Ales is a brewery, bar, and restaurant in an old machine shop in Kingston, New York. Here are a few pics of some of the goings on, including Tommy Keegan hard at work, Bear the dog, and some workers putting wax on the Birthday Cake Stout bottles. 

Donna Cohn Viertel - BlueStone Press

This is Donna Cohn Viertel, who works at the BlueStone Press as their office manager/reporter. She also wanted me to let you know that she lives in Stone Ridge with her husband David, and two boys, Jake, 18 and Zach, 10.

In 2012, I was introduced to the folks at the BlueStone Press, a newspaper with a circulation of 3,000 covering the towns of Rochester, Marbletown, and my home town of Rosendale. They published an article about me returning to the area that I grew up in to do some photography. I have since kept in touch, and they have been great supporters of what I do, often publishing news articles about my art shows, events, and my donations to the Rosendale Food Pantry.

I paid Donna a brief visit at the newspaper office, in Stone Ridge and I enjoyed catching this nice moment of her posting something on what she calls their "Wall of Fame," covered with thank you notes and love notes from the community. I don't even think she knew I was taking her was a real moment.

I asked Donna if I could post the photo, and if she could tell me more about the BlueStone Press, and more of her story. Here is what she told me:

"The first BlueStone Press began in October of 1996 by Lori and Greg Childers of Lomontville. It was 50 cents, published once a month and covered the Towns of Rochester, Rosendale and Marbletown. What separated BSP from other papers is that when you opened it up, you read about your neighbors; whose child made the honor roll, won the game; who was opening up a new store, who beat the odds and who had passed away.

In June of 1998, as the popularity grew, BSP went to twice a month. In 2003, I joined the BlueStone Press, first as their office manager, and then gradually wearing many hats in reporting, sales, subscriptions and sharing the love of telling the stories and happenings of those in her community. I started the year my husband David and I had to give up running the restaurant, the Clove Cafe in High Falls. My mom also died that year, but when one door closes another opens, as I started working at BSP; little did I know it would become such an important part of my life. In March of 2007, more and more people began to read and depend on the BSP; its readership grew and its price went to 75 cents. The newspaper relied on its public for its information; when there was something to celebrate, to announce, to inform, to share, they called their hometown paper.
And now, in 2016, still run by the Childers, still at 75 cents and with its readership of 3,000 including almost 600 subscribers, BSP continues to bring together the community, its family, to take a moment to sit down, read and enjoy a little bit about the amazing lives of those around them."

The Eggs Nest, High Falls, New York

As of this posting on July 28, 2016, the Eggs Nest, after being in business for 43 years, is scheduled to close and be put up for sale after July 30.  I was able to go in before they opened and take several photos of this unique place.


Williams Lake Project

Williams Lake was a resort in Rosendale, New York.  It fell on hard times, and was bought in 2007.  Starting in late 2015 everything except for one building was demolished to make way for new development.  None of these photos were shot past 2015, so much may have changed since then.

Scenes shot over a couple of years prior to demolition

My last shot of the hotel before it was demolished (below)

The community came out for the "Mother of All Yard Sales" in 2014 and raised funds for the Rosendale Pool and Rosendale Food Pantry.  Cailin O'Neal and Jeff Boos pictured.

Scenes from the first day of the main building being demolished.  
Tim Allred and Brian Cafferty pictured.

A few more scenes of as demolition continued

It's a beautiful property, no matter what happens next.  In the first photo below, I love the cave that shows some of the industrial history of the property.  The second photo below shows the only building that will remain from the old resort, with the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail passing through.

The Lace Mill, Kingston, New York

Guy Kempe of RUPCO showed me around The Lace Mill in Kingston while it was being renovated from an old abandoned lace curtain factory into housing.  I hope to have some photos of the completed building in the future.

The outside during renovation in 2015

The outside during renovation in 2015

The outside in 2012 long before I had any clue it would be renovated

The outside in 2012 long before I had any clue it would be renovated

Wallkill Valley Land Trust

There is no way that I can cover everything that the Wallkill Valley Land Trust does, but I do have some photos of a few of the people and places involved. 

The transition of the Rosendale Trestle into a full pedestrian walkway.

Tom Nyquist honored at 2015 Conservation Award Ceremony

More photos of the Rosendale Trestle, Joppenbergh Mountain, and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, all owned or managed
by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust

Land Trust Executive Director Christine Deboer is also the President of For Paws of Ulster County, which runs the Ulster County Dog Park.  Her dogs love it, particularly Coco, pictured here with Christine.