Dallas Hot Wieners, Kingston

I enjoyed my visit to Dallas Hot Wieners in uptown Kingston, New York. I've eaten there several times, and it's always fast, reasonably priced, and delicious. You can't go wrong!

As of this posting in 2017, it's been in business for over 87 years.  Pretty impressive.

The people there were so nice, and I really enjoyed talking with them. And I enjoyed getting another chance to eat one of their hot dogs.  

It was the happiest place I'd been to in a while.


Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

 On Lucas Avenue in High Falls, on the former site Camp Epworth, you will find The Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.  From their mission page on their website, they indicate they they give shelter to "animals who have been rescued from cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment."

I paid them a visit to take some photos and learn more about what they do.  I was impressed by the care given to the animals, by passionate people, and the way that it is set up for education of the public.  Their website is impressive as well, not only giving bios of all of the animals and the staff, but also teaching people about veganism and what the animal farming industry involves.  While not a vegan myself, I found their enthusiasm for their ideals inspiring.

Without further ado, here are some photos.



Andy the Pig, and Hervé Breuil, the Animal Caregiver

Hervé Breuil and Elvis the Cow

Hervé Breuil and Elvis the Cow

Clyde the Chicken enjoys lunch with Sydney, an intern (right) and her friend

Fawn the Cow

Fawn the Cow

Closeup of Dolly the Llama

Zephyr Float Spa - Kingston

In an effort to turn my lens on some of the newer, modern things going on in Ulster County, I decided to visit Zephyr Float Spa.  

My initial plan was just to learn about what "Floating" is and to take a few photos of it all.  I made sure to know as little as possible about it before I visited.

It is on the sort of street that I've driven on in Kingston countless times in my life, and never paid attention to.

I had been told that Olga was the name of the owner, and would like to be there for my visit.  

Only after I had scheduled it did I find out that it was Olga Schoonmaker of Tillson, who I've known a bit through my photography goings on for a few years. 

Turns out Olga's husband Ryan co-owns it with her, and he's not always there, but was that day, which was great, as he is someone I've talked with before and we had some funny memories of being vendors next to each-other at the Rosendale Street Festival.  

I enjoyed sitting and chatting with them about various things.  One thing that Olga did was tell me more about what "floating" is.  Another term for it is going into a "sensory deprivation" chamber.  You float in a chamber or 10 inches of water and 1000 pounds of epsom salt, with no light or sound, and the idea is that it frees up your mind to not have to focus on any external stimuli...not even the process of staying balanced, sitting in a chair, etc.

Olga decided to check the schedule of appointments, and offered for me to try a float service.  I had to check this out!  Below is part of Olga's demonstration of the process, and ways to do it comfortably.

Then I was left on my own.

No bathing suits or anything like that allowed in the tank.  Gotta shower first too.

Time to open the tank door and head on in for the next hour of my life.

Close the door, turn off the light...from here on out it's total darkness. (image below simulated)



It was quite an interesting experience.  I think I will try it again some time.  Afterwards I took a few more pics of the inside of the spa, and some of Olga and Ryan.

Toller Alloway - Tillson


January 16, 2017

Toller Alloway was born and raised in Tillson, New York, pretty close to the house that I grew up in.  I never knew him or his family back then though.  I met his mother a few years ago, and she told me about her son Toller, who didn't live in the area any more.  I recently found out that he moved back to his parents' house in Tillson, and I knew he had worked in food professionally, so I approached him to ask if he'd like to be featured in my Life in Ulster County series.

I met him at the house today, and we enjoyed talking about mutual friends and acquaintances, and all things Tillson.  He also told me about his love of cooking, and how he went to culinary school in Vermont, and that's where he'd been living for several years before coming back to Tillson.   He showed me some of the jewelry he's been making and selling, and I just had to get a photo of his tattoos on his fingers.


At some point, the conversation took a more serious turn, and Toller told me about how he is a drug addict who is in recovery.  At 28 years old, he is 164 days sober after spending 10 years using "anything he could get his hands on".  His best friend died from drug use, and the tattoo on his neck is in honor of that friend.  He realized in Vermont that he couldn't live like that any more, and asked his parents if he could come home, and they have welcomed him back and given him a supportive environment.

He is currently trying to get more customers for his jewelry, and looking at getting into private chef work, while also working for his mother's landscaping business.  He definitely loves working with his hands.  

Even though I don't know him well, I was happy to hear about what he is doing to get control of his life.  I'm also very impressed by the courage that he has to let me share his story.  I am looking forward to keeping in touch with him and seeing where his pursuits lead him.   

Mark Marshall - Kingston

January 2017

I've read for a few years now about how Ulster County has had a huge influx of people moving up from New York City, and I know that there has been a concerted effort at the county level to encourage people to move away from New York City, particularly those who have the ability to work from home.   In fact, I know people involved in that campaign, including Raleigh Green, who I have photographed.  It's been nice to start meeting some of the people who have made the move, including Mark Marshall.  

Mark welcomed me into his abode and workspace in Kingston a few days ago.  He is in a band called Mister Kick, but he spends much of his time doing graphic design work in his home office, and he also showed me how he can make music with different instruments just using a keyboard hooked up to computer software.  It was really interesting.  I enjoyed chatting with him, and look forward to seeing him around again soon.


Maureen Newman - Floral Poetry

Maureen Newman owned Floral Poetry Florist in Stone Ridge, New York.  I took these photos in November of 2016, and as of me writing this in January or 2017, she has closed the store.  When I visited her to take the photos she told me she was closing.  

I visited her today for about 45 minutes, and I enjoyed learning more about her and her love of working with flowers. We also had some fun talking about Tillson, where she lives, and where I grew up. Turns out Maureen and her husband and kids lived a few blocks away from my family, but I never knew her then.

She talked about how she like using negative space in her flower arrangements, and she feels like she can make different flowers rhyme, thus the name "Floral Poetry". I enjoyed learning a bit about what she does.

I wasn't sure if I had gotten a photo I liked that captured what she does, but it was time for me to move on with my day, so I told her I was leaving. She asked me if she could give me some flowers, and I said "Sure!" and she started grabbing flowers out of the cooler. Little did I know that she was making a full bouquet for me. I started snapping away as she made the bouquet, as I felt like I was capturing the essence of what she does and what makes her happy. 




Just For You Restaurant - Kingston

January 13 - 2017

Ines Santos-Perez is the owner of Just For You restaurant, on Broadway in Kingston.  Leonides “Leo” Santos Agustin is the co-owner and chef.  They welcomed me before opening the restaurant for today, so that I could include them in my Life In Ulster County photo series.  Leo let me photograph him while he prepared a dish that is traditional in the Oaxaca area of Mexico, where he grew up, and that is the cuisine that they specialize in.  Then he kindly served me the dish to eat, and we sat down and talked further, and soon after, Ines came in to sit down with Mexican hot chocolate and bread to dip it in.  

Our conversation ranged from Ulster County, where Leo has been for about 20 years, to the differences between Americanized "Mexican Food" and authentic Mexican food.  For example, Leo said that you don't find nachos where he is from!  

We also talked a bit about the fact that Leo is currently facing deportation.  He gained attention this week after speaking about his situation at a meeting at Kingston City Hall in which the Common Council declared Kingston a "Sanctuary City".  After I heard about that I contacted the restaurant to see if they'd be interested in being part of this series.

I don't know what will happen to the business if he gets deported, so I was happy to meet them, have a conversation, and capture this slice of Ulster County while I could.

Frank Marquette - turns Edgar Allan Poe

Frank Marquette was born and raised in Kingston, but moved away from Ulster County for almost 30 years.  He returned in the mid-2000s, and now lives in Rosendale, and is a professional entertainer.  One of his operations is Theatre on the Road and he frequently dresses as Edgar Allan Poe.  He met me at The Rosendale Theatre to show me his transformation to his Poe character, which based on the time tags on my photos, only took 9 minutes!

The Kelder Family - Saugerties

In December of 2016, I visited the Kelder family in Saugerties, New York. Ryan Kelder died in 2015 from a progressive and deadly drug addiction. His parents, Carole and Vince, and his sister, Randi, are working hard to help remove the stigma from drug addiction. They told me their story, and we talked about ways that I can use my photography skills and my audience to help their cause. We have some ideas and we are all looking forward to working together. It's a serious topic, but they are doing what they can to smile through it, which is great.

You can check out their Facebook page at Raising Your Awareness about Narcotics. Thank you.

Uncle Willy

William J. Guldy Jr. was born and raised in Kingston, New York. He's made a name for himself as "Uncle Willy" though. I reached out and set up some time to talk with him at the bar aptly named Uncle Willy's in the fall of 2016, so that I could take a couple of photos that I might put in my book some day. I figured he'd be up for it, as he's certainly never been known to be camera shy. 

I definitely didn't want to do anything overly posed, so we just sat at the bar, had a couple of beers, and chatted. He told me all sorts of stories of running a bar called The Well in Rosendale, him starting the Rosendale Street Festival, him being the unofficial mascot of the New York Yankees (and being denied when he attempted to become the official mascot) and so much more. It's tough to get a good photo of someone when they're talking, but I showed him the photo above and he liked it. There's an air of fun about him, and I think this showed how much he enjoyed telling me some stories. I feel like I learned a little but, and had some good laughs. Thanks Willy!

Below is a photo I shot at the Rosendale Street Festival in 2013