Decades after urban renewal destroyed the Newburgh waterfront, people still mourn the buildings that were lost, particularly the Palatine Hotel. Items that once belonged to the hotel are quite special to Newburghers. The following piece written by Robert Blake discusses his love for a chair once used in the model hotel of the Hudson Valley.
The Return of the Chair
The Palatine Hotel once stood just three blocks from my house. When I was a child, we had a neighbor at our summer home up in the Shawangunk mountains. He was an avid auction goer. One of his biggest coups was buying many things at the auction of the contents of the Palatine Hotel. He gave us some cutlery marked “Palatine”, which I can no longer find, and a mirror and a chair. He had bought rolls of carpeting, and beds and dressers, truckloads of things. I still have the mirror and the chair. I reupholstered the chair when I was a teenager, my first attempt at any such work. Now, after 40+ years, it needed renewal and I had it redone professionally. The original upholstery was a dark brown with small floral motifs. It had a lumpy seat and was soiled. This is why I redid it. When I go to Brick Street Deli for my Saturday breakfast most weekends, I look down Third Street to where it now ends at Grand Street. I wonder how many know that this was once a street that ran down to the waterfront. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect back then it was a two-way street as well. The Palatine stood on the southeast corner of Third and Grand. My upper windows would have afforded a fine view of the upper stories of the Palatine, whereas now the low-slung library on the site is not visible. I can see the roof of the Dutch Reformed Church, which was directly to the north of the lost hotel. The return of this chair to Newburgh after an absence of almost 50 years, to just three blocks away from where it had lived for a long time, is a good thing.
Photo via The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands