Monday, October 12, 2020

Tivoli Journal: Defining Quaintness

photo (Francis Levy)

The town of Tivoli in upstate New York down the road from Red Hook and Rhinebeck gives new meaning to the word “quaint.” Actually quaintness is a labile concept, an architectural and historical sensibility that germinates partially out of geography and partly from the demographic that inhabits it. The brand of quaintness which Tivoli exudes is eccentric in and of itself. A water tower with the name of the town hangs like a deity over the chapel of the local church and across the street is the Watts de Peyster Fireman’s Hall. The red brick structure is part of the National Register of Historic Places and the Hudson River Historic District and it contributes another layer to the charm with the Dutch sounding name of the l9th century village president after whom it is named.These strata make themselves visible to those who cultivate a sensibility. On one side of the hall is a green and gold painted sign which reads “Village of Tivoli, Offices, Library.” On the other side, is a similarly painted sign which reads, “Tivoli Free Library” and below that “Justice Court.” Talk about multi-use. Stop off at Fortunes, the ice cream parlor whose mint ice cream exudes the taste of a real herb. As you leave town, there’s a steep incline past the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, a 153 acre dancer's retreat. From there the main thoroughfare, "quaintly" named Broadway, makes a steep incline to railroad tracks where on a recent Saturday an Amtrak train zoomed by, then giving way to a majestic view of the Hudson.

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