It’s the 3rd Wednesday in January 2011; a cold, blustery night at 4:30 p.m. Ten friends from different boroughs of NYC are meeting up at Grand Central Station to take the 4:45 train that arrives in Cold Spring just before 6 p.m. Four of them are staying at the Pig Hill Inn later that night. The rest are returning to the city. They’ve designated the second train car from the front to a few more friends who are joining them at around 5:30 p.m. at the Croton-Harmon station.
Another group of friends unrelated to these are doing the same but they are coming down from Poughkeepsie and have friends joining them at the Beacon station. In fact, many others unrelated to these have boarded the train to Cold Spring from points North and South on Metro-North. Some are tourists visiting NYC from all over the world. Some are just random people from the region, but they all share a few things in common with each other – – they’re all bound for Cold Spring on this blustery winter night and they all share a love for shopping in a beautiful setting, meeting interesting people, great food and they love all forms of live music, arts and entertainment.
But they also have another thing in common: each has a brochure with them that offers great discounts from dozens of participating Cold Spring venues that are made available to each of them on the 3rd Wednesday of every month as long as they show the merchants their Metro- North train ticket receipt, punched multi ticket, or monthly pass. They understand that their train ticket has value in Cold Spring. As hundreds arrive in Cold Spring at different times they make their way to the trolley which makes stops up and down Main Street throughout the night at all venues listed on the brochure. The town is lit up like a holiday tree. Music is in the air everywhere. There’s a folk singer in the window at the Foundry Cafe; Cathryn’s has a soft jazz quartet playing in the lounge; Le Bouchon has a string quartet; Hudson Valley Outfitters has a trio of “World Music” artists and serves hot cider to tourists enjoying the sounds of Mountain Dulcimers and hand percussion instruments that are also available for sale.
All the restaurants are filled and the streets look like a typical Saturday in July. Many of the antique shops now specialize in music and performing arts antiquities and artifacts. There’s a new vintage guitar shop in town which attracts people from all over the world. There’s a new art gallery with a “spoken word” poet debuting his/her latest writing. And the Cold Spring Chapel has an interfaith service featuring music and singing.
There’s a “Pre-Listening Room” performance at Go Go Pops by one of the singer/songwriters scheduled to also perform later that night where attendees will be part of the studio audience for the Listening Room Show which is broadcast “live” around the world on internet radio and television. The Listening Room is over at 9:30 PM but the night of excitement in Cold Spring is just beginning. Like racing fans after a drag race want to “rev their engines”, artists and music enthusiasts want MORE after experiencing inspiring performances, and Cold Spring has much more to offer.
There’s a Post-Listening Room performance by one of the artists at McGuire’s, and the place is jammed. The Silver Spoon has their Wednesday Night Country Night where people can “front the band” like “live” karaoke. Whistling Willie’ s now famous Open-Mic, has a line and a waiting list which goes until midnight because inspired artists and music enthusiasts want to keep “revving” their musically creative engines.
There’s something for every one. The Hudson House is filled with overnight guests and has included a late night outside kiosk that serves hot rum punch, hot chocolate, coffee and warm strudels. The Gazebo and dock is filled with people, laughter and romance under a sparkling with stars winter sky, as people re-count the memories of this magical Wednesday night in Cold Spring.
The night begins to come to a close. Some make their way to local “bed and breakfasts” to lodge for the night. Some make their way to the train to return home. The streets are clean. The shops and restaurants have prospered. All subsequent days and nights in Cold Spring begin to prosper because NEW people begin sharing their amazing experience here with those they love.
This little fantasy represents just one night but there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a reality every night in Cold Spring.