Since the Christmas lights are now an issue, it is a perfect time to give the town a new look with low voltage string lights, which could decorate every tree and building with less electrical usage.
These lights could stay on all winter to make the town more appealing during the darkest days, and then maybe we could figure out some way to draw visitors during the winter so that the businesses don’t suffer so much. Ice sculpture contests come to mind – our local galleries could coordinate that. We could institute a nighttime shopping experience before Christmas, where businesses could stay open on a Saturday night – Metro-North would be likely to help us promote this. Other ideas are a food festival with tastings at every restaurant, art in all the Main Street windows – Cold Spring Arts could organize that.
We have to remember how close we are to New York City and how bored everyone gets in the dead of winter. We should make ourselves into a winter destination with as many festivities as possible.
Cali, I’m not sure if I know you, but as one of the Village merchants, I’d like to thank you for your thoughtful letter about the lights and shopping. You are 100 percent correct that proper and attractive lighting on Main Street could make a huge difference, not just in winter but all year round. Imagine how charming it would be to have all the trees decorated with tiny “fairy” lights, or even just to replace the old light fixtures and put new fixtures on the empty electric poles up and down Main Street.
I am a relative newcomer, but I’ve heard about this issue from business owners who’ve been here for many, many years, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why this hasn’t been done already — it’s really a no-brainer. We have some amazing shops and restaurants that would not be out of place in Manhattan, yet we are all struggling to attract visitors and shoppers from NYC and elsewhere. All of us are ready, willing and able to stay open after dark if we thought there would be people on the streets, but it is just too dark and unappealing. Mayor Falloon has said he wants to work with us to spruce things up and help the businesses. I hope he will get behind this effort.
Brilliant idea, Cali! I was thinking the same myself. So glad you took the time to write and suggest it.