The Alleys of Hudson
The alleys of Hudson are at their loveliest in the magical hour of gathering sunset and advancing dusk, when the sky over the mountains glows orange-red and purple, with gilt-edged clouds whipped high across the valley. In the fall, those skies illuminate an alley wilderness of vine and bramble and weathered wood and handmade brick; garbage and garden alike are transfigured by the light into radiant still lifes of a time-warped dreamscape. The random blocks – long jumbles of carriage houses and sagging garages, combined with the rear elevations of buildings that show their more imposing faces to the wider streets, offer a mysterious and bewitching counterpoint to the streets a block away on either side.
And if you’re very fortunate, you may be in Hudson for a spectacular, apocalyptic sunset that blazes rather than glows, with oranges and pinks and reds and yellows and royal purples that aren’t confined to the mountain ridges…a wild sky, soaring up and over the entire arc of heaven, with clouds shape-shifting into leaping dolphins and rearing horses with their heads flung back, manes and tails rippling in winds unknown on earth.
The alleys are for wandering rather than touring. Take your time, and notice details. The original buildings may not be around much longer. For even in Partition and Cherry Alleys, both of which are included in the National Register of Historic Places’ designation report, the local Historic District Commission has been less than willing to protect them from demolition.
The photo galleries below provide a sense of each alley’s character, varying dependent on the wealth of the original owners on a given street, the dates the alley buildings were constructed, and whether the main buildings were residential or commercial. Yet all the alleys display a quirky and enchanting procession of varied building styles and materials, reflecting the individuality of those who built and used the structures that survive.