Beacon Locals Casting Call for TV Series 'Big Dogs'

Choice Films & Theatricals is currently seeking extras for the upcoming TV series production of  BIG DOGS! All roles are paid, meals will provided, and you will even get an IMDB credit!  They are currently in production and will be shooting for the next four months in and around Newburgh and Manhattan.  They are looking for many many local people to appear as background in the series for immediate hire.  There will be shooting in Beacon this Thursday and in Newburgh on Friday, don't delay!

Anyone interested in becoming an extra should email with a headshot (does not have to be a professional headshot) and your contact information.

Flag Day Celebrated in Beacon at Elks Lodge Second Sunday at 2pm

Poster commemorating the 140th Flag Day on June 14, 1917. Photo Credit: Wikipedia Page for Flag Day.

Poster commemorating the 140th Flag Day on June 14, 1917.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Page for Flag Day.

Flag Day Event at Elks Lodge
Location: 900 Wolcott Ave.
Time: 2 pm
Questions? Call the Elks Lodge: (845) 831-9746

In New York State, the Second Sunday in June has strong patriotic significance: It is the state-recognized holiday of Flag Day. Locally, it is one of the most important days for the Elks Lodge, as one of its most famed members, Harry S. Truman, was the president when National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. The Elks Lodge at 900 Wolcott Ave. is commemorating the day by conducting the Elks Ritual on the history of the nation's flag. A coalition will be held immediately following the event. The Boy Scout Troop #41 and the Newburgh Free Academy high school Air Force ROTC will present the colors.

History of Flag Day

The flag was initially adopted on June 14, 1777, by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day, followed by the Act of Congress during Truman's presidency. While the day is not a federal holiday, New York State did designate it as a state holiday to be recognized on the Second Sunday of June.

Carl Oken, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler of the Mid Hudson Elks Club, is looking forward to the event and says: "It's an event you should not miss, and is a great education for our children."

Free Motorcyclepedia Museum Pass Now Available from Howland Public Library to Borrow/Check Out

Grab your library card and rev up those engines! The Howland Public Library has announced that patrons can now visit the Motorcyclopedia Museum in Newburgh for free when you check out the museum pass at the library. 

The museum, which opened in 2011, includes 85,000 square feet of exhibit space with more than 500 motorcycles, dating from 1897 to the present. Exhibits also include photographs, posters, memorabilia, machinery and all things related to bikes.

Here are the details for the museum pass: 

  • The pass is good for free regular admission for two adults, or one adult and one child. (Children under 3 years of age are free.)
  • The pass can be checked out by an adult (18 or older) in possession of a library card in good standing with Beacon as the home library.
  • The pass must be returned to the Howland Public Library’s front desk before closing time on the same day it was checked out. If borrowed on Saturday or Sunday, the pass may be returned the following day.

The Motorcyclepedia Museum is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Call the Howland Library with questions: (845) 831-1134

Exhibit of the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry Now Open - But First, Did You Take the Ferry Yet?

“This Way to the Ferry” Exhibit
Sundays 1-4 pm, through Dec. 31, 2016
$5 suggested donation
The Crawford House
189 Montgomery Street, Newburgh

Many locals are likely aware of the cute blue and white ferry that chugs back and forth between Beacon and Newburgh multiple times each weekday. It's the official Newburgh-Beacon Ferry that roared back to life in 2005 after being taken out of the water when the Newburgh-Beacon bridge was built, and it is in the spotlight right now at the Newburgh Historical Society, who has the ferry's history on display at their headquarters at The Crawford House.

The Newburgh-Beacon Ferry as it approaches the Beacon dock from Newburgh. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Most of the ferry riders are commuters from the west side of the Hudson River who have opted out of driving to New York City. Instead of driving over the bridge and trying to snag a coveted parking spot at the Beacon Metro-North train station, they hop on the ferry and arrive on the Beacon side, just steps from the local and express trains that will whisk them into New York City for work.

Any seat on the ferry has a view. The upper deck will get you unobstructed views of rolling hills and mountains. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Still, savvy adventure-seekers are also discovering that the quick river jaunt (it’s about six to eight minutes) makes for a fun and affordable outing. Whether it’s a romantic rendezvous, capped off with cocktails on the Newburgh waterfront, or just a breezy boat ride with the kids, taking the ferry is a cool way to explore the region. 

The boarding dock on the Newburgh side.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A one-way fare for an adult is an easy $1.75, and kids under 5 ride for free. Children ages 6 to 11 as well as seniors 62 and older are only $1. The last trip from Newburgh to Beacon is around 8:20pm (always check the train schedule), so plan for an early night if hitting the Newburgh waterfront.

A ferrygoer, verifying the last ferry time, making sure to not miss the boat.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Newburgh-Beacon Ferry runs on the weekdays only, so this is one trip you want to plan during the week. Keep in mind, however, that the ferry schedule is related to the peak-train schedule. The last ferry of the morning/day departs Newburgh at 8:04am, and then pauses for the day. The ferry starts up again with a departure out of Beacon at 5:42pm, and the last ferry returning from Newburgh at 8:24pm. Perhaps if the NY Waterway knew that more passengers wanted to ride the ferry during the day, they would expand their schedule (let them know here). Can you imagine, avoiding all of that bridge traffic to get to Newburgh, and enjoying an easy, breezy ride on the water for six minutes of relaxation? Don't believe me? Watch this video footage from our investigation (and wave to the captain):

“Whenever somebody comes to visit, the first thing that I do is take them down to the ferry,” says Mary McTamaney, the Newburgh City historian. “People are always amazed at how beautiful it is here and they get to see the scope of the river and Newburgh, perched up on the hill.”

The current ferry began service in October 2005, mainly to deal with the overcrowding at the Beacon train station parking lot. But the Newburgh-Beacon ferry actually has a long and storied history as one of the first, and longest-lasting, ferry routes in the country. First established with a charter from King George II in 1743, ferry service continued for 220 years until 1963, when the completion of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge made the ferry obsolete. ... Or so people thought.

Now, the new exhibit at the Crawford House Historical Museum in Newburgh uses photos, paintings, documents, videos, and other memorabilia to bring to life the story of the ferries that were such an integral part of transforming both Newburgh and Beacon into bustling industrial hubs.

What You'll Find at the Exhibit

The one-room exhibit, which is jointly sponsored by the Historical Society of the Newburgh Bay and the Highlands as well as the Beacon Historical Society, covers a lot of ground. It begins with the early days when the first ferries were powered by oars and then horses. Even George Washington and his troops rode the ferries frequently during the War of Independence!

But the bulk of the exhibit focuses on the early part of the 20th century, with intriguing photos of the three main ferry boats of this era: the Orange, the Dutchess, and the Beacon, all of which could carry up to 30 cars (the current ferry only transports people).

Photo Credit: NewburGh historical Society

The Dutchess ferry, carrying cars
Photo Credit: NewburGh historical Society

By the early part of the 20th century, both Newburgh and Beacon had bustling waterfronts. Situated halfway between New York City and Albany, Newburgh was a transportation hub on the river and had dozens of waterside factories producing everything from bricks to lawnmowers to ships. Both the Dutchess and the Orange were built in a Newburgh shipyard.  Workers crisscrossed the river via the ferries constantly — either to work in Newburgh or in one of the many Beacon factories that produced hats, bricks, and other wares.

The Ferry at Fishkill Landing. Photo Credit: Newburgh historical Society

The ferry was also a popular river crossing for travelers in the Northeast, as well a social outlet for people of all ages. “Teenagers, families, everybody loved to ride the ferry,” says McTamaney.

The boarding dock today near Long Dock on the Beacon side. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The boarding dock today near Long Dock on the Beacon side.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The rose-lined walking path to the boarding dock on the Newburgh side.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The exhibit highlights lots of fun facts. When the Dutchess made its maiden voyage in 1910, there were separate entrances for men and women. Fares in 1953? Car: 60 cents. Large truck: $2.50. Pedestrians, bikes, baby carriage: 15 cents. By the 1950s, the ferries were running 24 hours a day, and one man recalls spending the entire night in the middle of the river when the Orange became encased in ice: “The boat departed the Newburgh slip at 11:30 pm … Five minutes later and close to mid-stream we really slammed into something which gave us a sudden jolt. We couldn’t see too well but the ice seemed to have piled up almost level with some of the windows.”  

Photo Credit: Newburgh Historical Society

Photo Credit: Newburgh Historical Society

Several photos and newspaper articles highlight the historic last day of ferry service: November 3, 1963 — one day after the opening of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge. The Dutchess and the Orange famously saluted each other mid-river on their final run. Captain William Atkins had been a ferry pilot for 41 years and recalls his last trip: “Twenty cars and a handful of passengers, many intent only on getting to Beacon, rode the Dutchess. The ferry’s smoke blew toward the Dutchess County shore. The slip rumbled as the engines started and the boat’s whistle sent up a forlorn goodbye to Newburgh.” The closure of the ferry is reminiscent of how The Little Red Lighthouse felt when the bridge got built above it, but this fear of becoming obsolete became a reality for decades. The resurgence of the ferry since 2005 has corrected that, thanks to the demand from commuters, and perhaps now people seeking an easier way to get to Newburgh than by car. Who knows, maybe with enough requests it will open on the weekend, or even return to running 24 hours a day!

In addition to the exhibit, the Crawford House itself is a must-see. This grand 1830 Neoclassical home simply oozes with historic (albeit musty) charm, featuring stunning river views and an impressive collection of Hudson River School paintings. It was built for Captain David Crawford, a maritime entrepreneur, who played a key role in turning Newburgh into a major shipping and industrial city. Architectural highlights include 40-foot iconic columns, front and rear Palladian windows, and exquisite woodcarvings throughout. In 1958, the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands purchased the house to prevent its demolition for a planned parking lot.

One kink in the perfect planning of going to the ferry exhibit: Visitors cannot take the ferry itself there, as the ferry only runs on weekdays, and this exhibit is open on Sundays from 1 to 4pm until December 31, 2016.


Olivia Abel

Olivia Abel is a longtime magazine editor and writer. Most recently, she spent a decade as the Editor in Chief of Hudson Valley Magazine, but she’s also written for People, The New York Times and many other publications. Olivia loves living in a town that has its very own eponymous mountain and although she never lived up to her public claim that she would climb said mountain every morning before work, she still loves exploring from one side of Beacon to the other. She is obsessed with local history and we’re happy that she’s hung up her editor’s hat (for now) and is writing for us.