Just up the road from the world famous art museum Dia: Beacon, sat Lucky's (formerly River Terrace), a closed restaurant with an often-chilly patio that occupied a prime location on the Hudson River. For two years it sat vacant, and for the past six years it housed a succession of floundering restaurant business models that failed and fled. The most action the property saw was when the parking lot was used for overflow parking from Rose Hill, the childcare center across the street, during its toddler graduation each spring. For prospective new restaurants, an advertised rent of $7,000/month to fill the space was extremely unattractive, and the former Lucky's sign, long forgotten and broken with exposed, burnt-out fluorescent bulbs, littered 9D as people drove into downtown Beacon.
A Business Relocation & Expansion
Enter Halvey Funeral Home, a third-generation Beacon business established in 1933, currently based at 24 Willow St. in a residential neighborhood. According to Patrick Halvey, the third-generation son who is taking over the family business, locating funeral homes in neighborhoods was historically preferred by grieving families and well-wishers in times past. Times have changed, and the trend of funeral homes being located in actual houses has shifted to their presence in more commercial areas. Halvey Funeral Home is now moving from Willow Street into its new home at 2 Beekman Street. It can be viewed from Route 9D, if one were turning down Beekman to go to Dia or Long Dock Park. The home at 24 Willow St. will be listed for sale in the residential market.
The prospect of locating a funeral home on riverfront real estate had some Beacon residents questioning if that was the best use of the property. But the building had been vacant and decrepit for two years. The climate for development and change in Beacon right now is ultra-sensitive; so many projects have green-lit their intentions simultaneously now that there is a population to buy what developers are building. This momentum puts the spotlight on all types of projects being built, as well as on each project's plans for parking, which would be necessary for people to take advantage of whatever business services fill those projects.
Improvements From Expansion
Beacon-based architect Aryeh Siegel was hired for the funeral home project to design a building that highlighted the riverfront views to friends and families who came to remember loved ones. Beacon's Planning Board recommended adding landscape design, to cushion the building. At Halvey Funeral Home's Willow Street location, parking was an issue as gatherings grew quite large. More spaces drew Halvey to the Beekman location. "Parking is the main advantage that attracted us to that site," says Joe Guarneri, construction manager of the project. "We have 36 marked spots in the new lot, with room for parking in back and front yielding another 12 spots, for a total of 48 [parking spots]."
Planning Board Member Jill Reynolds, who is also co-artist/founder at Ten Willow Studio, a glass design partnership specializing in architectural installations, had recommended that the funeral home extend the sidewalk. She pointed put during a Planning Board meeting that the sidewalk there is incomplete. Regular walkers experience the sidewalk's end, and either walk in the street or on the grass to complete their journey to 9D from the train station area. Halvey agreed to expand the sidewalk. "We are extending the Beekman Street sidewalk on the city-owned lot at the corner of Route 9D and Beekman," Joe confirmed.
New Life for Halvey Funeral Home
Opening soon, Halvey Funeral Home will be operating under the new name Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey LLC, under the ownership of third-generation Patrick Halvey. If, on Saturday November 11 from 11 am to 4 pm, you see white doves flying into the sky, know that they have been released during a celebratory, public ribbon-cutting for the new facility. If you hear music or see tents, it may remind you of the sounds emanating from the former restaurants, but it is part of the funeral home's festivities. To celebrate the new riverview patio during the ribbon-cutting party, there will be beer, spirits, soda, coffee, donuts, and food from Beacon merchants.
The new Riverview Funeral Home on Beekman Street in Beacon, just down the hill from Route 9D.
Photo Credits: Katie Hellmuth Martin
Editorial Note: Riverview Funeral Home by Halvey LLC has advertised on A Little Beacon Blog, but their ad campaign is separate from this article. Their promotion of their ribbon-cutting is a coincidence to our publishing of this milestone notice for this property in Beacon, which we have been researching for some time. We do appreciate their support!