It’s a really good time to move to Beacon. I mean, it’s always a good time to move to Beacon, people have done it time and again no matter what the month. But now is good because the market has opened up a bit. Earlier this year, fewer houses were on the market, and now there are quite a few. More and more people are getting involved with city regulations and how taxes work, so there is a revived look at how our taxes are calculated. Like the Assessment Rate or the city’s Sales Tax that currently goes to Dutchess County to be managed (this decision up for renewal in 2024, so look for fresh debate).
Renovations around town keep rolling, either by the new homeowners or by flippers, so pretty much anywhere you look in Beacon, a house is getting a makeover. And then there are the apartments that are going to be finished soon. There are a lot of options (and emotional adjustments, for those of us not expecting to see so many new buildings go up, but that’s a different blog post, and one that I personally have faith will work out as different voices contribute at City Council, Zoning and Planning Board meetings to have their view heard).
When we moved to Beacon from NYC, it was during the time of President Obama when he lifted the tax penalty on draining your IRA for anything but retirement. He made it tax penalty-free to use your IRA to buy a home. We kicked our apartment/house search into high gear so that we could use the tax advantage, and visited a lot of NYC apartments, then tested other train towns, and dug our heels into Beacon.
We visited all sorts of houses in Beacon, mostly with scary basements and no closets. After touring one house that had been on the market for 4 days and had the B-Dry system, which was a $10K investment that made the basement dry, we made our offer. While the sellers considered it, we stumbled hungrily into Poppy’s, which is now MOD, for a much-needed burger to process what was about to happen.
The night we moved - because it was nighttime after the movers packed all of our boxes that day in NYC; otherwise we would have been buried in boxes in our tiny apartment - we drove up to Beacon in the moving truck.
My most happy time was sitting in the front seat of the moving truck, driving past the wide open spaces on 9D that were actually Garrison homes with large, rolling fields for yards. Those blended into Cold Spring, which disappeared into the tunnel of Breakneck Ridge, until we got to the other side of the ridge and the stars emerged in the sky again.
It was just so black. The sky. The air. And open. When we pulled up to our house, we got out of the truck and fumbled for our new keys to the house. The air was cold and crisp. On the sidewalk across the street from our house, on the other side of a chain-link fence, I heard rustling. My dog was still alive then, so I was used to perking my ears up to hear if outside sounds were human or raccoon. Human. I’d later learn it was my neighbor, who happened to be letting out their dog at that hour, and happens to know everything that is going on at all times. (This is why dog-walking is useful!)
As the movers moved in, my dog was investigating our new front yard within our own new-for-us old chain-link fence, as I stood on the front porch. Again the sky was black with stars. The black enveloped me. The artist Stanley Lindwasser just described it perfectly at his art opening - the openness that is density. That’s what he loves about his new home here in Beacon after moving here from Hoboken, N.J.: the density. And that’s what I loved. I never wanted to lose that feeling of being enveloped by the dark on my front porch, seeing the stars, and feeling so lucky that this space would be what grounded us.
The Great Blizzard of 2010
A few days later, The Great Blizzard of 2010 hit, and we lost power for three days. We are not campers in the wilderness. In our adulting lives, we grew up in NYC with supers who fixed our kitchen sinks or hung things. We didn’t know how to light our gas stove in the event of a power outage. The next day, our new neighbors, the ones with the late-night dog walking, invited us over for a warm meal and a kerosene heater. They bickered about using the kerosene heater for a bit while I silently prayed they would decide to keep using it because it was just so warm. They also told us how to light the gas stove. Game changer.
So that’s when we fell in love with Beacon. In the winter. While the power was out. It brought us together with our neighbors, and introduced us to the concept of community, something which New York City has in a different way, but not the same way that a small city-town can produce.
What is your moving-in or moving-back story? Or if you moved here 20 or 50 years ago, share that story too!