Rosendale & "The New York Times" - A Look At The Relationship Between A Small Upstate Town & A Big City Newspaper

Posted by Dylan Taft on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 at 10:39am.

"Terror Stricken" - The town of Rosendale NY has been capturing the attention of the New York Times for over 100 years. A quick search on the newspaper’s website turned up this harrowing headline from December 28th 1899(!)

        “The mountain near the Railroad Bridge at Rosendale last night caved in, causing a terrific noise and arousing the entire village from slumber. Some of the inhabitants were terror stricken…”

In recent years, the Times has focused on Rosendale’s appeal to New York City residents. 2010 produced some very positive articles that have highlighted Rosendale’s sense of community and appreciation for local history and the arts. In particular, the growing number of Brooklyn NY transplants (undoubtedly given a boost by an article last spring) have given Rosendale a certain coolness, or street cred that money can’t buy and that other up & coming towns would kill for. The link between New York City and Rosendale dates back to the town’s origins as a major producer of cement in the northeast, much of which was used to build New York City. Remnants of this industry can be found all over Rosendale from the extensive caves carved into the surrounding rock, to the ancient train trestle that looms over Main Street Rosendale NY. Over time the cement industry dried up, but Rosendale remained, never losing its scrappy image.  

The New Brooklyn & Beyond -
It is this image, described in the aformentioned article as, “the feel of a rough-and-tumble new frontier — not unlike Williamsburg or Red Hook a decade ago.”  that has distinguished Rosendale from the more manicured neighborhoods such as High Falls or Stone Ridge, which have long been havens for the well-to-do New Yorker seeking some country solace. Rosendale tends to attract quirky, yet resourceful individuals who value their community and shared individuality, which has made it ideal for the Brooklyn artists who are being priced out of their trendy hoods. As another Times article put it, “Rosendale’s got that exurban artsy thing going without much brand management.”

Hipster trends aside, Rosendale has garnered praise from the NY Times for its strong sense of community and commitment to its preservation and history. The recent grassroots campaign to save the iconic Rosendale Theatre produced a touching April 2010 article, in which the theatre is presented as a metaphor for the town itself,

“One of the best barometers of whether a small town has a pulse is the old downtown movie house. If it has been knocked down, boarded up or turned into a porno place, the omens are not good. If it is hanging in there, that’s promising. If it’s been refurbished or somehow morphed into a beloved institution, chances are the town is just fine. The Rosendale Theater is definitely behind Door No. 3.”

 The ongoing interest that the New York Times has in Rosendale is a testament to this little town’s character. Rosendale makes headlines because it is so refreshingly unique, and because its citizens take pride in their community and their history. All Rosendale needs is to just keep doing its own thing, and the articles and praise will keep on coming. As always, our website will keep you up to date on all things Rosendale.

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