A Brick Building in Beacon, 2007 vs. 2017

Beacon, New York

Speaking of photos I took of places that have undergone lots of changes, I was struck by the number of changes in Beacon, New York over the last decade or so.

I first visited Beacon in February 2005 on a class trip to the Dia museum. I was taking a Video Art class and as part of our curriculum, we were to visit the museum where many works by video artists—not just on video but in a variety of different media—are housed. Our class met on Thursdays, and instead of meeting at NYU, we met at Grand Central Terminal to take a Hudson line train to Beacon.

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It would have been a great trip, except that the museum is open Friday through Monday during the winter months. The museum was closed on this particular Thursday.

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I have returned to Beacon many times over the years, including a three-night trip in late July 2007. A lot of places that were around then are still there. These include the Bank Square Coffeehouse, Max’s on Main, and BJ’s Soul Food Restaurant. One place that stood largely unchanged was an abandoned brick warehouse on the corner of Main Street and East Main Street. (Yes, Beacon has three main streets: Main, East Main, and, yes, West Main).

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Last weekend, I returned to Beacon for a midsummer day trip. It was the first time I had been there since October 2015, and there were a few new places, or at least places I hadn’t noticed before. There was Draught Industries (a craft beer bar), Pandorica (a kind of “New Age” restaurant), and an expansive taproom for the Hudson Valley Brewery.

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And like before, there was that abandoned brick warehouse on the corner of Main and East Main Streets. But something was different. The warehouse wasn’t abandoned anymore. It was being renovated for conversion to residential lofts.

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As you can probably tell, a big reason why I wrote this post is to share two photos of the same place, ten years apart. So here they are side-by-side, allowing you to get the full effect.

A lot of what I’ve seen in Beacon is what some would call a “renaissance” and others would disparage as “gentrification.” Regardless of what you call it, this process is not a straight line. One place that had shown up over the years was The Hop. I first went in 2013 when it was a beer store with a few seats and a small kitchen.

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Over the years, the place had moved up the street, rented out two stores, and expanded to include a full bar and a sit-down restaurant. When I went there in July 2015, the place was busy, and business seemed to be great.

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So it came as a bit of a shock when I saw that The Hop was closed down.

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Apparently, the place abruptly closed last October without much explanation. All that remains is some of the furniture, a few memories, and couple of my photos.

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