Thursday, September 15, 2016

10+ Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Peekskill, New York

By Jacquelin Carnegie 
Many Hudson Valley river towns have become so hip, they're almost unrecognizable. But so far, Peekskill has managed to remain low-key, while becoming a haven for artists and expanding its cultural scene. Much of this unpretentious renaissance is due to the presence of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA), founded by the cutting-edge, art collectors Livia and Marc Straus, who are committed to the enrichment of the multi-cultural Peekskill community. Back in 1861, a forward-thinking, President-elect Abraham Lincoln stopped here; it's time to follow his lead.
ARTSY PEEKSKILL
Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (HVCCA)
1701 Main St; Tel: 914/788-0100; www.hvcca.org
Laura Kimpton, HVCCA
(photo: Sarah Connors)
Livia Straus and her husband Marc put the groove in groovy. These avant-garde, ahead-of-the-curve collectors opened this not-for-profit arts center in 2004. In addition to presenting innovative and unconventional exhibits of contemporary art, the center offers a wide range of community outreach and educational programming for local students and adults.
Peekskill Project: HVCCA is also the primary sponsor of the Peekskill Project, an annual, citywide exhibition of site-specific artwork.
Peekskill Public Art Trail: Throughout the downtown area and along the stunning Riverfront Green Park there's a great sculpture trail with artwork from past Peekskill Projects and pieces commissioned by the city of Peekskill. Download a map and go for a stroll.
Peekskill Arts Alliance - Open Studios (www.peekskillartists.org): Every June, the PAA organizes an artists' open studio weekend, highlighting local artists and galleries. Over 200 artists reside in Peekskill.
The Hat Factory (1000 No. Division St; peekskillhatfactory.com): There's a gallery space and for ceramic lovers, the Peekskill Clay Studios.

GREAT ENTERTAINMENT
The BeanRunner Cafe (201 So. Division St; Tel: 914/737-1701; www.beanrunnercafe.com)
Lisa Gutkin
 - This lovely cafe in downtown Peekskill has great live music every Friday and Saturday night--jazz, blues, reggae, soca, and singer/songwriters (call to reserve seats in advance). If you're lucky, you might get to hear Lisa Gutkin, whose family has spent summers in the area for five generations.
12 Grapes (12 No. Division St; Tel: 914/737-6624; www.12grapes.com) - 
Great eclectic menu and wine bar with live music Wed-Sun, featuring jazz, blues, R&B, soul, rock, swing, and singer/songwriters.
The Paramount Hudson Valley (1008 Brown St; http://bit.ly/2czSYhH) - This restored 1930’s movie palace is now a performing arts showcase with top names in music of all genres, comedy, and more; EMBARK (1008 Main St; www.embarkpeekskill.org) - A community performing & literary arts center.
Peekskill Jazz & Blues Festival (July) - This free, outdoor festival features world-class jazz & blues musicians.
Feel Like a Local: Head to the Peekskill Farmers Market (Saturdays, June-Nov, 8am-2pm, on Bank Street, btw Main St & Park St) & Peekskill Flea Market (Sundays, April-Nov, 8am-4pm). 

Dine in Style: The restaurant scene in town is booming thanks in part to restaurateurs Louie Lanza (The Hudson Room, Taco Dive Bar, Buns-and-Bourbon, Eagle Saloon, The Hudson Creamery) and John Sharp (Gleason's and Birdsall House). Several of the restaurants also offer live music, and two coffee houses double as galleries/music venues. There's a brewery and several gastro pubs. Here's a list of Peekskill's many eateries
BR Nelson, Beyond, Art Trail
(photo: J. Heumann)

Where To Stay
Inn on the Hudson (634 Main St; Tel: 914/739-1500; www.innonthehudson.com) - Get a discount if you mention the HVCCA.
Holiday Inn Peekskill (2 John Walsh Blvd; Tel: 800/315-2621; http://bit.ly/2csiauE). Or try, Airbnb and Bed & Breakfasts.
Getting There: From New York City (Grand Central Terminal) take a train to Peekskill on Metro-North's scenic Hudson line (about an hour).

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