Expectations, great and small, in Shandaken

Morne Imports Christmas party in Shandaken. (photo by Violet Snow)

Morne Imports Christmas party in Shandaken. (photo by Violet Snow)

We asked Shandakenites to describe their expectations for the coming year. Several people said they hadn’t even thought about 2014 yet, and others didn’t care to comment. The responses we did get were both personal and political, ranging from the darkly pessimistic to the wildly optimistic.

“I loved 2013,” said Alan Fliegel, proprietor of 60 Main in Phoenicia. (See our article about the imminent closing of the store.) “I started running again. I like to breathe the air, feel the cold and the sun on my skin, feel the change of seasons. I’m hoping to experience the same thing next year — and also make a little more money. My American Dream is not owning a yacht — it’s getting to zero.”


“I think we’re doomed as a species,” commented Chip Gallagher, “but I do look forward to seeing the creative ingenuity that tries to tend to our gluttonous history and clean up the vomit. It’s going to take all the ingenuity we can muster. There’s always hope, and hope is like the Pope — somewhat contrived.”

Gallagher is the inventor of the Tree/Pee, a floating platform based on suspension rather than compression. “I’m looking forward to getting my business going,” he added, “and getting people up in the trees.”

“I’m hoping there will be less diabetes,” said Richard Cohen, “which will make health care costs drop, so more people will be covered by insurance. I hope there will be less war, and I’m hoping to learn to play the banjo.”

“Can’t we just get along?” asked Bruno Blunk. “It’s so petty, what we’re bickering over. It’s enough already! Other than that, I feel that half the population needs a knuckle sandwich.”

“I’m hoping Phoenicia business picks up,” stated Trent Catich, whose partner owns Mama’s Boy Café on Main Street. “I hope more people come in and buy more properties.”

“I’m generally optimistic,” mused Peter Occolowitz. “I always think the New Year is a time for new hope and new ideas, for people to grow. This hope applies to our political system as well. There’s another potential fiscal cliff coming, and I hope we learned from the last one.”

June Brought’s vision is that “what we believe is possible expands greatly, for us as individuals and for the collective, for the world.”

“There are too many taxes,” said Marietta Hofmeister of Morne Imports. “Governor Cuomo is trying to get new business to come to New York — but what about giving the businesses that are already here a break? We’re going out of business!”

Rob Stanley, about to start his fifth year as Shandaken supervisor, gave his 2014 forecast for the town: “I hope it’s without incidents — no floods, no snowstorms. This year was the first year of my tenure without states of emergency — multiple states of emergency! I hope to see a conclusion to the Community Rising process and implementation of new projects. We just found out Ulster County taxes will be lower for Shandaken next year. And I’m sure we’ll hear more about the rail trail.”