Hudson Valley ways to close out the old year and usher in the new

(M Photography)

Uptown Kingston New Year’s Eve to feature fireworks and a western theme

This year’s theme for the Uptown Kingston New Year’s Eve celebration is “The Wild West.” Activities will be spread out all across town, in multiple venues, with thousands expected to hit the streets to usher in 2017. Father Time and Baby New Year will be on hand, and the ball will once again drop at midnight, followed by fireworks.

One of the primary spots to celebrate will be BSP in Kingston at 323 Wall Street, which will open its front and back theater spaces for a night of music, dancing and circus arts featuring the Felice Brothers, Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones, Shaman Vybez, Miss 360, the Big Takeover, deejay Tony Touch and aerialists from Hudson Valley Circus Arts. Photobooth fun and concessions by Kingston Candy Bar will be available, as will coat-check services. The doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35.


The New Year’s Eve event that started in the area just a few years ago has become “a huge community celebration that highlights all the best parts of Uptown Kingston,” says BSP’s manager, Trevor Dunworth. “It’s a full night of entertainment spanning multiple genres of music, tying together the arts and music with dining and nightlife businesses.”

The idea for a big New Year’s Eve party came up when a number of new businesses had opened in the area, and it seemed like a great way to get everyone involved in doing something together, he adds. As it turned out, “Uptown Kingston makes a great mini-Times Square,” Dunworth says. “And being able to see some of my favorite bands and deejays, followed by the ball drop and fireworks, all within walking distance from my house? You can’t ask for much more than that on New Year’s Eve.”

Another choice spot to celebrate will be the Stockade Tavern at 313 Fair Street. It’ll feature live music around 8:30 p.m. by Caprice Rouge, a fun acoustic ensemble who plays Balkan, Roma/Gypsy and klezmer dance tunes on traditional instruments. The cover charge is $8. Stockade co-owner Paul Maloney says that there will be plenty of champagne, flaming punch and great cocktails and food. Afterward, deejay Ali and deejay Sterling will keep the music going into the wee hours.

The Duo Bistro at 299 John Street will have two seatings for dinner, at 6 and 8:30 p.m., and it’ll host a late-night breakfast after midnight.

The event is sponsored by the Magic Hat Brewing Company, Radio Woodstock 100.1 WDST, Sav-On Party Central, Dallas Hot Wieners, the Stockade Tavern, BSP Kingston, Duo Bistro, Boitson’s and KOVO Rotisserie, Timely Signs, Kingston Plaza, Herzog’s and Chronogram magazine with support from KUBA, the Kingston Uptown Business Association. The fireworks are courtesy of the Basch & Keegan law firm. Street parking is available, along with municipal lots with the city offering a free shuttle bus from 6 p.m. on.

– Sharyn Flanagan

New Year’s Eve in Uptown Kingston, multiple venues, midnight ball drop, North Front/Wall Streets;


(Photo by Dion Ogust)

Saugerties hosts New Year’s Eve

The first time that someone does an event, nobody really knows how it’s all going to turn out. The second year they start calling it an annual event, and it usually is a duplication of what happened the first time around. But come the third year, an event begins to take on its own character, foreshadowing what will then, a decade later, become what it’s known for.

This will be the third annual Saugerties New Year’s Eve in the Village. Initiated in 2014 by police chief Joe Sinagra and mayor William Murphy as a way for Sawyersto “stay local, stay safe” on the big night, it also served to help small businesses and local restaurants, who were able to keep diners, shoppers and revelers close to home, rather than lose them to nearby Kingston’s big shindig on New Year’s Eve.

The New Year’s Eve ball for the midnight drop that first year was purchased ready-made at a big-box store and strung with lights by the chief. This year the ball is custom-made by Saugerties resident Mike Ivino and his crew at J & J Tree Works, who volunteered their time and expertise for the project.

At six feet in diameter, the new ball is much larger than the previous one. Made of all-aluminum construction, it has been wired with thousands of lights on two different circuits. The ball will be lit by one set of lights for most of the night, Ivino explains; then, at midnight, the second circuit will be activated, creating an illusion that the ball gets brighter. “More lights will come on and they’ll sparkle and twinkle,” he adds, “flashing back and forth.”

Ivino’s crane will be used for the ball drop at the corner of Main and Partition Streets, as it has been since the first event. “Saugerties is a tight-knit community, and as a business-owner in Saugerties, we’re all about giving back,” he says. “And it’s fun to do it. The group of guys that work for me all enjoy it, so that’s why we do it.”

The celebration will be held on Main Street (closed to traffic) from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Admission is free. Local deejay Riley Cornelison will provide music, and the Boy Scouts will have hot coffee and cocoa available. Some of the restaurants in Saugerties are planning special New Year’s Eve menus and will stay open late.

Attendees are advised to dress warmly and bring a folding chair to sit on. Updates can be found on Facebook at “New Year’s Eve in the Village.”

– Sharyn Flanagan

New Year’s Eve in the Village, Saturday, December 31-Sunday, January 1, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., free, ball drop at Main and Partition Streets, Saugerties;


Chris Bergson Band with Ellis Hooks

Chris Bergson Band plays Marlboro’s Falcon New Year’s Eve

This modern blues skeptic is pretty much completely won over by the collaboration between the triple-threat guitarist, singer and writer/bandleader Chris Bergson and his vocal foil and co-writer Ellis Hooks. The results land somewhere between true-believer contemporary blues and the elegant period scholarship that we associate with the Daptone roster and its brilliant house arrangers. The dueling vocalists can sound nearly as silky as Sam Cooke or nearly as ripped-apart as Charles Bradley. The uptown horn charts and deep-pocket, polyglot grooves are both reverent and utterly alive.

Bergson is a regular and a favorite at the Falcon in Marlboro, but if his upcoming date there sounds anything like the show with Hooks captured on 2014’s Live at Jazz Standard, this is the show to catch. The Chris Bergson Band, featuring Ellis Hooks, bassist Matt Clohesy and drummer Tony Mason, will rock the Falcon on New Year’s Eve. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the music kicks off at 7. Per usual, there is no cover, but generous donation is strongly encouraged by Tony Falco himself: the man who has singlehandedly transformed the musical landscape of the Hudson Valley.


Royal Khaoz plays Marlboro’s Falcon Underground New Year’s Eve

Multistage venues are not an uncommon phenomenon; but the Falcon in Marlboro has become an unusual one in several ways. Upstairs is still the marquee venue and restaurant, and the room that adheres to the Falcon’s original impetus as a jazz and blues club. The new venue – the Falcon Underground – is where Tony Falco is likely to place indie-rock bands, locals, singer/songwriters and artists who stretch the club’s stylistic range in one way or another. But then there’s this: The Falcon Underground is hardly smaller than the Falcon. Also, because Falco’s housewide model is donation- and not cover-based, patrons are free to move between venues, or pause to enjoy the spectacular views and landscaping from either of the club’s terraced patios. It is a music mall, conceived and expanded in stunning detail.

On New Year’s Eve, while Falcon regulars Chris Bergson and Ellis Hooks are delivering uptown blues upstairs, the reggae band Royal Khaoz will be summoning a very different kind of spirit downstairs. This regional institution has shared stages with many of their heroes and influences: Third World, the Wailers with Aston “Familyman” Barrett, Michael Rose, Sista Carrol, Yellowman and Luciano. Royal Khaoz’s debut album, Life: The Journey, was released in 2012, and the follow-up is anticipated in 2017.


Music begins at 7 p.m. Per usual, there is no cover charge, but donations are strongly encouraged by the owner himself, who works both rooms and typically introduces all bands in a way that makes you wonder about the reality of cloning.

The Falcon is located at 1348 Route 9W in Marlboro. For more information, visit

– John Burdick


Simi Stone headlines Helsinki Hudson’s eclectic New Year’s Eve

Helsinki Hudson has thrown together a rich and somewhat bizarre evening of entertainment for New Year’s Eve. Headlining is the Woodstock-notable boutique soul singer/songwriter Simi Stone, who always has an A-list band in tow. The daughter of Meat Loaf, Pearl Aday mines the soulful side of classic rock. Her husband, Scott Ian of Anthrax, will also be on the bill. Finally, the Paul Green Rock Academy standout talent Lisa Green will perform the entirety of the Peter Gabriel-era prog/rock epic Supper’s Ready, and will perform in full Gabriel costuming with an assist from some the region’s premier players in Dan Littleton, Jason Bowman, Connor Kennedy, Will Bryant, Kendall Wind and Paul Green.

The music starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for general admission standing room, $35 for reserved club seating and are available at Club Helsinki is located at 405 Columbia Street in Hudson.


Felice Brothers headline New Year’s Eve shows at BSP in Kingston

BSP once again hosts of a full musical buffet, pressing both of its rooms into service as part of Uptown Kingston’s lively New Year’s Eve celebration. Local heroes the Felice Brothers headline the big back room with a 10 p.m. set, preceded by some other local heroes, Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones, at 9. After the midnight ball drop on Wall Street, the Big Takeover will rock the front room at BSP while Tony Touch and Shaman Vybez deejay in the back theater.

Admission runs about $35. For advance tickets and more information on attractions, offerings and sponsors, visit www.bspkingston. BSP is located at 323 Wall Street in Kingston.


Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds at Bearsville New Year’s Eve

The Catskills-bred, outrageous poly-roots rock and soul outfit Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds ring in the New Year at the Bearsville Theater on, well, New Year’s Eve. Crunchy, strident, smoldering and red-hot, 2016’s two-disc live effort Fowl Play ought to give celebrants an idea of what to expect when this big horn band takes the stage. This band was built for occasions like these.

The show begins at 9:30 p.m. For tickets and additional information, visit The Bearsville Theater is located at 291 Tinker Street in Woodstock.


New Year’s Eve dance party at Denning’s Point Distillery in Beacon

The Denning’s Point Distillery in Beacon celebrates the turning of the calendar with “Dance Distilled,” a rock, soul, funk, Latin, disco, hip hop, jazz and electro dance party with tunes spun by deejays Zesto Q and Freefall. The Distillery shows some good sense in offering either $7 cocktails or $50 unlimited wristbands. The affair kicks off at 9:30 p.m.

The Denning’s Point Distillery is located at 10 North Chestnut Street in Beacon. For more information, visit


Stomp out the Old Year, dance in the New at Ashokan Center

Each year, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason offer a satisfying way to celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge. From 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 31 until the wee hours of the nascent year, you can dance your brains out to music by Jay & Molly with Swingology, Les Ferrailles, Tempest and Zydegroove. You have your choice of two rustic ballrooms: one for couples dancing and the other for squares and contras featuring callers Dugan Murphy and John Krumm. Admission to the dance portion only costs $30 for adults, $15 for kids and teens.

For an additional charge of $30, a family-style dinner will be served beginning at 6 p.m., with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Non-alcoholic beverages are included in the price, and local beers and wines will also be available.

Want to make a mini-vacation of it? You can arrive for the Ashokan New Year’s Camp as early as 2 p.m. on Friday, January 30 and stay through 2 p.m. on Monday, January 2, learning the moves of square and contra dancing, swing, Cajun and zydeco. When you get tired of music and dance lessons, concerts, jams and sing-alongs, you can step outside and enjoy the site’s cross-country skiing trails, ice skating on the lake and a delightful wood-burning sauna.

The Ashokan Center is located at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge. To register and for more information, visit


New Year’s Eve celebration at Beacon’s Towne Crier

In this neck of the woods, the venue that we associate most with Levon Helm is the Woodstock barn/studio that has been home for many years, both before and after his death in 2012, to the iconic musician’s Midnight Rambles. Less familiar is the story of Levon Helm’s Classic American Café, a music club that he opened in New Orleans in 1998. It stayed in business for less than a year, but during that time, a house band formed called the Barn Burners, incorporated some of the Big Easy’s top session players of the day.

One of the New Orleans musicians recruited by Helm for his club was blues harpist and singer Chris O’Leary, who in 2007 reunited with another former Barn Burner, bassist Frankie Ingrao, to form a new ensemble simply called the Chris O’Leary Band. Ingrao has since moved on, but founding guitarist Chris Vitarello remains in the current lineup. The Chris O’Leary Band will perform as part of the New Year’s Eve show at the Towne Crier Café in Pawling next Saturday night.

Also on the Towne Crier program will be blues/rock singer and New York Blues Hall of Fame alumna Sari Schorr and her band, the Engine Room, whose new album, A Force of Nature, is getting rave notices in the music press. The show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Admission costs $50 ($42.50 for Crier members) for the musical portion only; $125 per person ($110 members) gets you a full New Year’s Eve feast including dessert, plus a bottle of champagne per couple.

The Towne Crier Café is located at 379 Main Street in Beacon. For reservations, call (845) 855-1300 or visit


New Year’s Eve traditions from all over the world

Did you know the first New Year’s Eve ball-lowering ceremony at Times Square took place in 1907? That original 700-pound ball was made of iron and wood and covered in lightbulbs. Today’s Times Square ball contains 2,688 Waterford Crystals bolted to 672 LED modules on an aluminum frame. This 12-foot-diameter ball weighs nearly six tons.

Here are a few traditions from around the world. Maybe they’ll inspire you to create a new tradition for yourself:

Spain: 12 Grapes
Eat one grape at each of the 12 tolling midnight bells for good luck in the months of the New Year.

Denmark: Broken China & Leaping
Save some broken plates and glasses to throw against loved ones’ doors, or jump off a chair at midnight to bring good luck and banish bad spirits.

Central & South America: Lucky Underwear
Wear red undergarments on New Year’s Eve to attract love and yellow to attract money.

Philippines: Roundness
Representing coins, round shapes – such as fruits and polka dots – are believed to bring prosperity.

Scotland: Fires & Crossing the Threshold
Bonfire ceremonies and parades – with giant fireballs on overhead poles – symbolize the sun and purification. During Hogmanay, “first-footing” requires that the first person stepping over a home’s doorstep must carry a gift for luck (often whisky).

Panama: Effigy-Burning
Effigies of well-known people, beloved or otherwise, are burned to represent the old year and drive off evil spirits in the New Year.

Finland: Molten Metal
Cast molten tin into a container of water and interpret the shapes to predict your chances for love, travel, riches and more in the New Year.

– Debra Bresnan


Day One Walk for Unity in Kingston on Sunday

Some towns pay for the privilege of calling their New Year’s Eve festivities by the trademarked name of “First Night.” A couple of years back, the City of Kingston adopted a more progressive (and less expensive) idea: calling the first of January “Day One.” It’s a rather idealistic new social movement that may be coming into its own this season, in reaction to the bitter divisiveness in America exemplified by the 2016 presidential campaign. Day One is the proverbial “first day of the rest of your life,” when one can let go of old attitudinal baggage and make a new start.

The visible manifestation of Day One is the Community Walk for Unity, which begins at Dietz Stadium in Kingston at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Day. “There is no agenda, no politics, no division; there is simply unity,” say the promotional materials. “We put aside what divides us and focus on what unites us: our humanity. It is not a protest, a march, a rally or a parade.”

All who opt to “walk together from Day One” will head down Broadway, turn right onto Cedar Street, right again onto Clinton Avenue and end up at the Kirkland at 2 Main Street. There, hot beverages will be served and conversations will be encouraged.

Sounds like a doable first step toward making this raw and ragged nation a more civil and livable place again. For more information, contact Micah Blumenthal at