This House Matters, a film by documentarian and John Green Preservation Coalition (JGPC) board member, Tina Traster has been declared an "Official Selection" of the 2016 Hoboken International Film Festival. It is showing at the Paramount Theater in Middletown, NY on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 12:00noon to open the Festival's Saturday showing. Tickets are $11.00.

The documentary features the people and organizations behind historic preservation efforts in Rockland County, NY and focuses specifically on the acquisition of the John Green House by the JGPC. Also featured are the Seth House in Pearl River, the Cropsey barn in New City, the Vanderbilt/Budke House in West Nyack, NY and the Lent House in Orangeburg, NY.

At its debut in the Nyack Library, it played to a maximum capacity audience of 101 persons. Its next local showing is at the New City Library on June 22, 2016 at 7:00pm

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PleasePickProjectWe are proud and please with our alliance with the Suzanne Barish's "Please Pick Project." The John Green House (23 Main Street) will be one of the hosts for the project. We'll be assembling planter beds soon. Stand by for planting dates and our upcoming open house.

To learn more about the "Please Pick Project" and Suzanne Barish, please see "Edible Nyack: Resident Plans Public Gardens" in the Journal News or view her TedX talk  (Youtube Link).

If you want to assist with building raised beds, planting seedlings, or caring for the plants, please contact us. Volunteer dates, to be announced.

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watercolor presentationToday, the John Green Preservation Coalition hosted the Historic Society of the Nyacks and other guests for the presentation of Beverley Bozarth Colgan's watercolor portrait of the John Green House. House tours were given to about 30 people on site and funds were raised for the rehabilitation of the John Green House. Thank you to everybody who attended and to those who contributed to the cause. It is the support of the community and the charitable organizations and interested individuals who make our continued efforts possible.

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Northeast corner of the front facadeWith the return of the warm weather, we are able to resume working on the northeast corner of the front facade at the John Green House. Our thanks again to Drazen Cackovic and Julia Khomut from DCAK-MSA Architecture and Engineering, to Bill Truss, and to Bill Helmer from Helmer-Cronin Construction for all of the hard work, expertise, materials and labor that they have contributed for the stabilization of the house.

When we took title last fall, we were compelled to undertake a controlled and managed take-down of the northeast corner, as all parties involved agreed that that portion of the house would likely collapse during the hard winter. It is that portion that we are rebuilding right now.

It is imperative that we keep the momentum moving, and we are currently planning on undertaking repairs of the center section of the front facade (that section to the east of the front door). We have obtained bids for the work involved and continue to solicit qualified expert opinions on the best way to proceed. Our best and most complete bid so far is about $14,000 for that center section, including engineering, materials and labor.

The John Green House will become a cultural asset to the Village of Nyack and the surrounding communities, in a manner similar to the Edward Hopper House and the Nyack Center. We need community support to make it happen.  Here are a few ways to help: (1) make a donation at our Generosity/IndieGoGo crowdfunding page; (2) become a member or make a tax-deductible contribution on our web site; (3) make a tax-deductible donation of a vehicle, running or otherwise, to the John Green Preservation Coalition; or, (4) mail a check to: The John Green Preservation Coalition, Inc., P.O. Box 378, Nyack, NY 10960.

Thank you for your help and support.

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Watercolor Painting
Come join the John Green Preservation Coalition and the Historical Society of the Nyacks (HSN) for the presentation by watercolor artist Beverley Bozarth Colgan of her "John Green House" to the HSN @ 2:00pm, this Sunday, April 17th in front of the John Green House, 23 Main Street, Nyack, NY.

Architect and historian Win Perry will lead a house tour for interested persons, and donations to the restoration of the building's facade will be accepted.

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I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.

~Pete Seeger

 

John Green was a 19th century lumber dealer, entrepreneur and community leader.

Pete Seeger was a 20th century folk singer, activist and environmentalist. 

What could these two men possibly have in common?

First off, they were both dreamers.  Secondly, they both made their dreams come true.

John Green found himself in Nyack, working for a wealthy family.  But he looked to the Hudson and dreamed of the future – a future with an active seaport, a steamship to carry his cargo to New York City, and a road running right through the middle of the County to bring folks here.

He did all those things and more.

About 146 years later, Pete Seeger, legendary singer, songwriter, folklorist, activist, environmentalist, and peace advocate looked at that same Hudson River in despair.  Decades of industrial pollution had left the once pristine waters a filthy, chemical sludge.  But Seeger looked to the Hudson and dreamed of the future – a future with a cleaner, more vibrant waterway, and announced plans to “build a boat to save the river” –

He did all those things and more.

John Green had a vision of a bustling Nyack Seaport, and he built his business around that vision.  He charted out the deep water channel to bring large vessels to his landing.  He lobbied for legislation making possible the construction of the Nyack Turnpike, providing a direct route from Suffern to the Hudson River.  With the maiden voyage of “The Orange” (originally called “The Nyack”), a steamship he was instrumental in making a reality, Green brought his vision to life.

Pete Seeger thought the river was worth saving, and that a majestic replica of the sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 18th and 19th centuries would bring people to the river where they would experience its beauty first hand and be moved to preserve it.

He organized, performed and fundraised, finally building the majestic sloop “Clearwater”. From “The Clearwater’s” website; “In 1972 Seeger and the Clearwater crew sailed the sloop to Washington, DC while Congress was debating the Clean Water Act. Seeger personally delivered a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures to Congress and then proceeded to hold a spontaneous concert in the halls of Congress. A few weeks later the Federal Water Pollution Control Act was passed in 1972 over then President Richard Nixon's veto.” 

These men weren’t men of great means.  But they believed in their dreams, acted on them and made them real.

And though they are no longer with us, their passions live on.

Today, Pete’s supporters are carrying on his mission, working to restore the majestic Clearwater sloop, just as supporters of The John Green House are working to restore his historic sandstone home.

But we need more people like John Green and Pete Seeger.

We all need to be like these dynamic dreamers – willing to set our minds to the task, find a way or make a way, and never stop until the task is done.

 

Ode

By Arthur O'Shaughnessy  

We are the music-makers,peteseegertappanzee

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers

And sitting by desolate streams;

World losers and world forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems.

 

downloadWith wonderful deathless ditties

We build up the world’s great cities.

And out of a fabulous story

We fashion an empire’s glory:

One man with a dream, at pleasure,

Shall go forth and conquer a crown;

And three with a new song’s measure

Can trample an empire down.

 

We, in the ages lyingimg005WORKED2

In the buried past of the earth,

Built Nineveh with our sighing,

And Babel itself with our mirth;

And o’erthrew them with prophesying

To the old of the new world’s worth;

For each age is a dream that is dying,Sloop_Clearwater3_-_Photo_by_Anthony_Pepitone

Or one that is coming to birth.

 

 

 

To make a contribution to the restoration efforts of The Clearwater, please go to http://www.clearwater.org/

 

To contribute to the rehabilitation of The John Green House, please go to http://www.johngreencoalition.org/donatesupport/

 

Thank You.

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Since taking possession of The John Green House a few months ago, volunteer crews have been on hand most Saturdays and sometimes during the week chipping away stucco, clearing weeds, tearing out old, busted up sheet rock, and a whole host of other activities required to get this house back on its feet.

When we’re not doing that, we’re answering questions.

When you work on The John Green House, you’re going to get into conversations.  That’s just a given now, and we know that if we plan to spend three hours of a Saturday morning working on the house, at least a good half hour (and usually more) is filled with answering questions from passersby about our large, yellow stuccoed friend.

It’s to be expected, and we’re happy to inform people about what’s going on.  Perhaps you’ve passed by and wondered as well, but haven’t seen us out there, or haven’t had the time to stop and chat.  So for anyone that’s still curious, I give you some of our most asked questions and their answers.

How old is this house?  Nearly 200 years old.  We had initially believed the house to have been built in 1817, but our Vice President Win Perry discovered information that now indicates a construction date of 1819.

Who owns the house?  The John Green Preservation Coalition, a not for profit organization, holds the deed to the house.  After being taken in lieu of foreclosure several years ago, the house was eventually donated to us by the bank.

When did people last live in the house?  The latest signs of occupancy are refrigerator magnet calendars from 2004.  We’re assuming around that time.

That sign with the “X” means they’re going to tear it down, right?  No.  Many people believe that “the X Sign” means that a property has been condemned.  This is not the case.  That sign is a warning to firefighters that the structure has been deemed unsafe by the building department and fire inspector.  It is there as a warning to use extreme caution.

So it’s not safe?  Well, it’s actually safer now than when we first acquired the house.  Over the last couple of decades, a combination of water and termites caused a decent amount of damage to many of the load bearing floor joists throughout the house.  Parts of the first floor felt like they would collapse at any moment.  Since our acquisition, our friends at Helmer Cronin Construction and DCAK-MSA Architecture have given us much needed assistance and have constructed temporary interior supports from basement to roof, as well as installing exterior struts to literally hold the walls in place.

What are you going to do with the house?  That’s an excellent question.  We have talked about having the house serve as a Nyack Welcome Center and museum, we’ve discussed using part of the house as artist’s live/work space, and there’s even been some suggestion of retail.  While we have many ideas on the subject, we’re very interested in hearing about what the community might like to see the house become.  We’ll be asking folks to participate in a survey in the near future – keep checking back here for details.

When do you think you’ll be done?  Our goal is to have the grand opening of the house coincide with the opening of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is scheduled to be 2018.  If it looks like we’re not going to make that deadline, then our new deadline will be 2019, to coincide with the 200th “birthday” of the house.

How much is all that going to cost?  We’re currently estimating around $500,000.

How much of my tax dollars are going to pay for this?  None.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.

Have you found anything valuable in there?  I don’t know about valuable, but we’ve found an eclectic assortment of interesting objects for sure.  We’ll be displaying some of them in an exhibit soon.

How can people help?  We have been really fortunate to have a great group of volunteers who have been assisting us in cleaning up the property.  We’ve also been blessed with generous people who have donated monetarily to our efforts.  We can always use assistance in both of those areas, but probably one of the easiest ways people can help is to simply tell a friend.  The rehabilitation of The John Green House is a huge effort, and it will truly take a Village to realize our vision.  So, for anyone who wants to help – spread the word!  Thanks!

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In 1988, a tradition was started in Nyack - a parade that over the years has grown to be one of the largest Halloween parades in NY, second only to the event in New York City.  This year, board members of the John Green Preservation joined in, and marched the parade route, banner raised high to bring attention and further awareness to our rehabilitation project!  Many thanks to Rick Tannenbaum, Tina Traster, and Tom Morrison for walking the walk!

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Nyack’s Green House Saved                                         Oldest structure to become visitor center

BY ROBERT KNIGHT
CITY EDITOR
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES

STATE CERTIFICATE of Appreciation is given by Senator David Carlucci to Rick Tannenbaum, President of the John Green House Preservation Coalition, as the group received title to the historic 1817 Green House last week. Cracks are visible in walls of the house, in the background. Behind the two is Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart while to the right are Coalition co-founder Tina T raster and Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White. On left are Coalition members with John Green descendant Connie Green in off-shoulder blouse.

Nyack’s historic Green house has been saved from destruction thanks to the diligent work of a group of local volunteer preservationists and the kind heart of a mortgage company and a bank, which jointly donated the two-century-old sandstone structure to the newly formed Green House Preservation Coalition.

News of the gift was announced at a specially called press conference last week at the site, on Lower Main Street near the Hudson River, attended by village, town, county and state officials along with dozens of local residents, historians and conservationists, many of whom had been quietly working to save the historic structure for nearly a decade.

According to local historian and president of the Historical Society of the Nyacks, Winn Perry, early settler John Green built the Green house about 1817. It is not only the oldest surviving Dutch sandstone house in Nyack, but is thought to be the second oldest house of any type within the village; a frame saltbox a half-block away reportedly still surviving from about a decade earlier.

The Green house is unusual for a Hudson Valley Dutch sandstone in being two stories in height with an attic, instead of the more typical story and a half. It was apparently converted into a multi-family home several decades ago, containing at least four apartments, and still later into a possible illegal SRO, or single residence occupancy boarding house.

“Historic Preservation is not for sissies,” Green House Preservation Coalition co-founder Tina Traster announced at the start of the roadside ceremony as traffic was briefly diverted for the 11 a.m.celebration. The John Green house has “languished in a story state for decades,” she explained.

Association President Rick Tannenbaum said he has fallen in love with a few houses over the past decades, including his own in Valley Cottage and with the Green House, when he first saw it last year. He has dedicated himself to its preservation ever since, he said, helping found the Association in May, incorporating it as a New York State Not-For-Profit Corporation in June and getting the bank and the mortgage company which owned it to donate it to the Association earlier this month.

State Senator David Carlucci was present at the ceremony, giving Tannenbaum and Traster the Senate’s Certificate of Appreciation for their efforts, and saying he will do all he can to find state grants to assist the Coalition in restoring the house, now that they own it.

Carlucci noted that Green came to Nyack shortly after the turn of the 19th century from New York City, where he was wiped out by a fire and was destitute. Starting as a laborer in Nyack, he built a successful commercial enterprise on the Hudson River shoreline, built and operated a boat shipping goods to and from Manhattan and Nyack. He also started a stage line between Nyack and Suffern, and was one of the founders of the old Nyack Turnpike Corporation, which paid for ad constructed what is now Route 59 between the two Rockland villages (then a private toll road).

He became so successful so quickly that he was able to construct his handsome new home on the Hudson shoreline in Nyack, two blocks below Broadway, probably using sandstone blocks he quarried himself from rock cliffs in Upper Nyack or Grand View.

Noting that Route 59 and the nearby New York State Thruway and Tappan Zee Bridge are all “still works in progress,” Carlucci said it was providential that the Green house has been saved just when the three projects can be melded, using the historic home as the connecting link.

Carlucci and Nyack Major Jen Laird White, who also attended the ceremony, said they would work together with the state and Tappan Zee Constructors to try and connect the new biking trail over the new bridge directly to the Green House, and make that the village’s visitor’s and information center, as well as a local history museum and welcoming center.

Also supporting the restoration of the Green House was Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart, who noted that the town’s motto is “Rich in History,” and that he and other town officials take that literally. “We suffered recently with the loss of the Lent House in Orangeburg,” Stewart noted of the demolition of a similar Dutch sandstone house near town hall this summer.

He vowed to use the town’s best efforts to work with Nyack and the Preservation Coalition to restore and preserve the Green House for future generations, and to help ensure that the Lent house’s fate doesn’t befall it too.

Equally as optimistic was Orangetown Historian Mary Cardenas, who noted that not only is the house the oldest Sandstone structure in Nyack, but that its owner-builder was the first successful businessman in Nyack as well, responsible not only for the village’s first commercial Hudson River dock but the construction of the old Nyack Turnpike.

Asking himself the question he knew was on everyone’s mind, Tannenbaum queried aloud “So what happens next?”

Answering his own question, he said the coalition would seek grants from various local, state, federal, private and foundation sources for studies of the existing house, and then a rehabilitation program to convert it into a usable structure. It would be ideal if it can be tied into the new Tappan Zee Bridge as a visitor’s welcome center to Nyack, he observed, and he will approach the bridge builders immediately with that objective.

He also lauded the donors of the house to the Preservation Coalition, the Ocwen Financial Corporation and its client, Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, on behalf of Wells Fargo Bank, which held the mortgage on the dilapidated property.

Pleased at the outburst of activity at her family ancestral home was visitor Connie Green of Fort Lee, who is a fifth great granddaughter and direct descendant of John Green. She offered to contact members of her far flung family to gather Green family artifacts and documents which they will donate to the Coalition for permanent preservation in a museum that will hopefully be incorporated into the home restoration.

Cardenas, director of the Orangetown Museum, and Perry, President of the Nyack Historical Society, also pledged their groups’ support, and to actively work with the Coalition on the preservation of Nyack history.

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