Kale Kaposhilin and Sage Ramadge at the Senate Garage

Welcoming Grand Central Tech to Kingston

Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck on repeat, telling people over and over again: “The Hudson Valley tech scene is vibrant and growing.”

As a tech person myself (whatever “tech person” means), it’s easy for me to see — I was there as the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup expanded from 50 members to 2,500, and when the influx of New York City tech talent began. But sometimes I doubt that anyone else can see it. Who would believe that our little patch of farmland and forest can become a viable alternative to the talent and energy of a New York City or a San Francisco?

The truth is, we’re not trying to compete with those places: Silicon Valley will always be Silicon Valley. We’re not the next Silicon Valley — we’re the first Hudson Valley. Our niche is different; we can be an oasis for a slower, more humane, more deliberate type of tech company.

As I wrote in the Poughkeepsie Journal a while back:

Ten years from now, I won’t be surprised if the Hudson Valley is a byword for a startup culture with a particular ethos — small farms, slow food, good neighbors and thoughtful technology.

An Upstate Outpost of the NYC Tech Scene

It’s one thing to believe that the Hudson Valley will someday be a draw for tech workers who want a change from the usual grind, but it’s another thing to see it validated by an organization as reputable as Grand Central Tech.

And yet, on Wednesday evening, that’s exactly what I saw happen. I was at the Senate Garage in Kingston for the Grand Central Tech North welcome event, inaugurating the summer when 150 participants in a prominent Manhattan startup accelerator will decamp to Ulster County to do their work in the Hudson Valley.

It’s a genius idea for both the accelerator and for Ulster County. The tech folks get a chance to escape the sweltering New York City summer and do their work from someplace with grass and sky. Ulster County gets to show off everything the Hudson Valley has to offer, in the hopes that some of the tech folks will discover that they really can do their jobs from a place like Kingston and decide to stay.

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Sage Ramadge of Grand Central Tech
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein with Grand Central Tech’s Director of Social Impact, Sage Ramadge

What is Grand Central Tech?

Grand Central Tech (which recently changed its name to “Company,” which will be much harder to Google) is a tech accelerator based in Midtown Manhattan, right across from Grand Central Terminal. Their mission: provide startups with the resources they need to succeed, from office space to legal advice to accounting services.

Accompanying their recent name change is a major expansion of their New York City presence: they’re currently renovating their 1.1 million square foot building, turning it into startup-friendly office space complete with a library, coffee shop, restaurant, and everything else a hip 2018 company populated by 20-somethings could want.

The new lobby of Company, formerly Grand Central Tech
The lobby for Company (formerly Grand Central Tech), currently under construction.

Even more exciting is their outpost in Kingston. Rather than spend the summer in sweltering Manhattan, 150 employees of Grand Central Tech accelerator companies will be decamping to Kingston, where they’ll be working from coworking space in the Senate Garage. They’ll get to experience life in the Hudson Valley, as well as meeting local tech workers and attending talks every Wednesday highlighting the incredible creative energy in the region.

What’s the upshot?

You already know about the incredible creative energy in the Hudson Valley. We have a growing tech scene, vibrant arts scene, incredible food scene. Bringing more talent into this pool strengthens the economy, introduces new ideas, and prevents stagnation.

I’m so excited to see what comes of Grand Central Tech North. Projects like this go a long way in demonstrating the Hudson Valley’s value as a viable alternative to the hustle and grind of city life. We’ve got good wifi, talented people, and plenty of trees — what more could a tech person want?

Ready to explore the Hudson Valley creative community?

Showcase your work, connect with collaborators, and discover the interesting people and projects all around you.

Rough Draft in Kingston

What to Do in the Hudson Valley: July 8 — 15

Summer is in full swing, and the event calendar for the Hudson Valley creative scene is looking wonderfully full.

Here are three Hudson Valley Talentbase-approved events that you’ll want to check out:

Pop-Up at One Epic Place in New Paltz

New Paltz has long needed a solid coworking space for creative workers, and One Epic Place has answered the call in spades. From a single location just a few years ago, One Epic Place has expanded into four buildings throughout New Paltz, and caters to all kinds of work, both digital and physical.

From 11am to 4pm today (Sunday the 8th), they’re hosting their EPIC Pop-Up! Market, providing a venue for local vendors to share their wares in downtown New Paltz. Stop by to see what they’ve got!

One Epic Place, a coworking space in New Paltz
Yep, this photo is from Google Street View.
One EPIC Place
122 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
Sunday, July 8
11am — 4pm
Local businesses and artists will be selling their wares in downtown New Paltz.

Vinyl, Wine, and Pizza Party at Rough Draft in Kingston

Has a place ever become an institution as fast as Rough Draft in Kingston? The café/bar/bookstore draws a crowd, has events almost every night, and has been open less than a year.

This Friday at 6pm, Friend-of-Talentbase Aaron Quint and his Kingston Bread Lab are teaming up with Wild Arc Farm of Pine Bush and Home Rule Records to host a party featuring pizza, wine, and music. It’s sure to be a great time.

(If you’ve never had pizza from Kingston Bread Lab, you owe it to yourself to try some. Aaron is also the author of The Pizza Book, which is… well, exactly what it sounds like. A pizza cookbook.)

Rough Draft
82 John St.
Kingston, NY 12401
Friday, July 13
Local pizza and wine, plus music spun on vinyl, at one of the coolest venues in the Hudson Valley.

Starwalk on the Walkway Over the Hudson

Next Sunday at 8:30pm is the latest installment of the Walkway Over the Hudson’s Starwalk series — a series of astronomy events held on the Walkway, 212 feet above the Hudson River. Each event is coordinated with a particular astronomical phenomena, and this one is entitled “When the Moon Meets Venus.”

As a longtime space buff, this is right up my alley. Plus, it’s a rare opportunity to be on the Walkway after nightfall. They’re going to be turning off the lights, so flashlights are recommended, but I can’t imagine how gorgeous the view of the night sky will be from high above the river.

Each event is hosted by local astronomy experts who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise. The event is free, but they request that attendees register so they can get an accurate headcount.

📸 from Walkway Over the Hudson
Walkway Over the Hudson
Over the river between Highland and Poughkeepsie
Sunday, July 15
Local astronomy experts will give a guided tour of the night sky from 212 feet above the mighty Hudson.

I’ve known plenty of people who say “there’s nothing to do in the Hudson Valley,” and I’m always shocked — there is so much to do here that it’s impossible to do everything.

Especially for those of us with a creative bent, the Hudson Valley is an embarrassment of riches. These are just three of the events happening this week; there are lots more!

Stay tuned — we’re going to be publishing a selection of great events for creative-minded Hudson Valley residents every Sunday from here on out.

Ready to explore the Hudson Valley creative community?

Showcase your work, connect with collaborators, and discover the interesting people and projects all around you.

New Homepage and Improved Search

This was a big week for Talentbase, with lots of changes being launched on the site on things like search, filtering, and navigation. If you haven’t visited in a while, you’ll see some pretty drastic improvements.

Hudson Valley Talentbase Search and Filtering

The Highlights

🔍 Improved search and filtering! It’s easier than ever to find what you’re looking for. Need a designer in Ulster County? Check. Want to find posts tagged “Photography” in Poughkeepsie with a particular keyword? Check.

🗺 Easier navigation on mobile! The previous homepage had the most recent posts and users listed together, but on mobile you had to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the most recent sign-ups. Now users and posts are kept separate, and you can just tab back and forth between them. Save your thumb some scrolling!

🏋️‍♀️ Lighter page weight (ie, don’t waste your data)! Instead of loading every image on the page at once, now they load when you scroll down to them. This sounds like a small thing, but it’ll save you tons of data. Tons.

🏠 New homepage for logged-out users. If you’re using the site without logging in, it tries to explain what Talentbase is. Unfortunately, that means reading through a wall of text — not a pleasant experience. Now the homepage is simpler, and encourages you to sign up faster. Win!

Ready to explore the Hudson Valley creative community?

Showcase your work, connect with collaborators, and discover the interesting people and projects all around you.

Lake Minnewaska

Getting Inspired at Lake Minnewaska

For creatives, choosing how to recharge is just as important to creative work as the work itself.

Creative work can be draining — it asks a lot of us, and to make sure we don’t burn out, it helps to be deliberate in how we spend our time away. Thankfully, the Hudson Valley is full of places that foster healthy, restorative rest.

For me, one of those places is Minnewaska State Park, just outside of New Paltz. I’ve been going up to Lake Minnewaska my entire life, and breathing the mountain air while hearing the water lap against the shore is instantly calming to me.

Where to Go at Minnewaska

My two favorite places in the park are probably the two most clichéd — these places aren’t exactly secret, but they sure are beautiful.

First is Awosting Falls, just down the path from the park entrance. The falls drop 60 feet into a small pond, and in the summer it kicks up a light cooling mist.

Awosting Falls at Minnewaska State Park in the winter

Second is the loop around Lake Minnewaska, a leisurely hike that shouldn’t take more than an hour. In addition to the views of the lake, it takes you past some soaring overlooks that offer stunning panoramas of the whole Hudson Valley. I’ve never been able to take a picture that adequately captures the vastness of the view, but suffice it to say it makes me glad to live nearby.

Hike the Hudson Valley has a thorough profile of Minnewaska that’s worth reading if you’re considering a trip.

When to Go to Minnewaska

On summer weekends and holidays, Minnewaska can get crowded, so it’s best to get there early. (I went right at opening this morning, hoping to beat the Independence Day crowds, and it was already filling up at 9:11.) It costs $10 per car, but if you have an Empire Pass you can skip the line and get in at no charge. If you’re local and have control over your schedule, you should consider going during the week — maybe work from a coffee shop in New Paltz (like Cafeteria, Mudd Puddle, or Commissary) and go up during lunch for a short hike.

Ready to explore the Hudson Valley creative community?

Showcase your work, connect with collaborators, and discover the interesting people and projects all around you.

Independence Day at West Point in the Hudson Valley

The Start of Summer in the Hudson Valley

Here comes the Hudson Valley heat wave, just in time for the beginning of July!

Hudson Valley Weather says it’ll be in the high 90s for at least the first half of the week, and supposedly the humidity will be bad enough that it’ll feel like 110°. Ouch.

There’s plenty going on this summer in the Hudson Valley, especially for those of us with a creative bent. Here are our top three things to do in the Hudson Valley for the week of July 1, 2018:

Fireworks at West Point

There’s plenty going on this week, but one of the highlights will certainly be the classic West Point Independence Day Celebration. If you’ve never been to one, I highly recommend it — there’s nothing like celebrating the Fourth of July in one of the most American places possible.

It’s on Saturday, July 7th at 7:30pm at West Point’s Trophy Point Amphitheater. If you go, though, I highly encourage you to get there super, super early. It’s not unheard of to go two hours early and still not be able to get good seats — it fills up fast. Lots of people want to be front-and-center as the West Point band rocks the amphitheater in front of an incredible view of the Hudson.

Independence Day at West Point, two years ago

Hudson Valley Balloon Festival

Next weekend is the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival! If you’re looking for a chance to ride in a hot-air balloon, or just want to get some great balloon photos for your Instagram feed, stop by the Dutchess County Fairground on July 6, 7, and 8.

📸Hudson Valley News Network

First Friday in Poughkeepsie

The first Friday of every month, the City of Poughkeepsie holds a community celebration featuring local music, art, and food. On Friday, July 6, the theme is: American Rock.

The free event goes from 5:00 to 8:30 and is being held on Crannell Street in downtown Poughkeepsie, just a few blocks from Mill House Brewing Company. In addition to the usual vendors, there will be live music and a car show!

Know of something else happening soon in the Hudson Valley that people should know about? Let us know in the comments!

The featured image of the West Point amphitheater comes from the “Life in the West Point Band” blog, found here.

The Science Building at SUNY New Paltz

Connecting Hudson Valley Entrepreneurs with the HV Venture Hub

This week, I had the privilege of repping Talentbase at the first ever Leaders’ Forum of the Hudson Valley Venture Hub. The Venture Hub, a new initiative from SUNY New Paltz, is working to connect local organizations that support entrepreneurs and businesses in the Hudson Valley.

It was encouraging to see how many groups are dedicated to growing and connecting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Hudson Valley. There were venture capital groups and coworking spaces, online communities and physical ones — all bent on making it easier for startups and small businesses in the Hudson Valley to thrive.

It’s only been a few months since Hudson Valley Talentbase launched publicly, and I was thrilled to see that it’s already on the radar. Several people approached me at the forum to let me know how much they’ve been enjoying it — one even told me that he’d hired someone he found on Talentbase!

Talentbase is built to connect creative individuals (and soon organizations) in the Hudson Valley, and that includes disciplines like entrepreneurship that aren’t always considered creative. Creativity doesn’t only include the obvious things like art, design, music, and filmmaking — I define creativity as the impulse to take the spark of an idea and turn it into something real. What’s more creative than having an idea and building it into a business?

I’m looking forward to watching the Venture Hub grow and develop, and I’m even more excited to see what new ventures emerge from connections made on Talentbase. I’ve already started to hear from people who found work on the site, or who needed someone with a very particular skillset and was able to find them on Talentbase. Part of my intention with Talentbase was to create a platform on which people could find their next collaboration, and these stories thrill me. But as much as I love seeing people finding work on the site, I’m even more looking forward to the next step: people forming companies and projects with people they met on Talentbase. I think we can help foster the next crop of creative endeavor in the Hudson Valley, and I can’t wait to see what we make.

Sign up for Hudson Valley Talentbase to have a ringside seat to our economy’s creative development. We’re waiting for you!

?Science Hall at SUNY New Paltz, from here

Hudson Valley app developer Dan Gurney

Spotlight On: Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney is a software developer, product designer, and startup founder living in New Paltz.

Tell us about a few things you’ve done.
Currently I’m the co-founder of a new app development firm called Hudson Valley Apps. Before that, I founded Concert Window, a live music broadcasting platform with 170K users.

See some of Dan’s work →

What are you excited about right now?
I’m really excited about starting this new app development firm, Hudson Valley Apps. We’ve been hearing from a lot of folks who want to create or update apps and aren’t sure how to go about it. My co founder Chris Garrett is a veteran iOS developer, ever since the first iPhone came out. We’ve also been doing a lot of fun cross-platform stuff with React Native as well as native Android.

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I’m originally from Rhinebeck, so I am very familiar with the area. After living in NYC for 6 years, I was looking for a more sustainable lifestyle with more nature and a lower baseline stress level! I moved up to New Paltz with my girlfriend about 8 months ago and we’ve been really enjoying it so far.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
There are some really talented folks all over the Hudson Valley and especially in New Paltz—check out Jordan Koschei, Milo Axelrod, and Tyler Walker. I love how supportive and tight knit the Hudson Valley scene is.

Join Dan and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley filmmaker Francesco Cordaro

Spotlight On: Francesco Cordaro

Francesco Cordaro is an award-winning independent filmmaker who writes, shoots, and edits his own work with his company, Fusion Box Films, in Kingston.

Tell us about a few things you’ve done.
As a director, I’ve created films for The Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford (featured as a segment on NBC’s The Today Show). As a cinematographer, I’ve worked with stars like Ice-T, Bone Thugs and Harmony, and Natalie Merchant. As an editor, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Hulu and Live Nation for their series On Stage, creating a documentary portrait on Major Lazer and VR. I also edited a documentary for Lady Antebellum on the making of their 2017 album Heart Break. I produced the award-winning documentary Aerodrome, about the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, winner of Best Short Documentary at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

See some of Francesco’s work →

What are you excited about right now?
I am currently developing a feature length sci-fi film with my business partner, Andrea Cordaro. The film is set to take place right here in the Hudson Valley. I am also developing an international photography series, as well as creating short films.

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I grew up in New Paltz, running around outside making movies with my friends for Ms. Cone’s high school filmmaking class.

I love the Hudson Valley. There’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather live and create. It’s the most untouched happening place I have ever been. Its serene landscapes and positive vibes make it a great place to focus in on your work. People here are very supportive of the arts and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
I have been very fortunate to find myself surrounded by unbelievable talents with whom I get to collaborate regularly. New Paltz resident and native Tim Hurley, who is Fusion Box Film’s film art director and graphic designer, always blows me away. He’s somehow able to express an emotion or a mood through text that is always exactly what we need. He is also a musician and fine artist. And I love listening to his new punk rock Christmas album every year.

It’s a unique thing when you grow up with someone and then get to tell stories with them. When you get to collaborate with your sibling, you understand how the other’s mind works, and you gravitate toward similar subjects. Growing up, Andrea had gone off and gotten swept up by acting in the theater, while I was discovering my passion for film. It was later that we realized that this was something we were going to do together. She’s a very talented actress, writer, and producer. To be able to work with someone you trust to refine your work in invaluable. It is always fascinating for me to see her play new roles with other companies, and watch her journey.

Join Francesco and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley illustrator and designer Josh McKible

Spotlight On: Josh McKible

Josh McKible is a graphic and motion designer with an emphasis on illustration, living in Beacon. He does business as “MCKIBILLO,” a portmanteau of his last name and “illo,” a slang term for illustration he picked up doing art direction for a bunch of different magazines.

What are you excited about right now?
I only started offering motion graphics design or “mograph” about a year ago, and I’m psyched to be able to offer clients the chance to see their stuff dance. So I’m always trying to level up my skills and learn as much as I can. Very excited about that.

See one of Josh’s motion graphics →

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I’m originally from here! Born and bred in Newburgh, but I left as soon as I could. I’ve lived a bunch of different places, including a prolonged stint in Japan. Frankly, I continue to be a bit surprised to find myself back in this neck of the woods, but I’m back now and I’m loving it. I love being able to hike the woods, basically just down my block, the change of seasons, the Hudson River, and the local landscape in general.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
Oh, that’s a dangerous question… there are so many talented creatives working here now, I don’t want to get in trouble by leaving anyone out. Just go out and HIRE LOCALLY! Rant done.

Join Josh and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

Hudson Valley designer Milo Axelrod

Spotlight On: Milo Axelrod

Milo Axelrod is a graphic designer specializing in human-centered design and passionate about web and interface design, living in New Paltz.

What are you excited about right now?
I’m nearly finished with a full redesign the Sojourner Truth Library’s website. STL is the campus library at SUNY New Paltz, a school that I graduated from not too long ago. As an alumni, I personally struggled with using the previous incarnation of the website, so getting the chance to come back and fix the damn thing has been very satisfying.

I’ve also just finished writing a new talk about how designers think (or don’t think) about dimensions in web design, and how actively considering the web as a 3D space can help our designs make more sense and become a more intuitive experience for users. I’m hoping to present it at least a couple times this year!

How did you come to live in the Hudson Valley? What do you love about it?
I grew up in Rochester and moved to the Hudson Valley when I transferred to SUNY New Paltz. I had an excellent time getting a BFA in Graphic Design. The university didn’t offer on-campus housing to transfer students at the time, so I enjoyed a series of mediocre apartments in town and was exposed to a great combo of campus life and village life. I found that the town of New Paltz has an excellent balance of small-town community kept fresh by the constant flow of new faces and ideas from the university, and I begrudgingly fell in love with it.

Shauna Keating, my classmate and good friend, tricked me into getting involved in the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup. I started volunteering fairly often, made a lot of friends, and met a lot of excellent people. After I graduated, I had an abstract desire to move to Seattle until Shauna asked me to get an apartment with her. I sat down and considered the benefits of moving to a vaguely exciting place far away vs. hanging out in a town that I already loved with a great professional network I’d already become a part of. I quickly stood up again, got my laptop, and started looking for 2 bedroom apartments on Craigslist.

When I tell people that a big reason I live in the Hudson Valley is for the tech community, they always seem surprised. I can’t blame them, for I, too, once believed that the Hudson Valley was just a place to drive through. With all the amazing community organizations like the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup and projects like Hudson Valley Talentbase, I am quite sure that sooner or later, they will stop being so surprised.

Who are some other Hudson Valley creatives whose work you admire?
I’ve already mentioned her twice, but Shauna Keating is a magnificent human and designer. She always goes above and beyond in her leadership and is an incredibly supportive person in my life.

I’m also a huge fan of the Hudson River’s work; it’s done a phenomenal job with the landscaping. While the project has been a very long time in the making, I’ve read that it’s still a work in progress. I’m very impressed with the river’s dedication and patience, and I really hope to continue to see it doing great work for the region and the community.

Join Milo and sign up for the Hudson Valley’s online creative community: HV Talentbase.

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