Coxsackie, N.Y.: ‘A Special Place on the Hudson’


Joel Readence fell in love with the house first.

In May 2021, Mr. Readence, 51, and his partner, Matt Berdine, 46, a sourcing manager for a clothing manufacturer, paid $407,000 for an artfully renovated, three-bedroom antique house with Hudson River views in the Greene County town of Coxsackie, N.Y.

“I didn’t find Coxsackie — I found the house,” said Mr. Readence, an executive coach for a large consulting firm, who now splits his time between Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Coxsackie. “After sheltering for four months in an 800-square-foot apartment with my partner and our dog, I was on Zillow looking for places in the upstate area. When we saw the cottage and the town and learned a little more about it, it was really appealing to be a part of its renaissance.”

Perched on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 25 miles south of Albany, Coxsackie covers roughly 37 square miles — including an eponymous 2.17-square-mile village — with a population of 8,382, according to the 2020 census. The nearly five-acre Riverside Park, adjacent to the downtown area, offers stunning views.

“You just have beautiful, open park space and the most pristine riverfront,” said Aaron Flach, 47, a developer and a Coxsackie native. “It’s a beautiful natural landscape that sets us apart from any other community.”

Just a few years ago, Coxsackie’s historic downtown was pocked with boarded-up buildings. Now the Reed Street Historic District has boutique businesses like the Reed Street Bottle Shop and the antiques store UnQuiet. On a six-acre riverside site, Mr. Flach is building a $15 million hospitality project that includes a 47-room hotel with a top-floor restaurant and deck, and a spa inside a restored electric light station. Last November, he opened a 13,000-square-foot event space in a 1906 factory adjoining the hotel site, with a glass atrium overlooking the river. Called The Wire, after the wire manufacturer that once owned the building, it has 27 events booked so far in 2023.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation recently made $3.2 million worth of improvements to Riverside Park, including the construction of a pavilion and renovations to the boat launch. And in 2021, the state’s Main Street grant program awarded $347,000 to the Reed Street Historic District to help preserve and protect its buildings.

“Between Mr. Flach’s project and the park, our entire riverfront area will have been renovated,” said Mark Evans, 57, a Coxsackie native who has been the mayor of the village since 2009. “It’s a special place on the Hudson.”

Mr. Flach, he added, is renovating buildings that “had been vacant since I was a kid.”

Historic homes predominate in the village. Outside the village, Coxsackie’s architecture is a mix of styles, with a number of Greek Revival farmhouses reflecting the area’s agrarian past.

The Reed Street Historic District consists of two- and three-story Italianate brick buildings from the mid-1800s, many painted in soft pastels. Small shops that recently have sprung up include Mansion + Reed General Store, which offers specialty groceries, espresso and pastries; Shipwrecked News, Books & Café, which sells sandwiches, homemade bagels, used books, and just received a liquor license; and, a few doors down, the Reed Street Bottle Shop, which carries local wines and spirits, as well as T-shirts and coffee mugs emblazoned with the phonetic spelling of the town’s often mispronounced name: “cook-SAH-kie.”

Susan Baldaserini, an owner of the wine shop and a graphic artist, designed the shirts and mugs. “Now a weekend doesn’t go by where I don’t hear someone in the shop saying, ‘Oh, that’s how you say it,’” she said.

In 2015, when Ms. Baldaserini, 43, and her boyfriend and business partner, Shai Kessler, 45, were living in Red Hook, Brooklyn, they bought a weekend house in the neighboring town of New Baltimore. They moved upstate full-time in 2016 to open the wine shop. The following year, Ms. Baldaserini opened Pilothouse Paper, a stationery store that doubles as her graphic-design studio, across the street.

“A lot of people travel up and down 9W without ever knowing Reed Street exists, but if you get the hot tip to turn off 9W and onto Reed Street, it’s truly charming and idyllic,” she said.

“What I’ve been seeing is the people who are interested in being full-time also want to either open up a business here or do a satellite of what they’re already doing in the city,” said Dave Merchant, a Coxsackie native and a real estate agent at Keller Williams Hudson Valley North.

Amy Bennett, who owns two businesses in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, is shopping for commercial space in Coxsackie to open a farm stand. She splits her time between her Fort Greene brownstone and her Coxsackie house, but plans to spend most of her time upstate once her younger daughter graduates from high school. In addition to Greene Grape Wine & Spirits and Greene Grape Provisions, she owns five properties in Athens, including 58 acres of farmland.

“Coxsackie feels like it’s got big energy from the waterfront development,” said Ms. Bennett, 53, who bought her three-bedroom Victorian house with river views for $375,000 in May 2021. “There’s definitely a bigger rejuvenation going on all at once.”

She likes to grab coffee at Shipwrecked, pick up cream puffs at the Little Bake Shop on Mansion Street and explore the Coxsackie Antique Center in the West Coxsackie business district on Route 9W, where more than 100 antiques dealers sell their wares. “It’s exactly what you want for a rainy Saturday, to wander through and see things you’ve never seen before,” she said.

Students in the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District attend either Coxsackie Elementary School or Edward J. Arthur Elementary School for kindergarten through fourth grade. They go on to Coxsackie-Athens Middle School for fifth through eighth grade, and then to Coxsackie-Athens High School.

During the 2020-21 school year, the latest year for which figures were available from the New York State Education Department, the district had an enrollment of 1,188 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. About 85 percent identified as white, 8 percent as Hispanic, 5 percent as multiracial, 2 percent as Black and 1 percent as Asian or Pacific Islander.

On 2021-22 state tests, 86 percent of Coxsackie-Athens High School students were proficient in English, 34 percent were proficient in algebra and 54 percent were proficient in geometry, compared with 81 percent, 66 percent and 53 percent statewide. In 2022, the average SAT verbal score was 546, compared with a statewide average of 534; the average math score was 542, versus 533 statewide.

The high school’s graduation rate in 2021 was 89 percent, compared with 86 percent for the state.

Coxsackie is roughly a seven-minute drive from Exit 21B on the New York State Thruway. The drive to the George Washington Bridge takes about two hours, depending on traffic.



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