by Bill Batson
Goldberg can trace his interest in Nyack’s iconic housing stock to a talk at the Edward Hopper House Arts Center by architectural historian Leontine Temsky that he attended 25 years ago. “She got me fascinated in the details of Victorian architecture: the porch balustrades, the bargeboards and the towers,” Goldberg said. This week’s sketch captures a design feature that Goldberg learned about from Temsky and is particularly fond of recording; Hudson Valley brackets. The ornately carved wooden brackets can be seen supporting roof overhangs and are always placed in pairs.
Temsky and Goldberg form an interesting pair of Hudson valley brackets themselves as colleagues on the trustee board of the Historical Society of the Nyacks. The transplant Brooklynites attended the same Sunday school, high school and college in the borough before independently arriving in Nyack, where they have become two of our most ardent preservationists.
In order to accommodate year-round interest, Goldberg created a tour that could be conducted without walking. The John Scott Armchair Walking Tour started 18 years ago and are well attended at both the Nyack and Valley Cottage Libraries. The lectures are named for preeminent Rockland County historian John Scott. This year’s series, which starts in September, features Rockland Veterans Service Agency Director Jerry Donnellan and retired naturalist and educator from Sterling Forest, Doc Bayne.
Goldberg’s favorite armchair lecture topic is downtown Nyack. And his favorite place to direct the attention of his audience is up. “If you walk downtown, what you see at street level is the village as it is now,” Goldberg observes, “but looking up at the second and third floor is like looking into a time capsule. The buildings at that level are pretty much the exact way that they were when they were built 150 years old.”
In his lecture, Goldberg follows the linage of Smith and Quidor back nearly a century. The business survived through a cycle of succession where owners would leave the business to employees that started as apprentices. The business was ultimately passed down to Mike Condello, a respected civic leader, whose widow, Pat, is a current member of the Historical Society Trustee Board.
There is a sense of all consuming passion and purpose in Goldberg’s lectures and tours. He honed his presentation skills in the chemical industry where he would “put facts into story form.” But don’t call him a historian, “that implies research,” he protests. “I like to tell the stories that have already been put together.”
But through the impressive archive that Goldberg has assembled, future historians, who will be able to tackle topics that his lectures have chronicled or scour a landscape that he has documented with his camera, may beg to differ.
Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Towering Treasures” © 2013 Bill Batson.
The Nyack Sketch Log is sponsored by The Corner Frame Shop at 40 South Franklin Street in Nyack, NY.