Author: Bill Batson

Bill Batson is an artist, writer and activist. He has worked for non profits, labor unions, and government in New York State as an organizer writer and public relations specialist.
Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Nyack Center Honors Kris and Tom Burns & Ray Wright

On November 6, the Nyack Center’s Legacy Gala will honor three of my dearest friends, Kris and Tom Burns and Ray Wright. Each has been exceedingly generous with their time, talent and resources on behalf of the Nyack Center through the years. Let’s continue their legacy of hard work and generosity and purchase tickets for this hybrid event which includes a virtual gala in November and an in-person “afterparty” in May.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Pilgrim Baptist Church Installs Rev. Carl L. Washington III

Only four pastors have stood in the pulpit of Pilgrim Baptist Church since the congregation found a safe harbor at the corner of High Avenue and North Franklin in 1961. On Sunday, October 3, 2021, Reverend Carl L. Washington III was installed as the newest shepherd of this storied flock.

An eighth generation preacher with a newly minted degree from the Yale School of Divinity, Rev. Washington is an ideal fit for a church family that once included Rockland County’s first African American elected official Hezekiah Easter and hosts the communities annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. multifaith service.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Batson For Assembly

I spent a few years wondering how I would commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Nyack Sketch Log, which first appeared on August 23, 2011. Having posted a sketch and short essay about person, place or public policy issue every week for over 500 weeks, I knew I wanted to do something big to mark the occasion.

So when I made a momentous decision in June of this year, I thought that the anniversary edition of the Nyack Sketch Log would be the perfect place to share the news.

I am a candidate to represent the 97th district of the New York State Assembly.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Piermont’s Forgotten Fallen Firefighter Thomas Pomplin

Daniel Goswick, Sr., Ex-Chief of the Piermont Fire Department is on a mission to properly commemorate a 19th-century firefighter named Thomas Pomplin. “Pomp,” as he was called by friends and family, died in August 1854, a few days after collapsing at the site of a fire in Nyack. Goswick believes this death should have been recorded as the first in-service loss of life in Rockland County. But Pomplin, who was Black, was denied the distinction

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Hudson Valley Haitian Community Sending Help to Island Home

Days after the August 14 earthquake devastated their island homeland, I sat with Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Joseph and two of her sons, Pastor Amos Joseph and Dordy in the sanctuary of the Church of God on Burd St. in Nyack.

The Josephs and their countrymen have drawn for a bottomless well of resilience to recover from the coups, earthquakes and hurricanes that have too frequently troubled the waters of their island nation.

Here’s how you can help provide some relief the those impacted by recent hardships.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Rockland Center for the Arts

When it comes to attracting artists to take up residence, the region has assembled a pantheon of American cultural deities worthy of Mount Olympus. Figures like actor Helen Hayes, composer Aaron Copland, painter Edward Hopper and writer Ben Hecht, to name a handful have called Rockland home. Fortunately for us mortals, a few of these important creative artists combined their efforts to leave us a living institutional legacy: Rockland Center for the Arts.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Cafe La Talaye

When Chef Michelle Timothee first arrived in Nyack in 1998, she was reminded of the hilly landscape of Petion-Ville, Haiti, where she opened her first restaurant. Entranced by the landscape and the warm embrace of a significant Haitian population that began arriving in Nyack in the 1960s, Chef Timothee is now expanding her culinary enterprise.

Come by this Thursday, from 8a – 2p, and wish Nyack Farmer’s Market’s culinary artist-in-residence a Happy Birthday.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: Oak Hill Cemetery

llustrious permanent residents Include:Helen Hayes, General Daniel Ullman, credited with creating the first black union regiments regiment during the civil war, acclaimed painter Edward Hopper and author of the Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, who is said to get the most visitors.

Here is a virtual tour of the recent history of Oak Hill Cemetery including their work to support sister cemetery in West Nyack, Mount Moor.

Read More

Nyack Sketch Log: A House Haunted by Art

Emily Dickinson, American artist Joseph Cornell’s enduring muse, wrote that “nature is a haunted house, but art is a house that tries to be haunted.” As the current occupant of Cornell’s South Nyack birthplace, Sylvia Roth describes the creative output of subsequent generations of her family, and others who have lived here, one begins to suspect that this is a house haunted by art.

I got to visit Cornell’s birthplace for the first time this week, delivering my illustration that accompanied this column. It will now hang on the walls of this home that has provided inspiration for so many.

Here’s my 2014 interview with Roth and also my discovery of another connection between Cornell and the Nyacks.