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Towne Crier Moving To Beacon


Taj Mahal at the Towne Crier

Pat Manning recently confirmed that the Towne Crier Cafe of Pawling NY will be moving to Beacon, and now the official word is out as well. Apparently there was a holdup in the permit approvals for the Town Crier occupying half of the Market Square renovation of the old DMV building, but that has now been accomplished.

Frances Marion Platt, Town Crier Cafe to move to Beacon via Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly

An e-mail blast went out to the Crier’s mailing list in late December, promising the long-awaited revelation at the club’s New Year’s Eve concert. And then 2013 dawned with no onstage announcement, no press release, no update on the website.

But now it can be told: What was holding up the big news most recently turned out merely to be some routine delays in the permitting process from the City of Beacon. And on Tuesday, January 8, the Beacon Planning Board gave conditional Site Plan Approval to [Towne Crier’s owner Phil] Ciganer’s application to renovate the former Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) building at 381 Main Street [now known as Market Square] and move the Towne Crier in. The conditions were minor, including things like adding a handicapped access ramp at the building’s rear entrance. So it’s good to go.

Ciganer has no complaints about the City bureaucracy; on the contrary, he’s full of praise for what will be the Crier’s new hometown. “They seem to be pretty together in Beacon – very welcoming to new businesses,” he says. “It’s a happening little community. It has changed a lot in the last ten years. It’s full of life, with a lot of people moving there.”

He cites the opening of Dia:Beacon on the waterfront and the burgeoning art gallery scene as signs of a community on its way to becoming a major cultural hub for the mid-Hudson. The fact that Beacon is accessible via Metro North’s Hudson Line from either north or south is also a big plus. “We might even consider having an in-house shuttle to meet train arrivals, as well as the ferry from Newburgh,” the seasoned impresario speculates.

The former DMV office is a stone structure in need of a serious overhaul, says Ciganer, who is about to sign a long-term lease on half the building. He expects the process to take four to six months to complete. “We have to build the place, essentially. It’s the right space that we have to outfit. There’s no kitchen. It’s a blank canvas.” He envisions a modular floor plan with movable walls that can adapt the size of the listening space to how big a draw a particular act might be, thereby preserving the club’s long reputation as a cozy, intimate place to hear music.

The Market Square structure is basically a hollow shell, so Ciganer’s characterization is dead on. But the good news is that sometime this year, perhaps in the summer, we’ll be listening to great music on Main Street.

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