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Nyack Sketch Log: These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things

by Dave Zornow

This week the Nyack Sketch Log is one year old. Author/artist Bill Batson’s weekly sketches and short essays have captured our community and our collective imagination each week since August 2011. His drawings and his insightful essays about the people, and places near here remind us how the unusual confluence of geography and history make Nyack unique.

And since Bill has more than earned a week of vacation, it’s time for a greatest hits column. With a little help from his friends.

“My vote goes to the Hook Mountain Yacht Club picture and its story. Bill’s drawing of the sagging building gives it a light ‘€˜lift’…and certainly his accompanying story lifts the reader to inform us of a tucked away gem on the river, in Nyack. But he also reminds us in his writing that sometimes people do things just for the sheer pleasure of doing it…for no financial remuneration…just because it is.” — Carlo Pellegrini

“My favorite Nyack Sketch log entry is The Brinks Robbery (October 18, 2011). It’s a great sketch — but more than that — it’s an amazing essay. A 30-year old tragedy which split a community is still an emotionally charged issue for many, but Bill’s sensitive retelling of this story from his unique perspective is worthy of an award for great writing AND great art, too.” — Dave Zornow

“Bill’s Sketch Log is so much more than just a ‘sketch’ or a ‘log.’ Bill personally connects with the people, history and issues of the places he sketches and articulately and beautifully communicates his knowledge to the reader / viewer. One very recent example of this is his Sketch Log about “Hollingsworth Memorial Church,” which is just a couple of blocks from where I live — and used to be just a building I passed by. Bill’s eloquent journalism and beautiful sketch made this building come alive for me. Bill brings us closer to the people and history of the Nyacks. As for my favorite stand-alone sketch — it’s Bill’s sketch of the 1884 Nyack waterfront area. I love that drawing.” — Loraine Machlin

“I may be the biggest Bill Batson fan ever. It is impossible to pick my favorite “Batson.” I stood with him at the Brinks Memorial watching him take it all in and knowing that his brain was already creating a detailed visual and verbal version of this key day in Nyack history. I fought with him over the fairness of his story on Walgreens and Kathy Christophersen and shared his respect for Candice Robins and her passion. Of course I love Pilgrim and Hollingsworth and the Nyack Center, the Pie Lady, the Rotary Clock, Hopper House, bits and pieces that Bill brilliantly captures that make up the wonderful wild weave of Nyack life. I could go on and on. Oh, and I must admit a fondness for Village Hall.” — Jen White, Mayor of Nyack

“I always look forward to reading Bill’s column’s. As a relative newcomer to Nyack, it’s wonderful to learn so much from the Sketch Log. In addition to the art, Bill’s column’s always include historical context and gives me an opportunity to learn more about Nyack and Rockland County.

Two of my favorite Sketch Logs are Hacienda and Flash Mob Digital Display. I like both of these columns because they say so much about our wonderful community. In Hacienda, Bill talks about the coming together of the community to help Karim Deen after his appendectomy, and in the Flash Sketch Mob columns, culminating in the Digital Display, we see the finished product of an amazing coming together of artists young and old, amateur and professional, to participate in a wonderful community event.”  — Barbara Atwell

My favorite changes depending on the day’€¦ yesterday, I intended to say my favorite sketch log was of Maura’s with it’s homespun tale and fantastic vantage point.

But today I find myself drawn to Hollingsworth.  I live a few blocks from this spot   and Bill’s drawing captured it exactly how I’ve seen it  countless times- nobly leaning up a hill’€¦ his gift, however, is that my experience of it is now entirely different-  his insightful and loving portraits in words and lines continually elevate the familiar into the remarkable. I am often left wondering what else haven’t I really seen on my way home?” — Kris Burns


Have a favorite? Feel free to post a comment at the bottom of this article. And happy anniversary to Bill and the Nyack Sketch Log. Looking forward to your return next week!

Here’s an index to one year of sketches and essays, grouped by topic.

Local History


The Hudson River


I remember John Perry (September 11, 2011)

Local Goverment


Art and Architecture

Edward Hopper

Flash Sketch Mob

Occupy Wall Street


#ripwanvinkle (November 1, 2011)

Civic Institutions

Community Institutions

Religious Institutions

Small Business

Bill Batson would like to thank all of the people who helped make this year of Nyack Sketch Log special. Without their support and stories this effort would not have been possible.  The following people deserve special note: Kris Burns, Kim Cross, Victor Alex Francisco, Brian Jennings, Tracy Kachtick-Anders, Glen Keene, Judith Martin, Jane Newman, Win Perry, Sylvia Peterson, Skye O’Jea Spiegel, Jen White,  Ben Wilcox and Dave Zornow.

The Nyack Sketch Log is sponsored by The Corner Frame Shop at 40 South Franklin Street in Nyack, NY. A special thanks for Hal Parker for his continued support of the arts in Nyack and the Nyack Sketch Log in particular.


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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