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Nyack People & Places: A Look Back at 2020

by Mike Hays

When we burn our 2020 calendars and combine its ashes with the ashes of all of our plans, hopes, and expectations for this lost year, it will be as if Dickens’ A Talk of Two Cities was rewritten as A Tale of Two Nations, but with the same words: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Like you, I have trudged through this fraught and horrible year. I have been lucky to have had the joy and consolation of sharing some 50 Nyack People & Places columns with you, who like me, see that Nyack is not so much a geography as it is a place of the heart. It was a year where we lost so much, yet found hope. It was a year in which, being unable to travel, rediscovered what was already around us.

It is to the what-is-already-around-us, our history, our architecture, our memories, and our natural beauty that I bring back these 12 columns as my personal punctuation to the year. It’s the only way I know how to say “thank you” for your comments, feedback, and loyalty to Nyack People & Places. Here’s hoping for a happy and healthy 2021!

Polio Pandemic and Nyack’s “Act of God Baby”
Birchwood Center is a Casualty of Coronavirus
Coronavirus is Anything But Sweet to Pie Lady & Son
Broadway’s Stonewall Walk
John Lyon, Hudson’s Oldest River Captain
The Living Last Person Born into Bondage in Rockland County
Our Streets Named after Slaveholders
Nyack Drive-In
Hooked on River Hook
Simpson’s Religious Resort in Nyack Heights –
The Early History of Nyack College
Balance Rock
Barons of Broadway — Widewater

Michael Hays is a 30-year resident of the Nyacks. Hays grew up the son of a professor and nurse in Champaign, Illinois. He has recently retired from a long career in educational publishing with Prentice-Hall and McGraw-Hill. Hays is an avid cyclist, amateur historian and photographer, gardener, and dog walker. He has enjoyed more years than he cares to count with his beautiful companion, Bernie Richey. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is brought to you by Sun River Health, Nyack Fan Card, and Weld Realty


Nyack Farmer's Market

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