‘Pop-up’ places of wonder?

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Thin places are doorways into “other” worlds, experiences that surprise, refresh and enchant. Our region is blessed with many such natural places: waterfalls, vistas, parks, hikes and historical and pre-historical sites. But can new Thin Places develop? I have a couple ideas.

Goshen geologist Philip LaPorta has been amassing a huge world-class collection of rocks, minerals and archeological treasures. Presently, he is looking for a new home for the entire collection. I’ve seen only parts and it is stunning. Quite the centerpiece of some new museum! Any ideas on a big available space?

I could be wrong about this next opportunity, but Where have all the Flea Markets gone? When I moved here 30 years ago, that Maybrook Flea Market was legendary. My NYC friends all knew Orange County: “Oh, Maybrook! I’ve been there.” Gone.

Recently in Edinburgh, Scotland, I visited something between a flea market and a farmers market, called, to no surprise, “Flea and Food.” It was a semi-permanent pop-up event with many different vendors. It had that just-sprouted excitement as well as the comfortable predictability we’ve come to expect from Farmers Markets. There are many empty lots around that can be energized for new purposes. What will it take? A GoFundMe push? A visionary-angel entrepreneur?

A store in Piermont, NY, Outside-In, has been experimenting with this notion. Once a month they turn their shop and parking lot into a Souk, a fancy Moroccan term for something like that pop-up Scottish Flea and Food. Is this an idea that can spur novel vitality in other villages?

Closer to home is Mason’s Marketplace in New Hampton on Route 50, a county store, restaurant, and tap room.

The big concept behind all of this is “Placemaking.” Just what can we do to try to turn our common spaces into vibrant, satisfying “places” which offer residents and visitors the rare experiences of delight and wonder? It’s a question and process that has to happen over and over.

Daniel Mack

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