KINGSTON – I was sitting on the Catskill Mountain Railroad train looking at the sun sparkling on the Ashokan Reservoir. To hike around the reservoir, some people rode on the train out and back.
How did this happen?
The five boroughs had broken off and remained New York state. The rest of us happily became the state of Albany. We were a red or blue state because that is what we chose to be, not because we were overwhelmed by New York City.
Because Albany was a separate state, New York City had to renegotiate with us for control of the reservoir. We rejected them.
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein had moved on to other places and his successor was passionate about the Catskill Mountain Railroad. The tracks had not been ripped up. Working together, the railroad rocketed ahead with construction and here I sat, drinking in every shimmer on the water and every sound of the engine as it idled. I’ve loved railroads since I was little.
Then, of course, I had to wake up to reality, as we all do.
I remember taking our kids to the Sand Creek Railroad on Lake Ontario every year. When they relocated, Kingston rejected them. They went where they are appreciated, supported and thriving, and bringing tourists to their area.
Much as I would miss the Catskill Mountain Railroad — and so would the merchants who profit from the tourism they bring — I say, "Catskill Mountain Railroad, go and do likewise. Go where you are supported. You deserve better."