I created the Soho based company called Think Big! In 1978, where my partner and I designed and produced visually delightful, whimsical giant objects taken from everyday life. That was my first venture into creating aesthetic experiences for people. At the time, I was involved with a group of artists and architects, poker players like myself, who got together regularly for a "friendly game."
One evening, a female artist invited us to play poker at her apartment on Riverside Drive. Her living faced the Hudson River. I became mesmerized by the sight of the river and the twinkling lights. The woman came over to me and said, "Once you become hooked on water you'll never be able to live without it." I was hooked. It was instant.
Shortly thereafter, I purchased an apartment with unobstructed river views from every room. I never wanted to leave. It was paradise. I put my mattress on the floor by the floor to ceiling window and slept there just to be closer to the water.
Eventually, my partner and I sold ThinkBig! to a company based in Los Angeles. We were needed to help set up their new business. I wanted to move to Santa Monica on the beach, but my then girlfriend thought the beach was too seedy and wouldn't hear of it. I lasted about six months. The water won out. I dumped the girlfriend and moved to the beach. I met my current wife, a film and television editor living in Los Angeles, and married her. We lived on the water in a tiny single apartment in the notorious Sea Castle Apartments. We had two big dogs and a straight on ocean view. All that changed one early morning, at 4:31am to be exact, when we became victims of the horrific Northridge Quake. We were lucky to escape unharmed.
Events conspired to send us back to New York, and back to my much loved river view apartment in the West Village. Paradise! Protected views! Ha! What every New Yorker needs to remember is that New York is an ever changing human landscape. We found ourselves smack next to the proposed, and eventually constructed, Richard Miere's glass towers. To make matters worse, two other builders built in front of us. …So much for "protected views".
Then came 9/11. I was training for my first NYC Marathon and my best friend and I were jogging along the new Hudson River Park. As we turned the north corner of the Yacht basin, I heard a loud roar and in an instant, a plane crashed into the tower above us, disappearing in a flash.
Joel and I stood there for a few minutes when I said to him, "I don't feel safe here. Let's move to the south tower." A few minutes later we saw the second plane crash, and we ran up at the far end of Battery Park. We were covered by the ash.
I guess I'm telling you this as a means of therapy, but it also explains how we got here and how soothing water is for me. An acquaintance of ours knew how panicked I was and invited my wife and I to come and stay with him during the Woodstock Film Festival. What he was secretly hoping for was that we would buy his house which had been on the market for over a year with no offers.
We fell for it. We didn't realize how much work the small salt box contemporary needed. We purchased the house that weekend. It did have its charm; lots of glass and two wooded acres.
But it had no water. No stream. No river. Nada. I became desperate. I took out a real estate license to find water property. I found more than property. I found I love the people in the Woodstock area. And I also found a Wednesday night poker game with eight great, fun loving guys.
Finally I found a hidden seventeen acres with what I thought was potentially a fabulous place to put a house. My wife, brother, daughters and granddaughters thought I was crazy. The remoteness of this place, the ferocity of the water and the difficulty in building caused a battle with my wife. Finally I saw the light and stopped trying to buy this land.
Two years later my wife and I both found a place for sale with a beautiful stream and a great swimming hole in West Saugerties. My wife loved the home, a 1751 Dutch farmhouse. We made a full price offer but lost it to the man we ended up buying it from a year later.
A year later, while looking in the Woodstock Times, I saw an ad with an out of focus picture of a large waterfall and a description of a house. I did not tell my wife. The broker tried to steer me towards the house, but I was mesmerized by the waterfall.
The minute I saw it, I knew I would hock everything I could to buy this magnificent waterfall. The house didn't matter to me.
Surprisingly, the house looked great. But how would I tell my wife? I decided to be casual.
"Honey," I said, "I think you should take a look at this." To my great surprise, her reaction was similar to mine. "We have to have this," she said. "I feel like I'm perched on the edge of time."
Well, we did, and we are making it available to you. This is our paradise. If you love water and its sounds as much as I do, you too, could become addicted.