Kingston

The county seat for Ulster County, Kingston is an actual city in contrast to the towns and villages around it.  Historically significant, Kingston was the first capital of New York and maintains a historic Stockade District with many stone buildings and period architecture.  Today Kingston enjoys a boost of young energy as artists from New York migrate north finding ample studio space and a creative scene including a Soap Box Derby, Second Saturday Gallery walk, and an art and entertainment complex called Back Stage Productions.

From Wikipedia:

Kingston /ˈkɪŋstən/ is a city in and the county seat of Ulster CountyNew York, United States. It is 91 miles (146 km) north of New York City and 59 miles (95 km) south of Albany. It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British on October 13, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga. In the 19th century, the city became an important transport hub after the discovery of natural cement in the region, and had both railroad and canal connections. Passenger rail service has since ceased, and many of the older buildings are part of three historic districts, such as the Stockade District uptown, the Midtown Neighborhood Broadway Corridor, and the Rondout-West Strand Historic District downtown.

As early as 1614, the Dutch had set up a factorij (trading post) at Ponckhockie, at the junction of the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River. The first recorded permanent settler in what would become the city of Kingston, was Thomas Chambers, who came from the area of Rensselaerswyck in 1653. The place was called Esopus after the local Esopus tribe. As more settlers arrived, tensions developed between the Esopus and the Dutch, in part due to the Dutch selling alcohol to the young Esopus men.[3]

Kingston has three recognized area neighborhoods. The Uptown Stockade Area, The Midtown Area, and The Downtown Waterfront Area. The Uptown Stockade District was the first capital of New York State. Meanwhile, the Midtown area is known for its early 20th century industries and plays home to the Ulster Performing Arts Center and the historic City Hall building.

The downtown area, once the village of Rondout and now the Rondout-West Strand Historic District, borders the Rondout Creek and includes a recently redeveloped waterfront. The creek empties into the Hudson River through a large, protected tidal area which was the terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, built to haul coal from Pennsylvania to New York City.[14]

The Rondout neighborhood is known for its artists' community and its numerous art galleries; in 2007 Business Week online named it as among "America's best places for artists."[15] It is also the site of a number of festivals, including the Kingston Jazz Festival and the Artists Soapbox Derby.[16]

Midtown is the largest of Kingston's neighborhoods, home to Kingston High School and both campuses of HealthAlliance Hospital, part of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network; HealthAlliance Broadway Campus (formerly The Kingston Hospital) and HealthAlliance Mary's Avenue Campus (formerly Benedictine Hospital).

While the Uptown area is noted for its "antique" feeling, the overhangs attached to buildings along Wall and North Front streets were added to historic buildings in the late 1970s and are not authentically part of the 19th century Victorian architecture. The historic covered storefront walks, known as the Pike Plan, were recently reinforced and modernized with skylights. In the Stockade district of Uptown, many 17th century stone buildings remain. Among these is the Senate House, which was built in the 1670s and was used as the state capitol during the revolution. Many of these old buildings were burned by the British Oct. 17, 1777, and restored later. A controversial restoration of 1970s-era canopies was marred by the sudden appearance of painted red goats on planters just prior to the neighborhood's rededication.[17] This part of the city is also the location of the Ulster County Office Building.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.4 km2), of which 7.3 square miles (19.0 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), or 15.03%, is water. The city is on the west bank of the Hudson River. Neighboring towns include HurleySaugertiesRhinebeck, and Red Hook.