The Senate Garage: The Newest Jewel in The Crown of Uptown Kingston

  |  March 8, 2016

The Senate Garage, Uptown Kingston’s Newest Jewel

“Never miss a party – good for the nerves, like celery.” — F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The noun “party” is defined as a “social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking and entertainment.” Perhaps it is readily clear there is nothing I enjoy more than a well-orchestrated party. Personally, I consider a well-orchestrated party to be one which pairs charming guests with delicious food, featuring a well-arrayed setting and complimented by signature cocktails, wine and champagne. Adding a musical performance, jazz combo or dancing only enhances the evening. Thoughts like these on a cold winter’s day instantly spur on the innate party planner in my soul. Conceptualizing, developing and implementing events is almost as much fun as attending, particularly if the right perfectly designed blank canvas happens to be right before your very eyes. Such a space could easily be transformed into a musical lounge performance arena, a wedding venue, corporate function space, meeting destination or site for a gala charity fundraiser.


The open concept floor plan of the Senate Garage is a stunning blank canvas for event planners.

The Hudson Valley, similar to Manhattan, offers a cornucopia of potential host spaces for events. Some spaces encompass the beauty of the natural landscape, others pay tribute to the industrial era, while additional properties offer the romance of a historical setting. Gardens, Gilded Age estates, mountain lodges, industrial sites and century-old barns abound. However, what if through the magical revitalization of what is becoming today’s Hudson Valley, there was a unique offering which wrapped all these combined options into one neat package. Perhaps the space pairs history with modernity, setting with beauty, and perhaps even a sprawling lawn with a cozy garden. Once again, we find ourselves back in the buzz-land of Kingston, NY, on the doorstep of the newly opened Senate Garage. In the words of Jane Garrity, President of the Kingston Uptown Business Association, “the Senate Garage is a delightful addition to our neighborhood. Just another positive story in the redevelopment of Uptown Kingston.”


Exposed brick walls and original cement floors accentuate the space.

In the ensuing months of 2016, I have attended several events at the Senate Garage, ranging from the Chronogram’s New Year’s Eve Dance Party, the annual meeting of the Kingston Uptown Business Association, an open house for caterers, event planners and designers in Ulster County and most recently the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce monthly mixer. In each incidence the Senate Garage has conformed easily to crowds of varying sizes. It’s terrific to have a space in Uptown Kingston easily converted to accommodate a range of events from dance parties, to civic meetings, to musical performances, to cocktail parties with a guest list varying in numbers 100 to 350. Appropriately designed smaller events or business conferences would be a snap within this amazing brick-lined space.


Preserved industrial detailing adds to the Garage’s appeal

Chatting with my friends restaurateurs Nicole Cawley (co-owner Yum Yum Noodles) and mm Ullman (By-Water Bistro and Hudson Valley Harvest Company) we each were enthusiastic regarding the limitless number of catering opportunities possible within the Senate Garage. It’s a space whose cement floors and lofty ceilings could easily accommodate Yum Yum Noodles’ food truck. The open concept floor plan, accentuated by cozy additional private lounge areas, could serve as the perfect marketing venue to introduce existing and potential clients to the Hudson Valley Harvest Company’s continual expanding range of products.


The lawn of the Historic Senate House Museum is also available for rental at an additional fee.

Recently elected as a Board Member to the Senate House State Museum Properties (adjacent to the Senate Garage), my thoughts during this particular visit drifted to the Friends of The Senate House Fundraiser slated for Friday September 16. The fundraiser will feature live musical performances by Grammy Award Winning artists, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. Through their work with such projects as Ken Burns The Civil War, Jay and Molly are the perfect performers to launch a fundraiser for the centuries-old Senate House. Don and Judy Tallerman, along with General Manager Carl Harris, have generously donated the usage of the Senate Garage for this upcoming Event. The Event Committee and I are enthusiastically reviewing the space, in preparation of an event which will celebrate the history of the Historic Stockade District’s most expansive museum property. Funds from the event will help to further fund educational programming and cultural events on the grounds of the Senate House Museum. What could be a better pairing than a centuries old museum property and the hippest revitalized industrial space in Uptown Kingston?


Extensive exterior lighting accentuates the drama of the exterior space.

As a wedding venue the Senate Garage, with its close proximity to the Old Dutch Church, St Joe’s Catholic Church, The St James United Methodist Church and the Fair Street Church eliminates many of the logistical obstacles which often derail nuptial plans. The varied array of restaurants, lounges and breakfast eateries within the Senate Garage’s Stockade neighborhood assures easy accessibility for all wedding events. Events ranging from rehearsal dinners, to groomsmen’s parties, to bride’s maids luncheons could easily be hosted within walking distance of the Senate Garage. In fact, an all-inclusive wedding could be designed to highlight the best of Uptown Kingston. It is no surprise when Kingston natives Alexandra Weishaupt and Christopher Deforest began designing their August 2016 wedding the Senate Garage was their first choice. Even before the space was completed Alexandra and Christopher decided to forgo the beauty of their current home city of Charleston, South Carolina for the appeal of their native hometown. The wedding, which will begin with an elegant ceremony in the Old Dutch Church, will then see members of the wedding party whisked by golf cart to a tented cocktail reception in the garden of the Senate House Museum. Following the cocktail hour, Alexandra says the 200-250 guests “will then step from the Senate House’s pristine lawn into the Senate Garage.” She continues, ” The industrial-chic theme of the wedding will be enhanced by drippy white candles and white flowers, with family style wines on the tables and catering by Ship to Shore.” Chris, a professional golfer (thus the golf carts), comes from a local farm family, so we’ll be having a farm-to-table station as well, incorporating Hudson Valley produce from Story Farm. Music will be provided by the Lindsey Webster Band. “We want each of our guests to feel like they are at a fantastic party, all within the confines of the newly revitalized Uptown Kingston,” Alexandra enthuses.


Karl Harris, the General Manager of the Senate Garage

The Senate Garage, with ample parking, killer interior design, limitless opportunities for caterers, and selected lounge areas, as well as the additional rental of the Senate House Museum’s garden and sprawling lawn is the definition of an all inclusive event property. A plethora of events could easily be conceptualized given the outstanding appeal of this space. Close proximity to restaurants, historical sites, musical venues and lounges further expand the Senate Garage’s appeal as the nucleus for a variety of events. Corporate meetings, weddings, and fundraisers could easily encompass add-on sister events within a one-to-three block walking distance of the Senate Garage. As the newest jewel in the crown of the revitalized uptown Kingston, events at the Senate Garage would be a delightful breeze.


Early 20th architectural detailing features prominently on the main facade of the Senate Garage.

For more from the Senate Garage, check out their website here.

About Haynes Llewellyn

Haynes Llewellyn, an interior designer, preservationist and accomplished party planner, relocated to the Hudson Valley city of Kingston from Manhattan’s Central Park West neighborhood in 2007. During Haynes’s almost nine years in the Hudson Valley, he has been featured in numerous television, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews. Haynes’s first Kingston restoration project was of a Historic 1840’s Greek Revival home, featured in the recently released Rizzoli Interior Design book Heart and Home: Rooms that Tell Stories by Linda Okeeffe. Haynes has served on a number of boards of directors, event committees and commissions since arriving in the Hudson Valley. Haynes, along with his two Scottish Terrier Rescues and partner Gary Swenson, is currently in the process of renovating his second Kingston home, a 1939 Colonial.

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