Ah, the Cooperstown Diner. That table in the back sure looks promising, let’s sit there!
But wait – there’s a placard clipped into the condiment tray, on which is printed a brief verse:
“To ye whose eyes rest upon this spot/Let it be known that it’s already got/by a daily knot of men of Cooperstown.”
Often true in 2021 at the 136½ Main Street landmark, and often true since the original owners opened the doors one century ago.
But if the ‘daily knot’ is in its appointed spot, you can always pull up a stool at the counter or take a seat at one of the other tables there.
This year, Cooperstown Diner manager Caspar Ewig marks the 100th anniversary of the restaurant’s December 9, 1921 groundbreaking with a new menu featuring all-time diner favorites, new offerings, specials, take-out, and everything that has made the place a village mainstay for years.
That ‘daily knot’ of Cooperstown residents? One would be hard-pressed to find a Cooperstown resident of any gender who hasn’t, more than once, worked out a problem, mapped out a strategy, plotted a new course, caught up with friends, or done just about anything else convivial over a meal at the Cooperstown Diner.
And often at that back table.
Mr. Ewig took the helm at the Diner just as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold and, as The Freeman’s Journal reported at the time, prepped it for reopening for take-out in May 2020.
“We love that this is a place where locals know they can stop in for a good meal at a good price,” he said while sorting through the prior day’s tickets and talking about inventory.
“That’s the part of the job that’s not as much fun as coming up with menu ideas and trying out new dishes,” he said. “We have to run the business in the right way to keep the doors open and keep people coming in.”
“It’s great to see so many familiar faces coming in all the time,” he said.
“Think about this,” Mr. Ewig said. “For one hundred years, people have been eating at this very spot. Talking about their businesses, meeting with friends, sitting at the counter for a good meal.”
Mr. Ewig shared a piece of paper over breakfast and a cup of coffee.
“I’ve done a little research into other things happening in 1921 and came up with this whole list of food products that first appeared the same year they first broke ground on this diner,” he said. “Wise Potato Chips. Wheaties. Eskimo Pies. Laughing Cow Cheese. The Baby Ruth candy bar!”
“It looks like 1921 was a great year for longevity in the food business,” he said.
The Cooperstown Diner’s outward appearance hasn’t changed all that much in decades, the interior remaining as inviting and authentic as one could hope in a time when the world around it seems to be hyper-modernizing at
“The good news is I’ve finally settled on a really good coffee to pour,” Mr. Ewig said. (Editor’s note: Can confirm.)
As he sketched out some menu thoughts, he added, “We’re working on some ideas for family-style dinners and comfort food, and of course we have our breakfast and lunch regulars.”
Like any manager of a small business, Mr. Ewig wears a lot of hats in the Cooperstown Diner. Manager, waiter, chef, cook, busser, cashier, community ambassador, troubleshooter.
“I hadn’t thought I’d be doing something like this but when it became a possibility, I thought, ‘why not?”
he said. “Now I get to kick it off for another century on Main Street!”
Trick or Treating was already underway on Main Street Cooperstown when the Halloween Parade kicked off at 5 p.m. Lead by a police car the first down the street were members of the Cooperstown High School Band performing a rendition of horror classic ‘Jaws’ theme, their first performance since winter 2019. Following them was an absolute hoard of children and parents which filled the street with everything from Princesses and goblins to post office boxes and garden soil.
After months in which Hanna, boyfriend Henry Bauer, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins helped to revamp this local landmark, local residents can once again purchase their flowers from this local business. And it’s not only flowers anymore. Bergene has invited local artisans to put their wares for sale in the shop and there is everything from pottery from Cooperstown Pottery and Beiko Ceramics to jewelry by Karen Katz.
The weekend has seen a steady stream of people and the opening will run through 2 p.m.
A Cooperstown Central School junior achieved his goal of running a marathon before his 16th birthday.
Fred Hodgson, who turns 16 Friday, Oct. 22, finished the Syracuse Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 17, in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 13 seconds. His time placed Hodgson 58th out of 178 runners. He placed first in his age bracket, but that was expected, he said.
“I was the youngest person in the race by about four years,” he said Monday.
ONEONTA — Mayoral candidates and Common Council members Len Carson, R-Fifth Ward, and Mark Drank, D-Eighth Ward, discussed a range of topics at a virtual debate hosted by the League of Women Voters via Zoom on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Among the topics discussed were economic development, town-gown relations and housing.
Neither candidate had major disagreements on fundamental issues, although their approach to developing Market Street differed.
In his opening statement, Drnek touted how he set up the “Survive and Thrive” campaign in response to COVID, as well as a town-gown task force in order to improve relations between the city and the colleges.
COOPERSTOWN — About 40 people turned out Saturday, Oct. 9, to see the village of Cooperstown and the Cooperstown Rotary Association dedicate a bench in Pioneer Park to Paul Kuhn.
Kuhn, who died June 2 at 83 of complications from heart disease, was best known as the village’s Santa Claus for decades, setting up shop in a special house set up in Pioneer Park, not far from where his bench now rests.
“We are dedicating Paul’s bench in a place where all the children will see him and be able to greet him,” said Peg Leon, who was representing the Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee.
Otsego Land Trust announced Gregory Farmer as its new Executive Director in a media release Sunday, Oct. 3.
Farmer will begin work Nov. 15.
Working with OLT’s Search Committee, Eos Transition Partners facilitated a national search.
“Being a native upstate New Yorker with an innate love for our region, Greg’s deep expertise and connections in the land trust and preservation communities across the northeast will be a great asset to all OLT’s benefactors, conservation easement donors, stakeholders and partners. OLT staff and board are excited to welcome Greg as our new leader,” said Carla Hall, OLT board director and search committee chairperson, in a media release.
Farmer was born and raised along the Erie Canal corridor. An early interest in the landscape and history of the region led him to the completion of a degree in American Studies from SUNY Brockport and a master’s degree in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at SUNY Oneonta. His initial focus on American material culture evolved into an emphasis on community development, affordable housing, and historic preservation in Western Massachusetts, eventually expanding into Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. He previously worked for the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation in addition to managing community-based projects as an independent consultant.
Cherry Valley Artworks has awarded first prize for its 2021 Sculpture Trail to Richard Pitts of New Albany, Pennsylvania, for his piece “Windy Ribbon.”
Pitts received a prize of $1,000 for his work, an eight-foot-high, bright-red piece, made of powder coated aluminum.
Second prize of $500 was awarded to Bruce Gagnier, a Brooklyn artist, for a series of powerful life size bronze figures, “Yrsa, “May” and “Red.”
The show’s judge, Ed Smith, a member of the National Academy and the Royal British Society of Sculptors, Gallery Director and Professor of Art at Marist College said judging this year’s contest was difficult.
“ The choice of awards was especially difficult as there were so many outstanding works,” Smith said in a media release. “The level of commitment, dedication and invention is visually impressive and gives great pause. I was particularly heartened by how the community of Cherry Valley embraced the work.
We interviewed City of Oneonta mayoral candidates Mark Drnek and Len Carson for the AllOtsego Report Mayoral Election edition.
Click here to listen to our interview with Mark Drnek.
Democratic candidate for mayor, Mark Drnek, represents the Eighth Ward of Oneonta and is the owner of Sweet Home Productions and host of the syndicated radio show Blue Light Central.
Click here to listen to our interview with Len Carson.
Republican candidate for mayor, Leonard Carson, represents the Fifth Ward of Oneonta and is a former fire captain for the city as well as a former Otsego County Representative for District 13. He is also the co-owner of DC Marketing.
The Community Foundation for Otsego County announced several major awards this week and also announced that it continues to seek proposals from nonprofits operating in Otsego County for its 2021 Awards Cycle, according to a media release.
The group has funding of up to $200,000 to build the capacity of the local nonprofit sector to address issues identified in the CFOC Community Survey, such as addressing food insecurity and promoting affordable housing, economic development, internet access, and other key community priorities the survey revealed. Awards may be requested in any amount. Awards of $10,000 or less are reviewed by the group’s Initiatives Committee and approved by the Executive Committee, while requests exceeding $10,000 are considered in a special category and require the additional approval of the full board.
Special grants have been given to Helios Care for $10,000, Family Planning of South Central New York for $7,250 and The Glimmerglass Festival for $10,000.
“Our goal for 2021 awards is to build the capacity of nonprofits to advance their work on key issues, like meeting basic human needs, promoting economic development and job creation, and other key issues identified in our community survey,” said Harry Levine, CFOC board chair, in a media release. “We encourage nonprofits to apply for awards so together we can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for all who call Otsego County home.”
COOPERSTOWN — Jane Forbes Clark, president of The Clark Foundation, announced Tuesday, Aug. 25, the winners of the 2021 Clark Foundation Cooperstown Beautification Contest. Held annually since 1954, village residential and business properties are judged on their horticultural beautification efforts in three categories.
“Over sixty years ago, my grandmother, Susan Vanderpoel Clark, founded the Cooperstown Beautification Contest to recognize the tremendous time and effort so many of our residents take to make our village look welcoming and beautiful,” Clark said in a media release. “She would be so happy that this wonderful tradition continues to make our village even more special.”
The 2021 judge was Anthonie Nederhand from Whitesboro. Born in the Netherlands, he graduated from The Royal Horticulture University and started his career as a rose grower in Great Britain and Canada. He ultimately became a partner and corporate officer at Baker Greenhouses, Inc. in Utica. His lifelong experience in the field of horticulture has continued for the past 16 years as an employee of the Express Seed Company in product development.
Most Attractive Floral Display in a Business Setting was won by Richard and Kathryn Busse for their Pioneer Patio at 46 Pioneer St.
“The abundant display of beautiful calibrachoa baskets and window boxes of complimentary blooms and accent plants draws you into a forgotten back alley,” Nederhand said. “An impressive dedication and commitment to maintaining plant material is evident.”
Hard Ball Cafe on Main Street and Slices/Inside Scoop Ice Cream won second and third place, respectively.
The SUNY Oneonta athletics department announced the 2021 class of Hall of Fame Inductees in a media release last week.
The 22nd class will be enshrined at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, in the Dewar Arena of the Alumni Field House.
This year’s class will include six former athletes and one honorary inductee, bringing the total number of individuals to 160 including 16 honorary inductees.
This year’s class of honorees are former athletes Lee Aldrich ’63 (soccer, tennis), Andrea Bradford ’01 (softball), Patricia Kennedy ’74 (swimming & diving), Lou Neira ’89 (basketball), Mary Velan ’08 (soccer, track & field) and Chris Williams ’93 (baseball), along with retired UPD Chief and Associate Vice President for Student Development Barton Ingersoll, who is this year’s honorary inductee.
COOPERSTOWN — About 75 residents of Pathfinder Village got to play on their own field of dreams Sunday, Aug. 15, as they received instruction from former major league players at Doubleday Field.
“This is just unbelievable,” said Pathfinder President/CEO Paul Landers.
“There’s a lot of happy faces here today, a lot of lifetime memories,” said former MLB player and manager Clint Hurdle, who is an advisor for Baseball Miracles.
The event took form over the summer as Baseball Miracles, a nonprofit group dedicated to bringing baseball to “underserved communities around the world,” contacted the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and asked if it would be possible to hold an event in Cooperstown.