From a festival that helps artists trade work for healthcare to a regional micro-currency, Kingston is trying to build an inclusive and self-sufficient local ecosystem
Kingston, New York is a diverse city of 23,000, flanked to the east by Rondout Creek and the Hudson River and to the west by the Catskill mountains. It boasts a rustic industrial waterfront, a colorful historic district and Revolutionary War-era stone buildings. A stranger might call it bucolic. The streets of uptown are bustling with eateries and, of late, places to buy velvet halter dresses, vintage boleros, CBD tinctures, and LCD tea kettles with precision-pour spouts. But strolling by 10-year-old Half Moon Books, passersby might glimpse a different side of this city. The bookshops windows exclusively feature nonfiction on the end of the world as we know it. I started out putting together a window of utopias, says bookseller Jessica DuPont, but somehow I ended up with the death throes of capitalism.
I moved to Kingston from New York City just over a decade ago, on the heels of the 2008 recession. I was three years out of university, but my fledgling career in media stalled with the economic downturn. Friends of mine two painters, one in her 30s, the other in his 40s owned a building with an available apartment on the second floor where I could afford to live and work.