Columbia County vs. The Cidiots

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I am in a unique position to write this article, because I am neither a cidiot nor a Columbia County native. I was raised in Connecticut, but spent my 20s in Ulster County, which had its own cidiot vs. native feud.

The difference in Ulster County was you were considered a cidiot only if you actively lived in NYC and were visiting for the day, whereas in Columbia County, you’re a cidiot unless you can trace your local ancestral line back to the Jurassic period.

The cidiots were annoying in Ulster County, blocking foot traffic with their maddeningly slow pace as they stared into the windows of shops natives would never consider buying from, simply because the stores sold things you would never actually need, such as single-batch olive oils or antique cribs (“Why, the Bensons would simply LOVE that crib for their sunning nook!”).

amtrakThe Amtrak station in Hudson whisks an unrelenting stream of cidiots up the east bank of the Hudson every weekend, where they can pay between $75 and $370 a night to stay in one of the 50+ Airbnbs offered in the Hudson-Greenport area. A 55-room boutique hotel, the Wick, is under construction a two-minute walk from the station.

But the issue here is not visitors; it is cidiots with second homes and those who have permanently relocated here.

I talked to the former mayor of a Columbia County town about how things had changed in his municipality since he left his position. Things “were much simpler” before 9/11, he said, which I think everybody can agree about, what with the war on terror and all, but he was talking about the influx of 9/11 refugees that spurted up to his town.

“Yeah,” I had said, “a new population coming in always changes things, sometimes for the worse, sometimes neutrally, sometimes for the better, but it’s always different.”

You could tell he had wanted me to to stop at “worse.”

Tiffany Martin Hamilton, the mayor of Hudson, occasionally gets shit for being a cidiot, which doesn’t even make sense, since she was born and raised in Hudson. The problem was, she actually had the gall to leave, living in California for many years before warren streturning four years before running for office. This was too much for Columbia County natives. She had picked up the cidiot vibe.

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There’s a wide range in the quality of comments found below news articles. There’s the comments below Washington Post articles, which can only be written by those with accounts, and everyone with an account seems to be on about the same intellectual level as those actually writing the articles.

Then there’s the Facebook comments below articles in the Register-Star, Hudson’s newspaper and my professional alma mater. They’re misspelled, the grammar is perplexing, and they can somewhat get downright violent. This is especially true with the crime articles, where commenters will actually suggest straight-up murdering the criminals on the courthouse lawn.

When not advocating summary executions, the commentators bitch about cidiot, and how they are ruining the county. Some common insults thrown around are  “libtard,” “Obamazombie,” “snowflake” and any of these terms preceded by “butthurt” (which strikes me as some sort of rape reference).

The schism has a political dimension. Columbia County went for Hillary Clinton during the last election, but by less than a percentage point. It was pretty much an even split. I’m not going to say all Columbia County natives voted for Trump and all cidiots voted for Clinton, but it damn near SEEMS that way.

TrumpColumbia County Trump supporters are so pro-Trump they continued campaigning for him after he won: when the Hudson Common Council was debating whether to make the municipality a sanctuary city, two people lofted a giant TRUMP banner outside (backwards, much to the amusement of Trump-haters), and some jackass in a pick up keeps revving down my street at seven in the morning with a TRUMP flag anchored in the truck’s bed.

When working for the Register-Star, I often had to get public comment (or ‘man-on-the-streets’) for news stories involving Trump. I quickly learned that if I wanted to get a Trump-hater, I would simply have to stop people near the pricey bakeries and antique stores of Warren Street in Hudson, whereas if I wanted a Trump supporter, I simply had to drive ten minutes to the Greenport Walmart, where I estimated upwards of 80 percent of the shoppers were passionately in love with the president.

So, is the schism simply economic? Is it working-class Columbia County natives vs. rich, liberal cidiots?

It’s not like there aren’t a lot of poor people in the city (the poverty rate in NYC is 20.6 percent, vs. 11.7 percent in Columbia County, not taking into consideration a sandwich costs 10 goddamn dollars down there), but they aren’t the ones buying second homes up here.

But with money, at least in theory, comes the spread of money. I guess this could be equated with the trickle-down theory of economics, but that would assume cidiots are spending their money on businesses not run by other cidiots.

And herein lies the question: will the two groups ever mix, or will the county consist of two detached bodies, rotating around each other with their own stores, social events and political views?

Or we could simply wait a century, and the cidiots would have been here long enough to become natives themselves. Then there would be a whole new crop of cidiots for them to bitch about.

7 thoughts on “Columbia County vs. The Cidiots

  1. Citiot, shopping at Herringtons!??! Chatham Hardware? At the IGA?! At Van Alphen’s? McNan’s and Gabriel’s in Philmont? The Hawthorne Valley Farm Store? Chatham Bookstore? The Book Barn? You bet your ass. Far more of my citiot (full time 4+ years) money goes there than anywhere else. Warren Street is good for window shopping, but that’s about it. 🙂

  2. I’m from a town next to Hudson, in Columbia County. My mother grew up there and so did my grandfather. It’s not because of a family history that I dislike the swath of people moving up from the city. I dislike it for very different reasons than this opinion piece would make one believe.

    I grew up knowing most people in my town. If I didn’t know someone, people would at least say hello and smile when they passed on the streets. It’s scary to see your own town changing in front of your eyes- for what feels like the worse. Some people from the city don’t look at you walk down the street, they don’t understand small town etiquette. Some also only come up for weekends, not making an effort to get to know people in their community. These are some examples of the way some people want to move into an area without trying to adapt to local customs, disrupting the flow in a way that doesn’t seem likely to improve the atmosphere of the town. Of course locals are going to feel uneasy about this.

    My family is not wealthy, but a moderately middle class. These days, I can’t afford most of the things I see in Hudson. Prices are inflating all around us, even in our local deli’s. A bar, restaurant, or coffee shop should be a place where locals can get together. These days many are too expensive for local people to visit as often as they might have before the price-hike. As for being a Trump supporter- I am definitely not. Columbia County also has a very long history of environmental stewardship- I doubt many of those people are Trump supporters either.

    Upstate NY has a rich history- and locals are just trying to hang onto that.

  3. You kinda got this right…..albeit deafeningly ham handed, about Columbia County but dead wrong about Hudson.
    I own a business and a house in Hudson. I house that I sleep in usually 4 to 5 nights a week. Although I work in the city you would catagorize me as a “citiot”.
    I consider Hudson my home where I vote and pay taxes. Hudson itself, the town is nothing like you described. Our life there is completely integrated racially, socio-economically, educationally…. that’s why we moved here.
    Who are you hanging with?

  4. First, what is your point? Next, what do you have to support any of this mindless drivel? Seems you try and imply that uneducated grammar-less people are Trumpers, and elitists are cidiots. However, your own uneducated comments shine through when you believe and offer about mayors outside of Hudson. There are none, except in a few small villages. You also opine the Columbia County discussions or definitions of cidiots differ from elsewhere because it is a difference between lifers from generations ago versus new owners. Actually, it is much simpler to define. It is those with a lifetime of local knowledge and governing of small towns versus NYC thinking somehow being better, well, just because. Not as parochial as you like to pretend. You like to perpetuate the small divide by pretending you understand it better as a dark side of human nature. It is really not sinister at all. It is small town observations and owner’s rights versus big city ideas and the inherent elitists notions that come with that better than though…..like you. Ignorance is as bad as stupidity sometimes.

  5. Interesting/entertaining article. You seem to focus mostly on the dichotomy that exists politically between local resident and Cidiots rather than actual reasons why we natives have an issue with them. I grew up in Ghent/Chatham and could write a short novel on my personal experiences with the blatant pretentious rudeness of the “cidiot newcomers over the years. Mind you I’m not simply talking about lollygagging at store front windows…But blatant nose-in-the-air, stuck up, obnoxious actions. I can’t forget standing in line in a store in Chatham some yrs ago and hearing the Foofy woman ahead of me saying “I wish the locals would stay home on the weekends so it wasn’t so crowded… We’re the ones spending the money”…or the Cidiot family that bought a home on the other end of the country dirt road I grew up on. After riding my small quiet motor bike past her house a couple times…She stood out in the middle of the road waving me down. I stopped and she said that I should stay up on my end of the road because they came up here for peace and quiet lol. I could go on and on and on. In closing, remember…Stereotypes always have a basis in reality….And I personally find the “Cidiot” one to be well founded….

  6. Complicating this issue is the fact that many Citiots are in large part actually folks who came from rural or lower income suburban areas to NYC to make their fortunes. Many of the second home folks who are attracted to Columbia – Greene are here because they are not comfortable in the “Hamptons” old money vibe. So we have to consider the possibility that many of these folks have more in common with us than we think.

    In Palenville, where I moved 9 years ago, folks talk about the “Palenville Originals”. (Folks who have been here for all time. Best I can figure these folks came up to the area in the 19060’s and 70’s from Queens and Brooklyn and have a really great personal PR. (At least they have thoroughly convinced themselves that all time began mid-last-century.)

    I have a cousin in Indiana who is a genealogy fan. He traced our family back to 1642 in MA and showed that we are actually related to Thomas Cole (Of Catskill fame). My son is totally coincidentally named “William Cullen” (Like: William Cullen Bryant – Thomas Cole’s BFF) So when I’m walking around the hamlet it occurs to me that there must be more than them and us. It’s an attitude.

    What I would like to insure is that folks who have lived here are not displaced by $. This would be bad for everyone. While the $10 sandwich shops are not a place where we would eat, the store fronts they hold were vacant before and there were no sandwiches to be had at any price. How do we preserve what is here rather that “Update” it with Hicksters?

    These are the ordinances that we should be gathering together to create.

  7. Seems no matter where else we “citidiots” spend our money, we are paying property taxes and rather pricey school taxes as well as using local businesses to renovate and or repair our homes. I will admit that I am chagrined as well that in a ten year period I have witnessed the loss of longstanding “quaint” businesses and discovering a croissant now costs as much or more than I pay in the city, but there again, it all depends on whether you really need a croissant up while here. When I first moved up, I was delighted with the local offerings and their smaller financial hits made the joy of driving further afield to discover yet another offering in Catskill or Hudson or Old Chatham, etc a fun weekend adventure. But I have to mention that here, as well as in the city, it had been a long time since I have seen a shoe repair shop, a privately owned small pharmacy, or many other little shops that went under when big box stores rode in. The citidots did not bring Walmart and Lowes,etc to Fairview Avenue any more than they brought “Love” stores and Duane Reade epidemics to the upper west side of NYC driving out all the small businesses.

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