---- — Having traversed the village a number of times now, we have come to the conclusion that there is very little reason to mention the current crop of potholes. It seems they are quite able to speak for themselves. In fact, they seem to do so loud and clear. However, we do wonder if there is a street within the village which is not plagued by potholes. If so, we think we might be inclined to parade up and down it just to refresh our memory as to what that might feel like. Plus, we think our neck would appreciate it.
Of course, the potholes do have competition for the most talked about topic around town. In addition to the usual focus on the always safe topic of the weather, there is also a fair amount of comment on the current clear cutting of the trees on the north side of Main Street. To date we have not heard anyone express how much joy there is in seeing one’s tax dollars at work. But we must admit that we have enjoyed hearing some of the speculation which has arisen about the project.
While talking with friends about the project we were asked is we knew what the biggest problem is with the proposed “rain gardens” which we understand, according to what we read in the paper “... are sunken areas within an urban landscape that allows the rain that falls to be collected into the aquifers below ...” We readily admitted we had no idea just what the biggest problem might be.
To this our friend pointed out that such “rain gardens” were huge breeders of mosquitoes which would mean large swarms of the pesky bugs would frequent Main Street, annoying anyone and everyone on the sidewalk. What a treat that would be ... for the mosquitoes. Another friend quickly pointed out, however, that any problems with the bugs could be easily solved by hanging bug zappers from the newly refurbished lampposts. Thus, in addition to the hum of the swarms of mosquitoes one could also hear the zap, zap, zap of the pesky creatures whilst strolling down the sidewalk.
Of course, when discussing all of this with yet another friend, we pointed out that the bug zapper would be in order as the village does not allow pesticides within its borders. To this we were told that if it was but pointed out that the potential swarms of mosquitoes posed a West Nile disease threat, any pesticide known to man could be used to eradicate the problem. And while we found all of this discussion to be most amusing, we rather doubt there is a shred of evidence to support any of it.
Thus, we put much more credibility in the idea that by removing the trees the village is trying, if only for a short time, to return to those days of yesteryear when Main Street looked much different than it does now. We have even done a bit of research on this idea by opening the latest edition of the CGA FORUM, the newsletter we receive from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. In this particular issue there is an undated, although we think it might be from the late 60s, picture of Main Street which is part of Flip Ward’s collection of Cooperstown photographs that is housed at NYSHA Library. Taken looking west, the picture shows Main Street from The Smart Shop on the south and Clark’s Men’s Store on the north. And while there are some trees on the south side of the street, there is nary a tree on the north side until one gets down to the Cooper Inn property. If it were not for the fact that the stores, not to mention the cars, are quite different, along with the fact that the north side of Main Street is sporting angle parking, the picture could have been taken today. We can but conclude history repeats itself. How very fortunate we all are to have been here for the event.
Of course we have learned that the upside of this Main Street sidewalk project might be that we would find ourselves admiring the ginkgo trees which might be planted as a result of the project. Some may remember that we expressed doubt in an earlier column about the ginkgo trees as a result of our experience with such trees in Philadelphia. However, C.R. Jones, a huge fan of the ginkgo tree, has set about to educate us about the gingko tree. He kindly dropped off what might be considered enough information on the ginkgo tree to allow anyone to be a walking encyclopedia on the subject. And, as a way of introduction, he wrote in his cover letter:
“You brought up the matter of the amazing and wonderful ginkgo tree ... I was first introduced to it on the campus of Iowa State and became intrigued by its age and unusual foliage. I have planted at least one near every house I have lived in since. As you will see, there are male and female trees ... the old system was to plant one and hope for the best, but now virtually all of the plants available from nurseries are grown from the buds of male trees. They have been used in urban situations because they seem to tolerate pollution and limited root space.”
C.R. also pointed out that there are already ginkgo trees, including some errant female trees, to be found in Cooperstown. And he is looking forward to the possibility of seeing them on Main Street in the near future. We thank C.R. for his valuable input. We can but hope ginkgo trees’ tolerance of pollution and limited root space is matched by their tolerance for our many visitors.
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