Back in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when nobody knew it would affect every detail of our lives from going to work to attending school, right down to fixing our car radiators, we slowly came to realize that restaurant dining would be among the coronavirus’ biggest casualties.

In the midst of this shared emergency, restaurants in Greene and Columbia counties found ways to survive and, in some cases, thrive. A pattern of take-out, home delivery and, in the hot months, outdoor dining areas developed in response. Restaurants took over vacant parking spaces in Hudson and commandeered the sidewalks in Catskill. And when midsummer warmth gave way to autumn’s chill, flaming towers generated enough heat to keep diners comfortable.

Pomodoro’s, New York Restaurant and Creekside in Catskill and Wunderbar, American Glory and 225 in Hudson, just to name a few (this is by no means an exhaustive list), kept the home fires burning, if you will, played by the rules and did it the right way. They made it through the health-and-safety guidelines and capacity regulations. They and many, many more just might have emerged stronger than before.

A year after the start of COVID-19’s ruthless march, Hudson’s Shared Streets program is an outgrowth of the city’s novel approach to crisis management. Outdoor dining areas and a combination of take-out, delivery and indoor dining may stick around Catskill for a long time.

This ingenuity, this business acumen, is no small accomplishment. Without it, restaurants in two communities could have closed, sealing the doom of their economies. The imagination on display by local restaurateurs proved the old system of dining could be overhauled at the same time as it inspired confidence in old and new patrons. Towers of fire and take-out seemed unthinkable 12 months ago. Today, this is how you go about it.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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