It was the first warm night of spring as we drove past woods erupting with the sounds of peepers on our way to Easthampton on Saturday night. It was the monthly Art Walk, and as we turned the corner onto Cottage Street, it was clear that the balmy weather and excitement about this up and coming city had brought out big crowds. It was easy to find a parking space (when did you ever find this in Northampton!?) and we made our way to the first gallery of the night, the Thread Arts Collective. People were going in and out and checking out their latest group show, which was an eclectic mix of different media. We ran into Bronwen, my Facebook friend who lives on Cottage Street. I asked her what she thought about the apartments being built right across the street in the former Dye Works factory building. Through the large open windows you could see the high ceilings. “I’ve got my eye on those,” she said, and who could blame her?
Fourteen foot ceilings, all new windows, right on Cottage Street with all of this night life, galleries, coffee shops–even a real RECORD STORE! And a bike path and cheap apartments!
Once again I was impressed with all that Easthampton has to offer, it’s the same combination that makes so many towns hip these days. It’s the housing like these new apartments, that’s fun and not traditional single-family homes, the new 50 units being built here are just what urban hipsters are looking for. You can pedal your bike to Northampton on the bike path that runs right past Cottage Street. Bronwen told us about how some of the breweries that are opening in town are located near the bike path, so they are re-figuring their entrances to face that way instead of toward the street.
We walked up Cottage and visited a few more galleries–one was a make-it-yourself place with all sorts of things you could make other stuff with. Each gallery was full of people and interesting. We were headed for Casey Douglas’ new restaurant, Galaxy, right around the corner on Pleasant Street. It’s got two sides, on the right is a proper bar and I liked that the TVs were not on. On the left, the dining room with tables on one side and booths on the other. In the back where we were seated is another room that looks like it was once somebody’s office, now it’s got a dramatic chandelier in the Galaxy, mid-century modern theme, with balls like planets and a dramatic circle around it 0n the ceiling.
I loved the menu at Galaxy–it was simple, it included lots of small plates like mac and cheese, beet salad, and broccoli rabe on the side. We tried the most popular menu item, which is the fried brussels sprouts which were very good too. We had a simple meal with wine, and the bill was only $55. Perfect!
Later Casey told us how much work it had been to convert the place from a clock shop to this restaurant. His Apollo Grill is still going strong with his brother in charge as chef, and his sister Kim was taking care of the front of the house, much as she used to do at Apollo. Casey was happy that the spring weather had brought out so many customers. “Never open a new restaurant in the middle of the winter,” he advised.