By Frances Marion Platt, December 22, 2023
The tiny Kingston hamlet of Wilbur, where the bottom of Wilbur Avenue hits Abeel Street, has a deep history as an industrial port on the Rondout Creek. Catskills bluestone, Rosendale cement and bricks from Hudson River claybanks were once loaded onto barges here, for transport to growing cities up and down the Hudson Valley.
Those days are long gone, and Wilbur is a sleepy place now, but for the clang of metal from the scrapyards and shipyards that line the Rondout shoreline. In the midst of the crossroads stands a century-old brick building once known as Creekside Deli, which most recently has gone through several changes of ownership as a pizzeria. By its last incarnation, as K & G Pizza, it had become a sad, rundown, unappealing sort of space, finally going out of business in the autumn of 2019.
New and surprising things are afoot at 587 Abeel Street, however: After a thorough renovation, the storefront has reopened as the Blackbird Infoshop & Café. And new owner Andrew McCarthy’s vision for the space is to create a neighborhood hub that functions on an anarchist, collectivist paradigm. “It looks and functions like a traditional business, but my goal is for it to be an anti-capitalist community space,” McCarthy explains. “If there’s one thing I want to say to the world, it’s to stop confusing commerce and capitalism. Capitalism is not the only model.”