There’s Hastings-on-Hudson, Croton-on-Hudson, Cornwall-on-Hudson, and that 1984 Robin Williams movie, “Moscow on the Hudson.”
Now, there’s Fun-on-the-Hudson, though that’s not the official name for what is sprouting virtually overnight at Charles Point Marina in Peekskill: An elaborate ropes course and laser tag area anchor an amusement attraction called Spins Hudson, which in turn is part of an ambitious, multi-purpose food, beverage and event campus under the umbrella brand Factoria.
As with much of Peekskill, the northern Westchester river town that is teeming with history, the site has a colorful backstory. In 1900, The Fleischmann Company opened a sprawling campus of factories there covering 100 acres and ultimately employing 1000 locals. As local history buff Chuck Newman likes to say, its “bread-and-butter product was yeast.” As a result, Fleischmann became a juggernaut in the production of such byproducts as bread, margarine and gin. It vacated the site in 1977.
That legacy will be honored by the Factoria partners, who plan to work “Fleischmann” into the name of the seafood restaurant expected to open there this fall.
At the official opening of Spins Hudson last month, attended by a large contingent of elected officials and business leaders, it was touted as “The largest entertainment venue on the Hudson.”
Real estate developer Bill Diamond of Diamond Properties, which operates Spins Hudson as well as Grand Prix in Mount Kisco and several other family centers in Westchester, predicted the 40,000-square-foot destination “Probably is going to be the most exciting venue on the Hudson River.” Based on what’s already in place on view at the opening, and with considerably more work in progress, that promotional claim is not all that far-fetched.
What Mr. Diamond refers to as “The A Team” will manage the three-kitchen, food-and-beverage operation: Peekskill entrepreneur Louie Lanza, who owns Hudson Room, Taco Dive, Buns ‘N’ Bourbon, and Eagle Saloon; Peekskill restaurateur John Sharp of Gleason’s and Birdsall House; and Scott Vaccaro, founder of Captain Lawrence.
Spins Hudson is a four-level aerial ropes course, a two-story professional laser tag area, full-size bocce and shuffleboard courts, and a spacious games arcade. For refreshment, there will be the restaurant, with indoor and outdoor dining.
On the second level of Factoria at Charles Point is a 14,000 square-foot event space-in-the-making that many remember as Crystal Bay or The Cove. It will cater to family milestones, business conferences, and just about any kind of event that values amenities such as two sizable, hand-crafted bars and a view to die for of the Hudson River you can almost reach out to touch. It has a capacity of 250 persons, and can stage wedding ceremonies and receptions outdoors on the waterfront, with seating for up to 200.
On weekdays, particularly Wednesdays and Thursdays, said Louie Lanza, Factoria will work with local charities that want to hold fundraisers in the space.
There even is talk of a distillery being added to the heady mixture of businesses and services that are being attracted to join in the fun at Charles Point.
Also on tap for this fall is a new outpost at Spins Hudson for Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, based in Elmsford. Captain Lawrence founder Scott Vaccaro told me at the opening that the beers poured at his new location will be custom-brewed exclusively for Spins Hudson, and not available anywhere else.
“We’ll try to do a lot of lagers, which go well with the water setting on a hot, sunny day,” said Mr. Vaccaro. The North Salem native recalled going to Crystal Bay for lacrosse awards dinners when he was a varsity athlete at John Jay High School in Cross River.
At the opening ceremony, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was confident that the unique appeal of Factoria will boost the local economy through job creation and a new source of revenue. Since the County started an aggressive ad campaign in 2009, he said, which promotes all the activities within its borders to young families within 100 miles, tourism dollars have risen by 29 percent.
The place that was called, in a 1915 Fleischmann Company press release, “Peekskill-on-the-Hudson,” is well on the way to earning its stripes a century later as “Fun-on-the-Hudson.” See more information at spinsbowl.com/spinshudson-ny and factoriacp.com.
Bruce Apar is Chief Content Officer of Pinpoint Marketing & Design, a Google Partner Agency. Its Adventix division helps performing arts venues increase ticket sales. He also is an actor, a community volunteer, and a contributor to several periodicals, including Westchester Magazine. Follow him as Bruce the Blog on social media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-275-6887.