New coffeehouse in New Paltz since last I was here, nigh six years ago. Other than that, much the same as when last I was here, even some faces I recognize, also seemingly unchanged. Definitely one of if not my favorite town in New York. Ithaca's got its charm and its gorges, Rhinebeck's quint, Poughkeepsie's got a cool name and a nice riverfront; ain't been to Woodstock or those other upstate hippie towns, and of course NYC is in a category nigh all by itself. New Paltz is still holdin' on to its hippie past and keeps things fresh, punks and other freaks, too, mind you.
I am indeed a counter-culture-phile, largely 'cuz they are generally composed of individuals, despite the stereotyping. Not that a businessman or woman can't be a deep, self-expressive and interesting person, is just that those are fewer and farther between and not so easy to pick out in a crowd. Freaks can hang out without the sense they are missing the boat, generally love music and dancing, whether whirling about in a hazy daze or moshing in a pit of roughhousing mohawks and pierced noses, cheeks, and every other conceivable part. Don't have anything particular against other subcultural genres, whatever the current ones might be, hipster, emo, or whatever, just endeared to the clear responses to the system's ills expressed so eloquently by flowers stuck in the barrel of a gun, grafiti on the wall proclaiming no rulers o'er the people, both well thought out peaceful and raucous replies to the ills of capitalism, neocolonialism and the war machine. New Paltz gots plenty o'that, and a steady supply of college kids comin' in to maintain.
New Paltz also had a Green Party mayor and city council last time I was in town. Haven't checked the current local political scene, but I am inclined to believe the people's still representin'. Healthy food and lifestyles (even if sometimes including indulgent drinkin' on some fronts), good live music and fair trade wares abound in the downtown, nearly all locally owned and operated. Happy to be in a pace like this, if but for a week or two. Reminds me there are indeed plenty plan for a progressive future and a world where people and environment find harmony, self-expressive and beautiful.