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December 10, 2016
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It isn’t easy being green

Dottie and Herman Esselman turned up at The Shady Lady in Hancock, NY and got their Irish on dancing to the sounds of The Stoutmen.

March 20, 2013

Actually, it wasn’t easy avoiding being green last week, so I gave in fairly quickly and got my Irish on, along with the rest of the Upper Delaware River Valley. On Friday, I decided to make my way to Hancock, NY and get a sneak peek at the new dance hall—My Shady Lady, which was hosting a private party. The website ( promised “festive live Irish folk music” courtesy of Binghamton’s The Stoutmen (, and the band’s mission—to provide “a great mix of powerful rebel songs, jovial drinking songs, toe-tapping reels and beautiful Irish ballads”—lived up to their claim.

Since my family history is more Hava nagila than “Abie’s Irish Rose,” it was fun to immerse myself in something different, and proprietor Patricia Reed greeted guests at the door while providing me with a little background on the building itself. Built in 1910 by the Odd Fellows, the hall became the Hancock Opera House before the advent of movies, when it was changed to the Capitol Theatre, flourishing as such until the mid-1960s, then transforming again into a performance space for live theatre and the home of the Old Capitol Theatre Players. After that, the place morphed a few more times until Reed fell in love with it and set about creating the Lady.

Excitedly looking forward to the grand opening in June, Reed is already packing the calendar with Victorian high teas, wine tastings, country music and a variety of live entertainment. If The Stoutmen are any indication, the quality will be great, since they were totally in the zone, and (having donned the requisite beads and shamrocks) I felt like a part of the clan as I set off in search of being green.