Humans of the Catskills: Miguel Martinez-Riddle

Miguel with his parents in 1970 when his father Mickey was sworn in by NYC Mayor John Lindsay as Deputy Commissioner of the Agency for Child Development

Journey to the Catskills:

In 2012 I bought a house on 6.3 acres in a village I had never heard of. A broker from Olive kept taking me further and further down Route 28. I was a full-time art professor in Tribeca, and a native of Brooklyn. After spending many summers in Lake Luzerne (the Lake George region of NY), and spending three wonderful years studying art at SUNY Purchase, initially the instinct was to somehow reproduce those experiences. I did not know anyone in the Catskills, and had no history here, but made sure my home was in the Forest Preserve.


I am a formally trained visual artist who makes paintings and sculptures. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY I studied Spanish dance (Flamenco) from an early age at Ballet Hispanico, and performed in a classical music orchestra until the age of 18, playing piano and French horn. After studying art, I was invited by Moki Cherry to join a crew of artists at the Apollo Theater. We designed and built sets for Showtime at the Apollo in the early 1990s. In the late 1990s, I attended Hunter College where I got an MFA in Painting in December 1999. Shortly afterwards I worked on Saturday Night Live as a stagehand in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the early 2000s. In 2005 I began teaching art to designers in Tribeca until the school closed in 2015. Since then, I have worked as the Program Director for the Roxbury Arts Group, and Events Manager at Spillian, where I managed their wedding season in 2021.


While studying for my BFA at SUNY Purchase, I took furniture design/build classes. Over the years I have built furniture and used renovation skills to rehabilitate live workspaces. The home I bought in Fleischmanns had been empty for years, and the property neglected. When an adjacent lot became available, purchasing it meant cleaning up a motel site that was abandoned in the 1970s after a fire. It was the New Arlington Hotel, and had a 30 x 50 steel pool and nine collapsed bungalows. After some research, I discovered the New Arlington was built around the former residence of onetime NY Governor Herbert Lehman’s sister Harriet Lehman, friends of the Fleischmanns family, and part of a group of cultural elites from NYC who vacationed in Fleischmanns in the summers at the turn of the 19th century. The history is impressive.

Happiness Is:

Playing tennis in the Fleischmanns park! Visiting my family in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Smelling the flowers, making paintings.

Favorite Dish:

My favorite dish is anything with garlic and onions, but especially Coq au Vin!

Ideal Country Home:

Artists are very concerned with their workspace. I love my 19th century farmhouse with a ravine and waterfalls behind it. And the barn is great. But as an artist, my goal is to build a small modern home with big windows open to the forest, and a super big workspace/studio/garage… one day… soon!