New Paltz Remembers Ludwig

Photo By Samantha Schwartz

Cafeteria barista Margaret Casey said her late friend Ludwig Montesa always knew exactly how long a hug needed to last.

“He was a ray of light, a character who had no idea what hate was,” Casey said.

Casey said nearly everyone in New Paltz had a “Ludwig story” — a memory, a moment that captured the essence of the valued artist, friend and community member.

When people started to hear about Montesa’s  death in early April, Casey said they began to gather outside Cafeteria coffee house, one of the venues he used to perform in, to hold vigil.

Together, Casey said, friends, family and fans told stories of the man who “never let hate in.”

Some talked about the time he performed at local open mics.

Casey said the first time she saw Montesa perform, he slid down the bannister of the Cafeteria staircase while belting out a song — a feat she was sure few musicians could pull off.

Whether he was reciting the schedule of the Metro-North Hudson line from memory, or singing a show-stopping rendition of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” Casey said Montesa was a “character and an artist.”

Casey and friends decided that night that they wanted to honor their friend with “Ludwig Day” on Saturday, May, 25, 2013 with a memorial service at Hasbrouck Park at noon, followed by a series of shows across eight different venues around town. Shows will be held at Cafeteria, Snug Harbor, Oasis, Cabaloosa’s, Water Street Market, Rhino Records, The Bakery and Bacchus.

“Just like Ludwig, this celebration will be everywhere in town at once, welcoming in all and any with wide, open arms and an extended high-five,” the event’s Facebook page said.

Casey said everyone who loved Montesa carries a bit of his memory with them.

“We can carry on his love,” she said. “We all strive to be more like him.”