Vol. 13/Number 11
March 15, 2013
2 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 3
Police will not be in permanent post at town schools By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
Police officers will no longer be in permanent post at each of the town’s elementary schools, according to a March 1 letter to parents from Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont. Members of the Harrison Police Department have kept a post at each of the four elementary schools since the Newtown, Conn. massacre last December. “Police officers will be assigned to patrol our elementary schools throughout the school day,” Belmont stated in his letter to parents in the Harrison Central School District. “The officers assigned will be in the buildings and on the properties of their assigned schools.” However, confusion emerged among a few concerned parents in the community over another statement in the letter. “Elementary school buildings will experience a difference in the frequency and manner in which they are patrolled,” Belmont said. A small group of parents concerned with the possibility that this would include removing the police presence from the elementary schools altogether confronted town and school officials with their worries. During the Harrison Central School District Board of Education meeting held on March 6, parent Jodi Kessler expressed her concern with the new information, asking for the continued presence of police in all of the local elementary schools.
“I understand that our town, for whatever reason, can’t afford to put in officers to help us out,” she said. Harrison School Superintendent Louis Wool explained that although members of the Harrison Police Department will not keep a permanent post in every elementary school within the district, they would routinely patrol the four elementary schools. “Having police patrol each school [in the district] is not the most effective way to ensure the safety of our kids,” Wool said. In a recent interview with The Harrison Report, Wool stated that it is not enough to simply beef up security around the schoolyard. “We often wonder what would’ve prevented [the Newtown shooting], but fortifying schools is an unrealistic concept,” Wool said, during a school safety symposium at SUNY Purchase College on Feb. 26. Wool added that the school district has just finished the second of two comprehensive safety audits with an external security consultant and members of the Harrison Police Department. The town has also placed two fulltime school resource officers in Harrison High School and the Louis M. Klein Middle School. For Wool, school safety is reliant not only on police response to emergency situations, but to identifying disaffected youth in the community. On March 7, members of the Harrison Town Council were faced with concerns regarding the letter.
Harrison Police Department
Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini said that what he views as bare bones staffing levels are creating a difficult situation for patrol officers. “The day-to-day needs of the town for policing are overwhelming,” Marraccini said. According to Marraccini, police will continue to alternate patrols between Purchase and Preston schools and between Harrison Avenue and Parsons elementary schools. However, school and police officials will be the only ones aware of when precisely police
will be present. In addition, they will be given tactical equipment if there should be a need to respond to a threat. According to Mayor Belmont, the letter was never intended to reach anyone but the parents in the public school district. “We didn’t want anybody knowing what we were doing,” Belmont said. “I don’t want outof-towners knowing our security plans.” Under records laws in New York State, though, once the letter was sent to members of the community, it became public information.
Correcting the Record In the Feb. 22 edition, in the article “Harrison school district begins budget process,” we reported that the cost of teacher and administrative salaries and benefits take up approximately 1.8 percent of the total levy cap. In fact, 1.4 percent of the total tax levy will be absorbed by teacher and civil service retirement costs, and will not be impacted by salaries. Also, although the state has yet to determine whether or not they will approve the 4 percent increase in state aid for Harrison public schools, the district’s $46,000 cut is protected, pending a lawsuit with New York City public schools.
4 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
Community Briefs Pet rescue event Kitten & Cat Adoption Day Sunday, March 17 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Petco 324 N. Central Avenue Hartsdale Contact: www.NY-PetRescue.org email@example.com (914)834-6955 Harrison Public Library Children’s Events Board Games March 26 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Volunteer for Harrison Library’s first Teen Advisory Group For people in grades 7-12. Members will help plan and assist with events, the new Teen Room, and several other projects. Community service credit possible. March 20, 27 10 a.m.-11 a.m. 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Circle Time For Tots with Miss Claudia Songs and movement for ages 1-3. March 15, 22 (closed March 29 for Good Friday)
10 a.m.-12 p.m. Open Play Come meet other parents, grandparents, caregivers, and children. Make new friends, play, read, and have fun. Blocks and preschool LEGOs will be available for the little ones while parents chat. March 16 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Sponsored by the Friends. For info call 914/835-0324 or see www.harrisonpl.org. Harrison Council for the Arts presents Youth Art Month March 1-31, at the Harrison Municipal Building, Heineman Place, and the Harrison Public Library, Bruce Avenue. This annual exhibit consists of multi-media art reflecting the talents of students in the Harrison schools with works selected by art teachers in the community. For info call 914/835-0324 or see www. harrisonpl.org Local artists exhibit at Mamaroneck Artists Guild The Mamaroneck Artists Guild brings together a quartet of artists March 15 through March 30 who will exhibit an eclectic range of imagery – everything from the realistic to the abstract. New Rochelle artists, Jeanie Ritter (oils), Shelia Benedis (mixed media), and Jane Petruska (mixed media and sculpture) join forces with Carol Gromer (pencil drawings) of Scarsdale in this unique exhibition of two and three-dimensional works.
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. The gallery is located at 126 Larchmont Ave. in Larchmont. Admission is free. Mamaroneck High School students sponsoring furniture drive On March 16, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., students from Mamaroneck High School’s Furniture Sharehouse service club will hold a drive to benefit this Westchester furniture bank. They will be collecting items for Furniture Sharehouse to redistribute, free of charge, to families in need. The drive will take place in the parking lot at Mamaroneck High School, located at 1000 W. Boston Post Road, rain or shine. Only basic home furniture in good condition will be accepted, so before you load up your car, go to furnituresharehouse.org to make sure your furniture meets the donation guidelines. For more information (or donation questions), contact Leslie Garwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 315-1982. Talk to explore the relationship between age and wisdom Do we really become wiser as we age? That will be the subject of a talk by the Rev. Carole Johannsen, a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of New York and a hospital chaplain, on Sunday, March 17, at the Ethical Culture Society of Westchester, 7 Saxon Wood Road (off Mamaroneck Avenue) in White Plains. Johannsen will describe what she has learned through traditional research and with the help of the 70 and 80-year-olds with whom she has worked. The program, which begins at 10:30 a.m., is free, and childcare is available. Ethical Culture is a liberal religious and educational fellowship without formal creed or dogma. For more information, contact ECSW at 914-948-1120 or visit its website, ethicalsocietywestchester.org Music recital and food drive The Harrison School Of Music will be holding a student recital on Sunday, March 17 at the Harrison Public Library. The recitals will be held at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. In conjunction with the recital, the Harrison School Of Music will be holding a food drive asking students, parents and attendees to bring a nonperishable food item to the recital for donation to the Harrison Food Pantry. Cancer support available Support Connection, Inc., a not-for profit organization that provides free, confidential support services for people affected by breast and ovarian cancer, offers a wide range of free support groups women with breast and ovarian cancer. Groups focus on topics pertaining to living with cancer through all stages of diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment. They are offered in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess, and by toll-free teleconference. For a complete calendar of groups at all locations,
visit www.supportconnection.org. Advance registration is required for all groups; call 914-962-6402 or 800-532-4290. The following support groups are scheduled Westchester in April: At the support connection office in Yorktown: Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group Apr. 4, at 10 a.m. Breast Cancer Support Group Apr. 23, at 7 p.m. Young Women’s Breast Cancer Support Group: For women who have or had breast cancer at a young age. Apr. 10, at 7 p.m. At Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor: Breast Cancer Support Group Apr. 15, at 7 p.m. At the Yorktown Jewish Center in Yorktown Heights: Support Group for Women Living with Recurrence: For women living with recurrence of breast or ovarian cancer, with advanced stage and/or metastasis. Apr. 19, at 12:30 p.m. At Northern Westchester Hospital in Chappaqua: Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group Apr. 4, at 7 p.m. By teleconference: For those unable to attend groups in-person, there are monthly Telephone Support Groups via toll-free teleconference, enabling women to participate regardless of their location and from the comfort of their homes. Call a few days ahead to learn how to participate. The Ovarian Cancer Telephone Group will take place on Wednesday, Apr. 10, at 8 p.m. The Breast Cancer Telephone Group will take place on Tuesday, Apr. 16, at 8 p.m. Westchester Library System’s 22nd annual Book & Author Luncheon The Westchester Library System will hold its 22nd annual Book & Author Luncheon on Thursday, April 18, 2013 at CV Rich Mansion in White Plains, NY. The event celebrates National Library Week and features talented authors Deidre Bair, Marie Howe and Dorothy Wickenden who will discuss their newly published books. The luncheon, which will be held from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., will be followed by an author signing. Registration begins at 11:15 a.m. Tickets for the Book & Author Luncheon are $95 for general admission. Proceeds from this event will support WLS’s efforts to expand its e-book collection and increase digital media content for all Westchester public libraries. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call (914) 231-3226 or visit www.westchesterlibraries.org. Deadline for our Community Briefs section is every Friday at 12 p.m. Though space is not guaranteed, we will do our best to accommodate your listing. Please send all items to email@example.com.
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March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 5
Town to hire consultants for evaluation of sewer pump station By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER email@example.com
A sewage pump station operated by the Harrison Department of Public Works is in need of rehabilitation after a series of electrical issues and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in the fall. According to Town Engineer Michael Amodeo, the aging pump station along Park Lane in West Harrison is in need of extensive repairs after a tree fell on top of it in the wake of the storm. On March 7, members of the Harrison Town Council voted to pay up to $8,500 to Pleasantville engineering firm LynStaar for a report that will recommend target areas of construction. “This evaluation will help the DPW to better assess what we need to upgrade,” Amodeo said. After a review of the existing pump station site, consultants with LynStaar will prepare a written report identifying any major problem areas that are in need of rehabilitation or replacement. The report will also delve into the estimated cost of the construction and will include any design engineering fees for the scope of the repair work. “Based on a visual inspection of the pumping station from accessible areas on grade, it appears that the existing concrete wet well and valve-chambers have deteriorated,” said
Harrison Department of Public Works
LynStaar Engineering Vice President Garry Lynch in a letter to the town engineer. According to Lynch, the existing electrical systems have been routinely repaired in the aftermath of the last few major storms. The back-up generator, while functioning, is near-
ing the end of its useful life and spare parts for the pumps, which are equally worn, are difficult to acquire. “The pumps are probably more than 30 years old now and have been overwhelmed by a number of different events,” Amodeo said. “[The pump station on Park Lane] is getting up there in age and needs a lot of repairs.” However, the letter states any other environmental requirements, including the removal of asbestos, lead paint, or oil contamination, will need to be performed by another agency. Caren Halbfinger, director of Public Health Information with the Westchester County Health Department, said that any changes to the station’s sewage system must meet regulations imposed by state and county sanitary code. “The county health department is responsible for assuring any changes to the sewage pump station would comply with regulatory design standards,” Halbfinger said. Amodeo said whatever upgrades the Town Council authorizes would have to fall in line with county and state criteria. LynStarr anticipates the report will be done with the use of computer-aided design, or CAD, however any computer plots, bulk printing and messenger services are not included as part of the lump sum total. Additionally, any work including meetings or trips in the field will be billed separately at employee’s standard hourly rates.
6 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
Cleaning up and embracing the arts
200 WILLIAM ST., PORT CHESTER, N.Y. 10573 • Tel: (914) 653-1000 Fax: (914) 653-5000 NEWS TIPS Unfortunately, our reporters cannot be everywhere. If you see news in the making or have an idea for a news story, call us. Community reporters and correspondence are listed at left.
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With Honors The following Harrison residents have been named to the Loyola University Maryland fall 2012 dean’s list. In order to qualify for the dean’s list at Loyola, a student must have a GPA of at least 3.5 with a minimum of 15 credits: Alexa Carnavalla, a member of the class of 2015 Suzanne Leeney, a member of the class of 2013 from Harrison
harrison Happenings Mayor Ron Belmont
With spring less than two weeks away, I would like to bring your attention to a town wide spring event. Please save the date and join the Town/Village of Harrison and community volunteers on Saturday, April 6, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, for Harrison’s Spring Spruce Up Day. Residents and business owners will join the town in an effort to tidy up our roadways, parks, wooded areas and streams. Any suggestions on target areas would be appreciated. Additional volunteers and group leaders are needed. Clean up crew leaders will be at all locations and will provide gloves and lawn bags. This is an opportunity for us all to take pride in Harrison’s appearance and pitch in. For more information or to volunteer, please call my office at (914) 670-3009. Each year the Town of Harrison benefits from the talent and generosity of the Harrison Beautification Foundation, Inc. I hope you have all enjoyed the beautiful plantings that adorn our community parks and roadways. I would like to take this time to recognize the Foundation for their hard work and dedication in enhancing the appearance our town. This year, the Foundation will install spring plantings at several downtown and West Harrison locations. In addition, they will add to the Halstead Avenue daisy garden and an array of perennials and annuals will be planted. This season, beautiful hanging baskets will
adorn our main thoroughfares, and we anticipate having them installed by Memorial Day weekend. The Foundation is always looking for landscapers or individuals to sponsor gardens, and all interested should contact Denise Di Biasi at 946-9655. This week, from March 14 through March 17, the Harrison High School Footlight Players and the Technical Crew will present the Gershwin musical comedy “Crazy For You” in the Harrison High School Performing Arts Center. Be sure to catch one of the performances. I am sure it promises to be an exciting and entertaining event. For additional information on performance times, visit the high school website at www.harrisoncsd.org or call the high school at 630-3110. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. To add to your cultural experiences, be sure to check out Masterpiece Framing’s “Evening with the Arts” on March 16. Suzanne Altman, Art Historian at MOMA, will be presenting a lecture on women artists of the 19th and 20th centuries at the frame shop in downtown Harrison from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This lecture will be accompanied by an art auction. The event is sponsored by the Harrison Public Library, the Harrison Council for the Arts and the Cancer Support Team. The next “Lunch with the Mayor” is on Friday, March 22, and I will be at Realdo’s Pizzeria Restaurant located at 125 Halstead Avenue, in Downtown Harrison. I will be at this location from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and look forward to meeting with residents and talking about issues facing our community. Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Iggy is a sweet boy‑about six months old and around 35 pounds. When he and his sister Ina were found, they were skin and bones. Now having enjoyed 4 square meals a day, they have really blossomed into beautiful pups. Iggy is a typical happy puppy that would love to find his forever home. His sister recently found hers, now it’s Iggy’s turn. Iggy is neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm tested and micro-chipped. The adoption donation for Iggy is $250. To learn more, please contact Larchmont Pet Rescue at 914-834-6955 or on the web at www.NY-PetRescue.org.
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 7
8 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
Marking the end of an era LUNGARIELLO AT LARGE Mark Lungariello
On a remote litter-filled block in Port Chester that is half residential and half industrial sits the headquarters of Home Town Media Group, the publisher of five community newspapers including the one you are currently reading. The Home Town offices are in a factory-like brick building shared with numerous other tenants. Eight out of every 10 people who are buzzed into the front entrance are looking for a different office, employees say, despite various signs posted out front over the years warning visitors the Home Town entrance is solely for Home Town. One of those signs had a picture of Mr. T on it, saying “I pity the fool.” The building reached legendary status in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when it was miraculously the only building in a six-block radius with power. That meant the company didn’t have to cease printing due to the storm. This bizarre fortress is seeing some change this month. Mark Lungariello, who has been editor-in-chief at the company since the week following the November 2009 elections, has announced he will be stepping down April 1, which happens to be one of his favorite days of the year. But the departure is no joke for
Lungariello, who aside from guiding the editorial and graphics staff is also a brilliant columnist, a tough Words With Friends opponent and is viewed as one of the most handsome men in Westchester County. He took it upon himself to write this notice as one of his last columns at the company and did so in the third person, about which he feels quite icky, but still felt it was less bizarre than writing in the second person. Writing his own departure article should come as no surprise to those who know Lungariello: He threw himself his own 30th birthday party, at which his rock band, For the Hutch, performed. He figured fewer people would turn down the invitation to see the band if they felt guilty about his birthday. He also laughs at his own jokes, as insurance against a lack of laughter from others. Lungariello is today 33 and considers himself slightly balder, but no less an able dancer than he was when he took the job as editor. His successor will be Christian Falcone, who is Home Town’s senior reporter and associate editor of its Rye newspaper. Lungariello has been trying to convince Falcone to accept a terrible acrylic painting, which hangs on the editor’s office wall and which is the only painting Lungariello ever finished. It says “POW” in comic book letters and one person who viewed it called it a fitting first and last painting. Lungariello became editor after several years as a reporter covering Eastchester, Tuckahoe
and Harrison for Home Town. Unlike his credit card debt, Lungariello took reporting the local news quite seriously and tackled a number of high-profile stories. He was considered the goto political reporter by his former editor, Lynda Wissing. Lungariello believed his interest in local politics came from his love of slapstick comedy and the Marx Brothers. When he became editor in 2009, after covering both local and countywide elections, Lungariello focused on the Home Town papers being the primary source in each community for local government and political coverage. In the Home Town offices, it was known as a five-day-a-week casual Friday, according to Paige Rentz, the Mamaroneck reporter who worked with Lungariello as editor until April 2011. “I felt OK wearing jeans and Converse to the office when my boss would be wearing a Ramones T-shirt under a button down shirt with combat boots,” Rentz said. Jason Chirevas, the current deputy editor of the company, was less impressed with Lungariello’s impeccable fashion sense - particularly his T-shirt choices. “I felt there was a rotation,” Chirevas said. “Like, I’ve seen the Indiana Jones shirt. I could have used a little more variety and less predictability.” On a serious note, Rentz said she believed that, over the last few years, Home Town was able to find its voice at a time when there were many local voices competing with one another and print journalism was going through a rough stretch. On a less serious note, Rentz, who is a now reporter for the Anniston Star in Alabama, said she remembers how, whenever she spoke using her hands and extended an upward palm within Lungariello’s reach, he had to “give her five.” It’s a bizarre tick that he cannot help and sometimes; when he is interviewing someone and they do it, it takes all of his considerable power to resist slapping his subject five when his or her hand is close to him. Chirevas notes that Lungariello is constantly playing with and
twirling his hair, which he does so frequently that members of the ad department mimic him doing it as they walk by his open office door. There are other strange things Lungariello used to do, according to Dan Gabel, who served as assistant editor from 2009 until 2011. “He was obsessed with the neighborhood where the office is,” Gabel said. “He would document the arbitrary objects that would be on the sidewalk, be it a television set or a shoe.” Lungariello, who was a cigarette smoker, used to stand in front of the building and snap photos of some of the more ridiculous litter, such as an empty box of salmon, and post the pictures to a litter blog he created. He struggled with quitting cigarettes for two years beginning in 2011, which was the same time he decided to enroll in graduate school (he plans to graduate in May). Rachel McCain, who served as deputy editor from 2011 until January of this year, said she wished Lungariello had kept smoking. “When he stopped smoking, he became very irritable,” she said, “More so.” Aside from his duties as editor, he continued his column, called “Lungariello at Large,” which first began in 2008, prior to his being named editor. He tried to be sarcastic and humorous about it with mixed results. Once, a Mamaroneck couple ended their subscription over the column, then said “We won’t miss you either!” But Lungariello, who sometimes has difficulty with his written transitions, will miss Home Town, its communities and all of the readers and people he’s interacted with over the last three years. He often obsesses over how to close out his columns. For his goodbye column, he didn’t want to get sappy but he lost sleep over whether to end it with “I always took your news seriously” or “This has been fun fun fun.” In the end, he chose neither. Peace. Reach Mark Lungariello at firstname.lastname@example.org
Group raises funds for pet adoption Helping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of North America’s most popular women’s half-marathon, Weschester Humane Society friends and volunteers hope to raise $15,000 in sponsorship money to benefit the shelter’s adoptable dogs and cats. April 14 marks the tenth anniversary of the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon held annually in New York City’s Central Park. Female friends and volunteers of the Westchester Humane Society will be running in full force at the race, which is staged by the famed New York Road Runners club and is now the largest such event in the United States. Participants from the Westchester Humane Society will be running for a great cause: To raise funds that will benefit the many dogs and cats available for adoption at the newly revitalized, no-kill shelter. A cadre of 33 runners, from new volunteers to board members, will be available for sponsorship by anyone
interested in supporting the nonprofit shelter. Sponsors can contribute whatever they choose, and no amount is too small. Those contributing $100 or more will receive a special dog charm handmade by WHS volunteer and professional jewelry designer Sylvie Fremont. The women’s half-marathon is 13 miles long, and takes its participants on two loops around Manhattan’s famous Central Park. The event, which receives widespread coverage in local and mainstream media, is one of many that Westchester Humane Society is counting on for the funding necessary to continue its important mission. To sponsor a Westchester Humane Society runner in the More Magazine/ Fitness Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon, go to www.westchesterhumanesociety.org/ marathon.html. For more information about the Westchester Humane Society and its participation, contact Irma Jansen at email@example.com or (917) 375-1289. (Submitted)
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 9
Board of Education discusses burden of state mandates By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Harrison Central School District Board of Education may still have a way to go before they are prepared to adopt a spending plan for the 2013‑2014 fiscal year. Once greenlighted by the board, the budget will go to public vote in spring. Similar to last year, when voters approved a $104.2 million budget with no cuts or reductions in class size, the district’s goal will be to maintain existing school programs while staying within the parameters of a state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap. During the board’s March 6 meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Robert Salerno gave a presentation about the slew of state mandates dictating school spending in the coming year. According to Salerno, annual increases for teacher and employee retirement, special education and health insurance provider costs already consume approximately $3.5 million of the total budget, as of March 5. Salerno said an anticipated 4.41 percent increase in the district’s contribution to teacher retirements costs would mean an increase of approximately $2.2 million in added funds. Since the state excludes expenses over the 2-percent threshold, only $1.07 million would be held to the state tax levy cap requirement,
which equates to 1.1 percent of the total two percent the district is allowed to raise taxes. Currently, teachers’ retirement costs account for 37.2 percent of the district’s total budget. “It is equally important we look at both revenue and expenses to provide a balanced budget,” Salerno said. “We need to look for efficiencies, in order to provide better services at a better price.” In addition to teacher pensions, annual increases for the state employee retirement fund will cost the district $221,786, special education will cost the district an additional $565,452, and health insurance will see an increase of $449,316. “There are significant cost drivers at play that we cannot impact,” school Superintendent Louis Wool said. “This is not a time that I can say with [certainty] that we can protect everything that we have.” According to Wool, the district will face additional challenges in trying to maintain class sizes at a level of 22 students, which he said was ideal. However, with a graduating class of more than 300 eighth grade students, Harrison High School will face its largest influx of freshmen students in history. “A significant increase in enrollment poses new challenges [for the district] in multiple ways,” Wool said. “In addition, a space shortage at our high school requires we reconfigure classroom space.”
Harrison High School
Wool added that, in reexamining programs and extracurricular activities, the district believes some teachers may be asked to take on additional assignments as the district looks for opportunities to maximize efficiency in public school staffing. “We will continue to work on the budget until it is time for adoption,” said Harrison Board of Education trustee and budget sub-committee chairwoman Joan Tiburzi. “Knowing that there would be significant cost drivers from places within our control, we have to find savings in what we already have.” Board of Education President Dennis DiLorenzo said that with the four anticipated
cost increases consuming a large portion of the 2 percent levy cap; members of the board would need to trim other expenses within its control. Although the precise figures of the overall spending plan have yet to be determined, the efforts of the budget subcommittee, along with the recent stability within the local assessment pool, have members of the Harrison Central School District Board of Education confident the 2013-14 budget would yield a low impact to local taxes. “In addition to the impact this year...we need to think about the next two years,” DiLorenzo said. “Re-engineering and restructuring [the budget] can’t be something done every year.”
10 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
The Movie Theater By Jason Chirevas
Gloria Pritts was 8 years old in 1933 when she saw “King Kong” at the Mamaroneck Playhouse. “It was a big thing. That was the movie to see at the time. Up there on the Empire State Building. That was a good movie.” Pritts, now the Village of Mamaroneck’s historian, said. The movie didn’t scare her; even then, she said, she knew a movie was just a movie, but surely the film’s epic scale and fantastic spectacle would have thrilled, perhaps even galvanized, audiences in 1933. If it did, Pritts said, you never would have known it. “What makes you think they made noise? They didn’t. Nothing,” she said. In those days, Pritts said, audience decorum was governed by the stricter manners of the time and, perhaps, the respect one was used to showing a live theater performance. Still, the wonder of the movies was not lost on Pritts. She recalled the details and majesty of the Playhouse in its youth. The big, domed ceiling, the box seats for live performances, the tapestries above the stage depicting a clash of medieval armies and, of course, the balcony, from which Pritts remembers marveling at something that, some 50 years later, caught my eye in the movie theaters of my childhood. “You would sit in the balcony and see the projected light go down to the screen,” she said. The first two movies I ever saw in a theater were “101 Dalmatians” and “Star Wars,” both in 1977, though I’m not sure in which order I saw them. I do remember we saw “Star Wars” at Movieland on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers. For “101 Dalmatians,” it was a small, old theater called, I believe, The Kimball, which was set into a hill along Yonkers Avenue. Neither of those theaters still exist today, but the Mamaroneck Playhouse has been right where it is now on Mamaroneck Avenue since 1925. I saw “Django Unchained” there two weeks ago. In the beginning, the Playhouse was a venue for live stage shows as well as film, which at that time was still in its infancy as commercial entertainment. On Dec. 6, 1925, the Playhouse presented its first film, which was something called “Wild, Wild Suzanne.” While it would seem the details of that particular movie have eluded all modern day resources both paper and electronic, the Mamaroneck Playhouse would soon play host to some of the greatest movies ever committed to celluloid. For 15 cents each, Pritts and her family would see a featured film, a B movie, a cartoon and a newsreel, which was significant because it was the only way people could actually see the news in the days before television. But, times change. Eventually, a day at the Mamaroneck Playhouse would cost 25 cents. That’s what former trustee and lifetime vil-
lage mainstay Sid Albert used to can’t beat that experience.” pay when he went to the movies The Mamaroneck Playhouse, with his friends. now a Clearview branded the“I thought it was an absolutely ater, can still be a surreal experiphenomenal thing with its gold ence for a movie nerd visiting it paintings and a great big, huge for the first time. screen,” Albert, now 76, said. There’s a long, gently sloping “I remember seeing things like hallway that leads from the front ‘Quo Vadis’ and ‘Ben-Hur.’ As a door to the main lobby. To pass little kid, when you go and you through those doors is to leave see those kinds of movies in a the noise and aggression of our big theater like that you’re very current world behind and move, impressed with it.” descending just a bit, away from By the time Albert was spendthe street and back through ing his childhood days enrapt time. You’ll pass the old box ofin images of chariot races and fice window along the way. Of Nero’s Rome, the Playhouse was course there’s neon and credit almost exclusively a movie thecard readers at the concession ater. Though there was an occastand now, but, if you look past sional rock and roll show there, them, as John Theanthong did gone were the days of regular more than 20 years ago, you visits from vaudeville entertaincan still see Dec. 6, 1925. It’s ers, which were rumored to have in the wood accents all over the included acts like Burns and lobby, on the brick staircase up Allen and Johnny Carson-then to what used to be the balcony a magician-working under asand in the boarded-up viewing sumed names to maintain their boxes along the walls of the upNew York City contracts. per levels. By 1980, the Playhouse had Perhaps remarkably, elemoved into corporate hands and ments of the theater that have was in the midst of a renovation always been there have withor, as Pritts and Albert more stood the passage of time better likely to see it, a vivisection. than some of the more recent “They ruined it,” Pritts said. additions. Some of the ceilThe Mamaroneck Playhouse ing tiles on the upper level are became a United Artists theater water stained, and the boards with four small screens instead covering up the box seats are of one grand one, two floors inmore worn than the brick and stead of a balcony. Many of the stonework around them. Even adornments that made the theif the Playhouse never returns to ater as much an attraction as the the single screen experience of movies it hosted were donated Although the once grand auditorium inside has been divided into four its youth, its current custodians to the Mamaroneck Historical smaller ones, much of the detail in the Mamaroneck Playhouse’s lobby might do well to safeguard the remains unchanged since it opened in 1925. Photo/Rebecca Chirevas Society. unique atmosphere the theater As the 1980s drew to a close, still provides for future generaa new generation of Mamaroneck’s children time there. tions of moviegoers, whose memories of such “Behind the theater you can actually see experiences can last a lifetime. populated the Playhouse, but some of these ropes and pulleys; the way it would actually were employees. I asked Gloria Pritts about the Mamaroneck John Theanthong was a Larchmont resi- be for a Broadway stage,” he said. “Behind Playhouse movies she remembered best. I dent when, at the age of 16, he took a job at the scenes there were a ton of [old dressing] mentioned “Casablanca,” my favorite film. what I noticed he always referred to as “the rooms. It’s spooky, it’s scary, but it’s also a She said she didn’t see what the big deal was Playhouse 4.” The altered interior didn’t leave virtual treasure trove. We found old posters at the time, but she may have been too young Theanthong feeling his experience working at there.” to appreciate it when she saw it. Theanthong no longer lives in Westchester; the theater alongside his brother and two best I didn’t have to prompt Pritts at all to refriends was any less special. It was just a dif- his days at the Mamaroneck Playhouse long member seeing Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” at behind him. He lives a much faster-paced life the Playhouse. ferent kind of special. “It’s an awesome job when you’re 16 years in New York City now and, like Pritts and She now owns it on DVD. old,” Theanthong, who is now 39, said. “You Albert before him, laments the current state of “I must think to show that to the little ones,” got to see all the movies you wanted, all your things when going to the movies. I asked him, she said. given that, what the value of a place like his friends thought you were the bomb.” The “little ones” are Pritts’ great grandchilCleaning the theaters meant using a leaf beloved Playhouse 4 can still be. dren. They’re all coming to her house for Palm “There’s a towny feel to it,” he said. “It’s Sunday, and now they’re going to experience blower to blast debris out a back door. One summer, Theanthong and his fellow employ- a place that you can walk to. You have your something that first thrilled their 15-year-old ees founded a good-natured fight club behind slice of pizza, you enjoy the day at Harbor great grandmother in a big, beautiful theater the screens after hours. Still, the Playhouse’s Island, and then you come in for a movie and in 1940. history was not lost on Theanthong during his you go next door for dinner afterwards. You Movie magic.
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 11
Reid Hall at Manhattanville College in Purchase has a rich history spanning over a century. Although it is mostly utilized by college administrators, the castle, as it exists today, is widely seen as an emblematic representation of the school. Photo/Daniel Offner By DANIEL OFFNER
Reid Hall at Manhattanville College in Purchase is modeled after the historic estates left standing by European royalty in the medieval era. It has never been home to a king or queen or a duke or duchess, but it is was deemed a national landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The castle, which is built in the Norman Gothic style, earned the designation due to its rich history, architectural influences, landscape and many secrets. Reid Castle serves as an office for many Manhattanville employees, such as Gary McLoughlin, 60, an employee with the college’s Office of Disability Services. “For me, it provides a sense of place deeply rooted in tradition,” McLoughlin said. The castle was constructed as an estate for Pony Express tycoon Benjamin Holladay in 1864. It was originally known as Ophir Farm and served as a home for the tycoon. Unfortunately for Holladay, by 1873 he had lost most of his wealth, which led him to put the mansion up for public sale. More than a decade later, the estate became the first residence in Westchester County to be equipped with both telephone and electric wiring. However, one month before the estate’s new owner, Whitelaw Reid, and his wife, Elizabeth, planned to move in, a short circuit started a fire that engulfed the house, leaving only the granite foundation remaining. According to Manhattanville College Archivist Lauren Ziarko, Reid envisioned rebuilding the castle to a much more grandiose level, incorporating both French and English
inspired decor. At the front of Reid Hall, two rooms to the right of the main entrance were imported directly from the Château de Billlennes in Poissy, France, which was being demolished at the time. After serving as the Ambassador to England, Reid sought to expand the corridor in a Tudor style similar to the court of St. James. Anderson Jones, a professor from Mount Vernon and member of the college’s Board of Trustees, said that he had always felt a sense of peace and uniqueness similar to the Chateau de Versailles in France. “It’s such a great artifact,” said Jones, 65. “The motif of a castle itself creates this traditional kind of a feeling.” Reid hired famed landscaper Frederick Law Olmstead, who is most recognized for his work in New York City’s Central Park. Olmstead brought in several different trees and plants, some of which had been invasive species to the Purchase region. After Whitelaw Reid died, his children inherited the property, which they auctioned off. In 1952, Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart decided to relocate its main campus from the New York City’s Morningside Heights to Purchase. Manhattanville was founded by the Order of the Sacred Heart as a religious institution for women. Elizabeth McCormick, 90, a former Manhattanville College president and graduate from the class of 1944, took the reins as the college made the transition from an all-girls institution to a co-ed campus. “It’s so easy to say what’s different,”
McCormick said in an October interview. “But what hasn’t changed are the spirit and the values, which have remained just what they were when the college was founded.” Manhattanville today has more than 1,700 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students from all over the world. ***** Reid Castle has garnered much attention among celebrities over the last century and has even been featured in a few motion pictures. The castle has played host to Amelia Earhart, Robert F. Kennedy, Horace Greeley, and even The King of Siam stayed at the castle in 1931 before undergoing eye surgery. Today, it can also be rented out for weddings, bar mitzvahs and other private affairs and social gatherings. For the students attending Manhattanville College, who are used to seeing the historic landmark day in and day out, the castle comes with its own lore and urban legends outside of the official history. The most notorious of the Reid Castle tall tales stems from an eerie portrait in the West Hall of three young girls, who some believe perished in the fire which burned the Ophir estate in 1888. “It’s not true,” said Manhattanville Archivist Lauren Ziarko. “Nobody had been injured in the fire.” According to Ziarko, the painting in the West Hall corridor had been donated from an alumnus of the college and, in fact, has no ties to the school. “I’ve heard a few [ghost stories] but they’re
kind of ridiculous,” said Manhattanville Sophomore Nick Faulkner, 19. “Like someone died on the stairs in a fire.” Each fall, the castle also plays host to several haunted tours, which take students through the inner workings of the castle. More notably, the chapel constructed across from Reid Castle has widely been regarded as the scariest spot on the campus. Located within the adjacent Holladay Stone Chapel, several of the deceased members of the Order of the Sacred Heart have been moved from their initial burial place to the catacombs in Purchase. Ghost sightings and hauntings have been a much more frequent occurrence in the chapel, students and employees say. Apart from the folklore tied to the castle, there are several hidden secrets special to Reid Castle. Apart from a hidden study in the West Hall, students who have felt especially daring said they have found secret passages in the castle basement. Joseph Menchaca, a sophomore student, said he had ventured through the castle a few times in the past. “It’s an interesting building to explore,” said Menchaca, 20. “There are so many rooms to work your way through.” According to Menchaca, he had even climbed the ladder to the castle tower and found a little kitchen within the basement. “It’s one of those thing you just got to see for yourself.” While the view from the very top of the castle’s turret has been a rare sight for those privileged to see it, the entrance is kept locked and can only be accessed with a special key.
12 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
The Bath House By RACHEL McCAIN
The temperature outside Public Bath House No. 3 is mild for a Friday afternoon in February. Inside, it is remarkably humid. The air feels like Florida in August. Sunlight shines through the frosted windows of the building’s reception area, adding to the mugginess of the 103-year-old landmark in southern Yonkers. There are three staff members and a handful of devoted elderly swimmers who are in the midst of an aquatics class in the pool, which was once a plunge bath. Yonkers has been the home to many firsts: Alxander Smith and Son’s was the world’s largest carpet factory, Otis Elevator Company was the first elevator factory in the world and Yonkers was also home to the first year-round municipal bath house. According to the Report on Public Baths and Public Comfort stations by the Mayors Committee of New York City 1895, Yonkers became first city in the United States to “establish a municipal bath, supplied with hot and cold water and opened all the year round,” in 1896. Before the opening of bath houses, residents of the area used wash basins and the Hudson River to bathe. However, due to increasing pollution of the river, people went elsewhere. From the time the bath houses were established until 1948, patrons were charged five cents for the use of a towel and soap; bathers were allotted 20 minutes to use the facilities. Despite the changes that have taken place throughout Yonkers over the past century, Public Bath House No. 3 is still used as a bath house. Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., one can use the facilities for $1. According to a 1962 Herald Statesman article, during the early 1960s–when co-ed swimming was still considered taboo–the bath house was “frequented by more than 200 persons weekly.” The cost to use the facility during that time only 10 cents and included soap and a towel. According to Michael Meola, the labor supervisor for the City of Yonkers Parks Department, the crowds have certainly changed over the years. “We used to see an older woman who came every day,” Meola said. “In recent years, we haven’t had too many come.” Meola has worked for the city’s Parks Department since 1990. Public Bath House No. 3 opened to the public in 1910. It is one of four built in Yonkers, the first of which opened in 1896. Most of the structures are no longer in existence. Public Bath House No. 1, demolished in 1962 to make way for a housing project, was located at 55 Jefferson St. According to an article in the Herald Statesman, the bath house had a “solidly imposing façade of a miniature 13th century castle, complete with parapets.” Bath House No. 4–better known as the Linden Street Pool–was located at 134 Linden
A scale that was used to weigh the soap powder to wash the towels patrons were given at Public Bath House No. 3. The scale sits in the basement of the bath house, along with many other items from the early 1900s. Photo/Rachel McCain
St. It sat vacant for 20 years until 2011 when the building was demolished; the parcel of land where it once stood is now vacant. Public Bath House No. 2, which was located at 27 Vineyard Ave. in the shadows of the former site of the Mulford Gardens housing project, still has its original structure and was converted into the Mount Hebron Apostolic Church in the 1960s. Although newly built affordable housing has replaced the sprawling apartment complex, the former bath house looks exactly as it did when it was originally constructed with the exception of the church’s marquee and a slab of painted wood covering a bay window on the first floor. One other difference; the wooden pews inside the church
now sit in the footprints of the tubs. According to the City of Yonkers Communications Director Christina Gilmartin, the demographics of the neighborhoods in which the bath houses were located have also changed since their construction. “These neighborhoods were and continue to be low income, densely populated areas with a predominance of recent immigrants,” she said. “In the early 1900s, the immigrant population was predominantly Eastern Europeans from Poland, Russia and Ukraine. In recent decades, the area has become predominantly recent Hispanic immigrants, African-Americans and a diversity of other cultures.”
Public Bath House No. 3 is not built in the same manner as the multi-family houses and apartment buildings that it is adjacent to. It is majestic. The two-story building, located at 48 Yonkers Ave., is built in Second Renaissance Revival style and is brick-trimmed with Moravian tiles. Ornate, hand-carved copper, now green from decades of oxidation, wraps around the trim of the roof, which consists of terra cotta shingles that appear to have a slight bend. Inside, the building shows signs of aging. There are two entrances on the first floor, each etched above two stone archways resting on white pillars reading “men” and “women,” showing where each gender should have entered. On the left side of the first floor–the men’s side of the bath house–there are powder blue stalls made of “solid granite,” according to Meola, and gun metal gray lockers. On the woman’s side of the bath house, which is noticeably smaller than the men’s side, there are pastel pink stalls and gun metal gray lockers. Several private baths, or tubs, were once located on each side of the first floor, and used mostly by the elderly. The frosted windows that are high above the lockers on both sides of the building do not open. In the middle of the first floor, past the building’s reception area between the men and women’s stalls, sits the mosaic plunge pool–rebuilt in 1930 by architect William Katz–which ranges in depth from 4.5 feet to 6.5 feet. According to an article in The Yonkers Statesman from 1910, the architect behind the bath house design was George Starin Cowles; the general contractor was P.J. Flannery. Foundational work for the building, which cost $40,884 to build, began in 1901. Minus the architect’s fees and other incurred costs, the bath house’s contract price was $33,997. The second floor of the bath house is abandoned. Outside, the windows have ornate, round archways. Inside, a balcony previously used as a spectator gallery–complete with bleachers–overlooks the pool, wrapping around the perimeter of the room. Save for a mural depicting an underwater scene, not much has been altered in the upper portions of the building since the days of the balcony’s use. A deserted apartment, once home to the building janitor until the 1970s, occupies rooms on the second floor above the first floor reception area. Due to the rooms’ deteriorated conditions, access is not permitted. “No admittance” signs adorn the doors to two sets of abandoned staircases that lead to the second floor balcony and apartment. In the basement of the bath house, there are still many undated relics. Beer cans from the 1960s have been found in the basement of Public Bath House No. 3, according to Meola. Graffiti dating back to the 1920s has been seen on some of the stall doors after they BATH HOUSE continued on page 15
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 13
The Armory By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC
At a quick glance from street level, there is nothing remarkable about the stout brick building perched atop a hill near McDonald’s on East Main Street in New Rochelle. Yet for those who are so inclined, a large set of steps built into the steep slope invites a closer look. The structure’s thick, unmarked, arched doors and barred windows greet visitors who complete the climb. To the right, a mammoth white, black and red anchor resting on concrete blocks provides the only clue to the building’s original purpose and its historical significance. It is the New Rochelle Armory. Then… A newspaper account from the 1930s details the dedication of the $650,000 naval militia armory, which was hailed as “the most modern and best equipped in the entire state.” According to a Standard-Star article, more than 1,000 people turned out for the ceremony, where Lt. Governor Herbert H. Lehman laid the cornerstone of the building using a special trowel presented to him for the occasion. “No one hates militarism more than I do, or is more opposed to formal armed aggression,” Lehman said during his keynote address. “But there is a vast difference between armed, swashbuckling aggression and preparedness. It is absolutely imperative that we maintain an adequate defense as a safeguard.” To that end, the 30,000-square foot armory, located steps away from Long Island Sound, initially served as headquarters for the 31st Fleet Division Naval Militia. Over the years, the massive building, equipped with a drill deck, radio room and rifle range, also housed a New York State Naval Reserve Center, Company D of the Marine Corps Reserve and the Coast Guard Reserves. Jim Murphy, a Navy veteran, recalled visiting the armory when one of his best friends was in the naval reserves. “The armory was his place for reserve duty, and I was in and out of there all the time,” Murphy said. “It was a classically beautiful building.” Eugene McLeer, another Navy veteran, said countless people who served in the military– including hundreds who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country–were “processed in and out” of the service at the armory. In a 2006 article in The Sound View News, World War II veteran Gene Longhi recalled how 60 men enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, Company D, “mustered into Federal Service” in May 1940. The group “proudly marched to the railroad station to leave the city for World War II, as thousands were drawn to the streets to express their concern for the fate of the military and our country,” Longhi said. The citizens that turned out to support the military that day were encouraged to use the armory prior to World War II, Longhi added.
The giant anchor in front of the armory provides the only visible clue about the building’s original purpose. Photo/Alexandra Bogdanovic
“The Drill Hall was used by civilian groups such as the Civil Air Patrol, the Sea Cadets and the New Rochelle and Blessed Sacrament high school basketball teams,” Longhi told The Sound View News. “The rifle range was used by New Rochelle High School and Mamaroneck High School, the American Legion New Rochelle Post # 8 and the Boy Scouts of America Explorers [sponsored by the New Rochelle Police Association, Inc.].” McLeer, a retired New Rochelle police officer, said the cops taught the explorers about the safe use of firearms and used the rifle range for shooting competitions. The best marksmen got trophies, McLeer recalled. The New Rochelle Police Department also held meetings, dances and parties at the armory, where the gymnasium could easily accommodate 600 people, according to McLeer. “You could probably drive a tank through there,” he said. Back in those days, the armory was also the starting and ending point for Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades. Former Assemblyman Ron Tocci remembered how, as a little boy, he would put thin paper through the spokes on his bicycle tires and ride along the parade route with his friends. “We didn’t appreciate the solemnity of the occasion,” Tocci said. Tocci also said that he was in the state legislature when the armory was deemed to be “surplus property” 16 years ago. At that time, the state sold it to the City of New Rochelle for
$1, based on certain conditions reflected in the transfer agreement. “This grant is made and accepted upon the condition that said premises shall be improved and maintained for park, recreation, street and highway purposes, including incidental, necessary municipal business included therewith,” the transfer agreement stated. “In the event that said premises are not improved and maintained for park, recreation, street and highway purposes, including incidental, necessary business in conjunction therewith, the title hereby conveyed shall revert to The People of the State of New York and the Attorney General may institute an action in the Supreme Court for a judgment declaring a revesting of such title in the State.” Local veterans say the building was in fine shape when the city got it back in 1997. Tocci concurs. “It was in perfect working order,” he said. And now… That is no longer the case. Today the building is no longer in use. Graffiti scars an exterior wall facing the sound. There is a gaping hole in the Drill Hall roof, and the floor is littered with crumbled debris. A faded, tattered American flag limply hangs inside, visible through large windows. Footsteps echo in empty hallways and dust swirls through the air as a representative from the city’s Department of Development escorts a visitor through the building. There’s peeling paint and crumbling drywall in room after
room. The art that once graced the walls is gone. “It makes me sad and angry,” McLeer said. “This is our history. It is all we have left. Everything we have has been destroyed. It is not so nice for the guys who put their lives on the line.” To a man, the veterans that still love the building blame past and present city officials for its decline. They were adamantly opposed to its potential destruction–an idea that surfaced when the city first entertained Echo Bay waterfront redevelopment plans in 2008–and formed a committee to save the building. In recent years, the Save Our Armory Committee has pitched plans to turn the building into a community center or performing arts center. The city rejected the latter proposal last fall, prompting the veterans to march on City Hall. A tentative agreement with the Westchesterbased Good Profit group to transform the armory into an indoor food market and restaurants fell through when Good Profit failed to submit a “letter of agreement” to the city by the end of February. In light of those developments, the veterans will likely resubmit their proposal for a performing arts center, Tocci said. “We had an engineer go through the building and the report we got back indicates the building is in remarkably good shape in spite of the neglect and abuse,” Tocci said. “The building can be rehabilitated and we are going to pursue it.”
14 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
The Music Store By ASHLEY HELMS
Driving down White Plains Road in Eastchester, you might miss the 54-year-old store on the corner of Mill Road, but many are already familiar with the location. A sign that once displayed “Eastchester Music Center” in large, illuminated letters is now on display inside the store and has been replaced by a smaller, less eye-catching display on the street. Inside, people are practicing their instruments. A woman calls on Eastchester Music Center’s owner Mike Cardella because she needs to rent an instrument for her 15-yearold daughter’s performance at Carnegie Hall in the coming weeks. Toward the back of the store, a small section of the wall is decorated with autographed, black-and-white photos of talent from what some may call “back in the day.” Walter Murphy, who rose to fame through a disco hit, played keyboard and briefly taught at the the center before he crafted his cover of a famous classical work. “He wrote The Fifth of Beethoven as a rock tune,” Cardella said. In an age where virtually all media can be accessed with a few taps of a fingertip, Eastchester Music stands as a relic to the old days where a music store was more than just a store. Aspiring musicians used to hang out here, some who’d go on to superstardom and fulfilling their dreams in front of stadiums full of fans, some who’d end up cutting their long hair and going to work in a suit. Stores like Eastchester Music were busy little places where rock’n’roll invited you in for a jam session. But now, these years later, Cardella said he plans to sell the music center when he finds the right person to take over. He cites the increased expense of doing business as well as the long commute from his home near the Poconos. The buyer of the store, Cardella said, must be equal parts musician, technician, and businessman. Although many potential candidates have passed through the store, there has yet to be an offer during the five years it’s been on the market. “Stores like this are on the cusp,” Cardella said. “You always hear on the radio that mom and pops are going out of business.” ***** Eastchester Music started off as Moody’s, a music store in the same location owned by a woman whose husband had another store in New York City. Cardella said he heard the store was up for sale from a saxophone player with whom he performed during a party in 1959. Cardella purchased the store for around $5,000 and eventually moved it to the space the Studio B Dance Studio occupies today. “When I bought the store, there was nothing in it,” Cardella said. “It was very empty.” During its time in that space, the Eastchester Music Center was the biggest music shop in Westchester. Cardella said he had a much
Eastchester Music Center on White Plains Road hosts a variety of guitars, drums, accessories and amps. In addition to its inventory, musicians can also take lessons or buy and sell instruments. Photo/Ashley Helms
larger inventory of guitars, drums, amps and accessories than he does today. In the basement was a new recording studio with soundproofing equipment and an instrument repair shop. During the late 1960s, Cardella said he came to work to find the equipment in the basement floating in about three feet of water. The basement had flooded during a heavy overnight stpr,. “There was a little stream underneath the store, and the water came in through there,” Cardella said. “I had to move out.” Eastchester Music moved up the block to the space now occupied by Mickey Spillane’s, where it remained for roughly 40 years. During that time, the store attracted many young musicians who would go on to make their mark on the industry. Steve Talarico, better known as Aersomith front man Steve Tyler, took lessons at the store as an adolescent. Cardella described the young Tyler as funny and rambunctious. “His dad was a music teacher and would come in here to buy,” Cardella said. “We taught Steve the drums before he switched to guitar.” The 1960s and 1970s ushered in the biggest boom of business for Eastchester Music, especially during the first Woodstock music festival in 1969. Cardella said people came
from all across New York and the tri-state area before heading upstate to Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel for the event. Cardella said that he was running the store with his brother Sal at the time and business was non-stop. “We had one of those old cash registers, and it got so packed with cash that we couldn’t open and close it, so we had to take some of the money out and stash it,” Cardella said. Then, came the chain stores. Although the store stays afloat with lessons and sales, Cardella said he knew Eastchester Music would face challenges when Sam Ash moved to White Plains in the late 1980s. Luckily, Cardella said, people in the area were already very familiar with his business and it survived the competition. “Sam Ash sells everything at 40 percent off,” Cardella said. “People are tight with money now and things are up in the air.” About 15 years ago, a restaurant bought the building Eastchester Music inhabited and Cardella moved the store to its current location at 417 White Plains Road. The store no longer has a recording studio like it did in the 1960s and has taken a hit in inventory, but on the bright side, the current location does not suffer from flooding problems. Richard Ricci, 56, of White Plains, has been in and out of Eastchester Music for the last
30 years trading drums and used equipment. Ricci jams with the store’s guitar teacher Mike Delio, who Ricci said got him interested in playing music again. Ricci played the drums in a punk band called “Not Them Again” for two years, but didn’t release any albums with the group. “Playing in a band can be hard because it’s tough dealing with everyone’s inadequacies,” Ricci said. “Music is all about reading each other and not just putting out a product.” Kids who come to the store for lessons today still model themselves after old rock and roll and jazz musicians, Cardella said, but they aren’t very interested in classical or blues anymore. In the early days of rock and roll, there was more musical diversity than there is today, Cardella said. “Kids like the Jersey Boys, a lot of the old ones are coming back,” Cardella said. “Today more than ever you find some really talented people around here.” Cardella is creating a website for the store to help him market it to a potential buyer more easily. Cardella said that since he has been in business for so long, he feels like he has grown up with the town and seen whole generations of residents go by. “All the guys I’d rent to, now they’re renting for their kids,” Cardella said. “It was a fun business; it’s the end of an era.”
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 15
The Sanctuary By CHRISTIAN FALCONE
Nestled in the southeastern corner of the City of Rye lays a 179-acre sanctuary considered by residents here to be one of nature’s hidden treasures. The Edith Read Sanctuary, named after a late Rye resident and elected official, is home to a nature park and wildlife sanctuary unlike any in Westchester County. Although there is always local concern about commercial development, the Edith Read Sancuary has remained nearly untouched for decades, situated behind Rye Playland along the shoreline of the Long Island Sound. Along a migratory flyway, it is home to a great diversity of marine life, plants and animals. In winter months, the 85-acre adjoining lake, a mixture of salt and fresh water, is home to more than 5,000 ducks. The Audubon Society of New York has recognized the county owned sanctuary as an important area due to its significant habitats and flyway. There are three miles of trails through forest and field along the half-mile of public shoreline. “I think there is something for everyone,” said Dr. Joy Reidenberg, president of the nonprofit Friends of Edith Read Sanctuary. Whether it’s summer beachcombing, gazing at the fall foliage or tracking animal footprints through a winter snowstorm, the sanctuary is a year-round destination for nature lovers and those who want to take a timeout from everyday life. The park never closes, unless it is forced to by Mother Nature. Such was the case when Hurricane Sandy dealt the sanctuary a debilitating blow; it has been closed indefinitely since the October 2012 storm. There were 35 trees toppled, and 50-foot tidal surges, which washed Playland Beach onto the roadway leading to the sanctuary. The hope is federal money will cover most of the restorations. The woman for whom the sanctuary was named was an environmental champion in Rye and throughout Westchester County. Edith Read passed away in 2006 at the age of 102. Rye’s Historical Society recently ran an exhibit on her life entitled Edith Read: Remembering Rye’s Environmental Champion. Former Rye Mayor John Carey, who appointed Read to the Rye City Council in 1974, said, “she was willing to answer her community’s call on more than just environmental issues.” But Read’s crowning achievements were related to the environment and in the 1970s, she helped the county transform barren land that was largely a dumping ground into an open space nature preserve. Today, the 179 acres she saved bear her name. What sets the sanctuary apart from much of the Westchester County parks system is it’s one of a limited number of places that have public access to the natural shoreline. Environmental enthusiasts believe it is es-
This boulder, located at the site of the sanctuary, was dedicated to the late Edith Read, a noted environmental champion for Westchester County and former Rye City councilwoman. Photo/Christian Falcone
sential that places such as natural parks continue to thrive, affording opportunities to see native flora, wetlands habitats and bird migration. “Most shorelines are privately owned, or publicly owned and artificially altered, or disturbed in some fashion,” said Reidenberg, whose home abuts the Edith Read property. “This is one of a few places were you can put a kayak in the water or go fishing.” Much of the work of the nonprofit group ranges from invasive plant species and the deforestation of deer to organizing programs and fundraisers. The group also works to protect the land so that it’s not sold to a developer with visions of waterfront condos. At a time when every government is looking to cut back, Westchester County officials have examined the possibility of cutting the sanctuary’s funding, though the cost to maintain and operate the sanctuary is minimal. “I worry about people valuing it,” Reidenberg said. “A park has to be valued. If it’s valued, people will pay the taxes to run a place like Read Sanctuary. We’re trying to get the word out that we exist.” The sanctuary may soon face a test yet again as Playland undergoes a process that will likely reshape the famous amusement park. Nature enthusiasts will keep a watchful eye over how that plays out, particularly any impact it may have on the sanctuary. In the meantime, the Edith Read group continues to try to win more fans. Reidenberg‑whose favorite time to visit the property is Mothers Day‑said people who discover the park by chance are usually delighted, since it offers something for everyone. “It depends what season you love.”
BATH HOUSE continued from page 12
were stripped for repainting. Behind a wall, a dark tunnel wraps around the perimeter of the pool. Two large wooden baskets, which once held towels for patrons, sit underneath a table. Original, oversized windows of the building, which are now blocked by the underbelly of the above-ground sidewalk, are still intact. From the outside, a textured metal opening peeks out of the ground, from the basement. Inside, a doorway has been half-bricked, allowing only a glimmer of sunlight into the room. Once an entranceway, the door is now close to five feet below street level. Rusted metal scales that once weighed soap powder used to wash towels sit in a corner, past two brick archways that are also original to the building’s structure. Beyond the arches are boilers used to control water temperature in the pool and in the showers. Next to the newer
water heaters is a massive cast iron boiler that appears to be close to 10 feet tall and about eight feet wide. The boiler, which is no longer in use, was manufactured by the H.B. Smith Company–a cast iron boiler manufacturing company founded in the mid-1850s, as per the company’s website. The face of the boiler reads that it was patented in 1911; according to Meola, it stopped working about 20 years ago. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, bath houses were typically placed in the centers of cities, usually in the midst of overcrowded neighborhoods. According to the book “Landmarks Lost and Found: An Introduction to the Architecture and History of Yonkers” by Michael Rebic, in 18 industrial cities surveyed by the American Medical Association in 1887, five-sixths of the population did
not have any facilities for bathing. However, in 1895, the New York Bath House Act was passed in the state requiring the construction of free bath houses in municipalities having 50,000 or more inhabitants. At the time, the legislation only applied to the cities of New York, Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Troy and Utica. Public Bath House No. 3 is currently operated by the City of Yonkers Department of Parks and Recreation facility. Since 1985, the bath house has been on the National Registry of Historic Places, alongside Public Bath House Nos. 2 and 4. It holds weekly aquatic classes for children and seniors who are residents of Yonkers and also has a free swim for the general public on Tuesday afternoons. It will be continuously used as a city pool and a bath house for the foreseeable future.
16 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
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LEGAL NOTICES PUBLIC NOTICE Private/Parochial School Transportation
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The Harrison Central School District is accepting applications for Private & Parochial School Transportation for the 2013-2014 school year from all eligible residents. Applications may be obtained at the Transportation Office, Harrison Central School District, 50 Union Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528, or may be downloaded at www.harrisoncsd.org/docs/general/reqfortransp1314.pdf. Completed applications, with all necessary documentation, must be received at the Transportation Office, no later than April 1, 2013 at 3:45 p.m. Gene George Purchasing/Transportation Agent Dated: February 26, 2013
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 17
The Gym By MIKE SMITH
On the quiet corner of Potter and Portman avenues in New Rochelle, a square, redbricked building houses the offices of the Marenco Lawn Sprinkler Company. One of the larger lawn care companies in the area, the building is a reflection of success; large screen televisions, Hummers parked out front. But on the second floor, there resides an unused space that could–in time–become as much a symbol as growth as the sprinkler company that owns the building. Though the room might not look like much now‑a fresh coat of off-white paint on the walls suggests the high-ceilinged space is even emptier than it is‑it won’t be that way for long. On April 1, boxing trainer Ryan O’Leary will officially open the doors to Champs Boxing Club, which will serve as a much needed home for the fight instructor’s stable of boxers. To be part of Ryan O’Leary’s team means to start each day out with a text message. Sometimes, the communiqués are simple enough; some words of encouragement, a motivational quote or a quick reminder of which members of the team have upcoming bouts. But over the last few months, O’Leary’s texts have taken on increased significance to his charges. After splitting from the Main Street Gym in Larchmont, an organization that has housed O’Leary’s fighters for the past three years, the pugilists of the newly minted Champs Boxing Club are, in effect, boxing gypsies; nomads forced to seek out gyms willing to accommodate them each day so they can devote a few hours to their craft. “We’ve been everywhere,” said O’Leary. “All over Westchester, the Bronx. I just let the kids know in the morning where we’re going to be, and I make sure that everyone has a ride; everyone has some way to get where we’re going.” In some ways, the process has been something of an adventure for O’Leary and his fighters, though the inclusiveness and generosity O’Leary engenders is commonplace in the world of boxing. In their two months of having to seek a spot in other gyms, O’Leary’s crew hasn’t had to pay a dime for valuable ring time. Meryle Solomon, one of O’Leary’s coaches, said that the process has actually been an eye-opener, an experience that has helped her to become better at her job. “When you go to different places, you can kind of see what different people are doing,” she said. “You see what works, and what doesn’t work, so that’s pretty helpful.” On this day, I am lucky enough to be included in O’Leary’s text chain and find myself at the Willis Avenue Boxing Club on 141th Street in the Bronx. Resting above a church and up three flights of stairs that smell faintly of sawdust, the gym is already alive as O’Leary shepherds his crew over to the red
Champs Boxing Club founder Ryan O’Leary (right) celebrates Chris Castiglia’s March 5 Golden Gloves win with Castiglia and Willie Soto. For the past two months, O’Leary and his boxers have been forced to move from gym to gym in order to train for fights, but will once again have a space to call their own after April 1. Photo/Mike Smith
ring that anchors the space. The gym’s regulars hardly seem to notice the outsiders, who seem–if one didn’t know any better‑to blend right into their temporary surroundings. O’Leary’s retinue is a small one today,only six boxers and a coach have made the trip down to the Bronx, but the group arrives with a purpose. Chris Castiglia, a New Rochelle police officer and O’Leary charge, is preparing for an upcoming Golden Gloves bout. With his scheduled sparring partner a no-show, the rest of the Champs team must pick up the slack so Castiglia can get some much-needed work in before his fight. Castiglia, who fights at heavyweight, found himself in the ring with two of O’Leary’s top female fighters, team captain Michele Herzl, a pugnacious Mamaroneck scrapper, and Krystal Graham-Dixon, a 197+-pound division titlist at last year’s Golden Gloves who may possess quicker hands and sharper ring instincts than anyone Castiglia will see in his upcoming fight. Although the two women keep Castiglia working, peppering the New Rochelle police officer with shots, he admitted that the somewhat unpredictable nature of the training schedule has impacted his ability to establish a routine, something that is so important for boxers. “It hasn’t been easy,” said Castiglia, who went on to win a unanimous decision in his March 5 bout. “Not knowing where you’re going to be each day. It can be exhausting, especially after working a full day. But you just have to do what you can.” The situation becomes trickier for O’Leary’s
growing stable of professional fighters. With their careers hanging in the balance, O’Leary and his team have done their best to keep their charges in shape while their new boxing home at 44 Potter Street is built. Kevin Crowley, who manages one of O’Leary’s brightest stars, Port Chester’s PeeWee Cruz (2-0), said that given Cruz’s status as an up-and-comer, returning to a natural routine at a familiar gym will be important for the Port Chester fighter moving forward. “I was a bit concerned,” said Crowley with a smile. “But Pee-Wee handled [the nomadic gym situation] well, and we didn’t really see any effects in his second fight. But he’s going to continue to step up against better fighters, so we didn’t know, in his third or fourth fight, if this was going hurt him.” But the lack of a home base of operations, and the routine that comes with it, is problematic for O’Leary on another level. Several of O’Leary’s fighters, including Cruz, came into the program as “at-risk” youths. For them, explained O’Leary, boxing may be a way to stay off the streets, but the personal bonds these youths form with their teammates and coaches are even more important because they can serve as the basis for a surrogate familial structure. If those bonds crack, he said, the results could be catastrophic. “We knew when we left Main Street we had to have a place to go,” he said. “If I said ‘we’re not going to practice for two months until we have a place,’ we were going to lose those kids,
and I couldn’t do that to them.” And much like an actual family, O’Leary’s boxers all joined the quest to find a new space and chipped in to make it ready for use. O’Leary said Crowley was the one who initially found 44 Potter Avenue, but many of his boxers pounded the pavement looking for ways to get the gym off the ground. One of his youngest boxers, Hunter Lyon, a 15-year old student at Rye Neck High School, enlisted the help of his parents in procuring a boxing ring for the club. “The first couple of times they saw me working out, taking me to practices and stuff, they saw what a positive impact this had on me,” said Lyon. “They saw how good it was for my teammates, so they just decided that they wanted to help.” There is still work to be done before the gym opens on April 1. The hardwood floor will be replaced with a synthetic rubber surface, the egg-white walls will soon be covered with mirrors, fight photos, and news clippings from the club’s triumphs, and O’Leary and his crew will be tasked with moving all the equipment in and building the ring before the space is ready to start building legacies. But when all of that is done, he said, Champs Boxing won’t just have a gym, it will have a home. “It’s not a huge space, but it will have everything we need,” said O’Leary. “I’ve never had complete, free reign in a gym before, so this is exciting. I hope that this is something, when I retire at 85, that I can hand over to the next, younger trainer to keep this alive.”
18 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013
Financial investment firm settles into Purchase hub By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER firstname.lastname@example.org
On March 10, Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont and Chamber of Commerce President Anthony D’Arpino joined investors with Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of the financial advisory firm’s Purchase offices. Founded in 1832, the Philadelphia-based financial firm has recently settled into the former offices of Smith Barney LLC, which owned the office space until their merger with fellow Purchase tenants Morgan Stanley in 2009. According to Raymond Kraus, vice president of investments for Janney and Harrison resident, the new corporate offices, located at The Centre in Purchase, come after almost 30 years at their former
location in Tarrytown. “The Centre, is one of the premier office spaces in the county,” Kraus said. “It’s a good location, the real estate was affordable and they really wanted us here, too.” Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont said that the arrival of Janney in Purchase is a big step toward making Harrison a great place to work, live and play. “This is the renaissance of Harrison,” Belmont said. “We are a small, but great town.” According to Harrison Chamber of Commerce President Anthony D’Arpino, the opening of Janney Montgomery Scott’s new offices may help lure new business to town with its pedigree of corporate clientele. “It’s a great sign to see businesses drawn to the area,” D’Arpino said. “Hopefully this will trigger other businesses to the Town of Harrison.”
Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont cuts a ceremonial ribbon to signify the opening of the Purchase offices of financial advising firm Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, on March 12. Photo/Daniel Offner
Sports Teams to watch this spring Mamaroneck Boys Lacrosse In 2012, the Mamaroneck lacrosse team put together its best year of all time, dominating the regular season without its best player and winning a Section I title. This year, the Tigers return most of the squad that won that title, including Pete Conley, who may be one of the best players in all of Section I, as well as Thomas Brill, who emerged as a top-flight goalie last season. Both Brill and Conley will be playing Division I lacrosse in college, but there are six other Tigers in the starting lineup with plans to play at the college level, making Mamaroneck one of the deepest teams around. Rye Baseball It’s hard to say exactly what the Garnets will be this year, but the team–which finished with a .500 record last year–could be poised for some big things as the young squad continues to mature. The Garnets return 10 players this year, many of whom were just freshman and sophomores playing significant roles last season. Although the squad has lost some talented seniors, including Jake Meyerson and Willis Robbins, the Garnets could catch some people sleeping this year, as youngsters like Ryan Popp, who hit .280 as a freshman, continue to get stronger. Harrison Track Each year, it seems that the Huskies prove to be one of the toughest Class B teams around. Following a winter which saw Harrison come a few points away from a title at the county meet, Harrison has some of its top runners back for the spring season and will look to best Pearl River, who took the crown last season.
In 2012, the Mamaroneck Tigers took the Class A crown. This year, they have their eyes set on states. Photo/Bobby Begun
Bronxville Track Bronxville’s girls have long been known for their dominance in distance events, but they have one star that shines a little bit brighter in junior Mary Cain. Cain is coming off an impressive winter, which saw her break the national high school records in the mile, two-mile, and 3000m runs. Look for more of the same as Cain continues her dominance this spring.
March 15, 2013 • The Harrison REPORT • 19
Harrison track gears up for outdoor season By MIKE SMITH ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR email@example.com
With yet another successful winter season behind it, the Harrison track team is ready to move forward. However, unlike most high school squads who are forced to wait an entire year before stepping back out onto the playing field, the Huskies track stars are picking up right where they left off as they ready themselves for the spring track season. According to boys coach Dominic Zanot, the league champion Huskies are returning most of their talent from the winter season, although there will be some new faces coming out for the team during the spring. In a sport like track, in which practices are cumulative endeavors designed to have athletes peaking at the right time, the dichotomy can be somewhat of a test for coaches. “I would say we have about two-thirds of the winter team back, and they’re ready to go 100 percent, and the kids coming in for the spring want to go 100 percent, but their bodies aren’t ready,” said Zanot. “So what we do is kind of give those kids coming off the winter season a break, and our team workouts feature less repetition off the bat, so that everyone’s working together, and about three weeks in, everyone is on the same page.”
Rula Samad (center) runs the hurdles on Feb. 13 at the Class B championships. Samad is one of the many holdovers from the winter season expected to lead the Huskies this spring. Contributed photos
Coby Lefkowitz gets fouled as he goes up for a shot on Feb 16. Lefkowitz will bring his leaping ability outdoors this spring, as he will run the hurdles and compete as a high jumper for the Huskies track squad. Photo/Bobby Begun
Both the boys and girls squads should be led by the performances of Harrison’s veterans, including indoor state qualifier Samantha Shopovick, Rula Samad and Giovanni Valdes-Fauli. But the boys team will be getting an added boost from Rio Inkyo and Trey Wasileski, two top performers who were sidelined for much of the winter season. “Rio is probably our most versatile sprinter and can race in anything from the 200m to the 800m, and Trey injured his hamstring before any of our scoring meets last season,” said Zanot. “When you think of what we were able to do without those two, that’s pretty good.” Zanot also expects some newcomers who did not participate in the winter season to make their marks felt as well, mainly in the form of a brother and sister combo who spent last season patrolling the hardwood for Harrison’s basketball teams. Coby Lefkowitz and his sister Kyle should excel during the spring track season, with Coby running the hurdle events and high jumping for the boys, and Kyle serving as one of the Huskies’ top discus throwers. “It’s always exciting to come out and see new faces in the spring,” said Zanot. “And our goals are the same as always, win the league, and at counties, score as many points as we can and win Class B. Those goals never change.” Harrison will host the annual Dennis Fulton Invitational on April 17 at 4:15 p.m.
Giovanni Valdes-Fauli participates in the long jump on Feb. 13 at the Class B championships. Valdes-Fauli will look to improve upon his personal bests this spring.
20 • The harrison REPORT • March 15, 2013