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Vol. 16/Number 10


Ray Rice calls a huddle for aspiring footballers at Fosina Field on June 15. The defending Super Bowl champion attracted more than 500 youngsters and spectators to the annual Ray Rice Day. For story, see back page. Photo/Mike Smith

City awards contract for fire, EMS efficiency study By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

The City Council on May 22 unanimously approved a resolution awarding a contract to Public Safety Solutions Inc., of Chester, Md., for fire and EMS consulting services. The company, which submitted a $78,850 bid for the work, will now do a study on the “efficiency and effectiveness” of the New Rochelle Fire Department

and EMS services. “To the committee, this was the clear choice,” City Manager Charles Strome told the council before its vote. “This was the group with the most relevant experience.” In all, the committee, made up of city staff and fire officials, reviewed six submissions sent in response to the city’s request for proposals issued this spring. Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, said the study is be-

ing done in an effort to “assign hard numbers to anecdotal discussions.” Background information included in the request for proposals indicates the study will “serve as the basis for objective and well-sourced future judgments about the size and function of New Rochelle’s fire department and emergency service operations, either justifying changes that yield savings or support claims for additional

resource allocation.” Debate about the department’s staffing levels surfaced during budget talks last fall. At that time, the City Council considered a budget panel’s recommendation to reduce staffing levels from 27 to 24 firefighters per shift. The proposal, which would have saved the city $300,000, called for the reduction only when regular staffing FIRE continued on page 7

June 21 & 28, 2013

Independence endorsement: An act of revenge? By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER

The county Independence Party has made its official endorsement for the upcoming county executive race, choosing New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, who received the Democratic Party’s nomination in April. Four years ago, Bramson’s opponent, incumbent Rob Astorino, a Republican, received the Independence nomination, but party chair Giulio “Doc” Cavallo said that rising property taxes and a lack of job creation strategies under the current county executive caused the party to shift its support elsewhere. However, representatives from Astorino’s campaign have said that Cavallo’s decision to endorse Bramson was no surprise and was done vengefully, after the county executive refused to grant jobs to a number of people in the party who are close to Cavallo. According to the county Board of Elections, the Independence Party has 22,132 registered members in Westchester, making it the third-largest political party, trailing Democrats, with 250,232 registered voters, and Republicans, with 132,460 voters. In 2009, Cavallo endorsed Astorino when he ran against then-County Executive Andy Spano, a Democrat, and played an instrumental role in Astorino’s victory. “In 2009, we had the support [of the Independence Party] and

Independence Party Chairman Giulio “Doc” Cavallo

really appreciated it,” said Bill O’Reilly, Astorino’s campaign manager. “We won on both the Republican and Independent line.” O’Reilly said the campaign expected Bramson would receive the endorsement over Astorino this time around, and that Cavallo is, “getting back at Rob for not getting him those jobs.” After Astorino won the election, Cavallo expected to reap the benefits of his endorsement through cushy county government jobs for members of his party, but never got them, according to O’Reilly. “He’s got a group that is close to him in the party, and thought everybody would get parked somewhere with a very nice salary,” O’Reilly said. In published comments, Cavallo has denied that he has used his party’s endorsement to get people jobs, and that he controls the party. However, Cavallo is viewed as the outright leader REVENGE continued on page 12



Public hearing on school safety plan slated By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

A public hearing on the draft of the New Rochelle City School District’s district-wide safety plan was held Tuesday, June 4. School officials unveiled the document, which is currently available on the district’s website, at its May 22 meeting. According to Ellen Garcia, who coordinated the efforts, revisions of the 32-page document began last year. It now contains “all essential elements” mandated under a state law called Project SAVE—Safe Schools Against Violence in Education—implemented in 2000. Initially billed as “the most comprehensive legislative plan in the nation” it mandates that educators comply with standards in 16 different areas. Among other things, it calls for a district-wide school safety plan, building-level emergency response plans and codes of conduct. Under the law, the districtwide security plan must include

policies and procedures for responding to threats; responding to acts of violence; appropriate prevention and intervention strategies; contacting law enforcement; and contacting parents or guardians. Policies and procedures in the comprehensive plan must also address school building security; dissemination of “informative materials regarding early detection of potentially violent behaviors;” annual school safety training for staff and students; and the protocol for responding to bomb threats, hostage taking, intruders and kidnapers. Finally, it must include policies and procedures for developing strategies “to improve communication among students and between students and staff,” and a description of hall monitors and other school safety personnel. A quick glance at the New Rochelle City School District’s draft of its district-wide safety plans shows that it outlines programs the school district has in place to prevent violence and methods for intervention once

A public hearing on a draft version of the New Rochelle City School District’s safety plan was held June 4. Photo/Bobby Begun

it occurs. It details training and security requirements, frequency of drills and testing of emergency plans. Information about how school officials and staff should respond to and investigate threats of violence is also included, along with policies regarding the removal of violent individuals from school buildings or grounds. According to Garcia, various school officials and representa-

tives from Vigilant Resources International, an outside consultant hired to assess New Rochelle school security, have already reviewed the draft. Board of Education Trustee Rachel Relkin said members of the district-wide safety team met to review the draft document last week. “We gave our recommendations to Ellen and were told they would be incorporated [into the

draft] before the June 4 hearing,” Relkin said. “We will take the comments from the public hearing, and then have another meeting to go over them. We will incorporate what we feel is necessary into the final document and vote on it June 25.” The lack of an updated district-wide safety plan was one of the concerns raised by a small but vocal group of parents, who, earlier this year, accused the school district of failing to comply with the Project SAVE law. “The [school] district is not in compliance with the SAVE law,” Adam Egelberg told the school board at its Jan. 8 meeting. “There has been no district safety plan since 2009. The police contact listed in the plan passed away in 2008. There is incorrect and conflicting information about lockdown procedures in the 2009 plan.” Amy Ecker, another parent, said she believed that her children are getting an excellent education in New Rochelle’s public schools. She said she also understood that the indi-

vidual school principals have been tasked with making their buildings safe. But she said that puts them in an unfair position. “The [safety] plans are out of date. We need short-term and long-term plans to improve communication. Where is the safety plan? Who is on the team [that is reviewing it]? When did they meet and where are the minutes to those meetings?” Eckert said. “Don’t make us feel bad about asking questions about our children’s safety.” In response to the concerns expressed Jan. 8, Board of Education President Chrisanne Petrone said the board was aware of the concerns that have been raised about the district’s compliance with the Project SAVE law and was taking steps to address them. In a Jan. 15 email, school district spokesman Paul Costiglio also said the board directed that there be a complete review of security procedures and safety plans so that school officials are as well prepared as possible to prevent any incidents in New Rochelle schools.


C ommunity Briefs New Rochelle Library events BID family market days in June The popular BID Family Days will become “BID Market Family Market Days” for the month of June, when the new BID Grand Market opens on Library Green, at Huguenot and Lawton Streets, each Saturday. While parents are browsing the wide range of produce and fruits, specialty foods, fish, breads, baked goods, cheese, pickles, NYS wines and micro-brews, and unique artisan products at the new market, children will have the chance to join in the fun provided by great children’s entertainers. The BID Family Market Day shows will start at 11 a.m. each Saturday. In the event of inclement weather, they will take place in the Ossie Davis Theater of the New Rochelle Public Library. For more information about the BID Grand Market and its activities during the summer months, visit the website of the Downtown Business Improvement District: BID Family Days are presented by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District with the Public Library, the City School District and the Department of Parks & Recreation. All programs are on a first-come, first-served basis to the capacity of library facilities. All programs are subject to change. Disney classics for families Families are invited to enjoy six free Disney classic films this summer, when the New Rochelle Public Library’s popular “Disney Hit Parade” returns. This year, the library is celebrating New Rochelle’s 325th Anniversary with animated Disney films that feature the award-winning music of New Rochelle native, Alan Menken. All movies begin at 6 p.m. and are shown on the big screen of the air-conditioned, newly-refurbished Ossie Davis Theater of the New Rochelle Public Library. The 2013 series will begin on Monday, July 1 with the 1997 film, “Hercules”. In the animated film, Hercules, the son of the Greek gods Zeus and Hera, is stripped of his immortality as an

infant and must become a true hero in order to reclaim it. The movie features the voices of Tate Donovan, Susan Egan, and Danny DeVito and runs 93 minutes. Menken was nominated for the1998 Oscar for Best Original Song for “Go the Distance.” The series will continue as follows: Monday, July 8: “The Little Mermaid.” Monday, July 15: “Hunchback of Notre Dame” Monday, July 22: “Aladdin” Monday, July 29: “Pocahontas” Monday, August 5: “Beauty and the Beast” New Rochelle Humane Society events Dog Wash Fundraiser Sunday, July 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your four-legged friend to the New Rochelle Humane Society for the 13th annual Dog Wash-a fun-filled day of pet pampering, nail clipping, microchipping, good food and vendors. Rain date: Sunday, July 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Puppy/Dog Meet & Greet Saturday, June 29 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ward Acres Broadfield Road New Rochelle 914-834-6955 Women of jazz Saturday, June 29 at 8 p.m. The White Plains Performing Arts Center presents Women of Jazz on Saturday, June 29 at 8 p.m. in the theatre on the third level of City Center in downtown White Plains. The program on June 29 features the music of Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday in an evening of smooth tunes from some of the most distinctive young jazz singers performing in NYC today. Join Kat Gang, Terese Genecco and LaTanya Hall as they wrap their spine-tingling vocals around classics such as “That ‘Ol Black Magic,” “What a Difference a Day Makes,” “Mr. Wonderful” and “Strange Fruit,” accompanied by the Barry Levitt Trio. We’re chilling the martinis and turning up the sizzle. Tickets are $35 for adults; $25 for students in high school and younger. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the WPPAC website at, call the box office at 914 328-1600 or visit the box office during business hours at the third level of City Center.

Classical music performance at Katonah’s Caramoor On Sunday, July 21 at 4:30 p.m. in the Venetian Theater, The Emerson String Quartet will make its American debut performance with its new cellist, Paul Watkins. Watkins, a much-lauded cellist as well as music director of the English Chamber Orchestra, replaces David Finckel. The distinguished soloist, award-winning conductor, and dedicated chamber musician joins the quartet’s Eugene Drucker, Philip Setzer and Lawrence Dutton for their 37th season. Watkins officially joined the group May 11, 2013, and will perform with his new colleagues extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia after the Caramoor debut. Tickets: $15, $20, $30, $40. Children under 18 are half price. To order tickets, call the box office at 914-2321252 or visit Summer reading and writing program For parents concerned their children will lose academic ground over the summer, The Center for Literacy Enrichment-Pace University has a solution–The Summer Reading & Writing Program. From pre-schoolers to middle schoolers, the program provides children with an opportunity to not only maintain their reading, writing and comprehensive skills, but also to make gains academically in fun and informative ways. The program, which runs from July 1 to 31, offers full-day and half-day sessions. Certified teachers provide small-group instruction complemented by theme-based indoor and outdoor activities, including science experiments, crafts and games in a non-competitive setting. The Summer Reading & Writing Program is held on the campus of Pace University Law School, 78 North Broadway, White Plains. Early bird registration, prior to June 14, qualifies for a 5 percent discount on tuition. For more information, or to register your child, contact Center Director Sister St. John Delany, PhD at 914-422-4135. Summer art classes at Greenburgh Nature Center Enjoy a five-class series of art instruction. Learn, explore and create in the beautiful outdoor setting of the nature center. Students work independently and in groups, learning to use a variety

of basic supplies, as well as simple sketching, painting and more. Each class focuses on a new technique, ranging from landscapes to portraits, cartoons to still-lifes. Instructor Jake Hurwitz is a fun, outgoing and experienced art teacher who relates well with young students. Session Dates: Saturdays, July 13 to Aug. 10 Sundays, July 14 to Aug. 11 Class Times: Group 1, ages 7 to 10: Saturdays 10 a.m. to noon Group 2, ages 7 to 10: Sundays 10 a.m. to noon Group 3, ages 11 to 14 plus: Saturdays 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Classes run for two hours and are held outdoors, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, class held indoors. Pre-registration and pre-payment required online. See website to register and pay. Classes start promptly, so please arrive on time. Dress appropriately for outdoor activity. Session Fee, which covers five classes and all supplies: Members $150 Non-members $175 Class of 2003 to reunite The New Rochelle High School Class of 2003 Reunion will take place on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013, at Pelham/Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Ticket price is $150 per person until June 15. After June 15, the price per person is $200. Ticket price includes cocktail hour, buffet dinner, fourhour open bar and entertainment. Payment will be accepted via Paypal, money order and bank check. To pay via PayPal, use at https://www.paypal. com/. To pay by other methods, please email Rachel McCain at for more information. 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 news@hometwn. com.

Empire City Summer Concert winners

Audrey Markantonis Mrs. A. Majdak Neil Wasserman Patty George David Reinhold Selected winners get a chance to see Travis Tritt at Empire City Casino on June 23. Every week, five pairs of tickets will be awarded by random drawing. To be eligible, send your email address to with “summer concert” in the subject line.


Board of Education names three new principals By ANNA HELHOSKI CONTRIBUTOR

New Rochelle’s oldest and youngest students will have new leadership this fall with the appointment of new principals to New Rochelle High School, Davis Elementary School and Barnard Early Childhood Center. Reginald Richardson, who has been the principal of Performing Arts and Technology High School in Brooklyn since 2010, will take the reigns at New Rochelle High School on July 1. The district Board of Education officially approved Richardson on June 4. The high school’s current principal, Donald Conetta, is retiring at the end of June, having held the position since 2005. Previously, Richardson worked at the New York City Leadership Academy assigned to Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn. He was also an assistant principal at Manhattan Theatre Lab High School in New York City, as well as a program coordinator at Savannah Arts Academy High School in Georgia. Richardson was also a social studies teacher

and assistant principal at the Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts in New York City. Richardson received his Master of Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and is a current candidate for a Master of Education in Special Education at Baruch College. He is expected to complete the program in January 2014. He also received his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hunter College. A longtime member of the New Rochelle School District, Michael Galland will succeed William Harrell as principal of Davis Elementary School on July 1. Harrell served as principal of the school for 29 years. Galland is the current assistant principal at Columbus Elementary School. He accepted the offer to lead Davis Elementary on June 5, and the board is expected to approve the appointment at their June 25 meeting. Galland began his career

in the district in 1998 as a Columbus Elementary School teacher. In 2003, he was appointed department chair of the Mathematics and Technology Department at Isaac E. Young Middle School, a position he held for nine years. He was appointed to assistant principal at Columbus last spring. Galland’s wife Milagro is a teacher at Jefferson Elementary School. Galland received his Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and holds an undergraduate degree from Tufts University. At Barnard Early Childhood Center, Joanna Genovese will replace retiring Principal Patricia Lambert on July 1. Lambert is retiring after 11 years at the school. Genovese served as principal of Hurlbutt Elementary School in Weston, Conn. from 2005 to 2012. At Hurlbutt, Genovese was dismissed due to a lapse in her state of Connecticut Administrator Certification, according to a Sept. 18, 2012, press release from the Weston School

District. Genovese is currently an adjunct professor at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Conn. She was also assistant principal at Hurlbutt as well as an instructional leader and then assistant principal at Driscoll School in Wilton, Conn. She was appointed by the New Rochelle Board of Education on June 4. Genovese received her Bachelor’s in philosophy from Southern Connecticut State University and her Masters in elementary education from the Universtiy of Bridgeport. The district began the process of finding new principals in March. Candidates were subject to a series of interviews by a screening committee, administrators and the Board of Education. Albert Leonard Middle School Principal Dr. Velma Whiteside resigned in March after her appointment to the position in 2011. Whiteside’s resignation is effective June 30, but the board has yet to name the school’s new leader.


Westchester Children’s Museum still awaits move to Playland

200 William St., Port Chester, N.Y. 10573 Tel: (914) 653-1000 | Fax: (914) 653-5000 Publisher | Howard Sturman ext. 21,

Editor-in-chief | Christian Falcone ext. 19,

Deputy editor | Jason Chirevas ext. 30,

Art Director | Michaela Zalko ext. 12,

Reporter | Alexandra Bogdanovic ext. 17,

Sports Editor | Mike Smith ext. 22,

Graphic Designer | Bruce Cohen ext. 36

Graphic Designer | Arthur Gedin

The museum’s website contains renderings of its new location at Playland. Currently, the museum has offices in White Plains, but it does not have an official building, calling itself “a museum without walls.” Courtesy of Westchester Children’s Museum

ext. 24

Account Manager | Bob Kelly ext. 13,

Advertising Coordinator | Marcia Schultz Classifieds, Subsciptions ext. 27,


Bobby Begun, Liz Button, Chris Gramuglia Ashley Helms, Daniel Offner

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It appears doubtful that the Westchester Children’s Museum will get its four walls just yet. While the museum received approval from the county Board of Legislators in June 2012 to move into the 1920s-era North Bathhouse along the county-owned Playland boardwalk, the county administration has not yet granted the museum permission to begin the 18 to 24 months of construction work needed to transform the property. It is the contention of some on the Democraticdominated county Board of Legislators—who held a press conference on the Playland boardwalk in May—that County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, is using the museum as leverage to get the board to approve his choice of a park management firm: The non-profit Sustainable Playland, Inc. Tracy Kay, the museum’s executive director, said fundraising for the project has been somewhat stymied since the museum has not yet received access to the bathhouse itself to begin construction. According to Julie Sootin, the museum’s director of development, the non-profit campaign for the Westchester Children’s Museum has raised more than $9 million for the project over the last 12 years, but still needs to raise $10 million more. Legislators have criticized the county executive for rushing the SPI agreement through approvals at the executive level, at one point attempting to bypass the legislature until officials confirmed the board’s approval was needed on any structural changes to the park. SPI spokesman Geoff Thompson said that there is a good reason that the county has connected the two projects because, in operating the entire park, SPI will pay for some of the museum’s essential maintenance and operational services-like snow removal and certain cleaning, utilities and security expenses-helping all tenants on the property to control costs.

“[The museum is] not going to operate as an enclave unto themselves and they don’t want to,” said Thompson. The county executive signed a statement of intent to sign a contract with SPI on October 11, 2012, and this April announced an asset management agreement with SPI. According to this agreement, SPI would take over the park in October of this year if the improvement plan submitted to the county last month is approved by the Board of Legislators. Astorino and a citizens’ advisory committee picked Sustainable Playland out of proposals from 12 management firms, after the county executive sent out the original request for proposals in 2010 to refurbish the park. All of the four finalists currently being vetted by the legislature include the museum in their plans. Since its founding in 2000, the children’s museum, which calls itself “a museum without walls,” has provided interactive educational programs at schools and other venues to lower income youth, serving around 9,000 children each year. Kay said he has waited for 13 years to move from the non-profit’s modest White Plains office into a real building, and is eager to get started. However, it is a fact that museums don’t crop up overnight, he said. “When you’re working with a government partnership, there are lots of hurdles,” said Kay. The museum will benefit jobseekers in the county, according to museum officials, which projects 25 to 30 construction jobs and 15 permanent positions to be added during the first year of operation. With an estimated annual visitation of 200,000 people, the Westchester Children’s Museum is projected to add over $4 million a year to the local economy, according to officials with the nonprofit. County Legislator Judy Myers, a Democrat who spoke at May’s press conference, said that frustratingly, despite separate approvals from the state legislature and the Board of Legislators of a 10-year lease last year, the project has not moved forward.

Last October, the bathhouse’s exterior was renovated by the county,which invested $7 million to bring the building up to code for occupancy. But, currently, the museum is an empty shell, she said. Myers said she thinks SPI’s year-round plan will bring in an increased number of visitors. “I think it’s somewhat unfair to the children’s museum to have the museum’s fate held hostage to SPI’s progress with the Board of Legislators,” said Myers, who is in favor of SPI’s proposal. “If we could get enough of a hue and cry from the public, I think we could get the keys handed over.” However, former Village of Mamaroneck Trustee Tom Murphy, who is running for Myers’ seat, said that not everyone is in favor of SPI, which does not have deep pockets and is inexperienced with running an amusement park. Astorino is extorting the privatization of a public park at the expense of the children who would benefit from the museum’s services, Murphy said. “I think it’s just a very heavy hand. He wants to have his way and be the operator of Playland, and he’s willing to hold a good project in jeopardy until he gets his way,” Murphy said. According to Ned McCormack, communications director for the county executive, the county, the museum and SPI have had a series of “aggressive, constructive discussions,” and now the next step is in the works. “Again, this is about dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s to make sure all the legal documentation is there,” he said. “If you look at this as an analogy to this as an office building or a mall, SPI is going to control the master lease,” McCormack said. “They’re going to be the head landlord and the children’s museum will be one of their tenants,” he said. To officials, the plan makes perfect sense for the county, he said. While some argue that the museum does not have the financial wherewithal to move into the Playland space at this time, the museum reported that, at the end of the fiscal year in June 2012, its coffers hold around $2.43 million in assets, a figure corroborated infinancial documents provided by Kay.

FIRE from page 1

fell below 27 due to regular staffing shortages. At the time, New Rochelle firefighters argued that implementing the plan would put them and the city at risk because Ladder 12, which is stationed in the most densely-populated part of the city, would have to be taken out of service. The City Council ultimately decided to restore $300,000 in overtime funding to the 2013 budget to keep the minimum manning levels at 27 firefighters per shift. As of Jan. 1, 2013, the New Rochelle Fire Department had 158 personnel, including one chief, five deputy chiefs, eight captains, 32 lieutenants and 109 firefighters. The remaining personnel included a fire equipment mechanic and two secretaries. The career firefighters assigned to five stations strategically located throughout New Rochelle’s 11 square miles responded to 8,018 emergencies last year. The total number of calls for service included 4,313 emergency medical services calls. While the New Rochelle Fire Department provides first response for basic life support or BLS calls, Transcare Ambulance Service, a private company with units stationed at the city’s firehouses, responds to emergencies requiring advanced life support. According to the city staff that crafted the request for proposals, assessing the city’s fire and EMS services poses a “unique challenge” because the outcome of any study “must maintain or improve the service levels currently given to the residents of the city.” The City Council included funding for a fire services study in this year’s budget after Councilman Jared Rice, D-District 3, requested it. “We should be looking into opportunities to create greater efficiency, whether it’s through consolidation or shared services,” Rice said during the budget deliberations. “It’s important to move forward with this to protect the city and sustain the fire department. I’d like to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.” Bramson concurred. “This is the 16th or 17th budget cycle I’ve been involved in,” Bramson said last December. “Every year, there are difficult debates about the nature and size of the fire department. Those debates are often shaped by emotion and anecdotal information. The information we get is sometimes inaccurate or difficult to understand. I want to see what the facts show.”


Outdoor fresh food market trend grows in Westchester By JEFF ROBINOWITZ CONTRIBUTOR

On June 1, New Rochelle joined the ranks of other Westchester communities in opening its own fresh food market. The market, which is located on Library Green next to the New Rochelle Public Library on Huguenot Street, was developed over the last year by a team of City Council members, business owners and interested citizens. The project was lead in part by Ralph DiBart, an executive director with the New

Rochelle Business Improvement District, and Councilman Ivar Hyden, a long time proponent of a Saturday market. DiBart said hopes are high for the new market. “We want our Grand Market to not only bring healthy farmfresh and local produce to residents of New Rochelle and surrounding communities, but also to serve as a festive community gathering place bringing people to their reawakened, revitalized and vibrant downtown,” DiBart said. Bo Kemp, a New Rochelle

Beets and radishes were just some of the produce on display.

Left to right: Frank Castro and Luis Rivera, Jr. from Monroe College Culinary Arts

resident and owner of Urban Fresh Food Markets, wants to help make the new Grand Market become “the best market in Westchester.” Westchester is already home to numerous other markets in areas like Bronxville, Larchmont, Rye and Mamaroneck. Most fresh and organic local-grown markets, which have sprung up in the last few years, mark a shifting direction in the American diet. In recent times, more Americans have become interested in pursing healthier,

more nutritious diets. Many feel that the investment in better food is an investment in a better life. This new health food craze, however, has yet to infect the general public, as local and organic foods are often more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts. But organic foods suffer from numerous setbacks, such as a limited supply, significantly higher production costs, and an inferior marketing and distribution system. Foods like eggs, chicken, and milk, when produced organically, can cost twice as much as conventionally produced foods. Still, DiBart doesn’t think potentially high prices will deter customers from visiting New Rochelle’s new fresh food market. “Everyone I saw went home with full bags,” he said. Kemp believes that increasing organic food awareness is important. “It’s not only about healthier food, but we want to educate people. People need to know that how it is grown matters.”

Organic farmers and distributors often make the case that their product is less harmful to the individual and the environment and is therefore more beneficial in the long term, claims that have not fallen on deaf ears. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association, the organic industry grew by 9.5 percent overall to reach $31.5 billion in sales in 2011. However, the high cost is still preventing this

fad from evolving into a primary consumer resource, as the same survey also states that organic food sales still only represent 4.2 percent of all U.S. food sales. The New Rochelle Grand Market will remain open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. into October. DiBart hopes to expand the market by introducing family days and larger music events in July, and would even like to see a winter market established by the end of the year.

Patrons sample the selection of fruits and vegetables during the opening of New Rochelle’s fresh food Grand Market. Photos/Bobby Begun

County executive launches “Democrats for Astorino” By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER

On June 13 in the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, Republican County Executive Rob Astorino announced the launch of “Democrats for Astorino,” a committee of Westchester Democrats who have come together to support the county executive in his upcoming November re-election campaign. Joined by former state Assemblyman Ronald Tocci of New Rochelle, and Westchester Jewish community leaders Martine Fleishman, and Nancy Zaro, Astorino welcomed the support of Democrats who believe his accomplishments during the past four years have transcended party lines and have earned him their support. Astorino will face New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, who recently received the endorsement from the Westchester Independence Party, in the general election. Astorino was first elected into office in 2009 when he pulled off an historic upset unseating incumbent County

Executive Andy Spano. Democratic Astorino supporters said they chose to back the county executive in this election because of his ability to increase social service spending while reducing the tax levy each year since he took office. “I am a lifelong Democrat and a committed community leader and I’m backing Rob Astorino because he has been accessible and supportive of our community,” said Dr. W. Franklin Richardson, senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church, a congregation of more than 4000 members. “Rob’s concern and commitment to economic development and economic empowerment of people in our community is the main reason why I’m supporting him for re-election.” Former Assemblyman Tocci echoed Richardson’s comments, saying Astorino’s “sincere concern for overburdened taxpayers” is a major reason he is now in support of the county executive. Tocci, however, has been immersed in long-standing fued with Bramson. Tocci has also been outspoken, as a representative of a veterans group in New Rochelle, against Bramson’s administration.

In 2002, Tocci lost the Democratic primary in the 91st assembly district to Bramson. Tocci, however, went on to defeat Bramson in the general election as a Republican. Democratic supporter Nancy Zaro said her support for Astorino came from his diligence in standing up to the federal government in regards to a

2009 anti-discrimination housing settlement that mandated the county build 750 units of affordable housing. Astorino has made it clear that he thinks the federal government is attempting to dismantle the county’s current zoning and he refuses to let that happen, nor will he do anything else the Department of Housing

County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, recently gained the support of several Westchester Democrats, who joined him in the formation of a “Democrats for Astorino” coalition. Pictured with the county executive here are Nancy Zaro, left, Dr. W. Franklin Richardson, and former state Assemblyman Ron Tocci, right. Contributed photo

and Urban Development asks if it falls outside of the parameters of the settlement. “I’m proud to help lead Democrats for Astorino because Rob is a champion for Westchester, and he is defending our towns against Washington overreach,” Zaro said. Astorino said gaining support from Democrats in Westchester is indicative of one of the first goals he set for himself after being elected as county executive. “I said I would represent Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike in this county,” Astorino said. “It is especially see and hear from so many Democrats and independents who are supporting my candidacy four years later.” It’s not foreign for political candidates to be cross-endorsed by those of opposing parties but the likelihood that such a committee will provide any political weight during the campaign seems remote. State Sen. George Latimer, a Democrat, said that, while the formation of the committee will help Astorino, it will not be a decisive factor and support from other parties in elections

is not atypical. “In general, there are going to be Democrats who support Rob and Republicans who support Noam,” Latimer said. “I had Republicans who announced for me in my last campaign. It is usually not a decisive factor. In this case, it seems like individuals are making individual judgments.” Nonetheless, representatives from Bramson’s campaign ridiculed the formation of “Democrats for Astorino,” saying they don’t see it as a threat and Astorino would have been better off using his time in other endeavors. “If this is all our opponents can muster for ‘Democrats for Astorino,’ that’s a pretty clear sign that Democrats are united behind Noam Bramson,” Barry Caro, campaign spokesperson for Bramson said. “Ron Tocci won his last election as the Republican and Conservative Party candidate, and is the furthest thing from a ‘major’ Democratic leader. Perhaps Rob Astorino’s time today might have been better spent working on an economic development strategy so that major employers...don’t cut hundreds of jobs in our community,” he said.


L etters Bramson: Out of touch on American Dream

To the Editor,

To the Editor, Democratic candidate for county executive, Noam Bramson, has taken the position that County Executive Rob Astorino is deceiving us about HUD’s intentions towards Westchester County, going so far as to accuse the county executive of creating his own “imaginary threat.” Either Mr. Bramson has no understanding of what HUD is trying to do to our county, or he is attempting to purposefully mislead us for his own-and, perhaps even HUD’s-political ends. We move to Westchester County for a number of reasons. Not the least of these is the suburban residential setting provided by our municipalities’ single-family homes and the thoughtful placement of its apartment or garden type housing. That setting is protected by our local zoning ordinances, which require certain minimum lot sizes and restrict multi-family homes to certain of our community’s neighborhoods, in accordance with our community’s specific culture and land planning. Some of us want and are able to afford large homes on spacious lots, but many of us achieve our piece of the “American Dream” on more modest lots of 10,000 square feet-a common suburban lot size of less than a quarter of an acre-or by renting or purchasing an attractive apartment in a pleasant suburban surrounding. Unfortunately, what HUD is attempting to do to us is far more than an “imaginary threat”. It is a planned assault on our communities, our suburban culture and our individual pieces of that “American Dream.” In this regard, HUD has taken the position “that 10,000 sq. ft. zoning, regardless of municipality, may have an exclusionary effect.” which, in turn, would require a forced federal remedy, according to HUD’s letter of March 13, 2013 to Westchester County. HUD is also demanding that the county override local zoning ordinances “that directly or indirectly limit the number of bedrooms in a unit, restrictions on lot size or other density requirements that encourage single-family housing or restrict multifamily housing,” according to HUD’s letter of May 13, 2013 to Westchester County. In other words, without regard to the fact that there is no proof of local racial discrimination, HUD’s social engineers want to bully Westchester into demanding that its individual communities change their respective landscapes to conform to HUD’s idea of racially diverse housing patterns. Mr. Bramson’s campaign column informs us that, unlike County Executive Rob Astorino, he does not “get it” or, worse yet, he does not care. However, if we care about our suburban way of life and our piece of the “American Dream,” then we should clearly understand that he is the wrong leader for Westchester County.

Peter Lane, Rye

Get off our back, Albany To the Editor, When does it stop? Albany’s unfunded mandates are crushing Westchester. Their unfunded mandates are not unfunded. They are paid for with our property taxes, the highest in the United States. And even at that, our schools are cutting teachers and programs, our local governments are cutting services, and our neighbors are moving away because they can’t afford to live here anymore. STOP Albany is a grassroots coalition of Westchester citizens, schools, businesses and local governments that are standing together to send a simple yet strong message to Albany: Stop taking our power. We invite your readers to join our cause. They can send a letter directly to Governor Cuomo and their state representatives simply by going to It only takes a minute. Tell Albany to stop taking our power to decide how our local tax dollars are spent. Stop taking our power to grow our local businesses and create jobs. Stop taking our power to educate our children. Pass meaningful mandate relief now. The STOP Albany Coalition Westchester County Association Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents Westchester-East Putnam Regional PTA Westchester Municipal Officials Association

To the Editor,

Build the Children’s Museum now

New Ro vet wants an apology

Recently, the Gadsden flag was ordered removed from the flagpole in front of the New Rochelle Armory. It had been placed there by the American Legion since it has historic value. Mayor Bramson ordered the flag removed since it was also the motto of the Tea Party. This was a childish act by an immature person. I sincerely believe the mayor owes both the legion and the Tea Party an apology. In addition, he should explain how this Tea Party offends him and his supporters. I request this both as a New Rochelle resident and a veteran of World War II.

George Imburgia, New Rochelle

I am writing to urge the Board of Trustees of Sustainable Playland, and all elected officials who have supported the Sustainable Playland plan, to demand that County Executive Rob Astorino immediately allow the Westchester Children’s Museum to begin construction on their previously-approved and long overdue project. It is unconscionable that Astorino would hold hostage a project that benefits all of Westchester’s children in a misguided effort to extort the privatization of a public park. There is universal bipartisan agreement that the Children’s Museum will be a great benefit for all of Westchester’s children. It has been included in every proposal under consideration for Playland’s future, including the Sustainable Playland plan. Consequently, there is no reason, other than petty partisan politics, for Mr. Astorino’s stubborn intransigence. Sustainable Playland, and anyone who supports their plan, should tell Astorino to stop his childish obstructionism and call upon Astorino to behave maturely. For public officials to support Sustainable Playland before it’s financial and practical benefits and detriments have been vetted and compared in a public forum with the other competing plans is irresponsible. By urging Astorino to act now to allow construction of the Children’s Museum, Sustainable Playland and its supporters would allow the Board of Legislators time to conduct its due diligence and help prevent Astorino’s attempt to force precipitous action.

Tom Murphy, Mamaroneck Murphy is a candidate for county legislator

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Mamaroneck hot dog spot ranks among nation’s best By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER

Walter’s Hot Dog Stand has been a fixture in Mamaroneck for almost a century, and the historic roadside stand’s claim to fame—its world famous “split” hot dogs—were recently listed as the 15th best in America by culinary blog, The Daily Meal. Walter’s competed with 34 other establishments, all specializing in their own unique kind of hot dog. Walter’s won out over popular establishments like Gray’s Papaya in New York City and Boston Superdog in Roxbury, Mass. Walter’s hot dogs are grilled in an open-face style in a secret sauce created by Walter Warrington when the first stand opened in 1919. The hot dogs are served on a toasted bun with homemade mustard. Originally, Warrington operated a stand on Boston Post Road, where he sold cider and apples before moving his business south on the Post Road, and then eventually to 937 Palmer Avenue where the stand is today.

The stand itself is a copperroofed Chinese pagoda-shaped building with dragon lanterns flanking both sides, and is situated in front of an outdoor dining area where patrons can enjoy milkshakes and french fries along with their hot dogs. The stand, declared a historical landmark in 1991, is listed on the County Inventory of Historic Places and was described in Roadside Delights as “Westchester County’s bestknown contribution to road-side

architecture.” The stand has also been featured in The New York Times and on CBS. The Daily Meal judged hot dogs across the country on a variety of criteria, and only considers vendors and establishments with trademarks on their recipes. “On our quest to find America’s best hot dogs, we kept an eye out for drive-ins, restaurants, and roadside stands with a definitive style of hot dog and topping, one which embod-

Hungry patrons line up outside Walter’s Hot Dog stand located on Palmer Avenue. The historic eatery’s franks were recently named 15th best in the nation by “The Daily Meal,” a culinary blog.

ies not only the region’s quirks, but the particular tastes and culinary traditions of its people,” wrote editor Dan Myers. “We judged these hot dogs based on several criteria: the quality of ingredients...the entire hot-dog eating well as reputation among professional critics and online reviewers.” Customers eating at Walter’s told The Report that it’s not just about getting a bite to eat when they come to Walter’s. It’s about the experience of visiting the Mamaroneck hot dog stand itself. “A lot of people talk about the way they cut and grill the hot dogs,” said Kevin Kumar, a patron, “but it’s really not about that. It’s about the meat they use. If you cut a regular hot dog and grill it, it’s not going to taste anywhere near as good.” Camille Tambunting, a customer finishing up her lunch in the backyard dining area, said Walter’s hot dogs are unlike any other she has ever had, and deserve to be considered some of the nation’s best. “No one makes hot dogs like Walter’s,” she said. “Also the

prices are good. Other places, like in the city, you might pay seven dollars for a hot dog that doesn’t taste as good.” Paul Murray, a Walter’s patron waiting on line, said, “There’s definitely a bit of

an experience coming here. Everything is cooked in butter, which is never a bad thing.” Walters is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 11:45 a.m. to 6p.m.

The Walter’s hot dog sign can be seen from the street, and hangs on the side of a Chinese-pagoda shaped roof. The building was constructed in 1921, and has long been a local curio for its intriguing and original architecture. Photos/Chris Gramuglia

What’s Your Beef? What’s bothering you today?

Collected on Mamaroneck Avenue in Mamaroneck “At Stepinac High School in White Plains, there needs to be a slower speed limit, especially with the elementary school around the corner.”

“That I have to go to work and can’t get lunch with my husband.” Shana Ginipro, 36, Astoria

Bernice Spina, 75, Mamaronek

“I’ve been smoking and trying to quit, but it has been a real pain.” Ron Andresen, 66, California

-Photos and reporting by J.C. SITES

“I wish I could find a part-time job to keep busy.” Robert Plenty, 79, White Plains


County’s Jenkins files lawsuit to annul Playland agreement By LIZ BUTTON and CHRIS GRAMUGLIA THE REPORT STAFF

Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins, a Yonkers Democrat, mounted a legal challenge last month seeking to annul the county’s recent agreement with non-profit Sustainable Playland, Inc. to take over running the famed amusement park. The lawsuit, filed on May 23 in state Supreme Court, challenges the outcome of an April 18 vote by the county’s Board of Acquisition and Contract, which is comprised of County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, the administration’s Budget Director Lawrence Soule and Jenkins, to approve the 10-year plan that would transfer management of the historic, county-owned 280acre amusement park to the Rye-based organization. Playland’s revenue and attendance have dropped off sharply from one million people in 2005 to only 430,000 recorded last season, according to county administration officials who have used those figures as a focus of their campaign to redevelop the amusement park. Astorino said the new agreement would stop the financial bleeding as the county-owned park’s losses mount, and the burden on county taxpayers increases to an insupportable degree.

According to county executive spokesman Ned McCormack, the administration’s position is that the agreement is not a lease because the county still maintains control and ownership of the park. The only difference is that management of the park is being outsourced to SPI, McCormack said, so, if things go awry, the county would still maintain ownership of the park. The deal with SPI is expected to bring $34 million in capital investments to go against the reported $32 million in debt the county has accrued in running the park. Sustainable Playland will pay the county a base fee of $4 million and will make annual payments to the county of $1.2 million to operate the park. Under SPI’s watch, the park will be open year-round instead of seasonally. SPI spokesperson Geoff Thompson said that Sustainable Playland’s priority is to restore the park while keeping its historic components intact as well as turn the park into a yearround destination for families and visitors from outside of the region. “We are...committed to seeing that Playland gets the attention and investment that it deserves and requires to continue to be a gem in the Westchester parks system,” Thompson said. “Anything that unnecessarily delays moving forward with our fully-vetted plan only serves to hurt the public, the taxpayers

and Playland itself.” But Chairman Jenkins, who voted against the SPI agreement and filed the lawsuit on his own, said Astorino and Soule’s votes exceeded their jurisdiction, thus violating the county charter. Although called an asset management agreement, under New York State law the agreement qualifies as a lease, according to Jenkins, who said it “contains many provisions typical of a lease and conferring rights well beyond those of a licensee or holder of a mere temporary privilege.” Leases involving the county for more than five years must be approved by a two-thirds vote of all members of the Board of Legislators. County Legislator Judy Myers, a Democrat whose legislative district contains the park, said that, as chairman of the Board of Legislators, it is Jenkins’ prerogative to file such lawsuits on his own. When it comes to the rest of the board, it is not clear whether there was widespread support for a lawsuit, or even whether legislators knew the suit would be filed. A request for proposals was first put out to bid by the county in 2010, soon after Astorino took office, with the goal of reinventing the amusement park. On Oct. 11, 2012, the county executive signed a letter of intent to award the contract to Sustainable Playland. Astorino embraced the SPI plan following a review of 12 proposals

Westchester County has entered into a contractual agreement with Sustainable Playland Inc. that would allow the non-profit organization to take control of Playland’s management without the county giving up ownership of the park. However, Democratic Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins has said the agreement is merely a lease by another name, and has advanced a lawsuit in the hopes of having the agreement annulled. File photo

analyzed by a 19-member citizens committee. Myers, who said, though she is in favor of the SPI plan and knows many of her constituents in District 7 are as well, said two actions by the county executive have made the legislators resistant to approving the agreement:The Astorino administration did not actively share the results of its financial analysis about Playland’s performance and financial details of the competing Playland proposals, and that Astorino and County Attorney Robert Meehan made efforts to move forward without legislature approval, a plan that fizzled when it was determined

that although the administration had the authority to agree to a management deal, any land use changes to the park required the Board of Legislators’ approval. According to county Legislator Jim Maisano, a Republican, the only instance in which board approval is needed is in the event of a physical or infrastructural change to the park—a provision that was confirmed with County Attorney Robert Meehan. “I think that’s why the legislators are not interested [in the lawsuit],” he said. “We all already know we’re going to vote on Sustainable Playland, not on the initial agreement.” Since that agreement was

reached, the legislature has gone to the competing organizations to get the information they need in order to complete their audit of the top four proposals and weigh each against the way Playland is currently run. According to Legislator Myers, the independent financial firm, Marlin K. Wiggins, hired by the board is almost finished with their audit. If the Board of Legislators approves the SPI plan once it completes its independent audit of the final four proposals, Sustainable Playland will take over the management of the park by Oct. 1. The park is expected to re-open under SPI on May 1, 2014.


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REVENGE from page 1

of the Independence Party wielding his political power for gain. Barry Caro, a spokesperson for Bramson, said the campaign is happ to have received the Independence Party nomination for a number of reasons, and believes the shifting focus in the party is due to Astorino’s changing policies. “We are obviously quite happy that [the endorsement] has switched because no Republican has ever won countywide office without the support of the Independence Party,” Caro said. “I think it is clear that there has been a marked change in independent voters’ impression of Astorino’s policies over

“He’s got a group that is close to him in the party, and thought everybody would get parked somewhere with a very nice salary,” Astorino campaign manager Bill O’Reilly on Independence Party Chairman Giulio “Doc” Cavallo

the years. They have seen what he’s about and they don’t like it.” Tony Sayegh, a Republican political analyst, told The Report that Astorino’s ability to traverse political party lines will make his lack of endorsement from the Independence Party mostly irrelevant. “It certainly would be almost a requirement for someone to get the Independence line to be viable in the county. But Rob has transcended political boundaries,” Sayegh said. “He is able to take his message and win support from a broad spectrum.” According to Sayegh, Astorino’s success in cutting taxes, reducing spending and successfully negotiating with a number of public service unions, make it clear that party lines will not be a major factor in the county executive’s attempt at keeping the seat. Westchester’s county executive is elected to serve a four-year term. An attempt to reach Cavallo for comment was unsucessful as of press time.


Armonk’s Fortina offers a taste of the real Italy Walking into Fortina, the new It seems these guys reItalian restaurant in Armonk, ally like to collaborate. Another just days before its much-an- amazing food partnership they ticipated opening, I’m over- forged was at Cooked & Co. come with the most wonderful in Scarsdale, where I first came aroma. across their food. The physical At first, space was the obvious quite small, source is the and yet their WESTCHESTER r e p u t a t i o n two woodburning ovwas anyWANDERER ens imported thing but. Lisa Jardine from Naples I wouldn’t tucked into think twice the corner of the seemingly about driving 20 minutes for endless subway-tiled bar. But one of their banana nut muffins it’s an even richer scent, one stuffed with Nutella. And then that I haven’t come upon in there were the Saturday night Westchester in quite some time. polenta tables. Petroni came up with the Taking in the rustic surroundings, complete with old barn idea of doing a chef’s table on doors and forged iron fittings, Saturday nights featuring polenta light fixtures that look like they alla spianatora–literally, polenta were bought directly from an spread flat. One of his fondest upstate farm, I think the smell Italian summer memories was the might be coming off the floor Feast of the Mother Mary, when to ceiling cyprus walls which Uncle Louie would make a big were aged by fire–literally, a pot of polenta. The contents of the pot would be spread out on a blow torch. specially-made wooden table and But that’s not it either. After spending an hour with the guests would bring Ragu and Christian Petroni, John Nealon grilled meats, which would be and Rob Krauss—the three laid on top of the polenta. He did partners in this new venture—I the same thing at Cooked & Co., come to the conclusion that the but with an added online tweak. wonderful smell that hits you as They put an invite on Facebook you walk in the door of Fortina and, within 45 minutes, sold out the entire series of Saturday nights is success. These guys know food and with a 500-person waiting list. I was one of those 500 who they know how to enjoy it. And at Fortina, they’ve used every- never did get off the list. “The polenta tables brought thing they’ve learned from their past experiences to make sure strangers together whose only commonality was a love of you will, too. Petroni grew up in a true food and a sense of adventure,” Italian family in the Bronx Nealon said. and spent idyllic summers on Wendy Gellert, a Harrison Ponza, a tiny island off the resident and foodie said, “It coast of Naples. He was so in- was one of the best meals I ate fluenced by his extended family all year.” and the food they fed him, he Krauss, the partner tasked pays homage to his Uncle Louie with the team’s online presence, above the bar. A photo taken is extremely media savvy and rethis past summer with Petroni’s fuses to use technology to push iPhone of his uncle, shirtless their customers to do anything. and smoking a cigarette with “Facebook is all about the ubiquitous espresso in hand, friends. We have no desire to has been beautifully rendered monetize it. Our Facebook page into a piece of art. It’s almost is a reflection of us and what like Louie is watching over the we like to do–which is eat good joint, making sure his nephew food and have fun doing it,” does right by his customers. Krauss said. Petroni and Nealon met Their new website fortiwhile working at Barcelona in is crisp and fresh, Greenwich, Conn. Petroni was just like their food. It’s in its the executive chef and Nealon infancy, but they envision it will the general manager. be a great source of information “When I met Christian at with blog entries by the chefs Barcelona, the connection be- and servers alike. Field trips and tween us was instantaneous,” cooking demonstrations will be a part of what they have in store. Petroni said. As for Krauss, he’s a child- This is a young group of chefs, hood friend of Nealons’s they restaurateurs and entrepreneurs, and it’s going to be exciting to like to call the “marketing guru.”

Partners John Nealon, left, and Christian Petroni of Fortina in Armonk. Photos/Lisa Jardine

see where they take it. Their menu is simple. Almost everything will be cooked in the two wood-burning ovens, starting with their artisanal and flat bread pizzas. Look for incredibly creative and fresh toppings like zucchini

flowers, English peas, leaks and even bone marrow. They have a hearty antipasto of salumi and formaggia, as well as proteins a la carte: a beautiful piece of fish, a perfectly roasted chicken. “Cooking a perfectly roasted chicken excites me more than

a dish with a thousand ingredients. Simplicity is king and it’s very difficult to pull off. It needs to be perfect,” Petroni said. Petroni knows a lot about perfection, as evidenced by his 2010 win on Food Network’s popular show, Chopped.

This picture of partner Christopher Petroni’s Uncle Louie oversees the proceedings at Fortina, a new Italian restaurant in Armonk.

When asked about dessert, Petroni waxes poetically about the gelato in Italy. “When I’m in Florence, I eat gelato seven to nine times a day. It’s that good. The homemade gelato we’ll offer here is sweet cream gelato, just like you’ll find in Florence. Another dessert we’ll serve is affogato. The perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream with a hot shot of espresso poured over it, tableside. It’s my favorite,” Petroni said. If you haven’t yet visited their website to reserve your table online, you might be one of those famous 500 on the waiting list. Book now or forever hold your peace. Lisa Jardine is a freelance writer who has frequently contributed to among other publications. She is currently a student in the MFA creative writing program at Manhattanville College. She is always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County. To contact Lisa, you can email her at lisa@hometwn. com and follow her on Twitter @westchesterwand.


New mixed-use zoning on Westchester Ave. By DANIEL OFFNER STAFF REPORTER

RPW Group, a commercial real estate development company, has announced plans to construct 300 affordable residential housing units for young professionals at 1133 Westchester Avenue in White Plains near the Harrison border. Looking to develop affordable residences atop what is currently 74-acres of office space along Westchester Avenue, the proposal rides the coattails of a recent initiative to revitalize the once flourishing corporate basin along the corridor. “The biggest problem we have is housing suitable for young people,” said Robert Weisz, president of RPW Group. “People want to live where they work and play. As we work to fill several million square feet of office space, we also need housing that people can afford.” During its peak in the 1980s, the stretch of corporations split between Harrison and nearby White Plains—commonly referred to as the Platinum Mile—welcomed multinational businesses fleeing the increasingly unfriendly business climate of New York City. However, in recent years, Westchester’s once-thriving corporate hub has been plagued by vacant properties and emptied buildings, with no new tenants to step up and fill the void left by corporations fleeing for more affordable ground outside of the county. Despite a recent study, which

found Westchester County had an approximate six million square feet of vacant office space, officials with Blueprint for Westchester, a program created by a local pro-business group that looks to offer vacant commercial space and discounted advising to a select few “early-stage” companies, reported the number had been reduced to less than five million square feet of vacancies. “This is a step in the right direction,” said Marissa Brett, who serves as the director of economic development for the Westchester County Association. “We knew that in order to include alternative uses like multi-family housing, there needed to be mixed-use development.” According to Brett, the RPW Group’s proposal coincides with the Westchester County Association’s “work, live, play” initiative, to branch off from the traditional office park environment and to allow for retail, residential, and commercial development along the Platinum Mile. Although the offices at 1133 are on the White Plains end of the corridor, elected officials in the Town of Harrison have been trying to kick-start efforts to repurpose the vacant offices in the area. Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican, even went so far as relabeling the Westchester Avenue corridor the “Medical Mile” after finding a renewed interest from medical and biotech research companies seeking additional

office space. Although the likelihood of a corporate resurgence still appears to be unlikely at present, a potential zoning change on the Harrison end of Westchester Avenue could further the association’s initiative. Over the past several years—spanning nearly three municipal administrations— the Harrison Town Council has been working towards amending a new Master Plan, a non-binding zoning and development use guide which, if approved, would change the local zoning ordinance to allow mixed-use development. “It kind of makes sense, you have to have a new vision for the office parks,” said Republican Town Councilman Fred Sciliano about the proposed residential development on Westchester Avenue. “We have to look to the next generation of what office space in the area will become.” Apart from his elected duties, Sciliano serves as the senior vice president of the contracting and construction management firm C.W. Brown. With an understanding of the difficulties in filling the vacant offices in the area, Sciliano said that many businesses today find it more affordable to have employees work from home as opposed to in the traditional office environment. “We need to think outside of the buildings,” Sciliano said. “The concepts are there, I just think residents have to be more open.”

College professor honored for Olympic work By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER

Dr. Amy Bass, professor of history and director of the Honors Program in the School of Arts and Sciences at the College of New Rochelle, recently earned kudos for her contribution to NBC’s coverage of the Olympic games in London last summer. “It wasn’t anything I was really thinking about,” said Bass. “This was the eighth time I’ve been with NBC [for the Olympics]. I started with the Atlanta games in 1996. So this was my usual summer vacation.” The news that she was part of the NBC team that won a Sports Emmy for “Outstanding Live Event Turnaround” earlier this month arrived via email, catching Bass off guard. Fortunately, she said she didn’t have to don a fancy gown and make a red carpet appearance. The NBC Sports group collected 11 Emmys in all, with its coverage of the London Olympics garnering five of them. In London, Bass worked as supervisor of NBC’s “research room,” which essentially served as the information center for all of the different network’s platforms. “There’s a team of about 30 folks who are all experts in different areas,” Bass explained. “There are experts; in language, sports, geopolitics; to help out with questions about customs and culture.” The research room is where

College of New Rochelle Professor Dr. Amy Bass was recently honored for her work at the London Olympics. Contributed photo

stories are generated and facts are verified, Bass said. The work is tense, demanding and exhausting, she added, saying the team often puts in 18-hour days. Despite the grueling schedule, Bass has always made time to enjoy being at the Olympic games and each site has been special for different reasons. She has fond memories of the Sydney games in 2000 because she met her husband there, and said being in Athens was tremendous because it is the birthplace of the Olympic games. “Working in London was probably my crowning achievement, but [all of the games] have been special,” she said. Being a member of an Emmyaward winning team is not Bass’

only claim to fame. According to College of New Rochelle Spokesperson John Coyne, Bass is an internationally recognized expert on the interdisciplinary study of sports and set the standard for those interested in writing about sports from a cultural perspective when she penned her first book, “Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympic Games and the Making of the Black Athlete,” Coyne said. Bass solidified her reputation with her edited collection called “In the Game: Race, Identity and Sports in the 20th Century,” Coyne added. Her most recent work, “Those About Him Remained Silent: The Battle Over W.E.B. DuBois,” on the culture of civil rights struggles and memory, recently received an Honorable Mention from the National Council on Public History. At The College of New Rochelle, Bass teaches a course called “Race, Sport and Society,” which brings many of her Olympic experiences into the classroom, Coyne said. Just this semester, Bass worked with a student who did an honors project on the role of sports in the Cold War. It focused on the U.S. ice hockey team’s victory over the U.S.S.R. in Lake Placid in 1980, which was also known as the Miracle on Ice. “It’s not all about Amy goes to the Olympics, but my students are certainly aware [of what I’ve done],” Bass said.

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The offices of 1133 Westchester Avenue will soon be home to roughly 300 young professionals seeking convenient and affordable residences. Photo/Daniel Offner

SPORTS The beat goes on


In many respects, the end of any scholastic year is bittersweet. While graduations are celebrations of the academic achievements of our local high school students, they are tinged with melancholy—a reminder that a distinct part of the lives of the young men and women clad in caps and gowns is at an end and that new challenges lie ahead. But it also serves as a reminder that the cycle will continue. Our departing seniors will leave to go into the world while new classes rise up to take their place—both in the halls of our high schools and on our athletic fields. Local seniors certainly left their mark on the Section I landscape, as they seem to do every year. There was no shortage of great moments this year, indelible sporting moments that will forever live on in the minds of those seniors who will move on to bigger things. Of course there was ‘the shot’—Khalil Edney’s gamewinning buzzer-beater to give New Rochelle its first section title since 2006 and made Edney

and the Huguenots national heroes on ESPN. Moments such as that one, and Edney hoisting the state football title back in November will be long remembered. But while those are undeniable in their greatness, there have been a handful of other moments, other stories that are

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just as meaningful, though not as broad in scope. Stories like New Rochelle baseball, led by senior hurler John Valente, earning its first victory over rival Mamaroneck in six years; a game that Huguenot coach Pete Annunziata admitted meant so much to his ace. Other streaks fell this year, including Rye’s eight-game winning streak over Harrison in ‘The Game.’ Watching senior quarterback Vinnie Nicita

and his teammates celebrate the end of a drought was certainly a moment I will remember for a long time. I will also remember talking to lineman Joe Bellantoni after Tuckahoe punched its ticket to states. In 2010, when the Tigers won a state title, Bellantoni was an undersized lineman, a sophomore scrapper who—despite his starting role—was like the team’s younger brother. I remember when his father died, just prior to that state title game, and how Bellantoni still went out and played, knowing that the rest of the Tuckahoe community was behind him. In 2012, Bellantoni was the undeniable leader and anchor of that Tiger line, someone whose tireless work and time in the trenches made him a teammate to look up to in times of need. These moments, these players, will be missed. But the great thing about high school sports is there is always someone waiting in the wings, someone ready to step up, take the big shot and write their own history.

Khalil Edney goes up for a shot against Mount Vernon in the Section I title game on March 3. In the final seconds of that game, Edney hit a buzzer-beater game-winning shot that gained national attention and was the best sports moment of the 2012-13 season. Photo/Bobby Begun

Rye golfer Alexis Hios—who placed second in the state this year—might very well bring Rye another piece of hardware for their trophy case in her senior year. Young football stars, like Mamaroneck’s Marquez Jackson-Allen and Rye Neck’s Jakob Calvini, will have another chance-two in JacksonAllen’s case-to find glory on the gridiron. Tuckahoe’s Cassie McGrath, Mamaroneck’s Ki mi Chiapparelli, and Rye Neck’s Diana King are all-stars already, but will only get better as the years go on. So farewell seniors. Your time here will not be forgotten, by you, your teammates or your friends and family. But one word of advice before you go—don’t be strangers. Come back when you can, cheer on your old teammates, the kids you mentored, the JV players who looked up to you as role models. Although your time might be done, there’s no saying what magic the future might hold for our up-andcoming stars.

PCRA shines at national meet By MIKE SMITH SPORTS EDITOR

On June 9, the Pelham Community RowingAssociation finished up another go-around at the U.S. Youth Nationals in Oak Ridge Tennessee. Over the past decade, the New Rochelle-based organization has become one of the more prominent—and successful—teams in the nation, and this year was no different as the PCRA finished third, thanks to some terrific performances. The PCRA, which recently celebrated it’s 10th reunion at its home on Glen Island, has been sending boats to nationals for the past five years and has been turning heads on the national scene, especially given their 2011 performance in which they unseated the sixtime defending champions and broke a regatta record in the process. Though they weren’t able to quite repeat last year’s success, they did not come away emptyhanded. In one of the more surpris-

ing finishes of the regatta, the girls’ quad–featuring Harrison’s Liliane Lindsay and Mamaroneck’s Ellie Sawyer, as well as Pelham native Lauren Veith and Riverdale Country School junior Julia Sesler–took third place in the Class A final, eeking out a medal with a late race burst and a finishing just .01 of a second ahead of the fourth-place boat. According to Lindsay, who was making her third trip to nationals, the finish far exceeded the team’s expectations heading into the season. “Even though we have been to nationals in the past, this year, it was pretty much a whole different boat,” said the Harrison senior. “Three girls from the quad graduated last year, so coming in, we didn’t know what to expect from ourselves. When we did start thinking of nationals, we didn’t know how we would do.” With the graduation of her more experienced crewmembers, Lindsay said that she took it upon herself to become more of a leader as the season wore on.

“I went from being the youngest girl in the boat to being one of the more experienced ones,” she said. “With two of the girls being newer, they looked to me and Ellie for support and advice.” With a terrific performance at nationals behind her, however, Lindsay has no plans to rest. On June 22, she headed up to New London, Conn. to spend the summer training at the United States Coast Guard Academy with 34 other elite high school rowers. Over the course of the summer, Lindsay and her fellow rowers will be under the tutelage of some of the top instructors in the United States as they train and compete for a spot to represent the U.S. Youth National Team at the Junior World Rowing Championships, which will be held in Lithuania this August. “This is going to be a new level of challenge,” said Lindsay. “It’s going to be a high level of competition, and a lot of girls there are going to be incredibly fast. It’s going to be great to row and train with girls at that level.”

From left: Liliane Lindsay, Lauren Veith, Julia Sesler and Ellie Sawyer pose with PCRA coach Guy Monseair after taking third at nationals on June 9. Contributed photo

SPORTS Rice, NFLers coach local youths


On June 15, reigning Super Bowl champion Ray Rice returned home to New Rochelle for what is becoming a beloved tradition in New Rochelle, an event that draws hundreds of kids and spectators alike: Ray Rice Day. The New Rochelle native, who has run this event for the past five years, received a hero’s welcome over the winter following his Ravens’ Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers. Although he has long been a household name in the city that raised him, the Super Bowl win may have increased demand for the all-day clinic. With more than 500 children, aged 7 to 13 in attendance at Fosina Field in City Park, the former Huguenot standout-now a star running back for the Baltimore Ravens-teamed up with the New Rochelle Youth Tackle Football League to put on an all-day football camp that gave local youngsters the chance to meet the hometown

legend face-to-face. Rice, alongside a coaching staff that contained a number of NFL players-like Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots and Rice’s former Huguenot and Rutgers teammate Courtney Greene-put the youths through the paces in a variety of drills, the message of the day was a clear one from the Huguenot star: You can’t get anywhere without teamwork. Rice, who has spoken often in the past about how his gridiron successes are the product of ‘his team’ in the New Rochelle community that supported him in his youth, drilled the idea of working together into his eager pupils any chance he could. “It doesn’t matter how great you think you are,” he told one group as they came together to break down after a tackling session. “When you’re part of a team, you win, or lose, together.” -Reporting by MIKE SMITH

Rice breaks down a huddle of campers. Throughout the day, the former Huguenot preached the importance of teamwork.

A local youngster participates in an agility drill on June 15. Five hundred campers were on hand for Ray Rice Day. Photos/Mike Smith

Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice takes some time with a young fan on June 15.

Rice eludes the grasp of one of the campers during a tackling session. Rice challenged future Huguenot hopefuls to contain him–few were up to the task.

The Report 6-21-13