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SOUND &TOWN Serving Mamaroneck & Larchmont

Vol. 15/Number 11

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March 15, 2013

2 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013

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North Barry Ave. flooding case closed, builder defends construction By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER chrisg@hometwn.com

Residents of North Barry and Beach Avenues continued their search for a resolution to an ongoing flooding problem around their homes at a Zoning Board meeting on March 7. An appeal was closed at the end of the meeting, yielding little relief for North Barry residents like Carina McCabe. McCabe had previously stated that the flooding around her home at 416 was caused by inefficiencies in the village’s Building Department, as well as the department’s lack of correspondance with Melbourne Realty, the company responsible for constructing a new modular home on a neighboring property. However, Jack Pisco, the builder of the home located at 418 North Barry, claims that the area is a historically “wet” section of the village that is prone to flooding, and that the house he built could only improve any existing flooding problems rather than exacerbate them, due to the installation of a sophisticated underground drainage system. McCabe told The Sound and Town Report that the entire problem could have been avoided if the village Building Department had enforced its own laws pertaining to changes in property grade. Village law requires that any grade change to a property must be approved before construction, but McCabe said there

were no grade changes indicated on the original plans for the house. The grade was then, in fact, increased by about 30 inches. “We’re stuck in the middle of a bigger problem,” she said. “Is this Jack’s fault? Partially. But it’s really the Building Department that is not enforcing the code.” However, on Sept. 28, Village Manager Richard Slingerland sent an email to McCabe that confirmed that the construction was completed correctly, and that staff members of the Building Department visited her property during a rainfall of 1-inch per hour, and found that, at that time, there was no flooding or pooling in her yard. According to Slingerland’s email, this indicated that the drainage system installed by Pisco was, in fact, built in accordance with the village’s regulations, and that any further action McCabe wished to The newly constucted home seen here at 418 North take is out of the village’s hands. Barry Ave. has caused ongoing disagreements between the Zoning Board of Appeals and some neighbors of the “To put it simply, his engineer put home. Photo/Chris Gramuglia together a stormwater prevention plan, we performed several site visits and ing are not the business of the village manbased on our assessments, it is our position, ager and should be dealt with by the Building that [Pisco] built the plan to code and to our Department. She also said that the informaapproval.” tion from Slingerland did not address her priMcCabe addressed the email from mary concern regarding the disparity between Slingerland, and said that issues of grad- the new house’s original plans and the actual

outcome in its grading, citing an additional email from Mayor Norman Rosenblum that requested more specific clarifications. Another issue that attracted considerable attention was the amount of storage space required by the village. According to a report by Ralph Mastromonaco, the engineer hired by McCabe, the total required amount of underground storage space is 2176.5 cubic feet, but the Cultechs provided by Pisco provide only about 762 cubic feet. The report concluded that during the village’s earlier survey of the property, Building Department staff used an outdated standard to calculate the required amount of storage space. Mastromonaco presented these figures to the Zoning Board as well as the village engineer, Anthony Carr and, according to McCabe, could not be refuted by either party. Pisco defended the construction of the new house, saying that the modular home he was responsible for building was not only constructed in accordance with village code but, in fact, can only help with the pre-existing flooding on North Barry. Pisco installed six mechanisms called Cultechs, which are underground drywells designed to trap water and then allow it to drain via a stormwater pipe. The six drywells have the capacity to contain 90 percent of the property’s water runoff. “They connect to a village stormwater pipe that empties into the Long Island Sound. FLOODING continued on page 12

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Village adopts new protocols for release of public information By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER chrisg@hometwn.com

With Sunshine Week fast approaching, the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees adopted a proclamation on March 12 to utilize more efficient ways to handle the large number of requests from the public under the Freedom Of Information Law. Some village residents feel information is not as readily available as it should be, and, despite being pleased with the proclamation, are asking that some of its provisions be reviewed. Currently, the proclamation states that all meetings held by any board or agency created by the village will be open to the public, that agencies must accept requests for information by phone, mail or email within the time frame mandated by the NYS Public Officers Law and that items under consideration, such as local laws and tentative budgets, must be available by the close of business on Friday the week before a village board meeting. Stuart Tiekert, a resident of the village, told The Sound and Town Report that he thinks the proclamation is a good thing, but believes some of the language in it indicates a misunderstanding of New York State legislation on municipal meetings. He proposed some minor changes. “My intent was for [the board] to make a better proclamation, that would involve really looking at the Open Meetings Law and the FOIL law,” Tiekert said. “There are strict rules

for them, and laws they have to follow as far as FOIL goes.” None of Tiekert’s proposed changes were added to the proclamation. This is not the first time Tiekert has taken issue with the way village boards deals with requests for information. Last year, Tiekert sent a request for records relevant to the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan at 0 Pine Street. According to Tiekert, six additional FOIL requests and three appeals were filed with Village Manager Richard Slingerland before the information was released approximately four months later. Slingerland responded to Tiekert via email, and said that the reason for the delay was a number of the documents requested were not found by staff during an initial search, but that there was no deliberate effort to withold any information from him, despite Tiekert’s allegations. “We are not averse to making these things known or public,” Slingerland said. “The question is just a matter of the timing.” Since August, Tiekert has filed over 40 FOIL requests, which has reportedly caused some administrative problems for the village staff. Deputy Mayor Louis Santoro, a Republican, said that excessive requests for information stall progress within the village because of the added workload it poses to staff, and is not conducive to the way governments are designed to function. “People don’t give the system time to work,” Santoro said. “We are a

On March 12, the Mamaroneck Village Board of Trustees adopted a proclamation proposing more efficient ways to deal with a large number of information requests from residents. In the past, the board has found it difficult to keep up with the volume of requests, but said that it never intentionally witheld any information from the public. File photo

small community, and we have a lot of good stuff going on, and this takes time away from us being able to do other things.” New York State Law is very specific about the availability of documents to the public and requires municipalities deliver written receipt of a request within five days of receiving it. The municipality is then required to either accept, deny or offer a reason for delay within 30 days. The proclamation the board adopted says

that, if a request for information is made, an anticipated response date must be issued to the person requesting the information to cut back on excessive appeals and requests, and that records that have been repeatedly requested will be posted online. “I notice a lot of FOIL requests are requests for things that have already been FOILed,” Democratic Trustee Andres Bermudez-Hallstrom said. The village board plans to implement the provisions of the proclamation as soon as possible.

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March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 5

Town Council outlines plans to monitor reserve funding By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER chrisg@hometwn.com

The Mamaroneck Town Council recently announced that it would be taking steps to better prepare for unexpected expenses that could have an adverse effect on the town’s surplus funding. The town’s investment bond rating was lowered from AAA to AA by Moody’s Investor Services because of a supposed financial imbalance–a claim that the Town Council did not agree with. “They could not prove to us that there was any structural imbalance in our finances,” Town Administrator Steve Altieri said. “The only thing we agreed with them on was that our surplus levels had dropped.” The town continues to have a very strong ability to meet financial commitments and holds one of the highest available bond ratings for local governments, Altieri said, but will launch a plan for more oversight moving forward. According to a memorandum by Altieri, the town will adopt a fund balance recovery plan that will be based on a review of expenses, finding new revenue sources and potential property tax adjustments. The policy also contains target amounts in various balances as well as timeframes to replenish certain fund amounts that have diminished. The goals of the fund balance recovery plan are to provide

enough cash flow for daily expenses within the town, protect the town’s investment bond rating, prepare for any economic problems or low revenues, and have enough funding for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Altieri told The Sound and Town Report that several factors have led the town to experience a decrease in surplus fuding. “There has been pressure to comply with the new 2 percent tax cap, as well as some poor performance in non property tax revenue,” said Altieri. Additionally, unexpected events like Hurricane Sandy have had deleterious effects on the amount of surplus funding the town has available for emergencies. The benchmarks contained within the new policy outline how the town should replenish deficiencies in its budget, and how quickly it must do so. Deficiencies resulting in a minimum fund balance of less than 15 percent must be replenished over a period of less than two years, deficiencies of 15 to 20 percent must be replenished over a period of less than four years and deficiencies between 20 to 25 percent must be replenished over a period of less than six years. The benchmarks and timeframes in the fund balance policy were implemented in order to give the Town Council a standard to follow in the future for its fund amounts, according to Altieri, and will ensure that a close watch be kept on the town’s surplus funding.

The Town of Mamaroneck is putting new controls in place to monitor its reserve funds due to a drop in its investment bond rating. File Photo

According to Councilman Ernest Odierna, some towns and communities will tap into their reserve funding so they don’t have to raise taxes, but the Town is trying to move away from that, in order to better prepare for the unexpected. “If we have to all of a sud-

den spend money on the highway department, we will have the money. If we have to get a generator, we will have the funds. It won’t come down to us taking out a bond or a loan,” Odierna said. “We’re trying to avoid going down to the very last dime.”

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Urgent care center opens for business

Mayor Norman Rosenblum, left, told members of the community and staff members of the newly opened MD Express that he believes the facility will add to the diversity of businesses in the village. Photo/Jennifer Topiel By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER chrisg@hometwn.com

An urgent care center was recently opened by MD Express at 1030 West Boston Post Road, and will specialize in providing fast and quality care for residents of Mamaroneck. A ribbon cutting was held at the new facility, and was attended by the Westchester County Health Commissioner, Dr. Sherita Amler, Mayor Norman Rosenblum and Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson. Managed by five doctors who specialize in emergency room care, the urgent care facility was opened to provide care for people who may not be able to wait to see their regular doctors, and to tend to health problems that may not necessarily require a visit to the emergency room but still need immediate attention. “We saw a void in medical care in the country,” Dr. Jason Lupow said. “A lot of doctors are busy doing primary care stuff. We’re here to fill that void with specialized care.” Lupow, who is one of the owners of the facility, hopes that the availability of urgent care in Mamaroneck will give residents another, more convenient option in the event of an injury or minor illnesses, and will ease some of the pressure placed on emergency rooms. Also, he believes that the urgent care facility will add convenience to the lives of residents by providing them with medical forms, as well

as tests for HIV mono and strep. The facility is also fully equipped with a full lab and an X-ray machine. The opening of the facility was welcomed by Rosenblum as well as Seligson, who both issued proclamations at the ribbon cutting. “The Village of Mamaroneck is an extremely diverse community,” said Rosenblum. “Part of that diversity is not only in the people, but also in the businesses and the professionals that are here, so we welcome [MD Express]. During the opening of the facility, Town Supervisor Seligson noted that urgent care facilities like this one are becoming more and more prominent. “MD Express...fills a niche in Westchester County and is now becoming a trend nationwide,” Seligson said. The largest benefit of a facility like this one, is its proximity to those who are in need of care. The owners of MD Express said they hope to become a part of the village, and feel that developing relationships with patients is integral to the well-being of the community as a whole. “The closer your medical care is to your home, the better your changes are for doing well if you have a bad event,” Health Commissioner Amler said. “You’re also always better going to a place where they know you, and your medical history.” The MD Express urgent care facility is open to the public seven days a week.

Have a news tip? Contact your local reporters: Chris Gramuglia, chrisg@hometwn.com Alexandra Bogdanovic, alexandra@hometwn.com

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Larchmont sets stage for Willow Park playground restoration By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER alexandra@hometwn.com

A community group wants to raise money for playground restorations at Willow Park. The playground was damaged during Hurricane Sandy last fall. Contributed photo

The Larchmont Village Board of Trustees paved the way for a Willow/Woodbine Park playground restoration on March 4 by creating a fund that can accept donations for the cause. Trustee Lorraine Walsh, a Democrat, began the discussion at the board’s work session by explaining that the playground sustained damage during Hurricane Sandy last fall. The project is “on the fast track” because it is already March and the playground, located in the small park at the end of Willow Avenue, is a popular summer destination for children ages 2 to 5, Walsh said. Walsh also noted that a local citizens group wants to do some fundraising for the playground restoration in the small park, which is currently used “mostly for unstructured play.” “I think they can reasonably raise $15,000, potentially a little more,” Walsh said. “[But] they can’t do anything until we approve the project, and it is a heavily used park.” According to a flyer circulated by the group, the Willow Park Project 2013 is a “community-based group that is raising money to help finance the renovation of the playground.” Its goal is to raise $30,000 by April 1. The group hopes to have “Phase I” work completed by the summer. That includes the acquisition and installation of new playground equipment and the construction of a new brick pathway for accessibility. The work also includes replacing the current playground surface with a new “playground compliant” material. Mayor Anne McAndrews, a Democrat, said stormwater and debris from Long Island Sound washed into the playground during the hurricane, fouling the playground surface and some

of the equipment there. The existing surface must be replaced with special sanitized woodchips, she said. The total project cost could reach $70,000 to $75,000, McAndrews said. The new equipment and installation alone could cost approximately $50,000. There are also costs associated with the basic groundwork, such as leveling the site, which has to be done before the installation of the new surface material and equipment. The village has already submitted reimbursement claims for storm-related damages and expenses to its own insurance carrier and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but there is no way to predict how much money it will ultimately receive, McAndrews said. Even so, the trustees indicated during their discussion that the village could pay up to $20,000. In 2011, the village agreed to contribute $20,000 to help the Pine Brook Association revamp Pine Brook Park. According to published reports, that restoration also included the installation of new playground equipment, benches, and landscaping. Today, the park, situated at the intersection of Palmer Avenue and Pine Brook Drive, boasts equipment designed “mostly for older children,” according to a description on the Village of Larchmont’s website. Younger children also play t-ball or kickball at Pine Brook Park, and the Dorothy Haigney Garden, which was named after a former co-chairman of the village’s Beautification Committee, is also open to visitors there. Village trustees estimated the project cost totaled approximately $53,000. For more information about the Willow Park playground restoration effort, or to make a donation, email thefriendsofwillowpark@gmail.com.

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Marking the end of an era On a remote litter-filled block in Port and is viewed as one of the most handsome Chester that is half residential and half in- men in Westchester County. He took it upon dustrial sits the headquarters of Home Town himself to write this notice as one of his last Media Group, the publisher columns at the company and of five community newspadid so in the third person, pers including the one you about which he feels quite are currently reading. icky, but still felt it was less LUNGARIELLO The Home Town offices bizarre than writing in the AT LARGE are in a factory-like brick second person. Mark Lungariello building shared with numerWriting his own departure ous other tenants. Eight out article should come as no of every 10 people who are surprise to those who know buzzed into the front entrance are looking for a Lungariello: He threw himself his own 30th different office, employees say, despite various birthday party, at which his rock band, For the signs posted in the front over the years warning Hutch, performed. He figured fewer people visitors the Home Town entrance is solely for would turn down the invitation to see the band Home Town. One of those signs had a picture of if they felt guilty about his birthday. He also Mr. T on it, saying “I pity the fool.” The build- laughs at his own jokes, as insurance against ing reached legendary status in the aftermath of a lack of laughter from others. Lungariello is Hurricane Sandy, when it was miraculously the today 33 and considers himself slightly balder, only building in a six-block radius with power. but no less an able dancer than he was when That meant the company didn’t have to cease he took the job as editor. His successor will be printing due to the storm. Christian Falcone, who is Home Town’s senior This bizarre fortress is seeing some change reporter and associate editor of its Rye newsthis month. Mark Lungariello, who has been paper. Lungariello has been trying to convince editor-in-chief at the company since the week Falcone to accept a terrible acrylic painting, following the November 2009 elections, has which hangs on the editor’s office wall and announced he will be stepping down April 1, which is the only painting Lungariello ever which happens to be one of his favorite days finished. It says “POW” in comic book letters of the year. But the departure is no joke for and one person who viewed it called it a fitLungariello, who aside from guiding the edi- ting first and last painting. torial and graphics staff is also a brilliant colLungariello became editor after sevumnist, a tough Words With Friends opponent eral 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 go-to 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 to quit 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 mark@hometwn.com

With Honors Zoe A. Berman, Lauren B. Stelluti of Larchmont and Zachary W. Eisenberg of Mamaroneck have been named to the Boston University dean’s list for the Fall 2012 semester. Elizabeth Angley, a member of the class of 2015 from Mamaroneck, has been named to the fall 2012 dean’s list at Loyola University Maryland.

Stay connected. Visit us online. www.mysoundandtown.com

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L etters Praising Hugo Chavez To the Editor, Malcolm X said, “In America, they will make you think the criminal is the victim and the victim is the criminal.” That is certainly true of American history, and so true of the great Hugo Chavez, who died earlier this month. Chavez was demonized and hated by people in this country, it was expressed by the vile headline of the New York Post upon the announcement of Chavez’s death: “Off Hugo.” The hatred was demonstrated by actress Maria Conchito Alonso who said, “Chavez should have suffered with cancer longer.” Barbaric comments such as these were something that President Hugo Chavez stood up to during his 14-year reign as president. Chavez was of the same legacy as Che Guevera, Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Paul Robeson. He said no to the brutal, racist and exploitive policies of the United States. He was the “dreaded socialist” who instituted land reforms for the poor, and nationalized industries so that companies in the west were stopped from being a parasite on Venezuela’s impoverished. His administration saw the decline in poverty that was at 48 percent in 2002 decline to 29 percent in 2011. Unlike this country, he treated the poor with respect and dignity, and did not call them “lazy.” He knew they were victims of imperialism from this country. He provided oil for poor families in this country at way below market prices. He was a humanitarian the world around. Jesse Jackson eulogized Chavez as, “a man that fed the hungry, lifted the poor, and raised their hopes.” Rest well President Chavez for a job well done. Clifford Jackson, Larchmont

About Letters to the Editor Publication is not guaranteed. We reserve the right to edit letters for content or space, at our discretion, without notification from the company. We reserve the right to reject submissions at our discretion without notice to the author. Sorry, but we are unable to notify authors in advance if and when a letter will be printed. Deadline for submission is Friday before publication. The maximum length of letters that appear in our pages is 625 words, but letters are usually significantly shorter to accommodate space needs. The letter should be signed and include the

writer’s address and phone number for verification purposes. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified. Publication by frequent letter writers will be limited to one per month. The opinions of letter writers do not reflect those of this newspaper. Please submit via fax to (914) 653-5000 or email to mark@hometwn.com or via post to Home Town Media Group, C/O Letters to the Editor, 200 William Street, Port Chester, NY 10573. We do not accept unsolicited Op-Ed submissions, film reviews, or food reviews.

Getting Sandy help from FEMA The Federal Emergency Management Agency, at the request of the State of New York, has approved a 30-day extension for survivors to register for federal disaster assistance. As one of the most densely populated areas in the country, New York presents FEMA with many unique challenges. The agency – along with state and federal partners and voluntary organizations – is extending the registration period for an additional 30 days in order to best serve Hurricane Sandy survivors in New York. The new registration deadline in New York is March 29, 2013, which is also the deadline to complete and return low-interest SBA disaster loan applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The extension allows survivors in the 13 New York counties designated for federal individual assistance more time to register with FEMA. The designated counties are: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester. People living in these counties who sustained losses due to Hurricane Sandy should register with FEMA even if they have insurance. Applying by the deadline may help survivors avoid a funding shortfall if they later find that they are underinsured or have additional damages. Survivors who register may be eligible for federal grants to help cover various disasterrelated expenses, including rent, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance. By returning the SBA disaster loan application, homeowners may be eligible for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their storm-damaged primary residence. Homeowners and renters may be eligible for up to $40,000 for replacement of personal property. Businesses and private nonprofits may be eligible to borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace storm-damaged property.

How to register with FEMA Individuals can register with FEMA online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet by going to m.fema.gov or by downloading the FEMA app. Survivors can also register by calling the FEMA Helpline: 800-621-3362 (Voice, 7-1-1/Relay) or (TTY) 800-462-7585. The line is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, seven days a week until further notice. Anyone with questions regarding the FEMA registration process, the status of an application and available disaster assistance programs is encouraged to visit a Disaster Recovery Center or contact FEMA. To find the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, the following options are available: Text DRC and a ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA), and a text message will be sent back with the address. Also, the Disaster Recovery Center locator is available online at www.FEMA. gov/disaster-recovery-centers. SBA disaster loan application A simple and fast way to complete the disaster loan application is online, using the SBA’s electronic loan application. Go to https://DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ELA. SBA customer service representatives are available to issue or accept low-interest disaster loan applications and answer questions at all New York State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers an SBA business recovery centers and Disaster Loan Outreach Centers. To locate the nearest center, visit www.sba.gov or call 800659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339). More information is available by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center tollfree number, 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-8778339). Assistance is also available by sending an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba. gov or by visiting www.sba.gov. For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visit www.fema.gov/SandyNY, www.twitter.com/FEMASandy, www.facebook.com/FEMASandy and www.fema.gov/ blog. (Submitted)

FLOODING from page 3

Those Cultechs could never fill up to a point that they cause flooding,” Pisco said. Pisco also claims that the layout of McCabe’s property, in fact, is the cause for much of her flooding, not the increased grade of the property at 418. “I would like to illustrate that her large blacktop driveway, leaders and gutters causes water to flow right onto the surface and streamline into her backyard,” he said, before presenting a series of photos to the Zoning Board. No other homes on North Barry are equipped with Cultechs and, according to two impact studies conducted on the property following construction, the flooding actually improved as a result of the installation of the new drainage system. Pisco also offered to reduce the grade on McCabe’s property, but believes that there would still be flooding, indicating that the new house may not be the problem. McCabe is now stating that her house at 416 North Barry is no longer an issue in the case, but that the construction of the house at 418 is an a serious indicator of the Building Department not

enforcing its code. According to her, “the village Building Department did not follow its duty to enforce environmental code and village code by not requiring an updated Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan,” which has become an internal issue in itself but, at this point, remains one without tangible consequences. McCabe believes that the house only meets outdated requirements, and that the certificate of occupancy issued to the property is null and void. She also said that, regardless of the improvement in stormwater drainage, the construction is still in violation of environmental law. The next step, McCabe said, is to wait 62 days for the Zoning Board to determine if it has jurisdiction in the case. If the board does find reason to believe that the grading changes and the drainage system are not in accordance with village code, the case will become its responsibility. Lawrence Gutterman, chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals, declined to comment on the case.

March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 13

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 village mainstay Sid Albert used to pay when

he went to the movies with his The Mamaroneck Playhouse, friends. now a Clearview branded the“I thought it was an absolutely ater, can still be a surreal expephenomenal thing with its gold rience for a movie nerd visiting paintings and a great big, huge it for the first time. screen,” Albert, now 76, said. There’s a long, gently slop“I remember seeing things like ing hallway that leads from the ‘Quo Vadis’ and ‘Ben-Hur.’ As a front door to the main lobby. little kid, when you go and you To pass through those doors see those kinds of movies in a is to leave the noise and agbig theater like that you’re very gression of our current world impressed with it.” behind and move, descendBy the time Albert was spending just a bit, away from the ing his childhood days enrapt street and back through time. in images of chariot races and You’ll pass the old box office Nero’s Rome, the Playhouse was window along the way. Of almost exclusively a movie thecourse there’s neon and credit ater. Though there was an occacard readers at the concession sional rock and roll show there, stand now, but, if you look past gone were the days of regular them, as John Theanthong did visits from vaudeville entertainmore than 20 years ago, you ers, which were rumored to have can still see Dec. 6, 1925. It’s included acts like Burns and in the wood accents all over the Allen and Johnny Carson-then lobby, on the brick staircase up a magician-working under asto what used to be the balcony sumed names to maintain their and in the boarded-up viewing New York City contracts. boxes along the walls of the By 1980, the Playhouse had upper levels. moved into corporate hands and Perhaps remarkably, elewas in the midst of a renovation ments of the theater that have or, as Pritts and Albert more always been there have withlikely to see it, a vivisection. stood the passage of time better “They ruined it,” Pritts said. than some of the more recent The Mamaroneck Playhouse additions. Some of the ceilbecame a United Artists theater ing tiles on the upper level are with four small screens instead water stained, and the boards of one grand one, two floors incovering up the box seats are stead of a balcony. Many of the more worn than the brick and adornments that made the theater stonework around them. Even as much an attraction as the movif the Playhouse never returns ies it hosted were donated to the to the single screen experience Mamaroneck Historical Society. of its youth, its current custoAs the 1980s drew to a dians might do well to safeclose, a new generation of Although the once grand auditorium inside has been divided into four guard the unique atmosphere Mamaroneck’s children popu- smaller ones, much of the detail in the Mamaroneck Playhouse’s lobby the theater still provides for lated the Playhouse, but some of remains unchanged since it opened in 1925. Photo/Rebecca Chirevas future generations of movthese were employees. iegoers, whose memories of John Theanthong was a Larchmont resi- ropes and pulleys; the way it would actually such experiences can last a lifetime. dent when, at the age of 16, he took a job at be for a Broadway stage,” he said. “Behind I asked Gloria Pritts about the Mamaroneck what I noticed he always referred to as “the the scenes there were a ton of [old dressing] Playhouse movies she remembered best. I Playhouse 4.” The altered interior didn’t leave rooms. It’s spooky, it’s scary, but it’s also a mentioned “Casablanca,” my favorite film. Theanthong feeling his experience working at virtual treasure trove. We found old posters She said she didn’t see what the big deal was the theater alongside his brother and two best there.” at the time, but she may have been too young Theanthong no longer lives in Westchester; to appreciate it when she saw it. friends was any less special. It was just a difhis days at the Mamaroneck Playhouse long ferent kind of special. I didn’t have to prompt Pritts at all to re“It’s an awesome job when you’re 16 years behind him. He lives a much faster-paced life member seeing Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” at old,” Theanthong, who is now 39, said. “You in New York City now and, like Pritts and the Playhouse. got to see all the movies you wanted, all your Albert before him, laments the current state of She now owns it on DVD. things when going to the movies. I asked him, friends thought you were the bomb.” “I must think to show that to the little ones,” Cleaning the theaters meant using a leaf given that, what the value of a place like his she said. blower to blast debris out a back door. One beloved Playhouse 4 can still be. The “little ones” are Pritts’ great grandchil“There’s a towny feel to it,” he said. “It’s dren. They’re all coming to her house for Palm summer, Theanthong and his fellow employees founded a good-natured fight club behind a place that you can walk to. You have your Sunday, and now they’re going to experience the screens after hours. Still, the Playhouse’s slice of pizza, you enjoy the day at Harbor something that first thrilled their 15-year-old history was not lost on Theanthong during his Island, and then you come in for a movie and great grandmother in a big, beautiful theater you go next door for dinner afterwards. You in 1940. time there. “Behind the theater you can actually see can’t beat that experience.” Movie magic.

14 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013

The Castle

Reid Hall at Manhattanville College in Purchase has a rich history spanning over a century. The castle, as it exists today, is widely seen as an emblem 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.

March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 15

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 ARMORY continued on page 22

The giant anchor in front of the armory provides the only visible clue about the building’s original purpose. Photos/Alexandra Bogdanovic

16 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013

By RACHEL McCAIN

The Bath House

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 A scale that was used to weigh the soap powder to wash the States to “establish a munici- towels patrons were given at Public Bath House No. 3. The pal bath, supplied with hot and scale sits in the basement of the bath house, along with many cold water and opened all the other items from the early 1900s. Photo/Rachel McCain year round,” in 1896. Before the opening of bath houses, residents a.m. until 9 a.m., one can use the facilities for of the area used wash basins and the Hudson $1. According to a 1962 Herald Statesman River to bathe. However, due to increasing article, during the early 1960s–when co-ed pollution of the river, people went elsewhere. swimming was still considered taboo–the From the time the bath houses were estab- bath house was “frequented by more than 200 lished until 1948, patrons were charged five persons weekly.” The cost to use the facility cents for the use of a towel and soap; bathers during that time only 10 cents and included were allotted 20 minutes to use the facilities. soap and a towel. Despite the changes that have taken place According to Michael Meola, the labor throughout Yonkers over the past century, supervisor for the City of Yonkers Parks Public Bath House No. 3 is still used as a Department, the crowds have certainly bath house. Monday through Friday, from 7 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 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 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 BATH continued on page 17

March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 17

Free consultation or intellectual theft? When you’re considering a remodeling project, the first step is to talk to people who know about such things, and THE KITCHEN AND seek out advice. After all, you don’t do this that often, so BATH INSIDER why not consult with the people who do? And who better Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D.© to talk with than someone who offers a free consultation? But remember, you usually get what you pay for, so don’t expect too much good advice for free. Certainly, you shouldn’t anticipate a designer or architect to sketch out a whole plan for you, giving you the wealth of their experience and knowledge, at a preliminary meeting for no charge. After all, their ideas are their “intellectual property” and that doesn’t come cheap. At an initial consultation, you can expect to get the basics of what’s involved in the project you’re contemplating. Think of it as a primer on construction, cabinets, general costs, etc. This is invaluable information, and it pays to pay attention-even if it is free-because it’s the beginning of your remodeling education. At this appointment, you’ll also get a feeling about the person you’re meeting with. Ask yourself, does the person sound knowledgeable? Do they seem trust worthy? Do you feel comfortable enough with them to let them work in your home? If you move forward, the designer, contractor or architect will eventually show you their proposed design for the project. Please don’t try to covertly, or overtly, copy down everything that they show you, with the hopes of using their design and creativity and having a carpenter who lives down the block supply the materials and do the work for less money. That’s when “free consultation” ends and “intellectual property theft” rears its ugly head. If you’re up front with the designer and tell them that you want to purchase a plan and then shop around for the best price for the materials and installation, that’s different. Then the designer can quote a price for supplying you with the necessary floor plans and elevations and, if you agree to the fee, none of their intelligence gets stolen. There are no set jail times for intellectual theft, however a few weeks at Gitmo would probably be fair. Check out the FBI’s web site: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar/ipr/ipr or the National Crime Prevention Council’s, (in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice): http://www.ncpc.org/topics/intellectual-property-theft. Both of these organizations take this concept pretty seriously. “It’s robbing people of their ideas, inventions and creative expressions-what’s called intellectual property.” So when you’re ready to start planning a project, by all means, get as many free consultations as you have time for. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a couple of good ideas from each one. But then, when you’re ready to select someone, make a commitment. Be up front with them regarding what you want them to do. Do you want your designer to design only, supply materials, or handle the whole project? Get an estimate and see if it fits your budget, but don’t try to secretly photograph their plans on your Iphone with the hope of stealing their ideas and then going to the lowest bidder. That’s intellectual theft, and, even if you don’t go to jail, you still have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck, New York. A Master of Design (Pratt Institute), and E.P.A. Certified Remodeler, he serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling Magazine. A member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contributor to Do It Yourself magazine. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com. BATH from page 16

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.

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Pet Rescue

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.

18 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013

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

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

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 essential 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.”

LEGAL NOTICES Notice is hereby given that a license, number 1269233 for beer, liquor and wine has been applied for by the undersigned to sell beer, liquor and wine at retail in a restaurant under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law at 1961 Palmer Ave, Larchmont, NY 10538 for on premises consumption. PMBrian Corp. d/b/a Hunan Larchmont NOTICE OF FORMATION OF Castle Works Media, LLC. Articles of Organization filed with Secretary of State of NY (SSNY) on 1/15/2013. Office location: WESTCHESTER County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against it may be served. The Post Office address to which the SSNY shall mail a copy of any process against the LLC served upon him/her is: 23 Stephenson Terrace, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510. The principal business address of the LLC is: 23 Stephenson Terrace Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510.Purpose: any lawful act of activity Notice of formation of More Than One, LLC. Arts of Org filed with NY Secy of State (SSNY) on 12/26/2012. Office: Westchester County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 6 Evergreen Lane, Larchmont, NY 10538. Purpose: Any lawful activity. NOTICE OF FORMATION OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. NAME: NIELSEN CAPITAL, LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on December 13, 2012. Office location: Westchester County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. The Post Office address to which the SSNY shall mail a copy of any process against the LLC served upon him is Eric Rogers, 13 Larchmont Acres West #1a, Larchmont, NY 10538. Purpose: For any lawful purpose.

March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 19

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-year-old 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 larger inventory of guitars, drums, amps and accessories than he does today. In the base-

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

ment 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 storm. “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.”

20 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013

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March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 21

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 ring that anchors the space. The gym’s regu-

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

lars 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.”

22 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013

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.

ARMORY from page 15

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 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.”

SPORTS

March 15, 2013 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • 23

Wheeler wraps up wrestling career, hopes to join coaching ranks By MIKE SMITH ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR sports@hometwn.com

On March 3, the wrestling career of one of Mamaroneck’s brightest stars came to an end as Plymouth State University senior Femi Wheeler wrapped up his impressive collegiate campaign with a fifth-place finish at 157 pounds in the NCAA Division III Northwest Regional Championships at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Sports Center. Although it has been over four years since Wheeler laced up his shoes for Mamaroneck, the former Tiger is planning to come home and help future Mamaroneck athletes reach their full potential. One of Mamaroneck’s most decorated wrestlers, Wheeler met with similar success wrestling for Plymouth State, with two top-five finishes at the regional qualifiers in his junior and senior year. He finished his collegiate career with a record of 73-35 and was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association D-III Scholar AllAmerican team in the process. “I think I learned a lot in terms of personal growth, both in wrestling and in my life in general,” said Wheeler of his time at Plymouth State, which will conclude in May. “Wrestling was almost like a full time job, so I had to make sure to find the time in the day to study and do my work.” Wheeler, who is a physical education major, cited his high school wrestling and football coach, Anthony Vitti, as an inspiration when it came to balancing out his studies with his wrestling preparation in college. “Coach always said ‘you can sleep when you’re dead,’” recalled Wheeler. “So I didn’t have much down time.” Wheeler hopes to follow in Vitti’s footsteps and join the coaching ranks after he graduates from college. Over the past few years, Wheeler has helped with some of Vitti’s summer football workouts. “Femi’s the kind of kid who brightens up any room he walks into, he has that type of charisma,” said Vitti of his former charge.

Femi Wheeler competes at the 2009 Section I tourney for the Mamaroneck Tigers. With his wrestling career over, Wheeler hopes to someday coach for Mamaroneck.

“Even as a young guy, you saw that he was a sponge when it came to learning things. I could always see that in him.” And while Wheeler said he doesn’t know exactly what the future might hold, he hopes to someday be patrolling the mats and the sidelines for the place where it all started for him. “For me, the coaches I had in high school were some of the best coaches I had,” said Wheeler. “Just hearing about them putting in all the extra time just to reach one kid, for me, I feel like that’s what it’s all about. I would love the chance to come back and bring some pride to Mamaroneck sports.”

Femi Wheeler wrestles in a 2012 match for Plymouth State University. This winter, Femi wrapped up his collegiate career with a 75-36 record. Contributed photos

24 • THE SOUND AND TOWN REPORT • March 15, 2013


Sound and Town Report, 3-15-2013