Author Archives: news

construction-grunge

Eastchester Review to roll out new website

 

east-constructionThe website for The Eastchester Review is currently under construction and a new website is in the process of being created to provide viewers with an enhanced digital version of our newspaper. This new website has been in the works for more than a month already and is set to launch, under the same domain name, in the coming weeks. The new eastchesterreview.com promises to offer a fresh look, improved functionality and a uniqueness that has long been missing from our online presence. Speaking on behalf of the company,  we’re excited to put the old, archaic site to bed in favor of launching something new, fresh and worthy of complementing our traditional print product.

All you have to do is stay tuned.

-Christian Falcone, editor-in-chief

construction-grunge

City Review to roll out new website

 

NR-CONSTRUCTThe website for The City Review New Rochelle is currently under construction and a new website is in the process of being created to provide viewers with an enhanced digital version rivaling our newspaper. This new website has been in the works for more than a month already and is set to launch, under the same domain name, in the coming weeks. The new cityreviewnr.com promises to offer a fresh look, improved functionality and a uniqueness that has long been missing from our online presence. Speaking on behalf of the company,  we’re excited to put the old, archaic site to bed in favor of launching something new, fresh and worthy of complementing our traditional print product.

All you have to do is stay tuned.

-Christian Falcone, editor-in-chief

construction-grunge

Mamaroneck Review to roll out new website

 

mam-constructionThe website for The Mamaroneck Review is currently under construction and a new website is in the process of being created to provide viewers with an enhanced digital version of our newspaper. This new website has been in the works for more than a month already and is set to launch, under the same domain name, in the coming weeks. The new mamaroneckreview.com promises to offer a fresh look, improved functionality and a uniqueness that has long been missing from our online presence. Speaking on behalf of the company,  we’re excited to put the old, archaic site to bed in favor of launching something new, fresh and worthy of complementing our traditional print product.

All you have to do is stay tuned.

-Christian Falcone, editor-in-chief

construction-grunge

Harrison Review to roll out new website

 

hr-constructionThe website for The Harrison Review is currently under construction and a new website is in the process of being created to provide viewers with an enhanced digital version of our newspaper. This new website has been in the works for more than a month already and is set to launch, under the same domain name, in the coming weeks. The new harrisonreview.com promises to offer a fresh look, improved functionality and a uniqueness that has long been missing from our online presence. Speaking on behalf of the company, we’re excited to put the old, archaic site to bed in favor of launching something new, fresh and worthy of complementing our traditional print product.
All you have to do is stay tuned.
-Christian Falcone, editor-in-chief

construction-grunge

Rye City Review to roll out new website

 

rye--constructThe website for The Rye City Review is currently under construction and a new website is in the process of being created to provide viewers with an enhanced digital version rivaling our newspaper. This new website has been in the works for more than a month already and is set to launch, under the same domain name, in the coming weeks. The new ryecityreview.com promises to offer a fresh look, improved functionality and a uniqueness that has long been missing from our online presence. Speaking on behalf of the company,  we’re excited to put the old, archaic site to bed in favor of launching something new, fresh and worthy of complementing our traditional print product.

All you have to do is stay tuned.

-Christian Falcone, editor-in-chief

The Renaissance Westchester, one of the two hotels in Harrison that would have been affected by a recently-nixed bed tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have imposed the 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on patrons in some Westchester municipalities. 
Photo courtesy Marriott.com

Cuomo vetoes hotel tax, upsets local officials

By ANGELA JORDAN
After finally passing through the New York State Legislature, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Dec. 28, vetoed legislation that would have imposed a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on patrons of the two hotels in Harrison.

In addition to the town/village of Harrison, Cuomo, a Democrat, vetoed requests for a hotel occupancy tax, also known as a “bed tax,” from other Westchester towns and villages including the village of North Castle, Tuckahoe, Greenburgh, Mamaroneck and Port Chester. glance

In his veto message, Cuomo said that so far, the state Legislature has only advanced hotel occupancy tax bills like this for counties and cities, the village of Rye Brook being a special circumstance in 2011.

In Westchester, cities such as Rye, New Rochelle, White Plains, Peekskill, and Yonkers have the authority from the state to implement the tax.

“If there is to be policy change on this issue, it should be done pursuant to a comprehensive and determinate statewide policy as advanced by the legislature,” Cuomo wrote in the message.
“If the legislature sets such a policy, I will commit to reconsidering this issue.”

According to state Assemblyman David Buchwald, a White Plains Democrat, the veto was disappointing to many state and local elected officials, who were hoping that if this bill was passed, it could alleviate some of the property tax burdens felt by local residents.

“The local [Harrison] town board was unanimous about seeking this legislation,” Buchwald said. “The state Assembly passed this bill for three straight years, and this time the Senate passed it, too.”

He also said he didn’t see why Cuomo couldn’t have called for a comprehensive, statewide policy to be established for bed taxes while allowing these municipalities to impose the tax right now.

“Wanting to establish a more uniform framework is fine,” Buchwald said. “But that doesn’t explain why a community like Harrison shouldn’t be able to provide property tax relief by these means.”

Harrison Councilman Steve Malfitano, a Republican and former mayor of Harrison, described the veto as “terrible and short sighted,” and feels that towns and villages in New York shouldn’t be treated any differently than cities and counties on this issue.

The Renaissance Westchester, one of the two hotels in Harrison that would have been affected by a recently-nixed bed tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have imposed the 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on patrons in some Westchester municipalities.  Photo courtesy Marriott.com

The Renaissance Westchester, one of the two hotels in Harrison that would have been affected by a recently-nixed bed tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have imposed the 3 percent hotel occupancy tax on patrons in some Westchester municipalities.
Photo courtesy Marriott.com

“Why is it that Harrison residents should be given different treatment than residents of cities like New York or Rye?” Malfitano asked. “If you travel to many other cities and states, there will be a hotel occupancy tax.”

The bill was strongly opposed by members of the Westchester Hotel Association. Dan Conte, the president of the trade group and manager of the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, penned a letter to Cuomo on Dec. 16 urging the governor not to pass the bill.

Conte wrote that hotels in Westchester County already face a 3 percent Room Occupancy Tax from the county, in addition to state and county sales taxes. He said that by allowing these bills to pass in Westchester, the total tax on hotel rooms would increase from 11 percent to 14 percent.

“Our business relies heavily on annual bookings of large blocks of rooms by the businesses whose corporate travel planners could easily shift their hotel choices to adjacent markets in northern New Jersey and Fairfield County, Conn.,” he wrote in the letter. “All would be hurt as well as the local economy which benefits from the visitors they attract.”

However, this now means that the impetus to provide tax revenue remains on property owners in Harrison. According to Malfitano, Harrison could have potentially gained anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 in non-property tax revenue from the bed tax.

The tax on hotel occupants is considered an attractive option by elected officials as a means of generating revenue outside of the property tax; further, that revenue comes largely from non-residents.

State Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat who sponsored the bill along with Buchwald, said, “All these governments are under a tax cap, and so these communities have no relief from pension costs, fire, police, sanitation. So far there’s no plan to give them more state aid, so eventually something’s got to give.”

Conte could not be reached for comment as of press time.

CONTACT: angela@hometwn.com

 
LETTER

Letter: Rosenblum is the arrogant one

 

 

To the Editor,

Mayor Norman Rosenblum’s letter to the editor on Jan. 1, “Political arrogance in the ‘friendly village,”’  disturbed me.

As a resident, I have attended numerous village of Mamaroneck meetings where the mayor is arrogant, completely controls the agenda, limits the ability for attendees to speak, and is rude to the public. This is disrespectful and not particularly friendly nor accommodating behavior from an elected official.

Rosenblum is disturbed that he cannot manipulate the three intelligent trustees who will certainly come up with a reasonable solution to the parking meter dilemma if trusted to do so. The democratic process is working in the “friendly village.” I suggest we support the three competent trustees, Leon Potok, Illissa Miller and David Finch, to make an educated decision that will be economically feasible and acceptable to the public.

 

Gloria Goldstein,

Mamaroneck 

 
LETTER

Letter: Give PE in our schools a chance

To the Editor,

It’s a new year, and with it often comes New Year’s resolutions. Many adults resolve to exercise more, be healthier, and really commit to it this time!

What about our kids? I hope they also want to exercise more, focus on healthier habits, and be motivated to continue it into adulthood. PE in school and youth athletics are critical, and we have some phenomenal PE teachers in our school district with an engaging curriculum. However, the PE instructional spaces at Mamaroneck High School are nowhere near on par and haven’t been updated as far as anyone can remember.

Locker rooms go unused because the lockers are rusted and won’t secure belongings. Plumbing and electrical installations are antiquated and ventilation is poor. Not where I imagine my kids getting hooked on lifelong fitness. And not particularly safe, either.

Our town prioritizes youth sports, which I think is a positive thing. We have improved fields, worked to expand field space, and schedule teams so as to maximize the number of kids who can play. However, when those young athletes grow up and want to compete at the high school level, we offer them a weight room with exposed pipes that leak. We have them leave their sports bags and equipment in the hallways, because nothing fits into the existing (broken, rusty) lockers. There are no showers available (or even running water) and no changing or meeting space for female athletic teams.

The plan that the district has proposed reconfigures unused space so that PE instruction can expand. Infrastructure is replaced so that our kids are safe and so is their gear. Health and wellness becomes the focus and the facilities will reflect how we feel about supporting our young athletes.

Please educate yourself on this issue, and then vote YES to the bond vote on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at your local elementary school. Your kids will thank you.

 

Lisa Sommer,

Larchmont

The horses on the Playland carousel were painted by hand, with no two alike, by the park’s resident artist.

A Playland worker’s wild ride

Larry McGowan retired from Playland last year but his love for the amusement park and his passion for music have made for a most interesting life. Photo courtesy Rat Race Choir

Larry McGowan retired from Playland last year but his love for the amusement park and his passion for music have made for a most interesting life. Photo courtesy Rat Race Choir

By CHRIS EBERHART
While sitting on the Playland carousel, a 5-year-old boy watched his alcoholic father stagger off into the parking lot, get into his car and drive away.

That was a typical day at the amusement park during Larry McGowan’s childhood. Until he was 13, he went to Playland with his father during the summer from Wednesday to Sunday. They’d ride the carousel together two or three times until his father drowned the afternoon in beer.

“If I ever did a movie about my life, it’d be me on the carousel waving to my father, and my father listening to music until he went to the beer stand,” McGowan, now 64, said. “He’d have a few beers and disappear. I’d be on the carousel, and I would just stay there. He’d drink and ride some rides and get in the car and go home… He’d pass out on the couch, and my mother had to take a bus to get me.”

But McGowan wasn’t resentful of his father’s absence. He was content as long as the carousel continued its circular path, the horses bobbing up and down, and the organ playing its iconic tune.

And that’s how, McGowan said, he learned to play the piano; that’s how he developed his ear for music; and that’s how the carousel essentially became McGowan’s first music teacher.

Larry McGowan’s skill and precision can be seen throughout the park, in everything from the painted display signs to the caterpillar ride. File photo

Larry McGowan’s skill and precision can be seen throughout the park, in everything from the painted display signs to the caterpillar ride. File photo

“If you make a noise, I can say it’s this note or that note. It’s a gift,” he said. “And I think I developed it as a kid while sitting on the carousel going round and round and round for hours and just listening to the tunes. Then I’d go home and noodle it out on the piano before I even knew how to play.”

Although McGowan’s first keyboard was a hand-me-down from his sister—he didn’t have formal piano lessons until he was 9 years old—it didn’t take long for him to learn to play as well as a child prodigy.

His first performances were at Catholic Mass at Stations of the Cross and Benedictions of the Blessed Sacrament in his local White Plains parish. McGowan’s religious upbringing was strong; he went to Mass every Sunday and he was taught in a Catholic parochial school his whole life.

Thus, McGowan’s teenage years brought about a crossroads.

At age 13, he played the organ in front of the pope at the noon Mass during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Not long after, his father bought him his first Wurlitzer piano. But at the same time, the Catholic faith tugged on his shirt sleeves, and he was forced to decide which career path to follow: music or the priesthood.

The horses on the Playland carousel were painted by hand, with no two alike, by the park’s resident artist.

The horses on the Playland carousel were painted by hand, with no two alike, by the park’s resident artist.

He joined the Carmelite Friars seminary, but his visit lasted only about six months.

“I used to play in the chapel when I thought no one was looking,” McGowan said. “I used to wear all these flashy things, and when [the priests] found me playing, they said, ‘This is not your calling. No, no. Showbiz is calling you.’”

Three years later, in 1967, he joined the Dunwoodie Seminary in Yonkers, but again stayed only six months.

“I thought [the priesthood] was going to be a way of life for me,” McGowan said. “I decided it wasn’t for me if I was going to be an entertainer. There was no drinking. No womanizing. No cursing. All the things
wrong with me that God is trying to fix.”

As much as he learned that the priesthood wasn’t for him, showbiz was.

And his musical career started in 1968 with Rat Race Choir, a progressive rock band that had a cult-like following on Long Island and the metropolitan area from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s.

The group began as a bunch of teenagers in their White Plains homes. McGowan said he remembers practicing in his mother’s living room and performing in a number of Westchester venues and Long Island rock music clubs.

“It was a free-spirited time in my life,” McGowan said. “It was all geared around music and the band.”

It has been roughly 100 years since the carousel began operating. The amusement park ride has been a love of Larry McGowan’s ever since he joined Playland as a maintenance worker 35 years ago. Photos/Will Thomas

It has been roughly 100 years since the carousel began operating. The amusement park ride has been a love of Larry McGowan’s ever since he joined Playland as a maintenance worker 35 years ago. Photos/Will Thomas

But McGowan’s fast-paced world crashed and burned in 1979.

An internal strife with the band’s new management forced McGowan out of Rat Race Choir. The band was beginning to play in larger venues and clubs where sex and drugs were rampant.

McGowan didn’t like this new direction, and said he left Rat Race Choir with a bad taste in his mouth and most of his equipment either stolen or returned damaged.

After that, things only got worse.

On Halloween 1979, his mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

She was his only parent, literally and figuratively; he had lost his father shortly after the World’s Fair in 1964 to cirrhosis of the liver and lung cancer.

She died that Christmas Eve, sending the 28-year-old spiraling down a black hole.

“I took the Bible and threw it across the room,” McGowan said, “and pointed my finger at the sky and [cursed]. ‘You took my mother away while I’m supposed to be celebrating Jesus.’”

The death of his mother flung McGowan, now an orphan, into a five-year-long “bender.”

He played gigs all over, including legendary nightclubs like Danceteria and Studio 54 until four or five in the morning. He attended party after party, met a slew of musicians and crashed in strangers’ homes.

“I don’t know what else to call it. I just let go,” he said. “It wasn’t just drinking. It was drugs, it was drinking, it was eating, it was having sex with all these theater people… I walked the borderline of excess of all the vices.”

McGowan was speeding 100 mph straight into a brick wall, when a Bible seminar at Madison Square Garden in New York City may have saved his life.

McGowan said he went to the seminar because he felt a need to reconnect with his faith, but was disgusted by the hypocrisy of priests in the Catholic Church who were involved in sex scandals. During the seminar, he heard about Clinton Utterbach of the Redeeming Love Christian Center and joined his church two weeks later.

“He saved me,” McGowan said of Utterbach. “He opened up my head and poured in all the biblical truths that I needed.”

With the Redeeming Love Christian Center, a born-again Christian church in Nanuet, N.Y., McGowan, then in his early 30s, found a new home. He sang in the choir and played the organ and the piano.

Life slowed down and started to brighten, and his Playland career then took off.

An employee at the amusement park, McGowan was the caretaker for the carousel’s organ. That was his baby, as he called it. He knew everything about the organ, and year after year, he made repairs to keep it up and running. For 35 years, McGowan made the 100-year-old carousel sing.

He made the rest of the park come alive by creating unique bright signs and hand-painted rides. He became Playland’s artist, and his job became that of a historic preservationist.

McGowan was given creative freedom to paint the rides and signs however he saw fit. Instead of painting the caterpillar ride the standard green, McGowan painted it blue with designs to make it pop. He used his artistic touch on the carousel too; all 66 horses on the ride were painted by hand, and no two were painted alike.

“And don’t you know, the ridership went way up,” McGowan said.

Larry McGowan, left, with his Rat Race Choir bandmates. Photo courtesy Rat Race Choir

Larry McGowan, left, with his Rat Race Choir bandmates. Photo courtesy Rat Race Choir

Tim Cronin, CSEA union leader, said the park was more to McGowan than just a job; it was a passion.

“The park is part of Larry, and Larry is part of the park,” Cronin said. “He loved it and it loved him back. He did everything in the park. He’d take apart all the rides and put them back together. He was the only one trusted to paint the [carousel] horses because he knew the historical way that they had to be painted.”

Playland was, once again, a major part of McGowan’s life, just as it had been when he was a child.

McGowan rejoined the Rat Race Choir in 2009 and took part in performances at Mamaroneck’s Emelin Theatre, among other venues in 2010. But it wasn’t all smiles from then on, as McGowan survived a detached retina, a car accident that caused deep vein thrombosis in his left leg, kidney stones, and a DWI arrest and rehab
in 2010.

McGowan smirked as he recalled the judge who oversaw his DWI case.

“He looked at my record and said, ‘Mr. McGowan, you have a very colorful background.’”

From that point on, McGowan says he has been clean. He retired from his job at Playland in July this year, accepting a retirement package; and he is waiting to see if Standard Amusements, Playland’s new operator, will offer him a contract to stay and continue his work as a historical preservationist.

In the meantime, he’s doing some work with a Sony music production company, helping to cut and edit tracks.

McGowan still lives in the same area near Bryant Avenue in White Plains where he grew up and where his band first began. But there’s one thing now void in his life: Playland, and he is yet to find something to replace it.

“Driving by in the early morning when the park is quiet, and I think there’s no real cause or reason to be here anymore,” McGowan said of the place he used to call home. “It’s such a big chunk of my life and now I have to find something else to take its place.”

Take your pick at beets and other seasonal produce at Mamaroneck’s Winter Farmers Market.

Biggest Mamaroneck winter farmers market opens

 

 

Take your pick at beets and other seasonal produce at Mamaroneck’s Winter Farmers Market.

Take your pick at beets and other seasonal produce at Mamaroneck’s Winter Farmers Market.

Ring in the new year in a sea of green goodness at Mamaroneck’s indoor farmers market, open through April.

Ring in the new year in a sea of green goodness at Mamaroneck’s indoor farmers market, open through April.

By NICOLE REED
On the heels of a bustling summer season at the Larchmont Farmers Market, many beloved Larchmont vendors are excited to pack up and move their goods to the Mamaroneck Winter Farmers Market. The indoor Mamaroneck market opens on Saturday, Jan. 2 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 168 W. Boston Post Road. Market hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The delicious staples of Mamaroneck will return, including local produce, fresh fish, pasture-raised meat, eggs, artisanal breads, baked goods, pickles, hummus, prepared foods to go and savory yogurt. Several new vendors will join the market this year, including Asian Farmer offering Chinese-style dumplings, GoGo Pops, which are healthy prepared foods and ice pops, Natural Contents Kitchen, which consists of seasonal foods and baked goods, and The Cheese Guy, who offers handcrafted cheeses. In February, renowned Lani’s Farm will begin selling their unique produce varieties in Mamaroneck, too. Their popular hot sampling station will be an inviting addition.

“A winter market is a special event, as it keeps people connected to eating locally year-round,” said Danielle Gaebel, co-founder of the Natural Contents Kitchen. “We just had a wonderful first year in Larchmont. Now we’re looking forward to continuing to see our Larchmont customers over the winter in neighboring Mamaroneck.”

Every vendor has a story that has led them to the farmers market.

The Cheese Guy, also known as Brent Delman, makes a wide selection of cheeses that are artisanal, vegetarian and kosher. He began his craft on the island of Sardinia, Italy, where he learned the traditional Italian methods of cheese making, using the island’s high quality ingredients. Years later, Delman perfected his work at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, where he made lifelong connections with local dairy farmers. Today, all of The Cheese Guy’s products at the Mamaroneck Winter Farmers Market start with milk from Vermont and New York state dairy farms. Vermont is also home to Delman’s cheese-making kitchen, where he produces goods about twice a month. His crew includes a rabbi who oversees the sanitization of the kitchen to ensure all kosher requirements are met. Once approved, Delman and his team begin creating everything from brie to Parmesan, with many worldly influences in between. farmers-market-2

As of press time, the confirmed weekly vendors for the Mamaroneck Winter Farmers Market include Asian Farmer; The Cheese Guy, Dr. Pickle, Gaia’s Breath Farm, Go-Go Pops, Kiernan Farm (pasture-raised meats), Meredith’s Bread, Natural Contents Kitchen, Orchards of Concklin, Orwasher’s Bakery, Pie Lady & Son, Sohha Savory Yogurt, Stone & Thistle (pasture-raised meats), Taiim Mobile Shack and Wave Hill Breads. In February, Lani’s Farm will begin.

The rotating day vendors are: Arlotta Food Studio, Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, Chirstiane’s Backstube, Kontoulis Family Olive Oil, MOMO Dressing, Robinson & Co. Catering (British specialties), Simple Eats with Chef T and Trotta Foods. The market will also host regular events, such as live music and kids activities.

Stay tuned to the Mamaroneck market webpage at DowntoEarthMarkets.com for vendor updates, as well as the weekly event calendar.