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The property along Theodore Fremd Avenue in Rye, where a senior affordable housing project is being proposed, remains somewhat stalled as city officials await additional readings assuring no contamination on-site exists. File photo

North St. project site plan approved

By JACKSON CHEN
The senior citizen affordable housing project on 150 North St. was finally approved by the Rye City Planning Commission during its last meeting on June 9.

The project, proposed for the corner of North Street and Theodore Fremd Avenue, has been in front of the city’s Planning Commission for more than four months after being granted a rezoning approval from the Rye City Council in November 2014. The project includes 41 units of housing for senior citizens that would be split into 28 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units, and a single unit for the building’s super. Twenty-seven of the 41 units would count towards Rye’s contribution to Westchester’s 2009 affordable housing settlement with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. As part of that settlement, the county was required to build 750 units of affordable housing within a seven-year period.

The rezoning change allowed the developer, Lou Larizza of Lazz Development, to move forward on the affordable housing complex.

“When we went in front of the Planning [Commission], we worked on the height of the building, the location, making sure there was adequate parking…making sure that the landscape was designed to their specifications,” Larizza said.

According to Deputy Mayor Laura Brett, a Republican who also serves as the council’s liaison to the Planning Commission, one of the last things the commission worked on was adjusting the lighting of the building. Brett said that the lighting review was a standard step in making sure the lights were adequate for safety and not too overwhelming in brightness. She added that some of the items the commission asked Larizza to come back with were more information on parking, drainage and nearby tree removal.

“It took a lot of hard work from the applicant and the Planning Commission, but in the end, I think the process was very thorough in evaluating the issues on the site,” Brett said.

Larizza said the project will now go before the city’s Board of Architectural Review, BAR. The developer said in working with the structural engineer and architect on the project, it’ll be approximately another month before they’re ready to appear before the board.

After the project gets approval from the BAR, Brett said the City Council would rely on advice from City Attorney Kristen Wilson and City Planner Christian Miller as to how to move forward with the project, before Larizza actually begins the construction process.

“At the end of the day, both boards will be proud of the project that they approve,”
Larizza said.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year.  File Photo

County finalizes Playland deal

Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year.  File Photo

Westchester County Board of Legislators approved the Playland management agreement with Standard Amusements by a 17-0 vote. Standard will now co-manage the park with the county this summer season before taking over the park’s operations fully next year. File Photo

By CHRIS EBERHART
Finally, Playland has a new operator. That is for now, at least.

A private-public partnership with Standard Amusements to run the county-owned amusement park was approved by the Westchester County Board of Legislators in a somewhat surprising vote on June 15.

As part of the approved 15-year Playland management agreement between the county and Standard Amusements, Standard will invest $25 million—$2.25 million in upfront costs to the county and invest $22.75 million directly into the 87-year-old amusement park—and pay annual rising payments to the county starting at $300,000. The county will receive 7.5 percent of the profits once Standard recoups its initial investment.

“With this vote, we have saved Playland and given rebirth to Playland for the next 87 years,” Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz, a Yorktown Democrat, said.

But there is a provision in the management agreement that includes an opt-out clause for Standard that allows the group to walk away before Nov. 1, 2015. But by doing so, it would leave its initial payments of $500,000 on
the table.

Kaplowitz compared the agreement to a marriage and said, “The wedding is on Nov. 1 and hopefully the groom shows up.”

If the wedding is on Nov. 1, the engagement period is the time between now and the end of October, during which Standard and the county will enter into a co-management period, where the county will remain the sole decision maker but Standard will study Playland’s operations.

Ned McCormack, spokesperson for Republican County Executive Rob Astorino, told the Review he’s confident Standard Amusements will still be around come Nov. 1.

“We wouldn’t have gotten to this stage if it wasn’t a good deal, and I don’t think they would’ve come this far to back out,” McCormack said.

Just hours before the final, full legislative board vote on June 15, legislators were working with the executive branch and county attorneys to finalize language in three memorandums of understanding that were attached to the Playland management agreement and essentially memorialize the legislative review over the past two months.

The promise of no inclusion of fields into the plan by Nick Singer, who heads Standard Amusements, was included in one memorandum, and the county’s promise to retain all 29 of Playland’s full-time workers as county employees to preserve their state pensions was included in the second one. The third memorandum was a list of capital projects for Playland that the county must pay for, which includes the colonnades, fixing the lights on Playland Parkway and the Playland pathway, among other projects.

County Legislator Catherine Parker, a Rye Democrat, pushed the county executive’s office to specifically include which projects the county would be responsible for financing.

“Until the specific capital improvements were memorialized in writing, I could not have supported this proposal,” Parker said. “But I was satisfied with the MOU, and my colleagues were satisfied. And it’s a great position that the county is putting some skin in the game like Standard is.”

Just to get to this point was five years in the making with more twists and turns than Playland’s iconic Dragon Coaster.

Before Astorino was elected county executive, he blazed the 2009 campaign trail with promises of revitalizing a Playland that had become stale and dated. Soon after taking office in 2010, he sent out a request for proposals to potential bidders and received 12 responses by March 2011 with varying versions of how to reinvent the park for the 21st century.

Standard Amusements submitted its proposal but ended up runner up to Astorino’s preferred choice, a Rye-based non-profit startup called Sustainable Playland, Inc., but the SPI vision quickly came under fire after it was realized that the biggest component of the plan was to construct a 95,000-square-foot field house in Playland’s main parking lot shrinking the size of the amusement park.

The result was an attack from all sides.

Rye residents of the Ryan Park neighborhood abutting Playland spent nearly a year contesting SPI’s proposal. County legislators asked questions during the legislative review process that SPI couldn’t answer. And the City of Rye was preparing for a legal battle with Astorino’s administration over land use jurisdiction.

The non-profit ultimately decided to pull its proposal in June 2014, which opened the door for the county to reconsider Standard Amusements. But not before Astorino hired Dan Biederman, a renowned developer who is best known for redeveloping Bryant Park in New York City, for $100,000 to serve as a consultant on Playland. The report was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014 but wasn’t released until April 2015.

In the meantime, as the Review reported in February 2015, the Astorino administration had begun negotiating with Standard Amusements behind closed doors, as was the recommendation in the withheld Biederman’s report.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
Tuckahoe’s Zoning Board of Appeals reconvened for a special meeting on June 10, after postponing a vote on the 100 Main St., pictured, project last week due to a member’s absence. Photo/James Pero

Zoning board OK’s 100 Main St. variances

Tuckahoe’s Zoning Board of Appeals reconvened for a special meeting on June 10, after postponing a vote on the 100 Main St., pictured, project last week due to a member’s absence. Photo/James Pero

Tuckahoe’s Zoning Board of Appeals reconvened for a special meeting on June 10, after postponing a vote on the 100 Main St., pictured, project last week due to a member’s absence. Photo/James Pero

By JOHN BRANDI
Tuckahoe’s Zoning Board of Appeals narrowly approved a four-story development’s variances and special exception use at its June 10 special meeting, giving the project new life after eight years of uncertainty.

In a contentious vote, the board voted three-to-two in favor of the proposal thus returning it to the village’s Planning Board for final site plan approval.

The special meeting was called due to board member Janice Barandes’ absence from the regularly scheduled June 3 meeting. Barandes, who voted in favor of the project, thanked the board for allowing her input on what she called “a very important project.”

“This is not an easy decision or process for this board,” Barandes said. “I vote yes, but the applicant must honor the decision of this board by building an architecturally beautiful building that will grace Main Street and will be something we can all be proud of.”

Barandes said she relied on the comprehensive data provided by the applicant, MC Equities, LLC, and by the work done in tandem with the village’s consultant, BFJ Planning, to reach her decision.

The applicant is now that much closer to constructing a four-story, mixed-use building on the site of a current vacant lot. The building would have 2,642 square feet of retail on the ground level along with 37 open air parking spaces. In total, the structure proposes 19 units.

As part of the project, five variances are being requested including a side yard setback, 37 parking spaces where 52 are permitted, a variance for an additional fourth story, where only three are permitted and a floor area ratio variance. The applicant also wants to use 77 percent of the lot, but as per the village code, allowable lot
coverage is 50 percent.

Board member John Paladino, who was the second no vote, criticized the project for its inconsistency over the years—the project has been before the land use boards since 2008 and has evolved from a three story project to four stories over the course of its lifespan—and said the applicant’s problems are self-created with the fourth story.

“If there is no fourth floor, the variances, although not perfect, move toward being reasonable and acceptable,” Paladino said. “Because the necessity was totally self-created due to changes and lapses in previous requested and accepted variances that were permitted to expire by the applicant, I vote no.”

Tom Ringwald and David Scalzo had previously voted on the project at the board’s June 3 meeting, before Chairman Ronald Gallo halted the meeting and entered into executive session to later emerge with a plan to continue at special meeting with Barandes present. Village Attorney Gary Gjertsen said the two votes cast by Ringwald and Scalzo, voting in favor and against respectively, would stand.

To break the tie, Gallo voted in favor of approving the variances and special exception use.

The applicant can now appear before the village’s Planning Board which is scheduled to meet on July 21; the June meeting has been canceled.

CONTACT: johnb@hometwn.com

 
Construction projects like the ones on Highland Road, pictured, will be subject to a new rock chipping moratorium that places a temporary ban for chipping that lasts more than 30 calendar days. 
Photo/Jackson Chen

Chipping moratorium set in stone

Construction projects like the ones on Highland Road, pictured, will be subject to a new rock chipping moratorium that places a temporary ban for chipping that lasts more than 30 calendar days.  Photo/Jackson Chen

Construction projects like the ones on Highland Road, pictured, will be subject to a new rock chipping moratorium that places a temporary ban for chipping that lasts more than 30 calendar days.
Photo/Jackson Chen

By JACKSON CHEN
The dust settles for now as the Rye City Council put into effect a six-month long moratorium on the widely controversial construction method of rock chipping.

Rock chipping, a common construction practice that steadily breaks large chunks of rocks through mechanical tools, began to disturb residents near 135 Highland Road, where a single family home construction project began almost a year ago. In response to the noise, vibrations and environmental concerns that neighbors of these projects were dealing with, the complaints landed at the council’s immediate attention for new restrictive legislation.

To assist them in formulating a rock chipping law, Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, created a citizen group in November 2014 to study the effects and possible solutions to the rock chipping problem throughout the city.

With months of research into other communities and industry professionals, the study group is just about ready to send its recommendations to the council.

According to Councilman Richard Slack, unaffiliated, who is a member of the study group, the group is preparing to submit its final reports to the council before its next regularly scheduled meeting on July 8.

Although the report is not complete, Slack said the group will recommend several restrictions on chipping, including limiting hours from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and also requiring a permit and 10 days of given notice to neighbors. According to the councilman, the study group also wants to recommend a durational limit of 30 calendar days, much like the moratorium.

Slack explained that the 30 calendar days will most likely only amount to approximately 22 days due to the restrictions of chipping on weekends and certain holidays.

“We’ve had a lot of community requests that we exclude two particular holiday periods … the Thanksgiving weekend and also the time between Christmas and New Year’s,” Slack said of the additional holiday restrictions the group is recommending.

As of now, current city code don’t have extensive restrictions on rock chipping—developers currently can chip rock for an unlimited duration and require no permit or given notice—Slack wanted to make a comprehensive package of recommendations that acts to restrict chipping.

“When you look at the 30 days and you look at the other elements, you actually have one of the most restrictive, durational laws,” the councilman said. “I think it’s going to be the most restrictive durational law in Westchester.”

While the study group works on finalizing its recommendations, they’ve unanimously decided to instate a temporary ban on rock chipping for up to six months.

According to the moratorium, no developer or property owner is allowed to chip rock for more than 30 calendar days or they would face a fine of up to $1,000, a stop-work order, 15 days in jail, or any combination of the three punishments. The moratorium would go into effect on June 17.

With a temporary buffer in place to stop developers from preemptively starting their construction project before the council has a finalized law, the study group can submit its report and findings to the council, which will hash out a polished rock chipping law.

The council plans to revisit the rock chipping issue at its July 8 meeting.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
In Eastchester, traffic on the busy Mill Road going towards the town’s business district was tied up for an extended period of time as police, SWAT teams and hostage negotiators from Eastchester and surrounding areas responded to the Joyce Road swatting incident.

Schumer looks to crackdown on swatting

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer proposed a bill that would create harsher penalties for those convicted of swatting attacks, like this April incident in Eastchester, pictured, when a man called the Eastchester Police Department claiming to have stabbed his girlfriend and was holding her family hostage in a Joyce Road home. File Photos

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer proposed a bill that would create harsher penalties for those convicted of swatting attacks, like this April incident in Eastchester, pictured, when a man called the Eastchester Police Department claiming to have stabbed his girlfriend and was holding her family hostage in a Joyce Road home. File Photos

By CHRIS EBERHART
Two months after a high-profile case in which the Eastchester Police Department received a hoax call from a man in a Joyce Road home claiming to have killed his girlfriend and tied up her family in what turned out to be a “swatting” incident, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat, proposed a bill that would establish harsher penalties for those convicted of such crimes.

“Swatting” is an incident in which a fake phone call is made in an effort to have police SWAT teams respond to an unsuspecting resident’s home and has been on the rise in Westchester County and the Lower Hudson Valley area, Schumer said.

“These dangerous actions are not ‘pranks’ at all—these ‘swatting’ attacks are serious incidents in which our emergency responders use up their time, energy, and resources responding to false threats,” Schumer said. “What the perpetrators of these calls see as a practical joke is actually a terrifying experience for innocent bystanders, a business-detractor for local commerce, and a costly crime that forces our local emergency responders to use up thousands of taxpayer dollars on fake alerts.”

Schumer’s bill would increase the maximum prison sentence of those convicted of swatting from five years to eight years, force convicted offenders to pay restitution to police and make it illegal for perpetrators to evade police by disguising caller ID over Skype or internet calls. Currently, it is illegal for people to disguise their voices on calls placed via traditional phone lines, but there is no such prohibition on calls placed via internet phone services, so Schumer said he’s looking to close the loophole with his bill.

“We need to stop this disturbing trend before it is too late, and someone gets seriously hurt,” Schumer said regarding the emergence of swatting cases.

In Eastchester, traffic on the busy Mill Road going towards the town’s business district was tied up for an extended period of time as police, SWAT teams and hostage negotiators from Eastchester and surrounding areas responded to the Joyce Road swatting incident.

In Eastchester, traffic on the busy Mill Road going towards the town’s business district was tied up for an extended period of time as police, SWAT teams and hostage negotiators from Eastchester and surrounding areas responded to the Joyce Road swatting incident.

The incident in Eastchester was just one of four swatting incidents seen over the last few years, including a May incident in Garrison, N.J., that forced the Garrison Union Free School District and nearby Haldane schools in Cold Spring, N.Y., to order precautionary lock-downs while police and SWAT teams responded to a scene where the caller claimed that a woman and her son were being held hostage at gunpoint.

In a July 2014 incident in Rye, police and SWAT teams were dispatched from Rye, Harrison and Westchester County when a report of an armed man invading a nearby suburban home was called in through Skype. Responders found no one home.

And in March 2011, fake 911 calls were made to the Rockland County Sheriff’s office claiming a shooting at Mercy College was being planned. Police reported that they believed the caller was using a voice-alteration device in order to make this false report.

Eastchester Police Chief Timothy Bonci could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
Voters in the Bronxville School district approved a $46.5 million budget, on top of a separate referendum moving the reconfiguration of Hayes Field forward, which includes transforming if from grass to synthetic turf. File photo

Schools could face 0 percent tax cap

GLANCEBy CHRIS EBERHART
Based on economic trends as of June, school districts in New York state would need a supermajority of the public vote next year to add even one penny to their existing budgets.

A recent report by the New York State Educational Conference Board, which is a coalition of seven leading statewide education organizations representing parents, teachers, administrators, and school boards, said, based on the first four months of the consumer price index and projections by the state Division of Budget, the state-mandated tax cap levy increase would be zero for the 2016-2017 school year, meaning budgets would have to remain flat.

The consumer price index is an index of the variation in prices paid by typical consumers for retail goods, services and other items such as transportation, food, medical and car. As per current state law, any school budget that seeks an override of the state-mandated tax levy cap requires a 60 percent vote of the public, as opposed to the typical 50 percent plus one vote during school budget votes in May.

As the tax cap law now stands, the cap on the tax levy, which is the amount of money collected through property taxes, is either 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. In most cases, the cap is lower than 2 percent.

And for the 2016-2017 school budget, districts will be facing even greater constraints.

“Over and over again, voters are told that New York state has a 2 percent tax cap. We do not,” said John Yagielski, chairman of the Educational Conference Board. “And it now seems likely the property tax cap will tax another bite out of New York’s already fiscally struggling schools. The difference between zero and 2 percent is more than $400 million [statewide] in local funding that won’t be available to public education.”

Tuckahoe Board of Education President Julio Urbina said it’s “unlikely” that costs to the school district would be held at zero growth, which could mean a reduction in staffing and programs.

“Anticipated increases in healthcare and pension costs, along with unanticipated tax certs, means that the resources to pay for these increases will need to come from our programs rather than being covered by any tax levy increase,” Urbina said. “Our district does a great job in controlling those costs we can control, but our hands are tied on those we have no control over.”

State Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat, could not be reached for comment, as of press time.

CONTACT: christopher@hometwn.com

 
The Pondfield Road underpass which runs underneath Kraft Avenue is getting a facelift. Village Administrator James Palmer says the renovations should be complete by the end of this month. 
Photo/James Pero

Underpass renovations nearly complete

The Pondfield Road underpass which runs underneath Kraft Avenue is getting a facelift. Village Administrator James Palmer says the renovations should be complete by the end of this month.  Photo/James Pero

The Pondfield Road underpass which runs underneath Kraft Avenue is getting a facelift. Village Administrator James Palmer says the renovations should be complete by the end of this month.
Photo/James Pero

According to Bronxville Village Administrator James Palmer, renovations to the Bronxville Metro-North train station underpass, which runs along Pondfield Road, underneath Kraft Avenue, are near complete.

The purpose of the project, which began in April, was to beautify the underpass’ façade—which was chipped and considered unsightly—by restuccoing and repainting its walls.

“The peeling paint was very unattractive,” Palmer said, adding that the project, from the village’s end, is likely to be completed this month.

While Bronxville is responsible for renovating the underpass’ northerly wall, the southerly wall, which is under the jurisdiction of the MTA, has already been completed.

From the village perspective, the renovations to the underpass, in all, are set to cost about $50,000.

-Reporting by James Pero

A Rye Golf Club employee reseeds the course’s greens after turf damage has rendered them unplayable. Club officials are unsure as to the source of the problem. Photo/Jackson Chen

Golf club: Greens unplayable

A Rye Golf Club employee reseeds the course’s greens after turf damage has rendered them unplayable. Club officials are unsure as to the source of the problem. Photo/Jackson Chen

A Rye Golf Club employee reseeds the course’s greens after turf damage has rendered them unplayable. Club officials are unsure as to the source of the problem. Photo/Jackson Chen

By JACKSON CHEN
The Rye Golf Club’s greens have been closed off until further notice as the staff has been tackling a turf degradation problem that has left areas unplayable. 

Jim Buonaiuto, the city-run golf club general manager, said that at its worst, anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of the course’s greens were compromised and unplayable. The issue of playability of the course first became evident around Memorial Day weekend, but proceeded to get progressively worse, according to Buonauito. With such conditions and no signs of improvements for the greens, the golf club made the decision to close off the greens indefinitely on June 1. The rest of the course is playable and in excellent condition, Buonauito said.

Leon Sculti, chairman of the Rye Golf Club Commission, said there were email alerts from the staff towards the end of May that brought the turf loss issue to the commission’s forefront.

“The first email talked about growth regulars and extremely cold and dry weather…that was one possible cause of some of the conditions we’re seeing on the course,” Sculti said.

“Since that time, our GM and our super have come up with another possible cause for the condition of the course and it involves the possible contamination of an agent that has been sprayed onto the green.”

In tackling the initial growing problem of blighting greens, the golf club mowed temporary greens into the fairway to allow members to continue playing. While parts of the course remain open for play, the Band-Aid approach of mowing in temporary greens shortens the games for members. With the temporary greens acting as a buffer, the golf club decided to entirely close off the greens sections of the course on June 1 and focus on a recovery effort since the problem continued developing.

“Because we have temporary greens and the majority of members will not want to play on those conditions, we’re most likely going to experience a loss in golf cart fees, guest fees and potentially golf outing fees,” Buonaiuto said, adding that it’s too early to put a number on how much revenue the club could lose.

Sculti said the members have been more than understanding and patient as club officials try to figure out what’s going on. Sculti added that the hopes to get more information out to the members as it becomes available.

For now, Buonaiuto said the golf club is currently aerating and over-seeding the greens, approaches and collars to combat the rapid turf loss.

“It is important to alleviate the greens of stress from foot traffic during this time so that the roots can strengthen and healthy grass can develop on the surface,” Buonaiuto said, adding that the club is looking to reopen the course as soon as possible, although such a time frame is unknown at the moment.

In assisting the golf club with identifying its mysterious turf issue, a consultant from the University of Rhode Island visited the golf course for an assessment in the middle of May, Buonauito said. According to the club’s head groundskeeper, Chip Lafferty, the first consultant, Dr. Nathaniel Mitkowski, was shocked at the amount of turf loss within a 10-day period. Lafferty added that Mitkowski’s initial guess was that there was a contaminant in one of the spray products that is frequently used on the greens.

As reported in Golf Club Industry magazine, a popular fungicide sprayed on courses, ArmorTech Alt 70, has been recalled and production has halted after six courses were reported to be damaged. The company’s manufacturer, TKI NovaSource, is in the process of testing and investigating to see if there was a problem, according to the magazine.

When asked if Rye Golf Club, located on Boston Post Road,  uses the fungicide Alt 70, Buonaiuto declined to comment.

On June 3, the golf commission has since hired two additional consultants, Steve McDonald from Turfgrass Disease Solutions and Dr. John Inguagiato from the University of Connecticut.

Buonaiuto said that at the request of a golf club superintendent from another nearby golf course, Dr. Brandon Horvath of the University of Tennessee, another golf turf consultant, visited the club’s greens. The general manager added that the club has been in communication with other golf courses that are having similar issues.

Buonaiuto said that each consultant was asked to investigate every possible cause of the turf loss issue, but as of press time, no definite causes have been identified. In terms of pricing, the general manager said that each consultant is going to cost around $3,000 for consultation fees, but that there would be additional laboratory costs for further diagnostic testing.

As for the cost of any eventual repairs, Buonaiuto was unsure since any repair process was still unknown.

In early July, David Oatis, USGA Northeast regional director, will be visiting the golf course to assess the current situation and offer his advice, according to Sculti.

CONTACT: jackson@hometwn.com

 
Dennis Nardone sits outside of Rock N’ Bagel Café in Harrison, with a hardcover copy of his new self-published book about growing up on the west end of New Rochelle. Photo/James Pero

DJ reflects on life in the past in book

Dennis Nardone sits outside of Rock N’ Bagel Café in Harrison, with a hardcover copy of his new self-published book about growing up on the west end of New Rochelle. Photo/James Pero

Dennis Nardone sits outside of Rock N’ Bagel Café in Harrison, with a hardcover copy of his new self-published book about growing up on the west end of New Rochelle. Photo/James Pero

By JAMES PERO
Dennis Nardone remembers. And he should, considering that his memory, and not any one person, is the main protagonist in his recently self-published book titled, “Growing Up in the West End of New Rochelle, New York in the 50’s-60’s: My Life, My Neighborhood.”

In his book, Nardone covers it all.

Whether it’s where he and his friends bought their baseballs, the thrill of playing a game of tackle football in the winter, or the sights and sounds of Italian men chattering while smoking their cigars, between his pages, a sense of nostalgia is always nearby.

“I wrote it because there’s so much history and community,” Nardone says. “Every time I talk to people, I talk about memories in the community and how growing up was different from today.”

By trade Nardone is a DJ, and former 30-year law enforcement officer, but with his acute sense of nostalgia, sometimes he seems more akin to a conjurer than anything else.

But instead of magic, Nardone conjures memories.

Dennis Nardone also hosts second show on Saturday during which he plays a wider range of music, including songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Dennis Nardone also hosts second show on Saturday during which he plays a wider range of music, including songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“From all over the country, I’ve gotten phone calls from grown men telling me, ‘You did it to me,’” he says in reference to his new book. “‘You put a tear in my eye.’”

It’s not the plot of his recent book that captures Nardone’s audience, it’s the feelings that his iterations—or more accurately reiterations—evoke.

“I got one guy who called me, and he says, ‘I gave the book to my mother who’s 89 years old,’” Nardone, now a resident of Harrison told the Review last week. “She still lives in the old West [New Rochelle] and she still hasn’t put the book down. She feels like it’s 1960.”

Sentimentality is an emotion that Nardone encounters not infrequently throughout his days. While his most recent artistic venture took the form of an 18 chapter-long book that was published this past May, since 1998 he has worked as a disc jockey for WVOX in New Rochelle and for more than a decade of that time, he has been playing—what else—oldies music from the 1950s and 1960s, doo-wop in particular.

“Collectively, [doo wop] was vocal harmonization, and I relate that to community—people together,” Nardone says. “You got together, you stood on the corner and you sang music. It didn’t matter who you were, what kind of work you did, you just got together; if you could carry a tune, you sang.”

Every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. he brings listeners—who tune in from all around the country, according to Nardone—a slice of their past, from artists like Dion, to The Regents, and everything in between.

Nardone says that sometimes 40 out of the 50 songs he plays in one, three-hour set will come from requests by people tuning in—a level of connection which has him always coming back for more.

“I like that one-on-one connection,” Nardone says in reference to his attraction to the airwaves. “The only thing between us is air… especially with community radio.”

Nardone commands the mic at WVOX where he hosts an oldies radio show every Sunday. Photos courtesy clubdennis911.net

Nardone commands the mic at WVOX where he hosts an oldies radio show every Sunday. Photos courtesy clubdennis911.net

Don’t be mistaken, though.

Nardone isn’t the only one interested in stirring the pot of days long past. His audience, particularly those who call in, play an equitable role in reflecting on memories of their own.

“There are regulars and they want the same song,” Nardone says, “Why? Because there’s some sort of memory attached to it—it was their wedding song, or one when they met their boyfriend or it was a summer beach song that they remember from 60 years ago—it’s amazing. How it puts them right there. And it happens to me as well.”

CONTACT: james@hometwn.com

 
laura

Coulmn: A year of accomplishments comes to an end

In every school district, June is a month for celebrations. It is also a time to reflect on the past school year. The Rye City School District had an outstanding 2014-2015 school year and there is much to celebrate.

Once again, Rye High School was ranked No. 2 in New York and No. 4 in the country by U. S. News & World Report among open enrollment public high schools. This is especially impressive as U.S. News & World Report ranks more than 20,000 high schools in the country. This is the second year in a row for Rye High School to receive this ranking. Earning this distinction reflects not only on the excellence of the high school, its teachers, students and administration but on the entire school system, kindergarten through 12th grade. The high school also ranked No. 5 in New York in the Washington Post poll and our schools ranked highly in the Niche.com poll.

This year has been a tremendous year for our seniors who will be leaving us to attend the finest colleges and universities in this country to continue their educations. This class has achieved in the classroom, on the field, on the stage and in the studio. This year 14 seniors were named National Merit finalists, an unprecedented number and more than our neighboring schools put together. Two high school seniors earned National Hispanic Recognition and 17 seniors were named National Merit Commended Students. In 2014, the college board named 213 Rye students Advanced Placement Scholars for their outstanding performance on the Advanced Placement exams: 10 National AP Scholars, 79 AP Scholars with Distinction, 61 AP Scholars with Honor and 73 AP Scholars.

Every single 2014-2015 Rye High School varsity team earned the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar/Athlete Team Award, which requires each team to earn an average GPA of 90 or higher. Thirty-one student musicians were selected to participate in the New York State School Music Association Area All-State and All-County chorus, band and orchestra. Rye students were nominated for four Metro Awards for excellence in high school theatre for their wonderful spring production of the musical “Anything Goes.”

With a huge community celebration, the school district opened the new 17,000 square feet science addition. The addition has relieved the overcrowded condition at the middle school/high school campus and provided our students state-of-the-art science labs. Project Lead the Way, the high school’s new engineering program, launched within its great new home. All of those within the school district are grateful to the community for supporting the new science wing and we are proud of the beautiful new addition to the campus and our community.

This May, our community once again demonstrated its support for our students and our award winning school district. With historic voter turnout and a 70 percent supermajority, the voters approved an override budget to maintain our excellent school system. In June, Moody’s again awarded the district its Aaa rating, one of only seven school districts in New York to be so rated.

This year saw the launch of the Rye Fund for Education, our new foundation to benefit the Rye City School District. The Fund launched with the support of founding donors whose generosity made the foundation a reality. The foundation’s initial paver fundraiser has great community support and will create a beautiful courtyard next to the new science addition. The Fund will be of lasting importance to the school district and maintaining its excellence by providing donations to the school district for projects and initiatives outside of the annual budget. The administration and Board of Education are grateful to be able to partner with the Fund to benefit Rye’s students.

I have been honored to have received wide spread community support in my nine years of Board of Education service and I thank you for that. It has been my great honor to volunteer within this excellent school system. I believe there is nothing more important than educating our children and there is no better place to volunteer your time than your school district. I began volunteering in the Rye City School District 18 years ago and I expect I will continue to volunteer in some capacity. I have been fortunate to serve with dedicated colleagues, and work with talented administrators, teachers and staff. Our students have experiences in our school system that inspire them, lead them to discover their strengths and help them on their journey, wherever they go in the future, and it is a privilege to be a part of it. On a personal note, I would like to thank my family, my husband Richard and our children Jonathan, Kevin and Jennifer, who have always supported me in this work, and appreciated the value of my
board service.