Category Archives: Westchester Wanderer

Lisa Jardine

Column: He shoots and everyone scores

Participants in Backyard’s basketball tournament. Photos courtesy

Participants in Backyard’s basketball tournament. Photos courtesy

I’m always amazed by the power of a grassroots effort.

A few local individuals with a great idea fused with limitless passion can affect real change in people’s lives. The story of Backyard Sports Cares is one of those efforts that started in Westchester County in 2007 and now touches the lives of more than 4,000 underserved and special needs children each year.

Backyard Sports Cares is the non-profit division of Backyard Sports, the leading provider of community team sports programs for kids of all ages in Westchester County. Danny Bernstein, the executive director, is the founder and creator of Backyard Sports. Backyard Sports Cares represents Danny’s vision to use sports as a means to bridge communities of diverse populations and demographics.

Backyard Sports Care runs soccer programs for underserved children.

Backyard Sports Care runs soccer programs for underserved children.

“The fruits of athletic competition can only be realized when young athletes, regardless of their backgrounds and abilities, can compete, not necessarily against each other, but with one another. Backyard Sports Cares was created out of a belief that sports can level playing fields across socio-economic divisions and bridge communities of young players,” Bernstein said.

The organization holds its biggest fundraiser on Saturday, March 29, and if you are a basketball devotee, this is the charity event tailor-made for you. It’s Backyard’s second annual three-on-three basketball tournament that will be held at the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown from 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m.

The tournament is split into three divisions, Open, the most competitive; 35-plus and Recreation, for all ages from high school up, and is run in a round robin format.

There will be NBA alumni, on-air talent and the Knicks City Dancers to

cheer everyone on. There are a limited number of teams in all levels and entry costs $1,500 per team which may include three to five players.

The entry fee also includes jerseys, food, drinks, entertainment and the all-important trophies. There will also be a memorable halftime six-on-six special needs all-star scrimmage.

SUNY Purchase is home to the many programs that Backyard Sports Care offers.

SUNY Purchase is home to the many programs that Backyard Sports Care offers.

“We are excited to host this event again. This is a unique opportunity for basketball enthusiasts to experience playing at the state-of-the-art MSG facility while helping raise funds for children in our area who do not have traditional access to sports programming,”
Bernstein said.

Every season throughout the school year, Backyard Sports Cares is on location at various schools across Westchester before and after the school day, providing much needed sports training to the underserved community. They partner with local organizations, like the White Plains Youth Bureau and the Carver Center in Port Chester, to custom tailor their programs to meet the needs of the children in each community.

Examples of some of the programs Backyard Sports Care provides include an after school athletic experience in all the White Plains elementary schools teaching more than 600 challenged youths over a 20-week period for the EXCEL program in USTA-sponsored tennis, soccer, basketball and, just recently, lacrosse as well as Amazing Afternoons at the Edward Williams Elementary school in Mt. Vernon, which offer a safe, positive and nurturing after-school experience for 125 children from first to fifth grade that are considered at risk.

In New Rochelle, Backyard addressed an issue of unsupervised early morning school drop-offs at Jefferson Elementary School by providing coaching and team play for students to engage in soccer and basketball prior to the start of the school day. The program has had a transformative effect in the classroom. The principal and teachers report increased attendance and an overall better adjusted student at the start of the day.

Underserved and special needs children take part in Backyard’s three-on-three basketball tournament.

Underserved and special needs children take part in Backyard’s three-on-three basketball tournament.

Backyard also provides the special needs community, for children ages 5 to 15, with a safe and appropriately competitive program to learn and enjoy team sports. The activities focus on athletic development skills while stressing the proper behaviors required for optimal group cooperation. The program, which is held at SUNY Purchase, is staffed with a combination of outstanding teacher/coaches and high school peer mentors with a 1:1 teaching ratio.

These programs build skills, confidence and self-esteem as well as a love and devotion to sports and fitness. Linda White-Banta, the mother of a special needs child first got involved with Backyard Sports Cares when her son participated in the program.

“It made a huge difference in his life,” White-Banta said. “At the time, there was no program for someone like him to participate in, to learn skills, to play a sport like soccer.  And the program has other benefits as well. It brings families of special needs children together and provides an opportunity for all of us to make new friends.”

For more information on Backyard Sports Cares, visit or call 914-304-4052.

Lisa Jardine

Column: Happy birthday, George

Two hundred and eighty-two years ago, this Feb. 22, the father of our country was born and the Lisa-JardineWhite Plains Historical Society is throwing him its annual birthday party to celebrate.

The festivities will take place at the Jacob Purdy House, one of Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War on Sunday, Feb. 23, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

A bust of George Washington sits in the main room of the Jacob Purdy House with the Commander in Chief flag behind him.

A bust of George Washington sits in the main room of the Jacob Purdy House with the Commander in Chief flag behind him.

America loves traditions, President’s Day included, but in the year 2014, tradition mandates the purchase of a new car or mattress. Not that I’m against supporting the local economy, I just thought it would be a nice idea to look into a more authentic way to celebrate the most important figure in our nation’s history.

I spent some time with Rob Hoch, 43, president of the White Plains Historical Society, to find out why Washington is so important to Westchester residents in particular and how they plan to honor him.

“Washington was in Westchester twice. The first time was October 1776, when he stayed at the Elijah Miller House in North White Plains, and then again during the summer of 1778, when the army was headquartered here,” Hoch said.

The story of Washington’s movements around Brooklyn, Staten Island, New York City and eventually Westchester are fascinating and Hoch tells it as if it were an adventure story with plot twists and bad guys, narrow escapes and ingenious strategy.

The “kitchen” in the Jacob Purdy House.

The “kitchen” in the Jacob Purdy House.

When he gets to the Battle of White Plains, things sort of take a turn for the…uneventful.

“It was basically a draw. People are disappointed when they learn it really wasn’t an important battle but, at that point in the war, if it was a more important battle, the war would have been over and not in a good way,” Hoch said.

It was a snowy January day when I went to meet Rob at the Jacob Purdy House and my GPS took me into a very residential neighborhood with winding, twisty streets rising to a great vantage point in White Plains, the perfect location for an army headquarters, or so I thought.

“This isn’t the original location of the house. The house was originally built in 1720, but it was moved in 1973 due to an urban renewal project,” Hoch said.

Ammunition displayed at the Purdy House. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Ammunition displayed at the Purdy House. Photos/Lisa Jardine

I did some in-depth detective work, Google, and found the house was originally located near the Pepe Infiniti Auto Dealership on Water Street. The move to the new location on Park Avenue makes sense because, at the time, Purdy Farm covered 132 acres and the house was relocated to Purdy’s Hill, which was part of the original property.

Regardless of the move, the view from the new location encompasses all of the downtown area high-rise buildings and it’s the perfect place to ponder all that has changed in Westchester in just a few hundred years.

Standing in front of the centuries-old house and looking out at the urbanization of downtown White Plains is almost like having one foot planted in history and the other in the future.

The plaque mounted on the Jacob Purdy House.

The plaque mounted on the Jacob Purdy House.

The Feb. 23 celebration planned at the Purdy House will include General Washington’s Honor Guard dressed in Revolutionary War clothing, a flag raising and a memorial ceremony.

Barnet Schecter, author of “The Battle For New York and George Washington’s America: A Biography Through His Maps” will be the guest speaker and snacks and malt cider will be provided to all attendees.

The event is free and open to the public.

I asked Rob about who usually attends this yearly ritual and he said the society gets a great turnout of local residents, interested historians from the region, students, scouts and some of the old White Plains families. Some years, they even get relations of the Purdy and Horton families; Horton was the original owner of the Purdy House, which makes the event that much more special.

The Purdy House is open to the public by appointment for schools and tours and, with funding, can even host reenactments.

The White Plains Historical Society hosts several events throughout the year in addition to Washington’s Birthday Party, including monthly Civil War Round Table discussions held the first Wednesday of each month at the Jacob Purdy House at 7:30 p.m.; an annual fundraising dinner on May 8 at the Women’s Club of White Plains, where Anthony Czarnecki will give a presentation on Winston Churchill’s 1932 speech at the Westchester County Center and, each October, the society commemorates the Battle of White Plains at the Jacob Purdy House.

I asked why Rob, a lawyer, took on the presidency of the historical society.

“I had a lifelong interest in history and had been involved with the society for 12 years when Jack Harrington, our longtime president, encouraged me to get more involved,” Hoch said.

Love history? Interested in finding out where the proverbial bones are buried in Westchester? Consider joining Rob and the rest of the local historians at Washington’s Birthday celebration on Feb. 23.

The White Plains Historical Society

Jacob Purdy House

60 Park Ave.

White Plains, NY 10603



“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: Fenom fuses fun and fitness in Harrison

Owner and trainer of Fenom Fitness, Aresh Mohit.

Owner and trainer of Fenom Fitness, Aresh Mohit.

In September 2000, Aresh Mohit, a 1992 graduate of Scarsdale High School, had his 15 minutes of fame when he was featured in a New York Times article. Aresh became famous for doing something so simple that almost everyone has done it at one time in their lives. Aresh taught kids to ride a bike.

The difference with Aresh is he taught kids he didn’t know, for a fee. At the time, he was the only known bike tutor in Westchester County and he couldn’t keep up with demand. In fact, in some circles, he was known as the “bicycle whisperer.”

Aresh Mohit demonstrating surfset.

Aresh Mohit demonstrating surfset.


These days, parental outsourcing ranges from learning how to drive, to ridding your child of head lice, to learning how to ski or even potty training. Parents have different skill sets and they don’t always sync with the skills needed at any given time of a child’s life. One family may be blessed with a parent who can do advanced calculus and a math tutor wouldn’t be someone they would hire, but that same parent might not have any clue how to throw a basketball properly or the safe way to lift weights.

Hiring academic tutors to help our kids do well in school or on college entrance exams has been a long accepted practice but, more and more, people are turning to trainers like Aresh for help as well.

Fenom’s graffiti open gym. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Fenom’s graffiti open gym. Photos/Lisa Jardine

In November 2013, Aresh fulfilled his dream by opening a state-of-the-art workout facility in Harrison. Fenom Fitness is a family sports and fitness facility specializing in result-oriented and attention-based programs for the entire family.

“I come from a kids programming background, but I’m also a certified athletic trainer. For years, I trained entire families,” Aresh said. “I had a large practice training adults and their kids in various sports. But I’ve wanted to open my own place for a long time.”

His mission is unique: Create the well-rounded athlete. There are so many organizations and clubs aimed at the specialization of a sport, helping kids to become the best they can be at one particular thing.

“I want everyone to be good at all sports instead of just being amazing at one,” he said.

The fun and colorful lobby at Fenom Fitness in Harrison.

The fun and colorful lobby at Fenom Fitness in Harrison.

Aresh explained how, over the years, he would work with children who excelled at one sport, like soccer, but when they went to shoot a basketball they had no idea how to do it.  He thinks all kids should be able to play all sports with some proficiency.

“Not everyone learns the same way,” he said. “I’ve had sideline sitters and homerun hitters, but there is a really wide band in the middle that, in large organized programs, can sometimes be overlooked. I want to cater to that big group in the middle.”


Aresh’s solution is small classes with low trainer-to-athlete ratios.

“Big classes work only for the best athletes, but large facilities have huge overhead and they have to overfill their classes just to break even,” he said. “We don’t have to do that at Fenom.”

Wendy Alper, a Purchase resident, is a supporter of Aresh and the new facility.

“Aresh is a one-of-a-kind trainer that is amazing for kids and adults,” she said. “His upbeat, happy disposition pushes you through the most difficult, physical and mental challenges while training. He has helped train all members of my family for the last 10 years, including my boys, who are now 13 and 15. Fenom is a fabulous facility that makes you feel at home from the moment you walk in the door. Whether taking a private lesson, a group class or playing basketball, it’s a wonderful environment to spend your time and get in shape. My teens and I all go there for all our different favorite classes. It’s like hanging out at ‘Cheers’ where everybody knows your name.”

Almost all of the classes at Fenom include not just skills, but strength and conditioning as well.

“Now that most doctors and professionals agree that proper resistance training could be beneficial to young athletes, a lot of parents want their kids to be taught the proper form when using weights and doing exercise,” Aresh said. “What’s great about combining all forms of training is that we can focus on the athlete’s weaknesses and then provide a well-rounded program that’s beneficial to the everyday athlete. To us, it’s the proper way to train. Kids also respond really well to it because it’s a mixture of things instead of constant exercise. It’s more fun.”

Fenom isn’t a membership-only club; it and is open to the public. It offers a very flexible fee structure so you can sign-up for a 6-week or 12-week class or sign-up on a one-off basis. Kids can come after school on random days, or during snow days, and pay $20 and stay for hours.

Aresh offers court rentals in which an organized group of friends—adults or children—put together a team and rent the court for basketball, soccer or hockey for 6 to 12 consecutive weeks.

Adults can stop in for an open workout and pay a small fee.

“I envision a kid being dropped off for an hour-and-a-half sports program and the mom, instead of waiting around or having to return for pickup, uses the gym and works out too,” Aresh said.

Fenom also trains middle school athletes who need to pass the New York State Physical Fitness test in order to join a high school varsity team. The athlete may have a killer serve in tennis, but might not be able to meet the minimum requirements of the standing long jump. Aresh and his trainers help kids pass the test.

Fenom is housed in a 13,000-square-foot industrial space located at 67 Grant Ave., off Oakland Avenue in Harrison. It’s been completely gutted and totally renovated, including fabulous artwork throughout by a well-known graffiti artist from Argentina named Mariano. I would imagine it would be hard to get bored while working out just by looking at all the interesting art that covers the walls.

The class menu is diverse and offers everything from batting and golf cage rentals to spin, surfset, yoga, pilates, zumba, basketball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey and more programs are constantly being added. Fenom has recently started a kid’s night out on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and they offer fun birthday party packages with multi-sports and games.

There will be mini-summer camps listed on the gym’s website soon.

And if Fenom doesn’t currently have a program you are interested in, tell Aresh. He’s a great whisperer…I mean listener.

Fenom Fitness

67 Grant Ave.
Harrison, N.Y, 10528

Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant,
an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: The Renaissance man of New Rochelle

Wikipedia’s definition of a Renaissance man, also known as a polymath, is a person whose Lisa-Jardineexpertise spans a significant number of subject areas. In the age of specialization, polymaths are not so easy to find. But find one I did.

His name is Alvin Clayton, owner of Alvin & Friends, a contemporary take on Caribbean and Southern cooking at 14 Memorial Highway in New Rochelle.

Alvin Clayton in front of his restaurant, Alvin & Friends.

Alvin Clayton in front of his restaurant, Alvin & Friends.

“I grew up in the Caribbean, in Trinidad until I was 12, and I lived with my grandma. I was always underfoot in the kitchen, watching and learning, “Clayton said.” I started cooking for real when I was eight years old. I don’t remember a time when someone visited our home that my grandma wouldn’t offer them something to eat, even the plumber. She was a major influence in my life.”

He went to college in the U.S. on a soccer scholarship, but, upon graduation, an offer to model quickly turned into a contract with Wilhelmina in New York, which was the beginning of a prodigious 26-year modeling career. Clayton was one of the first black supermodels in the 80’s, gracing the pages of GQ, Vogue, Glamour, Elle and Esquire among many others.

Assignments in Europe opened his eyes to the world of art.

“I was a self-taught artist who loved to draw. While in Paris on a shoot, I visited the Musee D’Orsay and fell in love with Matisse,” Clayton said. “I spent years copying his paintings until I branched out and found my own style.”

Clayton’s vibrant, colorful pain-tings can be seen everywhere in his restaurant and, over the past three years that Alvin & Friends has been open, he’s sold more than 70 of them. His work has also been exhibited at the Smithsonian and is part of many private collections, including those of Denzel Washington, Robert De Niro and Halle Berry.

Award-winning fried chicken with collard greens and mac & cheese.

Award-winning fried chicken with collard greens and mac & cheese.

After a long career in modeling, it was time for Clayton’s next move. An introduction by a friend to a well-known restaurateur, Brad Johnson in Los Angeles, prompted an offer to come on board to open Georgia’s, an upscale, celebrity-filled southern soul food restaurant on Melrose Avenue.

Clayton helped run Georgia’s until it closed seven years later.

He and his wife, Gwen, and their school-aged children were ready to move back to the east coast and they chose New Rochelle for its small town feel and diversity.

“I moved to New Rochelle 13 years ago knowing that I wanted to open my own place,” Clayton said. “We opened in 2011 with the help of some great partners and we moved last May to an even bigger location. The restaurant is an extension of my home. I know people have options, and I’m honored when they choose our place.”

BBQ chicken wings. Photos courtesy Alvin & Friends

BBQ chicken wings. Photos courtesy Alvin & Friends

So, he played sports at the collegiate level, he’s a famous model, a prolific artist and an incredible cook, not to mention a husband and father of four. And he’s got a killer smile, which he flashes constantly, making me think he really enjoys what he’s doing, or maybe it’s just all those years of posing for the camera.

Either way, Clayton has a gift for making everyone feel at home in his restaurant.

“This is the most diverse restaurant in Westchester, but everyone feels comfortable here and has a great time,” he said.

And the food doesn’t disappoint.

The warm basket of miniature corn muffins that come to the table to start the meal off are addicting, but don’t eat too many because you have to save room for everything else. The catfish po’boy was everything I want my po’boys to be. The bread was crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside and the catfish was light and delicately fried with a healthy smear of mayonnaise.

Killer rum punch and coconut martini

Killer rum punch and coconut martini

The curry crab chowder was rich and creamy with the perfect amount of curry flavor and chunks of fresh crab.

The pulled pork sandwiches and the jerk wings were done to perfection. The fried chicken, which is award-winning, is without a doubt the best I’ve had in a long time. Par-boiled and soaked in Louisiana hot sauce and buttermilk, it’s crunchy and crispy and totally moist inside. Order it with the collared greens and mac and cheese and it’s a trifecta of perfection on your plate.

For dessert I had the red velvet bread pudding hot out of the oven. It wasn’t easy to get up from the table after the meal, especially after drinking Clayton’s killer rum punch that has a tendency to sneak up on you.

The new location has a large bar area and a warm, inviting dining room. They also have a private room in the back that seats 80, called the Roscoe Room, named after Clayton’s longtime friend, actor Roscoe Lee Browne.

The Roscoe Room will feature changing live music and other cultural events in the near future and is a great venue for private parties.

Alvin & Friends’ executive chef, Denzil Richards, was born in Jamaica and trained at Le Bernadin under chef Eric Ripert. From there, he cooked at Asia de Cuba, Suyra, Frescos by Scotto and Picholine. His experience cooking Caribbean, French, Latin, Asian Fusion and Indian add a special diversity to the food being served at Alvin & Friends and it’s evident in every dish.

I’m especially looking forward to eating the Sunday Gospel Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., which features live jazz and gospel music. I’ll be the one ordering the Bananas Foster French Toast with Malibu Coconut Caramel Sauce.

It’s not every day you meet a Renaissance man. Carpe diem and go eat at Alvin & Friends.

Alvin & Friends

14 Memorial Highway
New Rochelle, NY
914- 654-6549

Upcoming Events (check the website for more information)

Feb. 7, 9 p.m., Roscoe Room presents Blue J Jack

Alex Eodice and Blue J Jack bring its distinctive blend of blues, country, rock and jazz to Roscoe’s Room.

$20 cover includes one drink 

Feb. 11, 8 p.m. to 11:45 p.m., Roscoe Room presents New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys are back in New York, and Alvin & Friends has them for one night only. New Rochelle native Sam Friend provides masterful guitar licks.

Special New Orleans themed menu

Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu $75

Includes live music and a champagne toast

Feb. 15 Efrat Sheron and the Fine Line Band 

Feb. 21 9 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.,
Roscoe Room presents Clarissa Sinceno

Clarissa Sinceno performs soulful stylings of jazz classics and favorites from the Great American songbook.


Lisa Jardine

Column: Off to college? What’s the rush?

Marianna Brady during the Global Gap Year in China. Photo courtesy Thinking Beyond Borders

Marianna Brady during the Global Gap Year in China. Photo courtesy Thinking Beyond Borders

Six AP courses with a 4 or better? Check.

Sixty hours of community service? Check.

SAT, ACT, SAT II? Check, check, check.

Varsity letters? Check.

Summer internships? Check.

Burned out teenager? Double check.

It’s no wonder teenagers today get to college exhausted and unfocused, not knowing what they want to study or who they want to become. Some students may enter college with a specified major, but few of those decisions are actually based in real-world experiences.

How could they be? They haven’t had time to have any real-world experience.

The bar has been raised so high for the next generation that sometimes I stand back and marvel at how they actually pull it all off. I’m sure if those were the standards when I was in high school I would have never made it to college.

But there is an antidote to all this stress, and it’s not about opting out. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

An idea that began in the 1970s in England has finally made its way across the pond and it’s growing at an exponential rate. The gap year.

A gap year is defined as a period of time between high school graduation and the start of college. The student requests a one-year deferral from the college to which they were accepted and spends the year outside the typical classroom boundaries.

Robin Pendoley, co-director, USA Gap Year Fair and Founder & CEO of Thinking Beyond Borders, thinks the gap year is a worthy endeavor.

“We see a lot of high achieving high school students who are just burned out and in need of a break from the classroom,” Pendoley said. “They want the opportunity to learn and grow, but without the knowledge being tied to tests and grades. They are looking for a more meaningful experience besides just achieving inside the class room.”

Mica Thompson volunteered on a reserve for endangered elephants as part of her gap year travels in Africa and Asia. Photo courtesy En Route Gap Year

Mica Thompson volunteered on a reserve for endangered elephants as part of her gap year travels in Africa and Asia. Photo courtesy En Route Gap Year

A gap year can take many forms and can be as flexible or as structured as the student and their parents want it to be. Thinking Beyond Borders offers full-year as well as one-semester options, including a Seven-Country Global Gap Year, The China Gap Semester or The South America Gap Semester.

Dynamy Internship Year offers a full-time mentored internship in more than 240 organizations from finance to athletics, healthcare to government, with apartment-style living.


Josh Winkler exploring Halong Bay, Vietnam by kayak. Photo courtesy En Route Gap Year

Josh Winkler exploring Halong Bay, Vietnam by kayak. Photo courtesy En Route Gap Year

In two of the biggest gap year programs, Americorps and CityYear, students receive a living stipend of $1,000 per month for housing and food, a cell phone, uniforms, health insurance and transportation passes. At the end of their 10-month service, they also receive a $5,350 educational award for college.

The cost of a gap year can range from extremely expensive to fully-funded depending on which route the student chooses. Most programs also offer need-based financial aid. But when you take into consideration a study done by the Department of Education that states, from 2007 to 2008, only 44 percent of students who received their undergraduate degree that year finished in four years or less; the rest were either on the five or six-plus year plan. In light of those numbers, a year spent in self-exploration and reflection could be money well spent.

Jack Reynolds, 2013 graduate of Rye Country Day School, was accepted to Oberlin College and decided to defer for a year before starting next fall. His mother, Sarah, explained their family’s decision.

Zander Rounds reflecting on his Global Gap Year in Kunming, China. Photo courtesy Thinking Beyond Borders

Zander Rounds reflecting on his Global Gap Year in Kunming, China. Photo courtesy Thinking Beyond Borders

“It used to be that kids could take time after college to travel, explore, experiment or just chill. But now, there seems to be so much pressure to resume build that there isn’t a chance for young people to just stop and take stock of themselves and the world around them,” Sarah Reynolds said. “A gap year has given my son the opportunity to expand and tryout new things without worrying or even considering how they were going to fit into his long-range plans.”



Jack started the fall in Beijing with CET Academic Programs taking Mandarin and interning at the Beijinger, a print and online magazine. After a few weeks home for holiday break, he left for the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea, where he will travel around the world for 112 days, stopping in 16 cities in 12 countries with 800 other students from 277 different universities. He will earn credits that will be applied to his Oberlin degree.

Worried that a gap year will sidetrack your student or that they will be less prepared once they get to college? Harvard isn’t. In fact, on its website, the university encourages admitted students to defer enrollment for one year to travel or pursue a special project or activity. And they aren’t alone in their endorsement.

“U.S. colleges are whole-heartedly accepting the gap year. 95 to 97 percent allow deferral, especially for an organized program or plan,” Pendoley said. “In fact, the best colleges are encouraging students to take them. They feel that when the students arrive on campus, they are more serious about their education and have a better sense of purpose and direction, which in turn makes them have a bigger impact on the entire campus.”

Interest piqued? The next gap year fair in Westchester County is Feb. 5 at Pleasantville High School from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Holly Bull, president of the Center for Interim Programs and herself a gap year participant—India, Nepal, Athens and Appalachia—will start the event off with a 30-minute presentation explaining the overall idea of what a gap year can be. There will be representatives from more than 25 different programs on hand to answer questions and speak with attendees.

Most students start looking at programs during their junior year in high school, but many wait until senior year. All high school students and their parents are welcome at the event. The organizers recommend registering prior to attendance at, but registration isn’t required.

As MIT Admissions officer Matt McGann says, “No one ever regrets having taken a gap year, but plenty of people regret not having taken one.”

The Rye Varsity Hockey team features four sets of brothers. Back row from left are all the senior brothers: Jack O’Brien, Griffin Tutun, Cal Hynson and Connor McGovern. Front row from left are the younger brothers: Tommy O’Brien, Will Tutun, Will Hynson and Mac McGovern. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Brotherly love…of a sport

Unless you have twins, it’s unlikely you’ve experienced more than one child on the same sports team at the same time as there are usually strict requirements regarding age cutoffs. By the time jardinemost children reach high school age, many have dropped out of the numerous sports they played in childhood. The distant memories of sports played long ago may only return while cleaning out the garage; the lacrosse pads from fifth grade, the field hockey stick you knew would never last more than one season or the skates that lay rusting behind the Halloween decoration box.

The Rye Varsity Hockey team features four sets of brothers. Back row from left are all the senior brothers: Jack O’Brien, Griffin Tutun, Cal Hynson and Connor McGovern. Front row from left are the younger brothers: Tommy O’Brien, Will Tutun, Will Hynson and Mac McGovern. Photos/Lisa Jardine

The Rye Varsity Hockey team features four sets of brothers. Back row from left are all the senior brothers: Jack O’Brien, Griffin Tutun, Cal Hynson and Connor McGovern. Front row from left are the younger brothers: Tommy O’Brien, Will Tutun, Will Hynson and Mac McGovern. Photos/Lisa Jardine

But that’s not the case at Rye High School this winter season. This year is a very special one for the varsity hockey team. Not only do they have brothers on the same team, they have four sets of them.

Imagine, 32 percent of the players on the Rye High School Hockey team are related to someone else on the same team.

This is a new experience for Rye High hockey coach Jason Friesen.

“This is my fourteenth season coaching varsity hockey, my eleventh at Rye High School, and I’ve coached brothers before, but never four sets. I think the most I’ve ever coached was two,” Friesen said. “It definitely makes for some very interesting interactions between the brothers. I think there is a lot of carryover from the house to the locker room. The dynamics and interactions are quite humorous at times.”

The Rye High School varsity hockey team at practice over winter break.

The Rye High School varsity hockey team at practice over winter break.

Many people know of famous sports-playing siblings like the Williams sisters, the Manning brothers and the Harbaugh brothers to name a few. They exist in every sport. Since 1917, there have been 47 pairs of brothers playing together in the NHL on the same team. Ten have even gone on to win the Stanley Cup together. But I couldn’t find any team that had multiple sets of brothers at one time, let alone four.

The Hynson brothers, Cal and Will; the McGovern brothers, Connor and Mac; the O’Brien brothers, Jack and Tommy, and the Tutun brothers, Griffin and Will, have all played ice hockey over the years growing up in Rye together.

The McGovern family values the time the boys have together.

A Rye High School hockey player shoots and scores.

A Rye High School hockey player shoots and scores.

“It is so special having Connor and Mac on the same team before Connor goes off to college. It has been such a bonding experience for them,” Susan McGovern said. “In addition, we have watched all the brothers play on the Rye Rangers since they were squirts and to have them all play together as one team is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The family legacy at Rye High School goes back even further for the Hynson family.

“We are so proud that Cal and Will are third generation Rye hockey players. Both my husband, Colin, and his father, Richard, played for RHS,” Susan Hynson said.

Picture 2By now you may have noticed that this team has a few other interesting data points: Three of the four moms names are Susan and three out of the four younger players are named either Will or William; Mac is a nickname.

When asked, the coach couldn’t come up with anything negative to say about having so many members on his team related to one another.

“I haven’t witnessed any minuses, only plusses,” Friesen said. “The younger brothers seem to be more comfortable and pick things up quicker. I also think it’s great for the parents to see their younger sons playing with their older brothers. I think that it will leave the younger brothers feeling very fortunate to have played with their older brothers. They will always be able to reminisce about the season they played together.”

The only negative I could think of would be the double laundry. After one visit to the hockey locker room, I had complete sympathy for whoever had to open those hockey bags after practice.

Just from the few minutes I spent with the players, it was obvious they think having a brother on the team is a pretty cool situation.

“It is a great experience getting to play with my brother, especially since I have had the opportunity of playing on the same line with him,” Jack O’Brien said. “It is nice coming home after a game and having a teammate to discuss the outcome.”

This is the first time any of the brothers are on the same team together, and with the older brothers going to college in the fall, it will most likely be the last.

“I cannot even begin to describe the love and pride I feel watching my two boys play together. I am truly awestruck,” Sue O’Brien said. “Added to that are the boys in our extended family, who I have loved as my own, all skating together…the feeling is simply amazing and overwhelming.”

The pride extends to the players, too.

“It’s really cool to have my younger brother on my team for my senior year. I’ve never had the chance to play on a team with him. It’s a great opportunity to set an example,” Connor McGovern said.

Cal Hynson summed it up well.

“Our team is like a family on the ice and having my brother on the team makes it that much better,” he said.



“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand

Lisa Jardine

Column: Living the dream, 50 years later

J.J. Pryor, left, and Jean Strauss.

J.J. Pryor, left, and Jean Strauss.

In August 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before hundreds of thousands of people calling for peaceful change. He inspired the entire country with four small words, “I have a dream.”

In the crowd on that day were students from Manhattanville College, who boarded a bus from Purchase to be a part of that monumental day.

Flash forward 50 years on that same day, J.J. Pryor, a graduate student in the masters in fine arts creative writing program at Manhattanville, was sitting in her advanced seminar class listening to the director of the program, Mark Nowak, assign the semester’s final project. One of the options given was to create a syllabus and essay about a community-based writing workshop that the student has always dreamed of teaching.

Conferring in the back of the class with her friend and fellow MFA candidate, Jean Strauss, the first lady of Manhattanville College—she is married to the president—the seed was planted for “The Grandma Project.”

Assunta Amicone Alicata

Assunta Amicone Alicata

“It was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech and Jean and I were reflecting on the emotions we felt watching President Obama give his speech, standing right where Dr. King stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, and it inspired me to create ‘The Grandma Project,’” Pryor said. “I wanted to find undergraduate students at Manhattanville who would be willing to interview their grandmothers about what their dreams were 50 years ago at about the same age these girls were today and to see how much change had actually come about. I wanted them to compare their dreams with their grandmothers.”

The project began with seven students who enthusiastically got behind it despite the fact that it was extra work and there would be no credit received. Not only did the students love the idea, but the grandmothers were very excited as well. The only requirement J.J. asked for was a photo of each student and each matching grandma. They were to write about the aspirations and dreams of both their grandmas and themselves and the writing could be in the form of prose, poetry or a written account.

Communications major Mia Alicata, 21, was one of the first to join the project.

“I’m very close to my 90-year-old grandma, Assunta Amicone Alicata. She’s the only grandparent I have left. I wanted to do something to honor her,” Alicata said.
Some of the information Mia learned about her grandma was surprising, like the day she came through Ellis Island as a 6-year-old girl with a cough and her mother stuffed cotton in her throat to muffle the sound.

Mia Alicata

Mia Alicata

“My grandma had dreams, but I don’t think she ever believed they were attainable. She had to make sacrifices to help support her family. I think she is overwhelmed with the opportunities that her grandchildren have today,” Alicata said. “She’s bowled over by the fact that I am the senior class president and that I get to take extra-curriculars. Options like that were never on her radar.”

As much as things have changed over the past 50 years, Alicata and her grandma spend a lot of time discussing social injustice that still exists in 2014.

“I compare the challenges of today to what she went through as a young woman. She’s open minded and, if I take the time to explain it, she gets it,” she said.

Indiadora Nicholson, 21, majoring in English and film studies, was also one of the original seven participants.

“I chose my grandma who lives in Daytona Beach, Florida. I don’t get to see her often and I didn’t know much about her childhood,” Nicholson said. “What I learned really surprised me. We had more in common than I thought. Despite having children at a very young age, she was able to accomplish a lot in her life. And she loved being involved in the project.”

When the original project was complete, Nicholson, the president of the Black Student Union, wanted to take it further and do something to get the public involved for Black History Month in February.

Indiadora Nicholson, second right and Marjorie White, third left.

Indiadora Nicholson, second right and Marjorie White, third left.

“I thought of creating an ‘I Have A Dream Wall’ and I approached J.J. [Pryor] about my idea,” she said. “At that point, Jean Strauss got involved and rallied behind it. The new project, ‘Living the Dream,’ was launched.

“The upcoming exhibit that J.J. set in motion and the students ran with crystallizes the evolution of Manhattanville College. The dream that Martin Luther King had 50 years ago now belongs to the world. That is clearly evident in the difference in the makeup of our student body today from 50 years ago.”

The project grew to include 13 students, three of whom are young men, one from China, another from Pakistan and one from the United States.

“Manhattanville’s student body is quite diverse, which made the project even more interesting,” Pryor said.

On Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. in the Berman Student Center at Manhattanville College, the “Living the Dream” exhibit will open to the public and will remain in place for several months. The exhibit consists of two large wall images—one that’s 15 feet wide and six feet tall, that consists of three images from 1963: Manhattanville students getting on the bus and then off at the March on Washington, and King speaking. The second wall panel is a single image, a rainbow swath, 48 feet wide and six feet tall, with the stories of 12 of the students contrasting their lives to the lives of their grandparents, many of whom were college age in 1963.

There will also be a large corkboard for the public to post stories about their grandparents and their dreams and aspirations. The students will be on hand to talk about their experience and perhaps read from their work.

“These students have created a ripple in the pond that will continue until the time that they become grandparents one day,” Strauss said.

Living The Dream
Jan. 29, 4 p.m.
Manhattanville College
Berman Student Center
2900 Purchase St.
Purchase, NY 10577

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing
restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”
To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter,

Lisa Jardine

Column: The antidote to January



I have a love-hate relationship with the month of January.

For one thing, it starts with a bang. After the big buildup of the holiday season and all the work it entails, you still have to have something special planned to mark its arrival. My New Year’s Eve celebrations have tended towards the anticlimactic. You also come into the month most likely having slacked off your exercise program in December due to the holiday obligations and there’s a good chance you’re carrying a few more pounds around then you did before Thanksgiving.

 Bruschetta with fresh garlic cloves. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Bruschetta with fresh garlic cloves. Photos/Lisa Jardine

January also has the good fortune of coming smack in the middle of winter, my least favorite part of the year and it’s one of the coldest months if you live in New York. It’s also the month in which everyone vows to be better, fitter versions of themselves as evidenced by the crowds at the gym and the long lines at the organic food markets.

The truth is, when January begins I just want to hibernate, put on layers of my warmest, oldest clothing, eat big, hearty meals and drink really good red wine and not worry about bathing suit season. It’s January and spring is just a memory.

When I think of comfort food, I think Italian. Westchester County is blessed with more Italian restaurants than most other kinds of food. On there are 1,176 restaurants reviewed in Westchester County. American food has the most listings with 161, but Italian follows closely on its heels with 121. With 24, Asian follows far behind in third.

So, choosing where to eat Italian food can sometimes be challenging and I often find I revisit the same places over and over again. But this past weekend I looked for a place I’d never been and, on the recommendation of an Italian friend, Maria, I booked a large table for my family at Rosa’s La Scarbitta in Mamaroneck across from the train station.

La Scarbitta is a spinoff of the very popular Spadaro’s, where Rosa Merenda was a partner with her sister. In her new restaurant, she continues to keep it in the family with her husband, Angelo, as her partner. We arrived at 6:30 p.m. for our reservation and found the restaurant about half full. I did see County Executive Rob Astorino and his wife at a small table in the corner, giving me a little clue that I had come to the right place. If the county executive was eating there, it had to be good.

I introduced myself to Rosa, explaining I was a friend of Maria’s, but it was pretty obvious that no introductions were necessary. It didn’t matter how we ended up at her restaurant, she was just happy that we were there. Within minutes, a large platter of bruschetta arrived at the table—the real kind; thick and crusty with dark grill marks, extra virgin olive oil, salt and fresh cloves of garlic pierced with a toothpick for rubbing on the bread. This platter was quickly demolished by my crew and was followed up with another. The bread kept my group busy while Rosa made her recommendations.

Gnocchi with ricotta and marinara sauce

Gnocchi with ricotta and marinara sauce

“Tonight we have two types of eggplant, male and female. I recommend you try them both,” she said. I had to stop her right there. Eggplants are male and female?

She explained that the female eggplant has more seeds, which makes them bitter. The male, less seeds, less bitter. We ordered both but, to be honest, I couldn’t tell which was which, though they were both delicious. We also ordered burrata and one of Rosa’s staples, gnocchi with ricotta in marinara sauce. We shared the appetizers family style.

After the bread and the first course, I was stuffed but, of course, we were there to eat the hearty, warm meal, so I ordered another glass of wine and hoped I would have room for the main course.

I chose the signature dish, Chicken La Scarbitta, which Rosa said was a derivation of a recipe she used to cook for her daughters after they ran around town with after-school sports programs. Chicken cutlets poun-ded thin, lightly-breaded and sautéed in lemon and white wine, accompanied by perfectly roasted potatoes. It was exactly what I was looking for on a cold winter’s night. The portion size was large and served as my lunch the next day.

The restaurant is warm and cozy, with a long bar that runs alongside one wall. The ceiling tiles are camouflaged with branches from Rosa’s backyard covered in Christmas lights.

“Where I grew up, we didn’t have many restaurants, but there were agricultural farms that would cook meals for you. They would serve them outside under their pergola.

“I wanted to create the same feeling year round in my restaurant,” Merenda said.

Rosa didn’t start her career cooking. In fact, she came to it quite late in life.

“I’ve always cooked for my family and I learned from my parents as a small child. I used to devour cooking magazines when I was young. Every dish, I put love into it so I don’t feel like I work a day in my life. Cooking isn’t work, it’s love,” Rosa said.

By the time we were ready to leave, every table was taken and there was a nice buzz in the room. Over the course of our meal, Rosa made sure to stop by each table, put her hand on a shoulder, tell a funny story and just make sure that everyone was happy and had what they needed.

Rosa grew up in Bari in the Puglia region of southern Italy, a place that boasts sunny and warm weather most of the year but, somehow, she knows exactly how to cook the perfect antidote for a long, cold January night.




Rosa’s La Scarbitta
215 Halstead Ave., Mamaroneck

noon to 3 p.m.

5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sun 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County.”

To contact Lisa, email
And you can follow her on Twitter, @westchesterwand


Lisa Jardine

Column: My list of the best books of 2013

Jardine-Book1“Best of” lists are very popular in December and some of my favorites center on books.

It’s almost impossible to keep up with who has written what over the course of a year and that’s where the “Best of” lists come in. My Best Books of 2013 list includes books written by some of my favorite authors as well as a few from new authors that I discovered this year. I’ve also included books that I have on my night table from authors I’ve loved but I haven’t read yet.Jardine-Book5

One of my favorite books this year was “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes. This is a real love story that will leave you smiling with tears streaming down your face all at the same time. The book begins with a bang when one of the main characters, Will Traynor, a man who has everything to live for, gets run down in the rain by a motorcycle. Flash-forward two years later, he is an angry, rude shadow of the man he once was. His mother hires a young girl, who’s been tamped down emotionally, to take care of him. All he wants to do is end his life. Their relationship evolves and he takes her on as a project of sorts. He helps her learn how to live even though he can’t. It’s a non-traditional love story that completely satisfies. Ms. Moyes has a new book out that is at the No. 1 spot on my Must Read in 2014, “The Girl You Left Behind.”

Jardine-Book4In 2006, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a little book called “Eat Pray Love,” a memoir that chronicled her journey from New York to Italy to India and Bali while she healed herself after her painful divorce. It was a blockbuster hit; selling more than 10 million copies, translated into 30 languages not to mention being made into a film starring Julia Roberts. Gilbert was even put on the Time Magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world. This year, she came out with something so completely different you can’t believe the same woman wrote it.

“The Signature of All Things” is a tome of a book at 512 pages. The novel takes place in the 1800s and spans the entire life of Alma Whittaker as she discovers every species of plant life on her father’s estate. If you are thinking a 500-plus page book about botany in the 19th century might be an alternative to Ambien, there are moments of the novel when I would tend to agree, especially when she goes in-depth into the textbook descriptions of plant life. But the work you need to do to get to the end is well worth it. This is a book in which the first half is slow and partially educational, but the second half is a page-turner, whipping you into a frenzy until you reach the end, exhausted, but very satisfied. All the hard work pays off as you realize exactly who Alma is and why it was so important you went on the journey with her.Jardine-Book3

My favorite Young Adult book in 2013 was Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor and Park.” The book opens in Omaha, Neb., 1986, with two unlikely teenagers who fall in love on a school bus and change each other’s lives forever. It’s not easy to write a book that can pull a middle-aged reader back in time to high school and experience the feelings of first love all over again. This book nails it and, even better, Rowell has a new book out that is also on my to read list in 2014: “Fangirl.”

In keeping with the YA theme, I thoroughly enjoyed Veronica Roth’s, “Divergent,” the first book in a dystopian trilogy with a movie out this month. Beatrice “Tris” Prior lives in a futuristic Chicago where the city has been divided into five factions, each dedicated to a specific virtue: Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace) and Erudite (intelligence). Sounds ideal, no? Hardly. This fast-paced, action-packed book keeps you awake and wondering what’s coming on the next page. Need to read in 2014: “Insurgent” and “Allegiant.”

It’s hard to read any Best of 2013 book list and not come across Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” a coming-of-age story about a boy named Theo who survives a terrorist attack in a museum that takes the life of his mother. He spends his time in post-9/11 New York City trying to avoid being taken in as an orphan. From there, he is brought to Las Vegas by his drug-addicted father, where he meets Boris, a Ukrainian teenager who becomes his new best friend.

“The Goldfinch” has received such high acclaim that I decided to read Ms. Tartt’s debut novel, “The Secret History” first so that I could look forward to reading her newest book even more. “The Secret History” is a suspenseful thriller of a novel that does something interesting; it takes its time.

Jardine-Book2The book centers on a small town in Vermont at a boarding school where five students from very different backgrounds come together over their love of the Greek language. By the end of the 592 pages, there are two people dead. The characters are very well-developed and the plot twists in strange ways. It’s the perfect pregame read to the much anticipated “The Goldfinch.”

The last book on my list is “The Circle” by Dave Eggers. Mr. Eggers has written many great books on varying topics, including his memoir, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” published in 2000, which dealt with the author’s struggle to raise his younger brother following the deaths of both of their parents. Several books later, he wrote “Zeitoun,” a non-fiction account of Hurricane Katrina as seen through the eyes of a Syrian immigrant. There were other books in between and since, but the book that has received a lot of attention this year is “The Circle.” In the not-so-distant future, a Google-like, Facebook-like company called The Circle has a billion users and controls 90 percent of the world’s searches. Its aspirations include recording everything that’s happening to everyone in the world. I bought this book for my husband, who works in big data. He wasn’t surprised by anything that happens in the book—each step along the way was plausible. I’m not sure this is one that I will read; it almost seems too close to reality for it to be fun. I like my dystopian fiction in the “could never happen, but wouldn’t it be interesting if it could” mode.

Lisa Jardine

Column: Small changes lead to a big difference

Christina Rosado, director of the Ivy Lifestyle Program. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Christina Rosado, director of the Ivy Lifestyle Program. Photos/Lisa Jardine

Several years ago, I vowed to no longer make big, sweeping New Year’s resolutions because I was just setting myself up for failure—and at the start of a new year, no less.

What I have done is tried to make small changes, hoping they will lead to bigger ones and, this way, they are much easier to maintain and I’m less likely to fail. If, like me, one of your goals for 2014 is to become a healthier person and make the necessary lifestyle changes to support that, this is the article you will want to tear out of the paper. It’s the perfect opportunity to get off the couch and put down the fork—slowly—and for very little out of pocket expense.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. It brings with it higher risks for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and some forms of cancer. An adult who has a body mass index between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and an adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. To calculate your BMI you can go to the CDC’s website.

A client training at the facility. Photo courtesy Ivy Fitness

A client training at the facility. Photo courtesy Ivy Fitness

The good news is that choosing a lifestyle that includes good eating habits and daily physical activity can control weight. The challenge is to find the right plan for you and to implement it. With so many new trends in diet and exercise, it can all become too overwhelming to know where to begin, not to mention very expensive.

Christina Rosado, 31, a doctor of physical therapy, is the director of rehabilitation at Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy in Mamaroneck. She started a wellness program about a year ago incorporating work she started while getting her doctorate in physical therapy.

“We are an outpatient physical therapy office and we constantly see the results of what comes after the disease or injury,” Rosado said. “I thought it made sense to develop a program to help patients before the disease or injury ever occurs, so we incorporated preventive care into the practice and it’s been a year since its inception. We are now offering this service in six of our 30 offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.”

The 30-day quick start weight loss and fitness program starts with a complimentary total body wellness and fitness evaluation. This helps determine the client’s cardiovascular health, body strength, flexibility and balance. They compare the data to the norms for the patient’s age and gender and create an individually tailored exercise program. This is submitted to the patient’s insurance company—they accept all insurance—to determine how many visits are approved and paid for by insurance. Usually, most insurance companies cover the cost of the 30-day program. The exercise sessions, usually two to three times a week, are done at the facility with different exercises and always with a physical therapist that monitors form and looks for any red flags.

Physical therapists are the perfect people to oversee a fitness routine as they take past injuries into consideration and tell you what exercises to avoid. They are always on the lookout for other signs that may indicate problems beyond the scope of a good, hard workout.

“Trainers don’t always know which red flags to look out for while exercising and not every exercise trend is for everyone, “Rosado said. “I’ve seen a lot of Crossfit injuries. Crossfit is best-suited to the advanced athlete, someone who knows his or her body well. I wouldn’t recommend starting an exercise program at Crossfit. The ‘no pain, no gain’ is old school. We know that pain is an indicator that something is wrong.”

And physical fitness always goes hand-in-hand with nutrition and eating well. The Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy 30-day program offers three complimentary sessions with a nutritionist. They start out with an in-depth health questionnaire, which is designed to assess the client’s current diet, health, nutrient status, genetics, environment and current lifestyle. Different recommendations are given, along with suggested diet modifications and lifestyle changes. A patient may be consuming too much salt or too many carbs. The goal is to balance a client’s intake of fats, carbs and proteins and improve overall nutrient status, which supports digestion and absorption of foods.

“Our facility and our therapists are not intimidating. We offer a safe and caring environment before venturing to a more traditional gym,” Rosado said. “After the 30 days are over, we don’t just drop our clients. We help them with their transition, whether it is to a local gym or at-home exercise. We will speak to the trainers at the gym, and we’ll also create an exercise routine to do there or at home. And we offer complimentary re-evaluations at any time.”

And this 30-day program is for everyone.

A view of the facility.

A view of the facility.

Clients range from college students who may have never entered a gym before and need some guidance and instruction—as well as nutritional education—to middle-aged clients who want to get back into shape after years of not exercising, to seniors.

Each fitness evaluation is age appropriate. Kathie Feedor, 51, from the Bronx came to Ivy for rehabilitation for a back injury. While there, she found out about the lifestyle wellness and fitness program and signed up.

“I knew that I needed a kick-start to get myself motivated to work out so that I could get my body toned. I felt that my back injury would come back if my muscles weren’t toned,” Feedor said. “My insurance company approved visits, so I was able to participate in the program. Christina [Rosado] evaluated what I was able to do and worked with my level. She knew what I had to do in order to get me motivated and not discouraged”

So are you ready for a healthier you? What do you have to lose besides some extra weight and body mass?

Ivy Lifestyle

Wellness & Fitness

550 Mamaroneck Ave.,

Mamaroneck, N.Y. – Suite 104

(914) 777-3737