Category Archives: Columns


Column: Terrorism versus genocide

One problem with using use the word “terrorism” is that not everyone has the same understanding of that word. People discuss whether acts of mass murder should be called acts of terrorism. But during his Oval Office address on Dec. 6, President Obama clearly did label the San Bernardino, Calif., murders as “terrorism.”

Earlier, the president had been slammed for declining to label certain murders as “Islamist terrorism.” But I feel it would have been a mistake to dignify atrocities by linking them to a major, worldwide faith.

There seems to be no generally-accepted definition of terrorism. There are U.S. statutes and U.N. instruments that use the term in various ways. Until recently, I understood terrorism as a term that refers to mass atrocities designed to influence governmental actions. But we may need a broader, stronger term.

When large numbers of Americans are murdered just because of their nationality, we should look at the definition of genocide. The most authoritative definition of “genocide” is in the related U.N. Convention, which specifies that:

“Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

We Americans are a national group. Killing members of our American national group sounds like genocide if it is being done to destroy part of the group, which is certainly the case.

Murdering Americans just because they are Americans must be at least attempted genocide, a most serious crime.



Column: Hanukkah and other season happenings

Recently, members of the Jewish community began the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah. This holiday pays tribute to the unbreakable spirit and fortitude of the Jewish people. The message of Hanukkah serves as a lesson to us all that, when we stand united, we can conquer any problem and overcome any setback. It is my hope that the Festival of Lights brings comfort and consolation to all and encourages not only our nation, but our cities, towns and villages to gather together and cherish the bonds of community. On behalf of the entire town board, I wish all Harrison residents and their families a very happy Hanukkah.

This year’s holiday celebration kickoffs were a huge success. From candy canes to carolers and Santa’s arrival, both West Harrison and downtown Harrison celebrated in style.

The cocoa flowed in West Harrison as Frosty the Snowman visited with residents, young and old. Choral groups entertained the crowds in downtown Harrison, culminating in the lighting of the Christmas tree and menorah. It was great to see so many familiar faces, as these events truly celebrate the season. Both events did a wonderful job reflecting the charm and magic that the holidays should bring to each of us.

On a related note, Harrison is a wonderful place to do your holiday shopping. Locally-owned shops and restaurants offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere and it’s a great spot to get together with neighbors and friends as you get ready for the season’s celebrations. While making your way through your shopping list, be sure to drop in to local establishments and join in the festive mood.

I am happy to report that recently, there were two promotions made within the Harrison Police Department. At the Dec. 7 swearing-in ceremony in Town Hall, police officer Salvatore Rigano was promoted to the rank of detective, and Detective William Curow was promoted to the rank of sergeant. I am completely confident that both Detective Rigano and Sgt. Curow will carry out their new duties in a professional manner and will continue to be an asset to the Town/Village of Harrison.

Harrison Town Clerk Jackie Greer would like to remind residents that she has extended office hours to coincide with the town/village board meetings. The hours are from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. All services are available. These hours are in addition to the after-hour service available during the Planning Board meetings on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call the Town Clerk’s Office at 670-3030.

The next “Lunch with the Mayor” will be on Friday, Dec. 11 and I will be at Michelangelo’s Pizza, Pasta & Things, located at 208 Underhill Ave. in West Harrison. I will be meeting with representatives from the Harrison Youth Council, HYC. So if you have any questions for me or for the HYC, we will be at this location from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. On Friday, Dec. 18 I will be at Rattlesnake Jack’s, located at 110 Halstead Ave., from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. I look forward to talking about issues facing our community.


Column: Thanksgiving and practicing gratitude

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I was able to participate in what are hands down my two favorite annual events in the village: the visit to Village Hall by all of the Bronxville School second graders and my participation in the village Thanksgiving ecumenical service. Seemingly quite incongruous, they dovetail around moments and themes of hope, gratitude and thanksgiving.

The coming together of all of our religious institutions is like no other. My only wish is that more villagers were aware of it and came to share in the service. This year it was held at Village Lutheran Church and their Children’s Choir is one not to miss. Their voices are ethereal.

My role, as tradition, is to read the Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation, a yearly White House message.

Since President Obama’s 2015 statement was not released prior to the event, I chose to read one from President Kennedy. Not only was he a “native son” to Bronxville but his words below, written 54 years ago, were so prescient for our world in 2015.

“This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children.

“It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live: the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.”

The evening’s service continued around the themes of gratitude and thanks and it harkened me back to my visit with the second graders in the days prior. The youngsters were delightfully grateful about life in general—thrilled to sit in the mayor’s chair, see the jail cells, hammer the gavel and receive a sheet of stickers from the police chief. Joy and thanks lit up Village Hall, making it a time like no other. I quite honestly envied their unjaded attitude and vowed to be more like a second grader in my life’s outlook.

The children’s visit caused me to re-read my favorite Op-Ed column from The New York Times, “The Structure of Gratitude” by David Brooks, which I keep folded in my wallet as a personal reminder.

To quote some salient passages:

“Gratitude happens when some kindness exceeds expectation, when it is undeserved. Gratitude is a sort of laughter of the heart that comes about after some surprising kindness.

“Most people feel grateful some of the time—after someone saves you from a mistake or brings you food during an illness. But some people seem grateful dispositionally. They seem thankful practically all of the time.

“These people may have big ambitions, but they have preserved small anticipations. As most people get on in life and earn more status, they often get used to more respect and nicer treatment. But people with dispositional gratitude take nothing for granted. They take a beginner’s thrill at a word of praise, at another’s good performance or at each sunny day. These people are present-minded and hyperresponsive.

“G.K. Chesterton wrote that ‘thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.’

“People with grateful dispositions see their efforts grandly but not themselves. Life doesn’t surpass their dreams but it nicely surpasses their expectations.”

Rest assured all of our second graders have dispositional gratitude along with inquisitive minds and candor, politeness in manner and kindness toward their peers. May they always be this way.

If they are any indication, the future is in good hands for years to come in our village. May we all emulate their refreshing view of the world with one caveat: just don’t ask the mayor how old she is!


Column: So long, farewell

On Nov. 29, Kobe Bryant announced that the 2015-2016 NBA season will be his last. Sports Editor Mike Smith thinks Kobe’s complicated legacy will take a while to sift through. Photo courtesy

On Nov. 29, Kobe Bryant announced that the 2015-2016 NBA season will be his last. Sports Editor Mike Smith thinks Kobe’s complicated legacy will take a while to sift through. Photo courtesy

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it with retirement tours.

On Nov. 29, Kobe Bryant announced his intentions to hang ‘em up at the end of the season with a poem/press release on the Players’ Tribune website. The news itself was unsurprising. Through 16 games this season, playing on a team destined to win 20 games, the Black Mamba is shooting 30 percent from the field, and generally displaying all the range and mobility of one of the shambling zombies that found their way into Alexandria on last week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.”

So yeah, it’s time.

But what we didn’t need, as sports fans, is another months-long swan song for a player who on one hand was an all-time great scorer, and on the other, leaves a complicated legacy behind.

As with most of my sports complaints, I blame the New York Yankees. The recent retirements of both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera—both of which were announced well in advance—gave rise to this new epidemic of the year-long retirement party. When Jeets and Mo retired, at each stop on the road, they were honored by the home team, given gifts commemorating their historic careers and generally fussed over by fans, writers and opposing players alike.

But that was easy to swallow with the two Yankee greats. In addition to being important, historical players, both Jeter and Rivera played their entire careers without even the whiff of scandal. As a Red Sox fan, I didn’t “like” these two, per se, but I had an awful tough time finding anything bad to say about them.

With Kobe—and Boston’s own David Ortiz, who also recently announced that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season—the outpour of support won’t exactly be unanimous.

Of course, I love Papi. Just about anyone with a pulse who lives in the greater New England area would probably trust the man to babysit their kids. But outside of Boston, questions about his PED use and his occasionally unprofessional attitude toward umpires and professional scorers mean that he’s not exactly universally revered.

Like Ortiz, Kobe is also lionized by his fans, who consider him to be among the top five best NBA players of all time. But after sifting through his on-court accomplishments, we come to the unavoidable stuff: the treatment of his teammates, his reputation as a “me first” player, and most importantly, the sexual assault allegations leveled against him in 2004.

It’s a lot to unpack, which is perhaps why Papi and Kobe chose to get out ahead of the story and dictate the narrative. They know lots of ink will be spilled over their place in the sport, their shortcomings and their scandals in the coming months. Maybe they think so much will be written
now, by the time they finally do retire, the only thing left to discuss will be how great they were at their respective sports.

Of all the things people have said about these guys, nobody ever called them stupid.

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Column: Climate change court: would we need or want it?

More than 150 heads of state are said to be gathered in Paris this week and next for the U.N. Climate Change Conference, with the aim of stopping climate change in its tracks. Stopping change will be hard enough, let alone any chance of reversing any of the global warming that has already taken place.

The presumed goal of the Paris climate talks is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That means not only stopping any further warming beyond what has already taken place, but also rolling back warming that has already occurred.

What this requires is not only binding commitments for limits on the emission of greenhouse gases, but also pledges of large sums of money to reform present practices and to finance measures to mitigate damage already done by past and present emissions.

Pledges have been made in advance of the Paris climate talks by a number of countries including big polluters like China, India, the European Union, the U.S. and Russia. This has been tried before, notably in an instrument called the Kyoto Protocol, which expires next year.

The hope is that in the next couple of weeks, this huge gathering of envoys, each one answerable to critics at home, will be able to agree on not only emission reductions for each of them but also on how much money each will contribute, to help finance the complex steps proposed. If this seems unlikely, it surely is.

If all essential provisions are in fact negotiated and agreed upon, what then? How can commitments from so many and so diverse a group of parties be enforced? Will compliance with commitments be optional, and therefore unlikely? What means can be devised so that a global climate change agreement can have real meaning? There is one possibly viable answer to this question.

Some climate envoys have proposed the creation of a global “climate court” that would be responsible for enforcing rules requiring developed countries to cut emissions while compensating poorer countries for damage already suffered and helping them adjust to methods that spare the environment.

Some such proposals are contained in a draft prepared in South Africa. The question is whether a compromise can be found that negotiators from 194 nations can agree on. This draft calls for creation of “an international climate court of justice.”

The proposal is meant to “guarantee the compliance of Annex I Parties.” Annex I countries are mostly developed countries: United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and much of Europe, including countries that are struggling financially such as Greece and Portugal.

The rules the court would presumably enforce are based on the view that these developed countries owe developing countries a “debt” over climate change, and must provide financial aid in addition to taking major steps toward cutting damaging emissions.

In one section, the document calls for developed countries to help poorer countries with “finance, technology and capacity building” so they can “adapt to and mitigate climate change” while helping eliminate poverty. Another section provides that developing countries should receive an amount of money equal to the amount “developed countries spend on defense, security and warfare.”

The document also calls for a guaranteed end to warfare, for the sake of curbing climate change. One section, noting that “conflict-related activities emit significant greenhouse gas emissions,” calls on all parties to “cease destructive activities” like warfare—and then channel the money that would have been spent on war and other defense projects toward “a common enemy: climate change.”

The document also asserts the “rights of mother earth,” a concept that environmental activists have been pushing for. Another intriguing slogan is that there is no Plan(et) B to fall back on.



Column: Spreading holiday cheer and reminders

I hope you all had a peaceful and joyous holiday weekend. Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends to express gratitude for all that we treasure. I am especially grateful for the wonderful community we have in Harrison. As we gather this holiday season and reflect on the good tidings of the past year, I encourage you to celebrate the season of giving. State and local organizations will be increasing their efforts to assist food banks and soup kitchens. Donating food, stocking shelves and feeding those in need are meaningful ways to volunteer your time and celebrate the spirit of generosity. It’s an excellent opportunity to celebrate life’s good fortune and I urge all to take part. For more information on how you can get involved, please call our Community Services Department at 670-3025.

Several years ago, the Holiday Project was created in an effort to spread holiday cheer to families in need right here in Harrison. Currently, those in need encompass more than 350 individuals, ranging in age from infant to elderly. Through the generosity of merchants, and with monies collected, each sponsored family receives a “Holiday in a Basket” that includes a grocery gift card, clothing, a toy for each child, a small gift for the parents and a pizza gift certificate. If you are interested in sponsoring one or more families, please send a check payable to “The Holiday Project” for $150 per family to project coordinator Sara Pirrello at 40 Pleasant Ridge Road, Harrison, NY 10528. This is the perfect time of year to help our neighbors feel the joy of this year’s holiday season. If you would like to get involved in this year’s efforts, please contact Sara at

In Harrison, leaf collection runs from mid-October through the beginning of December. Our Department of Public Works’ entire full-time highway staff and seasonal temporary employees perform this municipal service. The work detail is divided into several routes. Leaf crews remain on their route for the entire season, giving each resident numerous opportunities to take their leaves to the curb for removal. Crews usually take seven to 10 working days to complete one entire route before beginning again.

Each year, the weather pattern determines when the leaves fall, and some years, like this one, all of the leaves drop at the same time. This means that our crews take longer to remove the piles. Town personnel make every effort to remove the leaf piles as quickly as possible. To expedite the process, we ask that residents remove all rocks, bottles, branches and other debris, take leaves to the curb and avoid parking on or around the piles. It is also important that leaves are not placed in the storm drains or catch basins, as this may cause flooding. Our Department of Public Works is not able to indicate exactly when crews will be in a specific neighborhood or on a particular street, as those work details are contingent on the day-to-day progress of our highway department during the leaf removal season. That being said, all leaf piles must be curbside by Monday, Dec. 14, the first day of the year’s last leaf collection process. I appreciate your patience as we continue to clear our roadways.

The next “Lunch with the Mayor” is on Friday, Dec. 11. I will be at Michelangelo’s Pizza, Pasta & Things, located at 208 Underhill Ave. in West Harrison. I will be meeting with representatives from the Harrison Youth Council, HYC, so if you have any questions for me or for the HYC, we will be at this location from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and look forward to talking about issues facing our community.


Column: Beware the ‘IRS,’ street trees and leaves updates

This week’s column touches on topics that are disparate by nature but share timeliness.

The week before Thanksgiving, approximately 25 residents called or visited our police department, reporting very official-sounding calls they received from the “IRS.”

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds throughout the country. Convincing callers claim to be IRS agents. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. They know a lot about their targets, often using one’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official. They even know how to manipulate the caller ID system so IRS can appear on your phone. These bogus call centers have recently originated in Virginia and even Turkey.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and must pay promptly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to agree to the demand, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. Conversely, victims may be told they have a refund due in order to be tricked into sharing private information that will be used to defraud at a later date.

If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Please note, the IRS will never:

call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;

demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe;

require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card;

ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or

threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for nonpayment.

If you know you don’t owe any taxes or have no reason to think that you do, give out no information and hang up immediately. Then, reach out to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, TIGTA, to report the call, use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.

If you owe or think you owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Our village police department lacks jurisdiction to be of immediate help since the scams are out-of-state transactions. However, they too are alerting the appropriate agencies when a scam is reported.

The IRS has received reports of 736,000 scam contacts and approximately 4,550 victims have collectively paid more than $23 million to scammers.

Local scammers have imitated the IRS scheme and are currently calling merchants and residents impersonating Con Edison and United Water staffers, demanding immediate payment with threat of a service cutoff. Hang up at once.

Changing gears, this summer saw many trees die in our business district, resulting in unattractive stumps and unsightly tree pits. Professional arborists told us they were probably the wrong “street tree” when planted as the root systems most likely died due to space constraints. For example, oak trees would need 20-foot-wide sidewalks for the size of the tree pits they need to flourish.

We sought professional advice and in recent days have planted Swamp White Oaks and European Hornbeams trees which are much more conducive to longevity in a well-traveled business district.

We surrounded the trees with Flexi Pave Tree Surround, a relatively new product just installed in the Georgetown, Md., shopping district and the trails of Yellowstone National Park.

Flexi Pave is made with recycled rubber mixed with gravel and then combined with a binding agent. No particulate matter, debris or fumes are ever released. It is LEED certified, environmentally sound and qualifies for energy credits.

Its pervious surface filters and cleanses rain and runoff water, removing harmful chemicals including nitrates and phosphorous before they reach the root system and groundwater.

Flexi Pave is an excellent solution for well-traveled sidewalks when space is limited for pedestrian, stroller and wheelchair passage. The composite, unlike grates, allows tree trunks and roots to grow freely, and unlike concrete and asphalt, it does not crack or heave.

Of great importance, given the proliferation of slips and falls in the village in the past few years, is its perfectly level surface. The lack of a tree pit depression also prevents trash accumulation and any resulting rodent infestation.

Granted, it is less aesthetically pleasing than green grass or expensive wrought iron grates, but it makes sense for the village as our goal is to have healthy trees, strollers, walkers, outdoor dining, floral displays and book stalls all co-exist safely to create a busy, vibrant downtown.

Lastly, our public works staff has reported that this is the worst year they can remember for leaves being deposited on the roads, right-of-ways and near sewer grates. This is particularly distressing, as we spent thousands of taxpayer dollars cleaning our sewer systems only to now have leaves clog the system after every rain event. The slippery leaves are also contributing to car accidents and pedestrian slips and falls.

We ask that you or your landscaper move the leaves back on your property and instruct any helpers about the proper disposal of leaves going forward.


Column: Eastchester beginnings and the first Noel

The 1835 One-Room School House, run by the Eastchester Historical Society, where the annual Victorian Christmas Party will be held on the afternoon of Dec. 12. Photo courtesy Richard Forliano

The 1835 One-Room School House, run by the Eastchester Historical Society, where the annual Victorian Christmas Party will be held on the afternoon of Dec. 12. Photo courtesy Richard Forliano

Centuries ago, deeply-religious Protestants started Eastchester. However, the celebration of Christmas did not take place in this town until many years later. This is the story of how Christmas came to Eastchester.

The Town of Eastchester began in 1664 when Phillip Pinckney and 10 Puritan farm families from Fairfield, Conn., bought Eastchester from Thomas Pell, a land merchant and the future lord of Pelham Manor. The Puritans both in Britain, and even more so in the New England colonies, practiced an austere religion without what they considered to be the corrupt and ostentatious practices of the Catholic and Episcopal churches. Strict rules and harsh punishment outlawed sinful practices. Singing and dancing were discouraged. The practice of celebrating Christmas was forbidden.

The 10 Puritan farm families were hard-working and high-minded individuals who set the foundation for the present Town of Eastchester. A very important document called the Eastchester Covenant was signed a year after the first families moved in. A covenant is an agreement between people made in the sight of God. The covenant stated what kind of community Eastchester would be and what type of government the town would have. It was clearly stated that the men of Eastchester would run their own affairs by holding town meetings every other week “for one hour to talk about good things.” Town board meetings continue to this day to run the affairs of Eastchester.

The founders of the town made old Eastchester appear like a New England town. The town government supported the minister, educated the children so that they could read the Bible, and, to use the exact words of the covenant, “keep and maintain Christian love and civil honesty.” Overseers were set up to help the poor, orphans, widows and people in need. The ministers made sure that men did not mistreat their wives. One-room schoolhouses dotted
the landscape.

The Eastchester Covenant in many ways is like the Mayflower Compact of Westchester County. However, as time passed, the Puritan character of Eastchester began to wane. Here, there was never any witchcraft hysteria similar to what swept over Salem, Mass., in 1692. The practice of public whippings for crimes committed was abolished in 1754 at the start of the French and Indian War.

Also at the beginning of the 18th century, the inhabitants of Eastchester began to celebrate Christmas. St. Paul’s Church, the site where Eastchester began in 1664, was made an Episcopal Church by an act of the Anglican king. The priest who was sent to take over the church did not ostracize the Puritans who founded the church, but instead shared the church with them. Christmas was an important holiday to Episcopal Anglicans outside of Britain. Thirty-eight years after the founding of the town, deeply-religious Christians of this town started to practice Christmas at their Sunday services.

The spirit of holidays lives on as the Eastchester Historical Society keeps the rich historic traditions of the town alive. The most important tradition comes from the Eastchester covenant that the citizens of Eastchester should “keep and maintain Christian love and civil honesty.” Put simply in 21st century language, the covenant states that this town will be dedicated to the principles of compassion, integrity, co-operation and generosity.


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Column: Giving thanks

Sports Editor Mike Smith loves covering fall sports. He’s just happy the winter season is beginning before the weather starts to turn.  Photo/Mike Smith

Sports Editor Mike Smith loves covering fall sports. He’s just happy the winter season is beginning before the weather starts to turn.
Photo/Mike Smith

As families all over the nation get together on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s only fitting that I pause and give thanks as well; mainly for the fact that the fall season is finally over.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love working during autumn. Between the elite field hockey squads in our area and all the football action you can shake a stick at, I’m never at a loss for exciting athletic activity to cover in November.

But sometimes, it just gets too darn cold.

I was lucky this fall. Regardless of whether New Rochelle and Tuckahoe won or lost last weekend, I was done with outdoor coverage (the state football championships are played in the Syracuse Carrier Dome) for the year, and I escaped relatively unscathed. We’ve had some pretty decent weather over the last few weeks and for a guy who spends most of his weekends standing on some field with a camera, it’s been a blessing.

But that hasn’t always been the case.

There have been times during my tenure here when I think I deserved some hazard pay at the very least. Sure, tweeting doesn’t sound dangerous to the average person, but when frostbite is imminent, it’s a different story entirely.

With December approaching, Sports Editor Mike Smith is celebrating the end to another exciting fall season. Photo/Bobby Begun

With December approaching, Sports Editor Mike Smith is celebrating the end to another exciting fall season. Photo/Bobby Begun

I can remember a few years back, I covered a Syracuse-bound New Rochelle team in the state semis on a Saturday night up in Kingston. It couldn’t have been more than 20 degrees outside, with howling wind biting through each of the roughly 17 layers that I had on.

I’m not kidding; I was wearing so many shirts, it looked like I had donned one of those inflatable sumo wrestling outfits. And still, it did no good. It took the entirety of my hour-and-a-half drive back home, with the heat in my car pumping, to raise my body temperature back up to something
approaching normal.

This year, in comparison, I could have covered these games wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals.

But just because the weather has been mild so far, it doesn’t mean I expect it to continue. So with winter on the horizon, the freezing temperatures, the ice, and the snow, I’m going to be glad to be inside cozy gyms, doing my job.

Now if I can just get them to turn the thermostat up at the Hommocks Ice Rink, I’ll be set till April.


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Despite some public outcry, Mayor Joe Sack, a Republican, and the Rye City Council unanimously adopted a resolution giving them the authority to approve the appointment of the police commissioner. File photo

Column: Rye-centricity

“Rejection is part of writing, or trying anything creative for that matter,” the Westchester Magazine editor gently counseled as he informed me that his staff was not “100 percent taken” with the submitted piece about my whimsical observations of Rye life.

Despite my relative success as a columnist for the Rye City Review—emphasis on the relative—I clearly hit a stumbling block in my first foray outside the friendly confines of the home court.

Indeed, my access to this editorial boardroom was only made possible by the fortuitous location of this countywide glossy monthly’s headquarters in Rye’s Dublin neighborhood, and the happy coincidence that my terrific neighbor is the mother of one of the magazine’s head honchos.

But I was offered a consolation prize: An assignment to guest-author a regular feature “where we ask notable Westchester residents to share their favorite things from A to Z.” After briefly pondering my notability status, I jumped at the chance.

Redemption was in my grasp!

I set out to do my best impersonation of Sue Grafton, who started her Kinsey Millhone series years ago with “A is for Alibi.” She is up to X, which is being released this month. X doesn’t stand for anything; just X. I suppose “X is for Xylophone” was not an alluring title for a best-selling mystery novel.

I quickly began populating many of the easier letters on the list: Belluscio’s, City Hall, Dock Deli, Garnets, Jerry’s, Kelly’s, Milton Harbor, Playland, Smoke Shop.

Needless to say, there was a lot of competition at R: Rye Free Reading Room, Rye Arts Center, Rye Nature Center, Rye City Review, Rye Record, Rye Derby, Rye Roadhouse, Rye Bar and Grill, Rye YMCA, Rye Town Park, Rye Town Dock, Rye Golf Club, Rye City schools, Rye Neck schools. Should I go on?

Detecting my self-professed Rye bias, the editor did not exactly share my enthusiasm for all things Rye. “I certainly understand it. However, I have to kick this back to you and ask for a better mix of Westchester stuff that isn’t all Rye-centric.” The gentle letdown was at least accompanied by an encouraging smiley-face emoji.

This story does not have a happy ending. I politely declined to re-jigger the column, with the explanation that it would not be as authentic. Yes, that was the word I used. I blew my big chance.

With a little post-mortem introspection, I conjured up a vision of that famous Saul Steinberg New Yorker cartoon cover, which shows a view from 9th Avenue, depicting New York City as the center of the world.

Coincidentally, I recently had the opportunity to submit an opinion piece to another countywide periodical: The Journal News. My inspiration was the fact that this daily newspaper had used Rye on its front page two times in the same week, covering our effort to enlist the county executive’s office to help control our burgeoning deer population.

The gist of my piece was that Rye had been sold short, and that if the county executive thought more like a mayor and viewed the landscape from a local perspective, he would see the error of his ways.

Unfortunately, I did not even get a response. Rejection by silence. Not even an emoji.

But from my Steinberg-esque view over Boston Post Road, I did not feel rejection this time. Rye still dominates the map.