Category Archives: Columns


Column: We’re working on a vision for downtown


Mayor-MarvinOur downtown business consultant, Phillips Preiss and Grygiel LLC, recently sent the village a progress report of our Downtown Planning Study.

They suggested some straig-htforward changes to the village code for which there was strong support within all the constituent groups surveyed.

The consultants recommend loosening the restrictions on outdoor tables/eating to allow a broader range of downtown uses to take advantage of seating through both a zoning change and the institution of an annual licensing program.

As example, a code change would allow a business like Chantilly Pastry Shop to have bistro chairs out front in which a customer could have a coffee/breakfast and read the paper.

They also recommended that outdoor dining licenses, when granted, be valid for one year and renewed annually. Currently, when our land use boards grant these licenses, they last as long as the business is in operation.

The consultants’ logic is the merchant can be made more accountable for cleanliness, garbage removal, sidewalk obstruction if renewal of the benefit was predicated yearly on adhering to village standards.

The consultants also received very positive feedback from the groups interviewed concerning the display of outdoor merchandise. However, they do believe the village is remiss in not having regulations delineating standards for both the type and location of the merchandise.

They recommend stores be permitted to feature large items, such as garden equipment, household furnishings, antiques and plants as they provide attractive and visually interesting displays within the public right of way, which enhance a pedestrian experience in an outdoor/walking business district such as ours. Sidewalk display items should only be of the kind that would normally grace a store window. Small merchandise items, such as clothing and shoes, canned and bottled items should be prohibited in order to avoid a cluttered and unattractive appearance. Additionally, since retail displays may impede pedestrian traffic, distance standards must be set forth to ensure safety is paramount over merchandising.

Again, the consultants recommend a yearly renewal process to ensure the merchants remain compliant with all provisions of the permit.

Per the trustees’ directive, the consultants were also tasked to review our zoning code and procedures with an eye toward identifying and then implementing changes that help to create a more “business friendly” environment and providing greater clarity and certainty to merchants seeking to enter Bronxville.

Some of the issues that came to the fore include re-defining various commercial uses, such as personal services, retail uses and “service establishments” to eliminate confusion. Given the prevalence of on-line purchasing, the consultants also suggested we revisit the current restrictions on personal service establishments along Pondfield Road. As example, would it be a detriment to have a bright, airy ballet studio among the shops?

Our consultants also re-exa-mined the current square footage cap of store occupancy of 5,000 square-feet, given the needs of some very successful stores looking to come to our area.

Most importantly, they encouraged us to create a user-friendly land use application checklist so prospective merchants/tenants would know up front exactly the needs and timeframe to open a business in Bronxville.

Our colleagues in Scarsdale just recently employed the same consultants and acted on many of their suggestions, resulting in very positive changes and increased occupancy in their village and we expect to do the same.

On a very positive note, village landlords have at least six new businesses that have received all their approvals and will be up and operating this spring, greatly adding to the vitality of our business district.

The trustees are acutely aware many of our zoning and planning code regulations were written for a time and an economic environment that no longer exists and will never return.

To that end, emulating our neighbors in Scarsdale, we plan to work with our zoning, planning and design review boards as well as our merchants via the Chamber of Commerce to craft changes to our regulations that reflect the current economic reality while, at the same time, not sacrificing the ambience and standards that make Bronxville a unique village and shopping destination.

We also are investigating ways we can work with our art students/garden clubs/high school in conjunction with our landlords to make what empty stores remain attractive to the passerby.

Our business district is a crown jewel in Westchester and we as a community must do everything we can to keep it vibrant and attractive.


Column: Hey, let’s clean this place up

belmontPlease join the Town/Village of Harrison by coming out to show your support for this year’s “Spring Spruce-Up” event. On Saturday, March 22, and Sunday, March 23, we will be tidying up our roadways, parks, wooded areas and streams.

Target areas in downtown Harrison include Ma Riis Park, Veteran’s Park, the stream behind LMK Middle School, the Beaver Swamp Brook Corridor, and West Street, in the vicinity of the I-95 Bridge.

Target areas in West Harrison include the boulevard, various locations around Silver Lake and Underhill Avenue, and the Village Green.

Feel free to contact the mayor’s office with additional areas that may need attention. Clean up crew leaders will be at all locations and will provide lawn bags and instructions for sprucing-up. Come full of energy and prepared to make a difference.

For more information or to volunteer, please call Supervisor/Mayor Belmont at 914-670-3009, or visit the supervisor/mayor’s office at Town Hall.

Take pride in Harrison’s appearance and pitch-in.

As many of you are well aware, this has been the coldest winter within the past 10 years. Recently, I have been contacted by the New York Power Authority in an effort to inform Harrison residents about energy saving measures that can lower energy costs. As I have mentioned in past columns, this year’s exceptionally low temperatures have yielded higher energy usage in our region. The U.S. Department of Energy website provides useful information on energy saving practices and on ways to lower electric bills. For information on how to save energy and save money, please visit NYPA at

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Pet Rescue gala. This organization, located in Harrison, serves the needs of abandoned and neglected dogs and cats. The animals are fostered by volunteers, provided with veterinary care and placed in permanent homes. Pet rescue also has a spay/neuter program. The gala was a lovely event with wonderful food and warm conversation. Congratulations to the volunteers and staff for creating a top-shelf event for this very worthwhile establishment.

On Saturday, March 22, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, in partnership with the Westchester Financial Education Alliance, will be facilitating Financial Education Day at Westchester Community College. This conference will provide financial information, through various workshops, designed to assist residents with investing, budgeting and managing credit and debt. For more information, visit

In closing, I would like to congratulate School of the Holy Child. Last week, I had the honor of attending their groundbreaking ceremony for a new field house, athletic facility, theater and workshop. The education that Holy Child provides for their students is impressive and I am certain that these facilities will ensure the school remains a premier establishment in our community.

The next “Lunch with the Mayor” is on Friday, March 14, and I will be at Fuji Sushi, located at 216 Harrison Ave. On Friday, March 21, I will be at the café at Life Time Fitness, located at 1 Westchester Park Drive in West Harrison. I will be at these locations from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and look forward to meeting with residents and talking about issues facing our community.


Column: Where’s my time machine? I want to go home

Jason-Column2This past weekend, I watched two movies from my embarrassing backlog of wrapped DVDs, “Horse Feathers” and “Duck Soup,” both starring the Marx Brothers, released in 1932 and 1933 respectively.

In this space over the past weeks, we’ve discussed my love of “Casablanca,” trains and my discovery of neckwear at an early age.

The bow tie went down a storm last week, by the way. There will be others.

Tuesday is my wife’s late night at work, so I watched the latest round of “Carson on TCM,” in which Conan O’Brien introduces full-length interviews from the old Johnny Carson “Tonight Show” with people like, taking examples from last night, Bob Hope, Truman Capote, Bing Crosby, Tony Randall and Lauren Bacall.

You see where I’m going with this?

The first thought one might have about someone with interests like many of mine is nostalgia; I want to relive my childhood, or else things I saw when I was growing up.

Hold on, though; I’m going to be 40 in November, folks, not 70. I’m Generation X. If what I feel is nostalgia, I’d yearn for things like parachute pants, “Square Pegs” and Mikhail Gorbachev.

But I don’t. I don’t even miss deely bobbers. I hope no one does.

So, what is it?

It seems to me I’m nostalgic for someone else’s childhood, for an era not my own. Is that all it is though, nostalgia? It can’t be if I never experienced the things involved in the first place, can it?

I have a leather jacket based on the aviator barnstormers of the 20’s and 30’s. That novella I keep mentioning? It’s set in 1953. The next one I’m going to write will be based in the 30’s and have its roots in the pulp magazine heroes of that time.

Hey, fellow Gen X-ers, remember The Spider? The Shadow? Doc Savage? Of course not!

Wait, what about the first three Star Wars movies and all the Indiana Jones films. I love those, don’t I?

Yeah, but they’re based on the serials of the 30’s. Crap.

So, what it is with me, anyway? Am I just a man out of time? I have no idea, to be honest.

I can easily sit here and say, well, I should have been born in the 30’s, or perhaps the 20’s so I could really appreciate the culture of the 30’s. That would be an easy answer.

But would I have wanted to live through the Depression? Would I have wanted to leave my blood, and maybe my brains, on Omaha Beach?

I don’t know, maybe I would have. Maybe, like so many people around back then, I would have just got on with it, got through it, somehow. Maybe that’s something that’s missing today. I’m not sure I see many people around me willing to just get on with it.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve reached back in time for, or perhaps been pulled back in time by, most of the things that interest me. When I look at what the 1930s version of the future would be, it seems a whole lot cooler than what we ended up with in a lot of ways. Not all ways, of course—people aren’t dying like clockwork at about 60, for example—but, I don’t know, there was such romanticism about things like aviation, trans-Atlantic travel and what one might see at the next World’s Fair.

Today, I have a little glass slab in my pocket on which I can access all the knowledge in the known universe and I don’t bat an eye unless it takes too long for someone’s Instagram photo to download into my Twitter feed.

I won’t go so far as to say I think things were better back in the 20’s and 30’s for two reasons. First, I wasn’t there. Second, I’m sure things, on the whole, are far better now in most respects. That is, hopefully, the nature of the human race; we move forward inexorably, with stumbling blocks along the way.

Miley, for example.

What I will say is there’s something about that bygone era that appeals to me, draws me to it, in ways I don’t think anything still to come ever will.

Perhaps unfortunately, I don’t think we were able to zero-in on exactly why that is during our visit here this week, but I think if we agree it has something to do with the promise of a fantastic future based on the exploration of new technology backed by simpler virtues and ideals, I think I’m good with that
for now.


Reach Jason at and 

follow him on Twitter @jasonchirevas

Lisa Jardine

Column: Sharing my recent obsession

The crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt. Photos courtesy Silvana DeFrancis Photography

The crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt. Photos courtesy Silvana DeFrancis Photography

There are dishes I’ve eaten in my life that resonate with me and that I think about sometimes to the point of obsession. I love food and I’m always looking for the next best thing while harkening back to the good old glory days of my past eating experiences.

There was the red thai chicken curry I ate on a weekly basis from 1995 to 1997 at a six-table spot in Marunouchi, Tokyo—where the taxi fare cost twice what the meal did—or the New England clam chowder at the Black Pearl in Newport, Rhode Island, the ten ten men spicy ramen in the Juban in Tokyo or the avocado margaritas at Curra’s Grill in Austin, Texas.

I could go on, believe me, but I’ve found a new obsession and I’m happy to say it’s much closer to home: the crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt at Polpettina in Larchmont.

Yes, the name Polpettina translates to little meatballs; they have those too and they are really good, especially the spicy pork version. They have a lot of other menu options that I could speak about, and will, but the eggplant chips are seriously to die for. And the best part is, they were a happy accident.

Bacon and egg sea salt fries.

Bacon and egg sea salt fries.

Kyle Inserra, one of the co-founders of Polpettina, explains.

“Many of the suppliers we do business with are small farms and, one day, we received five cases of eggplant instead of just the one that we ordered. What were we to do with all of these extra eggplants? We served fried eggplant chips at a previous restaurant I worked at and, at first, we thought to serve them with a tomato sauce but we came up with something different using the wildflower honey with sea salt,” Inserra said. “And now it’s our second-best seller after the Neapolitan pie. If we took it off the menu, there would be a lot of complaints. Almost every table orders them.”

I’m not alone in my addiction.

The rest of the menu doesn’t disappoint. Although the name Polpettina conjures up thoughts of meatballs and Italian food, they don’t limit their menu to this genre.

“We enjoy going off the rails,” Inserra said. “Michael [Abruzese] and I opened up our first place in Eastchester kicking around the concept of making food that people wanted to eat and serving beer that people really wanted to drink. We give our chefs freedom of expression to cook their own food, which allows us to attract great chefs. We just hired Chris Brogan, the executive chef from MP Taverna, as our executive chef in our Eastchester location.”

And off the rails they go.

A few favorites of mine are the bacon and egg sea salt fries and the braised beef sandwich
with house-made giardiniera with a bit of chicken liver mousse. It’s one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a long time.

We celebrated a birthday there last month and asked our waiter to bring a fun dessert to the table to share. What arrived was their version of a melty chocolate cake sitting on a swish of dulce du leche with a perfectly crisped piece of bacon cutting a swath through the cake.

Kale, ricotta, roasted garlic and spicy chorizo pizza. Photo courtesy Christopher Tucci

Kale, ricotta, roasted garlic and spicy chorizo pizza. Photo courtesy Christopher Tucci

“We put the dessert on our menu in February and we’ve sold 80 of them in just the first few days,” Inserra said.

The Eastchester location opened in March 2011 and the Larchmont location followed in December 2013. In 2012, Westchester Magazine voted them “Best New Restaurant.” Both restaurants have their own distinctive look and feel. The original, in the Crestwood section of Eastchester, has a small, homey atmosphere, with exposed brick and the pizza oven front and central; more like a pizzeria than a restaurant but the food defies that description.

The new location in Larchmont was completely gutted to create a warehouse feel surrounded by exposed brick and reclaimed barn wood with a long, steel bar that splits the restaurant down the middle between tables and the semi-open kitchen, giving you a rustic, industrial feeling.

Both locations are always crowded and you can almost guarantee there will be a wait due to the very strict reservation policy—only for eight or more, only in Larchmont. This is one of my only complaints as I don’t like to wait, especially in crowded entries during winter.


Lunch is a much better bet if you want to sit down

They recently started serving Sunday brunch with a few delicious additions to their already stellar menu like banana caramel French toast, ricotta skillet pancakes and pork belly eggs benedict with unlimited mimosas for $25.

“We’re ecstatic about the new location. It took us two years to find the perfect spot. We are getting a feel for the new neighborhood—Larchmont is great. It’s been fun connecting to the community, starting new again. It’s been a blessing,” Inserra said.


Poetic License 3-14-2014

poeticPoems can awaken the sleeping imagination.

Wait Watcher


Over time, what have you waited for?

Sunshine or rain?

A train, a plane?

The evening news?

A cat to come home?



A vacation?

A blue moon?

Spring flowers, autumn leaves?

A birthday celebration?

An anniversary?

A new year?

The clock to strike?



Mary Louise Cox, Poet Laureate of the Town and Village of Mamaroneck.


Column: Waiting on a sunny day

On March 8, Sports Editor Mike Smith was finally able to get outside and play baseball after one of the worst winters in recent memory. The area’s high school athletes will look to get out on the field too as the spring season kicked-off in earnest on March 10. Photo/Mike Smith

On March 8, Sports Editor Mike Smith was finally able to get outside and play baseball after one of the worst winters in recent memory. The area’s high school athletes will look to get out on the field too as the spring season kicked-off in earnest on March 10. Photo/Mike Smith

I’m not the sort of person who pays too much attention to Punxsutawny Phil and his seasonal prognostications. In my mind, it doesn’t matter what the varmint says, it’s officially spring when I can feel it in my bones.

So, while spring might technically be a few weeks away, this past weekend gave a little glimpse into what life might be like after these dreadful winter months. And you’d better believe I made the most of it.

As someone who grew up playing baseball in the northeast, nothing seemed to announce the arrival of spring quite like the first outdoor practice of the season. The first two weeks of each baseball season seemed an interminable bore, endless soft-tossing in a dingy gym with plenty of conditioning to boot. But that first day on the field, regardless of how nippy it was, was always a glorious occasion.

On Saturday, I got a little taste of the past as my summer baseball team finally got a chance to enjoy a brief respite in the weather and take some cuts in the sunshine.

For a group of weekend warriors like my teammates and me, nothing turns back the clocks quite like that first taste of baseball. For five hours, we shagged flies, worked on our bunt defense and even got to face some of our pitchers in a simulated game, trying to condense three weeks of practice into one extended session, not knowing for certain if the weather that relegated us to cage work over the last three months would return before we open up the season in April.

And we were hardly the only ones. We hopped on the ball field at New York City’s East River Park at around 9 a.m. only to watch as five other baseball teams also showed up, hoping to take advantage of the weather. Although we got there first, thus claiming the field for our own, the other squads—some of whom play in our league—all carved out their own areas in the park so as not to miss out on a 50 degree day that felt more like 75 given the brutal winter we all endured.

Though we might not have been practicing together, all of the teams out on the field—from the 14-year-old rec league players to the 30 year-olds playing pepper by the canal’s jogging track—echoed the same sentiment; it’s just great to be outside.

And it’s funny how one day outside can change your mindset. Sunday found me driving in my car, windows down, listening to a spring training game between the Yankees and Rays. Forget the fact that I’d generally rather stick needles in my ears than willingly listen to a Yankees radio broadcast, my eagerness to welcome the spring made every awful Sterlingism seem like vintage Vin Scully.

On March 10, the high school season officially kicked-off, with softball, baseball and lacrosse teams taking their first reps of the calendar year. And while nobody quite knows if winter is gone for good, and I certainly don’t speak for all our student athletes, I’m pretty confident that most, if not all of them, are looking forward to stepping out onto the field—and out of this arctic weather—as I was.

Follow Mike on Twitter,


Column: Who wants another Crimean War?

careyAll in the valley of death
Rode the six hundred.
Someone had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the jaws of death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

So wrote Alfred Lord Tennyson in “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

The 600 were British soldiers. Why were they in Crimea at the Battle of Balaklava? Britain and France had declared war on Russia and landed in Crimea in September 1854. A year later, Sevastopol, headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet, fell. It was in Crimea that the British nurse Florence Nightingale tried to improve the care of the sick and wounded.

Russia even today has a rented naval base in Crimea and now clearly wants to occupy the entire peninsula. President Obama has pointed out use of force in another country against its wishes violates international law. Force has been legal against another country since the adoption of the UN Charter only in self-defense or with approval from the Security Council.

Security Council approval of the use of force to stop Russian occupation of Crimea is clearly out of the question. This is because Russia is one of the five permanent members of the council and therefore could veto any such proposal.

There is, however, a seldom-used alternative procedure called “uniting for peace,” available when the Security Council is deadlocked, in which event voting would take place in the General Assembly where there is no veto.

Under established international law, no title to, or sovereignty over, territory can be obtained by conquest. Therefore, Russia is not gaining the right to rule in Crimea just by being present there with overwhelming force. What the Russians might well do to fortify the legality of their occupation would be to encourage a campaign by friendly Crimeans for secession from Ukraine.

Russia might be able to win a referendum on the issue of Crimean independence, since a slight majority of Crimeans are of Russian ethnicity. The rest of the population, being mostly ethnically Ukrainian or else Tatar, the latter having suffered at Russian hands in the past, would likely vote against independence of Crimea from Ukraine.

Fearing a near-deadlock in a referendum on Crimean independence, Russia might prefer simply to stay put and exercise indefinite dominion over Crimea, invalid but effective. I doubt that anyone today wants to reenact the charge of the light brigade, into the “valley of death.”

Of course, the constant danger in any situation of such enormous tension is that a miscalculation might be made, leading to armed hostilities commenced without due deliberation, but in the onward rush of events. There would be plenty of zealots on either side crying out for blood in the name of patriotism. Cooler heads would suffer all manner of derision for lacking courage or patriotism.

In my respectful view, the less talk the better about undefined but inevitable “consequences.”



Column: Capital improvements are on the way

Mayor-MarvinThe trustees and I just concluded a six-week process that resulted in a new capital budget for the Village of Bronxville that totals $3.5 million.

Each year, the village writes a five-year capital improvement program. The annual program builds upon past programs and also tries to predict village capital needs going forward for the next three years. This kind of long-term planning is essential to address the long-term infrastructure needs of the village.

Department heads are first asked to produce a so-called wish list of proposed infrastructure projects and equipment needs which is refined after scrutiny by our village treasurer and village administrator.

Then the department heads have to present their individual budget proposals before the full Board of Trustees to justify the expenditures. The numbers were trimmed when warranted.

The capital improvement program budget will be on the agenda for a public hearing and possible vote at the village Board of Trustees meeting on April 7. In the interim, the document is available for public viewing at Village Hall and at the library.

The lion’s share of the budget, as is custom, revolves around the needs of the Public Works Department.

The board continues to advocate for a very aggressive street re-paving program, which will certainly be warranted given the proliferation of potholes created during this long, cold winter. The repeated freeze and thaw of our streets this year is doing extensive damage.

Since much of our storm and sewer infrastructure is near 100 years old, we also dedicated a large fund, $275,000, for upgrades and preventive maintenance. This was also the year in which several of our high-priced vehicles, including a bucket truck, dump truck and garbage truck, reached the end of their expected usefulness, necessitating $615,000 in new expenditures. Unfortunately, since this equipment is needed on a daily basis and at all hours, joint purchasing/sharing with our neighboring communities was not an option.

In an effort to recoup any value from the old equipment, we looked for re-sale options and have recently had great success using the auction method, be it through a government consortium or eBay. As you may remember, we purchased our snow melter last year through an inter-municipal sale, which has proven to be invaluable in cleaning up our parking lots.

As a corollary, the board also authorized money for an evaluation of our current Department of Public Works facilities since all of these high-ticket vehicles can only be stored outside, further decreasing their usable life. Built in the early 1940s, the Department of Public Works garage is long overdue for renovation. Much of our rolling stock is too large to be protected in our vintage garage.

This was also the year for two new police cars in the police department as current ones reached critical mileage. What we have found is that, due to wear and tear and 24/7 use, police cars reach a certain mileage and engine troubles begin and repair time and costs make it uneconomical to keep in the fleet.

We have also allotted monies in the budget to keep up with the constant need for replanting street trees as many are dying due to age or lost during storm events.

With the help of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy, which is sourcing and pricing the cost of our distinctive street signs, we will be replacing many throughout the village in the coming budget year.

The beautifully crafted signs have long been a distinct sign post that you were in the Village of Bronxville. More than 30 have been lost largely due to age and/or vehicular damage. We hope to bring them back with a phase-in program as monies are made available.

Internally, in the administrative arm of Village Hall, we have launched a program to improve our technological capabilities and, with it, our services to our taxpayers. We are currently installing new software to be used in our Building Department. Tracking permits and updating records of property improvements will now be done digitally. This improved data maintenance can then be shared with the taxpayer, providing comprehensive property information that can be readily available from home.

We are also looking at a variety of ways to provide a safer workplace for our court operations with improved security measures.

The library too will be looking to improve the outdated technology in the Yeager Room using both village tax dollars and monies received by the village from our cable franchise agreements. The library will improve its audio, video and transmission facilities, as well as replacing some well-worn furnishings.

The public is invited to participate in the public hearing for the capital improvement program at the April 7 board meeting. We welcome your input.


Column: Annie and area artistic kids shine

Congratulations are in order for the Harrison High School Varsity Boys Basketball Team for a hard-fought game against Eastchester at the County Center last week. Although the Huskies lost in the Section 1, Class A basketball semifinal game, they have a lot of which to be proud. The entire team and coach Gary Chiarella should be commended on an extremely successful season.  belmont

On a related note, I would like to highlight the accomplishments of two varsity players. Matthew Stein was selected by Con Edison as Con Ed Athlete of the Week. Coby Lefkowitz won this year’s Court of Excellence Award in the Section 1 game and was one of only 10 players to receive this award. Congratulations to both boys as they finish their high school basketball career.

I would like to take this time to recognize Harrison resident Annie Amato. Annie was recently appointed to the Breast Cancer Alliance Board of Directors. The Alliance is instrumental in raising funds to support breast cancer patients and survivors. Its mission is to raise awareness and work toward a cure. Annie has always contributed to our town and schools, chairing several committees and serving as a past president of HAS PTA. I’m happy to congratulate her on her appointment to this very worthwhile cause and wish her and her fellow board members the best of luck.

Recently, I have been alerted by Gov. Cuomo’s office regarding the availability of email and text alert reminders for vehicle registration and inspection renewals. New York drivers can now be notified by the DMV via email or text message that their registrations or inspections are soon to expire. According to the governor’s office, signing-up for this convenience can be easily done online, by mail or in person and motorists can unsubscribe at any time. For more information on this customer service improvement, visit

Last week, I attended a meeting hosted by Westchester County concerning the I-287 corridor and the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. A taskforce has been assembled to raise awareness of this project, to highlight the importance of its eventual outcome and to engage key groups and the public in the process. There are issues that impact our municipality and I look forward to working with members of state and local agencies as the project becomes a reality.

On Sunday, March 2, I had the pleasure of attending the opening reception in Town Hall for Youth Art Month. This year, Harrison’s talented students have exhibited works of art that include an array of mediums. The selected works showcase ceramics, mixed media, paint, acrylic on board, graphite on paper, earthenware and water colors to name a few. Students from our public school system, as well as from School of the Holy Child, are participating in this year’s exhibit and should be commended for their extraordinary achievements. This event would not be possible without the commitment of the Harrison Council for the Arts and the dedication of devoted teachers. The next time you visit Town Hall, please take some time to enjoy the beautiful exhibits placed in the foyer’s display case and hanging on the walls throughout the building.

The next “Lunch with the Mayor” is on Friday, March 7. I will be at Pizza 2000 located at 339 Halstead Ave. in downtown Harrison. On Friday, March 14, I will be at Fuji Sushi located at 216 Harrison Ave. I will be at these locations from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and look forward to meeting with residents and talking about issues facing our community.


Column: Begin at the beginning

“21. That one day every spring be chosen for the destroying of rattlesnakes.”

This is one of the founding tenets of Eastchester, written along with 25 other ones in 1665, just a year after the town was founded.LissaHalen

It all began 350 years ago in 1664 and Eastchester, along with its villages of Tuckahoe and Bronxville, is celebrating its founding. What better way to understand what the town is all about than to visit local historical sites?

In keeping with the times, let’s begin with the town’s new virtual site dedicated to its 350th anniversary. The site draws on the town’s rich heritage.

Thanks to recent residents Jennifer Frost and Kevin Elbert, the site,, went live in October 2013. Frost and Elbert volunteered their time and expertise to design and develop the site, including its unique logo. The research, writing and editing was accomplished by longtime Eastchester residents Patty Dohrenwend, Donato Vaccaro, Linda Doherty and Eastchester Town Historian Richard Forliano. They work tirelessly for the town and have been in overdrive the last two years planning and organizing the town’s anniversary celebrations.

On your first trip to the website, don’t be overwhelmed. Be overjoyed at the comprehensive amount of information about our rich past. You might want to begin with the link to the Eastchester Covenant to see what else the founders had in store besides destroying the rattlesnakes.

The covenant is a civil document of 26 articles drawn up by the 10 founding families in the 1660s. They compiled a set of 26 town laws and promised to live by them. You can read them in their original, ornate old English handwriting and language of the time, or the transcribed, modern typed list also available on the website. All 26 tenets offer a glimpse into how Eastchester’s earliest residents thought and lived. Consider the variety in these and read the remaining ones at

2. That we keep and maintain Christian love and civil honesty.

3. That we help and counsel each other.

15. No man shall entertain a foreigner who is obnoxious. This is amended after a warning is given.

20. That one, either of himself, or by consent, give entertainment to strangers for money.

The website offers a plethora of the town’s rich past and the links will take you there. When Frost said this website is “still very much a work in progress,” she was referring especially to the link under Resident Memories. All are invited to contact the committee to relate their memories of the town.

The younger generation will be represented by the students in all three school districts. Teacher resources and student projects will be developed at the schools aided by the Teacher Resources link.

Within the Teacher Resources is a link to topics for the 350th anniversary celebration for student projects. It is a wide-ranging outline of the history of the town and a great place to begin learning about the town’s celebrated past. Once you peruse the broad outline, you will go searching for more and more on the 26 topics included in the outline.

Another historical outline appears under the Community Programs tab for an all-inclusive book about Eastchester and its two villages of Tuckahoe and Bronxville. It is a book 350 years in the making and will be available in late 2014. Bronxville editor and Village Historian Eloise Morgan and Forliano spearheaded the hardcover book’s research, writing and editing. Both have extensive writing credits and this new publication proves it.

Need to zero in on a topic? The website will take you to articles related to specific topics or time periods. These articles, written by historian Forliano, originally appeared in the Eastchester Review, formerly the Town Report. The index links to all his comprehensive newspaper columns.

There existed into the 1960s a small creek referred to as Rattlesnake Brook in a section of the Bronx, which was once part of Eastchester. The title attests to the wilderness Eastchester once was and some unwanted wildlife. Today the brook is merely a trough near Boston Post Road.

Ever heard of Pigs Hollow in Eastchester? This story and others about Eastchester and its historical sites will come later.

Now it’s time to head to the Eastchester anniversary website and read all about it.

Lissa Halen is a resident of Eastchester for more than 35 years and a member of the Eastchester Historical Society Board. She also contributed to the upcoming book “Out of the Wilderness: The emergence of Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville, 1664-2014”