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Two Movie Classics, 'Primary' and 'Crisis,' to Be Shown at Bronxville Public Library Sunday, October 16 PDF Print Email

By Thatcher Drew, Member, Board of Trustees, Bronxville Public Library

Oct. 12, 2016:  Two movies, Primary and Crisis, will be shown at the Bronxville Public Library on Sunday, October 16, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission is free.

The movies are newly remastered classics in what became known as cinema vérité.

Primary was the first time a handheld camera followed characters (John F. and Jackie Kennedy) through real events (a primary against Hubert Humphrey). Richard Brody of the New Yorker calls it "the primordial observational documentary."

In Crisis, former Bronxville resident Greg Shuker and celebrated filmmaker Robert Drew capture the showdown between the Kennedys and Alabama Governor George Wallace over the integration of the University of Alabama. Kristen Jones (Wall Street Journal) observed, "Whereas Primary has its raw, energetic beauty, Crisis offers even more subtly observed detail and moments that are moving, chilling or filled with unbearable tension."

The films will be introduced by the filmmakers' children, Allison Devlin (Shuker) and Thatcher Drew. Both live in Bronxville. Allison grew up in the village and now works at Time Inc., where her father and mother both worked. Thatcher worked with his father; his first job was at JFK's funeral.

Pictured here:  Cover of DVD The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates.

Photo courtesy Drew Associates

Pet Lovers Bring Pets to Blessing of Animals at Reformed Church PDF Print Email

By Ellen Edwards, Former Executive Editor, Penguin Random House

Oct. 5, 2016:  Playful dogs, a burrowing hamster, and a disappearing rabbit made the annual blessing of the animals at The Reformed Church of Bronxville a joyful event on Sunday afternoon, October 2. Gray skies did not dampen the high spirits of those gathered on the grassy square of the church cloister as Rev. Cari Pattison, Rev. Samuel  Clover, and Rev. Jonah Smith-Bartlett placed their hands on each pet and said words of praise and prayer. Owners received a certificate and a small medallion of St. Francis of Assisi.

Although the animals came to be blessed, their owners said they feel blessed by the joy their pets bring to their lives.

Susan Pink's female wheaten terrier, Crosby, age five, adds to the pleasure of coming home from work each day. “She’s at the back door, so happy to see you, greeting you with kisses,” Susan said. “She knows who walks and feeds her and loves her.”

Kristen Ridulfo said that her purebred pug, Idi, age 9, “makes me laugh, gives a lot of love.”  At 18 pounds, Idi has a black coat and a double-curled tail. To Kristen, Idi’s especially good behavior that day suggested that “she might know it’s a special event.”

David Walker and his wife, Dale, have had their beagle, Johnny Walker, for eight years, and they take turns exercising him.  According to David, “It's a great way to meet the neighbors.”  

Paul Muir’s golden doodle, Sadie, 13 months old, could barely contain her excitement at the chance to romp with the other dogs.  According to Paul and his friend, Jill, Sadie loves walking around Bronxville, eating ice cream, and swimming at Cove Beach in Stamford, CT.

Simon Ramsey and his daughter Angelina, age 10, said that their English springer spaniel, Winnie, is “always surrounded by a lot of kids” when she visits The Bronxville School.  She gets an hour of exercise a day, often in Scout Field, where she loves to dig a hole and jump in it.  Simon noted that “she’s very loving,” and Angelina added, “Even as a baby, she wouldn’t bite.”  Winnie and her twin were the only survivors of a litter of nine puppies, which makes her extra special to the Ramseys.

For Fatima Viegas, her tiny Yorkshire terrier, Pippin, is “like my son. He gives me so much joy.”  Pippin may have been the smallest dog there.  Joe Griffith’s giant schnauzer, Black Jack, a salt-and-pepper beauty of 100 pounds, might have been the biggest. 

Tiny white maltese Princess Diamond arrived with James Briggs Murray, but according to James, it was his daughter Nisha Alanya who insisted on getting the pet when she was a sophomore in high school, only to decamp to boarding school soon afterward. James attributes the dog’s longevity--she’s ten and a half-- to daily vitamins, a strictly organic diet, and a two-mile walk each day. Now that his daughter is a teacher in the Bronx, she considers Princess Diamond the family dog, while James still calls her “your dog.”

John DiDonato wasn’t able to be there, but his wife, Janet, proudly showed off their shiatzu, Mia, age 8, who sat up very straight in her arms and wore a knitted sweater. Janet called The Reformed Church “a very special place that has a special meaning for the three of us. It’s very loving and they welcome animals, which is amazing.”

Thomas Koester’s hamster, Lucy, who arrived in a blue and clear plastic carrying case, was his birthday gift about a year ago. His mother, Andre, said, “We have four boys and they can roughhouse and she’s very patient with it.” Lucy was so busy burrowing in her unfamiliar case, it took some effort to extract her for the blessing.

Rev. Sam Clover said the blessing of the animals often comes out of a Catholic or Episcopalian tradition.  According to Clover, former pastor Rev. Dr. Kenneth Ruge initiated this event at The Reformed Church of Bronxville, which is affiliated with the Dutch Reformed Church. He may have been inspired by his former association with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, where the annual blessing of the animals involves an elaborate procession of exotic mammals, reptiles, and birds.

In several traditions, the first Sunday in October is celebrated as St. Francis Sunday, which honors St. Francis of Assisi, the cleric from the late 12th and early 13th centuries who was known for his love of animals and nature.

As for that disappearing rabbit, it came and went before this reporter could get a glimpse. But several sources confirmed that a rabbit was present and did receive a blessing. 

Pictured here:  Angelina Ramsey, Jayleen Padilla, and Winnie (photo by Pat Drew); Paul Muir, Rev. Cari Pattison, and Sadie (photo by Jill Northrop); and Paul Muir and Sadie (photo by Jill Northrop).  

Robert McGrath to Be Honored at Annual St. Joseph's Men's Club Dinner Thursday, October 6 PDF Print Email

By John C. Kelty, St. Joseph's Men’s Club

Oct. 5, 2016:  The St. Joseph's Men's Club will be holding its third annual Pastor's Dinner on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at Siwanoy Country Club. 

The event provides a moment when the men of the community can come together and share an evening of camaraderie and good cheer, celebrating and supporting the vibrant programs of the Parish of St. Joseph's.

The inaugural pastor's dinner saw the men's club recognize past presidents, while last year's event recognized Deacon Robert Schimpf. Deacon Bob, a familiar face in town, has faithfully served the St. Joseph's Parish for the last decade.

At this year's dinner, the men's club will honor Robert McGrath for his years of service not only to the St. Joseph's Parish, but to the wider Bronxville and Eastchester communities, as well. 

Beyond running the family business, Bob, a lifelong resident of the village, has been involved in numerous community organizations ranging from the Rotary Club to the Knights of Columbus. 

He has served as president of the Bronxville Republican committee and has served on the boards of the Eastchester Senior Citizens Council and the Bronxville Non-Partisan Committee. And to boot, Bob played the part of a wise man in the annual Bronxville Christmas Pageant for over 30 years, a tradition that was started by his father and passed down to Bob and his brother and continues in the McGrath family today.

An avid sports fan, Bob has been a coach across the spectrum from pee wee programs right up through the high school level, influencing multiple generations of local youth. His support has not waned in recent years and more often than not you can still find him among the spectators at any given youth sporting event.

To register or learn more about the evening, please visit the men's club website at or reach out to Tom Okon at CLOAKING

All in the community are welcome and encouraged to join what will certainly be an evening of celebration with friends new and old--attendees need not be SJMC members.

The night kicks off at 7:00 pm with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner at 8:00 pm.

Pictured here:  Robert McGrath, honoree at St. Joseph's Men's Club dinner.

Photo courtesy John C. Kelty, St. Joseph's Men’s Club

Blessing of the Animals at The Reformed Church Sunday, October 2 PDF Print Email

By Belle Hann, Communications Associate, The Reformed Church of Bronxville

Sep. 28, 2016:  The Reformed Church of Bronxville will be holding a Blessing of the Animals ceremony on Sunday, October 2, from noon to 1:00 pm in the grassy cloister area on Pondfield Road.

The Blessing of the Animals gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the life and contributions of St. Francis of Assisi, his service to the poor, his tender care of all creation, and his respect for nature. 

This gathering will allow us to honor and celebrate all of God's creatures and the special relationship we have with them. 

You are encouraged to bring your special animal companions and have them blessed by our clergy. 

For everyone's safety, please have dogs on leashes and cats in carriers. If your companion does not travel well or is deceased, you can bring his or her photo to be blessed.

Pictured here: The façade of The Reformed Church of Bronxville.

Photo by A. Warner

Letter to the Community: Olinda and John Simon Thanking Residents for Community Support PDF Print Email

Dear Local Friends and Residents:

Sep. 14, 2016:  The Simon family would like to thank all the community members who have been very kind to us since our recent loss of home by fire on August 2, 2016.

We deeply appreciate the many notes, letters, emails, and offers to help as we have dealt with this tragedy.

It is our hope to rebuild our home to its former glory and once again greet our friends and neighbors there.


Olinda and John Simon and Family
Bronxville, New York

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