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Bronxville Government and History

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Happy July 4th Weekend; Fireworks Nearby PDF Print Email

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By Staff     

Jul. 3, 2019:  MyhometownBronxville would like to wish you a Happy Fourth of July weekend. Here are a few places nearby to see fireworks.

Fireworks on Thursday, July 4th

New Rochelle

The July 4th Spark the Sound Fireworks Extravaganza will be a fireworks display at the New Rochelle waterfront. The fireworks are produced and sponsored by the Grucci family and will start at 9:30 pm, rain or shine. According to newrochelleny.com, the best viewing locations are Hudson Park, Five Islands Park, and waterfront restaurants. 

New York City. The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks is the largest Independence Day fireworks display in the country. The event this year will take place at the Brooklyn Bridge and will honor American cinema. Spectators can watch from the Lower East Side near the river as well as on television. Macy’s Fireworks will take place around 9:20 pm and will include “more than 70,000 shells and effects from the bridge and from four barges positioned along the shores of Pier 17 at the Seaport District.” Click here for more information.

Fireworks after July 4th

Tuckahoe: Tuckahoe will have summertime fireworks on Saturday, July 13 (rain date July 14), at Parkway Oval Field, Bronx Street. The event starts at 7:00 pm and the fireworks, put on by Grucci Fireworks, will start at 9:30 pm. Click here for more information.


Origins and Meaning of July 4th 

Mayor Mary Marvin has written a column this week on the origins and meaning of July 4th. Click here to read Marvin's column.

Photo by A. Warner

 
From the Mayor: The Origins and Meaning of the Fourth of July PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Jul. 3, 2019:  As I walked by our decorative store windows festooned with red, white, and blue, it brought a smile of gratitude for our country and a desire to do more research on the origins and meaning of the Fourth of July. So I went home and did my homework.

Often overlooked, all of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were truly brave Americans. They gave of themselves beyond measure, fully aware that when they penned their signatures in Philadelphia, it was an act of treason punishable by death. To a man, they were well educated, propertied, and of considerable means and standing who had so much to lose, but as they said, “They valued liberty more.”

The now-famous John Hancock, wealthy merchant, governor of Massachusetts and president of the Second Continental Congress, signed first and so boldly so “the British Ministry first can read my name without spectacles.” As he put the pen down, he said, “May they double their reward.”

Their signing statement written in unanimous accord read, “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

The document was a declaration of freedom that then required a long and arduous war to be fought before our nation declared was a nation in fact.

Of the 56 patriots who signed their names, nine died of wounds during the War of Independence; five were imprisoned for decades; and several had wives, sons, and even entire families killed. One signer lived to see all 13 of his children murdered. Every signer was the target of manhunts with huge bounties on their heads. They lived on the run, leaving prosperous farms, thriving shipping businesses, and law practices. Twelve signers had their homes and property burnt to ruins and 17 lost everything they owned, dying destitute. Yet no one went back on his pledged word.

I delved a little deeper into the writing of this incredibly brave document and found so much more of interest:

  • Of the 56 signers, eight were born in Britain.
  • At age 26, Edward Rutledge of Charleston, SC, was the youngest signer. He continued a lifetime of government service culminating in the governorship of South Carolina. He died at age 50.
  • The oldest was Ben Franklin at age 70.
  • Jefferson is credited as the author of the Declaration of Independence. Actually, he was part of a five-person committee appointed by the Continental Congress to write it. They included Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman.
  • After Jefferson wrote an initial draft, the other members of the Declaration Committee made 86 changes, including shortening the overall length by more than a fourth.
  • Jefferson was quite unhappy about some of the edits. He had included language condemning the British promotion of the slave trade (even though he was a slave owner), but this language was removed over his vehement objection.
  • Though a member of the writing committee, Robert Livingston refused to sign the document, as he believed it was too soon to declare independence.
  • One of the most widely held misconceptions is that it was signed on July 4, 1776. In fact, independence was formally declared on July 2, 1776, a date that John Adams believed would be "the most important epoch in the history of America." On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the final text of the Declaration. It wasn't signed until August 2, 1776.
  • When George Washington read the document aloud in front of New York City Hall, a raucous crowd cheered and then subsequently tore down a nearby statue of George III. The statue was then melted down and shaped into 42,000 musket balls for the fledging American army. 
  • There are five references to God in the Declaration of Independence.
  • We were often taught that the primary reason the American colonists revolted from British rule was related to taxes, but "taxation without representation" is the 17th among 27 reasons given for seceding.
  • The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox. Two weeks after Pearl Harbor, both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were packed in 150 pounds of protective gear and escorted via train by Secret Service agents to Louisville.

Only one President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on the Fourth of July.

With incredible poetic justice, on the 50th anniversary of their signing, Jefferson and John Adams died on the Fourth of July within hours of each other and five years to the day, James Monroe also passed away on the Fourth. 

Despite all the connected tragedies, John Adams felt the Fourth must be a festive occasion of remembering when writing to Abigail that “the Fourth of July ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”

As we are about to enjoy the holiday with family and friends, I believe General Patton said it best about holidays such as the Fourth of July. “We should not mourn the men who died while serving, rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin.

Photo by N. Bower

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
The Bronxville Historical Conservancy is Recipient of Prestigious Award PDF Print Email

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By Erin Saluti, Board Member, The Bronxville Historial Conservancy

Jul. 3, 2019:  On June 8, The Bronxville Historical Conservancy was awarded the prestigious Sy Schulman Award at the annual meeting and luncheon of the Westchester County Historical Society (WCHS), which was held at the Edith Macy Center in Briarcliff. The award committee selected the “current and prior co-chairs and the board of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy” (BHC) for this honor. The Sy Schulman Award is given to persons and organizations that have a strong commitment to historical research, historic preservation, and/or the teaching of local history and have elevated the public’s appreciation of the rich history of Westchester CountyAwardees are nominated for consideration by members of the public.

Patricia Dohrenwend, former director of Westchester County’s Archives and Records Center and a Bronxville resident, nominated the Conservancy for the award. Among the many reasons listed for her nomination, Dohrenwend noted the “Conservancy’s incredible contribution over two decades in promoting our local village’s rich history to an audience that is now multi-generational. The BHC volunteers’ selfless service and tireless efforts have established models of public educational programming in local history for other communities in Westchester and elsewhere to replicate.” 

Lifetime BHC co-chairs Marilynn Hill and Bob Riggs; current co-chairs Judy Foley and Bill Zambelli; and past co-chairs Jack Bierwirth, Bill Dowling, Erin Saluti, and Jayne Warman were all present to receive the award. BHC co-chair Judy Foley remarked, “The Bronxville Historical Conservancy is incredibly honored to be the recipient of this distinguished award and to join the highly esteemed group of past honorees. We hope to continue our work, fostering the appreciation of the history and current life of the Village of Bronxville.” Mayor Mary Marvin, who also attended the award presentation in support of the BHC, noted, “The Conservancy’s record of scholarship, commitment, historical respect, and professionalism is truly second to none and a template to follow countrywide.” The mayor continued, “They have enriched the fabric of our village to the core and continue to educate and train all generations to be enlightened and informed stewards of their community.”


Zambelli and Foley receive Sy Schulman Award from the WCHS.

Foley, along with Zambelli, giving remarks upon accepting the award.

The featured speaker for the luncheon was Dr. Brent Glass, director emeritus of the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution, who spoke about his book, 50 Great American Places, and his recent participation in the creation of the Sing Sing Prison Museum in Ossining.

The award is given in memory of former WCHS trustee Sy Schulman, who was the county’s chief planner and planning commissioner during the 1960s, and had a “significant role in shaping the county we know today. Throughout his life in Westchester, he championed the cause of preserving and promoting the history of the county,” according the WCHS.

The Bronxville Historical Conservancy was founded in 1998 to record and preserve Bronxville’s history and current life. The BHC furthers its mission through the presentation of programs, publications, lectures, and special events that foster an awareness of the village’s architectural, artistic, and cultural heritage and lends its support for projects designed to strengthen and preserve those legacies.

Pictured at topThe Bronxville Historical Conservancy current and past co-chairs (L to R):  Marilynn Hill, Bill Zambelli, Judy Foley, Bill Dowling, Jack Bierwirth, Erin Saluti, Jayne Warman, and Bob Riggs.

Photos courtesy The Bronxville Historical Conservancy



Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
Bronxville Environmental Forum Explores Sustainable Energy Initiatives PDF Print Email

By Bill Gaston, Member, Bronxville Democratic Committee

Jul. 3, 2019:  Confronting the challenge of global climate change will require no small amount of courage and imagination. At the national level, the challenge is immense, and efforts to combat its consequences can be frustrating. In towns and villages, however, grassroots activism and outreach are already making a difference in providing pragmatic responses.  

The Village of Bronxville is no exception.

On June 18at the Bronxville Library, village residents were treated to an absorbing and wide-ranging discussion of local environmental issues ranging from a new food scrap recycling program to county green power generation and energy conservation Initiatives. The forum, organized by the Bronxville Democratic Committee, concluded with a sobering presentation by three Bronxville High School seniors on Bronx River water quality. 

Michelle Sterling, a co-chair of the Scarsdale Forum Sustainability Committee, spoke of the many benefits of her town’s food scrap recycling/composting initiative. The first of its kind in the county, it started in 2017 and has since spread to 16 towns in Westchester. She urged Bronxville to sign up, arguing its small size would make it an ideal candidate for food scrap recycling: “You’re teeny-tiny, just one square mile. One drop-spot for food scraps would be enough,” said Ms. Sterling. “Write your mayor to adopt it. It would be a game-changer." Over 2,000 tons of municipal solid waste, including food scraps, are burned each day in county incinerators. Nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food scraps account for approximately 22% of waste in landfills and incinerators.

Ms. Sterling acknowledged that for many residents, participation in food recycling requires “a mental shift," a change in habits that takes some effort. However, in the long run, she added, “It doesn’t make sense to burn food in incinerators.” She also explained how the minimal start-up costs and operating expenses of food scrap recycling--she brought with her for display a green food scrap bucket and a storage bin--make it a cost-effective alternative to traditional waste disposal methods.

Peter McCartt, director of energy and conservation for Westchester County, told the audience that under the leadership of county executive George Latimer, the county has made several significant strides toward promoting energy savings and green power sustainability. 

Mr. McCartt said that County Executive George Latimer has authorized a $200,000 study to look into a cost-effective county-wide food scrap recycling plan. He commented that removing food scraps from the incineration mix would be a “huge” accomplishment. Mr. McCartt also said the “Recycle Right” program (launched in April) has made a big difference in educating citizens about the benefits of recycling, even as efforts on the national stage have dimmed. Additionally, he pointed to other countywide green energy initiatives: expanding the electrification program for the county’s fleet of public buses (including the purchase of more hybrid buses), increased land resource management, and the development of solar energy for the county by 2020.

Next to speak were Bronxville High School juniors Sunday Ladas, Hailey Mullen, and Charlotte Cagliostro, whose Bronx River water quality presentation got the attention of the audience. The students tested water samples at several riverside locations for enterococcus bacteria (EB), a bacterium associated with human sewage in water. The concentrations they discovered were alarming. Efforts by the students to identify the source of the contamination have been in part frustrated by the inability of the village government to locate relevant maps of sewer and storm drain lines that would help to identify where the leaks are coming from. Until those maps resurface and/or the village utilizes dye tests to identify the source of the pollution, the cause of the high EB count in the Bronx River will remain a mystery.

In another grassroots initiative, village resident Ruth Walter, proprietor of Dobbs & Bishop Fine Cheese and a 2019 candidate for the Westchester County Legislature, announced one of her own: a proposal to install fast-fill water fountains in municipal buildings so residents can fill their reusable bottles and water containers, thus cutting down on the use of plastic water bottles. It is estimated that Americans buy 29 billion water bottles a year. For every six bottles people buy, only one is recycled. Walter’s plan would be to install these fountains in libraries, town halls, etc., and eventually outside in parks. Said Ms. Walter, “Go green, and leave the plastic behind.”

Pictured here: Bronxville Library.

Photo by A. Warner


Editor's note
: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
From the Mayor: Bronxville's Many Green Efforts of the Last Decade; Mary Liz Mulligan, Chair of Green Committee, Passes the Reins PDF Print Email

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By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville

Jun. 26, 2019:  Mary Liz Mulligan has stepped down after ten years of exemplary leadership and tireless effort as chair of our Village Green Committee and passed the reins to committee member Ellen Edwards.

The changing of the guard prompted me to pause and recap what we have accomplished on the environmental front and where we as a village need to be headed.

In the last decade, the village began new green efforts by refurbishing village hall with a geothermal cooling and heating system that has proven successful on the economic as well as environmental level and functions virtually maintenance free.

We were also one of Westchester’s first communities to institute a seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf blowers and early on joined Hastings in a campaign to mulch leaves in place, saving thousands of dollars on costly vacuum truck removal.

We added many more trash receptacles throughout the village and have more on order to replenish the stock. In addition, we placed solar “Bigbellys” in strategic locations that can handle four times the trash thanks to solar decomposition.

The village also discontinued the use of all chemically laden fertilizer and pesticides on all village property, and the Bronxville School followed suit.

We were awarded a state grant to refurbish the Garden Avenue parking lot to install French drains to catch water cascading down the tennis court hill directly into the school zone.

In addition, we added trees in the lot to further absorb water and lower the blacktop surface temperature.

We are essentially doing the same things on the former Avalon lot that we purchased as well as adding a state-funded charging station, increasing the Vespa parking area and providing safer, stronger bike racks. We will also be adding charging stations in the enclosed Villa BXV parking lot by year’s end. 

The road surface blacktop we now purchase is not 100% petroleum-based; rather, it is an amalgam of recycled blacktop.

Mary Liz Mulligan initiated a take-back day ten years ago and it gets more successful as the years progress. In addition to the Westchester County shredder, we collect all electronic devices – if it has a plug, we’ll recycle it – as well as bedding for dog shelters and even furniture.

We also applied for and won a state grant for a filtering system at our DPW site so oil from the trucks can no longer seep into nearby catch basins.

Our very active and generous garden clubs, the Bronxville Beautification Council and Boulder Ledge Garden Club, have partnered with the village to plant new street trees throughout the business district and shore up the banks near the rail station with plantings to prevent erosion.

Our Giving Garden, an offshoot of the Green Committee, is in the process of growing 500 pounds of chemical-free vegetables to be donated to neighboring soup kitchens.

We have also partnered with the Bronxville School on their research of the health of the Bronx River, which is rightfully of great concern to the next generation.

On the continuum, the village has been proactive in embracing environmental measures, but there is clearly more that we can do.

To that end, we are in discussions with Waste Zero, a national company that assists in local recycling of textiles.

Our Green Committee has also brought forth a proposal to start composting food waste, a model program started in Scarsdale and now replicated in 15 other Westchester Communities.

The plans for the new public works facility envision a much greener building in all aspects, including solar roof panels.

On the individual front, especially as it relates to the cleanliness of the Bronx River, small changes in habits will aid the effort. Chief among them is the tossing of dog waste bags into catch basins, which eventually reach the river and raise the toxicity exponentially. Just putting them in a trash receptacle would be an enormous environmental improvement. We also ask that you check your water hookups, as we are finding residential plumbing systems that are comingling sanitary and water conveyances, further adding to the pollution of the Bronx River.

We welcome any other thoughts as to ideas/initiatives to advance our green footprint.

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin.

Photo by N. Bower

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.

 
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