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Bronxville Government and History

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Bronxville Residents Remember the Day Kennedy Died PDF Print Email

Nov. 20, 2013: As dozens of Bronxville parents have done in years past, Janet Johnson was a chaperone on the middle school trip to Williamsburg on that Friday, November 22, 50 years ago.

"We were in Williamsburg on our bus and a man came and pounded on the door and said, 'Did you hear? The president's been shot!'"

Patty Warble was teaching reading to her second graders at PS 109 in East Harlem. The intercom suddenly came on and she could hear a radio report coming through.

"I heard something about a grassy knoll, as I remember, and you just knew something awful had happened and somehow I just knew it was Kennedy."

As soon as her students were dismissed, she headed downtown to meet her husband of three months at NYU, where he was a law student. "I got on the Lexington Avenue subway at 96th Street and people were just sitting there crying or just sitting in stunned silence."

Carlo Vittorini was working at Look magazine in Midtown Manhattan. He heard the news as he headed back to his office that afternoon. "In the office, it was mayhem, a quiet type of mayhem, grief, great sorrow, and just this terrible feeling of waste, of how unnecessary it was, how cruel."

In what was then West Germany, Dorothy Bowerman heard it on television. She was a young US Air Force wife, stationed with her husband and three small children at Ramstein Air Base. "We were very upset and decided to go for a walk nearby. As we got out of the car, there were several Germans around. They were so sad, the Germans were so sad. Just looking at them you could see it. They were afraid. They didn't want to look us in the face. They lowered their heads. They were very sympathetic and sorrowful and respectful of our loss."

This was the height of the Cold War, of course, and Kennedy had given his famous, blistering, almost triumphant "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in Germany just months before.

Bowerman, who has lived in Bronxville for eight years, said that all these years later, there is still sadness over that loss.

"I think it was one of the first real violent crimes, one of the first public atrocities in this country; that, combined with the fact that the president was so popular and it was so unexpected, I think we lost an enormous amount."

Bob Riggs, who grew up in Bronxville, agrees. He wonders about JFK and the Vietnam War.

"The whole issue of Vietnam, would he have permitted it to continue, is an open question. Some claim that JFK would have pulled out of Vietnam and I sort of sense that. If that assumption is correct, then we certainly did lose something very, very substantial, because I don't know of any experience during the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, that was worse than Vietnam."

As a young lawyer working on Wall Street the day Kennedy was shot, Riggs remembers a particular sound in the air that afternoon.

"It caused literally a buzz on Wall Street. People were walking around with radios to their ears. That was the way people could carry the news with them back then."

When a crying teacher walked into her sixth grade classroom in Winnetka, Illinois, that afternoon and told ten-year-old Lisa Kunstadter and her classmates the news, Kunstadter had the sense that something big had ended in an instant.

"Looking back on it, you have a sense that it was the beginning of some sea change, the sense that we weren't safe. The ground under your feet was not firm anymore. I remember being shocked when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, and when that happened you started feeling like the world was coming apart."

John F. Kennedy's family connection to Bronxville is well known. During the 1930s, they lived in a big home just off Pondfield where Crown Circle and Crampton Road are today.

Janet Johnson, the Bronxville mother of four who would serve as a chaperone on the middle school Williamsburg trip in 1963, had moved to the village in 1919 as a two-year-old. She met JFK at various holiday parties when they were both teenagers and he was home in Bronxville from boarding school. He didn't leave much of an impression on her back then except for his good looks.

But on the day of his death some 25 years later, she found herself in Williamsburg, Virginia, consoling very young Bronxville teenagers who were distraught that their president had been murdered. They piled into her hotel room that night, dozens at a time, to watch the news in black and white on the only TV available at the hotel.

Pictured here: John F. Kennedy.

 
13,000 Invitations in Mail to Commence Eastchester's 350th Anniversary Celebration PDF Print Email



Nov. 20, 2013: To ensure that every resident in Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville receives an invitation, the steering committee of Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. has mailed over 13,000 of them!

This invitation comes in the form of a colorful brochure describing the yearlong 2014 celebration of the town's founding and the public programs designed to commemorate it.

Produced by the professional marketing team of Don Blauweiss and Diane Dudzinski, who volunteered their services for this effort, the rich burgundy mailing features the Royal Patent of 1666 on its cover and details the community programs inside. "As owners of the historical Coutant House and supporters of the Eastchester Historical Society, we wanted to share our enthusiasm for our rich local history and give back to our town," said Blauweiss, principal of Don Blauweiss Advertising & Design.

Bob Riggs, co-chair of the steering committee of Eastchester 350 Anniversary, Inc., the organization overseeing the anniversary celebrations, emphasized that the committee wanted to reach everyone in town, not just those with access to digital media, although that base is covered as well. "We have launched our website at www.eastchester350.org, issued a number of press releases, and now we are reaching out even further to the entire population," added Riggs.

The steering committee welcomes volunteer participants in all of its programming and encourages those interested to contact the group at CLOAKING .

Similarly, the brochure presents opportunities for all residents to offer financial support, whether large corporate or small individual donations. Checks should be payable to Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and mailed to 40 Mill Road, Eastchester, NY 10709.

Pictured here:  Cover of brochure sent to residents of Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville by Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc. describing the celebrations of Eastchester's 350th anniversary planned for 2014.

Photo courtesy Linda Doherty, Co-Chair, Steering Committee, Eastchester 350th Anniversary, Inc.

 
Bronxville Farmers' Market Soon to Move Indoors PDF Print Email

Nov. 20, 2013:  After a six-month stint outdoors, the Bronxville Farmers' Market will be moving indoors to 1 Pondfield Road after this Saturday's market (November 23).

We have had a busy and productive outdoor season with 39 vendors this year. We were very fortunate with the weather and even escaped the usual nor’easters and hurricanes and did not get flooded out even once this season! That's a first on both counts.

Our furry friends visited in October from Staghorn Valley Alpacas and were as cute and popular as ever. We had students from Bronxville High School visit, collecting donations for Hearts to Home to help our servicemen and women.

After taking last winter off for all to reboot, we are once again fortunate to have a very generous realtor, Samson Management, allowing us to use their unoccupied space at 1 Pondfield Road. We would not be able to run a market without their kind gesture.

The indoor market will be held every other Saturday starting December 14. (December 14 and 28, January 11 and 25, February 8 and 22, March 8 and 22, and April 5 and 19 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.)

We are back outside May 10, just in time for your Mother's Day feast! 

We will have fresh veggies all winter since one of our new farmers has high tunnels and greenhouses and can continue production all winter. Also, many of our regular vendors will be there, as well as some new ones. Please check our new website (www.bronxvillefarmersmarket.com) for directions and vendor information.

Thanks to all our loyal customers who have supported the BFM this season as well as the past 12 years!

Hope to see you Saturday outdoors!

Pictured here:  Paul Alward, farmer and owner of Veritas Farms.

Photo by Mary Liz Mulligan, Market Manager, Bronxville Farmers' Market

 
Bronxville Police Blotter: October 18 to November 3, 2013 PDF Print Email

 

Friday, Oct. 18:  At 8:46 am a bicycle was reported removed overnight from a driveway on Avon Road. The bicycle was a Raleigh brand, unknown value.

Friday, Oct. 18:  The passenger-side window of a 2012 Lexus located on Meadow Avenue was smashed and a Lanvin handbag containing credit cards and $1,500 in cash were stolen from the vehicle. Detective William Carroll reviewed surveillance video from the area and developed a suspect. After consultation with the Westchester County Intelligence Center the suspect was identified as 44-year-old Christopher Derentiis of Yonkers. On October 28 Derentiis was arrested by Detective Carroll and charged with two counts of felony grand larceny in the 4th degree and one count of criminal mischief. Derentiis was remanded on $10,000 bail pending his next court appearance.

Saturday, Oct. 19:  At 3:09 pm on Lake Avenue a black IBM laptop was reported stolen from a 2007 Toyota Highlander overnight. There were no signs of forced entry.

Wednesday, Oct. 23:  At 1:21 pm on Plateau Circle West, a pink Apple iPod valued at $160 and $20 cash were reported stolen overnight from a 2013 Mercedes Benz ML 350.  No signs of forced entry.

Wednesday, Oct. 23:  At 1:34 pm on Plateau Circle West $15 was reported stolen from a 2010 Toyota Highlander. No signs of forced entry

Sunday, Nov. 3:  At 9:16 am on Sunnybrae Place a black specialized Rockhopper mountain bike valued at $750 was reported taken from a closed garage. No signs of forced entry.

 
Super Scrambles Paddle Tournament Called Off After Organizing Committee Resigns PDF Print Email

 

Nov. 13, 2013:  For the first time in 40 years, to the surprise and confusion of paddle tennis players in Bronxville, there was no Super Scrambles to kick off the new paddle tennis season.

"We don't know what's going on, and it's sad," said avid player Allison Devlin. "It's really disheartening. Paddle tennis has been, quite literally, my social life for seven months of the year."

All five members of the long-standing volunteer paddle tennis committee resigned after its president, Kevin Dillon, received a letter from the village expressing concern over revenues generated by the program, the proper monitoring of permits, and the low number of village residents who use the courts. The letter also called for trustee approval of the roster of committee members.

Committee members felt the letter took an unnecessarily accusatory tone. According to Dillon, the letter faulted the committee for causing the concerns raised.

Trustee Guy Longobardo stated that he and Mayor Mary Marvin asked the paddle tennis committee members to continue to serve but believes there was dissatisfaction among the members after they requested a committee roster to approve.

Longobardo explained that, since the paddle tennis facility is a village asset, officials are accountable to the state for identifying individuals who allocate the courts and hold tournaments there.

"The letter came out of the blue," said Lynn Joyce, a 40-year member of the committee, which has organized and run the paddle tennis program at the village's four courts on Paxton Street. "People don’t even know what happened. That's the sad part."

Dillon stated that, if village officials had verbalized their concerns about the program and explained that the roster of approved members represented a matter of compliance with New York State law, the committee would have been happy to comply. He also said that committee members were willing to correct any issues village officials had with their operation of the courts.

Joyce said that members made nightly trips to the courts over several weeks when notified that a significant percentage of players in a Tuesday evening league did not have proper permits. They monitored permits and either collected fees or denied access to players who did not comply.

"Never once was working together to solve the problems brought out," Dillon noted. He added that, when he asked officials about the village's vision for the paddle tennis courts, they didn't seem to have one.

Longobardo pointed out that the village's paddle tennis program has consistently lost money over the past five years, if not longer. The losses have ranged from $8,000 to a $15,000 loss in 2009-2010.

"The village, because we're already subsidizing court usage because of the losses, wants to increase resident usage of the facility," Longobardo said. He estimated that twice as many non-residents as residents use the facility. The village has changed the fee structure to encourage more residents to join. Under the new structure, a resident family can join for $150 per year, as opposed to the former rate of $200. A non-resident family will pay $300 annually, as opposed to the former rate of $225.

Longobardo acknowledged that, once the committee was made aware of the delinquent permits, its members did a "great job" in collecting permit fees from those players.

"Ideally, we’d like to see resident usage increase," Longobardo said. "If we have a facility that's not being used by many residents, should the village continue to subsidize it the way it does now?"

At its November 4 meeting, the board of trustees approved a resolution to hire Mike Virgilio, tennis pro, as a private contractor to supervise the paddle tennis courts. His duties will include monitoring players for valid permits, monitoring the facility itself, and organizing tournaments and scrambles.

Longobardo reported that Bill Moss and Sloane Finn, who will be named to a new paddle tennis committee, are working on holding tournaments. He added that the new committee is open to volunteers.

"We always strived for growing and building a community-based program," Dillon said about his defunct committee. "We had that. We had the traction."

Pictured here:  Paddle players during a previous Super Scrambles tournament.

Photo by A. Warner

 
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