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Bronxville Takes Decluttering to a New Level PDF Print Email


By Peter Clifford

Apr. 1, 2019:  Marie Kondo, the tidying expert, bestselling author, and star of Netflix's hit show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, started a craze for decluttering back in 2014, which has only gained in momentum since then and spurred an obsession with simplifying our lives. For those familiar with the KonMari Method, it is not just about tossing out things that you no longer need but, more important, about keeping those things that “spark joy.” Decluttering has become equally a spiritual quest and an exercise in bringing order into the household.

This desire to declutter has been a huge boon to secondhand and thrift shops. Online sites like eBay and Craigslist have seen a noticeable rise in the amount of household belongings being sold over the past few years. This has resulted in family conflict in some cases. One Bronxville mother reported that her kids were very upset after she gave away a hamster they had had for several years. She pointed out that no one paid any attention to the animal and she hoped another family would find joy in its ownership. She also promised not to give their cat away.   

The KonMari Method has also provoked deep soul searching about things in people’s homes other than just objects. One Bronxville resident, Penelope Chandler, recalled how one weekend she was immersed in one of her periodic decluttering sweeps through her house when her gaze settled upon her husband of thirty years, who was stretched out on the couch in the midst of watching several hours of football. Why, she wondered, should decluttering be limited to just material possessions? Isn’t it possible for people to also clutter up our lives? Shouldn’t we be constantly reassessing why we hold onto people and should they be taking up space in our homes?

And so a new business was launched. It is part marriage counseling and part family therapy. Spouses will come to Penelope confidentially to confess that they have a desire to tidy up their personal relationships but want to make sure they are making a sound decision. Penelope points out that “it is very important to ensure you are not making an impetuous, bad choice about what to get rid of. It’s one thing to throw out a lamp you have been keeping for years because your mother gave it to you and then regret it later. That is not something that could potentially haunt you forever. But to get rid of your spouse is not a decision to be taken lightly. The implications are so much more far reaching than disposing of a lamp. My job is to coach my clients on how to have that very difficult conversation with the former loved one. It’s important to explain to your spouse that all the clutter in the house is stressing you out and therefore you are making the decision for your emotional and spiritual wellbeing.”

Another related situation that Penelope has dealt with is older, live-at-home children. As has been reported frequently in the national media, more and more college graduates are returning home because of college debt or lack of job opportunities. Some even continue to live with mom and dad after finding a job because of the convenience of meals and laundry service. At some point, many parents decide to declutter their bedrooms, which means having a painful but necessary conversation with their progeny. Penelope advises parents that “it is key to let the child know that you still love them, but love and clutter cannot co-exist. Most children eventually get over it.”

Even some parents who are dealing with the issue of decluttering their houses of teenagers have discovered the benefit of boarding schools, which have seen a significant uptick in enrollment ever since The Kondo method took off. Dwight Hotchkiss, head of admissions at the Deerfield School, reported that over 50% of parents mention decluttering as the primary reason why they decided to have their children apply. In fact, many boarding schools have revamped their marketing pitch to appeal to parents who are looking to pare down the number of offspring at home. Augusta Taft, admissions director at the Hotchkiss School, pointed to a brand-new brochure they just created that positions the school as “a place where children can develop into well-rounded human beings while allowing their parents to bring a sense of harmonious order to their lives.” Ms. Taft added, “Previously, the parents paid the tuition and the kids got all the benefits. Now it’s a win/win situation for both parties.”

Not all parents can afford the high cost of boarding school but are looking for at least some shorter-term relief from household clutter, and summer camps have taken notice of this growing trend. Their marketing materials are starting to mimic those of the boarding schools, albeit with a twist. Camp Arrow Head in Blue Hill, ME, one of the most popular choices for Bronxville parents, has started to advertise itself as “the perfect place to find out if your child is ready to be pushed out of the nest," which is Kondo code for declutterized. 

Not surprisingly, there has been pushback from certain quarters in Bronxville regarding the human toll that this obsession with living a minimalist lifestyle has taken. The Episcopal, Catholic, and Lutheran Churches have all banded together to “strongly condemn the practice of treating spouses and children like so many superfluous household goods that you put out at the end of your driveway for pre-arranged pickup even if your neighbors do sneak over during the night to take the good stuff. We fully endorse the movement away from the material and toward the spiritual, but just as with the Spanish Inquisition, you can be too zealous and go to extremes.”

Happy April Fool's Day!

Photo:  Adobe stock from

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 Police Blotter: March 19 to March 31, 2019 PDF Print Email


By Bronxville Police Department

Apr. 3, 2019: The following entries are from the Bronxville police blotter.  

March 19, 2019, 5:08 pm, Park Place: A woman was bitten on the lip while attempting to pet a dog. The owner of the dog provided proper vaccination paperwork. No citations were issued.

March 20, 2019, 3:17 pm, Pondfield Road: A found wallet was turned over to police. The owner was contacted and he picked up his property intact.

March 21, 2019, 8:12 pm, Hobart Street: A female caller reported a man walking backward in the street talking to himself. Officers canvassed the area and were unable to locate the male.

March 26, 2019, 8:21 pm, Pondfield Road: A caller reported that they had found a loose dog. Police used the dog’s tags to locate the owner and returned the dog home. No citations were issued.

March 28, 2019, 11:03 am, Palmer Avenue: A 48-year-old man of the Bronx was charged with misdemeanor suspended registration after an on-board license plate reader indicated to the arresting officer that the registration to the 2013 Nissan he was operating was suspended for an insurance lapse. The vehicle was impounded. The man was processed on scene and also cited for operating without insurance.

March 28, 2019, 1:25 pm, Valley Road: Two dogs were found wandering a property. The owner of the canines contacted police and was directed to the scene where she was reunited with them.

March 29, 2019, 4:43 pm, Pondfield Road, Soccer and Rugby Store: The store owner flagged down a police officer and reported that an unknown male had stolen three jerseys with a total value of $144.97 about 45 minutes previously. The incident is being investigated.

March 31, 2019, 5:43 pm, Pondfield Road, CVS Store: A 30-year-old man and a 29-year-old man both of Manhattan were charged with petit larceny after they were observed stealing miscellaneous cosmetic items and fleeing the scene. The manager was able to immediately provide police with a detailed description and direction of flight. With the assistance of the Tuckahoe Police Department, one man was taken into custody on Pondfield Road operating a 2006 BMW 750. The vehicle was impounded. The other man was located and arrested on foot on Cedar Street. Both were processed and released on $200 bail, each pending his next court appearance.

From the Mayor: China’s Decision to No Longer Accept Recyclables Is Affecting Cities and Towns Across America PDF Print Email


By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Mar. 27, 2019:  As the village discusses a sustainability plan in the context of our comprehensive plan rollout, in one aspect we are being thwarted by events far beyond our control. It is China’s decision to no longer provide a market for our recycled paper and plastic that has already had a major trickle-down effect.

After decades of public information campaigns, Americans were finally recycling – our village took on the cause in earnest and yearly we are one of the top three communities in the county, along with Scarsdale and Bedford, in the percentage of waste vs recycled materials.

But quite honestly, now much of that carefully sorted recycling nationwide is ending up in commingled trash. Waste management companies across the country are communicating that there is no longer a market for our recycling. As a result, municipalities are left with two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recyclables or throw it all away.

In a recent article in the Atlantic, the city manager of Franklin, New Hampshire, said, “We are doing our best to be environmentally responsible, but we can’t afford it.” When recycling first began in Franklin, they could break even by reselling at $6 per ton. Now the transfer station is charging the town $125 a ton to recycle or $68 a ton to incinerate. The incineration process has the added negative of releasing toxins into the air.

It is a nationwide problem. Broadway, Virginia, started recycling 22 years ago but suspended the entire program when costs went up by 63 percent. Communities trying to wait it out no longer have space to store mounds of recyclables in a healthy, environmentally friendly way. Philadelphia, one of our major cities, is now burning about half of its 1.5 million residents’ recycling material in an incinerator that converts waste to energy.

On the village level, we collect and dispose of approximately 2,150 tons of refuse at $28.87 per ton, or $62,000 a year. The waste and the recyclables are sent to the county's dual refuse station on the throughway entrance near Stew Leonard’s.

We also pay for the increased cost of recycling via a county tax levied through the Town of Eastchester tax bill. On our labor cost level, it takes eight public works employees to complete the task every Wednesday, which includes two staffers moved from the highway/road crews every week.

This feared “end” of recycling comes at a time when the United States is creating a record amount of waste. In 2015, the last year with verifiable data, Americans generated 262.4 million tons of waste, up 4.5 percent from 2010 and up 60 percent from 1985. This equates to nearly five pounds per person per day.  

Close to home, New York City collected 934 tons of metal, plastic, and glass a day from residents last year, a whopping 33 percent increase in just five years.

Quite simply, it is now just cheaper to throw away an old, used, or broken product. I am old enough to remember having our toaster fixed at the local appliance shop, now a nonexistent trade. 

But the true cost extends far beyond the Costco “bargain” price of replacement. When waste with an organic component sits in a landfill, it decomposes, emitting methane. Burning plastics create some energy but also produce carbon emissions, and many incineration facilities release more mercury and lead than do coal plants.

What do we do?

Even at our best, Americans were generally terrible at recycling. About 25 percent of what ends up in the blue bins is actually contaminated – wire hangers mixed with pizza boxes mixed with unwashed, congealed ketchup bottles. Sadly, the current economic environment makes it cost-prohibitive to “clean” recyclables. Some companies are now charging additional “contamination” fees, further adding to the overall costs. As a mayor said in the Atlantic article, “At what point do you feel like you’re spending more money than what it takes for people to feel good about recycling?”

Across Memphis, large commercial enterprises have had to stop recycling because of contamination problems.  But the Memphis airport is keeping its recycling bins in place to preserve “the culture” of recycling among passengers and employees.

Right now, it is cheaper for most American manufacturing companies to use new rather than recycled supplies. It is only pennies' difference but they add up when millions of items are produced.

Bottom line, the best way to fix recycling is to buy less. The City of San Francisco, a leader in environmental initiatives, began an ad campaign to add a fourth “R” – reduce, reuse, recycle – and “refuse.” Top on their list is the proliferation of plastic bottles and straws. The city recently passed an ordinance requiring that 10 percent of all beverages sold be available in reusable containers.

Behemoth Amazon is trying to reduce waste by mailing products in the new blue-and-white plastic envelopes, but they, too, have proven hard to recycle.

Sadly, no one has yet to find the “answer,” but perhaps the best solution – the most logical and obvious one – is think before making a purchase. 

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. 

Local Community Helps Victims of 15 Parkview Avenue Fire; Link to GoFundMe Campaign PDF Print Email


By Karen Talbot

Mar. 27, 2019:  Merchants, churches, other local organizations, and residents came to the rescue of people displaced by the devastating fire at 15 Parkview Avenue on March 12.

A small store with a big heart, Ladle of Love (18 Palmer Avenue) was closed for the evening on March 12 at the time of the fire, but co-owner Jennifer Lampert re-opened her store at 11:00 pm and worked until 4:00 am bringing soup and food down the street to first responders and residents evacuated by the fire. Later that morning, the store brought meals to all of the families that were taking shelter at Roosevelt High School.

Jennifer pledged “to offer free meals for as long as needed to anyone affected by this devastating fire.” Jennifer also started a GoFundMe campaign, which has been designated as the main campaign by the City of Yonkers and the mayor’s office. To date, they have raised over $31,600.


Ladle of Love started to receive donations of clothing, food, and goods and found that they needed more space to store everything. That’s when Lonnie Walton, owner of Celsius Fitness, stepped in to offer space at its storefront at 24 Palmer Avenue.  

Residents displaced by the fire were able to go there and select clothing, shoes, toiletries, pet supplies, food, gift cards from CVS and Kohl's, refrigerated meals from FreshDirect, and items donated by local merchants including Value Drugs, J.McLaughlin, Toney Toni & The Gang, Harry’s, Levi’s, Chantilly, Root & Vine, and Nicosia’s Bakery. The Pondfield Café also collected basic necessities. Volunteers Kate McClellan and Stephanie Porto helped around the clock. Ladle of Love is working on relocating the boutique to another location to continue donation efforts.


Ladle of Love started a “feel-good boutique” in Celsius’s location. Over this past weekend, the boutique offered complimentary chair massages, workout class vouchers, and de-stressing techniques. The chair massages were provided by Bronxville Wellness Sanctuary on Saturday and Spa Concierge on Sunday. The de-stressing techniques were provided by Celsius Fitness. The chair massages were provided free for residents of 15 Parkview and were also available to the public for a dollar a minute, with all of the proceeds going to the GoFundMe campaign. Refreshments and resources were available to everyone who participated.

Over the weekend, Ladle of Love also hosted a lemonade and tea stand in front of its store from noon until 3:00 pm. They also sold Lucky Charms treats, chocolate chip cookies, and coconut cupcakes made by Antoinette Dereska from Armour Villa. Pia Scaglione, along with her children Sadie and Myles Scaglione and family friend Zarine Yaghoobi, also helped with the stand. The lemonade and tea stand will also be up and running next weekend.


Local churches and other organizations also stepped in to help. Christ Church Bronxville made a monetary donation, put a link to the GoFundMe campaign in its newsletter, and offered space for donations, as did St. John’s Episcopal Church Tuckahoe and the Village Lutheran Church. St. John’s Episcopal Church also served as a distribution center for clothing, toiletries, and other items. 

The Mother’s Club of St. Joseph’s Church collected gift cards to be given to residents of 15 Parkview Avenue. The Reformed Church of Bronxville’s clothing closet helped several families with specific clothing needs and addressed specific concerns through its deacons' fund. The Reformed Church sees long-term affordable housing as a top priority going forward. West Center Congregational Church supported Ladle of Love.

Gramatan Village accepted and distributed donations. Volunteers from the Junior League of Bronxville assisted at both the Ladle of Love and Gramatan Village donation sites.


Pictured here (from top):  Jennifer Lampert of Ladle of Love (photo by K. Talbot); "feel-good boutique" (photo by A. Warner); other photos by Jennifer Lampert, co-owner of Ladle of Love.



Bronxville Historical Conservancy Creates Pictorial Review of Its 20th-Anniversary Year PDF Print Email


By Nancy Vittorini, Member, Executive Committee, The Bronxville Historical Conservancy

Mar. 27, 2019:  In its recent membership mailing, the Bronxville Historical Conservancy shared the smiles of all those who celebrated its 20th anniversary, looking to past notables — artists, architects, village leaders, and visionaries — to capture the camaraderie and spirit of its celebratory year in an impressive 20-page pictorial review, “The Year We Were Twenty.” 

Click here to see the pictorial review. The publication is now available to view on the Conservancy's website. 

Lancaster Underhill, Bronxville’s first postmaster, who knew every Tom, Dick, and Harry in town (well, to be more accurate, every Alexander, Abidjan, and Cornelius), would be proud to know that the Conservancy kept all of Bronxville’s settlers top of mind in its 20 years of preserving and protecting our village's rich history.

Underhill was joined by architect Lewis Bowman, artists Charles Knight and William Thomas Smedley, famed writer Brendan Gill, WWI war hero Leonard Morange, feminist Anna Lawrence Bisland, early village president Frank Chambers, visionary developer William Van Duzer Lawrence, and others to add historical perspective to the review of the Conservancy’s celebratory year.

The year was filled with an abundance of pursuits devoted to remembering the past. For the younger ones, there was a lesson in architecture with an afternoon of constructing Bronxville’s most treasured buildings brick-by-Lego brick. Rhoda Knight, granddaughter of former Bronxville artist Charles Knight, delighted little ones with her book about her beloved grandfather and his paintings of wild animals. And young students took a ride on the Tuckahoe Trolley, a “time-traveler’s trip,” to see and learn about historic village sites. 

The entire community was treated to an evening of engaging conversation between historian Michael Beschloss and journalist Mo Rocca at the annual Brendan Gill Lecture; well-deserved tributes were given to longtime village historian Mary Huber and co-founders of the Conservancy, Marilynn Hill and Bob Riggs

The art of Bronxville was featured in an illuminating lecture by art historian Jayne Warman, a subject that later served as the theme for "Framed!," a festive evening of murder, mystery, and mayhem when the Conservancy unveiled a 20th-anniversary gift, a Hobart Nichols painting, to add to the growing Conservancy art collection. 

Members and friends cruised the Hudson to tour the studio and home of Thomas Cole, the man who inspired Bronxville artists by founding the Hudson River School of Painting; another tour took members to the Owl House, former home of artist William Smedley and, later, writer Brendan Gill

The celebratory year concluded with a holiday party and annual meeting, where the 2018 Preservation Award was presented to the Bronxville School for its auditorium renovation. 

Photo 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. 


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