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Hyatt Park Sound-Off: The Unintended Consequences of a Park Makeover

hyattplayground(Updated October 20)  Residents of the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association and Crane-Berkeley, the Village Engineer, the Superintendent of Parks, Village Trustees, Friends of the Scarsdale Parks and others gathered on Wednesday night at Village Hall to discuss mitigating traffic and parking issues at Hyatt Park on Grand Boulevard in Scarsdale. Hyatt Park also made the news recently because of its status as a public park with key fob-access bathrooms available only to Scarsdale residents

Village Engineer Frank Balbi opened the meeting by showing attendees a map of Hyatt Park to highlight the issues with parking and traffic and the impact on residents in the area. The recent renovation of Hyatt Park has made it very popular for softball and baseball tournaments as well as daily recreational use. He stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the village's proposal, solicit feedback from attendees and clear up any misunderstanding. There is currently no funding nor a solidified plan to build a parking lot at Hyatt Park.

Linda Inouye who lives at the very end of Potter Road remarked, "I've had to call the police because there have been many times, particularly on Saturdays when tournaments are ongoing, one after another after another, that I have not been able to get in or out of my driveway." There is also justified cause for concern about emergency vehicles having access.

Mr. Balbi discussed immediate ways to alleviate some of the parking issues:
• East side of Potter Road will have restricted parking
• Striping of spots on Potter Road
• Adding of three handicapped spots on Potter Road
• Kick out Grand Boulevard 60 feet to add an additional three spots
• Keep 13 spots on west side of Potter Road
• Parking at the Scarsdale Historical Society next to the park (adds 13 parking spaces)

Altogether, 20 spots would be lost on Potter Road with the restricted parking. But the addition of three spots on Grand Boulevard would mean a total of 17 parking spots would be lost. Therefore, the village is proposing a 22-foot wide asphalt aisle way (for two-way traffic) with 27 gravel parking spots and an asphalt turnaround on the west side of Hyatt Park. There would be 10-foot fencing and additional netting to protect the cars parked in the lot from baseballs.

Brian Gray, Superintendent of Parks, said that the park is a public park and available for all to use. He added that many Scarsdale residents from other parts of Scarsdale also use the park but are not within walking distance of the park so they drive and need a place to leave their cars. "If you have two games going on at the same time, there's the potential for 40+ cars to need parking spots."

Kaye Eisenmann from Friends of the Scarsdale Parks, reported that the organization disagrees with the building of the parking lot and they recommend that all of Hyatt Field Park be protected and preserved in perpetuity. She asked whether Hyatt Park is designated as parkland and the panel did not know the answer to this.

A Brambach Road resident questioned the map saying it's not updated and it's deceiving. He stated that the map shows more green space than actually exists. He moved from the city to the suburbs for additional green space almost 40 years ago. He also said that the trees were being cut near that area today. Mr. Balbi responded that the map is to scale and accurate.

Another Scarsdale resident asked, "Fundamentally this is a neighborhood park, so why should we be encouraging anyone to drive there?" As Brian Gray stated, however, the parks in Scarsdale are public and open to all Scarsdale residents as well as neighboring residents. If you live in Fox Meadow, you are not limited to the Fox Meadow playgrounds.

Darlene LeFrancois-Haber, representing the Edgewood Sustainability Committee, agreed with the position of the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks saying, "...the conceptual plan should be scrapped. The park is on wetlands and frankly it is irresponsible. There are many trees susceptible to damage because of this." She later brought up the idea of shuttles from established lots to sports events at the park.

Craig Hobbs lives on Boulevard opposite Hyatt Field. He read his and his neighbors' objections to the parking lot in a statement and also had a petition with 30 signatures. He also wanted to reach out to people in other areas of Scarsdale to see if people who have to drive to Hyatt Field Park agree with opposing the parking lot construction. The key points of their objections are loss of public field space, limited seasonal usage (during warmer months), increased transiency and loitering, pedestrian child safety issues, increased sporting events, and use of Scarsdale taxpayer money for maintenance of the park that is now often used by non-Scarsdale residents (e.g. Eastchester residents).

Liz Margolin, a resident across the street from the Park on Potter Road, objects to the increase in softball tournaments at the park, particularly when neither team is from Scarsdale. She read a statement from the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association in opposition to the parking lot. The statement is shown below. "The majority of people at our meeting were strongly opposed to the constructing of 27 parking spots. They feel the loss of green space outweighs any potential benefit and are also concerned that the lot would encourage use of the lot by non-Scarsdale residents including transients and loiterers." Brian Gray responded that Scarsdale is paid whenever visiting teams use the field and said he would reach out to Scarsdale softball to discuss the timing of games as well as limitations on tournaments.

Another meeting attendee noted, "Parking right at the park is unnecessary. Parents can drop their kids off from the game and go park elsewhere. Furthermore, the Crane-Berkley neighborhood also has parking and maps distributed to parents of athletes should reflect this." Mr. Balbi assured the panel and audience that if people started parking in Crane-Berkeley, those residents would be at the next meeting asking for additional street parking restrictions.

Village Trustee Matt Callaghan encouraged all those with a strong point of view to, "...come to village board meetings, write letters, ask us what we think during the meeting. I think what we're seeing is the unintended consequences of a nice field and park."

A resident of 146 Grand Boulevard who lives across the street from the park and field said, "This was a foreseeable consequence," he said. "The playground renovation and the scheduling of more tournaments...we like to pull our car in to where we are going but that's not always realistic." Another local resident said, "The Historical Society house and land is going on the market so those additional 13 parking spots will be lost soon." Brian Gray acknowledged that the Village is aware of this.

A resident of Lee Road added, "Hyatt Field Park was a sleepy park. Now, with the renovation, it's a beautiful and fun park and it's on all the social media sites. So people are coming from all over to use the park. Why couldn't it have been updated without the zipline and bathrooms? We have supersized our park. Not to mention that Scarsdale has made it onto national news because of the $5 key fob access for residents of the village."

Becca, also of Lee Road, commented how Davis Park used to be "all the hype" in Scarsdale. "But then after a year of two, the traffic to the park decreased. Also, Davis is known as a park for 'little kids' and Hyatt Park has become known as a park for kids of all ages. Even teenagers want to uses the park."

Lena Crandall from Fox Meadow suggested a creative alternative to reduce traffic at Hyatt Field Park. "Let's improve all of the other playground and make them just as great. That way people will end up using all of the playgrounds more and not just Hyatt."

Where do things go from here? PRC (Parks, Recreation, and Conservation) will send their recommendation to the Superintendent of Parks (Brian Gray) who will then send his recommendation to the Village Board of Trustees.

(Original Article posted Monday October 17, 2016)

The Friends of the Scarsdale Parks has issued a report opposing the paving of parking spots at Hyatt Field Park to accommodate increased usage at the park which has recently been improved and now has a state of the art playground and restrooms.

Because the new park has attracted more usage, people are parking their cars on both sides of Potter Road, which is adjacent to the park, making it difficult to turn around or pass. On the opposite side of the park there is gravel road or utility path that leads to a rear driveway for one resident. The Village proposed paving this passage, widening it and including 27 parking spots to alleviate the crowding on Potter Road. In addition, since the gravel road is adjacent to a large baseball diamond, the Village would also need to construct safety netting or fencing to protect the parked cars from being hit by balls from the diamond.hyattrestrooms

However, the Friends of the Scarsdale Parks objects for many reasons, primarily because the parking spaces would consume scarce open space that is used for recreation, picnics and play. They contend the park is a sensitive wetland and they object to the use of public funds to solve a parking problem. They argue that "neighborhood harmony over the unintended consequences of Hyatt Field's popularity should be not be achieved at the expense of the parkland itself."

Mayor Jon Mark addressed the issue in his remarks at the Village Board meeting on October 13. He explained that the Village staff had been speaking to people who live next to the park and have been unable to get in and out of their driveways at times when they were blocked by cars belonging to people who were using the park. He explained that in response to these complaints the Parks and Recreation Department was looking into creating parking on the gravel drive.

However, he assured everyone that nothing had been decided as yet and the matter would be discussed at a public meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council on Wednesday night October 19 at 7:30pm at Village Hall.

Statement by the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association on the Parking Situation and Rest Stations at Hyatt Field Park

On Monday, October 17, members of the Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association heard from Parks Superintendent Brian Gray on various proposals for alleviating automobile parking congestion caused by visitors to Hyatt Field Park which, at times, has reached a volume that is neither safe nor sustainable on Potter Rd and Lee Rd. After a discussion, the participants of the meeting would like to share our feedback both on the underlying situation and proposed solution.

It is our analysis that the main driver of congestion above and beyond what our neighbors are used to is the usage of the park for tournaments, particularly softball, but potentially including baseball and basketball in the future, and that the problem is at its peak when softball tournaments at Hyatt Field have no Scarsdale teams participating in the games, requiring nearly all participants and spectators to drive. We believe reducing the total number of tournaments, and minimizing if not eliminating any tournaments in which Scarsdale teams are not participating, as was stated policy in the past, will have a major impact.

We enthusiastically agree with eliminating parking on the east side of Potter Road to ensure access to emergency vehicles and reduce inconvenience to residents, and urge that the promised signage promulgating this be installed as soon as possible.

We also enthusiastically support an arrangement between the Village and the Scarsdale Historical Society on usage of the 13-spot parking lot by park visitors, particularly during peak usage periods, and encourage discussion with Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and School on the use of their parking lot during peak times.

Once these steps have been taken, we welcome further community dialogue and good ideas to determine how many additional spots may still be needed, and other options for achieving them.

Although it was not the unanimous sense of the room to be opposed to the concept of a 27-spot parking lot in what is now left field, a strong supermajority of attendees were strongly opposed. They feel the loss of public and green space outweighs any potential benefits, and are also concerned that the lot would encourage non-Scarsdale usage of the park, potentially exacerbating the problem, would have an impact on child and pedestrian safety, particularly for those residents entering the park from the stairs on the west side, and would encourage transiency and loitering, particularly at night.

A minority of attendees were not opposed to the lot in concept, but were also open to other solutions that wouldn't involve a loss of green space, so long as the frustrating traffic and parking issues were improved.

Additionally, at our meeting we discussed whether the current system of round-the-clock key fob access to the comfort stations at Hyatt Field Park was appropriate or if some other arrangement should be put into place (e.g., open to all for some hours during the day, but fob- only access the rest of the time.) It was the unanimous sense of the room that key fob access was appropriate to protect the investment of building the rest stations. However, we believe that the process by which visiting coaches of softball and baseball teams obtain a key fob to access the rest stations needs to be reviewed and improved as, by experience, some of those coaches are not receiving the fobs in advance from their appropriate contact with the Village or the appropriate athletic association.

Finally, the residents of the Boulevard continue to be concerned about safety in crossing the street for pedestrian families looking to use the park and would welcome further dialogue on options like crosswalks, stop signs, and speed bumps.

For more information, please contact Bramlee Heights Neighborhood Association President Angela Olcese at or neighborhood volunteer Tim Foley at

What do you think? Please add your comments in the section below:


Report from the Scarsdale Historical Society: Cudner-Hyatt House to be Sold

cudnerhyatthouse4-3This update on the activities of the Scarsdale Historical Society was submitted to Scarsdale10583 by the society's President Randy Guggenheimer:
Dear Scarsdale Historical Society Member,

I would like to update you on the exciting changes we are implementing at your Scarsdale Historical Society. We have been working over the past several years to transform the Society from an organization operating a House Museum and its vintage buildings for an extremely limited audience to one that uses modern techniques to further its mission of preserving, discovering, and sharing historical information about Scarsdale and the Central mid-Westchester region as widely as possible.

Recent Activities

• For several years we have been working with the Scarsdale Public Library to preserve and digitize many of the back issues of the Scarsdale Inquirer. Many of these issues contain information not available anywhere else, and the newspapers and microfilms held at the Library, already in fragile condition, were deteriorating further. Pursuant to our grants totaling $50,000, the Scarsdale Inquirers from 1901-1945 are now available online. They can be accessed through our website at, as well as through the library and other sites that are used by students, scholars and the public. Please take a few minutes and check it out.

• Starting in 2014, we have funded summer and term-time internships to allow high school and college students interested in history to help the library preserve and catalogue its holdings of Scarsdale documents and photographs.

• Earlier this year, we made a 5-year loan to the Westchester County Historical Society (WCHS) of a large number of the Society's papers, books and photographs which had been stored in boxes at the Cudner-Hyatt House. The Scarsdale Historical Society has provided a grant to allow the WCHS to catalogue these materials and make them readily available to historians and the general public at their state-of-the-art facility in Elmsford.

We have completely revamped our website,, to make it a user-friendly means to preserve and share Scarsdale history with our own content and links to other websites where the public can learn about the history of our village and the surrounding communities.

Planned Programs

We are developing a number of exciting programs to further our mission of discovering, preserving and educationally disseminating historical information about Scarsdale and the Central mid-Westchester region.

1. Digitization/Preservation – We are working to digitize and transcribe Helen Lorraine Hultz's 1,100+ page hand calligraphied book, Scarsdale Story, which former Village Historian Richard Lederer, Jr. called "the most comprehensive history of Scarsdale ever to be done." We are continuing to work with the Scarsdale Public Library to preserve and digitize more recent years of the Inquirer, and share then to the extent allowed by copyright law. Future projects include digitization and preservation of Scarsdale High School yearbooks as well as Scarsdale Town and Village Minute books and photographs held by the Village of Scarsdale and the Scarsdale Public Library.

2. Original Articles – We are working on and seeking to support articles on key subjects relating to the history of Scarsdale and our region. We have committed a $10,000 grant to the WCHS to assist in funding an up-to-date history of our county to replace Westchester County: A Pictorial History first published in the early 1980s.

3. Lectures – The Scarsdale Historical Society has given consideration to sponsoring a lecture series, but given the number of organizations that already invite quality speakers to Scarsdale and neighboring communities, we have decided instead to offer our support, with funding and publicity (to our membership and the public) of relevant lectures and other programs in conjunction with existing organizations including the Scarsdale Public Library, Scarsdale civic organizations and historical societies in nearby communities. We believe that by leveraging our resources with the substantial well-established efforts of others, we can accomplish more than we would ever be able to on our own.

4. Scarsdale Historical Society Collection – As discussed above, we have provided a grant to the WCHS to catalogue and make our collection of papers, books and photographs accessible to historians and the public. We intend to continue to work with the WCHS and other organizations to preserve and make historical documents available.

5. Bring Your History Day – We are working with the Scarsdale Public Library to sponsor a "Bring Your History Day" to encourage Scarsdale residents to bring documents, photographs and maps to be reviewed by experts to determine whether these materials should be preserved and digitized and the Scarsdale Historical Society intends to fund this to the extent that the items are historically worthy. Even in advance of the event, if you have individual items, collections or archives you'd like to share, please let us know about it by visiting

Real Estate

As is the case with many house museums throughout Westchester County and beyond, the cost of maintaining the Scarsdale Historical Society's buildings at 937 Post Road has far outstripped the benefits to the community of continuing to operate the Cudner-Hyatt House as a museum. The Cudner-Hyatt House cannot compete with other much more significant historic house museums, historic societies and libraries in our area. The Board of the Scarsdale Historical Society has concluded that the time has come to put the property up for sale.

We know that many in the community (and we) are pleased to view the 18th century farmhouse on the Post Road, and we have therefore decided to offer the property for sale subject to a façade easement that will protect the east (Post Road) and south (Boulevard) facing façades. We do not intend to place restrictions on a potential purchaser with respect to the 1828 Quaker Meeting House located on the property.

"Steps in Time" Bricks

Some long-time residents will remember that when the Scarsdale Historical Society was planning to renovate the Cudner-Hyatt House a number of years ago, the plan included a brick pathway that would honor the donors. While the planned renovations were made to the Cudner-Hyatt House at that time, the brick pathway was not made. In light of the current plans to potentially sell the property, the Scarsdale Historical Society Board has decided to recognize those donors with a special page on our website in the near future. We thank all of you again for your generous donations which were essential to the Scarsdale Historical Society at that time.

An Invitation to Public Input

We aim to become a much more dynamic and relevant resource to our community. To that end, we welcome ideas and opportunities to partner with other educational and charitable organizations in our area. If you are aware of an appropriate project, we invite you to let us know about it. We will shortly be mailing membership renewals to all of our members along with information about our upcoming Annual Meeting in early 2017. Please be on the lookout for these items.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank you for supporting the Scarsdale Historical Society and hope you are as excited about the recent accomplishments and plans of the Society as we are.

Best regards,
Randy Guggenheimer
President, Scarsdale Historical Society

Sixth Annual Galaxy Forum at SHS

richardsUnder the supervision of SHS Science Department Chair Nicole Pisano, approximately 200 students from the Biology, Geology, Earth Sciences, and Physics classes attended the 6th Annual Galaxy Forum on Friday morning September 23rd in the Little Theater.

SHS Distinguished Alumnus Steve Durst, '61, of the International Lunar Observation Association (ILOA), was back in his hometown both to celebrate his 55th reunion and to introduce featured speaker Dr. Robert Richards.

Dr. Richards is co-founder of the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, and CEO of Moon Express Inc, a leading competitor to win the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize in 2017.

He began by asking the students to envision what they could imagine having accomplished 55 years after their own high school graduations and then, in his presentation titled "Creating Your Future: Peace Through Space," described for them an exciting view of the emerging era of democratized space exploration.

Pointing out that our moon contains vast reserves of the sought-after resources that create "the phones in your pockets," Dr. Richards introduced the idea of the moon as our eighth continent, complete with the essential element of water in ice form at its poles which gives it the potential to be our "gas station in the sky" for hydrogen peroxide rocket fuel. His current "Moon Express" project is intended as a step toward expanding earth's economic zone outward to the moon and beyond, unlocking its resources for the benefit of humanity.

One student asked Dr. Richards how his proposed landing site on the moon's south pole compares to the site of the previous U.S. moon landings. He explained that the moon's equator was an easier surface for landing while the pole is rocky and mountainous. A parachute landing won't work there; instead the craft will require a technically more difficult landing plan involving rockets to land it securely.

Dr. Richards urged students to get involved in space exploration initiatives such as SEDS USA (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). Until recently, space exploration was the sole province of global superpowers, but today even high school student groups can build commercially available CubeSat projects with the opportunity to have them launched by NASA. He also invited the school to make a trip to Florida for a unique behind-the-scenes tour of Cape Canaveral and his work there with Moon Express. In conclusion, he challenged the student audience: "What is the best way to predict the future? Create it yourself."

David Lee to Chair Scarsdale Bowl Committee

David LeeDavid Lee has been named Chair of the 2016 Scarsdale Bowl Committee. The appointment was announced by Emily Sherwood, newly-installed President of the Scarsdale Foundation. As Bowl Committee Chair, Lee will head the Scarsdale Bowl nominating committee and the community celebration dinner to be held on Wednesday evening, April 26, 2017, at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle. The Scarsdale Bowl is awarded annually each spring to a Scarsdale resident in recognition of his or her outstanding voluntary public service to the community. Robert Jeremiah is the Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Scarsdale Bowl Committee.

Mr. Lee has been active in community and village affairs for over two decades, most recently as a Scarsdale Village Trustee for four years. During that time he served variously as Chair of the Board's Parks and Recreation, Law, and Land Use Committees, and as Deputy Mayor. In prior years, he coached boys and girls teams in soccer, softball, and baseball for many years and served on the Fox Meadow Athletic Association. Thereafter, he was active in his temple, Congregation Kol Ami, serving as co-President for three years and as a board member for 12 years. David grew up in Scarsdale, attending Greenacres School, the Middle School, and graduating from Scarsdale High School. He received his BA from Harvard College and JD from Columbia Law School and is a trusts and estates partner at the law firm of Stapper & Van Doren in Manhattan. His wife, Cathy Pohl, also grew up in Scarsdale, where they have lived for the past 25 years. Their two children, Rachel and Matthew, grew up in Fox Meadow and are SHS graduates.

The Scarsdale Bowl is administered by the Scarsdale Foundation which operates as a not-for-profit community foundation to promote the civic welfare. The Foundation provides need-based financial aid to Scarsdale High School graduates who are entering their sophomore, junior and senior years in college and to children attending the Recreation Department summer day camp. It also administers a number of special purpose funds and makes grants for various community needs, which have included the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Scarsdale/Edgemont Family Counseling Service.

Additional information about the Scarsdale Foundation and the Scarsdale Bowl can be found at

Scarsdale Athletic Update: Raiders Girls Volleyball and Soccer Teams

izzyGirls' Volleyball Team is Motivated and Determined

Two wins and three losses might not be the ideal way to start the season, but the Scarsdale Girl's Volleyball team is not phased by their standing. Coming off a Section 1 title last year, the Raiders are motivated to make a state run. Starting libero Rena Li said that it feels "great coming off a strong season because we know how much we are capable of achieving and we have so much potential as a team." Except for using last season as a confidence booster, the girls are trying not to compare this year's team with previous ones. Although it might be easy to draw comparisons, Li noted that the team is "looking forward to the rest of the games and not resting on our section title."

Aiming to use their experienced starting lineup to their advantage, the team is excited to improve their league standings. The starting outside hitter is Sophie Fried, who is a senior and has been on the team since she was a sophomore. She has great offensive skills and contributes to gaining points. The starting middle is Mary Langford, who is a sophomore and is also a major offensive player. Senior Izzy Dechiario is the other middle. She uses her athleticism on blocks to help out the defense. Manya Kula, a sophomore, is impactful in the back row. Annemarie Horn, the team's setter, is a junior. She participates in maryevery play and runs the offense. Senior Clare O'Hara, plays in the back row and consistently passes well in every game. Rena Li, the libero and defensive specialist is the team's backbone on defense, and helps to receive many difficult serves.

Working hard in practice every day, the Raiders are eager for more challenging games as the season unfolds. Although they are reluctant to draw any comparisons, the team is driven by last year's defeats. "After losing in regional finals last year and not being able to attend states we want to return this year as a stronger team."

manyaLook for the Raider's determination at their next game September 27th vs. New Rochelle at 4:30.



Raiders Girls Soccer Team Looks Toward the Playoffs

The Scarsdale Girl's Soccer team started off the season with a1-3 loss against Clarkstown South, but according to staring center Allison Stafford, "The score was not a good reflection of the game, since we played them even the whole time, but had a couple breakdowns in the last 5 minutes." The Raiders then tied John Jay 2-2 in a hard fought battle that went to overtime. Next they beat North Rockland 1-0 at an away game, something that the girl's soccer team hasn't done in seven years. In their next game, the Raiders were missing a few starters due to injuries and lost to Suffern 0-3 but then dominated Mamaroneck 2-1. In their most recent game the team beat White Plains 3-0. Now the girls are on a winning streak, and hope to retain it so they can win the league and earn a high seed going into the playoffs.

Photos by Jon Thaler - see more photos here, Text by Emmeline Berridge