Party in the Park Counters Heat with Cool Activities
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 27 July 2016
- Written by Adam Regenstreif
Balloon animals, cotton candy and live music combined to make the latest Party in the Park a hit for Scarsdale residents who attended last Friday in Chase Park.
This was the third of four Parties in the Park that the Scarsdale Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department scheduled to hold this year as a fun event to bring the community together.
Residents sprawled on blankets and lawn chairsaround the park while young children chased each other on the grass and danced under the clear blue sky. A balloon artist dressed in a bright blue, yellow and red costume handed out balloon swords and dogs and two other vividly-clothed girls offered face painting and cotton candy. An ice cream truck stationed at the park's entrance, under the humid 88 degree sun, was a popular attraction.
In the center plaza of Chase Park, families listened to the Jay Prince Band perform live. Band leader Jay Prince and his touring musicians have performed at Scarsdale's Party in the Park before, and were well received. They played old and new hits, from Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On," to Bruno Mars's "Uptown Funk."
Scarsdale resident Lonnie Klein, who has seen Jay Prince perform many times before, says, "He's timeless. Our kids love it. The music brings life and happiness... It shows his longevity and his relevance."
Paul Bizzaro, who was enjoying the festivities, said his favorite part about the party was "watching how much my kids enjoy the music and the free ice cream." The band packed up to leave after 8:00, but will be back in Chase Park on August 5 for the next Party in the Park. The band's saxophone player, Chris Eminizer, said "I think it's great. Lot of families, even hot dates," when asked about the party.
"I like that the families are coming out with the kids, interacting with them," said first-time visitor Giselle Fuentes. This Party in the Park seemed to be a success for new and returning revelers.
Photos and text by Adam Regenstreif
Join the Old Scarsdale Neighborhood Association
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 18 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Judy Kerr, Mary Louise Perlman, Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez, and Sophia Mullen invite you to join the Old Scarsdale Neighborhood Association ("OSNA"). OSNA encompasses the homes within East Parkway, north side of Popham Road, west side of Post Road, and south side of Wayside Lane.
Neighborhood associations are an important way to build community, host fun family-oriented events, and stay informed about important and relevant neighborhood issues. Please write us at OSNA10583@gmail.com with your name, email, postal address, and phone number. We are planning to hold our first event this fall. We are also looking for volunteers to help in our effort to resuscitate OSNA, so please let us know if you can volunteer as an officer or to coordinate events. We look forward to meeting you soon!
Sophia Mullen, OSNA President
Scarsdale Concours Car Show to Return On October 2 for its Thirteenth Year
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 05 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Twelve years ago the town authorities did the unthinkable—they allowed half of Scarsdale village to be shutdown for Scarsdale's first car show. Back in 2003, two Scarsdale High School sophomores, Evan M. Cygler and Dennis O'Leary III, launched the Scarsdale Concours d'Elegance with the help of the Scarsdale Police Department and the enthusiastic approval of village officials and the rest is history.
Since then, the event has become one of the village's most popular annual spectator events. This year's show, on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 will be a celebration marking thirteen consecutive years.
Expected to be on display for 2016 will be a spectacular array of Ferraris, Aston Martins, Packard's, Mercedes-Benz's, Porsches, Bentleys, Rolls-Royce's, Bugattis, Paganis and a host of other exceptional cars that span decades of automotive design.
Cygler and O'Leary developed the concept for the show when they were "car mad" third grade students at the Windward School in White Plains and launched the first Concours while students at Scarsdale High School. They said they originally created the show to be showcase both new and vintage cars while raising significant funds for local charities.
Since 2003 over $375,000 has been raised for local non-profits. Beneficiaries have included the United Way of Westchester, Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, the Kellner Family Pediatric Liver Disease Foundation, the Scarsdale Volunteer Firefighters, the Scarsdale Teen Center, the White Plains Hospital, Scarsdale/ Edgemont Family Counseling Center, the Windward School, the Scarsdale Historical Society and last year the Scarsdale Foundation, Scarsdale/Edgemont Family Counseling Center, and the Warrior & Family Assistance Fund.
Cygler and O'Leary have now graduated from the University of Arizona and Washington and Lee University respectively, and are both gainfully employed. Cygler is Director of Marketing at Miller Motor Cars in Greenwich, CT and O'Leary is with J. P. Morgan Chase. With Cygler and O'Leary unavailable in 2010 for management of the event, the Scarsdale Historical Society took control for one year. The event has now returned to its independent stature and is no longer officially affiliated with the society.
Cygler returned to the fold in 2011 and re-joined the board of the car show along with continuing board members Lucas Meyer, Ralph Della Cava, Gordan Rafajac, Shelley Krohnengold and new board members Lawrence Patrizio, Randy Cobian, Bob Pfister, and two father and son teams; Ira and Ben Hasson, and David and Sam Fried.
The biggest news for 2012 was Cygler's passing of the torch to two upcoming members of the board, both aged 14. Ben Hasson and Sam Fried, both newly appointed members of the board, received a special honor from Cygler in a dedication accompanying the awards ceremony as Cygler stepped down from his position as Founder and CEO of the Concours. This will ensure that the event will continue to thrive.
Along with Lawrence Patrizio and his son Daniel, the board has grown to include Richard Hubbell, Andrew Albert, Alex Forschner, and in keeping with tradition, father and son teams, Leif and Sidney Waller, Ken and Jonah Schneider, and another dedicated high school student, Jacob Goodman.
With these additions the Scarsdale Concours now has three father and son teams and a total of five local high school students on the Board of Directors. As the thirteenth annual event approaches, it is clear that the future of the Concours is in good hands.
The Scarsdale Concours d'Elegance Foundation Board of Directors for 2016
The Scarsdale Concours d'Elegance Foundation is a non-profit tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Village Asks for Your Feedback on LED Streetlights and Solar Panels
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 13 July 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
This week, the Village is looking for your thoughts on LED streetlights and the presence of solar panels atop village homes.
First – the LED streetlights:
The Village LED Streetlight Pilot Program is underway with pilot LED streetlights installed in a number of locations throughout the Village. Pilot lights are installed on sections of White Plains (Post) Road, Heathcote Road, Mamaroneck Road, Tisdale Road. Two additional lights will be installed on Springdale Road later in July. Specific locations can be found on the maps below.
Village Managers want to know what residents think about the lights. Please send any comments or questions to LED@Scarsdale.com or drop off comments at Village Hall at the LED comment box located on the first floor counter.
This phase of the Pilot will continue for the next three months. Subject to the results of this phase of the Pilot, the following streets are being considered for an upgrade to LED streetlights: White Plains (Post) Road, Heathcote Road (Post Road to Five Corners), Mamaroneck Road and Weaver Street (note: some lights on Weaver Street have already been converted to LEDs - these lights are owned and were converted to LEDs by the City of New Rochelle).
In addition to these streets, locations with Town & Country Style post-top fixtures (see attached picture) are also being considered for an LED upgrade. These locations include parts of the Crane Berkeley and Secor Farms areas as well as a few other streets throughout the Village.
Solar Panels Facing the Street
The Board of Architectural Review has turned down several applications to install solar panels on the street-facing side of homes. In response, the Village's Board of Trustees requested that the Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) look into a formal policy regarding this and other solar installation considerations.
Since street-facing panels are an aesthetic question and the CAC is seeking community input. They have created a very short survey that asks, among other question 'Should solar panels be installed on the street facing side of homes?' CAC Chair Lee Fischman has asked around on his own. Says Mr. Fischman, "I've heard some folks say no way, they're ugly, while others say a homeowner should be able to put anything on the front of his or her house. There's certainly no quorum as yet."
The CAC is also researching best practices to make applications easier and in the process has found several useful and interesting resources; these are assembled on the "Solar Central" section of the CAC's ever-expanding web page on Scarsdale.com.
It's Time to Get Real with Greenacres Elementary School
- Category: Neighborhood News
- Published on 22 June 2016
- Written by Michael Greenberg
This is a letter to Scarsdale10583 from Michael Greenberg of Brite Avenue
Along with many others, I attended the Board of Education's meeting on June 20, which included a discussion of the proposals for renovating or reconstructing the Greenacres Elementary School. I support Option B1, which involves renovation and expansion of the existing Greenacres school, rather than demolition of that school and construction of a new school on our existing fields (Option C1).
I would like to make a few points that I hope everyone will consider.
1. The asbestos scare tactics are officially off the table. After the district's architect from KG&D carefully described the process of asbestos abatement in schools (which, by law, takes place ONLY when the school building is empty, during summer months and vacations), and the fact that other construction takes place entirely within sealed areas behind hard, impermeable barriers, with negative pressure, air filtration and frequent air testing, among other precautions, I think it's clear that the scare tactics of the C1 camp concerning exposure to asbestos were never more than that, and that if one or more of that group were really foolish enough to file a lawsuit, as some have threatened, it would be dismissed immediately upon the school board's filing of a motion to dismiss. No such suit that's heavy on fear but devoid of fact would make it past the filing stage. The Board has absolutely nothing to fear in that regard.
2. We should not predetermine this issue. I and many others were extremely disappointed to hear the B1 group's recent email campaign to the Board described dismissively at the June 20th meeting as "robo emails". To the contrary, approximately 270 people took the time recently to write to the board to express their opinion on this issue, many of them with comments specific to their support for option B1, only to have them characterized in this dismissive way. Further, the comment made by Dr. Hagerman at the June 20 meeting that the District is motivated on the B1 v. C1 issue almost exclusively by the "Model Program", and his apparent agreement with KG&D that only C1 satisfies the Model Program, is a real disservice to our community. As was made clear at the June 20 meeting, the Model Program is no more than a prescription for room types and sizes, and the authors of that program offer no evidence that a modern or larger classroom has any bearing at all on educational outcomes. Ask yourselves this. Harvard is the oldest school in America (founded in 1636). It is approaching its 400th birthday. Anyone who has seen Harvard's campus knows that it is filled with old buildings that are far older than Greenacres. If we are to be persuaded by the Model Programmers that big + new = better, then why is it that Harvard so thoughtfully preserves its old buildings and never tears them down? If the Model Programmers are to be believed, then Harvard should be graduating sub-par students. Most of the best universities in America and worldwide (think 1000 year old Oxford or 800 year old Cambridge, and schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth, Williams College, Amherst, etc.) teem with old buildings that have been restored and updated. And yet, these schools are widely regarded as the best schools in the western world. How could that be? If we believe the new + bigger = better crowd, then we have a tremendous paradox on our hands. But the truth is far simpler and less expensive than a new building. Great educational outcomes are the result of engaged children who are encouraged first and foremost to read (something our Xbox generation should consider), and are nurtured in their educations by engaged parents. Successful children also have talented and enthusiastic teachers. They learn the habits of hard work, effective listening and study skills, and the power of organization, time management, high standards and critical thinking. That's it. If you seek a correlation between academic success and some set of factors, look no further than these, because they are the reason that children succeed here. Does anyone truly believe that a primary factor in the success of children in our district is the size of the classroom they study in?
3. And as for Fox Meadow, Heathcote, Quaker Ridge and Edgewood.... As we saw at the June 20 meeting -- since KG&D's April, 2015 feasibility study contains a colorful chart to illustrate the point -- KG&D carefully documented that it is not just Greenacres Elementary that fails to measure up to the Model Program. In fact, every one of our apparently subpar elementary schools fails that test. So when we talk about the $12 million or so of cost difference between B1 and C1, the cost analysis doesn't end there. Once we set the (very questionable) precedent of tearing down schools that don't measure up to a model program that itself is questionable, every neighborhood will now insist that they have their turn. And believe me, the fact that we're tearing down Greenacres "for the children," as I heard repeatedly, who deserve a school that complies fully with the Model Program, will be prominently featured in the debate surrounding any bond issue that includes an option C tear-down option. When that occurs, the Board will be asked to clarify whether only Greenacres needs to be torn down for its failure to comply with the Model Program, and if only Greenacres and not every other elementary school, why that is. To apply this principle consistently, we must conclude that all of Scarsdale's elementary schools must be torn down, since all fail the Model Program. And since we heard from KG&D at the June 20 meeting that it is far more expensive to rebuild a school on its existing footprint than upon a new one, we must conclude that each neighborhood will require a new school on what now serves as their fields. This is where the C1 debate is taking us. When we're cautioned, as we often are at these meetings, that we should consider all facts, I submit that we should look down the road at where the arguments favoring C1 take us. The precedent this sets is unavoidable. If this board wishes to secure any capital project for the next 50 years other than elementary school tear downs and reconstruction, it should consider carefully the implications of the rationale for C1, as documented in KG&D's own presentations.
4. Let the value engineering begin. Value engineering in construction is the substitution of materials and processes that are less expensive than those specified in an itemized budget. Since the cost of C1 exceeds what is likely to pass a bond issue, to make C1 more acceptable will require substantial value engineering. This is a term that architects like to throw around because it sounds "responsible". After all, it has the word "value" in it. But what value engineering will mean here is an increasingly ugly and less functional C1 option, as C1 inevitably is scaled back to more closely resemble the budget of B1. The truth is that we will never again be able to afford to build a building as beautiful and substantial as the one we have now. In fact, that realization -- the fact that construction methods and materials have cheapened over time -- is one of the primary arguments for preservation. "They just don't build them like they used to" is more than a saying. By the time we're done "value engineering" the new school, it will more closely resemble a typical institutional structure than the charming brick and slate-roofed early 20th century school house that we now are so fortunate to have and that too many of us fail to appreciate. Think of the new building at the Five Corners that was vacant for more than a year and that everyone agrees is among the ugliest structures in town. And as for the assumption that new construction outlasts older construction, I am now renovating a 12,000 ft home and carriage house constructed in 1902, alongside new housing that we plan to build. The 1902 home and carriage house were connected in 1978 by an addition that was built to match the original structures' cedar shingle style. Our structural engineering firm just inspected all three structures and sent us a report. Their conclusion: the 1902 home and carriage house are in fine shape and should be preserved. The 1978 addition has degraded and should be torn down. That is a perennial lesson of new vs old construction, where "pre-war" refers to a higher-quality of construction and design that is long gone and "post-war" more often than not is synonymous with undistinguished design and cheap construction methods. Buildings like Greenacres were built at a time when workmanship and beauty mattered more than cost. We have not lived in a world with those values for a very long time. Wasn't that the experience with the Quaker Ridge wing that was built with subpar concrete and did not last even for its projected useful life? According to a NYTimes article which discussed the school in April, 2005:
"In a 2002 inspection of Quaker Ridge, district facilities personnel discovered cracking and deteriorating concrete -- the result of excessive moisture and a bad batch of concrete with beach sand -- on a slab in a crawl space underneath the school. Forty percent was found to have deteriorated, and it is unclear how much more of the space could continue to crack and crumble."
According to the NY Times article, the concrete that failed at Quaker Ridge was poured in 1947 and had failed by 2002. Schools like Greenacres survive far longer than newer buildings because they were overbuilt from the start, before the era when tight budgets and corner-cutting contractors were common. This is why Greenacres and the 200 and 300 year old buildings at some of our nation's best schools still stand. The truth is that we can no longer afford to build a school building of the quality of Greenacres.
5. Even the C1 plan still results in the loss of two baseball fields. As a recent co-president of the Scarsdale Little League, I can tell you that the Little League's spring program, which involves between 850 and 900 Scarsdale children, is perennially short of ball fields, and field conflicts with the town's soccer league are common. Greenacres primary baseball field is one of only two in the town (the other being Hyatt Field on Boulevard) with 90' base paths. The other small field, closer to the playground, is used often as a field for training children to play baseball and for pickup games with kids. The C1 plan contains two soccer fields but zero baseball fields. Since there is nowhere else in town to build a new baseball field, these two fields will be lost forever to the community.
6. Ultimately, it only makes sense if the Town will fund it. I would think that we've all learned, especially from the last bond issue that was defeated, that when you have a budget item that is sufficiently large and unpopular, it will be defeated. The high school fitness center that irked so many people was only a fraction the size of the proposed budget of this school. When the costs are considered, along with the precedent of increasingly out of control spending to fund questionable capital projects, it's obvious to me that a bond issue containing a bloated Option C1 budget will be defeated.
There are now many hundreds of B1 supporters. 830 people signed the B1 petition and only 30 withdrew to sign the C1 petition. After months of concerted effort to get those in Greenacres and elsewhere to sign their petition, the C1 camp is frozen at 156 signatures. That's certainly not for lack of effort. Why would that be if their position is common sense and support for their position broad? The answer is that they are a vocal minority and not at all representative of the majority opinion within Greenacres, and certainly not outside of Greenacres. 156 people are not enough to defeat a bond issue. Hundreds of B1 supporters in Greenacres along with hundreds more in the other neighborhoods of Scarsdale are enough to defeat a bond issue. I hope that B1 is put forth as the Board's choice and that we're not forced to make such a decision.
Our superintendent and Board of Education have done an excellent job with many complicated issues related to our schools, most recently a new teachers' contract. They should be applauded for their tremendous commitment of time and effort on our behalf. I hope that sanity prevails here and that their history of largely excellent work reflecting the will of the community continues.