Tuesday, Sep 26th

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A Local Pet Cemetery, a National Historic Site

petcemetaryI've driven by the gate dozens of times but as we are a pet-less family after the death of our hand-me-down fish, I never took much notice of the Harstdale Pet Cemetery on Central Avenue until a friend's dog passed away and she had her interred in Hartsdale.

The Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, also known today as The Peaceable Kingdom, proudly displays the year 1896 on its gate, the year that the site went from apple orchard to pet cemetery. It is the oldest pet cemetery in America and is listed on the U.S. Registry of Historic Places.

Hartsdale resident and New York City veterinarian Dr. Samuel Johnson had initially been helping out a friend by allowing her to bury her dog in his apple orchard. Being historically (and currently) illegal to bury animals in public parks or human cemeteries, Dr. Johnson recognized this conundrum and subsequently set aside three acres of his orchard for pet burials. It became popular among the NYC elite who could afford to bury their pets there and the cemetery was even featured early on in an article in a 1905 edition of the New York Times.

Today, the cemetery houses over 100,000 deceased pets. It remains the oldest operating pet cemetery in the world and is on protected, deed-restricted land due to its historic status. Although cats and dogs are the most common pets people inter, any type of pet is accepted by the cemetery. In fact, even a lion cub is buried there. The story goes that Hungarian artist Princess Lwoff Parlaghy came to the U.S. in 1908 and brought with her a myriad of animals including a pet bear, alligator, ibis, two falcons, two dogs and two cats in addition to a lion cub. She lived at the Plaza Hotel where the cub died shortly thereafter. Mariah Carey's pet cat (Clarence) is buried there as well.

For the past 40 years, ownership and operating has been in the hands of the Martin Family. I had a chance to talk to Ed Martin about the process of having a pet buried at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. Here is what he said:

First, I ask if your pet is deceased. It's better to plan Hartsdale-Pet-Cemetery-4ahead but most people don't. If one did plan for the pet passing and if burial is the choice, I suggest touring the cemetery, seeing if it's the right fit and picking out a plot. Once your pet passes we offer cremation or burial. If interested in burial, I let the pet owner know that our cemetery works like a human cemetery. Once you pick out a plot and become a plot holder you have an obligation to pay the maintenance fee annually.

Pets are required to be buried in caskets. Monuments are optional. Many of the costs involved are dependent on options. The larger the pet, the more expensive the burial or the cremation. The size-dependent range is just under $2,000 to just over $2,000 for a pet burial. We do allow people to view their pet in the casket and witness the burial. There is no cost to this and we strongly recommend it. Cremation is a less expensive option and ranges from $250-$350. Pets can be communally cremated and cremains are not returned (but are released within the pet cemetery) or a client can opt for individual cremation. State law defines this as one pet cremated using a separate and distinct receptacle and ashes are returned to the owner. Clients are encouraged to be there when the pet is cremated to ensure that the pet being cremated is their family pet.

What makes you so committed to the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery?

Some people who come to us to bury or cremate their pets are very nervous and upset, but most people who are glad that a pet cemetery exists. Not everyone feels the same way about pets, but for people who feel that their pet is a part of their family as we do, this can be good closure for them. We treat their pets as if they were a part of their family. Our pets are always there for us; they live in our house with us; they give us unconditional love. They provide us with joy and happiness and unfortunately their lifespan tends to be shorter than a human's. We are proud of how beautiful and historic the pet cemetery is and we invite you to come visit.

wardogAre (live) pets allowed on the cemetery grounds?

Yes, but we do ask people to put a leash their animals. In fact, people are encouraged to bring pets.

Does Mariah Carey visit the grave of her cat? (I had to lighten this conversation up somehow)

I have not seen Mariah Carey here but it doesn't mean she doesn't visit. I just spend a lot of my time in my office doing administrative work.

Do you have any advice for how parents can talk to kids about the death of a pet?

I'm not a psychologis;t all children are different but I have had my own personal experiences of having pets die so I share that with them if asked. I brought my kids to the cemetery with us, asked if they wanted to view their pet in the casket and I strongly encouraged them to do this. For my kids, it was a good thing for them to see that. It's an individual decision. Most kids love their pets so a pet passing is a true and often difficult loss for them.

Is there anything else about the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery you'd like to share?

We have wonderful special events at the pet cemetery. For example, we have an adoption day for pets. It's been very successful and hundreds of pets have been adopted thanks to some very dedicated volunteers.

We also have a blessing of the animals in the fall. People come with their pets and a clergy person blesses them and then the animals that have been lost.

We also have a tree lighting in the fall and we collect items for animal shelters.

In the springtime, we have a war dog memorial ceremony. The war dog memorial was erected in 1923 in honor of WW1 service dogs who saved scores of servicemen. We have since extended this to honor to dogs that are of other kinds of service to humans such as therapy dogs and guide dogs. In June, we honor all of these dogs and place a wreath on the symbolic grave of the war dog.

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery
75 N. Central Avenue
Hartsdale, NY 10530

Village Announces New Food Scrap Recycling Program

foodscrapOn January 9th, the Village of Scarsdale launched a food scrap recycling program. Residents can now bring their food scraps to the Scarsdale Recycling Center located at 110 Secor Road where there will be a drop-off site. ALL food scraps, including but not limited to meat, dairy, fish, fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, cooked food, leftover food, etc. will be accepted. This is not just for food scraps that could go into a backyard compost bin, any food scraps are accepted at the drop-off site. The collected food scraps will be brought to a commercial composting facility outside of Scarsdale to be recycled into compost. Scarsdale is proudly the first municipality in Westchester County to offer this service!

Recycling food scraps is easy! Here's how to do it:

First, collect your food scraps in a countertop pail. Although not required, you may line your pail with a compostable bag - please no plastic bags. Compostable bags are available for purchase at the Recycling Center office.

Second, since most residents will fill the countertop pail with food michellescraps a few times per times per week, it is suggested that residents have a larger bin to transfer food scraps into for weekly storage. This larger bin can also be used for transportation of the food scraps from your home to the Recycling Center. Anything that holds around 5-6 gallons and has a lid will work.

Third, bring your bin to the Food Scrap Recycling drop-off bins at the Scarsdale Recycling Center (110 Secor Road) to dispose of your food scraps as often as needed. The drop-off site is open during the Recycling Center hours of operation (Monday-Saturday 8am-3pm). There is no charge to drop off food scraps.

This service follows successful food scrap recycling programs that have been underway in the Scarsdale schools, several houses of worship and at local events for some time now. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of this great new service.

To make getting started easy, food scrap collection "Starter Kits" can be requested by residents. A starter kit includes a small countertop pail, a larger storage and transportation bin and a roll of compostable liner bags for the pail. Residents can purchase a starter kit at the Scarsdale Recycling Center Office (110 Secor Road) or request one a at ScarsdaleCompostKit.com. The kits cost $20. The starter kits are being provided by residents, this is not a Village of Scarsdale service.

ronMost importantly, start bringing your food scraps to the drop-off bins at the Scarsdale Recycling and help keep food scraps out of the trash!

Have questions or want to learn more? Please email composting@scarsdale.com. You can also go to the Food Scrap Recycling link at http://www.scarsdale.com/170/Sanitation for more information on the program including the lists of what is and isn't accepted in the food scrap drop-off bins.



Zachys and the PBA Donate $42,000 to Charity

zachyscheckOn December 19, 2016, Zachys Wine & Liquor of Scarsdale and The Scarsdale Police Benevolent Association presented a total of $42,000 to two charities: $21,000 was presented to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and $21,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Proceeds were raised at the annual PBA Golf Classic.

Photo above courtesy of Zachys: Pictured (left to right): Boris Grgas, President of Scarsdale PBA; Don Zacharia, CEO of Zachys Wine & Liquor; Josephine Zacharia; Jeff Zacharia, President of Zachys Wine & Liquor; Nina Zacharia, Michael Neff, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Ronnie Arefieg, Chairman/Director of Scarsdale PBA; and Cheryl and David Bunzel, of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Swim Team Swims Breast Stroke for Breast Cancer Research

swimteamThe SHS swim team raised almost $10,000 at its second annual "Swim Breaststroke for Breast Cancer" event on November 19th. The swimmers collected pledges from the community ranging from .25 cents to $25 a lap. This year's event was held at Westchester Community College pool and included over 30 swimmers from the boys and girls swim team's who donated almost $ 10,000 to The American Cancer Society.

Locals Spread Holiday Cheer

toysLocals were busy this week lending a hand to those in need to make the holidays bright. Here are a few reports from around town. The Greenacres Community Service Committee held its annual toy drive. Families donated toys for their sister school, PS1 located in the Bronx. PS1 has 675 students and Greenacres students wanted to be sure each student would receive a toy this holiday season. Many Greenacres families donated two or more gifts. On December 14th, 5th grade students loaded all the gifts onto a bus and two students from each 5th grade class traveled to PS1 to deliver the toys in person.

werunxmasThe Scarsdale based WeRun club, joined with many enthusiastic local Westchester residents, to run the annual Westchester 5K Jingle Bell Run/Walk for the Arthritis Foundation on Saturday Dec.10, 2016. The 34 runners formed the "Run for Hope" team, one of the largest. Collectively they raised over $1700 to benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

juliafeecoatdriveJulia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty in Scarsdale is now collecting toys, warm coats and diapers for three separate drives to help support community members in need. Charities benefitting from the company's efforts include the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, One Warm Coat, Westchester Coalition for the Homeless and the Westchester Diaper Bank. Drop off your donations at their office at 28 Chase Road between 9am and 5 pm.