Sunday, Aug 18th

Last updateThu, 15 Aug 2019 8am

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poolaerialThis is the opinion of site founder Joanne Wallenstein:
As a longtime resident and chronicler of the community I’ve seen many proposals for new facilities live and die.

Once upon a time, ice hockey enthusiasts set their sites on a skating rink next to the library but were dismissed by Fox Meadow residents who did not want an ice rink in a residential neighborhood. A few years later, in 2009, swimmers developed plans for an elaborate $25 million underground indoor pool and community center on the site of the outdoor pool. Neither of these passed muster, and in fact, some are still awaiting refunds for the fees they paid to join this never-built indoor pool.

After years of debate the community decided to commit $9.9 million of public funds in a public-private partnership for an extensive renovation and expansion of the library, but also shelved plans to build a new elementary school at Greenacres. Neighbors who bordered the Greenacres field launched a vocal and effective campaign to “Save the Field,” trumping others’ wish for a state of the art facility and silencing parents concerns about keeping children inside the antiquated school during the 2-year construction project.

Most recently, a proposal to build a dog park at the underutilized Weinberg Nature Center was squashed when a few neighbors raised the specter of increased traffic on Mamaroneck Road and the sound of barking hounds.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because we currently have two more proposals before us: one to install field lights on 80 -foot poles and a sound system at the high school…. and another for a large residential and commercial development project at the site of the Freightway Garage on the West side of the Metro North tracks.

Considering Scarsdale’s history, will these see the light of day? Will the fears of the few override the benefits to many?

I have no dog in either of these fights but it seems to me that decisions on most of the land use development proposals come down to NIMBY. If those who live closest to the proposed site, or would be most affected by the change are able to marshal support and run a successful campaign they can often kill a proposal that would improve the lives of other residents.

If however, the NIMBY forces fail to organize or are afraid to speak up, they’ll find that proponents for change will win out.

There are times when the overall benefit to the community should override parochial concerns. It’s unfortunate that many good ideas are turned down as a result of a few loud voices in the room.
And that’s where good governance comes in. The job of our school and village boards is to balance the needs of the individual vs. the community and strike the right compromise to benefit the most people.

Whatever the issue before them, let’s hope our leaders do their due diligence, listen carefully and do not permit a few outspoken people to dominate the conversation. Our chosen leaders have the interests of the community at large in their hands and it’s a big responsibility.

letter to the editorThe Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which was ratified in 1791, reads as follows: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In the aftermath of the latest mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, once again the meaning of the Second Amendment has become the topic of heated debate in the US. On the majority of fiscal issues and some social ones, I consider myself right of center. But not on gun issues. Starting with assault weapons that have but one purpose – to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible – and what purpose they serve in the private sector. As I read and listen to conservative commentators, I hear opposition to any effort by the government to limit citizens’ access to firearms, including the imposition of common sense reform such as universal background checks, the need for a license to operate a firearm, and a ban on weapons and accessories that turn firearms into the most lethal form of killing machine. Most galling is the slippery slope argument made by some conservatives, that by allowing the government to impose any limit on the population’s access to firearms, it creates a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to government confiscation of everyone’s guns. This absolutist argument is spurious, and in my view anyone who makes it lacks mind, heart and soul.

It is time for all of us in Scarsdale and elsewhere to step back and ask why US society has, by far, the highest rate of homicides by firearms in the world. As for the intent of the Second Amendment, one needs to consider the context in which it was adopted in the late 18th century. It was written in the context of a society still deemed at risk from exogenous forces that threatened one’s property. That’s to say the least a different world than the one we live in today. Most of all, the right to bear arms does not equate to an absolute, unconditional right, much as the right to drive a car, or to become a teacher, lawyer or doctor requires that one obtain a license to do so. With mass shootings in the US now occurring with frightening regularity, it is time for everyone to get on board in support of a legislative approach to prevent mentally unbalanced people from gaining access to firearms, for assault weapons to be made illegal except for military and law enforcement use and for other common sense measures necessary to reduce wanton gun violence to become law

kidstennisThe final week of the 35th season of the Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League will start on Monday, July 29th through Thursday, August 1st from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Middle School Tennis Court with registration and practice for the Annual Youth Tennis Tournaments in different skill levels: beginner, novice, intermediate and advanced to be held on Thursday, August 1st at 6 PM.

The registration fee is $ 50 for each player, boys and girls ages 6 to 18, with all players receiving a participation trophy. The tournaments conclude with a pizza and ice cream party and champion trophies.

Interested youth and parents should contact Bob Harrison, the 35-year volunteer director of the program at 914 646-4054 (cell) or by email at or get an application at the Scarsdale Recreation Department and or show up at the Middle Tennis Courts today at 6 PM.

NYBGPlantsWith the summer heat upon us, you may be searching for some cool escape plans. No doubt you’ve thought of the Scarsdale Pool and the beach at Rye Playland … but how about the Bronx?

Yes, the Bronx where you’ll find the lush New York Botanical Garden and a tropical display of plants at the installation of the work of Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx. If you can’t fly to Copacabana Beach in Rio, here’s the next best thing. Burle Marx’s curved black and white concrete walkway lined with tropical plants, bromeliads and palms and large sculptures has been recreated in front of the conservatory. It’s a dazzling display of foliage and succulents in hot tones of orange, fuchsia and yellow.

The exhibit features the native plants of Brazil including palms and elephant ears with a stunning sculptural water feature. Stroll down the path to the sound of samba which you can download on your iphone. Follow the concrete walkway inside to the conservatory to find more tropical plants and then onto the courtyard to see the water lilies in full bloom.

The garden will stay open late on Saturday night August 10. From 6-8 pm you can sip Caipirinhas, the national drink of Brazil, while enjoying the sounds of live Brazilian guitar music.

We opted to complete our visit with a tram ride around the garden. The half hour trip was cool and relaxing and we saw the nybgMarxentire breadth of the garden. An audio guide on the tram introduced each of the many areas of the property including the rose garden, azalea garden, native plant garden and reflecting pool, magnolias, stately tulip trees and conifers. You can get on an off at any spot and stroll the surroundings.

The garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm and you can get there on Metro North by taking a local train from Hartsdale or Scarsdale and exiting at the Botanical Garden stop. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY

NYBG pool

DuncanWilsonDuncan Wilson, longtime principal of Fox Meadow Elementary School who left just a year ago to go to Briarcliff, has now accepted a new position in Ardsley. A year ago, Wilson left Scarsdale to be the position of Director of Instruction and Human Resources at Briarcliff Manor. Now, Wilson has just accepted a new position as Assistant Superintendent of Ardsley School District. Here is the official release from Ardsley:

The Ardsley Board of Education has appointed Dr. Duncan Wilson, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Wilson will replace Layne Hudes who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Dr. Wilson comes to the district from the Briarcliff School District where he is currently the Director of Instruction and Human Resources. Wilson began his career teaching Social Studies and English in both independent and public schools. He moved into administration joining the Scarsdale School District in 2003 where he served as the Assistant Principal in the middle school and then Principal in the Fox Meadow Elementary School.

“I am very excited that Duncan will be joining our leadership team. His proven knowledge of curriculum and instruction, along with his commitment to educating the whole child, make him an ideal candidate for this position,” said Dr. Ryan Schoenfeld, Superintendent of Ardsley Schools. “He has had a positive impact on the students and the faculty he has worked with throughout his career and I am confident that he will do the same for our district.”

“I am looking forward to joining the administration at Ardsley and am grateful for the opportunity to serve in a district that clearly values its students and has a strong partnership between students, parents and teachers,“ said Wilson. “After meeting with administrators, faculty, and staff, and sensing the collaborative open culture, I knew this was a district I wanted to be a part of and I am thrilled to join the team.”

Mr. Wilson received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, his graduate degree from New York University and his doctorate from the Teacher’s College. He resides in Scarsdale with his wife and son.

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