Friday, Jun 02nd

kusamaDaffodils, magnolias, cherry trees, forsythia, camelias, tulips and more are all in bloom at the New York Botanical Garden, just a 20 minute drive from Scarsdale. As spring emerges, take a day trip to this stunning natural oasis.

We were fortunate to visit the garden on a sunny warm day, and though it was packed with nature lovers, the large garden can accommodate ample social distancing.

In addition to the planted material, the garden is now hosting a show of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama who "expresses her fascination with the natural world and profound engagement with nature in a variety of mediums and formats." There are whimsical sculptures, the garden’s tall trees are wrapped in red and white polka dots and seasonal flowers are planted to complement her work.

The pond in the native garden has been filled with hundreds of plastic silver globes in an installation of Kusama’s narcissus garden, first shown in 1966. They have been displayed all over the world as far as the Venice Bienniale and Sydney Australia.

What do they evoke? One explanation of the installation says, “In Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama, one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, mirrored balls reflect each other and their onlookers, creating an infinitely recurring web in which the surrounding visible world is trapped and perpetuated. Evoking the mythological figure of Narcissus, this work allows viewers to see themselves and the world around them.”

The meaning of the display is evolving and open to interpretation. Visit and see for yourself.

You’ll need to order tickets in advance here. The Kusama show runs through Octoboer 31, 2021 so you have time to see it. You might want to bring your own food and drinks as the line for the café was long on the day we visited.

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con edison hard hat 1 101791f00c809faf2ac879fb205a37b2As most residents know by now, Con Edison has undertaken a program to install natural gas detectors in the homes of all their customers. A contractor working for the utility company is doing the work and homeowners can schedule an appointment if they wish to plan ahead.

However, beware.

If the contractor finds a gas leak in your home that cannot be quickly resolved they will shut off your gas immediately, leaving you without service until the problem is fixed by a licensed plumber and an inspection is completed by Scarsdale Village. All of this could take time and money and leave you without heat, hot water, and gas for your appliances.

We’ve heard from a few people who were caught off guard and ended up with no gas service after the Con Edison contractor detected a leak.

How did this occur?

One woman scheduled an appointment with Con Edison for the meter to be installed which you can do here:

However, when the contractor arrived, he detected gas in her home and immediately called Con Edison who arrived quickly and without any warning shut off her gas. As she had her grandchild in the house and was not prepared for the loss of her heat and hot water she begged him to turn it back on until she could call a plumber to address the issues.

He refused and in her words was “arrogant” and “rude.” Her husband grew so incensed at the loss of service that he almost came to blows with the Con Edison representative and his wife called the police.

Now the family is without heat and hot water and faces days or even weeks of work by a plumber who will have trouble detecting the location of the leaks because the gas is not on. Once the work is done they will have to schedule an inspection with Scarsdale Village, which could also take a few days to occur.

Another Quaker Ridge resident permitted the contractor to enter her home during the coldest weeks of the winter. When the contractor found a leak Con Edison shut off her gas. She was without heat in the house for weeks.

How to avoid the problem? It may seem easiest to simply prevent them from coming inside. However, If they make several attempts to enter your home and you deny them access, you may be chared a $100 fine.

We asked Allan Drury from Con Edison for an explanation and here is what he said:

It is correct that we are changing out meters and installing smart meters. As in any instance in which we find a gas leak, we cannot leave it. We would be leaving behind a potentially grave danger.

As the press release indicated, we urge customers to schedule inspections and gas detector installations. These inspections would detect the leaks that we are finding during the meter installations. When our inspectors find a leak, we make it safe if we can. When we cannot, we shut off the gas and advise the customer to hire a plumber. There is no benefit to Con Edison whatsoever to shut off a customer’s gas. We do it when necessary because public safety comes before everything else.

We are making extensive efforts to inform customers of the state-mandated inspections. All customers received an initial letter; we knock on doors, leave notes at doors, and send postcards, emails and letters. Customers can schedule inspections via our website. The press release was also an attempt to get word out. In addition, we have been briefing public officials. You’ll note that the Westchester County commissioner of Emergency Services was quoted in our press release.

We also asked Scarsdale Deputy Village Manager Rob Cole for the Village’s point of view and he said:

I would like to add that any Scarsdale Con Ed gas customer having tried unsuccessfully to resolve a gas leak detection program problem through Con Ed is welcome to contact me at 914.722.1108, or by email using, and I will endeavor to support resolution. Additionally, any specific instances of unprofessional interactions may be shared with me by email and I will forward to appropriate ConEd personnel for review and follow-up; while the work is very important and the urgency of making any necessary repairs should be understood by our residents, Con Ed personnel should nonetheless engage with their customers professionally.

Importantly, the gas leak detection program is a regulatory mandate that neither Con Ed nor Village staff are authorized to grant relief from, as the program exists for the safety of all Con Ed gas customers and their neighbors.

I have also requested that Con Ed contact you directly to discuss any specific questions concerning how the program works, including the process and timing for resolving any leaks detected when the inspection is completed.

We asked Cole if residents could avoid problems by getting their own gas inspection before giving the Con Edison contractors access to their homes to install the new meters. Here is his response:

Yes, a Con Ed gas customer could choose to hire a plumber to inspect for gas leaks ahead of the cycle when Con Ed is required to inspect (it’s a recurring inspection program). Because Con Ed reports that the vast majority don’t have leaks, we have not advised that customers should hire a plumber for that purpose, though it is certainly an option for someone concerned about the potential for a shut-off during the Con Ed inspection; perhaps Con Ed has a different reason for not suggesting pre-inspection by a plumber. One should also note that, depending on the nature of the leak and associated fix a plumber may undertake, a shutoff may still be necessary until the repair is completed and cleared by Con Ed.

From a home safety perspective, not directly related to the inspection program, a resident may also consider installing a natural gas detector, though that is not mandatory. Con Ed offers an FAQ on their gas detector program here: There are also commercial products available that may have better alarm systems, broader coverage through the home, etc.

Read more from the Village here:

Commenting on the article, Ron Tesoro said, "Precision Pipeline Solutions the company performing the "inspections" and installation of a gas sensor cannot assure me that they are insured to enter and do the work that Con ed has secured them for. None of the individuals are licensed plumbers nor do they possess the skills to properly assess a potential problem. Con ed claims that the contractors carry proper ID to identify themselves,not true. On one occasion two men showed up on my porch at random, I was on a call and did not answer my door, they decided to knock on my living room window in an attempt to get me to comply. Two weeks ago two people came back, rang the doorbell 6 times, opened the storm door and knocked before they left a Con ed hang tag.

Why hasn't the Village of Scarsdale stepped up here?

Kind Regards,
Ron Tesoro
Brambach Road

Another reader said "Thank you very much for the very informative article on Scarsdale10583 about Con Ed’s gas meter program implementation and effects on Village residents.

In preparation for a visit from the Con Ed subcontractor Precision Pipeline Solutions, we called our plumber. What we heard was not at all reassuring. Local residents in the middle of the winter having their gas cut off and having to go to hotels; long delays before gas service is restored because of the need for plumbers to find a leak, which may be tricky, and local governments needing to sign off on reconnecting the gas service and Con Ed to do the work. It sounded like potentially far more than 68 households in Westchester would have had their gas service shut off by this new gas leak meter program and suffered the consequences.

What a service you give, and not just to Scarsdale!"

You never know what’s going on behind closed doors, and the case of the Mehta household, who could imagine that beautiful artwork was being created in an in-house studio in Quaker Ridge. Scarsdale resident Shreya Mehta is an award-winning visual artist, who strives to explore issues of identity, gender, power and spirituality in a variety of mediums and styles including paintings, charcoal sketches, and meditative practices. Her art has been exhibited across the globe from the New York Indian consulate to Prime Minister Naredra Modi.shreyaShreya Mehta in her studio.

We interviewed Shreya about her creative process and her personal experiences as an artist:

Did you always know you wanted to be an artist and how long have you been one?

I did not know I wanted to be an artist. I just knew I wanted to change the world. I’ve always been an artist because everybody is an artist whether they realize it or not. Everyone is an artist the minute they are born because creativity is a human quality.

What is the point of being an artist to you?

I create the beauty that I want to see in this world, and I explore this creative journey to understand who we are in this world and what our identity is whether it be cultural, spiritual, or gender. Once we understand this, I believe, we can have a much bigger sense of purpose and what we have to give the world. One of the biggest drives for me to create art is Art For a Cause, which is a nonprofit I launched in 2012 where I give back to charitable causes that I am passionate about. For instance, I donate a portion of my commissions to fund the education of underprivileged girls in India.

Is there a certain artistic path you take and/or principles you try to incorporate in your art?mehtahorses"Traces of Palanpur I” depicts a crowd gathering for a royal procession in Palanpur. It was made using charcoal, graphite and 22K gold leaf on 150 lb. Arches cold-pressed paper.

A couple of years back, I realized the making of paint, paintbrushes, and all the supplies have so much toxicity in it. There is so much animal cruelty that goes into even a tube of paint. My spiritual conscience did not allow me to work with those mediums anymore, and so I researched the natural pigments that are made from plants, minerals, and mother earth. I now use those materials in the most sustainable way possible because I think it is so important to be thoughtful about the materials we use and what we surround ourselves with.

How has your practice and your journey as an artist changed over time?

I started my practice by exploring the world as I saw it through my own eyes. In the past, I traveled to India while capturing scenes from the villages, and now even in Scarsdale, I capture the nature I see. But, with time, I have started to internalize what I am creating and move toward a more abstract way of expression. Nothing is black and white because there are all these shades and validity in the truth, which is now what I try to convey through my artwork. I feel like my practice has changed from just capturing what I see around me to a more internal, abstract way of creating art. From the raw materials to the subject matter to the time of day I create art, I’ve taken a more meditative route.

Do you find it hard to find time to pursue your art while fulfilling family obligations?

Such a good question! I often wonder if domestic life is the enemy of creative work?
The constant pull of family, household work, errands seems to suck out time from the day. But I have realized that it is all about balance. I plan out the most important priorities the night before and carve out time to focus on my art. I have days which are just dedicated to creating and exploring. The point of art is to unsettle and to question. To do that, I need to be present and to have that gift of time.

What advice were you given as an artist and is there anything you’d like to tell an aspiring artist?

I think the best piece of advice is “you do not need to have a signature.” In other words, do not
fit your whole self into a signature style. I think it is so important to experiment and really take that time to explore different mediums and subject matters because art is not just a destination, it is a journey. I urge every young boy and girl to learn, experiment, and keep their minds open. Try to create small little rituals like taking a photo of nature with one’s phone but making sure to do it daily. Art is not just about doing something once, but rather developing a creative attitude toward life and a daily appreciation for beauty.

mehta1“Rivers of Gold” was made with 22K gold leaf and gold paint imprinted on handmade straw paper cemented onto primed linen canvas.

What is your favorite piece you have created?

That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite! I do not think an artist could do that.

What type of environment inspires you the most?

The time of day is very important for me. I need to be surrounded by nature and the ideal time for me to do so is early in the morning around 5-7 AM when the sun is rising. That’s the time when I feel like my artwork flows the best. In the summer months, I love to sit and paint outside, but for the winter months, I have mirrored the outdoor setting indoors with plants in my studio.

What artists are you influenced by?

Mark Rothko is definitely one artist that has inspired me because he has such a strong and spiritual way of exploring color theory. Another artist growing up was Georgia O'Keeffe and her flowers. The way she blazed the trail for hundreds of female artists even inspires me to this day.

mehtawindowBring the Light In

What does Scarsdale mean to you?

One of the things I am also grateful for is how beautiful the natural landscapes of Scarsdale are; it is an environment that inspires and calms me. The nature, the houses... It is a perfect little village and I just feel like it's home.

What do you want to share with Scarsdale residents?

I offer studio visits either virtually or in-person, and I would definitely love for people who are so local to come by and see a real artist's work—the mess included! I used to work in Brooklyn but since 2020 - I have transformed my guest bedrooms into 2 home studios in Scarsdale, NY.

To learn more about Mehta's art or for a virtual visit, you can follow her on Instagram @artshreya or visit her website here.


(Updated April 15, 2020)) This information was submitted by the Scarsdale Foundation) 
The Scarsdale Foundation’s Volunteer Honor Roll is on a roll! The 2021 fundraiser is underway for need based college scholarships for Scarsdale students. The volunteer honor roll celebrates those in our community who have taken the time to help others. So far over 500 honorees have been recognized and over $14,000 has been raised. Scarsdale Foundation hopes to reach 2021 honorees by June 20th. Honorees range from students to committee members to front line workers.

Anyone seeking to thank a volunteer from the community or support the 2021 Volunteer Honor Roll Campaign can click here

Scarsdale is a community where we know that we can rely on each other, especially when the going gets tough. This was truer than ever this past year, as so many in our community have given their time and talent to meet life-changing challenges posed by the pandemic.T
hank everyone who stepped in to help Scarsdale shine during a dark time, helping us to move forward.

As always, the money raised by the Honor Roll will help to provide crucial support to Scarsdale families facing financial hardship, making it possible to manage college tuition. We’re sure it won’t surprise anyone to learn that there is even more scholarship need than usual this year, as a result of Covid-related difficulties suffered by many.

We encourage you to name to the Honor Roll the many friends, colleagues and neighbors who have made a positive difference in our community during 2020 -- any community member who helped make our lives better in big ways or small is eligible.

Examples of ways people might have helped:

-Collecting food

-Assisting with vaccine access
-Connecting folks with necessary mental health support
-Delivering books or birthday cakes to homebound seniors

These generous donations of time and caring fueled positivity in our daily lives as we all contended with the pandemic.

The 2021 Scarsdale Foundation Volunteer Honor Roll is an easy way to keep the good vibe going. Your shout-outs and contributions of just $25 per honoree will help the Foundation provide scholarships to the growing number of Scarsdale students who require financial assistance in order to pay college bills. In 2020, the Foundation awarded $138,000 in scholarships to 32 talented and determined students. This year, the Foundation is setting an ambitious goal to raise $250,000 so that we can meet the growing post-pandemic need. We hope you will choose to participate in this simple yet profound way to show your appreciation for one another, and to help ensure that all of our Scarsdale students have the opportunity to realize their potential.

It’s easy to make someone’s day and help others, all for just $25/Honoree:

Click here to name your honorees:

Anyone may be placed on the Honor Roll!
Repeat honorees will be informed each time they are named!

Scarsdale Foundation Honor Roll members will be recognized:

-With a personalized e-certificate
-On the Scarsdale Foundation Website Honor Roll Board by July 1
-In local papers and local online media

tonysaegusaAzuma Sushi, a staple in Hartsdale, is now closed after proprietor Tony Saegusa passed away at the age of 73 due to complications from COVID on March 1, 2021.

According to a gofundme page that was set up to assist Saegusa’s family, “Azuma Sushi has been a staple among Westchester county residents. The Hartsdale restaurant was one of the first authentic sushi restaurants in Westchester County. His customers and staff over the past 38 years became like a second family to Tony, and his favorite part about running the restaurant.”

Azuma served traditional Japanese sushi using the freshest fish in an elegant setting. Tony greeted you with a bow and showed you to a table in the formal dining room. Patrons knew they should be on their best behavior. Even after others started opening Japanese restaurants offering whimsical ingredients and custom sushi rolls, Azuma maintained its original menu and ethos. The future of this iconic restaurant is unknown.azumaFlowers on the door of Azuma in Hartsdale

Saegusa was born in Yamanashi Japan on October 11, 1947. He came to the United States in 1969 and opened Azuma Sushi in 1983. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Kuniko, 3 sons; Tohgo, Haruki, Kento and one grandson, Ken.

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