Wednesday, Aug 17th

saxonwoodshouseHere is a letter from Richard Hanna of Saxon Woods Road about the construction of a house on a neighboring lot: To the Editor: These days it seems anyone can buy, demolish and build a house for sale in Scarsdale despite the Village insistence that they discourage developers from doing just that. A case in point is 140 Saxon Woods Road. For months in 2011 the Village Board of Appeals, the Board of Architectural Review and the Building Department all agreed to the variances and requests from a developer to build a house at 140 Saxon Woods Road despite protests from neighbors that it would block the natural water course flowing across the property, the proposed “McMansion” was too tall and unsightly on such a small property and the owner is a developer who was building the house to sell for profit.

This deal had a certain aroma from the beginning that only increased as time passed. In fact at the first Board of Appeals meetings when asked, the developer stated that he was building the house for his family live in when in fact, as it now appears, he planned to sell it all along.

This became evident last week when the uncompleted house was listed for sale at $1.389m. I am appalled that such duplicitous behavior is not only tolerated but also rewarded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit for the developer.

Of course one could argue that he in fact did initially intend to take up residence in Scarsdale, but as soon as excavation commenced the water situation became quite clear. Although it must be pointed out that he purchased 140 Saxon Woods Rd with full knowledge of the severe ponding phenomena in the yard and that the former home had suffered for some 30 years of flooding (ever since 144 Saxon Woods Rd was built in 1980, on top of a pond and stream and with higher property grade elevations.

The storm water management plan has not successfully addressed the necessary drainage in the area. Due to the high water table level and a rock shelf it may not be possible to install the cultex tanks/drywell. While excavating the site he was unable to dig to the desired drainage grade level due to water and shelf/ledge.

The developer has in fact built a dam significantly altering the 140 Saxon Woods Rd lot terrain obstructing the natural drainage pattern in the area and interrupting a natural watercourse.

As a result of the excavation at 140 Saxon Woods Road one foot from the property line, part of the backyard property of 138 Saxon Woods Rd sunk. The west to east slope of the Saxon Woods Rd neighborhood has now gone up-hill at 138-140 SW Rd, following the several feet of backfill elevating the grade, resulting in ponding in our yard when it rains.

It appears the developer may very well get his profit and leave behind a compromised neighborhood and an environment prone to flooding. It demonstrates reckless behavior with destructive consequences for Scarsdale residents, with the sole intent of the opportunity to earn easy money.

I kindly request the Village to be more scrupulous in their future considerations of variances requested from developers to build an oversized house on a small property. Scarsdale is not a borough in a city where houses are side by side. We would like to retain the integrity of the Village.

Thank you and best regards,
Richard F. Hanna,
138 Saxon Woods Road, Scarsdale.

 

 

superbowlgertzogThere were many Scarsdalians among the thousands who attended the Super Bowl in Indianapolis on Sunday February 5th. Parents scrambled to get tickets and arrange transportation so that their college kids could join them for this landmark event – and everyone who was there reported that it was the thrill of a lifetime.

Here are photos and comments from a few of your neighbors who made the trip. If you want to share your Super Bowl photos and memories, email them to Scarsdalecomments@gmail.com and we’ll add them here:

Bruce Cybul of Scarsdale and his son Ross, a college student in Washington D.C. were among the happy fans. Here is what Bruce had to say:

We had a wonderful time, especially now that the Giants won. Indy was fun; everything was centrally located and the streets were teeming with people well into the night all weekend. We enjoyed the NFL Experience at the Convention Center, waived and jumped up and down like idiots trying to get in the background of the ESPN TV broadcasts, ate at St Elmo's Steakhouse, the pride of Indy, where chants of Let's Go Giants kept breaking out. We saw some great bands, including The Fray and I high fived with Isaac Slade, the lead singer, when he walked into the crowd. I'm told we were on TV a lot during the show. We met a group that rented an RV and drove from NY for a rousing tailgatesuperbowlcybuls party pre-game where they were doing keg stands. My favorite anecdote was when we finally got to our seats after touring the beautiful stadium, we realized that we had Patriot fans sitting on both sides of us. We decided to rearrange our section so that all of the Giants fans could be together. We met with some resistance at first-- but ultimately convinced a few holdouts and suddenly there were a couple dozen or so people swapping seats. It was great as we could celebrate and commiserate with "our own kind" and the group hug at the end was fantastic. I even managed to salvage my glasses! All in all it was just plain great and exhausting. Cross another one off the bucket list.

Giants' fans Andy and Michelle Levine were also in the stands. Here is what they had to say:

superbowllevine1The Super Bowl is a singular experience. One game, all or nothing, lose and you’re out. We found it incredibly exciting -- with a build up all day starting with the NFL Tailgating party. We could barely wait for the kickoff! While a Giants blowout would have been easier to take, the fact that it was a tight game, with Eli winning it yet again in the 4th quarter, really punctuated the season. The fact that it was a rematch of the 2008 thriller in the desert made it even sweeter.

College senior Lukas Effman couldn’t resist the chance to attend the Super Bowl and traveled from Madison, Wisconsin to Indiana for the game. Here is what he shared:


superbowlukas2While its nearly impossible to describe the pandemonium that defined Indianapolis this past weekend, let alone the thrill of actually seeing my favorite team earn the right to be dubbed the "world champions", I will do my best. The blend of jubilee and control that was provided by the city Indianapolis was quite welcoming and impressive. The best way I might describe the atmosphere was to call it festive. Between the hundred foot tall Lombardi Trophy that blanketed the side of the local Marriot, and the sea of all too indistinguishable Patriot and Giant blue, the city was well prepped for a rematch for the ages. It was undoubtedly more than a New York Football Giant's fan could've asked for to start off the New Year!

superbowlellmansMark Ellman and his son Matt, a junior at Scarsdale High School, experienced thier first Super Bowl together and here is a quote from Mark: What a great time. We had a blast. It was my son, Matt, and my first trip to a Super Bowl. The excitement inside the stadium was amazing, especially that last drive by the Giants. We will never forget it and the time we spent together.

superbowlblattJeff Blatt of Greenacres continued a family tradition and took his daughter Josie, a seventh grader to the game. Here is his report: My family has had season tickets to Giant games for almost 50 years. My dad had two seats, one with an obstructed view behind a pillar, at the old Yankee Stadium. When the team moved to the Meadowlands, the obstructed view disappeared thanks to modern construction.

Josie really became a big fan this year and saw two home losses before experiencing her first victory at the playoff game against Atlanta. I then travelled to the Green Bay game with my nephew, and after the victory at San Francisco, obtained tickets to the Super Bowl. It was a classic road trip. Stayed at the O'Hare Hilton and drove from Chicago to Indy the day of the game.

We had a spectacular time. Josie wore a Manning jersey, while I wore a Phil Simms jersey. Two generations of Blatts, each sporting the uniform of our favorite Giant player. I also wore my favorite article of clothing, the David Tyree "Catch Hat" - especially galling to the Pats fans in attendance. What a day, what an outcome, what a trip. We'll never forget the joy we experienced and shared, together.


superbowlgertzog4The Super Bowl is an annual tradition for father and son Gary and Bryan Gertzog of Scarsdale. Bryan drove down to Scarsdale from Ithaca where he attends college, flew out to Indianapolis and then did the trip in reverse after the big event.
Here is what he said, The weekend was well worth the difficult travel. The atmosphere in Indianapolis was great, and the weather was pretty good too. Seeing many celebrities all over the city is always cool, but the best part was that the game managed to live up to its huge hype with a close Giants win.

 

ehs87wrestlingpic1Friday night, Mark and I travelled back in time, with our two boys in hand, to where it all began. (I believe there should be some swirly colorful imagery going on in your mind right now, with some “Oooohs” singing in the background.)

We entered the Edgemont High School gym at 6:00 pm, to watch the Edgemont Panthers vs. the Scarsdale Raiders Bronx River Cup Wrestling Meet. You might think this presented a conundrum for us. We grew up in Edgemont, but now live in Scarsdale. Who ever to root for? No quagmire there. Panther pride all the way.

And, we weren’t alone. The Edgemont Wrestling Alumni are a tight-knit group. So, it should be of no surprise that a bunch of those former singlet-donning gentlemen were there in full force. That includes my hubby. By the way, it takes a real man to wear that get-up. Just sayin’.

It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago, I sat in that exact gym, on those exact bleachers, watching those same gentlemen take the mat. But, it was, and it is.

I can’t tell you what music they were pumping through the speakers Friday, but I can easily remember the song “Lunatic Fringe” from Vision Quest blaring right before Mark took position. It may have been something from ACDC, but those are just details. I know. I’m such a child of the eighties.

The match was great … time to catch up with old friends, and wax nostalgic. There’s something about Edgemonters. We’re connected. And, we stick together. I did marry my fellow 1990 classmate. You can’t get much more “stuck” than that.

Here we are in our “Alumni” section, enjoying the night:

ehswrestle2
(Row 1: Sam Lippmann, Jake Lippmann. Row 2: Kim Orce Aslanian ‘87, Sharon Handelsman Lippmann ‘90, Mark Lippmann ‘90, Ken Orce ‘85. Row3: George DiChiara, Mike Norris ‘87, Chip Waldrup ‘87, Mike Atholz ‘87. Not pictured, Greg Florio ‘87.)

 

At every turn, you could hear Mark telling our boys, “Daddy used to practice in there. It was really hard work. That’s the coach. I had to maintain my weight class. Daddy used to wrestle with these guys. Daddy used to watch Mommy walk down this exact breezeway.” (Okay, I may have added that last one. What? It was a lot of wrestling talk.)

Well, they seemed real interested. (Can’t you tell from their enthused expressions captured above?) Their excitement was like watching water come to a very slow boil. I knew I should have brought their electronic diversions. Next time.

Ultimately, what struck me most Friday night, were the amount of alumni still connected to Edgemont’s wrestling program. The wrestling coach, Pete Jacobson, is an Edgemont graduate, class of 1996. Coach Jacobson says, "It's really something special to be able to coach a sport that I love, that has been such a big part of my life, and from which I have learned so many lessons. And then, to be able to coach in the school I grew up in, just makes it even better…it’s the most humbling and inspiring thing I've ever been a part of."

Friend, current Edgemont resident and EHS class of 1987 graduate, Kim Aslanian was there to cheer on three of her boys in Friday’s match; Kyle, Tyler and Trey. Those Aslanian boys are crushing it. Trey and Tyler are both First in Section 1, while Kyle is hot on their heels. Damn. Must be something in that Edgemont water.

ehswrestle3
Kyle Aslanian, 8th grade, won 11-5. Trey Aslanian, 11th grade, pinned his opponent in 3.2 minutes (2nd Period). Tyler Aslanian, 10th Grade, pinned his opponent in 3.10 minutes. Kim Orce Aslanian, Proud Mom to six and three star Edgemont Wrestlers.

I asked the Aslanian brothers, “So do you ever think about the fact that you all wrestle for Edgemont and that your Mom went there?”

Their simultaneous and very succinct answer, “No.” We all had a little laugh, but I couldn’t let it go at that. So, I added, “But, you do know how cool that is, right?”

And, again simultaneously and just as succinctly, they responded with an emphatically sincere, “Yeah.”

Edgemont didn’t win the meet overall. But, for all of us alumni cheering on the sidelines, you would have thought they won by a landslide. We were thrilled to just be there, back in our old Edgemont gym, reminiscing and supporting a whole new generation of Panthers and Raiders alike. (Congratulations go to Scarsdale on this well-earned win.)

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest gifts Mark and I received, from our parents, was their choice of “hometown.” I hope that our boys, Sam and Jake, will feel that way long after they’ve left our nest. If nothing else, I know they’ll grow up with a sense of fierce Raider pride, just as we still harbor our own intensely loyal Panther pride.

Perhaps, one day, they will choose to settle back in their “hometown” of Scarsdale. And, just maybe it will be with their wives, who are very possibly sitting next to them right now in their kindergarten and third grade classes. Who knows? Crazier things have been known to happen.

(Picture at top: Courtesy of the Edgemont High School 1987 Yearbook.)

Contributor Sharon Lippmann, writes about her "so called suburban life," as a proud resident of Scarsdale, NY. She is a writer, blogger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend and one sassy chick. She loves exploring the interesting, strange, perplexing, vexing, ridiculous and funny that life offers up frequently. Enjoying more of what she has to say about nothing, and, well, everything at mydailypill.com .

 

stockEvelyn Stock has lived in Scarsdale for forty-two years – and during that time has held leadership positions in most of the Village organizations, and many County and State organizations as well. Committed to public service, Stock is a role model for everyone in town and continues to serve in too many ways to list. Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with her will remark on her sharp intellect, honesty, ability to identify the issues and her terrific sense of humor. Stock makes both new and old residents of Scarsdale feel like they belong and inspires them to step up and contribute.

Stock’s talents go beyond the boardroom to the kitchen where she is known for her first-rate confections. Read to the end of this interview and you’ll find a sweet treat!

When did you move to Scarsdale and what drew you to the community? My husband, Howard, Elisabeth, my two-year-old daughter and I (Andrea was born in 1973) moved to Scarsdale in May of 1970. Everything was in flower; it was like coming to paradise. The reputation of the schools was a draw as was having a friend who lived here. We had also looked in Larchmont but we felt we clearly got the most for our money in Scarsdale.

How have things stayed the same/changed since you first moved in? Much is the same--people still move here for the schools, for the Village services, and for the easy commute to New York City. The community still welcomes those who wish to serve and for me, at least, it is still a place where neighbors care about and support one another. The support my family received when my husband was sick and dying was awesome.

At the same time, things have also changed—the obvious ones physical ones—Heathcote Five Corners, the Village Center, houses being built on every and any available plot of land. And so many houses being torn down or added to—my friend says the Scarsdale houses are on steroids. But the residents also have changed. In 1970 Scarsdale was a more financially diverse community, lots of teachers lived here as did policemen and firemen from NYC. Not too many people looking for homes can afford the prices and the taxes now. We paid what we considered then an incredible amount for our first house. It sold for more than 15 times that amount several years ago. More seniors remained in their homes then and did not feel pressed by high taxes to leave when their kids graduated from high school.

As a parent, how did you find the school system? For the most part it was good and generally responsive to the needs of my kids who were very different from one another. Although we all recognize not every teacher is good for every kid, most of the teachers really cared and were available and supportive. I felt it got better as the years went by. The district has remained committed to preparing kids not only for college but for life. I think the best testimony to its success is how many of our high school graduates have returned to Scarsdale to raise their children.

A school district with an excellent reputation often lives up to expectations because it draws those who value education and who are willing, even at great sacrifice, to support the schools. And as parents, they are involved in their children’s education. What better recipe for success?

What attracted you to service on the school board? How many years did you serve? It was a logical destination given my years in the PTA and the Scarsdale League of Women Voters. (The League studies and comments each year on the school budget.) I used to say I had climbed on a conveyor belt when I became a class mother and either school board or Village board was the destination. I served the customary six years.

What are some of your most vivid memories of that time? School related vivid memories include meetings that lasted long after midnight. lots of meetings, the community uproar over the “brown anodized replacement windows,” the superintendent search when Dr. Sobol left to become NYS Commissioner of Education, and working to get the bond issue for the new construction approved by the voters. The controversy about the windows was unbelievably difficult for the board members. Hiring Dick Hibschman to be our new superintendent was a coup. Board members were out every night for months trying to enlist support for the bond issue, and I can still feel the jubilation we felt when the bond passed.

Community memories include the ongoing discussion about downtown development and parking, parking, parking. I served on a committee to study downtown development. I worked with great people but the report was put on a shelf. I continue to be disappointed that the Village has done little to deal with the flooding problems in my neighborhood. The problems have been known for years but only after the devastating flooding of 2007 did the Village begin regular maintenance of the storm sewers.

I know you have served on almost all of the major committees in Scarsdale….What were some of your favorites and why? I guess they were all favorites—PTA, the LWV, School Board, the Planning Board, the Adult School, Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale Foundation, the Village and School Board nominating committees. Plus, of course, the committees and boards outside of Scarsdale (Southern Westchester BOCES for 14 years, Westchester Putnam School Boards Association, President of the LWV of Westchester and then New York State, Westchester Women’s Advisory Board. Fair Campaign Practices Committee, Women’s Research and Education Fund).

Why—Each committee brought me in contact with people with different interests. I learned a lot. Also, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with the best people--volunteers are the best people, and many of them became and still are my friends.

Which ones did you find to be tiresome? All of my commitments at one time or another have been tiresome. Fortunately, I had the support of my husband and my children (even though they were not always good about taking and giving me messages).

Were you surprised when you were nominated for the Scarsdale Bowl? Yes, there were lots of people ahead of me whom I felt were deserving and I was still relatively young. And the previous year I had been named to the Westchester Hall of Fame.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of assignments you have accepted? Frequently! Especially when a number of things must be completed at the same time. I once told my husband that I wanted to run away. Realizing he was hurt, I said I was not planning to run away from him—he could come with me.

I know you enjoy serving as a mentor to younger residents– what would you tell newcomers to Scarsdale about getting involved? I have been blessed to live in a community which values volunteer work. It has been my privilege to encourage others. I tell both new and old residents to volunteer with something they find interesting. Their circle of friends will no longer be confined to neighbors or those whose children are the same age. And making a difference, even a small one, feels good. It can become addictive. And as much as they give, they will get far more in return.

As Chair of Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices you have deliberated over many controversial issues. Can you describe one that was particularly challenging? There were many and continue to be many but, years ago, we had a candidate who complained that his opponent claimed to be pro-choice when he was the “only” candidate who could rightfully make that claim. After much deliberation, the Committee decided it was not our role to decide the definition of pro-choice, rather it was up to the candidates themselves to explain their version of “pro-choice” to the voters

You are also famous for your baking and have taught a baking class at the Scarsdale Adult School. Can you share a recipe with our readers? Famous—no! I admit to having some really good recipes, one of the best is for Lemon Squares. It is guaranteed to be foolproof providing you follow the recipe and make sure your oven temperature is right.

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares have been my signature confection for at least 35 years. They have appeared at numerous events and are expected to be served at all of my parties. I first saw the recipe in a recipe book published by a Baltimore Museum--they were called Lemon Cheese Squares. I was intrigued since there was no cheese in the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine in food processor:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1/2 C confectioners sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 C unsalted butter

Process until ingredients form into a ball.

Pat evenly into a 10 x 13 inch metal pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes. The crust should be barely golden.

Meanwhile mix together in the food processor (I do not wash the bowl):

  • 4 eggs
  • 5 T flour
  • 2 C sugar
  • Juice of 2 medium size lemons (about 5 T)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon or 2 if a more pronounced lemon taste is desired.

If there are bubbles, wait a minute for them to settle.

Pour over partially baked crust. Bake 25 minutes more. Top should be set but not brown. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares. (I trim the edges for a clean look--they get eaten by family and anyone walking through the kitchen.) Sometimes, instead of powdered sugar, I have frosted the squares with a thin icing of lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Lemon squares can be frozen.

chatladiesAs a stay-at-home-Mom, my job never truly ends. However, there are certain luxuries that I do get to enjoy. One such treat being the time honored tradition of “doing lunch.” And, last week that’s exactly what I did, when I met my friend, Lisa, at Scarsdale’s very own Chat American Grill. I’m just crazy for their carrot ginger soup and tuna tartar. So good.

And, of course, I couldn’t wait for some good ole’ girl chat. We could barely finish our food through our non-stop stream of scintillating conversation.

We covered everything from travelling with our kids to our fashion likes, and to how our own Mother’s have provided us with a lifetime of psychoanalytical fodder. Of course, we spent an ample amount of time on one of my favorite topics, sex. (If you’ve been following my blog, mydailypill.com , then this should come as no surprise to you.)

So, as you can imagine, we were totally engrossed in our own little “chat” world. We didn’t even notice the other patrons around us, as we were having so much fun. Until, I felt a slight nudge on my shoulder and a more mature voice forcing me to turn around.

I came face to face with a sweet looking older woman, sporting dark sunglasses and a pair of outrageous red plastic lips. What the…? She immediately leaned in, and asked, “How do you like my Angelina Jolie lips?”

“They’re fabulous,” I answered, with not such a straight face. I mean, look at her.

I then turned back to “Jolie Lips” and half-jokingly asked her, “Exactly how much have you ladies had to drink today?”

Well, that cemented our friendship. After a raucous outpouring of laughter, Ella (aka “Jolie Lips) and her friends sincerely declared, “Not a drop. We’re always like this. We like to have fun.” I could relate.

Lisa and I started chatting up Ella and the other ladies. They were there to celebrate Tina’s 82nd birthday.

Ella, Tina and Grace moved into the same building, in the Bronx, some 48 years ago, and have remained close friends ever since. They were young wives and mothers when they began their life-long friendship.

Almost fifty years of loyal loving sisterly friendship. Wow. Now, that is something to aspire to.

And, it immediately got me thinking about all the friendships that I’ve made since moving to Scarsdale, nine years ago. Myself, a young wife and mother. There’s something about sharing this period of your life with other women that creates unbreakable bonds.

So, even though our beloved town is a lot larger than one single building in the Bronx, it offers the same promise of unwavering friendship. And, I look forward to the day, when I can look back on friendships that span close to fifty years of sisterhood. But, first I’m going to enjoy turning 40!

(Pictured at top -- That’s Ella (age 79 years) modeling her “Angelina Jolie” faux lips. The birthday girl, Tina (age 82 years) is to my left, and Grace (age 77 years) stands to the right. And, that’s me, peeking through, in my “Where’s Waldo” position.)

Contributor Sharon Lippmann, writes about her "so called suburban life," as a proud resident of Scarsdale, NY. She is a writer, blogger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend and one sassy chick. She loves exploring the interesting, strange, perplexing, vexing, ridiculous and funny that life offers up frequently. Enjoying more of what she has to say about nothing, and, well, everything at mydailypill.com .

 

 

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