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ChuppahGrand Park Avenue residents were busted for holding a wedding in their yard on Thursday night April 23 in spite of the Governor’s orders mandating social distancing. Undaunted by police the family proceeded with the wedding. When confronted by Scarsdale Police Officers, the father of the bride was adamant that the ceremony would go on and refused to acknowledge that it was illegal to hold a gathering in his yard.

Scarsdale Police were tipped off to the celebration at 7:45 pm on Thursday night April 23. When they arrived, they saw an “unusually large number of vehicles parked on Cornell Street and Grand Park Avenue.” Police entered through an open gate to find the homeowner.

They found an elaborate set up for a wedding, including a four-piece band, musicians, photographers, a large commercial tent with a clear plastic roof and a chuppah all in place. The 8-10 foot chuppah was covered in flowers and underneath was a table with a wine bottle and glasses surrounded by twelve chairs.

Police located the 65 year-old homeowner who was not wearing a mask. He claimed that he was holding a small wedding for his daughter and that only ten people would attend. Police asked everyone on the scene to put on a mask. The homeowner insisted that the wedding would proceed quickly. Police informed him that “all social gathering and all non-essential gathering were not permitted due to the current pandemic under Governor’s Executive Order 202 which prohibits worship services, parties, celebration or other social events of any size for any reason.”

The father of the bride said he thought he could hold a gathering of ten people and claimed they were just taking photos and the photographers were leaving. While police were speaking to the man, several cars pulled into the driveway and the drivers were told to turn around and park on the street. Police also observed two men who later said they were security guards. Inside the house, police saw another 15-20 people all wearing suits and attire for a formal gathering.

Outside the gate, police found more people in their cars dressed in evening attire. Some said they were family members who wished to congratulate the family and said they would exit immediately. The number of people at the event grew and police could hear loud music coming from the house. Police rang the front gate buzzer to speak to the homeowner “to no avail.” They spoke to the rabbi who said, “a gathering of 10 people is fine” and refused to provide any additional information as he exited the premises.

According to the report, after the music stopped, several of the guests, the mother and the father of the bride, the bride and groom, the videographer and the photographer exited the property and handed out gift bags to the people in parked cars and those driving on Grand Park Avenue.

Police gave a summons to the homeowner for willful violation of health laws per the Governor’s Order which is a misdemeanor.

hudsonhillsgolfcourseThe news is not all doom and gloom. At a press conference on April 20 Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced that two county golf courses will open for play this weekend. Mohansic in Yorktown Heights and Hudson Hills in Ossining will open for play on Saturday, April 25. Reservations can be made at

County Executive George Latimer said: “We have been able to keep our County parks open because we understand that everyone needs to get out and enjoy some fresh air during these times when we are all advised to stay home. We are balancing the desire of those who want to enjoy the outdoors along with the priority of stopping the spread of the virus. These two courses will serve as a test case of our ability to balance both priorities. We believe we will successfully accomplish both goals.”

The courses will be operated under the following guidelines:

-Golfers are asked to check in early for tee times. A minimal number of guests are allowed in the pro shop at one time.

-Tee times have longer intervals between them and reduction of operating hours is being implemented.

-Flagsticks are to be left in the holes untouched and bunkers are not to be raked by golfers.

-Rakes, ball washers and coolers have been removed from the courses.

-Golfers are instructed to not gather in groups or clusters while on or off the golf course.

-Restaurants at both courses are closed for both seated and takeout service.

Latimer announced that Bicycle Sundays on the Bronx River Parkway will begin in May as planned, however riders will be required to wear masks.

Latimer also shared the most recent numbers on the COVID crisis.covidmapApril 20

As of April 20, 2020

Over 70,000 have been tested and over 23,803 have been identified as positive

There are currently 10,080 active cases which is down by 1,000 cases from 10 days ago

As of Sunday 4-19, 1,089 were hospitalized, a 10.8% hospitalization rate

743 people have died from the virus withing the past 7 weeks.

There is a 3% fatality rate among those who contract it

Latimer commented that Westchester County trails New York City, Nassau and Suffolk in the number of cases and said, “The disease is tracking where there are the most people – more people, more cases. Congested villages like Port Chester and Ossining have a higher incidence while the numbers are smaller in places like Pound Ridge, Buchanan, Bronxville and Larchmont. He said, “84% who died are 60 and over and there have been very few deaths of people under the age of 50. It works in concert with age and general health and adversely affects the poor and people of color, but age is the most important factor.

Responding to a question about the Westchester County Center that has been constructed to house the sick, Latimer said, “There are no patients there today and I don’t know the plans of the State Department of Health. It will be done through the state.”

TAxReliefWill Scarsdale taxpayers get any relief on payment of their real estate taxes due to the economic downturn? Some are calling for the Village to allow residents to pay their real estate taxes in installments or for the Village to waive late fees and interest charges for late payments. The Village taxes are due by July 31 and the school taxes are due by September 30 and each are payable in one lump sum

We asked Scarsdale Village Trustee Justin Arest for an update on what the Village might do to ease the burden on taxpayers. See what he said below:

His comments are followed by a letter to State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin from the candidates for Village Trustee from the Voter’s Choice Party.

justinJustin Arest Comments from Scarsdale Village Trustee Justin Arest:

"The health and safety of our community has been the Village’s main priority since the beginning of this crisis. However, with the adoption of the FY20-21 budget looming, the Village Board has started with emergency measures to fill potential gaps in budgeted revenues."

Arest continued, "The Village has been looking into potential possibilities to find possible forms of tax relief and is trying to determine what its options might be before making announcements.” 

When pressed about whether the Village is doing anything specific that could impact the upcoming property tax deadline, he added, “I think reducing or even possibly eliminating interest penalties on property taxes for two months [as the County is discussing] is a great idea. Last week, the Mayor, Village Staff, and our Village Attorney started working to determine the legal and operational feasibility of providing some flexibility for our residents with regard to the timing of payment of Village property taxes. While we are actively looking into the potential to manage real estate tax late fees, we are also proceeding cautiously to ensure that there are no unintended consequences. Making an announcement every time we start to investigate or work on something might only add to the already high level of uncertainty our residents face, so we believe it prudent to do our due diligence first. There may also be actions required by the Village Board, so if this is a feasible option, we will discuss it at our next public meeting. I am hopeful we will have this and other positive items on our agenda for our April 14th Village Board Meeting that will include a Public Hearing on our Tentative 2020-2021 Village Budget. Stay tuned.”

The Voters Choice Party has appealed to State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin with their suggestions on tax relief. See their letter below:

Letter from the Voters Choice Party candidates:

Robert J. Berg
32 Tisdale Road
Scarsdale, New York 10583
(914) 522-9455

April 4, 2020

By e-mail (
Hon. Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Temporary President and Majority Leader
New York State Senate
188 State Street, Room 907
Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247

By e-mail (
Hon. Amy Paulin
Assemblywoman, District 88
New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building 422
Albany, New York 12248

Re: Waiver of Statutory Late Fees and Installment Plans for Payment of 2020 Village and School Property Taxes

Dear Sen. Stewart-Cousins and Assemblywoman Paulin:

We hope that your families and you are safe and well during these very difficult days. We thank you for your service to our State and our Scarsdale community. As you well know, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is hitting our State and our region particularly hard from both a health and an economic perspective. Our residents are struggling with collapsing businesses, job losses, and greatly depleted savings, while trying to protect their health and secure necessary food, supplies, and medicines safely for themselves and their families and neighbors. Meanwhile, the stream of bills, such as utility, rent, mortgage, repair, credit card, and car payments, flood in relentlessly. As we all juggle our finances to stay afloat, starting this month, we begin in the Village of Scarsdale the always daunting cycle of confronting our three sets of property tax bills – County, Village, and School District -- sadly, among the absolute highest in the entire country.VotersChoiceCandidatesSean Cohen, Robert Berg and Robert Selvaggio

Despite its reputation as one of the wealthiest communities in the nation, the reality is that fifty percent of our households earn below $250,000 annually. Of those households, the average annual income is just $146,000. While still high by statewide standards, the costs of housing, property taxes, and life in general in the Village of Scarsdale are steep and these “lower” household earners are the most susceptible to layoffs and reduced income during this crisis. Scarsdale residents at all wealth strata are badly affected by the depressed economy.

Against this frightening backdrop, the Village of Scarsdale and the Scarsdale Union Free School District are finalizing their budgets for their forthcoming fiscal years. Amidst the pandemic, the Village Board and the School Board are planning to raise their tax levies and tax rates to support their increased budgets – both by approximately 2% year over year. While we have urged both Boards to cut their budgets in order to give taxpayers some relief this year, they have rejected our recommendations.

But even if they do not reduce their budgets, perhaps, with your help (and the help of the Legislature and Governor), you can ease our cash flow problems by passing legislation that would waive the onerous statutorily-imposed late fees (interest) on property tax payments and allow for taxpayers to make proportionate installment payments (without any late fees) over the course of the next fiscal year to the Village and the School District based upon the cash flow needs of each entity.

Under our proposal, the State legislation would enable Towns, Villages, and School Districts to offer their taxpayers the option of paying their Town, Village, and/or School District property taxes in several installments over the next fiscal year without interest or penalty. Each governmental unit would be authorized to determine the appropriate proportional share of the tax levy required by the unit per installment to fund the unit’s budget for the particular period. By matching taxpayers’ payments more closely to the governmental units’ actual cash flow needs, taxpayers will be better able to manage their own finances during the inevitably challenging economic times over the next fiscal year. Our proposal would be for legislation that sunsets after one year, subject to renewal by the Legislature and Governor should economic conditions warrant. Moreover, our proposal would allow governmental units to opt out should they determine that the legislation unduly interferes with their cash flow requirements.

Thus, our proposal differs from the one presently being considered by the Westchester County Board of Legislators. The current version before the Board of Legislators seeks to offer taxpayers the opportunity to delay payment of their County property taxes (presently due by April 30, 2020) for one month with a .5% penalty if payment is made by May 31, 2020, or a 1% penalty if payment is made by July 15, 2020. Under the County proposal, Towns may opt out and Cities in Westchester County are not eligible to participate.

We look forward to your thoughts and comments.


Robert J. Berg
32 Tisdale Road
Scarsdale, NY

Sean D. Cohen
35 Chesterfield Road
Scarsdale, NY

Robert D. Selvaggio
16 Rochambeau Road
Scarsdale, NY

cambria2There are few bright spots in the news today – but Westchester County Executive George Latimer did offer one hopeful note in his press briefing on Monday April 13. It appears that the demand for hospital beds in Westchester is keeping pace with the supply – so fears that Westchester’s health system would be overwhelmed have not come to pass.

Latimer opened the briefing by remembering those the county has lost to the virus, now numbering 557, almost double the count of 283 on April 7. County flags will fly at half-staff to remember them – and Latimer said, “I hope we’ll never forget them.”

Latimer reported that Westchester County has tested almost 60,000 people, which is “more per capita than any other jurisdictions in the state.” Of those, 19,876 have tested positive and 1,194 are in the hospital, an 11.5% hospitalization rate. With 3,000 available beds in the County, Latimer said “We are in a good place” in terms of availability. If other regions become overloaded, Latimer pledged to use any available in beds in Westchester to help people from outside the County.

Discussing the statistics, Latimer reported that the African Americans and Latino populations are suffering from the virus in higher proportions than the general population. Those with underlying conditions and poor people who live in denser communities have also been more negatively affected. However, Latimer said that, “Age is the biggest determinant. More than half of the people who died are 70 years and older and when you add in those between 60 and 70 years old, this accounts for 2/3 of all deaths.

He concluded by saying, “We think the numbers show a flattening of the curve.”

Due to the storm on Monday, the testing centers at Glen Island and Westchester Medical Center were closed.

Latimer reiterated the CDC recommendation to wear masks and gloves in public, whether going to an ATM, pumping gas or going shopping to protect those around us.

Though Latimer believes that golfing “does not lend itself to inappropriate conduct,” he made the decision to close the County golf courses in conjunction with the state and Rockland County. Golf courses can no longer be used. However the County Parks, nature center and hiking trails remain open. Moving forward, Latimer will “act regionally.”

Discussing the debate about re-opening the schools, Latimer said “the power belongs to the Governor of New York.” Latimer was asked to confer with County superintendents to get their views on remaining closed through the end of June and said this input would be forwarded to the Governor.

Last, Latimer announced a new program whereby hotels will house Westchester healthcare workers.

The Westchester Hotel Association and Westchester County Tourism & Film teamed up to match guest room donations to local hospitals, for use by critical staff they designate. That can allow those workers to lessen their commutes between long shifts and to reduce possible exposure for their families.

So far, over 400 free room-nights have been committed for local healthcare workers’ use by:
· Cambria Hotel White Plains Downtown, to Westchester Medical Center
· Comfort Inn & Suites, Hawthorne, to Westchester Medical Center
· DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tarrytown, to Phelps Memorial Hospital
· Holiday Inn Mount Kisco, to Northern Westchester Hospital

Those properties – and 22 more Westchester hotels and motels – have also agreed to offer additional rooms for healthcare providers and emergency responders at deeply discounted rates. These rates and booking information for eligible workers are listed online at

Sean Meade, general manager of the Cambria Hotel and president of the Westchester Hotel Association said: “Our hotels are normally competitors, but the pandemic is prompting us to come together as one team to defeat a common enemy, COVID-19. With this program, we serve our community together and help each other through this tough time.”

Westchester County municipalities are also part of the effort, such as White Plains’ donation of free parking at City Hall, just across the street from the Cambria Hotel, for the healthcare workers temporarily lodging there.

For healthcare and emergency responder special rates or for workers who need an alternative place to stay during the pandemic check out for more information.

coronavThe Coronavirus is hanging in for longer than many had anticipated. The count of those infected continues to rise and the Village and the County are working to help as many as possible.

According to an April 1 note from Scarsdale Mayor Marc Samwick the County Department of Health now reports 93 confirmed COVID cases in Scarsdale. That’s a big jump from our last report of 59 cases as of March 30.

Samwick also conveyed the following update from Governor Cuomo:

The isolation protocol has been updated such that people infected with COVID-19 may end isolation if they meet ALL three of the following criteria:

-It has been 7 days since first experiencing symptoms;

-The patient has had no fever for at least 72 hours without taking fever-reducing medication, such as Tylenol; AND

-Any shortness of breath, coughing and difficulty breathing has improved.

Samwick notes that “Non-essential construction has been halted.” We walked by the Greenacres Elementary School which is on a tight construction timeline for completion by the opening of school in September and no work is going on. What will that do to the schedule?

Read more from the Mayor here

Westchester County Center Under Construction


As previously noted, the Westchester County Center is under construction to be used as a hospital for non-COVID-19 patients. The interior and the west parking lot will be set up to accommodate approximately 100 patients.

See the photo above of the work going on at the County Center to convert it to a hospital.

Also note the following:

Pick-up After Yourself and Your Dogs

poopGlovesinstreetWith spring in the air, daffodils, crocuses, cherry trees and magnolias are almost in bloom. Many of us are out walking – because what else can we do! Enjoy the flora and greet your neighbors – from six feet away. If you have a dog, be sure to pick up the poop –- we’ve seen too many bags littering our streets. In addition there are lots of plastic gloves left on the ground. Our Public Works Department is straining to maintain services and it’s up to you to help. Please don’t litter!

Pay Your Housekeeper and Nanny

Another reader asked us to remind residents to pay their nannies and housekeepers, even if they cannot let them into the house during the virus. He referenced several articles from the New York Times that note that since many of these workers are undocumented they cannot collect unemployment or benefit from a government bailout. They do not have paid sick leave and rely on you to keep them afloat.

Express Gratitude HopesDoor

(From Cynthia Samwick)
During this crisis, we are reminded of what truly matters in our lives - our health and safety and each other! We are blessed to live in such a special place as Scarsdale with our endless commitment to taking care of one another.

It is important to take the opportunity to thank those working tirelessly to ensure our safety and the wellbeing of our community. Anything from an email, handwritten note, or baked goods delivery shows our appreciation for their dedication and may even put a smile on their face during this period of immense stress.

Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corp
President - David Raizen
5 Weaver Street

Police Chief Andrew Matturro
50 Tompkins Road

Fire Chief James Seymour
50 Tompkins Road

Superintendent of Public Works
Jeff Coleman
110 Secor Road

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