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That’s Me

Yonkers New York History

Found on internet: I grew up in Yonkers and this is a bit of a history lesson and well written. From:

Hudson River Waterfront Present & Future- Historic River Towns of Westchester County, Westchester County Dept. of Planning June 1998

Larry James

See the source image

Learned this from Buckout Road FB (Facebook) posting:

“This is Larry James.

“At the racially charged 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, the former White Plains High School track star stood tall and won multiple Olympic Medals. The games were held just a few months after the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

Known as “The Mighty Burner,” the 6′, 150 pound James achieved a silver medal in the 400 Meter Dash, and along with his teammates, captured Olympic gold by shattering the world record in the 400×4 relay. James ran the third leg of the race, clocking an astonishing 43.9 seconds. To put in perspective, Usain Bolt, who is known for his shorter distance runs, has a career-best time of 45.28 in the 400 meters, and the current world record, held by South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk, is 43.03.

Shortly after the Olympics, the fastest man from Westchester County proudly joined the US Marine Corps and rose to the rank of major. In 2003, he joined Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, and Carl Lewis in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.”

There are videos on line for those interested.

Getting Rid of a Nuisance-Bottle Collectors

How can you get rid of nuisance in White Plains?

Bottle collectors go onto others property and often make a mess of recycle bins while making a lot of noise. Bottle collectors take over whole sidewalks with their bags and do not clean the recyclables as required so they often muck up the machines at grocery stores.

Get rid of them by taking off the labels of soda, beer and water bottles and punching holes in cans where barcodes are. Crush cans and water bottles so they take up less room in your bins.

It is actually illegal for people to enter your property to go through your bins and take things from your property. It is also illegal for them to take the recyclables left for city on sidewalks. Let teens go from door to door collecting cans and bottles so they can make summer money if you want your bottles/cans to go to someone.

To “Citizens to be Heard” a City activist group.

City Hall before the make over. And, in Winter.

Wow, don’t understand what this group’s purpose is for anymore. Got attacked on their Facbook Group for wanting my neighborhood of Eastview to be as nice as the rest of the City. It is full of shopping carts, traffic from car dealer, litter, dumped items, storm drains filled with debris and lots of noise by barking dogs, cars zooming down the hill and businesses like the diner that don’t care that they are stinking up the air because they do not properly filter their air vents. My concerns were called petty. This was compared to saving one tree at WPHS or about someone wanting to find a contractor?

Is the Citizens to be Heard Group for people who want to promote their businesses or to find a missing dog by equating it to looking for a person? By the way, Eastview has lost a number of its trees one that was well over a hundred years old due to a strange lighting hail storm. But, other plants and trees came down just because the city wanted them down. And, they were never replaced. Our trees and bushes are home to hundreds of birds and other creatures.

I thought when I met the group at City Hall when I went to a hearing about The Collection that many on my street were against though they remained silent and City just approved anyway, I found a place to have a voice. But, instead I got called a Karen though the definition doesn’t fit me and there were more important things to complain about than a clean environment.

I also was concerned about our City that is losing its historic character one building at a time. When I wrote about what was still here from our past, I was amazed at how much was here but when I published my book after starting a blog in 2012, I had no idea how many of our older buildings would be knocked down to be replaced with high rise luxury rentals where tenants have little voice in how their buildings are run. Don’t want to leave White Plains as many suggested I do just cause I complained. Should we all just run away when we can’t improve things or make our lives better? Retired Special Educator who spent 31.5 years trying to educate the City’s forgotten but when I moved her could not afford a house. I just moved my mother to The Bristal and have lived in two neighborhoods.

Sadly, the block that I lived on in the Highlands on Davis from 1980 to 1988 but frequently go to my doctors has also become an ugly mess of litter, dog feces and broken sidewalks. The hospital took over a house and made it into a parking lot and the hospital hasn’t put in enough parking so it is impossible to find parking on the street with cars parking in driveways. But, this seems to be okay with some and my wanting our City to be cleaner, less noisy and less polluted isn’t.

What is the purpose of this Group?

I guess, I will just continue to go as an individual to make changes in our City. And, they are not just cosmetic. These are a few of the things that got done after complaining to City.

  1. Replacing benches for Vogt and Anderson memorials on City land along Westchester Ave from Franklin and Main St. Had to go through Beautification Foundation, and City with lots of help from Commissioner Bass of Rec/Parks. I paid for 3 benches.
  2. Redoing Tibbits park pathway around Civil War Memorial (Met with Commissioner Bass and Assistant Commissioner of Public Works to fix area that was damaged and erosion was being caused by snowplows. Fixing memorial plaque for Anderson by benches in front of Broadpark Lodge.
  3. Tearing down of former Key Fords that was falling down and fencing to Franklin Lot was damaged.
  4. Reporting zombie property to NY that goes from Amherst to Mitchell Place. Removal of garden, debris and clipping of bushes. Had to keep on reporting problems on sidewalk and fencing.
  5. Putting in new trees on Main St that were dead when new sidewalk went in with building of Cambria Hotel.
  6. Accessible Farmer’s Market. When market opened on Court St, there were vans and barriers not allowing people in wheel chairs to get into market. Took pictures and sent to Rec/Parks and problem was fixed. When block was done, accessibility was a factor in putting in ramps to get to street beyond barriers.
  7. Stopping City workers from using gas blowers and blowing everything into street. Galleria and Library were two areas that were problematic.
  8. Taking down old signs for Grove St on Dr MLK Jr Boulevard.
  9. Improving crosswalk area on Franklin at top of hill by Westchester Av. Trimming back bush and removing parking spot. Bush was eventually removed as it died.
  10. Shoveling of snow of City sidewalks by Main St and Westchester Ave and near Franklin. Not always done.
  11. Taking down sign in land across from Tibbits from Franklin and Main along Westchester Ave that said Bikes yield to peds. Bikes were not allowed on sidewalks. Since then a sign for this was placed by crosswalk on Franklin with Westchester Ave intersection.
  12. Ask for lines on roads and for repaving. Maple Ave from Bloomingdale Rd and Mamaroneck got redone. S. Kensico got a repave yet now needs another. Repaving of Bloomingdale Rd but sadly needs a redo with all the traffic. Ask for crosswalks to be marked but not done yet.
  13. Replacing and fixing crosswalk buttons for crossing: Maple crossing with Paulding, Hamiliton and EJ Conroy, Westchester Ave and Paulding.
  14. Reported to NY State during pandemic 2020 with homeless sleeping at shelters when essential workers needed them. One was urinating on sidewalk by Nordstrom and leaving litter. City has 3 shelters and most of these people were women. We have a woman shelter at Grace Church. No one should be sleeping outside. Women were doing so during day as well as night.
  15. Removing abandoned bikes on Mamaroneck Ave and Main St as well as other streets.

If one does not complain directly to City, nothing changes. Report individual complaints with very specific info on City system for reporting complaints, used email and send pictures and call. Calling is often difficult and do not always get a great reaction or response. One woman in Parking informed me that I was correct that parking was not being enforced on my block of Franklin on weekends and rarely on weekdays. Police also were not ticketing cars at night but this issue is still on going. Parking on street does not allow for cleaning and street is horrible with litter in storm drains and dumped on sidewalks from parkers.

Voting alone will not change things and most people do not vote. Only about 6 thousand vote in this community of 57,000 or more. People who do not live in City can also report issues. Many work here.

If you are having trouble with your building not doing repairs etc, contact the Building Department. They did help me and I had damage from leaking not fixed by building not just inside but on outside where the water was entering.

Anderson Memorial from 1972
Benches replacing Anderson Memorial 2014

Rye, New York

Town of Rye or “Rye” began with three English settlers Thomas Studwell, John Coe, and Peter Disbrow moving on June 29, 1660 to Manursing Island, The island juts out into the Long Island Sound.  They came from “Grenege” (Greenwich today) after purchasing the area known as Peningo from the Siwanoy on January 2, 1660 from the Mohegans of the larger Algonkian nation. Purchase was made with Shenarockwell, a Mohican chief. Land was along LI Sound between the Mamaroneck and Byram Rivers.

The Siwanoy had farmed the area growing corn, pumpkins and beans and pumpkins but their diet also included sea food and small game found in abundance along the shore and inland areas. Their homes were wigwams that were easy to construct and move. They were built with easily readily available wood and made by lashing bent poles together and covering them with bark or thatched reeds.

Image result for corn in field

The settlers later purchased Manursing Island and named their settlement Hastings. By 1664, more settlers arrived and found more land on the mainland to build cabins where Playland and Rye Town Park are today and named the area Rye. In 1665, Hastings and Rye merged and the village on Manursing Island was abandoned. Town was named after Rye, in Sussex, England. The settlers were Puritans.  

In 1672, Robert bought land from Philip Galpin on Peningo Neck about the time Thomas Merritt and Peningo Neck is now the business section of the City of Rye. Also developed was the Saw Pit area on the Byram River that is now Port Chester and part of the City of Rye (1868).

Poached Eggs with Skillet Toast
Strang Tavern

During Colonial times, the Town of Rye was part of the British Colony of Connecticut. For about seventy years their were boundary disputes between the Dutch and the English and between NY and CT. After the Dutch left NY in 1674, the English took control of the area and Rye continued to be part of NY and CT till 1731 when the borders were finally settled.

Men from Rye settlement settled in other areas like White Plains (1683) and Harrison (1696) that became villages of the town.

Like the indigenous people before them, Colonial Rye was a small farming community. Situated along the King’s Highway and later know as the Boston Post Road made it an important post and stagecoach stop. The business district moved from the Long Island Sound area to the King’s Highway. One of the taverns Strang’s Tavern and the Square House that is a museum today were located on the Post Road

Besides farming, residents during the winter months became tradesmen serving as wheelwrights, carpenters, saddlers, tailors, hatters, weavers and rope makers. The population remained small throughout this period, ranging from 722 in 1710 (including both Rye and Port Chester) to 986 in 1790.

Image result for rope makers historic rye

With its many brooks, Rye had a number of mills with the first was built in 1656 on the Blind Brook near Oakland Beach Avenue. At the time of the Revolutionary War, 15 or 20 mills were operating in Rye and Port Chester, including one behind the Square House.

The Post Road, King Street, and the Grace Church Street were some of Rye’s earliest carriage paths. Water transportation and stagecoach linked the early settlers with the outside world. Active ports were at Milton Harbor and Portchester that transporting people and goods to and from LI and Manhattan. There were ferries at what is Guion Road today. The first wharf was built on Milton Harbor in 1679.

The area was under constant attack from the native Americans and the winters were often severe. Besides farming people fished, logged and traded goods. Logs were cut at the Saw Pit for the shipping industry The years during the Revolution from 1776 to 1783 were also difficult with constant raids by both the British and the Americans. The loyalist raiders were called cowboys. These cowboys would raid homes, fields, steal livestock and even killed people. As a result, many residents fled the area and their homes and fields fell into ruin. It would take a long time to recover after the war was over.

With the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, farming declined as NYers got their farm goods from western NY.

Like much of Westchester, the coming of the railroad in 1849 changed everything. With the railroad came the wealth New Yorkers looking for a place to get away from the hot city in the summer building large luxurious country estates with many along the shore. Many of these homes were in the area that is now the City of Rye.

See the source image
From County Archives
Cauliflower and Kale Soup
May be an image of outdoors
Purchase Street 1890
See the source image
See the source image

By the late 1800s, the area where Playland and Rye Town Park are now located become a summer resort where one could find hotels, small summer bungalows, restaurants and amusement parks. In 1909, Rye Town Park opened and in 1928 Playland would open.

By the early 1900’s, some became yearly commuters to the city and the train depended on this for fares and advertised heavily to attract more to the area. Rye became a bedroom community or the suburbs of NYC and by the 1920’s people were using cars. Areas that were once the large estates of the wealthy were subdivided into smaller lots to be sold for people to build homes.

Jared Peck on the Boston Post Road in 1860 was subdivided into Loudon Woods in 1910. Indian Village was developed around that time as the Halsted property near the Knapp House. The Brevoort “farm” became Greenhaven during the 1920s, and many families from publishing and the motion picture industry settled here.

Villages of White Plains and Harrison separated from Town of Rye after the Revolution.

See the source image

Beginning in 1868, Port Chester separate from the Town of Rye becoming an incorporated village.

In 1895, Mamaroneck became a a village in Town of Mamaroneck. It had been Rye Neck in the Town of Rye.

In 1904, Rye Village incorporated but in 1942 it became a city and is no longer part of the Town of Rye. Rye City is the youngest city in NY with a population of about 16,000.

Village of Rye Brook remained part of the Town of Rye till it incorporated on July 7 1982.

See the source image


Stories — Rye Historical Society (ryehistory.org)

What Side of History Do You Want to Be On?

“History tells us that, at the end of the day, there actually is a “right side of history.” For instance, most of us would likely agree on the following: The abolitionists in pre-Civil War America were on the right side of history. The suffragettes who fought for the rights of women in the electoral process were on the right side of history.

Reference: www. psychologytoday.com/us/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/201803/the-right-side-history

What side of History do you want to be on?

One that works to make the world a better place or one that works to

destroy it?

One that supports friends or one that takes them for granted?

One that challenges our enemies or one that seeks to destroy them?

One that wants to destroy the Earth or the one that wants to save it?

One that wants to be part of a global society or one that stays out of world affairs.

One that listens or one that makes all the decisions.

One that respects the needs of others or one that tramples on the


Don’t know which side of history you want to be on but I sure want to live in the world where there is a place for everyone to live their best lives.

White Plains Poem

Where once pigs and horses roamed

                To a park with benches and fountains

Where once marches and streams flowed

               To a concrete jungle of paved streets and glass buildings

Where once the volley of cannon fire was heard on a hillside

              To homes along streets named for those of the Revolution

Where a Post Road meets a Road to Mamaroneck

This was the Village of White Plains

        That is today’s City of White Plains

Old Leather Man

First Grave Stone (no remains found)

Found this info at Trailside Nature Museum up in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge, NY. It is possible that the Leather Man wandered in White Plains in the northern sections where there are still woods.

Being Prepared for Emergencies

Seems that many people are not prepared for a disaster that comes in many forms but we are all just one step away from one. No one seems to save or lives within their means to properly prepare.

I had 3 rolls of toilet paper when the shut down began in NY in March. Why did people need to hoard toilet paper for a virus? They were hoarding water, paper towels, disinfectant, wipes and food. It was more like the end of days, than a pandemic.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I did manage to grab 4 rolls of toilet paper during the crazy time in March but then went online and though I wasn’t getting my normal type of rolls, it got me through till I could get more. My mother on the other hand had 48 rolls even though she asked me to get her more. Meals on Wheels delivered her a roll and a local pharmacy had a supply though one had to just get a few (but it was there). But the masks were harder to get as well as thermometer, gloves and one use wash cloths. I made a mask looking at videos online and I was lucky to have some material. I asked on a FB group for my city how to get the medical masks and was told to use Groupon. They came through. Even Shaklee failed me getting those wipes. I got a mixed assortment of things and deliveries sometimes took months. It was hit and miss at the stores that after Senior hour, there was nothing left in toilet paper. I now have an a supply of toilet paper, a thermometer that I have batteries for though its in Celsius, paper towels, wipes (but use paper towels soaked in soapy water) and have to get supplies ahead of time. There are still limits and shortages and its now Aug. A local market at Mobil gas station has the essentials.

Harriet Harrison’s backyard after Isaias.

But now a hurricane like storm (59 mph winds) comes through and in 2 hours knocks out power to thousands in my area. I have electricity and did not lose my Fios (many lost Optimum) and my mother was also okay. The power is out for many for days now and people are still complaining. I have seen utility trucks parked in mass at a local school and by hotel that is closest to me. There are a lot of trees and branches down not just during the storm but after. People who have well water say they have no water cause it needs electricity and then if they have water it is cold. Most need refrigeration and electricity for cell phones, internet and air conditioning.

Did these people ever lose power before? Are people getting ready for these things as Hurricanes do occur more frequently along with power outages. I live in an apartment and without air-conditioning it is very hot inside my unit. I do not have cross ventilation. I have had power outages but they were in my building and then when the whole East coast went out.

I have candles and batteries for flash lights. I have had my water turned off a lot by my building and I always fill up containers for water to flush my toilet and for drinking water. There are solar battery chargers for phones and we did have sun after the storm. If I had a house, I would look for alternatives for loss of power and/or go to a hotel.

Not sure people are thinking things through. We did have plenty of time to prepare with lots of warnings. Not sure why well water users do not have a storage tank for just these occasions and non-perishable foods incase the electricity goes out. Some of this was also for pandemic. I had food for an illness that does not need refrigeration. There are even milk choices now in non-refrigerated choices, lots of bottle water now.

Using solar might be the right way to go. My mother’s neighborhood has lots of solar roofs now. Why is my area so slow on this? It is time to get ready for the unexpected. People expecting flooding should get those big plastic bags for cars and clothing and even furniture. Might be time to invest in those tiger dams that one can store flat but fill up with a hose. Batteries, flashlights, water storage (one can fill your own containers) and foods that do not need refrigeration might be smart. I might get a battery charger that is for cellular but will have to stick out window in morning. I get lots of morning sun but it goes over my building after 12 noon.

Unfortunately, we are also in a pandemic but even our library that finally opened put out charging tables outside. I know a lot of people have generators but got to use gasoline and it really pollutes. I would get one of those smaller wind mills if I had a backyard that could be set up for these kinds of times.

Were you ready or just lucky? What would you do different?

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