Talk of the County
Our most bookmark-worthy websites, Ben Cheever's Top 5 marathons; dishing weight-loss secrets with a carb queen, and more.
Talk of the County
The noted local author and running enthusiast on his favorite places to run
Ben Cheever of Pleasantville is an avid runner. His most recent book, Strides (Rodale Press, Inc.), is a detailed look at his sport of choice. We caught up with Cheever, who typically clocks five miles daily, to find out about his all-time favorite spots to lace up and let loose.
1) Rockefeller State Park Preserve (Pocantico Hills) Though he’s been running here for decades, Cheever says he still can get lost. “You never take the same run twice. But who would want to? The vistas are breathtaking.”
3) Bordeaux Marathon (
4) Central Park (
// Laurie Yarnell
ASK THE EXPERT
Q: Does Cellphone + Gas Pump = Danger?
You’ve seen the warnings posted at the gas station about not using your cellphone because of the risk of fires. But, after our friendly, local gas-station attendant repeatedly pumped our gas while talking on his cellphone, we wondered, is it true?
A: The answer, according to a 2005 FCC consumer advisory, is no. Apparently, the whole don’t-use-your-cell-and-pump-gas scare, which can be traced back to 1999 when rumors circulated on the Internet that various fires were sparked by cellphone use at gas stations, is baseless. “There is no evidence that these reports are true,” the FCC assures. And it reports that the “wireless industry” has done studies on the potential for cellphones to create sparks that presumably could start fires and found nada. According to the FCC, there hasn’t been one documented incident of cellphones causing fires at gas stations. So why the warnings? The old let’s-protect-ourselves-from-potential-even-if-farflung-lawsuits. “Wireless phone manufactures and fuel companies have issued these warnings as a precaution,” the FCC notes.
// Marisa Iallonardo
The Senator and The Socialite
(And, Quite Possibly, Our New President)
Chappaqua resident Lawrence Otis Graham’s book, The Senator and The Socialite, came out in hardback in 2006 and in paperback in 2007. So why is Graham, who blogs for this magazine (visit westchestermagazine.com—look for POV) still on a book tour? The book is a biography of Senator Blanche Bruce, born a slave who went on to become the first black to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. With the world watching Senator Barack Obama’s race to become the first black President, the topic was timely enough to warrant an additional tour. “Whether the victor is my Chappaqua neighbor Senator Hillary Clinton or Senator Obama, it’s clear that many Americans are fascinated by the rise of the African-American politician in national politics,” Graham says.
Distill the One
The Tuthilltown spirits distillery is reviving
There’s no word to describe the whisky-loving equivalent of an oenophile, so we don’t know what to call you if you have a real hankering for whisky. But if you do, we do know that you’ve got to meet Ralph Erenzo, a distiller and part owner of the Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery in
Erenzo took quite a round-about path to become a distiller. He first worked in
A trip to Tuthilltown starts with a walk through the farmhouse distillery where Erenzo, his son, his nephew, Lee, and one other employee brew small batches of brandy, two types of vodka, corn whisky, and rye. The distillery’s bourbon is made using non-hybrid heirloom corn which hasn’t been grown in
TUTHILLTOWN SPIRITS DISTILLERY
At the Tuthilltown Gristmill
(845) 255-1527; tuthilltown.com
// W. Dyer Halpern
Oh What a Web We Need
Who says that traditional media IS afraid of the Web? Here at the magazine, we couldn’t live without the Internet (for work—honest). Some of the sites we check on a near-daily basis are actually useful, too, so we decided to share our favorites.
Let’s say your friends want to meet you at a tiny, tucked-away restaurant in the City, and you don’t want to drive. You know you can take the train to Grand Central, but then what? HopStop.com will show you the way, acting as a kind of MapQuest for the
Looking for a mechanic, or a salon, or a gym? Why settle for one friend’s recommendation when you can have 17? (If you don’t have your Westchester Magazine handy, that is.) Yelp.com lets its users review just about anything—restaurants, stores, spas, etc.—then compiles everyone’s opinions into a handy local guide. Westchester Yelpers’ favorites? Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Chef Central.
How many times have you ordered something online, only to find your exact purchase cheaper at another website? No more. Choose your preferred brand and model of whatever you’re looking to buy, and it’ll drum up a list of online retailers selling the product, presented in order of price (it even accounts for tax and shipping). On a recent visit, we found a $750 price difference on the exact same Panasonic 50-inch plasma TV.
Everyone knows there are tons of online coupon codes flying around the Internet, but this site harvests them all and presents them in an easy-to-search way. Find discounts at Amazon, J Crew, Overstock, and many more.
Ebert liked it. A.O. Scott hated it. Should you still go see it? Metacritic.com aggregates and calibrates all of the reviews of one film into a single über-score on a scale of 1 to 100. For further research, it also includes excerpts from the reviews and links where you can read more. And it’s not just films; Metacritic.com gives the same treatment to DVDs, TV shows, music, games, and books. .
Spring is finally here, which means that summer is just around the corner. To help get you ready for beaches and bathing suits, we tracked down and tried out some of the newest workouts available around the county. We also rated the difficulty of each workout on a scale of 1 to 5 water bottles—the more water bottles, the more difficult. Here’s what we learned.
Curbing the Carbs
By age 38,
Blech’s radical weight gain and loss are explored in Confessions of a Carb Queen, a book she wrote with her sister, Caroline Bock. Blech’s transformation from a bodybuilding paralegal to an obese woman and finally into her new role motivating obese children in Brooklyn is chronicled in the book, the story of which has its roots in Blech’s New Rochelle childhood. Blech says she loved her Westchester youth, from its autumn-colored trees to nights hanging out with friends at
In the meantime, Blech says she is devoting this next phase of her life to battling the obesity that is overwhelming the country, particularly among children. She hopes this book will motivate others to confront their own challenges.
// Diana Marszalek