Letters to the Editor
I was very disappointed that the Ossining Dog Park was not listed in your listing of dog parks. Not only is this park one of the original dog parks that set the standard in Westchester County, but it was also voted as one of the 10 best in the country by Dog Fancy magazine—twice! It is a free-to-all park (whereas you even listed a park that is for Bedford residents only), which boasts a separate area for small dogs as well as a three-level water fountain for people and dogs, a shed for winter shelter, and many social activities for people and dogs. It is tree-shaded and offers spectacular sunset views. More information on this park can be obtained at ossiningdog park.com. It’s where the “dogs come to play.”
Sharon Brana, Ossining
In your March “Ask Westchester” column is the statement that the “chester” of “Westchester” came from the Cheshire city of Chester, which came from the Old English word “legacæstir,” or “city of legions.” Doesn’t Chester derive from “castrum,” meaning “castle” or “fort”? That’s what I recently told my grandson.
Bob Pliskin, White Plains
Editor’s Note: Yes, we have a classics major friend who insisted the same (and with much less grace than you, sir). Etymology can be imprecise, but most sources agree that the Saxons named Chester, England, in their own tongue, after the Romans, who called the town “Deva,” had left. Some sources also suggest, though, that the Old English “-cæstir” (“city,” “castle,” or even “Roman city”) may be a borrowing from—you guessed it—the Latin “castrum.” Rest assured that you probably didn’t mislead your grandson, and we’re relieved that someone else is trolling the etymology sections of the Oxford English Dictionary for fun.
How exciting it was to see The Marsh Sanctuary mentioned in your article “50 Fabulous Facts About Our History”—#22: “A Night on the Town” (February 2011). As the current naturalist of the sanctuary in Mount Kisco, I wanted to let your readers know that the open-air amphitheatre at Brookside that Martha (stage name Martia) Leonard created is still there and available for use! The sanctuary itself still holds events under the Greek columns, including our annual Oktoberfest and, recently, a private wedding ceremony. The sanctuary and amphitheatre are open to the public seven days a week.
Sean Devine, Naturalist
The Marsh Sanctuary, Mount Kisco
Regarding your 18th historic fact about Westchester...Golf in America most likely was played as early as 1743 when a shipment of 96 clubs and 432 golf balls arrived from Leith, Scotland, on the Magdalena, commanded by Captain William Carse. An original bill of lading recently has been found attesting to this. And, though we don’t yet know who did strike the first ball on New World soil, by the 1780s, golf was regularly played on Harleston’s Green in Charleston by members of the South Carolina Golf Club, whose records no longer exist, according to the book The Greatest Game by Dodd and Purdie. John Reid did found the St. Andrew’s Golf Club in Hastings, which remains the oldest continuously used golf club in the United States whose records survive.
William A. Rose, Jr., Vero Beach, Florida
Leslie Long’s photo essay (“Classic Fixtures” February 2011) was interesting and nostalgic for me, but, in her text on Vaccaro (Harwood) Shoe Repair, a fabulous institution I have been using for more than 35 years, she neglected to mention a classic asset: Nicky Vaccaro, the ever-present manager of shoe repair.
Gladys Ullmann, Hastings-on-Hudson
Your history issue was fantastic, and I especially appreciated the article, “Classic Fixtures.” My book (Hudson Valley Ruins: Forgotten Landmarks of an American Landscape), published in 2006, already is in sore need of an update due to the number of buildings that have disappeared since that time, including some right here in Westchester. Your issue could have highlighted the first Carvel in America, but that store was demolished a couple years ago. Right now, a National Register-listed bathhouse in Yonkers is undergoing demolition. Tarrytown and Irvington both recently demolished 1860s structures. Sadly, preservation is given a lot of lip service in Westchester, but, all too often, the wrecking ball is called in instead.
Rob Yasinsac, Tarrytown
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