52 Reasons to Love Westchester
How do we love the County? Let us count the ways.
(page 7 of 15)
21: Because Our Theaters Are Old, But the Acts That Play Them Are New
The Paramount Center for the Arts is nearing its eighth decade.
Photo by George Thompson
The year the Tarrytown Music Hall opened—way back in 1885—was the year President Chester A. Arthur dedicated the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty landed in the New York Harbor, the first-ever issue of Good Housekeeping hit the newsstands, and the country’s first skyscraper (10 whole floors!) went up in Chicago. Yeah, that was a long time ago. But even though the Music Hall is closing in on its 125th anniversary—boasting the same Queen Anne-style brickwork and art deco marquee it sported in the earliest years—what goes on inside is refreshingly new. Concerts there feature cutting-edge and indie artists, including Andrew Bird, David Byrne, Neko Case, Rufus Wainwright, and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (appearing this month on December 3).
Further north, the Paramount Center for the Arts came onto the scene a few decades after the Tarrytown Music Hall, in 1930. And by “Paramount,” yes, we mean that Paramount—the theater was built as a 1,500-seat movie palace by a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. But you’re not getting any Depression-era entertainment here. Gone are the “all-talking” 1930s pictures, and taking their place are events like the county’s first hip-hop symposium, concerts with banjo visionary Béla Fleck, readings with satirist David Sedaris, and performances from violin heartthrob Joshua Bell (coming up this March).
Brand-new, cookie-cutter performing arts venues may have state-of-the-art sound systems, truffle popcorn on sale in the lobby, and WiFi so you can Twitter during shows, but nothing beats seeing your favorite artist in a nationally registered, acoustically pristine, historic venue, belting it out from a stage that you know performers have been standing on for decades, even centuries.
■ Tarrytown Music Hall
13 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 631-3390
■ Paramount Center for the Arts
1008 Brown St, Peekskill (914) 739-2333
22: Because We Can Dine On the River (and Not Need to Side-Step Rats)
Ringed by roads and walled off by defunct industry, the Hudson River in Manhattan feels like a bit of an afterthought, visible only from a distance from the highest of residential towers, or by purpose-filled pedestrians, hiking a long, skinny trail. Yet, when Westchester’s industry left, it opened up wide riverfront properties, from which you can gaze—depending where you stand—on the Tappan Zee and George Washington Bridges, the twinkling lights of Manhattan, or on the majestic Palisades. Restaurants like Harvest-on-Hudson, X2O, Half Moon, and Red Hat on the River have all transformed former industrial sites into celebrations of Westchester’s most spectacular amenity. Only in Westchester can you dine next to the water, cooled by Hudson breezes as you listen to the gentle lap of the waves.
23: Because It’s Not Easy Being Green—But We Are Anyway
We like our green spaces, and Westchester residents work hard to keep them that way. We’ve got 18,000 acres of parkland, a number that’s growing and improving, mostly along our reawakening river (just take a look at the new section of RiverWalk located at Croton Landing Park). Suburban farmers have benefited from New York State tax advantages and protections, and we now have 17,800 acres of farmland to call our own. Organizations like Riverkeeper, the Federated Conservationists of Westchester, and the Hudson River Audubon Society work to correct past abuses on our environment and keep our land, water, and skies clean. All over, green construction ensures that new buildings have the smallest carbon footprint possible. Need proof? Just look at the Jacob Burns Film Center’s new Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville, which is built from recycled building material and uses natural light, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling to keep the whole thing running. Our municipalities even use hybrid cars. With all this effort going on to keep the county eco-friendly and ecological, no one can say we’re not doing our part in the green movement.
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