Answering Your Questions: Will 287 Ever Be Completed?
Everything you wanted to know about the county and weren’t afraid to ask.
Have you seen those TV commercials lately for “KGB?” No, not the spy network, the, ahem, “Knowledge Generation Bureau,” which, for a small fee, will answer any question you have via text message. I wanted to be a member of the special group of answer givers who make moola off of their minds and research abilities (I’m a great Googler); but, alas, I failed the entrance test. Now, I’m very smart, you know (and quite modest); I just probably shouldn’t have taken the exam while watching the Giants game. But I have found another forum, a 911 fourm if you will, to capitalize on my love of sharing knowledge. And the price to you for answers is no more than a renewed subscription to Westchester Magazine.
Q: When will the construction by Exit 6 of 287 be done? As important, when will drivers once again be able to make a left from North Broadway onto Cemetery Road, and be able to access Cemetery Road/the Bronx River Pkwy from Exit 6 (westbound) on 287?
—Stephen Pappas, Greenburgh
A: Construction…done? We’re not sure we understand. Isn’t the county flower the orange traffic cone? Doesn’t the county have only two seasons, winter and under construction? Nevertheless... The reconstruction of the North Broadway/Route 22 Bridge should have been completed by mid-November according to Allison Ackerman, acting public information officer for the N.Y.D.O.T. “The bridge will be fully opened to traffic with two lanes in each direction.” But what about those “dying” (sorry) to get back onto Cemetery Road? “At the time of the opening, Cemetery Road will once again be accessible to traffic.” But, be aware: construction between Exits 6 and 8 will continue through most of 2010.
Q: Why does the dentist’s office on Central Avenue look like a Dutch dairy farm?
—Meredith Levy, Ardsley
A: Hasn’t every Westchesterite leaving Best Buy in Hartsdale wondered this at some time? That is the Wedgwood Professional Center, whose primary resident is the practice of dentist Daniel Zonan. The good doctor tells us that the original building was built in the early part of the last century and was expanded and renovated in the mid 1960s. Why? We couldn’t possibly put words in Dr. Zonan’s mouth (he’d just pull them out anyway): “This unique style was chosen to have an inviting and ‘fairyland’ appeal rather than the typical stark and uninviting appearance of most professional centers.” We agree; but talk about negative association—Wedgwood patients must dread trips to Amish Country.
Q: When you take the Hudson Line train, there’s an old, abandoned building in ruins right by the tracks near the Glenwood station in Yonkers. What was it? Are there any plans to do something with it? Also, just south of that, there’s a bluish block-shaped building on a completely cleared lot that looks like a huge block of ice coming out of the Hudson River. It looks very mysterious to me. I’d love to know more about it.
—Diane Schube, Dobbs Ferry
A: Good luck getting into the blue cube. Deputy Commissioner of the Yonkers Department of Planning and Development Sharon L. Ebert reports that the blue cube, currently owned by British construction company Balfour Beatty, recently was considered as a site for a movie studio owned by Robert DeNiro and Miramax. That’s not happening, though. Instead, the cube is going to be demolished and the land cleaned up as part of Yonkers’s 153-acre Alexander Street urban-renewal project. The project, an effort to revitalize the coastline, will take land just north of the newly redeveloped Yonkers train station and waterfront and add even more green space and new construction.
The other building you ask about “is the old Glenwood Power Plant, which is currently privately owned,” Ebert reports. “The brick building with two chimneys is abandoned and is up for sale by the owner.” The power plant (which is not in “ruins,” by the way) was constructed in 1906 by architects Charles Reed and Allen Stem, who designed Grand Central Terminal. Two years ago, according to the New York Times, Erik Kaiser, head of the REMI real estate management and investment corporation, proposed using the deteriorating brick power plant as a base for an ultramodern, color-splattered art and condominium complex, at the estimated cost of $250 million. In 2008, the Preservation League for New York State placed the Glenwood Power Station on its “Seven to Save” list in hopes that it would gain landmark designation ensuring the power plant’s continued stance upon the waterfront.
So, Diane, the power plant’s available.
Q: Were the Tarrytown lakes ever used for drinking water?
—Karen Guttmann, Tarrytown
A:This question was tricky as we didn’t know there were lakes in Tarrytown to begin with. Big rivers, yes; lakes, who knew? But there are lakes—right off Exit 23 of the Saw Mill River Parkway. The Tarrytown lakes, at the junction of two major Westchester hiking paths, the North and South Trailways, are part of a county park designed for hiking in the summer and, if the ice grows thick enough, skating in the winter. However, according to Sleepy Hollow Village Historian Henry John Steiner, the lakes were built in the late 1800s as a reservoir for drinking water. In fact, atop an island in the upper lake is a stone hut that houses a well that was sunk before the turn of the last century to provide potable water to area residents. And yes, you can see it on Google Maps. Alas, the last potable gallon flowed from the Tarrytown lakes in 1992. But fear not, Karen: if we see someone on the shores with a few buckets taking a little water to go, we won’t tell anyone. For more information, click here.
Q: When are they going to repair/replace the bridge in Scarsdale over the train tracks (Popham Road)?
—Peter Spyro, Scarsdale
A: We’re glad you’ve asked us this as we did not know the Popham Road Bridge needed repairing or replacing. Now that we know, we will tread more gingerly during our daily dash from the Scarsdale parking lot to LuLu Cake Boutique on Garth Road, down the street to one of the few 7-Elevens in Westchester (we love Slurpees and we demand more of them), over the bridge to the train station to chug a quick Starbucks Chai tea, back over the bridge to pick up some Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins.
But, worry not, Peter. Your fears, should you have any, over the bridge’s stability will be eschewed in no more than two years or so. According to Paul Zaicek, director of Capital Projects for the Village of Scarsdale, the Popham Road Bridge Replacement Project is scheduled to start this winter or in the spring of 2010 and will take 24 months to complete. “Construction will be phased so that three lanes of vehicular traffic will be maintained throughout the construction period,” Zaicek assures. Hooray! Now let us plan the 2012 grand re-opening with the christening of a Krispy Kreme. It’s apparently the only sugar-rush destination the Scarsdale metro area
Q: History of Mount Vernon and particularly when Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey Circus lived in Mount Vernon, I think I do live on the same block.
—Sonia Patterson, Mount Vernon
A: First, I’m no stickler for perfect form, but I’m not sure what you wrote is actually a question. Nevertheless, James A. Bailey did indeed live, and die, in the Chester Hill Park Section of Mount Vernon. Shortly after his death from erysipelas, a bacterial infection of the skin that can, ironically, give you a big, red clown-like nose, his estate was sold to the Bailey Park Corporation, which planned to turn it into a hotel and golf course. It did not. Instead, residential buildings were erected. So, where was Bailey’s estate? According to Peter A. Harris, a real estate broker active in the Mount Vernon market who has built a website documenting some of Chester Hill Park’s history (pklane.com), Bailey lived essentially where East Lincoln Avenue and North Columbus Street intersect. If you live on Fisher Drive, we’ll give you credit for living pretty much as close to his mansion as possible. If you’re on Ehrbar Avenue or Park Lane, you can call him your neighbor, too. If you live anywhere else nearby, Bailey’s plot was 150 acres, so, go ahead, say your property is, well, near the greatest house on earth.
Q: Who were the original Six Manor owners?
—Drew Hess, White Plains
A: Have you forgotten everything we taught you in our history issue—January 2008—already? (Check it out at westchestermagazine.com in the archives.) Originally, most of Westchester was divided up into six manors, overseen by lords who sold or rented property to tenant farmers. The six men—essentially, the first politicos in the county—were: John Archer, Lord of Fordham Manor; Thomas Pell, Lord of Pelham Manor; Frederick Philipse, Lord of Philipsborough Manor; Lewis Morris, Lord of Morrisania Manor; Stephanus Van Cortlandt, Lord of Cortlandt Manor; and Caleb Heathcote, Lord of Scarsdale Manor.
Though we no longer submit to the rule of manor lords (just politicians who think they are), we, and residents of the Bronx, which sits in part on what was Fordham and Morrisania Manor, still adhere to the boundaries these original county executives established. If you live in Yonkers, Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant, or Ossining, you’re in what was the Manor of Philipsborough. Though Pelham is now just a town, the eponymous manor encompassed Eastchester, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and, of course, Pelham. If you reside in Scarsdale, Mamaroneck, part of Mount Kisco, or one of our castle-named towns—North or New—you can tell your friends you reside in posh Scarsdale…Manor. And, if your abode lies in Somers, North Salem, Cortlandt, Peekskill, or Yorktown, next time you visit Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson (and we recommend you do), note that this truly is the house the Lord built. As for the rest of you Westchesterites, your land was probably once part of an independent settlement, or Connecticut (the Empire and Nutmeg State have swapped various pieces of land since the 1600s).
Got any curiosities about our county? Don’t keep ’em to yourself. Email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll finally get a straight (or not-so-straight) answer right here.