“We’re going to the library,” Assistant Editor Marisa Iallonardo would announce as she and Staff Writer W. Dyer Halpern headed out the door—yet again. For the past five months, Dyer and Marisa had been working together on gathering the most fascinating, entertaining, eye-opening information about our county’s rich 325-year history (and beyond).
At times, they seemed like excited college kids, all wrapped up in working on a final paper. Apparently, at times it felt like it too. Says Marisa, “It definitely reminded me of being back in school—spending full days in the library and taking pages and pages of handwritten notes.”
And of course they learned a lot.
“I learned how popular Westchester was as a place to live for nationally renowned people,” Dyer says. “Who knew Norman Rockwell lived here, or Amelia Earhart?”
Dyer says he was also surprised by how well the county has done saving information. “Did you know there is a locked room at the White Plains Library completely devoted to local history and a collection of old maps at the Historical Society that will make your eyes pop out.”
I now do, as I now also know so much more about our past. And we can’t wait to share it with you—actually everyone. Says Marisa: “I now know more about Westchester history than I ever thought I would, and my friends and family are reaping the benefits—or looking at me as a complete dork—as I find myself randomly throwing in bits of information into conversations. The other day it was, ‘Did you know Amelia Earhart was the aviation editor at Cosmo?’”
And it turns out we made some history of our own. I’ll let Dyer explain: “Part of working on this project was learning the breakdown of the place names in our county. We did something even the county had failed to do—identify every area of the county, be it hamlet or village, and identify it correctly. In fact, during one discussion with the Town Clerk of Harrison I asked, ‘Is Purchase a hamlet or just a place name?’” Her answer: ‘Well, let’s decide once and for all right now—it’s a hamlet!’” That was my favorite moment—literally writing the history of Westchester.”
Hope you enjoy learning about our yesterdays as much as we did.
As we went to press, we learned that a doctor we named as one of Westchester’s top physicians in our November issue was accused of forging a prescription for herself. Of course the news upset us—as it did the venerated healthcare research and information company, Castle Connolly, that we rely on each year for our list of top doctors. Through mail, electronic ballots, and telephone surveys, Castle Connolly asks physicians and leading hospital administrators and other medical officials to identify exceptional doctors; it carefully screens each doctor’s educational and professional experience before making its final selection. Castle Connolly of course did that with the accused doctor, Dr. Jennifer Bagg of Mamaroneck. However, she was charged after this magazine went to press with its November issue.
The legal process will have the final say on whether Dr. Bagg is innocent or guilty, but in the interim, the doctor’s name has been deleted from our website and will not appear in any Castle Connolly guide.