Is There a New Rochelle Half-Dollar Coin? Is It Good at Mount Pleasant’s Train Station?

PLUS: The reasoning behind Rye’s full-service gas stations.



You may spot a little old lady (or two or three) dressed in black at the Mount Pleasant Metro-North stop. The platform is surrounded by three cemeteries.

Q:There is a Mount Pleasant Metro-North station on the Harlem Line near Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, but the platform is really short. Does anything ever stop there?
— Rebecca Ladd, Hawthorne

A: Yes. The train. Occasionally, at least.
The Mount Pleasant station, which has two platforms (one on each side of the tracks, each about one train-car length long), is one of those things in this world that makes you go, ‘Aw, that’s sweet.’ The station is in the heart of Westchester’s cemetery district—surrounded by three graveyards—and the Little Station that Could’s purpose is to provide residents of the County and New York City who don’t or can’t drive a convenient way to visit their deceased loved ones. And if this brings to mind the image of a little old bespectacled grandma traveling once a week to visit her one-time amour, that’s actually about right. Only one train in each direction per weekday and three per weekend stop there. Interestingly, for as tiny as the Mount Pleasant station is now, it was once just a canopy. The platform didn’t arrive until the trains on the line were electrified in the 1980s.

No word on what coin will be minted for New Rochelle’s upcoming 325th anniversary.Q: My friend says that there was a United States coin dedicated to the City of New Rochelle. I’m convinced this had to be some fake trinket made by The Franklin Mint or something. What say you?
—Justin Tanimalia, New Rochelle

A: What say we? We say you have pretty smart friends. For all the 50-state, Sacagawea, National Park commemorative coin craziness we have now, it was so out of control in the 1930s that Congress issued an edict ‘prohibit[ing] the issuance and coinage of certain commemorative coins.’ The law has since been changed to allow for special strikings, but it may have been the half dollar commemorating New Rochelle’s 250th anniversary, issued in 1938, that was just so obscure that thevanti-‘commem’ crowd was able to nix the program. (We disagree, of course, and suggest it was the York County, Maine, Tercentenary Half Dollar minted two years earlier.) The New-Ro halfsie depicts a fatted calf being roped by John Pell, lord of Pelham Manor. (He was entitled to receive such a beast once a year as part of the 1688 land sale that created New Rochelle. But you knew that.) The coin’s backside depicts a fleur-de-lis, part of the City’s crest. So, what do these odes to the Queen City of the Sound go for these days? More than $400 on eBay. Well, probably a little more now that we’ve printed this article.

Q: Why are all gas stations in Rye full-service?
—Edward Dumphy, Rye

A: Because the oil companies love you and want you to be happy. Okay, that’s not it. We looked around Rye, and, indeed, most every gas station is full-service and sells gas at around the same price (if only a bit higher) as their self-serve County neighbors. Thus, the only explanation that makes sense is that it’s a city ordinance, right? Wrong. There is a law on the subject, but the statute specifically allows for full- or self-service stations, as long as an attendant is present while the station is open. The Mayor’s Office confirmed as much. They believe it’s just a matter of custom in the City of Rye. Our answer floats along the same lines—no station wants to break the trend because Rye is small enough that you’ll just go around the corner. The better question is, ‘Does Rye really want to be known for the same practice that makes New Jersey worth visiting?’

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