Westchester Chronicles

Prominent residents' prom memories, rotten-apple teacher gifts, and more.



Human Guinea Pig: Life Coaching Edition

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love my prospects for the future



I’ll let you in on a secret. I’ve NEVER
been much of an athlete. Organized sports I’ve tried in my youth and abandoned after one season include little league softball (in which I think I was the first person in the history of the league to get hit with a base); youth soccer (somehow none of those AYSO bumper stickers ever made it onto my family car); and volleyball (in which most of my serves landed squarely in the net—goal?). Evidently, I never saw a coach as a central figure in my life, a wise guardian who doles out support, guidance, and encouragement. More likely, they were the people who shouted, “You’re on the wrong side of the field!” So I almost couldn’t believe it when I heard that real, everyday adults—not professional athletes or adolescents with big-league dreams—were hiring personal “life coaches” to help them brainstorm, plan, prepare, and attack their big life goals.

Yet they are—in droves. The International Coaching Federation estimates there  are now 30,000 coaches practicing worldwide and, since coaches can charge between $150 and $600 per visit, coaching has grown to a $1.5 billion industry. So, at the urging of my editor—who thankfully never shouts at me that I’m running in the wrong direction—I signed up for my own life-coaching session. My personal goal: since a pro-athlete salary was clearly not in the stars for me, I wanted to shape up my finances so I could save more money.

My personal Joe Torre came in the form of Linda Richmand, CEC (Certified Empowerment Coach), a graduate of the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching (which requires a combination of classes, peer-to-peer coaching sessions, and practice with a master coach to graduate) and member of the International Coaching Federation. “People come to me when they feel stuck,” Richmand says. “Most of them are caught in cyclical thinking that prevents them from acting, and they need help moving forward when the status quo is not acceptable anymore.”

We had a quick phone consultation, in which she explained that she usually meets with clients once a week for two to four months, then knocks it down to once every other week or every three weeks, depending on the support that is needed (price tag: $120 for the first session; $90 per session thereafter). Then, I met Richmand in her office at Full Circle Family Care in White Plains. Though there was thankfully no whistle around her neck, she did have me up and running, in a way.

I started with a series of self-evaluations, ranking my priorities and feeling out my strengths and weaknesses. Within a few minutes, she had a
handle on what my biggest obstacles were. Though some of her insights were obvious, I was surprised by how much she was able to correctly glean about me from a short conversation—like how she knew a written budget would never work for me because I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it (maybe it was the way my eyes glazed over when I heard the words “budgeting software”).

There were, however, a couple times I felt she was off the mark. In one instance, she insisted that I was “afraid of my money,” and that many of the decisions I made were “fear-based.” I may be afraid of many things—snakes, heights, airborne bases at little-league games—but dangle a $20-bill in front of me and I promise you I will not run in the other direction.

After we’d boiled away all my weaknesses (for example, online shopping) and financial hurdles, we strategized about what to do next. Already being intimately aware of my own shortcomings, I found this part of the session most helpful. Richmand broke down my next couple steps into bite-size, do-in-one-afternoon-or-less tasks. And if people are having trouble moving forward, she’s certainly the right coach to visit. When we agreed on a book that would be helpful for me to read, she immediately asked,  “So, you’re going to get this on your way home from work, right?” When I told her I couldn’t that evening, she seemed genuinely shocked. I asked if I was the first person who’d put off taking her advice for a few days. “Most of my clients have gotten to a crisis point where something needs to be done immediately,” she says. “I’ve had people get out of their chairs before their sessions were over and say, ‘I need to go do this right now!’”

So, in the end, Richmand was less like the grim coaches of my youth and more like a cheerleader—someone who could point the team in the right direction on the field and root for them to charge for the goal.


—Marisa LaScala


By the Numbers

A numerical look at the beach


Number of county-owned beaches in Westchester: 3 (Croton Point Park Beach; Glen Island, New Rochelle; Playland Beach) 


Approximate number of people who go to Croton Point Park Beach on a given Saturday in the summer: 400


Cost of Coppertone Continuous sunblock spray SPF 15 (6 fl.oz):

$9.99 (at www.drugstore.com)


Percent of ultraviolet rays that SPF 15 absorbs: 93


Average time it takes for someone of medium skin tone to get burned without sunblock: 20 to 40 minutes (10-15 minutes for someone with fair skin)


Year the bikini debuted: 1946


Average amount a Westchester woman spends on a swimsuit:



Most expensive swimsuit: $30 million (studded with Steinmetz diamonds and designed by Susan Rosen for model Molly Sims to wear in the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition)


Average size of a woman wearing a two-piece bathing suit: 10


World’s tallest sand castle: 32.5 ft (built in Myrtle Beach, SC in 2006)


Time it took to build the sand castle:

8 days (and 130 dump trucks full of sand)


Approximate number of people who are killed by sharks each year: 10


Approximate number of people who are killed by falling vending machines at the beach each year: 13. By falling coconuts: 150 


Marisa Iallonardo



Revisiting Proms Past

Celebs on “The Time of My Life”


Dizzying disco balls, date-stabbing corsages, and wardrobe malfunctions live on forever in the memory banks of prom-goers, both famous and not. Here, some 914 notables recall their most memorable experiences from prom seasons past.



“I was certainly making a fashion statement wearing a powder-blue tuxedo with tails along with a large ruffled shirt and a big, dark blue bow tie. If that wasn’t memorable enough, after our dinner at the Rye Town Hilton, my friends and I and our dates went to the bar at the Holiday Inn in Yonkers where my friend’s brother and his band were performing. My buddies and I had formed our own little band at the time, so we were asked to get up and perform our version of ‘Disco Inferno.’ I’m glad there weren’t camcorders back then!”


— Nick Gregory, FOX 5  Chief Meteorologist and Weather Authority, New Rochelle




“I was a high school sophomore and I went to the prom with a senior—as friends.  My date liked being eccentric. I liked flying under the radar. He arrived to pick me up in top hat and tails, mortifying for a sixteen-year-old girl. Afterwards, we took a limo to Elaine’s in New York City, where he proceeded to light one of the amaretto wrapper ends on fire without warning me it would fly up in the air, twirl, and disintegrate. I shrieked at the flying ball of fire and fell off my chair onto the floor, dress and all. Oh, to be young.”


— Best-selling romance novelist Karen Drogin (aka Carly Phillips), Purchase




“My high school prom  date wasn’t memorable, but my eighth-grade graduation date was.  I was a shy, unathletic nerd with glasses, but I aimed high and invited a dark beauty named Diane Daniel.  To my utter amazement, she accepted.  I suggested we go to Riverview Amusement Park and ride roller coasters.  She asked if she could bring along her little brother Peter, who loved roller coasters, and I said, ‘Fine.’  She asked if she could bring along her cousin and her two girlfriends, who also loved roller coasters, and I said, “Um, well, okay.’  So we went to Riverview and rode roller coasters—Diane rode with her cousin and her two girlfriends, Peter rode with me.  I ended up paying for everybody.  I never saw Diane that night, except when I was paying for the girls’ food.  My eighth grade graduation date was not beautiful Diane Daniel but her little brother Peter.”


— Dan Greenburg, author (How To Be a  Jewish Mother, Secrets of Dripping Fang series, etc.), Hastings-on-Hudson



“The dress I wore was a pink tulip explosion made of organza and satin. The sad part was I designed it myself. But at least it was a step up from my attire for the semi-formal dance my junior year, at which I wore a pink sequined sweater-dress and my date came dressed in a maroon tux with shoes to match!”


— Sharon Epperson, CNBC correspondent and author of The Big Payoff, New Rochelle



“The only prom I ever went to was a ‘turnabout dance’ where the girls asked the guys. For some reason, I had the brilliant idea to make my own dress. Unfortunately, because of my inexperience as a seamstress, as the night went on, the dress slowly came apart, making for a truly horrendous evening. Perhaps this is why I have spent the last thirty years blocking out the memory.”


— Singer Liz Callaway, Croton-on-Hudson


Laurie Yarnell



Treat Your Teachers Well

Navigating the tricky waters of teacher gifts



In a month full of gift-giving occasions (Have you found the perfect item for your loving dad or new grad yet?), often the hardest present decision is what to get as an end-of-year gift for your child’s teacher. The person who has nurtured your budding scholar’s growing mind certainly deserves recognition, but what with?

The majority of teacher gifts tend to stay on the boring side. “We usually just get ornaments and mugs,” says Anna Maria D’Onofrio, a teacher from Tuckahoe. “Once I received candles from three different families,” says Bayard Templeton, a history teacher from Greenwich, Connecticut.

Still, the best gift-giving advice we could find for teacher’s gifts? Stay boring. Starbucks cards, gift certificates, and the old standby—cold hard cash—might not be remembered for years to come, but they’ll be used. Searching for something personal might bring about some success—a few years ago Templeton received an iPod from a parent of twins, a gift he still raves about—but it could lead to a gift that will remain at the bottom of a closet or worse. Go a little too far out of the box, and things start to get…weird.

Take, for instance, the story of James Rogers, a seventh-grade math teacher in Pelham, who once received a bag of...socks. Not fresh-from-the-package socks, either—just a bag full of random pairs that were marked “not for resale.” “One had a hole in it, with a red sticker pointing to the hole,” he recalls.  “Another pair had kittens on it.”

At least Rogers’s gift didn’t make him blush upon opening it. D’Onofrio, the teacher from Tuckahoe, was not as lucky. “My co-teacher and I received lingerie from a student,” she reports. “Mine was short, pink, and had flowers embroidered on it—and my co-teacher’s was tiger-printed. We opened the gifts in front of the students, and felt completely awkward.”

So, we say ’tis better to err on the side of Amazon dollars. Because who wants to be remembered by a beloved teacher as the kid with the animal-print fetish or irregular socks?





4 New Store Openings


Goodwill Superstore and Donation Center

380 N Saw Mill River Rd (Rte 9A), Elmsford

(914) 347-4376

New and gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, household items, toys, etc.


Paradise Ali Fine Gifts & Trendz

1473 Weaver St, Scarsdale

(914) 874-5433

Home, women’s, men’s, and kids’ gift boutique. Brands include Toy Watch, Fresh Scents by Terri, Principessa, and MarieBelle Chocolate.



33 Katonah Ave, Katonah

(914) 232-0021

Women’s shoes and accessories. Stewart Weitzman, Anne Klein, and Dr. Scholl’s are featured brands. 



365 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale 

(914) 472-2535  www.boconceptscarsdale.com

Contemporary Danish modular furniture and accessories.



Forgotten Westchester

Our Own Intrepids


Years ago, twin ferryboats ran between Westchester and Rockland counties. Their names and functions are long gone,
but the ships themselves are

still afloat.



Looking at the cars whizzing on the Tappan Zee Bridge, it’s impossible even to imagine that a small fleet of ferryboats once did the job the nearly three-mile-long bridge performs today. But they did. And more than 50 years after the bridge opened, two former Hudson River ferryboats survive—and still function—on Long Island, living relics of the days when ferries were a fact of life along the Hudson.

The Irvington and the Piermont began life in 1932, running across the Hudson between their namesake towns. Diesel-powered, they had the distinction of being the first all-welded steel ferries in the United States (earlier boats were riveted rather than welded). They could carry nine cars each.

Before the Tappan Zee Bridge opened in 1955, various ferry routes provided service between Westchester and Rockland counties.

The Irvington and the Piermont served just a few years on the Hudson, before yielding to stiffer competition from ferries at Yonkers and Tarrytown. The twin ferryboats found work running between Staten Island and New Jersey. But by the early 1960s, these routes too had grown unprofitable, and the boats went looking for work elsewhere once more.

Happily, both managed to find new careers on Long Island. The Piermont went to serve the short crossing between Shelter Island and the south fork of Long Island (her name changed to Capt. Ed Cartwright in 1982). The Irvington found less glamorous work hauling garbage trucks and construction vehicles between Sayville and Fire Island. Both still fill these roles today, and are the last pre-bridge-era Hudson River ferryboats in service anywhere.


—Tom Rinaldi


You’re Outta here!


By W. Dyer Halpern


The loyal men in blue of the Westchester County Umpire’s Association are the folks who call the shots at local high school games around the county. Here, they share their favorite heckles from disgruntled fans and coaches:


“We need a new ump; this one’s out of strikes.”

—Al Roma, Jr., Beacon, NY


“If you had another eye, they would call you a Cyclops.”

—Dave Greiner, Croton on Hudson


(From one fan to another on the umpire): “Don’t worry about his strike zone, it should improve; there are seven innings left.”

—Kenny Michaels, Brewster, NY


“Shake your head; your eyes are stuck.”

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