To Birds, With Love
Another celebrity, common birds, and our rapidly accumulating wealth
Q: My dad is a huge Sidney Poitier fan and he recently read a book about him that said Poitier used to live in Pleasantville. Every time my dad comes to visit (he lives in Louisville, Kentucky), he always asks me if I was able to find out where in Pleasantville Poitier lived. We don’t want to stalk the place, but my dad will not stop asking me! If you have the ability, could you research this and let me know? You will make his year!
—Megan Perry, Pleasantville
A: Sidney Poitier—Oscar-winning actor, the man “who’s coming to dinner,” and, most important, Pleasantville resident of the early 1960s. You see, at the behest of his wife, Juanita Hardy, a socialite in her own regard, Poitier moved out of the big city and into a 12-room house in the bucolic Mount Pleasant village. However, his stay there didn’t last long. He soon thereafter separated from his wife and gave into the gravitational pull of the Big Apple. But, though Sidney left, such notable civil rights leaders as Ossie Davis and even Malcolm X came, venturing to Juanita’s Westchester house for gatherings related to the movement. And, speaking of “Xs,” where is the spot of this grand Tudor estate? Not so easy to find, but with the help of Steven Feyl, associate university librarian at the Pace University Mortola Library, and Martha Mesiti, reference/local history librarian at the Mount Pleasant Public Library (fund your libraries, people!), we found the address on Bear Ridge Road. But, as much as we’d love to provide you and your dad with a fun day out stalking (despite your promise to the contrary), you’re not getting the street number from us. We just can’t promote (goodbye Pulitzer) “sneakers.”
Q: I often think I see blue jays, orioles, and cardinals around Westchester. Am I correct?
—Brook Robinson, Hartsdale
A: We see more Mets and Yankees ourselves, but who’s counting? Actually, the volunteers who participate in the Bronx-Westchester Christmas Bird Count each year the day after Christmas are. Indeed, the group even got attention from the New York Times this year for its efforts. But we’ll save you the trip out to tally the rather uncommon white-winged Scoters (whatever they are). As for the three birds you mentioned, they are all, indeed, common to the region and can be found in the county throughout the year.
Q: What’s Westchester worth?
—Kate Sawyer, Mamaroneck
A: Lest you don’t read “Ask Westchester” every month (shame!), your fair writer was last seen adding up the value of all the property in the county when our calculator broke (quitter) at around the $185 billion mark. But we’ve lithiumed up our batteries, and we’re ready to continue. So what’s all the stuff around here worth? Well, your average personal net worth in this county is roughly $822,183; but hold on, folks—that includes real estate, and we already covered that ($500K a house, in case you forgot). At 2.7 persons per house, we’re deducting $185,000…each. So, reader, if you cashed in everything you had, and, like one British man recently did, bet it all on a spin of a roulette wheel in Vegas (he won), you’d be laying down $637,000. And since there are approximately 950 thousand Westchesterites, we own about $600 billion worth of stuff. But what about all that stuff waiting to be owned? We’re terribly sorry, but our interns are on spring break. We’ll hit you back next month.