Did The Grateful Dead Ever Play At White Plains’ Famous Fore ‘n’ Aft Rock Club?
Plus other quirky county questions from the past month.
Dead? I’m a huge fan of the Grateful Dead, and another Deadhead friend insists that they played at a club in White Plains called the “Fore ’n’ Aft.” I can’t find any record of a concert or show there. Can you help? —Jim Koulker, Armonk
A: It is not an understatement to say that the Fore ’n’ Aft was one of the premier rock & roll clubs in the country from 1960 to 1996. Bands like The Ramones and Twisted Sister (when they were still cool) headlined there.
In a sense, the club became a victim of the times. During the first 20 years of its existence, the drinking age was 18, and the DWI laws didn’t scare everyone into their homes like they do today. Those factors killed attendance, as did the notion that folks are more into gluten-free this and vegan that and meeting people on DesperadoDaters.com than going out at night.
As for the Grateful Dead playing there, the various Deadhead sites don’t list it as an official show. Sometimes Deadheads have, er, memory issues, and they might be mixing it up with a 1971 show at Gaelic Park in the Bronx.
Punishing Potholes: Why are there so many potholes on the eastbound lanes of Route 117 between exit 9 and 9A and none on the westbound lanes? —Judy Trommlitzer, Pleasantville
A: I wish I could answer this question with a juicy conspiracy. Like, Andrew Cuomo pulled a trick from the Chris Christie administration’s playbook and tampered with the road just to screw teachers traveling east.
Alas, the best answer I got was from New York State Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Gina DiSarro, who tells me it probably has to do with the amount of sunlight that side of the road gets and how it’s graded to carry water runoff. (If the water lingers on the pavement, it is likely to cause more potholes.) Gina pointed me to the DOT handout on potholes , which reads:
Potholes erupt whenever water slips through cracks in pavement...When the temperature drops, that water freezes and expands, deepening and widening the cracks and creating bulges and sinking sections of pavement. Sunlight and seasonal warmth generate ranges in temperature that perpetuate and accelerate a freeze/thaw cycle, particularly as road surface fragments are washed away.
In this case, the eastbound lanes were likely getting more of the bad pothole stuff.
Bedford Blues: It was widely reported that the kid who pulled the trigger in the infamous Pamela Smart murder case was paroled in March. I noticed that Pamela Smart herself is serving her life sentence in Bedford Hills, not in New Hampshire where she was found guilty. Why? —Carolyn J., Mount Vernon
A: Ah, the ’90s just killed, didn’t they?
To jog your tabloid memory, Smart seduced and fell in love with William Flynn, a 16-year-old student in her (and you can’t make this crap up) high school “self-awareness” class. She told Flynn her husband was going to divorce her, and she was going to lose everything. Then, according to the prosecutors, she told poor young Billy that she wouldn’t do the no-pants dance with him anymore unless he took care of Mr. Smart. He and a few friends did.
Smart got a life sentence, and Billy got 28 to life and received his parole this past March. All of this took place in New Hampshire, whose officials soon found that they didn’t have a sufficient maximum-security women’s prison to house an inmate with such notoriety; hence her transfer to Bedford.
Smart hasn’t had an easy go of it at Bedford. In some cruel irony, she was beaten by two inmates for snitching about their relationship and had to have a metal plate surgically implanted in her head.
Have a question about the county? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Any Questions?