Westchester Chronicles

Mount Kisco's "Mr Chipwich"; Yonkers's new water taxi service; spring donations...



Forgotten Westchester

Mommy, I Wanna Go to Indian Point!



When you think of Indian Point, what comes to mind? Laughing children and couples dancing? We didn’t think so. But Indian Point wasn’t always a controversial nuclear power station.

 In the summer of 1923, Indian Point Park, a creation of the Hudson River Day Line steamboat company, opened. The Day Line intended it to rival Bear Mountain State Park as a daytrip destination for passengers on its river steamers. Situated on 320 acres of land just below Peekskill, the park featured a dance pavilion, a restaurant and cafeteria, a swimming pool and bathhouse, tennis courts, and a children’s playground. There was a beach where visitors could swim in the river (yes, the Hudson River), a picnic ground, a ball field, and paths for strolling along the wooded shoreline. Twin covered piers could handle two Day Line steamers at once, enabling the park to accommodate more than 5,000 visitors on peak summer weekends.

By the 1940s, a general downturn in business left the Day Line on hard times, and the company put Indian Point up for sale. Some proposed making it a county park, but local officials balked at the idea, citing the potential loss in tax revenues. In 1950, the land was sold to E.D. Kelmans, a New York attorney who, four years after buying it, negotiated its sale to Consolidated Edison. Indian Point Park lived on for two more lighthearted years, until ConEd began clearing the site in 1956. The plant, one of the first private-sector nuclear power stations in the world, opened in 1962. Nearly 50 years later, it has outlasted the park that preceded it. 

— Thomas Rinaldi



Yonkers Commuters Get a Ferry Godmother



Need to get to a ball in downtown Manhattan (or perhaps to your day job, cleaning up after evil stepsisters)? You’re in luck! New York Water Taxi will begin operating water-taxi service between Yonkers and Manhattan’s World Financial Center and Pier 11 (Wall Street) on Tuesday, May 1. This commuter service will bring Yonkers-area residents to Wall Street’s Pier 11 and Battery Park City’s World Financial Center between 5:50 and 8:30 am and 4:30 and 7:30 pm, Monday through Friday. The trip will take approximately an hour. Fares are $12 one way, $110 for a 10-trip book, and $400 for a 40-trip book. To celebrate this new service, New York Water Taxi is offering Westchester residents a free ride during the month of May. For more information, and to reserve a free roundtrip ticket, visit www.nywatertaxi.com.



One in a Million

In Westchester, where the median sales price of a single-family home is around $700,000, what does a million dollars get you? Here’s a sampling of houses listing at about a million in Westchester.



$1,050,000 Harrison (above)

1958 Split-level; 5 BR, 3 baths, 3604 sq ft, .38 acr, fireplace, 2-car attached garage. Taxes: $15,683



$999,000 Scarsdale (above)

1961 Split-level; 5 BR, 3 baths, 2041 sq ft, .46 acr, 2-car attached garage, fireplace. Taxes: $24,354/yr



$995,000 North Salem (above)

1790 Colonial; 4 BR, 3 full and 1 half bath, 3468 sq ft, 1.6 acr, barn, pool, pool house with studio, and trails adjoining protected land. Taxes: $18,860



$975,000 Mount Vernon (above)

1940 Colonial; 5 BR, 5 baths, 3200 sq ft, .24 acr, 2 master suites (one on first floor), 3 fireplaces, near Huntswood nature preserve. Taxes: $17,500



By the Numbers

A numerical look at Cinco de Mayo


Date Cinco de Mayo commemorates:

May 5, 1862, the date of the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican army beat the French army


Mexican-origin population in Westchester: 25,611


Most populous area: Yonkers7,294; New Rochelle—6,899; White Plains— 3,410; Port Chester—3,108


Percent of Mexicans who make up the immigration population in the US:

29.5. Next highest percentage group: the Philippines, with 4.4 percent; then India, with 3.3 percent. 


Calories in one portion (8.9 oz) of refried beans: 237


Number of restaurants in Westchester serving Mexican cuisine, as listed in the 2007 Zagat Survey: 10. Approximate total number of Mexican restaurants in Westchester: 50


Number of people who ate at Sunset Grille restaurant in White Plains on Cinco de Mayo last year (the busiest night they’ve ever had): 217.  Average number who dine there on a weeknight: 100 (185 on a Saturday night)


Cost of a pitcher of strawberry margarita at Santa Fe restaurant in Tarrytown: $33


Number of calories in a 4 oz. glass of strawberry margarita: 168


U.S. tequila sales in 2004: $1.06 billion


Typical length of a siesta:

15-30 minutes


Number of Americans who experience daytime sleepiness: One in five. Cost to work productivity: Approximately $50 billion

Marisa Iallonardo



Sweet Success 



“Mr. Chipwich”—Mount Kisco’s Richard LaMotta—is using his snack-food smarts to help students pay for school.


Remember the Chipwich? The perennial favorite had its humble beginnings 25 years ago when Mount Kisco resident Richard LaMotta began scooping vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies at his New Jersey-based ice cream shop.

           In just three months, the Chipwich became the biggest selling item at the store. But when LaMotta was offered $1 million to sell his creation a few years later, he declined and instead set out on his own, soliciting the help of high school and college students to hawk his product in pushcarts all over New York City. The grassroots marketing effort paid off with more than a billion Chipwiches sold. LaMotta earned Sales and Marketing magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1982. One of the earliest beneficiaries of his success was a New Jersey girl who helped name the frozen confection. LaMotta paid for her Tulane University and Tulane University Law School education.



Today, LaMotta is focusing on students—again. In January, he launched MyStudentBiz, a company set up to give students the distributorships of LaMotta’s newest snack-food products, helping them earn extra money while learning the basics of running a business and developing a brand name. Typically, major companies give distributorships only to already established sellers.

The process is simple. LaMotta gives students the products on consignment, and they distribute them to local businesses. With each box sold, the store makes a 40-percent profit, and the student and the company split the remainder evenly. (Most distributors receive no more than 25 percent of the profit). Currently, two products are being sold—ChiPOPpity, a bite-sized chocolate chip cookie triple dipped in dark chocolate, and 1/2 Pops, a salty, crunchy popcorn snack.

Students also stand to profit if any of the products are bought by a major manufacturer—think Nestlé or Nabisco. If such a sale garners up to $75 million, they earn 25 percent of the profits, and if the sale is over $75 million, they earn 50 percent. “This has never been done in the history of marketing,” LaMotta says, adding, “When we went to the big venture capital firms and said we were giving fifty percent of the profit to the students, they were turned off.” 

Says LaMotta, 65, “I think that if you’ve been lucky in life—and Chipwich was certainly an unexpected surprise—you have to give back a little. You can’t keep stuffing your pockets. There are kids who are needy, kids who could use the money.” For more information, check out www.mystudentbiz.net.

Marisa Iallonardo


Spring Cleaning with Heart

 By Marisa LaScala


With the onset of spring weather comes flowers, picnics, and the sudden desire to throw out everything you own and start fresh. When you get the urge for a spring-cleaning purge, here are some places that might be in need of the stuff that you bought but never wanted, wanted but never used, or used but no longer like.


Clothing and Furniture

The Salvation Army


What it is: A worldwide service organization dedicated to general do-gooding. Bonus: If you have bulky furniture items or the equivalent of approximately five to 10 black garbage bags of clothes, they’ll come to your house to pick ’em up.

Yes, please donate: Acceptances vary from center to center, but the Salvation Army will accept almost all of your gently used clothing and furniture so long as they’re clean and in a condition fit to be sold.

No thanks: Appliances, bathroom fixtures, waterbeds, broken furniture, heaters, and doors probably won’t make it onto the truck. 



The Food Bank for Westchester

358 Saw Mill River Rd, Millwood

(914) 923-1100


What it is: Westchester’s Food Bank each year distributes more than four million pounds of food to pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, residential facilities, and other feeding programs in the county, so it would be the perfect place to take those 12 cans of Campbell’s soup you bought in 1996 for a recipe you never made.

Yes, please donate: “Oh we take almost everything,” says Christina Rohatynskyj, the executive director. Items especially in-demand are high-protein foods such as tuna, canned chicken, canned salmon, beans, and peanut butter. Even refrigerated items, fruits, and vegetables are accepted—so long as they’ll stay good for longer than a day.

No thanks: Alcohol and frozen items that are not commercially prepared (e.g, that venison you hunted yourself during deer season has to be butchered by a state-certified preparer before you bring it in).


Pet Supplies

SPCA of Westchester

590 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor

(914) 941-2896


What it is: A humane society and shelter set up to help save our fuzzy, furry, and feathered friends from cruelty.

Yes, please donate: All manner of pet supplies, including litter, dry and wet food (Pedigree preferred for dogs, any brand for cats), new or used leashes and collars, and Kong toys. Cleaning supplies like mops, rubber gloves, garbage bags, newspapers, bleach, sponges, and paper towels are also greatly appreciated. And the SPCA is always in need of blankets, towels, and old newspapers to line crates.

No thanks: Blankets are great, but sheets provide no padding for the animals, and dogs tend to shred comforters, so it’s best to leave those behind.


Cellular Phones

Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine

Government offices including:

Rye City Hall, 1051 Boston Post Rd, Rye (914) 967-7464

Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Ave, White Plains (914) 993-1576

Salem Library, 276 Titicus Rd, North Salem,  (914) 669-5161

Peekskill City Hall, 840 Main St, Peekskill (914) 737-3400

Other locations available at www.westchetergov.com/cellphone or by calling the recycling office at (914) 813-5441.

What it is: That dead cellphone from six years ago weighs 50 tons and—gasp—doesn’t even have a digital camera, so what are you saving it for? It’s illegal to toss old phones in the trash (and you can get a penalty fine of up to $250), so bring them to a Verizon Wireless HopeLine drop box, where its memory will be wiped and it’ll go to help a victim of domestic violence.



Give the Gift of Sight

Participating LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, BJ’s Optical, and Sunglass Hut stores (visit www.givethe giftofsight.org for more information).

What it is: Put those unflattering granny glasses and Tom Cruise-era aviators to good use: Give the Gift of Sight donates used eyeware to the underprivileged throughout North America and in developing nations. The organization’s goal is to help seven million people by 2008, so don’t let those saucy specs languish in your drawer any longer.


(Almost) Everything Else

Chappaqua Discovery Shop

400  King St, Chappaqua

(914) 238-4900

What it is: An upscale resale shop with volunteer staff that commits 100 percent of its proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Yes, please donate: The ACS accepts a little of everything, including clothing (new or gently used, clean and in-season), furniture, bric-a-brac, china, crystal, artwork, lamps, and brand-new toys or small appliances (must still be in the box).

No thanks: Try as you might, they won’t take old toys, used appliances, upholstered furniture, or used bedding.


Golden Shoestring

149 Larchmont Ave, Larchmont

 (914) 834-8383


What it is: The Junior League of Westchester on the Sound relies on the Golden Shoestring to help fund its community programs, including literacy outreach and workshops for Spanish-speaking immigrants. In
addition to donating items outright, it might also be possible to consign some high-quality items.

Yes, please donate: Almost anything, including artwork, bedding, bric-a-brac, china, crystal, glassware, kitchen items, working appliances, clothing, housewares, toys, small furniture pieces, decorative items, accessories, and bedding. Items should be clean, in current fashion (your duds from 10 years ago just won’t fly), and in good condition.

No thanks: It’s best to leave the records, space heaters, vaporizers, items made from endangered species, computers older than three years, bathing suits, socks, underwear and books (other than children’s and current bestsellers) at home.



The Furniture Angel

 Whether you “pine” for custom shelving or a rustic dining room table, Mount Kisco master craftsman Angel Gutierrez can grant your wish.


By Laura Kenyon




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