Westchester Chronicles

Mega-square footage real estate, the 911 on 914 scholarship money, what college kids are blogging about, and more


Westchester Chronicles


Westchester Website Toolbox

Westchester offers some excellent web-beaches for your virtual surfing pleasure.


Tired of the same old excursions to eBay, Amazon, or YouTube?  Try some of these diverting and informative Westchester-oriented sites.




Not only can you get that pistol permit you’ve been after, but you can check out upcoming events around the county and find out when the “shredmobile,” the county’s moving identity-protection machine, is coming to your part of Westchester.



You may find this hard to believe, but all those books they sell at your local Borders can be gotten for—get this—free(!) at one of Westchester’s many libraries. And now, you can search all the county’s library catalogs in one virtual place.



The online home of the Westchester County Board of Realtors lists, not only available properties throughout the county, but also scheduled open houses. Plan a visit to the house of your dreams while procrastinating at work.



The Westchester Historical Society has built an entire site devoted to cataloging and displaying the county’s historical documents. Visitors can check out cool remnants of days gone by, such as Washington Irving’s will and a copy of a cut-out doll from 1930s Playland.



Are you the type that needs to know exactly what’s going on all the time? If so, check out the live maps of planes flying into and out of Westchester County Airport. This way you’ll be able to tell the pilot the fastest way to go on your next Jet Blue trip to Palm Beach.



Did you know that our fair county grew in population by 2.8 percent last year? You would if you spent a little time playing around at the U.S. Census’s site devoted to Westchester County. Lots of cool facts about your locality can be found all in this one site provided by the federal government.



We know, it’s not Westchester-centric, but with traffic tracking, satellite maps, and the new “street view” feature that allows visitors to actually look at pictures of their own neighborhood (so far, parts of Scarsdale and major parkways and highways have been added), there’s plenty of Westchester info at Google’s spiffy cartographical site.



All the Metro-North info we need to spend a day in the City in one place. Now, if only the train would get here on time.

—W. Dyer Halpern



Day Trip

Art without Walls



Roy Lichtenstein (above)


If there is a better way to spend a gorgeous fall day than at the Storm King Art Center in Orange County (www.stormking.org), about an hour northwest of Westchester, I’ve not found it. Standing outside the Normandy-style museum and looking out over 500 acres of manicured lawns and rolling hills, studded with more than 100 modern masterworks by Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Mark di Suvero, Louise Nevelson, and the like, I’m mentally kicking myself for not visiting sooner. My daughter isn’t so reticent: “I can’t believe you’ve never taken us here,” she chides me. So, learn from my mistake before the 2007 season ends on November 15: pack a picnic (there’s not much to entice foodies here, so do bring your own nourishment), grab the kids and Grandma, too, and head out for a day of extremely accessible art.



What to see? Well, don’t miss Andy Goldsworthy’s 2,278-foot-long serpentine dry stonewall that wends its way in and out of the woods; Roy Lichtenstein’s Mermaid, slyly poised by a pond; and Momo Taro by Isamu Noguchi (above),a stone sculpture built atop a specially constructed hill (this is one of two sculptures kids are allowed—but not encouraged—to crawl on; the others are granite benches carved in giant eyeballs by Louise Bourgeois). A creepy 10-foot bronze spider, also by Louise Bourgeois (below), stands guard outside the museum, which currently houses more of the French artist’s works from the late 1940s to 1996 in a special exhibit.



Don’t leave without admiring the newest acquisitions by figurative sculptor Deborah Masters, installed this year near the upper parking lot: Tomashi, a single seven-foot-tall female head and Travellers, which depicts a family with belongings and an infant in tow appearing to walk up the hill; it was inspired by images of refugees fleeing natural disasters and political strife. You can enjoy the sculptures up close and personal by hiking right up to them over the lawns and fields, or from the free tram, which stops at designated locations to pick up and drop off passengers who want to explore a section of the park more thoroughly.


For more images of Storm King, visit www.westchestermagazine.com.

—Nancy L. Claus

Photography by Jess Giles



Back to Reality                                                                                   


By Marisa Iallonardo


We’re pretty sure that if we wait a few more seasons, Westchester will get its own version of the Orange County-based MTV reality show Laguna Beach, which follows the lives of its high school students (Bedford Hills, perhaps?).  And considering the fact that many a reality TV star has hailed from Westchester, we think the show would be quite a success. Below we take a look at the county’s reality show stars, past and present. 


Who: Becky O’Donahue

Hometown: Dobbs Ferry

Show: American Idol



Character: During the fifth season of American Idol (which aired from January to May, 2006), O’Donahue was chosen as one of 24 finalists to go to LA, where she sang Patti Smith’s “Because the Night.” O’Donahue was voted off during the first round of finals and Taylor Hicks went on to win.


What she’s up to today: Currently the host of MTV’s Trick It Out, Becky and twin sister Jessie were recently in this summer’s flick I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James, and they are also set to appear in the fall season of ER.


Who: Chris Jobin

Hometown: Mount Vernon Show: 30 Days



Character: Created by Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, 30 Days documents its character living in certain situations for one month. After Jobin’s job as a computer programmer had been outsourced to India, he traveled to the country to live with an Indian family and work in a telemarketing call center. His experience was then chronicled on the show.


What he’s up to today: Jobin is working as a commercial and voiceover artist, which he had also been doing prior to the show.


Who: Asia Nitollano

Hometown: Mount Vernon

Show: Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll 



Character: The Pussycat Dolls, the former burlesque dancers-turned-pop stars, conducted a multi-city search for the newest member of their group. After beating out eight potential Dolls, Nitollano—a former New York Knicks city dancer—was declared the winner of the search and the newest Pussycat Doll.


What she’s up to today: Opting not to sign with the group (she was not contractually obligated to do so), Nitollano has embarked on a solo career.


Who: Ereka Vetrini

Hometown: Eastchester 

Show: The Apprentice 



Character: On the very first season of The Apprentice in 2004, Ereka, a former internal operations consultant for Estée Lauder, won a challenge (she sold lemonade for $5 a glass in exchange for a kiss), but was  “fired” mid-season. Bill Rancic later went on to win.


What she’s up to today: After her Apprentice gig, Ereka went on to work as an announcer on the short-lived Tony Danza Show, and is currently the host of KidSpaces on HGTV. She is also set to be the host of NBC’s
upcoming iVillage show.


Who: Samantha

Hometown: Scarsdale

Show: Rock of Love



Character: Rock of Love features a group of women vying for the attention of former Poison frontman Bret Michaels. Each week the contestants undergo various “challenges” (compose original lyrics, participate in a motocross relay) to win dates with Bret in hopes that he will choose them. Sam, who holds a master’s degree, is tattooed and cool with platinum blond hair and choppy bangs.


What she’s up to today: The show currently airs Sundays at 9 pm on VH1.


Who: Matthew Herman

Hometown: Goldens Bridge  

Show: Beauty and the Geek



Character: The Ashton Kutcher-produced show pairs “beauties” with “geeks” in an effort to see how much they can learn from each other. Contestants participate in a variety of challenges—including getting a girl’s number for the geeks, and assembling bottle rockets for the beauties—in hopes of winning a cash prize. In the third season of the show (which premiered in January 2007), Herman, an MIT student, was paired with Andrea, Miss Missouri 2005.  After four episodes, the couple was eliminated.


What he’s up to today: Herman graduated from MIT and tells us he is currently working “on some novel nonlinear signal-processing algorithms and applications.” 


Free Money!



Heard about the scholarship for young nudists? How about the $1,500 you can get if you know how to call ducks? Willing to wear duct tape to the prom? That could net you $3,000. There are lots of obscure and little-known scholarships being offered. Below, we take a look at a number of scholarships with one requirement in common: Westchester residency.


Scholarship: Westchester Golf Association Caddie Scholarship


What it is: Funded by The Westchester Golf Association


Total Amount: Varies


Number of Recipients: Up to 80


Requirements: Applicants must have worked at a WGA member club for at least two years—either caddying, working at the golf shop, in the bag room, on the practice range, or as part of the golf-course superintendent’s crew. Students must have applied or be enrolled in a college or university, demonstrate financial need, and be in good academic standing. 


Application Deadline: April 15, 2008


Contact: Visit www.westchestergolf.org or call (914) 347-2340.


Scholarship: Columbian Lawyers Association of Westchester County


What it is:  Four scholarships are available to all law students within the county, with three more for Pace Law students only.


Total Amount: $4,000 to  $5,000, depending on the scholarship.


Number of Recipients: 1 for each scholarship


Requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in law school, be residents of Westchester County and of Italian descent. Students should be in the top half of their academic class. Children of Association members may not apply.


Application Deadline: October 31, 2007


Contact: Visit www.westcla.org or call Michael Formoso at (914) 995-3346.


(For more scholarship opportunities, visit www.westchestermagazine.com)    




The Real College Info Tours

Attention high school seniors: you’ve read what the Princeton Review and the Fiske Guide have to say about all your prospective colleges—but do you want to hear from the students themselves? And do you want to do it in the comfort of your bedroom, without dreary info sessions or overnight visits? Log onto CollegeOTR.com (OTR stands for “on the record”), a student-generated collection of blogs founded by the creator of theU.com, a website promising prospective students real portraits of colleges.


At CollegeOTR, student journalists post monthly about their schools. Currently, the site has bloggers from more than 25 colleges and universities, including Cornell, Yale, Harvard, Wesleyan, and Syracuse. Site creator Doug Imbruce set up this public forum to allow students to publish what schools will not—like the photo of 40 topless girls from one sorority’s pledge class and reviews of the best close-to-campus bars for “grinding up on acquaintances and watching unlucky drinkers vomit off the balcony.”


If you have a child of or near college age, enter at your own risk. What you read may make you rip up that tuition check and sign up your scholars for military service instead. 

—Carrie Schmelkin







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