Hunting the Ghost of Elvis

Discovering Westchester’s history with the King, Indian burial grounds, and one old chinese restaurant



Unfortunately for Elvis fans, the King was probably referencing the other Scarsdale—in Louisiana’s bayou—when talking about his beloved niece.

Q: I came across this quote attributed to Elvis Presley on the Internet: “I don’t want to read about some of these actresses who are around today. They sound like my niece in Scarsdale. I love my niece in Scarsdale, but I won’t buy tickets to see her act.” Did Elvis have relatives in Scarsdale? -Gail West, Scarsdale

A: Shortly after Elvis’s alleged “death” in 1977, there were several reports about a husky duffer at the Scarsdale Golf Club with long, jet-black sideburns who had great hip action on his back swing. Supposedly, he bought a pink golf cart for this poor little old lady who showed up to walk a round of nine. 

 Shockingly, Raftery at the Historical Society has no backup for that story. 

As for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s family tree extending to Westchester County, well, it is probably best to have a suspicious mind on the subject. (Sorry.) The boy who was born in a two-room shack without plumbing or electricity in Tupelo, Mississippi, was probably making a satirical point about Scarsdale, Louisiana, which is about 10 miles from New Orleans in the secluded bayou area.

 

Q: Where are the Indian burial  grounds in Northern Westchester around Pound Ridge, and how can you spot them?  -Via email

A: According to Arthur Caswell Parker’s The Archaeological History of New York and my buddy Patrick Raftery over at the Westchester County Historical Society, the burial sites are on Reservation Road that goes from Boutonville to Bedford in the town of Pound Ridge, just west of the Weepuc Brook. You’ll see it along the edge of Pound Ridge Hill.

There’s another burial ground at the foot of Stony Hills in Harrison and one near the headwaters of Lake Waccabuc in the town of Lewisboro.

If you go to visit, please remember what it is you are visiting and the importance of these sacred areas. In 1990, a federal bill was passed to protect Native American burial grounds across the country and to stop the trafficking of any human remains or artifacts. Still, in 1998, just outside of Nashville, a burial ground was discovered during the construction of a Walmart. The remains of more than 150 men, women, and children were disposed of without ceremony. At least it was just one offense on an otherwise spotless record of dealings with Native Americans throughout US history…

 

Q: What ever happened to Tung Hoy Restaurant, the great Chinese restaurant in Mamaroneck -Richard Cohan, Mamaroneck

A: There are so many Asian restaurants in this county, so why do so many mourn an old-school Chinese joint like Tung Hoy?

Apparently, if you ever had Tung Hoy’s Pu Pu Platter or signature egg rolls, you’d understand. If you frequented the bar and were served by Tommy the bartender, or chatted with Jimmy the host or any of the long-tenured wait and kitchen staff, you’d get it. 

Tung Hoy was originally located in Mamaroneck in a small strip mall. Later, in the ’90s, it moved a different location on Boston Post Road and took over the China Lion. Maybe it was the competition, maybe it was the aging of the owners, or maybe the charm that a place like Tung Hoy had isn’t as important to today’s diners, who seem to gravitate to endless buffets, fixed prices, and the maximization of caloric intake.

For whatever reason, the restaurant closed in 2007 and was demolished in 2010. A Bank of America stands in its place. Thanks, capitalism. 

 

Q: On the Tappan Zee Bridge, there are phones that reference suicide hotlines. What’s the deal with them? -Robert Greene, Yonkers

A: The Tappan Zee Bridge was built in 1955, and, since then, over 30 people have jumped from it to their deaths. In 2007, telephones connected to suicide-prevention hotlines were installed, and today there are four phones, with two on each side of the bridge. The phones have been updated to use cellular technology.

When someone picks up the phone, they are connected with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or LifeNet. Calls are then routed to the nearest available suicide hotline. If the line of the local hotline is busy, it is automatically routed somewhere else in the country.

Suicide phone counselors are trained volunteers who provide a non-judgmental ear for each caller, and will alert emergency services if necessary to rescue the caller. 

 

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