Cool Finds: Solano’s Lincoln Lounge, Mount Vernon

This is a must-go if you’re looking for something that’s not typical Westchester.

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Cool Finds: Stargazing in New Rochelle

Did you know there is a planetarium in New Rochelle?

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Cool Finds: Undersea at 23′ Above New Rochelle

Walking New Rochelle’s Huguenot Bridge is an immersive experience.

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A Love Affair with 80 Classic Cars in New Rochelle

During spring break week, we are bringing back some popular posts:

Eco-friendly hybrids and sporty foreign numbers have their place, but, Nick Pagani only has eyes for Big American Cars. “I go down to my garage at night and I sit and look at my cars,” Pagani says. “To me, they’re beautiful.”

Pagani – a guy born and raised in Pelham Manor who restores cars in the same New Rochelle shop his granddad opened in 1920 – has no shortage of stuff to gaze at. His collection of 80 vintage cars frequently appears in period-piece movies (often with Pagani behind the wheel) such as Revolutionary Road, The Wrestler and Angel Heart. Pagani’s wheels are currently being used in the production of Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest Coen brothers’ movie.

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Driver Crashes Through Larchmont Store

Larchmont Village police say a woman driving to take a class at the LTrain spinning studio at 5:50 this morning crashed through the window of a vacant bridal store in the same shopping center at 2005 Palmer Avenue. We are told that this may be part of a trend of faulty accelerators in some Lexus cars. She was unhurt. photos: Diana Marszalek

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Pet Project: Kirby

 

Kirby was carelessly abandoned outside the New Rochelle Humane Society, giving her transition to shelter life a rough start. Her acclimation didn’t go easily at first; Kirby’s pleasingly plump size compounded her problems because she was too big to fit into a private enclosure. But Kirby managed to work things out, at least for the time being. The 5-year-old girl has been given free roam of one of the shelter’s staff areas, and has clearly crowned herself queen. Kirby will undoubtedly be more than comfortable in a home of her own.

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Scarsdale Undercover

In Scarsdale Undercover, we share some of the more…unnecessary police activity that seems to occur in Scarsdale, New York. A woman reported that someone broke into her car while it was parked on Garth Road and stole her cell phone. Police called the phone and found it under the passenger side seat. Feb. 29.

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Historic Mamaroneck Farm House Now Gone

 

The Gedney Farm House, possibly the oldest building in Mamaroneck, is gone. Demolition of the house, which sat on property at 734 E. Boston Post Road owned by the Rye Neck School District, was completed on Saturday, reducing more than two centuries of local history to rubble. Carole B. Akin, a Mamaroneck resident who led a months-long fight to save the building, built in 1790, reacted to the demolition “with a heavy heart,” saying she and fellow preservationists “regret deeply” that the school district did not grant them more time to find a way to save the property. “All we wanted was six more months,” she writes. Akin, however, says she hopes the “wrenching demolition” of the Farm House won’t be totally in vain, and that the loss spurs individuals to protect other historic properties from being razed.

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A Bounty of Babies Born Leap Day

Something about Leap Day brought Westchester babies out – literally – in numbers. White Plains Hospital and Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor each welcomed five babies to the world on Wednesday. That’s a record-setting number for Feb. 29 at HVHC and also unusually high for White Plains, where a set of twins was among the newcomers. White Plains threw a birthday party for the kids – particularly nice since they won’t have another “real” one for four years.

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Reward Increases as Search for Lauren Spierer Continues

Hard to believe nine months have passed since Edgemont’s Lauren Spierer disappeared after a night out with friends in Bloomington, Indiana. Police have made little progress.   Rob and Charlene Spierer continue working to find answers about what happened to their daughter, who has been missing since June 3, now upping the reward for information leading to her whereabouts. “We continue to seek information, which will lead us to finding Lauren and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance,” the Spierers write on the website, findlauren.com, in announcing the reward’s increase to $250,000. The Indiana University student’s 21st birthday was Jan. 17.

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Scarsdale Undercover

 

In Scarsdale Undercover, we share some of the more…unnecessary police activity that seems to occur in Scarsdale, New York.  

A Gorham Road resident reported a woman pacing in the street looking distressed. The woman told police she was waiting for a ride, which came for her while officers were on the scene. Feb. 20.

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Westchester Whisker Wars

You’ve got to hand it to the guys – docs and all – from the Hudson Valley Hospital Center who spent a month being really hairy to help out a good cause. Running their own sort of Whisker Wars, 29 men gave up shaving during February to raise money for the Cortlandt Manor hospital’s new Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Winter Whiskers contest – which included a public “shave off” at the Quiet Man Public House in Peekskill on Monday – raised about $15,000 through sponsorships of the beard growers. The event was one part of a larger $5 million fundraising campaign to ease the cost of the cancer center, which opened in November. Donations can still be made through the hospital’s website.  

 

Photos courtesy of Victoria Hochman, Hudson Valley Hospital Center

 

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Cool Finds: Clothes You Crave in Port Chester

 

Who needs Manhattan when what you Crave is right here at home? The 2-year-old women’s boutique, located at 48 North Main Street in Port Chester, is at once chic, sophisticated, casual – and affordable – so you can look like a million bucks (or even several hundred) without spending it. Just as good: you don’t have to worry about everyone else in town showing up to the Big Event in the same outfit you’ve chosen; Crave purposely does not carry a lot of any one item, so the inventory stays fresh and moving. Tell them what you need – and they will help get it. The appeal and offerings of the Port Chester Crave are based on the 30 years experience the boutique has been in business in New York and Greenwich.

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Rye Holocaust Heroine Remembered

Rye lost a true war hero Monday with the death of Dr. Tina Strobos, who as a young medical student in Amsterdam hid about 100 Jews from the Nazis. She was 91. Strobos and her family’s work as “rescuers” started when they hid Tina’s best friend, who was Jewish, in their home, not far from the house where Anne Frank and her family hid. The family ultimately built a hiding place, big enough for five people, which she described in a 1992 interview with the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington:
When we started taking in people we realized that they had to get away if the Gestapo came. So we had a first floor on which electrical button could open the door and so you could look through a wall window to the door downstairs on the first floor and see who [was] coming in.

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Neighbors Win Fight Against Saw Mill Towers

As of last night, the Saw Mill River Parkway will remain one of the nicer Westchester roadways, and Pleasantville will be free of gigantic surveillance towers. Neighbors have won their battle against the State’s proposal to install seven, hulking traffic-watching towers along the parkway from Hawthorne to Chappaqua. The Department of Transportation officially nixed their plans on Tuesday after Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer, Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Joan Maybury and New Castle Supervisor Susan Carpenter led an effort to get concerns from the community heard in Albany. More than 1,000 residents petitioned against the project. The DOT towers, which stand 125-feet tall and have a camera on top, watch for heavy congestion and accidents. “At this point in time, NYSDOT has decided not to install communications towers along the Saw Mill River Parkway,” state transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said in a statement.

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Coming Up: Audubon Greenwich Family Day

Anyone with an eco-type kid should know about the Audubon Greenwich summer nature camp – one of the best, and relatively most affordable, programs of its kind around. The folks at Audubon – a 290-acre sanctuary complete with a river and critters that live in and around it – will be happy to tell you all about it on Saturday at Family Day. The camp, which runs in one-week sessions, focuses on themes from creepy crawlies to fine feathered friends and even offers evening adventures for older kids. The cost is $315 per session. Saturday’s event, which includes VIP camp registration, starts at 9 a.m. with a family breakfast and animal show (RSVP and $25 per person required).

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Pepsico Layoffs to Hit Westchester

Diet Coke, anyone? Layoffs PepsiCo started earlier this month are about to hit people working at company HQ in Purchase and throughout  Westchester County. Lohud is reporting that 145 local employees of Pepsico, which is based in Purchase, will be among the 8,700 pepsi workers worldwide who will lose their jobs. Those people represent about 5% of the company’s 3,000 Westchester employees. The layoffs will hit 80 workers at corporate headquarters, 50 at a bottling center in Somers and 15 at a research facility in Valhalla.

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Envisioning A New Tappan Zee

Plans to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge moving ahead.  And there are two opportunities this week to tell transit leaders what you think. The proposal calls for building a two-span, eight lane bridge to replace the existing structure, which was built in 1955.  The new bridge would be twice as wide as the old one and could include space for mass transit. The old bridge needs serious structural improvements and is not equipped to handle today’s traffic, as anyone who’s driven across on rush hour knows.  Built to hold 100,000 cars a day, the Tappan Zee today carries 138,000 vehicles, including big trucks, across the Hudson.

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Scarsdale Doctor and Her ‘Best Friends for Life’

 

As a radiation oncologist, Elizabeth Chabner Thompson focused much of her career treating breast cancer, a disease her mother battled.  But it wasn’t until Thompson was a patient herself and chose to have preventative mastectomies to reduce the risk of the developing the disease, that she realized how hard it is to be on the other side. “Getting prepared for treatment, coping with side effects … feeling undignified and exposed, organizing medications and therapies can all make treatment seem overwhelming,” the Scarsdale resident says. Outdated garments and accessories didn’t help. Last year Thompson launched  Best Friends for Life, a Scarsdale company that creates and sells products to help make patients’ recovery easier. Specially designed pillows, designer-style BFFL bags filled with comforts like cozy socks, skin cream, and post-surgery needs are among the products currently available.

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Cool Finds: Harrison Bake Shop

Every so often you have to forget about fancy French pastries and dig into the real stuff. The Harrison Bake Shop gives you plenty of it. The unassuming bakery, located in a Harrison  strip mall, boasts the best old school favorites around –  fresh bread, butter cookies, birthday cakes and apple-filled pastry that is “one of the best treats I’ve had in a long time,” according to one customer. The shop is as good for a weekend-morning-not-even-close-to-healthy-cake-and-coffee run as it is for party catering, which they’ll do with a mere day’s notice. Undeniably delicious.

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A Love Affair with 80 Classic Cars in New Rochelle

Eco-friendly hybrids and sporty foreign numbers have their place, but, Nick Pagani only has eyes for Big American Cars. “I go down to my garage at night and I sit and look at my cars,” Pagani says. “To me, they’re beautiful.”

Pagani – a guy born and raised in Pelham Manor who restores cars in the same New Rochelle shop his granddad opened in 1920 – has no shortage of stuff to gaze at. His collection of 80 vintage cars frequently appears in period-piece movies (often with Pagani behind the wheel) such as Revolutionary Road, The Wrestler and Angel Heart. Pagani’s wheels are currently being used in the production of Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest Coen brothers’ movie.

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Cool Finds: Wildly Fantastic Orchids and a Shake, Brewster

With 100 different species of orchids – and thousands of variations when you break them down even further – Venamy Orchids in Brewster is a feast for any flower lover’s senses, so much so that it would be tough for even the finest botanical gardens to compete. A greenhouse with aisle after aisle of orchids to browse, the store is drenched in color and spectacular beauty. Orchids run big and small, red and yellow and purple, plain and patterned. They also run the gamut from affordable, starting at $15, to, the way one orchid caretaker puts it, unapproachable. The flowers are there to buy, rent, grow or simply admire, making Venamy a destination for flower lovers from well beyond the neighborhood.

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Metro-North Platform Smoking Ban Starts Wednesday

 

Cold turkey commute. Don’t even think about lighting up while waiting for your Metro-North train. Doing so could get you kicked off the platform, up to $50 in fines or a trip to jail. The MTA’s new ban on outdoor smoking starts today, following a months-long grace period the agency gave smokers to get used to the idea. The ban, which had a soft launch in November, prohibits smoking on Metro-North and Long Island Railroad outdoor platforms, as well as ticketing and boarding areas.

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Pet Project: Adopt Spunky

In the spirit of the Valentine’s season, Spunky looks like she’s wearing her heart on her chest.  Hard to believe a girl displaying that kind of love hasn’t found a family to share it with. Well-behaved around dogs, cats and the volunteers who take care of her at the New Rochelle Humane Society, Spunky used to be a house cat but when her family moved they left Spunky behind outside to fend for herself. A caring neighbor took care of Spunky and brought her into the shelter when the weather turned could. As a shelter resident for more than four months, Spunky is an official NRHS Lonely Hearts club, meaning her adoption fee is just $45. She is already spayed, vaccinated, tested negative for Felv & FIV, & microchipped.

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Cool Finds: Say I Love You with a Cockroach

Roses are red, violets are blue and roaches are just gross. But, hey, swath anything in chocolate and wrap it up all pretty for Valentine’s Day and it’s all good. So why not go for the novelty this year and give your Valentine a roach – a giant hissing roach – of his or her very own courtesy of the Bronx Zoo? For $10, you can name one of the zoo’s 58,000 Madagascar hissing cockroaches after whoever on your list won’t scream too loud. Up the outlay to $25, and Your Special Someone will also get hand-painted, artisanal chocolate roach delivered directly.

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Class Size Biggest Concern in New Rochelle

A survey released Monday by the New Rochelle School District, which found that preserving class size is the community’s No. 1 school-related priority, reflects concerns of parents throughout lower Westchester. The survey, part of the district’s 2012-13 budget-setting process, found about 57% of respondents believe keeping class size in check is a critical component of maintaining school quality. About 56% of them believe preserving AP and honors classes is essential; about 47% said having up-to-date technology is a top priority. Full results are available on the district’s website. New Rochelle residents can take the survey online until Friday.

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Police Say Armed Robberies Likely Related in Mamaroneck Village and Town, Harrison and New Rochelle

The armed robberies that targeted Metro-North commuters in Mamaroneck Village and Harrison last Thursday — as well as similar crimes in Mamaroneck Town, Pelham and possibly New Rochelle — are likely related, police say. The robber behind the Thursday incidents, which occurred one hour apart, could have taken the train between crime scenes, police say. Each incident involved individuals walking home from train stations being robbed at gunpoint by someone described as a male, 5’10 to 6″0″ with a medium build wearing a mask over his face and dark clothing.He was carrying a black or silver handgun, police say. Police from around the area, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, are joining forces to nab the robber or robbers. New York Crime Stoppers is offering up to $2,5oo for information that will lead police to the individuals responsible for the two most recent robberies as well as the earlier ones. Anyone with information regarding any of these robberies is asked to contact NYS Crime Stoppers at its hotline number 1-866-313-TIPS.

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Pet Project: Dash and Karen

You’re not seeing double – or are you? Dash and Karen don’t share a home, but the best buddies, who both live in Larchmont, do share just about everything else. Both rescues from a greyhound racetrack in New Hampshire via Long Island Greyhound Transfer, Dash and Karen come from the same long line of racers. Both like long walks and even longer naps. Toughing it out on a racetrack is paying off for the pair; retirement doesn’t get much better than this.

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County Commits Money to Control Floods

 

Anyone who’s lived around here long enough knows that flooding is part of life in lower Westchester. On Thursday, the County said it’s going to help us keep our heads above water. Flood control projects in Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle are going to receive funding through a special $9 million county fund dedicated for stormwater management. The County will pay $2.3 million toward drainage improvements along Pine Brook at Boston Post Road in Larchmont and $2.5 for water management upgrades along the Hutchinson River in New Rochelle.  The municipalities are expected to pay the remaining costs.

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Mamaroneck Town Talks Crime Prevention

A lot of crime prevention comes down to common sense. It’s safer to walk in groups then alone. A home alarm that rings inside and out is a better deterrent then the quieter kinds that don’t offend the neighbors. And don’t bother hiding keys under those fake rocks and other gadgets you see in ads. “The bad guys watch TV too,” said Mamaroneck Town Police Det.

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Scarsdale Undercover

In Scarsdale Undercover, we share some of the more…unnecessary police activity that seems to occur in Scarsdale, New York. Police were called because…

A Popham Road resident reported someone damaged her windshield. Police discovered the damage was actually dirt and cleaned it off. Jan. 30.

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Cool Finds: Larchmont’s Quality Carpet Collection

When Baseer Abdul first fled war-torn Afghanistan as a 15-year-old boy, he was virtually alone in New York, earning cash working at fast food restaurants to pay for English classes. By 18, though, he was well on his way to success, managing a rug company while learning the ins-and-outs of the business. That thirst for learning, and a really good eye, is what makes Baseer Oriental Rugs in Larchmont a treasure trove of floor coverings. As a guy who appreciates artistry and quality, Abdul steers customers right — and not necessarily at premium costs.  His carpet collection includes rugs priced from $100 to $30,000.

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Texting in a Crime Wave: Warning Neighbors in Larchmont and Mamaroneck

Larchmont neighbors are on guard – and continue informing neighbors by email and texting  – following the most recent burglaries in the normally low-crime town. Late last week, residents circulated a text message urging others to step up protecting themselves against thieves:
Important alert! Make sure all doors are locked @ night & garage too. 2 more burglaries since last week, willow ave & ocean ave. houses were entered at night when people were home.  Pass this on. 
The current rash of burglaries and car break-ins in Larchmont and Mamaroneck started before the December holidays and, according to residents, continue.

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Rumorville: Rags of Rye Saying Goodbye

Another longtime favorite bites the dust with the closing of Rags in Rye in mid-March. The clothing store, known for selling original pieces that you don’t always find in department stores, has been at its 61 Purchase Street location for 37 years. The Rye store was the flagship of a small chain of shops that included a Rags in Larchmont. Rags will keep its seasonal stores in Edgartown and Block Island open, a store employee says. But the Rye closing is part of the owners’ slow transition into semi-retirement, which started years ago with closings of shops in Larchmont and the Hamptons.

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Cool Finds: Vintage Nathan’s in Yonkers

The Nathan’s Famous in Yonkers is so tacky it’s near perfect. The third oldest Nathan’s around, the 1965-built time piece falls somewhere between the Nathan’s we see in shopping mall food courts and the original 95-year-old Coney Island outlet that started it all. With a full-fledged arcade attached, this Nathan’s is worthy of a mini-road trip, if that’s what you’re into. Nathan’s Famous, 2290 Central Park Ave., Yonkers. Nathansfamous.com

 

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Report Says Police Find No Evidence that Bullying Behind Ursuline Girl’s Suicide

Yonkers police indicated they have no evidence that bullying fueled the Tuesday suicide of a freshman at the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, according to a story in LoHud’s Sound Shore blog. Reports that 14-year-old Eira Fatima Maghuyop was distraught over bullying before taking her own life in her Yonkers home by hanging, sparked an outpouring of sympathy and anti-bullying sentiment, particularly on social networking websites and blogs like this  on Tumblr. The Ursuline School issued a statement yesterday: “Today we have visited our student’s family and offered comfort. We have held special assemblies for all of our students, who are in mourning. We have made available extra counselors to the students and staff.”

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Cool Finds: A Dressmaker’s Dream in Mount Vernon

One customer calls Westchester Fabrics “the holy grail of fabrics.”  The Mount Vernon store has been a sewers’ destination for decades. The store is packed with a gazillion different fabrics, homey customer service and a few colorful characters who have worked there for nearly as long as it’s been around. Westchester Fabrics’ staff know their stuff: tell them what you want to make and they will gladly steer you in the right direction. It’s that kind of old school cool that keeps customers coming back for more. Westchester Fabrics, 103 S. 4th Ave., Mount Vernon 914.668.3555  (no website)

Photos by Jacqueline Silberbush

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Ursuline Suicide Reportedly Tied to Bullying

Below is a page from  storify with social media reaction to the suicide Tuesday of a 14 year old student at the Ursuline School in New Rochelle. According to The Talk of the Sound,  Eira Fatima Maghuyop killed herself in her Yonkers home Tuesday night after reportedly becoming despondent over bullying. Friends have established an anti-bullying Facebook page in Eira’s name. Ursuline, a private all-girls school, released a statement saying the school offered students grief counselors and “is deeply saddened by the loss of a fine young member of our school community.”

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Globe Bar & Grill Gone

The Globe Bar & Grill in Larchmont (1879 Palmer Avenue) is gone for good, following an auction Tuesday that sold off nearly all the Palmer Avenue restaurant’s assets. A popular spot for eating outdoors in the summer, and late-night bar mingling, the eatery reportedly had a hard time cutting it since the economy tanked. Others in the restaurant business say Globe had been for sale for several years, but with a high asking price had no takers. What will fill its prominent space — and when? Photos by Jacqueline Silberbush 

 

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Cool Finds: Harrison’s Old Fashioned Drug Store

Big chain drug stores may have their place, but after a stop at Trotta’s Pharmacy in Harrison there is no way you’re going to want to go back to one. It may not be pretty, but built on the waning art of providing quality and customer service, the store has real, live pharmacists willing and able to help patients manage their meds. Trotta’s stocks beauty products, health-related stuff and groceries as well. One customer said she’d “give Trotta’s 10 stars if I could.”

Free delivery and online shopping for in-store pickup is available seven days a week. And Trotta’s offers customers a pharmacy discount program that has absolutely nothing to do with insurance companies.

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Scarsdale Undercover

In Scarsdale Undercover, we share some of the more…unnecessary police activity that seems to occur in Scarsdale, New York. Police were called because… A Burgess Road resident reported two men standing on the curb staring at his home. One of the men was the resident’s neighbor who had come outside to smoke a cigar. Jan.

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Pet Project: Bradley the Bulldog

 

 

Have a pet you love or just know a great one? Submit a photo and we’ll feature it in “Pet Project”

What a face. Bradley the bulldog clearly has no problem posing for glamour shots. He did the honor for us while taking a break from a walk last Saturday in Larchmont’s Manor Park.  Based on that look, it seemed like life couldn’t get much better for Bradley than enjoying a weekend stroll. Photo by Jacqueline Silberbush

 

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Cool Finds: Happy as a Clam in Eastchester

 

We’re still in the thick of winter, so you have about 8,000 good excuses to dig into the hearty sandwiches and seafood at Louie & Johnnie’s in Eastchester.  Then again, you’ll undoubtedly come up with just as many convincing reasons come Bathing Suit Season. It’s that good. Newly dressed in basic food bar style – complete with a black-and-white floor and red counter stools – the 4-month-old home of super-yummy cheese steaks and raw bar favorites is the second venture of John Greco and Michael Mannarino, owners of Louie & Johnnie’s Italian restaurant in Yonkers. With its steak shaved paper-thin and shellfish so fresh you could just as easily be beachside, the shop already has garnered its regulars, Greco says. “People seem to like it,” Greco says.

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Payton the Pot Bellied Porker: The Pig Plot Thickens

 

A day after we first reported the New Rochelle Humane Society rescued Payton the pot bellied pig from North Avenue student housing, we’re learning more about how everybody’s new favorite porker ended up in the hands of the Iona College students in the first place. According to NRHS  shelter manager Dana Rocco, the guys who had Payton in their small backyard on Monday had retrieved the pig from its original Long Island owner over the weekend after reading online that Payton might need some pig placement.  Apparently, Payton and his owner’s dog did not get along. There was even talk of sending the affable guy to slaughter, she says. “They were trying to do the right thing,” Rocco says. The students, however, didn’t have a concrete plan of what they were going to do with Payton next, which is when the Humane Society showed up.

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Cool Finds: Art Museum in Halls of New Rochelle High

 

Right in there with lockers, classrooms and teenagers cruising down corridors, a hidden gem of an art museum makes its home at New Rochelle High School. The only state-chartered museum in a school in New York State, the Museum of Arts & Culture exhibits art created by students and outside artists alike. The exhibit featured in these photos showcases the creations of graduating senior CJ Senerchia. The culmination of CJ’s artistic efforts throughout high school, the exhibit ends with a closing reception from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday. “This was years in the making,” says fine arts teacher Marc Schneider.

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