Gear Up For T-Zee Night

Welcome to 'About Town,' a new column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what the village is talking about. Check in often, because we will be updating often. And if you see something... say something

In 2007, Tappan Zee High School school dedicated new athletic fields, including an artificial turf football/lacrosse field surrounded by a new track. The renovation also included new baseball and softball fields, and new tennis courts.

An outgrowth of the project is T-Zee Nite, an all-day extravaganza of games and special events. Today's volleyball contest at 4:30 p.m. is the unofficial start this year, and Saturday's schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m. — Swim meet vs. Pearl River at the South Orangetown Middle School
  • 11 a.m. — Girls soccer vs. Nanuet
  • 1 p.m. — Boys soccer vs. Albertus Magnus
  • 3-6 p.m. — Block party
  • 6-7 p.m. — Pep rally, including the introduction of the cross country teams
  • 8 p.m. — Football game vs. Albertus Magnus

—Marc Maturo


Did you know this weekend is the 25th anniversary of International Coastal Cleanup Day?

Us neither. But that's no reason not to take notice, celebrate and pitch in.

Residents are planning to commemorate the eco-friendly holiday with a full lavation of Nyack Beach State Park in Upper Nyack on Saturday. Parts of Hook Mountain, and the river path to Rockland Lake, will be the cleanup's main focus.

The event is sponsored by Nyack's Boy Scouts (Troop 2) and the National Littoral Society and Boy Scout Troop 2 of Nyack. To lend a hand, the sponsors note all you need are gloves and a work ethic (garbage bags are provided).

For more information, call (845) 358-2359.

(Nyack Beach State Park is located at 698 N. Broadway, Upper Nyack).


If you're looking to have a catcall or admiring whistle aimed your way in Nyack and Piermont, the best place to go isn't some bedraggled bar or murky alley.

It's the intersection of Main and Broadway, and during high noon.

The benches outside Temptations Cafe, Black Bear Saloon and Starbucks attract a medley of peoples—businessmen and women grabbing lunch, merchants peddling their products—but there's always someone intent on hooting at every lass, dame and miss that strolls by.

In fact, the area is a hub for all sorts of antics—amateur musicians looking to make a buck, beatniks selling yarn creations, rabid sports fans looking for a debate and more.

Who've you encountered lately?


There's an old axiom that most people fear public speaking more than death, disease and the hereafter.

But in Nyack, it doesn't have to be so. Enter Toastmasters, a local branch of an international organization dedicated to helping the diffident and demure get their chops.

In Nyack, the next meeting is today (they're always held at Nyack Library). Stop by the library between 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. to join in.

So, if you find yourself getting flustered when filibustering a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting or ordering an everything bagel at Murrays, here's your solution.

Want more information? E-mail  info@nyacktoastmasters.org, or call Michael Friedlander at (845) 358-1175.


If you're planning on stopping by today's farmers' market, allow us to recommend a few worthwhile booths:

  • Meet the Jam Man and sample his namesake jams, jellies and preserves. Not only does he make all his wares himself, but he hand-picks all the fruit, t00. Just check out B&B Jams.
  • Step outside your comfort zone (or stay inside it, if you grew up on a sheep farm) and try some non-cow dairy products at the Valley Shepard Creamery booth. You won't be disappointed.
  • Hip physicians always encourage a glass of red wine for the ol' vascular organ, but these doctors brew the wine themselves; it's certainly worth a taste. Snatch a bottle from the med-school-educated vintners at the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery booth.


It's an eccentric request.

But one Piermont resident is looking to aid the exotic bird that's been visiting her backyard. And parakeets aren't common around these parts: either this fellow escaped from his cage, or made an arduous, epic, worthy-of-a-movie journey from Australia to Piermont.

(Common sense tells me its that former, but I want to believe the latter.)

Here's the passionate Piermonters plea for the parakeet:

"A parakeet is visiting my backyard birdfeeder several times a day. As the temperature drops, his days are numbered. I would like to put out a bird cage for him (with millet and a few toys) per an online suggestion. I am looking for a bird cage I could borrow for a few weeks."

Want to pitch in? Call Christie Black at (347) 683-5609.


Last week, we looked at downtown Nyack's wireless networks—settle on a bench on Broadway or Main and open your latop, and you're met with a dozen or so networks to connect to (well, assuming they're not locked and don't have dubious names).

In Piermont, the choices are a bit more limited. You still have open, non-password protected networks ("TTP Office") and the quintessential suspect ones ("bubbrubb"), but there's no lengthy list like in Nyack.

Either Piermonters aren't keen on letting strangers onto their Interent, or they're still using dial up. I'm betting it's the former.


Last week, "About Town" took at look at the flyers tacked up in Nyack Library. At first, your eyes glaze over them—but that's a habit worth changing. The billets can clue residents into celebrity lectures and the whereabouts of Nyack's famed Pie Lady.

Papers in Piermont's library are no different—the bulletin board is three flyers deep, at least (an archaeological excavation would likely turn up posters advertising a 1987 book club).

Some highlights: flea markets and film festivals in Palisades, fall carnivals at nearby churches and art workshops for Piermont youngsters.

About the latter: the workshops cater to first-graders and up, and are currently open; phone (845) 359-4595 for details.

There's a class going on outside the library right now, actually, and a particularly hearty gust of wind just scattered a pile of papers. The kids' hollers might've been louder than Piermonts Fire Department's sirens.


Need plans for tomorrow night?

Stop by the Nyack Center at 8 p.m. to take in Bollywood blockbuster My Name Is Khan. The flick—which has received more acclaim and accolades than I have time to type—spotlights the journey of a Muslim-American man with Asperger's syndrome in post-9/11 US.

The show is put on by Rivertown Film, which screened Holy Rollers the other week.

(And their Creative Advisory Board has a few notable names—Stephen Baldwin and Bill Irwin, to name a few).

Tickets are under $10, so already it's less costly than a night at the multiplex. Plus, you don't have to smuggle food and drink from home in underneath a baggy sweatshirt.


There's a new initiative coming up aimed at helping local businesses through the troubled economy.

Sept. 25 will be a mini-stimulus in New York State (no worries: this one is optional, not mandatory). It's titled $25 on the 25th.

It's a way for residents to help local eateries and retail outlets stay afloat without breaking the bank. The idea? Keep your shopping local this Saturday by spending $25 around town (er, village).

It's an idea that has Nyack's mayor's attention.

"This will be a day to support and celebrate local businesses that give Nyack so much of its charm and warmth," said Mayor Richard Kavesh in an e-mail. "I am proud to join mayors across New York in helping make "$25 on the 25th a tremendous success."


Check it out: a comprehensive list of Clarkstown's Town Board minutes—dating back to the 1930s—can be found on their website.

Sifting through pre-war political documents may not seem the most appealing pastime at first, but Clarkstown's antique records have some interesting tidbits. For example, a widespread problem in 1938 Clarkstown: unlicensed plumbers.

These unofficial carpenters had become a problem throughout town, and so the follow was written into legislation:

"Section 1: The doing of any plumbing or plumbing work for hire in the Town of Clarkstown by any person, firm or corporation, is hereby prohibited, except by or through persons, firms or corporations holding a license issued by the Town Board of the Town of Clarkstown."

To apply for the official plumbing license, one had to shell out $10—it's refreshing to see figures like $10 and $100 on town documents, and not the six-digit pricetags of today.

(And for historical busybodies: you're free to see whose great-grandfather owed back-taxes).


Maybe that headline is a bit misleading—we're not telling Piermont residents to get lost.

We're recommending hiking enthusiasts—or those just seeking some fresh air—take advantage of the Rockland County Trail Guide Docents walks this month (they're both in Piermont).

Interested walkers can tackle the Raymond G. Esposito Rail Trail on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The docents describe the hike as moderately difficult (in short, no heels or sandals), and note it will be three miles. Walkers will also be treated to a tour of the recently redone Piermont Train Station. Want to go? Just meet at 282 South Broadway in South Nyack.

There's another walk, too. On Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there's a historical tour of Tallman Mountain Park.  The walk is four miles and involves some climbing; attendees can meet in front of 450 Piermont Avenue in Piermont, NY. 

To register ahead of time, visit the website.


You can learn a lot about a village from its wireless networks.

How powerful they are isn't important, nor is the provider they use—it's what they're called that counts. Take a seat in downtown Nyack, flip open your laptop and click "connect to." It's diverting to see what pops up.

A few examples, gleaned while sitting on the bench outside Temptations Cafe:

  • Some benevolent business owners have offered up non-password protected networks. See: "Harry's Public" and "Best_Ice_Cream_In_Nyack" (I'm using that one now).
  • Next up are homeowners' networks—which, judging by a few of the names, they didn't think were available for public viewing (i.e., "**** Dave").
  • Then come the networks that may have been named by calculating robots, and not real people. See: "3B9C2" and "N8XT5."

Did we miss a particularly entertaining/clever/offensive one? Let us know. And check back soon for a look at Piermont's.


A few days ago, Nyack's village board discussed the high fees that generally prevent production companies from filming in the area (they also discussed Pierce Brosnan owning Nyackers money—well, sort of).

And recently, others have weighed in, too.

Al Samuels, president of the Rockland Business Association, thinks municipalities such as Nyack should lighten up when it comes to movie and commercial shoots.

Samuels told a Rockland County Legislature committee that Rockland communities are missing out on economic opportunities by making it difficult for film companies to use local streets as movie settings. Samuels contends Rockland, with its proximity to New York City-based production companies, could benefit from encouraging those operations to come to town.

What are your thoughts?


With the same anticipation of a televised awards show, Nyack High School students and parents gathered Tuesday night at the high school to hear which shows the award-winning Drama Club will be putting on this school year. And the winner is...

High school director Joe Egan announced the club will be performing "The Laramie Project" as its fall drama, and will do a production of the musical comedy "The Drowsy Chaperone" in the spring.

"The Laramie Project" is based on an October 1998 incident in which University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence and left to die on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Five weeks later, Tectonic Theater Project members went to Laramie and conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town and wrote the play as a chronicle of the life of Laramie in the year after the murder.

Egan said "The Laramie Project" was selected to give the students an opportunity to perform in a compelling drama that many members of the community can connect with. The show is set to run on Nov. 19 and 20.

For the spring, Egan said he believes the students will have fun putting on "The Drowsy Chaperone," a play-within-a-play set in 1928 in the apartment of a die-hard musical fan. As the fan listens to his favorite cast album, the show comes to life around him in his apartment. The show is set to run on April 1, 2, 8 and 9 in 2011.

Egan also told students that with the support of the Drama Works parent volunteer organization, the drama club will be offering a new series of dance and acting classes conducted by theatrical professionals during the school year.


Wow—the weather turned nasty very fast Monday afternoon. Late afternoon sporting events and other gatherings that had been looking forward to blue skies got a quick surprise when the weather took a quick turn toward gloomy.

Although the rains hit hard for a couple hours, many Rocklanders reported seeing amazing, bright rainbows in the minutes before the sun went down. And with showers expected this coming Thursday and Friday afternoon and evening, we may be in for another set of beautiful sunsets.


It's no surprise that Hollywood production companies often want to film in Rockland: the county offers views, hills and trees. And when the camera crews and trailers roll into the county, Nyack is usually marked as an ideal location.

At yesterday's village board meeting, trustees discussed the consequences of allowing filming in Nyack. While it brings in revenue and raises awareness, it also snarls traffic and irks downtown business owners.

Recently, the 2009 Pierce Brosnan/Susan Saradon flick The Greatest was filmed (partially) in Nyack. But there were—and still are—a few hitches: the production company hasn't completely reimbursed Nyack for the filming, village officials said yesterday.

Brosnan, you pinchfist!


Dr. Valencia Douglas, the once-superintendent of Nyack Schools, had a farewell reception this evening at the Nyack Center.

(Douglas began her position as superintendent of Pocantico Hills Central School District on Sept. 7).

In attendence: Douglas' colleagues, friends and family, along with Nyack students and parents. Also at the fete was a student orchestra and a dessert spread.

Douglas had a warm goodbye last month during her official resignation, and last night, residents once again had only kind words to share.

"I think she's been lovely, and I'm sorry to see her go," said Johnsie Valdez, the director of after-school activities at the Nyack Center. "She came in and said she wanted the kids to learn—she didn't push the kids aside."

"If you wanted to stop by her office, she was always there," Valdez added.

How were your interactions with Dr. Douglas? Sound off in the comments.


You should pay more attention to the flyers pasted and pinned around Nyack and Piermont, I learned today.

For those that already rely on the paper reminders for information about highly-recommended dog-walkers, lectures about African masks and casting calls for the Oprah Winfrey Show, you know where to look (note: those are all real flyers around town).

For those not in the know, Nyack Library and Piermont's Community Market are great places to check out flyers.

I stumbled across an interesting one in the Nyack Library lobby earlier today. What was it promoting? Pies.

Nyack's Pie Lady and Son—who most readers have likely heard of, if they haven't already sampled her famous peach-walnut confection—now has her own retail location (you can also catch her at Nyack's farmers' market throughout November).

Simply stop by 366 Rt. 9W in Upper Nyack on Saturday mornings (8 a.m. to noon) to grab your dessert.


SeptemberFest transformed Nyack's Main Street and Broadway into a day-long fete yesterday, and attracted excited people from across the river, Manhattan and beyond.

And no wonder: in a single block, you could take in a live funk band, munch carnival-esque snacks (towering cones of cotton candy included) and hunt down deals and sales from local merchants.

(Did anyone stumble across that science booth for kids? Using electricity, they turned a pickle into a lightbulb—I was only able to tear myself away when I realized I was the only audience member over 12).

What were your favorite parts—did you find the perfect scarf at the right price? Discover a great new eatery?

Share you experiences, photos and anecdotes here in the "About Town" column. Don't be shy. And check back later today for video of the festivities.


A day of remembrance will begin in the villages Saturday with a brief, early-morning ceremony in Nyack.

The event will be held at Veteran's Park (the corner of Main and Cedar Streets) from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and is organized by the Nyack Village Board and American Legion.

On Sunday, Grace Episcopal Church will hold a memorial concert.


"Go green" has become a pervasive dictum lately—you see the environmental rallying cry stuck to the bumpers of hybrids, sedans and (confusingly) SUVs.

But are business owners and government officials following through?

After some poking around in recent news, it certainly seems so.

When it comes to construction in the villages, green-oriented methods are often toward the top of the agenda. Nyack Library made sure its , and Piermont officials may be using eco-friendly painting and carpeting techniques in a possible village hall overhaul.

And if Walgreens is allowed to open shop on Nyack's Route 59, it'll have to maintain several grassy areas.

If you missed it yesterday, Piermont is considering purchasing solar-powered trash compactors (wasn't that the basis of an H.G. Wells novel?).

Want to learn more about saving resources and energy? Check out this weekend's Renewable Energy Fair at Hook Mountain Growers. Oh, and look out next week for a story on Green Babies, Piermont's environmentally-friendly clothing store.


If you cruised down 9W in Piermont today, you may have spotted Piermont Police and State Police at work, and been caught in some minor traffic.

Here's what was up:

The two departments worked together on a commercial vehicle traffic inspection from 8 a.m to 12 p.m., stopping trucks to see if they were safe and legal to be on the road.

Authorities ended up stopping a total of 28 trucks—and issued 29 tickets. Police arrested one truck driver for operating with a suspended license, and five trucks were taken out of service (i.e., they had to be towed, or carry out repairs on the spot to be able to drive off again).

Why? Mostly for their inability to obey traffic laws, like meeting tire and weight requirements, said Piermont Police Chief Michael O'Shea.

So for the time being, 9W is a safer place. And the next time you're thinking about taking your three-wheeled, egregiously overweight truck for a spin, think again.


Good news: the Nyack Library fundraising initiative is coming along.

In the past few weeks, the library's donation total has risen about $2,000—it's now at $12,485. There's still a ways to go, however, as the goal is $500,000. The funds will be used to purchase chairs, lamps and other furnishings for the new addition.

Also, there's another fundraiser going on now—and running until Sept. 12—to benefit the library; it's a Jewish Interest Private Collection book sale. Check out the wares at 53 Hudson Ave.


This Sunday, Nyackers will have a chance to celebrate the life of one recently-passed Nyack resident and help benefit his passion.

John B. Diebold—who family members remember as a "scientist, musician, explorer, brother, father and friend"—will be the centerpiece of celebration at the Nyack Center Sept. 12 beginning at 3:15 p.m.

Residents may make donations to the John B. Diebold Student Fellowship—they'll be financing students' ocean research.

Here's Mr. Diebold's obituary:

John B. Diebold Ocean scientist, musician, explorer, brother, father, friend. We'll gather to celebrate his life at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, September 12, at the Nyack Center, 58 Depew Avenue, Nyack, NY. Donations may be made to the John B. Diebold Student Fellowship, to enable Columbia students to go to sea on a research vessel. Please make checks to Trustees of Columbia U. and mail to Barbara Charbonnet, LamontDoherty Earth Observatory, PO Box 1000, Palisades, NY 10964.


Being in the media translates into a never-ending salvo of press releases. Sometimes, they're informative and relevant: who's been arrested, what's happening with local and federal funds and so forth.

But nine times out of ten, they're announcing how the current day/week/month is dedicated to raising public awareness for a particular issue. And oftentimes, the issue is a bit too specific: Eggplant Farmer Awareness Month, Leon Trotsky Remembrance Week, Rainbow Trout Solidarity Day.

But today, Patch stumbled across a press release that may be too broad: September is Pain Awareness Month.

After some investigating, you'll learn the idea has altruistic and admirable motives, and reaches out to people suffering with pain-related diseases. But the name is a bit eyebrow-raising—after all, aren't you all too aware when in pain?


The North Parking Lot is a hotbed of polarizing issues: more parking, or more green space? ? More parking, or more grizzled, veteran sea captains (okay, that last one isn't an issue).

But there's one thing most residents can probably agree one: a beautification effort—like adding flowers to break up the stretches of concrete—is an appealing concept.

And at yesterday's Piermont Village Board meeting, officials said they're ready to go ahead and install flora—they just need some volunteers to get their hands dirty.

Some ideas that bounced around? Area Boy Scouts, high schoolers craving community service (the graduation requirement has nothing to do with it) and avid community gardeners (after all, Piermont's community garden is right next door).

Want to help out or pitch in? Sound off here, or give village officials a shout at (845) 359-1258.


Now, future Nyack and Piermont homeowners, renters, visitors and vacationers can take a tour of the region without leaving home.

Donna Cox, a Broker Associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, put together online tours of Piermont and Nyack to highlight the villages' scenery and businesses. Pass it along to your out-of-town friends to prove how popular Nyack is.

But if you'd rather get some fresh air, Friends of the Nyacks hosts walking tours of the area (just be willing to leave your computer chair).


Residents of the Mountainview Condos are joining forces today with the New York Blood Center to organize a blood drive in honor of a 12-year-old Rockland County girl fighting a blood disorder.

The drive is set for 2 to 8 p.m. at the Lower Clubhouse Community Room at the condos, 36A Sierra Vista Lane, Valley Cottage. The drive is inspired by Nicole Skoumpourdus, who is undergoing treatment at Westchester Maria Fereri Children's Hospital for autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

Donated blood helps children like Nicole and others in their fight for life. To donate, you must be between 16 and 75 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. If you plan on donating blood, make sure you've had something to eat and you are well-hydrated before giving blood.

To make an appointment or for more info, call Stacy Culianos at (646) 235-0600.


State Senate candidate David Carlucci, the Clarkstown town clerk, found out Monday what can happen when you schedule a press conference at the side of a busy road, like Middletown Road in Pearl River.

In the middle of his Labor Day speech about creating jobs, several motorcyclists drove by on Middletown Road. With the throaty roar of their engines in the background, Carlucci had to take a breath and wait a little bit for the holiday bikers to head on down the road.

For part of the speech, it seemed almost as if the bikers were timing the roar of their motorcycles as Carlucci would start up a new sentence.


It's great how the Nyack farmers' market (Thursdays) and Piermont farmers' market (Sundays) are spaced apart—just as you run out of treats from one, the other market is up and running again.

And they're both far from bland. "Farmers' market" may be a bit of a misleading names—famers'/brewers'/bakers'/cheesemongers' market is better.

(Okay, so a cheesemonger is someone who makes cheese—I had to look that one up.)

Obscure job titles aside, it's definitely worth checking out these markets each week. You'll find breads, vegetables, healthy snacks and a whole lot more. And if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, check out this column for a few good recommendations.


Remember all the commotion over the boats-or-parking issue in Piermont?

The issue will be settled at Piermont's Village Board meeting tonight. Interested? The discussion starts at 7:00 p.m.

Village officials will meet with involved residents and determine whether or not to relocate the Piermont Rowing Club's boats in order to make room for eight more parking spaces in the North Lot.

Is it necessary, or are they selecting utility over beauty? Weigh in here.

And regardless of Tuesday's the decision, the parking lot will be undergoing a beautification effort. All that's left to do is finding someone to plant the Soft Rush and Northern Sea Oats. Any volunteers?


A farewell reception to honor former Nyack schools superintendent Valencia Douglas is being hosted by several education-related groups on Sept. 13, in Nyack.

Douglas, whose last day with the district was Friday, is set to meet with well-wishers from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nyack Center, 58 Depew Ave., Nyack.

The reception is sponsored by Arts Angels, a parent volunteer group that supports arts, music and dram programs in Nyack public schools, and The Path to Excellence Community Committee.

"This reception is to acknowledge Valencia's support of extra curricular activities in the district, specifically her support of the arts, and to wish her well in her future endeavors." says Vera Rulon of South Nyack, president Arts Angels.

The cost of the reception is $15 per person. Make checks payable to Arts Angels, 322 North Highland Ave., Nyack, NY. Deadline: Sept. 6.

Douglas is now superintendent of the Pocantico Hills school district in Westchester.

William Demarest (Editor) September 07, 2010 at 06:05 PM
Nyack school district parents involved with arts programs are hoping the district's next superintendent will be as supportive of arts programs as Valencia Douglas. They fear that with tough economic times, the arts could become a target for cuts in the future.
Vera Rulon September 08, 2010 at 02:02 AM
That is absolutely right, Bill. Sometimes, the arts are what keep a student going whether music, visual arts, or drama. Sports do the same thing. When a child has a passion, we should nurture it.
Vera Rulon September 14, 2010 at 01:44 AM
Very nice reception for Valencia tonight. A nice turnout. Thank you Valencia, once again, for your support of the arts in the school district.
Marc Maturo September 23, 2010 at 04:23 PM
The "Our Town" feature is a wonderful compilation of tidbits, information, offhand comments, characters and an easy way to catch up on what's going on in the town -- thus Our Town. Keep those cards and letters (letters??) coming!
Vanessa Saunders MBA, MIMC, ABR September 27, 2010 at 08:58 PM
Bunbury's Coffee Shop in Piermont has wireless! Oh and great muffins and sandwiches and the best coffee ever!!


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