Local MLK Jr. Day Activities

Check here for government shutdown related closing of a popular annual event. A few local activities to keep you and the kids busy this MLK Day.

LoopFood: Chinese New Year

The Chinese Lunar New Year, Year of the Horse, is Friday, Jan. 31st, and Asian restaurants throughout the area will mark the occasion

Cool Finds: Catch a Wave at Willson’s Woods


Mount Vernon– Willson’s Woods Park in Mt. Vernon features Willson’s Waves—  The wave pool, which has a graduated depth from 0 inches to six feet, has three-foot waves to bounce bathers around for six-minute intervals.This and ore against the backdrop of an historic Tudor bath house. Willson’s Waves 8 Bradford Road, Mount Vernon, New York

photo: Karen Hessel


Wake Today for ‘Queen of Soulfood’

One of the things I was most struck by, while covering the death of Sylvia Woods, who lived in Mount Vernon, was the way life, the restaurant and yes, dinner, went on as always. That’s no doubt the was Miss Sylvia would have wanted it. The only visible change outside Sylvia’s famed soul food restaurant in Harlem, other than the announcement of her passing by her grand daughter and son, were that the lights on the marquis, above, later went dark. Today Sylvia’s wake will be held in New York.

Which Came First? The Chickens or the Neighbors?

WESTCHESTER– Raising chickens has become a (renewed) trend in Westchester County. Locally grown food gets even local-er with a chicken coop in the back yard. Some people worry that chicks in the ‘hood will de-value real estate. There are reports about neighbors complaining about noise. In a recent New York Times article, a real estate agent crowed, “A chicken coop next door can definitely lower the value of nearby homes, especially when it infringes on a neighbor’s right to quiet enjoyment.”

To avoid this problem many towns don’t allow roosters, but allow chickens.

Fourth Fireworks and Fun


10:00 am-Those wacky relay races in Flint Park for all ages. 7:15 pm- Get to Manor Park and watch the arc of fireworks from neighboring areas across the sky. Music by the Dixie Dandies. Mamaroneck-

Till July 5- The Firemen’s Carnival at Harbor Island. Fireworks at 9:15 pm.

Engel wins Primary in ‘New’ 16th District

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-Bronx,  has defeated  Aniello “Neil” Grimaldi in the primary for the newly redrawn 16th Congressional District. LoHud reports with 85 percent of precincts in the district reporting, Engel led by an unofficial vote of 10,338 to 1,114. The newly established district covers a large section of southern Westchester County and several sections of the northern Bronx. Engel, 65, of the Riverdale section of the Bronx, is an attorney who has represented various parts of Westchester during his 12 terms in the House of Representatives. The new District takes in an area represented by Nita Lowey for many terms.

Water Safety Festival in Mount Vernon May 26 to be Led by Olympian


MOUNT VERNON– We hear ten people drown each day in the U.S. and most deaths happen over the summer months. Drowning is also the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children between the ages of 1 and 14 –most of which occur during a lapse in adult supervision of less than 5 minutes. U.S. Olympic Silver medalist Maritza Correia will visit Mt. Vernon Saturday May 26 to draw attention to pool and water safety as the summer season rolls in. When Correia qualified for the USA Olympic Team in 2004, she became the first Puerto Rican of African descent to be on the USA Olympic Swimming Team, and she is the first African-American woman  to set an American record in swimming.

Where to Park, as in County Parks, this Summer


WESTCHESTER COUNTY– Park it this summer- Passes for over 50 county parks go on sale today. Passes are available at the Westchester County Center and the Parks Department on 450 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

Rye Playland
Dunwoodie and Sprain Lake Golf Course in Yonkers
Hudson Hills Golf Course in Ossining
Maple Moore Golf Course in White Plains
Saxon Woods Golf Course in Scarsdale
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation Golf Course in Cross River
Glen Island Park in New Rochelle (tickets go on sale here May 26)

Some of the County Parks include not only those above, but Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains and Willson’s Waves in Mount Vernon. Beginning June 16 passes will be available daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Brook at Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, Saxon Woods Pool in White Plains and Willson’s Waves in Mount Vernon. More information here.

This Weekend


A selection of Friday- Sunday events from theLoop Events Calendar:

Shelter Cats Photographs @ Mamaroneck Library

Infini String Quartet @ Mamaroneck Library

Light Matter” Exhibition and Opening Reception


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson NY Regional Premiere

Needlework Workshops

Pet Rescue

Job Interview Skills 

Love Makes the World Go Round Concert by Songcatchers

Ballet at The Picture House: La Fille Mal GardeeOpera at The Picture House: Rigoletto

JCC Film Club – The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock 

Riverdale Festival of the Arts

A Taste of Mamaroneck… Wine Trail

Glowtown Art Workshop

Mary Lorson and The Soubrettes

Eating Up Nostalgia


Larchmont’s Jeanne Muchnik writes in Westchester Magazine about “throwback eateries that make you feel like you’re 16 again.” She includes Augie’s Restaurant & Pub (2417 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont 914-834-3800 augiesitalian.com);  Carlo’s Restaurant(668 Tuckahoe Rd, Yonkers 914-793-1458; carlosrestaurant.net); Francesco’s (600 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 914-946-3359);  Giulio’s Restaurant (53 Park Hill Ave, Yonkers 914-375-1043);  Gus’s Franklin Park Restaurant (126 Halstead Ave, Harrison 914-835-9804; gusseafood.com);  Solano’s Lincoln Lounge (209 Stevens Ave, Mount Vernon 914-664-9747), (one of our favorites) and  Sherwood’s Restaurant and Bar-B-Q (2136 Boston Post Rd, Larchmont 914-833-3317; sherwoodsrestaurant.com)


This food truck in Mt. Vernon actually replaced the shuttered restaurant, below, where it is parked.

Should Food Carts Be Banned in Westchester?

MOUNT VERNON, MAMARONECK, PORT CHESTER — We love our street food. But not every town does. Port Chester and Mount Vernon, home to lots of food vendors, are considering very strict regs. In Port Chester, Abendroth Avenue and Don Bosco Place and the parking lots on Highland Street and Marvin Place would be off limits. Mount Vernon is also looking at new regulations after hearing complaints from restaurants and shopkeepers.

Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle Fined for Medicaid Fraud


We get press releases every day from Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle. Somehow, they never mentioned this:

Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester in New Rochelle will repay $2.2 million  after a state attorney general’s audit revealed they improperly overbilled the Medicaid program for years, despite being directed to correct the problem. Mount Vernon Hospital, also investigated, already has paid the state $85,497.50 following an investigation by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office, according to LoHud.

New Westchester Congressional Districts Shuffle Candidates

Strap yourself in, folks, and try to follow this. Joe Carvin announces today he’s running for Nita Lowey’s seat in Congress. This is the Rye Town Supervisor that originally announced he would run for Senate against Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand. Then on March 16, the day of the Republican convention in Rochester, he announced that he was bowing out of the race for U.S. Senator. Wednesday, Mar.

Rosen Redistricted out of Run for Congress

Congressional redistricting has claimed its first victim. Mark Rosen, a Larchmont Republican who had announced his intention to seek the Congressional seat now held by Democrat Rep. Nita Lowey, dropped out Wednesday. “Given the redistricting that was just announced, I regret that I can no longer run the effective race we envisioned with Congresswoman Nita Lowey. My kids go to Murray Avenue School. This is our home.

Latimer Running for State Senate and War of Words Begins

Assemblyman George Latimer,  Rye Democrat, may not have voted for the re-configured State Senate districts, as he told us last week, but he’s going to run for the seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer. Latimer announced the run in a letter that went out to district leaders this week, which, according to LoHud, reads:

“The changes we need – the changes I have fought for all my life – involve sacrifice from everybody, not just from ‘the other guy’,” Latimer wrote. “Property taxes are too high, and I have worked hard to address that major worry many of us face; it always comes up as the #1 local issue homeowners are concerned about.”

At least two Republicans have announced their intention to run for the seat: Bob Cohen, a New Rochelle businessman who was narrowly defeated by Oppenheimer in 2010; and Diane DiDonato-Roth, a North Castle councilwoman. Cohen spokesman Bill O’Reilly responded:
“We welcome Mr. Latimer into this race, but find it head-scratching, frankly, that he would bring up property taxes in his announcement. Westchester families pay the highest property taxes in America because of what George Latimer did as a county legislator and as an assemblyman.

Mt. Vernon Schools Super Reportedly Fired for Improprieties

The former Mount Vernon Schools Superintendent, who was suspended back in November, has been fired. Talk of the Sound reports Welton Sawyer promoted a teacher, with whom he was involved in a sexual relationship, to a six figure post. And he didn’t tell the School Board. In the wee hours of Thursday morning, the Mount Vernon Board of Education reached a settlement agreement with Sawyer which the district refused to make public. The Journal News reports that it has filed a Freedom of Information Law request seeking to obtain the document describing the settlement agreement.

It’s Deja Brew All Over Again in Fleetwood

Deja Brew might seem like deja vu, but this coffee house, Deja Brew Cafe, new to Fleetwood (Mount Vernon) is the kind those of us old enough to remember the 70’s can appreciate. “We think residents will find the café to be an inviting spot,” says Owner Bruce Tanner.  “Deja Brew Cafe is modeled after the coffeehouses of the 70’s, a place where people can kick back, relax, hear some good music, drink coffee and eat wonderful desserts.”

Since a “soft launch” in November, Deja Brew has already had performances by area musicians, and a live podcast about the Amani Charter School in Mount Vernon. The café is also planning poetry readings, and a regular schedule of entertainment for Friday and Saturday evenings.  The café also hosts activities for kids.

Is New Rochelle Always Passed Over for Big Box Retail?

Speaking of why some towns get shopping and others do not, (and thanks for your comments on the Armonk supermarket story,) with Whole Foods’ announced move into Port Chester, and Ridge Hill opening in Yonkers, Talk of the Sound recently asked what

Best Buy
Whole Foods
Barnes and Noble
and Kohl’s

had in common? They are “some of the retailers who recently took a pass on New Rochelle. The old adage in real estate is location, location, location. Well, for the purposes of future development in New Rochelle, it should be parking, parking, parking.” How do you think New Rochelle can begin to attract the kinds of businesses it wants, if there are any left?

Mount Vernon is Westchester at a Discount, Says WSJ


Did everyone catch the Wall Street Journal piece about Mount Vernon? Bronxville for a bargain? Some of Westchester’s most beautiful homes are there, making it increasingly more attractive to downsizers and first time home buyers. One commenter writes,

“Read the story carefully. If you have school-age children, you definitely do NOT want to send them to any of the Mt Vernon public schools.

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.

More New Metro North Train Cars to Love – Hate

You may recall our conflicted feelings about the new M-8 rail cars on the Metro-North Red Line. Your chances of riding a cleaner, more comfortable | more sterile, computer-voice   train between Connecticut and Grand Central just increased. Metro-North and the State of Connecticut added more new cars to the New Haven Line. As of Monday, 78 new cars are operating on the line — enough to cover about 24% of regular weekday rides.  The new M-8 railcars will cover an even higher percent of weekend travelers.

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