Web based journal created to document environmental and architectural conditions in Scarsdale. Read articles Scarsdale10583.com or the local newspaper The Scarsdale Inquirer will not publish! Come to Scarsdale New York, see what a beautiful town this is. Now, we need your help. Funds or time, whatever you can, whenever you can will be appreciated. See the PayPal icon below or email me at Lika@Save-Scarsdale.org. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Meeting(s) week of Monday April 30th, 2018

None !!!

Can you believe it ?

Maybe there is an end to redundant meetings...

I asked a couple days ago what happened to the Freightway "urgent" issue...

Advisors were hurriedly found, committees organized, meetings held, studies done and then...

Advisers were paid ( I assume... )  and left town and we do not hear about about Freightway any more... Repaired itself I guess...

First revision 4:17 a.m. EDT, Thursday April 26th, 2018.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

BAR Decisions for April 23, 2018 Meeting

Unique Beauties in Scarsdale

Dear readers,

After 26 years here, I can still drive around and come across a house that deserves a "Kodak Moment", if you know what I mean...

Here is one I came across last week in the Greenacres section on Greenacres Avenue:

Isn't it wonderful ? But under our current "preservation" laws, this could easily be demolished...It is all up to the owner and his or her wishes... Or the vagaries of the economy that pushes the owner to sell and then all hell is let loose...

Funny how we do not value things until they are gone. Once demolished and gone for forty years we will yearn for these beauties, but instead, you know what most developers or new owners are now building.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

18 Heathcote Road, still being built...

My first post on this house, was on January 18, 2017. Fifteen months later, still not finished.
This is not even the whole building...

In the meanwhile the biggest house in Scarsdale award will have to be awarded to another contender on Sherbrooke Road. The building there just getting started. Photos will follow.

Meetings week of April 23rd, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Letter(s) to the Inquirer and Response (s)...

Friday,  April 6th upon reading the Inquirer I finally had to send not one, but three  e-mails to the Editor. One was perhaps more personal than others, but none have been published, yet.

Once again. No reply either...

So for you my readers all over the world, here is my letter to the Inquirer with minor modifications:

                      To the Editor,
This is a piece I wrote in 2017 that is featured on my website below.

In response to Mayra’s letter this week.

This has eluded me for a long time before it was finally clear. I could not solve the Scarsdale riddle.

We have very high taxes in Scarsdale, right ? We also have volunteers performing many of the job(s)  that in other municipalities hired professionals cover. Imagine everyone from the Mayor to the Village Board members to the CHP, BAR, Planning Board, etc.  is a paid professional in other towns.

Imagine how much the payroll would then be if we had to pay competitive salaries to all...Millions of dollars in our budget. Imagine how high our taxes would be with this additional cost ? But we do not have this this additional cost, volunteers do not get paid. Our taxes should be lower than other towns' taxes, right ? Wrong. Our taxes are higher. So, what is going on ?

Are these so called not-paid residents sitting on all those boards providing us a service or are we providing them a service ?

 A free internship. They get to make decisions, learn how a town functions at our expense. We pay for their tuition. They look like they are "serving". We are paying for their tuition, they are learning at our expense. Dearly. No wonder this was formulated by lawyers, no wonder there is no other town like this. Only in Scarsdale. 

 No wonder most who serve are lawyers as well, no wonder lawyers have such a bad reputation in the US.

This has to STOP !

Paid professionals should serve, who do their job not volunteers who learn on the job and use and abuse this community. They "serve", we become a line on their resume, they get a better professional position because of their Scarsdale experience... There are of course a minor number of exceptions to this...

 They have sugar coated their formula with words like civic-duty, volunteerism, community service, etc. But what they are doing is selfish and self-serving all the while appearing altruistic. The job is daunting. On top of their regular day jobs they moonlight trying to " serve"...

 They are crushed. They cannot follow all the nuances and ramifications. At the end they nod to the Staff, they sign and move on. Unless there is finally someone like Trustee Callaghan who can see the light, who dissents. But laws still move on, the majority nods. No, most are like sheep following other sheep. " Les moutons de Panurge"...

  There is no free lunch - once again. The ones who " serve" are hurting themselves too. They are passing laws that do a disservice to the community. They know they have to deal with this real-estate issue, the preservation issue, but they don't, they can't. They are hurting, we are hurting.
Time to say " Enough".

( The above entry was sent to both the Scarsdale Inquirer and Scarsdale10583.com. Neither published it so far, wonder why... )

Nothing in Scarsdale makes sense, including the CNC !

Planning just plans for more building, Historic Preservation meets to demolish homes from the 19th century, volunteers serve on boards that ultimately hurt their own Village. But fret not, they move shorty after they have “served” here…

ZBA will approve an Eiffel Tower in your yard, if they can raise your taxes…Voila, Scarsdale in three sentences !!!

 The BAR even though its mission statement states the following:

Responsibilities & Duties

The mission of the Board of Architectural Review is to preserve and promote the character and appearance of buildings within the Village of Scarsdale.

The Board of Architectural Review meets twice per month to consider applications for exterior alteration of existing buildings, exterior appearance of new buildings, signage and some fencing and impose design conditions to ensure that buildings are designed in harmony with the neighboring community. 

Regularly and consistently approves buildings in disharmony with their surroundings.

Here is just two samples in construction now:

The above two in construction now on Tisdale and Crane Roads.

The one below view of backyard from the  9 Crane Road property.

Close to the train station, and houses are getting jam packed.

Lika L. Levi 
Lockwood Road 
26 year resident, almost 27… in May 2018.

Last revision 8:11 a.m. EDT, Friday April 20th, 2018. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Planning Board Agenda for April 18, 2018 Meeting

Mystery solved, no Planning Board agenda this week, because no items to discuss.

It was finally posted as such this morning on the Scarsdale.comwebsite.

Cheers, again !

Agenda is MIA as of this writing.

There is no agenda posted on the Village site: Scarsdale.com

I will post the agenda here, when and if it appears...

First revision Tuesday 10:08 a.m. EDT, April 17th, 2018.

ZBA Decisions for April 11, 2018 Meeting

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

In construction now near Scarsdale train station

Begging for BAR attention, apparently received none. where is proportion, architectural interest ?

Looks like a LEGO toy house.

9 Crane Road below, and view from its backyard...One house after another sandwiched like sardines.

And of course cut trees.

This below is under Crane Road, intersection of Crane and Chase Roads. Where does this water go ? 

Trickles down to basements around and vanishes. Or ends up in sump pumps...

             Tisdale Road below, new construction and another addition to an existing house, below:

Cut trees next to the house, evidence of betrayal of Mother Nature.

This house is getting its second addition, no end to expansion...

Here below an elegant beauty at 26 Brite Avenue one of few remaining.

An extinct species in Scarsdale.

First revision Saturday April 14th, 10:43 a.m. EDT.

Meetings week of April 16th, 2018

Last revised at 3:36 p.m. Saturday April 14th, 2018.

Celebrate !!!

No meetings of the CHP this month since there were no applications received.

Hope other months will follow suit, but unfortunately there is 23 Butler Road, built in 1962 already on the list for May.

Last revised Thursday 6:02 a.m. April 19th, 2018.

Planting more trees...

Look what our neighbors across the pond are thinking about and one smart lady is doing:

And here:

In an hour-long programme to be broadcast on ITV1 on April 16, the Queen, who is also 91, unveils her ambitious plans for a global environmental project to plant and protect forests in Commonwealth countries in the hope of reversing the impact of climate change.

When shall we stop cutting down trees, and starting planting them ?

How about starting now, buying lots with houses and converting them to tree lots ? 

Anyone ?...

For inspiration, leave you with a piece from Rembrandt as it were, but no, now from Scarsdale with cut flowers...

Monday, April 9, 2018

Composing Compote Compost...

Got answers from Ron Schulhof, the person who started our compost program in Scarsdale.

Here is his e-mail to my questions:

1.How much is this composting costing the village ? Who is providing the compost kits ? Are we making money from their sale ?
  • The drop-off site cost the Village approximately $5,500 to run in 2017.  This cost is mainly from the weekly pickup and hauling of the food scraps.  The Village provides the starter kits.  The Village buys the kits and bags in bulk and resells them to residents.  This is done as a service to residents and the kits are sold at cost (the village is not making money on selling the kits).  This is the same for the compostable bags participants purchase - the bags are purchased and resold at cost by the Village

2. I know we have to have the compost taken off site. How much has this cost so far ?
  • The cost for the food scraps to be picked up from the drop-off site each week and brought to the compost facility is approximately $5,000 per year.

3. Are you planning on providing free compost again this year ? Will it be our own ? Or will you buy compost again ?…
  • Yes - the Village will be holding another compost giveback day later in April.  A press release should be going out to the community soon with all the details.  I'll send you all the info once it's finalized and announced.  The Village purchases the compost and provides it free to residents.

4. When could we switch to composting on site ?
  • As part of the initial research and proposal for the food scrap recycling program, the sustainability committee along with the Village explored a number of on-site composting options.  However at this time composting on-site (in Scarsdale) is not feasible.  There are a number of constraints related to space, equipment, personnel and other operating aspects.  We are continually options on how the food scraps get recycled.  However at the moment an on-site option wasn't recommended.

5. How much savings has the compost program provided the Village, given that is garbage that does not have to be taken out… Is there savings in that, garbage versus compost ? Other than the feel-good effect of not wasting our food scraps…
  • In 2017 the Village saved approximately $2,200 from the reduced trash tipping fees by diverting the 160,000 lbs of food scraps to the food scrap recycling program.

A couple of points from the DEP, NYC:

1. if in doubt whether or not to put that dirty yoghurt cup in the recycling bin or not, the official from the DEP says, they would rather have a dirty cup, than no cup at all.

2. Plastic or glass bottles, you can leave the caps on or off, in most cases caps are also recyclable.

3. Hair off of your brushes, needs to go in the garbage.

4.Oil, grease is best frozen and then disposed of in garbage.

For more on any of this:

The best thing to do with leftover fats, oils or grease is to dispose of them.  You could also reuse some oils if desired, or if you’re able to compost them. 

Here is some more information about our grease awareness initiatives:http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/residents/congrease.shtml

Here is some additional information on our Cease the Grease education module:http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/environmental_education/cease_the_grease.shtml.

Robin ( Sanchez) 

Robin Sanchez | Deputy Director of Education | NYC Environmental Protection |
(o) 718-595-5459 | sanchezr@dep.nyc.gov

FYI, NYC is on a special mission to become Zero Waste by 2030 !

First revision Monday April 9. 2018 7:58 p.m. EDT.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Voters Choice Party, Trustees' Meetings

We received an e-mail from Bob Berg, VCP urging us to attend the Trustees' meeting this Tuesday:

We hope that you had a great spring break! If you attend only one Village Hall meeting a year, please attend this Tuesday, April 10th at Village Hall at 8:00pm. The Mayor and Board of Trustees are holding a hearing to listen to comments from Scarsdale residents about the proposed 2018-2019 budget. The full agenda is here. Page 67 of the agenda states that there will be another hearing on the proposed tree code on April 26 at 8pm. Pages 68-124 have Village memos and comments by residents who spoke against the proposed tree code.

I don't remember signing up for their newsletter, but that is another story.

I admire Bob and his team's energy, but they seem to be a little wet behind the ears as they say. After 27 years here, and his 16, I think I see things differently.

Don't bother attending the Trustees' meeting, unless you like puppet shows or free entertainment as my late neighbor Norma Roberts used to say.

They don't listen, they just act on a predetermined script. Why leave the comfort of your home, you can watch it all online, see previous versions: https://scarsdaleny.swagit.com/play/03272018-1699 See ?...

Government here is by the volunteers for the volunteers. Our taxes pay their tuition. It is called learning by mistakes...After two or four years of "service", we become a line on their C.V.


Last revision 9:40 a.m. EDT Sunday, April 8, 2018.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Scarsdale Composts...

We have been separating our food scraps, putting them in bins and delivering them to the recycling center for over a year now. After about a year, I wanted to know how successful the program has been. 

 I e-mailed Ron Schulhof, the resident who started this program with Michelle Sterling and received the following:

Dear Lika

Thank you for your email and kind words.  Here are the metrics:
  • Approximately 800 kits have been purchased
  • 46,180 lbs. of food scraps have been recycled in 2018 (as of 3/27/18)
  • During the same period in 2017, 15,180 lbs. of food scraps were recycled
As I'm sure you heard, the Village Board recently approved weekly curbside pickup of food scraps.  We're very excited that Scarsdale will soon be the first municipality in Westchester with a curbside pickup for food scraps.  The Village is preparing the rollout and will be sending out further details before the service launches.  The drop-off site at the Recycling Center will remain open for residents to drop off as well.


I followed up with more questions, below. Still waiting for the answers...

Thank you for your answers below, which prompted some more questions:

1.How much is this composting costing the village ? Who is providing the compost kits ? Are we making money from their sale ?

2. I know we have to have the compost taken off site. How much has this cost so far ?

3. Are you planning on providing free compost again this year ? Will it be our own ? Or will you buy compost again ?…

4. When could we switch to composting on site ?

5. How much savings has the compost program provided the Village, given that is garbage that does not have to be taken out… Is there savings in that, garbage versus compost ? Other than the feel-good effect of not wasting our food scraps…

Thanks so much !

After talking so much about refuse, I thought I would leave you with these two pictures: 

An American goldfinch at the feeder on the right this past Monday, April 2nd, and from the board of the Katonah Library.

For answers to my questions to Ron, please see Monday April 9th's post.

Last revised Monday, April 9th 7:56 p.m. EDT.

Votes in Scarsdale and the USA

Here are the results and voter turnout in local elections in Scarsdale this year as published on Scarsdale10583.com site:

Jane Veron ..., received 1,361 votes. Justin Arest got 1,243 and Lena Crandall, 1,234. 
Bob Berg, ran independently on the Voter’s Choice ticket and receive(d) ( my correction)  519 votes.
There were 69 absentee ballots and a total of 1,659 votes including the absentee ballots.

This its out of 17,000 residents. 

Many reasons:
1. Our system and the nation's is too complicated, convoluted and just  urges voters to "Vote" without letting them understand, reflect or react. Who understands the CNC, the Forum at the local level or the electoral college, primaries and the powers of the President at the federal level ? With each President we seem to get different presidents with different powers...It is the Wild West in Washington.

Why are so many of the members of the BOT, the "Forum", the School Board, the Library Board, etc. the same individuals ? You see her at the CNC, then the BOT. Or him on the BOT, then the CNC ? 

Why can't they recruit fresh blood ? ....

They just keep playing musical chairs, taking turns at each organization... One group of people just advocating each other, electing each pother, perpetuating their corrupt, defunct system under the cover of "volunteerism"... 

Taking advantage of people who simply can't bother with such complicated matters. No wonder everyone knows politics is "ugly".

Why do so many who serve in Scarsdale in particular are real estate professionals connected to real estate one way or another ? Even our current Mayor Hochvert recently said, he could not answer this question...
2. Nobody has the time to devote to a system that does not seem to make a difference in their lives.
3. People are felt to feel like a number, not a person. Everything is too big, nobody can relate to any of this.
4. There is too much cronyism, both at the local and federal level. It seems to cater just to a select few, who understand and or perpetuate the system without trying to acquire fresh blood. 

Until there is a total overhaul at the local and federal level, better devote your time to more constructive matters, my friends. 

No need to waste your time endorsing self-serving "volunteers"...

Driving around in Westceshter

I am fascinated by these signs on the side of our roads that depict historical occurrences.

Here are two that I recently came across:

Aren't they interesting ?...

Monday, April 2, 2018

Two days, two seasons...

Yesterday a warm Easter Sunday, when even our resident bunny complied and showed up for the first time since December.

This morning, Monday April 2nd:

Forsythia buds were covered with snow. Winter one more time !

First revision 7:47 p.m. EDT, April 2nd, 2018.

Visit to NYC - DEP Newtown Creek Facility

I was happy to attend a presentation for educators recently at DEP's facility in Brooklyn, NY.

The workshop was called "Wastewater Treatment & Food Waste-to-Energy teacher Workshop".

The Newtown Creek facility is on 53 acres and treats 310 million of gallons every day serving over 1 million people. It treats sewage water as well as drains from roof-tops, river over-flow, etc.

After treating the water, disinfected cleaned water is returned to the city's waterways.

The DEP started from educators because schools use the most energy and they thought educating students would serve the dual purpose of educating the young generation at home and at school.

More information:

NYC wants a Zero Waste goal soon... All our waste will be repurposed...

To note: A dirty plastic cup of yogurt is better, than no cup. So go ahead an recycle that cup even if you do not have the time to rinse it. And no, it is not a good idea to put oil down the drain. It does the same things it would do in your body: clogs up the arteries of the city... We were advised to freeze or to compost it.

Planning Board Decisions for March 28, 2018 Meeting