Introducing June WAG!

We continue our exploration of the Long Island Sound with a profile of the Fairfield County Gold Coast’s Westchester counterpart  — the Sound Shore and in particular what poet James J. Montague called “the Queen City of the Sound”  — New Rochelle. Peter kicks things off with a conversation with the city’s mayor, Noam Bramson, that depicts a municipality on the rise, especially where development is concerned. Justin and Edward pick up the ball. Justin weighs in with a story on RXR Realty LLC, master developer of New Rochelle, which is contributing its own projects while coordinating those of other developers in the city. He also visits the Stella, a new luxury residential tower, with Jeremy offering a companion piece on Joe’s Coffee Co., whose latest franchise will be a signature feature in the Stella.

Meanwhile, Edward considers New York Covenant Church’s foray into affordable housing with a 26-floor, 477-unit building at 500 Main St. that will have 119 affordable apartments and serve as a home for the church. The project is spearheaded by BRP Cos. and the church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. David R. Holder, who shows us a different side of the city.

Just as impressive is New Rochelle-based Iona College, whose program of expansion and renovation embraces its Bronxville campus (the site of the now-defunct Concordia College), home of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, yet another example of a professional-collegiate partnership. Someone who knows how to navigate health services is Tony Alfano, Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital’s vice president and executive director, who updates us on the hospital’s latest features.

Someone else in the medical know is our own eldercare columnist Abbe, who takes us inside her business, Concierge Healthcare Consulting, as it helps seniors and caregivers chart the rocky waters of growing older in our area. Perhaps some of her nature-loving clients will choose a senior living facility like the upcoming Monarch Coopers Corner, inspired by its location on the site of the former Cooper’s Corner Nursery. Outdoor lovers will also revel in Jeremy’s nostalgic take on Glen Island Park and the Glen Island Harbour Club, whose storied past as the Glen Island Casino conjures Big Band nights by the water under the stars.

But like the rest of us, Jeremy doesn’t confine himself to New Rochelle alone. He grabs his golf clubs, racket and paddle  — along with plenty of sunscreen  — as he ranges over some of the top Sound Shore beach and yacht clubs. (Or you could just lay out a cool $7 million for our House of the Month in Armonk, presented by Sotheby’s International Realty, a little country club unto itself.) Taking a break from his “clubbing,” Jeremy ventures up the Sound to The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood in Norwalk, which he says is a must for foodies and Sound lovers alike.

In that spirit of inclusivity, we offer snapshots of the Sound Shore municipalities and ask their mayors and supervisors to tell us what makes their communities special. Jaine Elkind Eney, Mamaroneck town supervisor, and Jennifer Monachino Lapey, Pelham Manor’s mayor, took a break from what we know are busy schedules to respond.

Phil heads to Mamaroneck to check out the new, state-of-the-art Mamaroneck Cinemas, on the footprint of the former Playhouse Theatre. Cinephiles will also want to note our piece on The Picture House Regional Film Center, which now includes The Picture House Bronxville as well as The Picture House Pelham. Then we head down to Pelham neighbor Co-Op City, the largest cooperative apartment complex in the world, which has renegotiated its mortgage to the tune of $621.5 million. Guiding this city within New York City through the process was general counsel Jeffrey D. Buss, a founding partner of Smith, Buss & Jacobs in Yonkers. If our own Abbe sounds like the person you’d want on your side in your twilight years, Buss sounds like the kind of lawyer you’d want helping you take on Goliath.

When I think of the Sound Shore, I think of my many felicitous experiences covering everything from the Pelham Art Center to New Rochelle’s former East Coast Arts, from Larchmont’s Kenise Barnes Fine Art and Mamaroneck’s Emelin Theatre to Rye’s Playland and Port Chester’s Life Savers headquarters, now a landmarked condominium complex. Indeed, I was the last reporter in the old Life Savers building before it shut its doors for its transformation. (CBS was on Main Street trying to get in while I was in the boardroom doing an interview.)

Ah, the old Life Savers. You could tell the day of the week by which flavor was in production, the smells of cherry, root beer and peppermint wafting through the village and mingling with the scent of the anisette biscotti at J.J. Cassone Bakery. But one memory in particular comes flowing back to me. In the 1980s, I covered a PBS special on the Big Band era that was taped at Glen Island with Van Johnson as the host. Johnson was the epitome of urbane 1950s movie-star glamour, and I was fortunate to have an interview with him during an evening of wining, dining and dancing to the strains of Glenn Miller.

As the tale of two Glen(n)s ebbed, I took a stroll outside, not wanted to break the spell of the night and was rewarded for my faithfulness. Slivers of moonlight danced on the water as I gazed across the Sound.

Looking back on it almost 40 years later, I realize the Sound Shore will always be for me a “Moonlight Serenade.”

A 2020 YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Visionary Award winner and a 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes. 

Last year, her short story “The Glass Door” was published by JMS and exhibited in “Together apART: Creating During COVID” at ArtsWestchester in White Plains. Her latest story, “After Hopper,” is also available from JMS Books. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.

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