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This year’s Rye Historical Society luncheon was held in recognition of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York. Guest speaker Professor Emerita Barbara Winslow of Brooklyn College, CUNY presented a detailed history of the state suffrage movement and highlighted some of the courageous women who made this a reality three years before the United States passed the 19th Amendment.

 

More than a few good women were among the guests at the luncheon, held March 2 at American Yacht Club.

 

— Kathleen Durkee

 

 

7670 – Laura Brett, co-president; Barbara Winslow, guest speaker; Jennifer Plick, Acting Executive Director of the Rye Historical Society; and Jeanine Scott, co-president

 

By Gretchen Althoff Snyder

 “In the spirit of the three remarkable scientists of the Bird family, we particularly wanted to encourage scientific curiosity in young people.”

This is a noteworthy year in Rye’s history: 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Meeting House. The Meeting House evolved from a schoolhouse to an Episcopal Sunday school when it was moved to 600 Milton Road in 1867. After the addition of the distinctive bell tower in 1877, the Meeting House became Grace Chapel (affiliated with Christ’s Church), and subsequently served for many years as a Quaker Meeting House. The City of Rye purchased the Meeting House in 2002, and acquired a grant for the property’s restoration, which commenced in 2005. Today, the building serves as a secular historic site and educational destination for all age groups.

The Bird Homestead, a historic and rare-surviving 19th-century farm complex along a tidal estuary, lies directly adjacent to the Meeting House. The property consists of a modest 1835 Greek revival house, an 1885 two-story barn, and a late 19th-century woodworking shop with an attached chicken coop. Henry Bird, the owner of the farm and patriarch of the family, was a prominent entomologist and President of the New York Entomological Society in the 1920s. His son Roland was an esteemed paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, and Roland’s younger brother Junius was an internationally known archeologist. The Bird family owned the homestead from 1852 until 2009, when it was purchased by the City of Rye; the following year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Committed to the idea that each person is created in the Divine Image, we, the undersigned Rye, Port Chester, Harrison, and Rye Brook religious leaders stand united against the recent spate of anti-Semitic acts carried out locally and around the nation.

 

Harassment through bomb-threats to Jewish Community Centers, intimidation through swastika graffiti, and the horrifying desecration of Jewish cemeteries all run counter to the religious values that we all share. We commit to remaining vigilant in opposing anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, prejudice and intimidation against any of God’s children.

 

Rather than succumb to fear, rather than close ourselves off, we will continue to build bridges of cooperation, understanding, and holiness among our congregations and all people of goodwill. In doing so, we will demonstrate to the world that Westchester County remains a place that, in the words of President George Washington, “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

 

Rev. Hilario Albert

St. Peter’s Episcopal, Port Chester 

 

Rabbi Jaymee Alpert

Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel, Port Chester

 

Fr. Patrick Angelucci SDB

Corpus Christi — Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Port Chester

 

The Rev. Dorothée R. Caulfield

Christ’s Episcopal Church, Rye 

 

Cantor Melanie Cooperman

Community Synagogue of Rye 

 

Rev. Monsignor Donald M. Dwyer

Church of the Resurrection, Rye 

 

Rev. Robert D. Flanagan

Christ’s Episcopal Church, Rye

 

Rabbi Leora Frankel

Community Synagogue of Rye

 

Rabbi Howard J. Goldsmith

Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, Rye

 

Rabbi Daniel Gropper

Community Synagogue of Rye

 

Fr. Richard Guarnerie

St. Gregory the Great of Harrison

835-1278

 

Rabbi Eytan Hammerman

Jewish Community Center of Harrison 

 

The Rev. Dr. Craig Higgins, Senior Pastor

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Rye

 

The Rev. Sanford A. Key

Christ’s Episcopal Church, Rye

 

The Rev. Daniel Love

Rye Presbyterian Church

 

The Rev. Steve Magneson, Associate Pastor

Trinity Presbyterian Church, Rye

 

The Rev. Dr. John Miller

Rye Presbyterian Church

 

Pastor Jim O’Hanlon

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Rye Brook

 

The Rev. Kristin Saylor

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Port Chester

 

Cantor Alexis K. Sklar

Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel, Port Chester

 

Cantor Meredith Stone

Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, Rye

 

Father Elias G. Villis

The Greek Orthodox Church of Our Saviour, Rye

 

 

 

 

By Tom McDermott

The Village of Port Chester Board of Trustees took a leap towards eventual approval of Starwood’s proposed 15-acre mixed-use development on the old United Hospital site on March 6 by approving a Statement of Finding. The Statement included several plan revisions regarding zoning, affordable housing, traffic mitigation, and a density bonus ($3 million) to be paid by the applicant.

The Rye Park and Environs Steering Committee, which represents residents of the area of Rye contingent to the site – Hillside Road, High Street, Ridge Street, Evergreen and Grandview avenues, and Boston Post Road – was represented at the meeting by Richard Smith. While Smith complimented the Board on the inclusion of a number of Committee recommendations, he noted several areas that needed the Board’s attention. In a letter dated that same day, the Committee asked for the following considerations among others: room for additional future mitigation steps already identified by engineers but not required in the Statement; intersections at Ridge and High streets, Hillside Road and BPR, and Purchase/Wappanoca/Ridge/Hillside should be included in the Post Implementation Study.

The Committee and the City of Rye are both deeply concerned that excess traffic from the site will flow onto High Street and the neighborhood. Consequently, both seek an agreement with Starwood that provides plans and adequate funds for traffic mitigation. Traffic is expected to increase by 30 percent along High Street; Smith also asked that trucks in excess of 5,000 pounds be prohibited due to noise and excessive turning radius.

By Peter Jovanovich

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as your new superintendent,” said Dr. Eric Byrne at a reception held by the Rye City School District on March 7 at Rye Middle School. Byrne will succeed Dr. Brian Monahan, Interim Superintendent, beginning July 1 of this year.

In his opening remarks, Byrne expressed his dedication to “building on the current success of our of our schools while striving to identify avenues for growth and improvement.”

“As part of my entry plan,” Byrne continued, “I will invite members of the community, faculty, students, and staff to meet with me this summer in order to learn about the strengths and needs of our schools. Through hard work, creativity, strong instructional programs, and a commitment to continuous improvement, we will work together to provide the best possible experience and preparation for the children of Rye.”

As previously reported, Dr. Byrne has been an educator in public schools for 23 years, including high school science teacher, assistant principal and principal, and currently Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Chappaqua Central School District.

Rye City School Board president Katy Keohane Glassberg noted that the search process included over 40 candidates. “When we visited Chappaqua, one of Eric’s colleagues remarked: ‘Everyone knows that Eric is a vision guy, but he’s also the person who can plan and execute all the concrete steps to accomplish that vision.”’

Asked if there was one class he would like to teach today if he could, Byrne replied, “Literature. It meant a lot to me in my student days.”

Caption

Dr. Eric Byrne with his daughter Hannah and wife Andrea at the March 7 community gathering

By Gretchen Althoff Snyder

A bright, airy new yoga studio with a focus on overall health and wellness opened this week upstairs at 22 Purchase Street, in downtown Rye. Beyond Yoga: A Home for Wellness is a long-awaited dream come true for Janet Muller. While Muller, a former Rye resident, has taught yoga in various locations around town for 17 years, she always envisioned a studio of her own to cultivate a place where people can relax, breathe, and enjoy all the health benefits that a yoga practice has to offer.

Muller began her career as a dietician at Nyack Hospital, but quickly realized that she wanted to be more proactive and help people prevent illness before they landed in the hospital. As a result, she got certified as a fitness instructor and started teaching exercise classes at Rye Recreation 27 years ago. “I taught aerobics and step classes back in the days when those classes were ‘in’,” quipped Muller.

After teaching exercise classes for many years, Muller says she suffered with some health issues that drove her “on a personal level to seek out yoga.” She felt very stressed and fatigued at a young age, and knew that something wasn’t quite right. Muller enrolled in training classes to get certified as a yoga instructor, and said that she felt great after each session; her exhaustion and stress levels were significantly reduced. Although she was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease, Muller found that a yoga practice drastically improved her overall quality of life and she wanted to share this gift with others. Over the years, she blended vinyasa, hatha, and Iyengar styles to create her own unique brand of yoga classes.

In the midst of growing her practice, Muller was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Throughout her ordeal, which included four months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, Muller says yoga is what kept her going. “My yogis were so dedicated – they got me through a very tough time.” Muller continued to teach her yoga classes during chemotherapy, even when she wasn’t sure she could do any of the poses (or stand) herself. Just having a place to go where people depended on her kept Muller from cancelling classes and staying in bed.

After her recovery, Muller was inspired to join Soul Ryeders as a client coordinator for the highly successful Wig Exchange program; she also runs the Soul Strong survivor program. Muller also credits yoga for helping her cope with another extremely difficult time when her son was battling drug addiction. Yoga’s focus on breathing, being mindful, and staying in the moment kept her in the right frame of mind to be present and steadfastly support her son during a very stressful time.

After teaching yoga at several different venues, Muller was recently alerted to an open studio space on Purchase Street. Having waited 17 years to open a place of her own, she jumped at the opportunity. “Going through all these hardships in my life has taught me to be fearless,” said Muller.

Her vision for the Beyond Yoga studio is to create a home for wellness. “I want to empower people and make them feel better both mentally and physically.” To that end, Muller will host wellness initiatives, including nutrition workshops and a six-week “Mindful Parenting” course to help participants respond to life and parenting challenges in new and more effective ways. Her goal, Muller said, is to partner with different professionals who have expertise in a variety of health initiatives to promote the overall well being of her clients.

And, of course, there will be numerous different yoga classes to choose from every week, including a Begin and Renew class (for those who may be intimidated by a more advanced class), Sweat the Stress, Beyond Cancer, Millennial Madness, a class for teens and tweens, and even a class for teachers. Muller stresses that her studio is a place for everyone, and that she is fully dedicated to meeting the needs and interests of the community. “People should feel free to drop the load they are carrying and just leave it here at the studio.”

Muller is hosting an open house on Saturday, March 25 from 2-4. For more information, as well as class and workshop schedules, visit www.beyondyoga.org.