Let Us Not Be Entitled
On September 15 it was Back to School night at Rye High School and a community program for Lives in Transition at Rye Presbyterian Church.
Because there was a major shortage of parking, a number of people decided they could blatantly disregard church property and drive their cars over the decorative curbing and park directly on the grass.
Particularly incredible and appalling to me was the Toyota truck that not only drove over the curbing but parked on top of the slate sidewalk in front of the sanctuary door! When he was leaving and was confronted, his curt response was, “It was crowded” — as if this justified his actions.
For some time I have been alarmed at frequent examples of attitudes of entitlement in Rye, which also have been noted by some merchants, staff members of organizations, teachers, and others. I am reminded of what a school administrator told me awhile ago: “When a child got in trouble at school, the child used to get in trouble at home. Now, when a child gets in trouble at school, the school gets in trouble.” Evidently there is a lot of “I want what I want when I want it and I am not concerned about the impact on other people or their property”.
I lived in Rye for over 40 years and still believe it is an extraordinary community. I don’t believe the majority of people behave in this entitled manner. But I would urge all of us to look in the mirror and see how entitled our behavior is and what attitudes we not only are living but also modeling for our children.
Hook Up Hen Island
In the last Rye Record, you wrote that “green toilets are coming to Hen Island” as well as coverings for Hen Island cottage rainwater collection systems. Rye residents deserve a few more facts about this so-called “progress” before things go much further.
Hen Island is Rye’s offshore seasonal cottage community with 34 houses spread over three separate islands. Today, none of these island homes has municipal water, sanitary sewer, or electric service. Many of the cottage water and sewage systems on the island today are makeshift, built by the cottage owners and operated completely outside of Westchester County’s and Rye’s municipal laws for sanitation and safety. Thus readers may not be surprised to learn that Hen Island is Westchester County’s last working outhouse. Really.
Now, after a series of closed-door negotiations this summer with Hen Island representatives, Mayor French has announced that next year Hen Island cottage owners would install coverings over their rooftop water collection systems and install composting toilets. He has publicly called this “an easy fix.” for Hen Island. This is quite simply a ludicrous, empty, political gesture given the serious, long festering health problems Hen Island creates for Rye City residents and users of the Long Island Sound.
Composting toilets require continuously supplied full power electricity to work properly. There is none on Hen Island. Solar electric systems installed on some of the cottages do not supply continuous 24-hour power – and these systems must be switched off when the homeowner is not in residence. Improper composting of human waste will require storage of the improperly composted material for a period of one year in 55-gallon drums, in the sun, along the shores of Milton Harbor. According to state code, Hen Island would still be required to install an approved sewage disposal system for the remaining gray water.
Likewise, covering up the rooftop rainwater collection systems on cottages will not prevent the annual clouds of fresh water mosquitoes from hatching in the cisterns of Hen Island. Nor will it make the roof water safe to drink – potable – for the cottage dwellers under any circumstances.
Mayor French knows that a legal sanitary sewer and potable water supply hook-up easement is in place on Hen Island. This municipal utility easement is incorporated into the Island’s deed, and can be installed by Hen Island at the direction of, and under the supervision of, Rye. This would allow sewage and potable water issues for the islands to be handled according to the regulations that all other City residents comply with. It’s a straightforward and technically feasible solution, and Rye City taxpayers wouldn’t be charged one dime. They would even make money if the City issued violations and collected fines.
I have to ask why Rye’s elected officials are trying to do everything wrong first before doing what’s right as required by law.
Very truly yours,
Raymond J. Tartaglione
What Do a Father, Two Rollovers, and Playland Have in Common?
By Jordan J. Squires
My fondest memories of time spent as a child and young teen with my father are our trips to the Bronx Zoo, Westchester County Fair, and – my personal favorite – Playland. In hindsight, very little was actually learned, most of the time was entertainment for entertainment’s sake.
As a physiologist, my father balanced our entertainment with other lessons, such as safe driving in – at times – an unorthodox way. Since we lived in Pound Ridge in the 60s, he would let me sit on his lap and steer the car (going 20 mph) on the three-mile street we alone lived on (illegal, but not rare for the time). My younger brother once drove the car into a ditch, so we learned how easily one can crash or lose control. Unbeknownst to me, my father was working from an early age on reducing our potential daredevil teenage thoughts and actions.
Once I got a learner’s permit, we practiced driving at highway speeds on 684, then known as, “the highway to nowhere”. We practiced accident avoidance maneuvers at 40 mph or so, when no other vehicles were present.
These real-world experiences gave me, now 51, the tools to become a good driver and avoid several serious accidents.
Sadly, these days teens have no place to practice real-world mistakes, except on expensive driving tracks in NJ and Mass., which require one to be 18 with a full license (too late in my opinion).
What triggered these thoughts? A rollover occurred two weeks ago on a 30 mph-side street in Rye, and it brought visions to me of the worst kind. You see, my father and I won’t be able to share the Playland experience with my daughter, his granddaughter. Dr. Samuel Squires died with his girlfriend and the family dog in an SUV rollover.
All these memories, teachings, and thoughts drove me to brainstorm a potential solution for the Playland re-imagining taking place now.
Automobile crashes are still the leading cause of death among teenagers. It would be a travesty not to invest some of the land and resources at
Playland to save our kids and upgrade adult driving skills in a controlled setting.
Here are just some ideas that could be implemented:
• A portion of Playland would be usable 12 months of the year with actual cars driven on a track in all conditions.
• Drivers with permits could obtain experience early.
• Many elderly drivers could reassess their reaction time safely.
• It would attract adult usage of all ages, especially since these services are not available in the southern counties. (Appealing to all ages is crucial to a strong revenue stream)
• Elements of state driving tests could be located here. Audiences could witness real-world accidents with dummies in cars unbelted (in-person experiences are much more effective than movies that we are all desensitized by).
• Car shows of all kinds could take place 12 months a year with permanent, vendor-related services/parts/accessories exhibits.
• Test cars could be sponsored by manufactures/dealers reducing fixed costs.
• Better county drivers would reduce county costs (police, road repair, medical).
• Less noise for residents versus expanding amusements.
• Judges could require these courses for repeat or negligent drivers before licenses are reinstated or otherwise.
• Building investment would be low, since only a flat road and small building may be needed. A multi-level garage may also be needed to provide enough space to house all Playland cars and this program.
Join me in adding to an idea that would serve the entire county (all ages and socio-economic classes) and empower our teens and loved ones with tools so they may someday take their children and grandchildren to the new Play/Carland.