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Author Archives: NR Future

Warren Gross: Reflections on Returning Home

I returned once again to New Rochelle in the late 1980’s after a long assignment in Greece and the Mideast. It was anything but a comfortable return; I had a cast on my leg, an issue with my head, as well as some issues in my liver area. I would see to the latter in Washington before returning to Athens.

My prior visit of any length was 20 years or so earlier in the late 1960s. Strangely perhaps I remembered that with much more joy than the one I experienced 20 or so years later. I had a number of shorter visits between the two, but they were essentially for family reunification or just plain respite. I was younger and didn’t pay much attention to community affairs. However, the visit in the 1980’s was something else; I had matured, paid much more attention to what was going on around me and remembered how pleased I was to be home in the late 1960’s for an extended visit.

I decided to take a walk, cast non-withstanding during my return. I was anxious to see what I remembered and what had changed. I really would have to stretch my imagination because I was not committing the earlier visit or even earlier experiences than that to this planned walk about. But, something urged me to do it; likely my experiences overseas, my subsequent training and assignments since the late 1960’s, I don’t know what. What I do know it has contributed greatly to who I am in 2015 and why I am this way.

I should begin with the late 1960’s; I would say 1967 or so. We had Bloomingdales, Woolworths, the new Mall, the venerable Cohen’s, I believe an austere bank, something called I believe, the National Bank of Westchester, small shops such as French Boot, and others. We had 4 Cinemas if I recall correctly, Macys anchored the Mall. Times were bustling and it was readily seen in the eyes, voices, and yes, commitment on the part of the community. Why?

Largely I think due to a great man and mayor, Alvin Ruskin. Mayor Ruskin was knee deep into the community at all times. He was a leader who “walked the talk.” Often I was told, he walked in a particular part of the City often accompanied by his daughter. There were crowds of people who knew he was both coming and that he would be accessible.

New Rochelle had many of the same issues faced today. There were complaints about potholes, cluttered sidewalks, litter, dirt filled streets and walkways. People voiced their complaints but with a sense of good nature. Mayor Ruskin, his daughter, perhaps an occasional aide, took notes and he did what he could to solve these sorts of problems.

There was something else; something more important. I once asked an elderly lady I knew why everyone including His Honor was so pleasant, so sharing and she said, we trust each other and we love Alvin. This came out also during his walkabouts. People thanked him for bringing them the somewhat recent Mall to add to the wealth of shopping opportunities in New Rochelle. The Mayor was also known for home visits, for paying his respects to constituents and it was not unusual for him to have lunch or at least coffee with a homeowner or merchant.

I remember seeing him in the West End going into the Calabria Mutual Aid Society on the corner of Union and Warren. That fine community based organization stands yet and while the neighborhood has become more multi-cultural, this bedrock of New Rochelle today still stands proudly.

Warren Gross

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May 11, 2015 Meet-up Recap!

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At our fourth meet-up on Monday, May 11 at 2 Clinton Place, the meeting began with a few important announcements regarding the Likes campaign and the June 5 deadline:

  • Any ideas reaching the associated goals of either 300 or 200 Likes, as outlined here, by June 5, will receive feasibility analyses and inclusion in the Action Plan to be submitted to the City by June 15.
  • The June 5 deadline represents just the first of many milestones for public input. The next deadline for public input looks to be in the fall. With each step toward implementation we hope the community engagement correlates.

We then broke up into groups based on the following categories, most of them continuing conversations from the last meet-up:

  • The Local Business Culture in New Rochelle (New & Existing Businesses)
  • The Arts Culture/Historic Culture
  • The City Beautiful Culture
  • The PR/Media Group
  • Bike Lanes

Each of the groups presented the summaries of their findings, and you will begin to see their ideas presented at nrfuture.com/cultureideas.

shirtsAshley then presented the NR Future shirts, which can be purchased at 2 Clinton Place for $5.

We then recognized the top three NR Future contributors and first inductees into the NR Future Hall of Fame, each of who received a gift certificate of appreciation and a permanent placement on nrfuture.com. Find out what it takes to be a top contributor here.

At the next meet-up on May 28th at 2 Clinton Place we will be gearing up for the final idea Likes push before the June 5 deadline. RSVP here!

In the meantime, if you have any questions, email [email protected], like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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EnvisioNR 2016: Updating New Rochelle’s Comprehensive Plan

New Rochelle is expected to grow substantially now that RDRXR has signed on as the Master Developer. The City wishes to balance further development with preservation as it embarks upon “the most significant economic development initiative in the city’s history.”

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New Rochelle Continues Gathering Ideas For Redevelopment Vision

After spending weeks asking the community about what they think is most important in the radical New Rochelle redevelopment, those tasked with shaping the vision for the future of downtown are putting it to a vote, with the most popular ideas being included in the final recommended plans.

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RDRXR Continues Community Outreach in New Rochelle

RDRXR continued its efforts to engage the New Rochelle public last week by hosting another idea-generating gathering.

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  • NR Future Monthly Meetup Recap March 2017 +

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    October's monthly meeting had a nice turn-out as there six grant applicants giving presentations and community members were interested in Read More
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