Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Housing project in Buchanan gets green light; 638 Central Avenue under contract

Jersey developer wins approval for Buchanan project

Beginning of construction for the five-story apartment complex in Buchanan. (Photo by Jim Roberts)

They’re starting to clear the land in Buchanan after a New Jersey developer won approval from the Village Board last week to build a five-story, 148-unit luxury apartment complex behind the Buchanan Hardware Store.

The proposal went through two years of presentations, revisions, and public hearings before the Town and Planning Boards gave it the “all go”. 

At the meeting, an attorney for AMS, the multi-billion dollar developer of the project, said that one-bedroom units could rent for approximately $2,500, two-bedroom units for $3,500, depending on market conditions in two years when the complex could be ready to open.

Several residents spoke during the public hearing at a crowded Village Hall on March 5. Overwhelming support from a unanimous Village Board and most speakers was tempered with general concern about the size of the building and the effect on local traffic on Albany Post Road.

AMS recently competed the purchase of the nearly 5-square-acre parcel from Mark Franzoso’s firm, Gusti Realty LLC, the owner of the property.

Deal underway for 638 Central Avenue (near 645 Main)

The multi-use red brick building located at 638 Central Avenue, between the waterfront and the central business district, has found a buyer.

The property is under contract. The building was listed for sale at an asking price of $989,000. The buyer was not disclosed.

The listing of the property says, “Unlock the potential of this prime commercial building located in the heart of Peekskill, offering a unique blend of possibilities for entrepreneurs and investors. This multi-functional property seamlessly integrates a restaurant or coffee house, office space, and a stylish studio apartment, presenting a rare opportunity to cater to diverse business ventures under one roof.”

Mend by Me Pop Up Shop open next weekend at Elk’s Lodge

Free repurposed goods including clothing, shoes, coats, toys, and household linens are available for people in need this coming Friday and Saturday at the Elk’s Lodge on Brown Street.

This year’s pop up shop, presented by Mend by Me, a non-profit started by Johanne Read, will be open on Friday, March 15 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday March 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Read is able to make the non-profit work because she and a team of two volunteers take donated clothing and repair it. No one draws a salary. Their first event was at the Kiley Center in January 2020 where 250 people came and picked out clothing they and their families could use.

Read reaches out to various social service agencies in Peekskill and asks them to notify their clients of her pop-up shops. “I’ve had clients who have gotten jobs because they were wearing the right outfit when they went for an interview,” said Read, the mother of three young adults.

Her home in Shrub Oak operates as a warehouse for the goods she brings to the pop-up shops. It’s “all hands on deck” when it gets close to the pop up event, said Read. “My living room, downstairs area, basement and garage are all filled with racks of clothing.”

The signature red and white banner for Mend by Me has the tag line: kindness, compassion, humility.

Peekskill Walks plans March 20 talk 

Esther Street pedestrian plaza was championed by Peekskill Walks in 2020.

Peekskill Walks is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, March 20 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lofts on Main (entrance at 921 Diven St.).

Topics for the meeting include the “Hudson Ave. Gateway” proposal, the Peekskill Walks 2024 Public Survey, Downtown Revitalization projects, and Reckless Driving and Vision Zero.

A social hour will follow starting around 8 p.m. at the Birdsall House.

Peekskill Walks is a resident-led group working to make Peekskill’s streets safer, and more interesting and pleasant for all. It’s a group of friends and neighbors who think it’s important to make Peekskill more pedestrian friendly. “We think Peekskill is awesome now, and we’re passionate about working to make it even better.”

Local Women business leaders gather to celebrate in Peekskill

Join the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce and the Peekskill Business Improvement District for its Women in Business Celebration on Saturday, March 23 from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Dramatic Hall located at 900 Main St. 

Enjoy an afternoon that will include a light lunch, vendors who will share products and services focusing on women, and a discussion panel featuring prominent local businesswomen. 

The Master of Ceremonies is Jane Applegate, co-founder of the Remarkable Women Project. Panelists are Violeta Shala-Guerrero, M&T Bank; Stacey Tompkins, Tompkins Excavating Corp.; Auzerais Bellamy, Blondery; Kecia Palmer-Cousins, Aero-Ba-Soul Inc.; Marion Henson, Bloom Healthy; Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember; Sunny Cover, Peekskill Coffee House; and Chloe Wareham-Gordon, DigitalDancer Social Media.

The fees are as follows: 

Type of Attendee:
Artist/Non Profit BID/HVGCC Member display booth $7

Artist/Non Profit Non-Members display booth $10

General display booth BID/HVGCC Member $10

General display booth Non-Member $20

Table rental fee $20 member or non member

Attendee who is not a BID or Chamber Member Attendee – $10

Attendee who is a BID or Chamber Member Attendee – FREE

To register, visit the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce website

Preserving the Hudson: theme for CAC virtual film screening

Join the Peekskill Conservation Advisory Council for its virtual spring film event with a three-day screening window of the movie Deep Rising on March 23-25, followed by a panel discussion on March 26. All are welcome to discuss the film’s topic of deep sea mining, its threat to humanity’s environmental legacy, and learn more about local threats endangering our majestic Hudson River and Hudson Valley. 

The panel discussion will feature local experts on the history of the struggle to preserve the Hudson River’s environmental legacy, as well as updates about ongoing efforts to address PCB contamination of the river. (PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were banned in 1979 due to their harmful effects on humans and the environment, but are still found in water and sediment.)

Panelists will include Althea Mullarkey, PCB Project Manager for Scenic Hudson; Joseph Albanese, President of the Hudson River Fishermens’ Association; and Jen Benson, Director of Environmental Action for Clearwater.

To register, please visit the event website

Bear Mountain State Park hosting partial solar eclipse viewing


The New York State Parks and Historic Sites will host a range of events and activities to celebrate the rare total solar eclipse that can be seen in Western New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Adirondacks on April 8. (In the U.S., 14 states will be along the path of totality.) A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk.

While the Hudson Valley won’t get a prime viewing seat for the event, the first since a North American total eclipse in 2017, the eclipse will still be partially visible here.

State parks are offering dozens of events and activities leading up to the extraordinary event including hands-on craft projects like Do-It-Yourself pinhole eclipse viewers as well as educational programs steeped in history and solar system science.

In the Hudson Valley, there will be partial eclipse viewing at Bear Mountain State Monday, April 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Fifty eclipse glasses will be distributed to guests on a first come, first served basis. If you have your own, please bring them, so you can safely enjoy the eclipse if we run out. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets so you can enjoy this rare event in comfort. 

For more information please contact Christopher O’Sullivan at [email protected] or 845-942-3861.

Safety is the number one priority when viewing a total solar eclipse. Be sure you’re familiar with when you need to wear specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing by reviewing the safety guidelines.

Celebrate 100 years of public schools in Peekskill

Tickets are selling fast for the Peekskill City School District (CSD) Centennial Gala on Friday, April 12 at The Factoria on Charles Point. The evening will feature a curated exhibition highlighting 100 years of the Peekskill City School District history as exemplified through donated/loaned items and student created projects. 

Enjoy the musical styling of Larry Del Casale (Peekskill High School Choral Teacher and Latin Grammy Nominee) accompanied by PHS alumna vocalist Ms. Kathryn Czerwinski. The evening’s program will follow with dinner, dessert, and dancing to the music of PHS’s own alumnus DJ Mr. Pete Peterson.

A recap of Peekskill CSD history looks back to 1923, when “Drum Hill” and “Oakside” were originally separate school districts. They consolidated into the Peekskill School District over the summer of 1923, and began the school year under this new name.

The old Drum Hill High School, built in 1859, is the first photo. It was located on the same spot as the Drum Hill building we know today, which was built between 1909-1911, and served as a Peekskill school building until 1972. In spring of 1923 the building was called Drum Hill High School, but this name changed to Peekskill High School in the fall of 1923. In 1931, the building became Drum Hill Junior High School. 

The second photo shows the Ford Administration Building, which housed students on several occasions, starting as part of the Peekskill Military Academy. In this photo, high school students are dismissing from the “PHS Annex” on Sept. 4, 1969. 

Tickets may be purchased here.  

Pearlz, Black Diamonds hosted Black History Month showcase

The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau Pearlz and the Black Diamonds Academic Success Program hosted their Black History Month Showcase last week at the Youth Bureau. Congratulations to the organizers on a great event.

Black Diamonds Academic Success, Inc. was launched for the sole purpose of fighting the academic achievement gap and helping young men of color graduate from high school on time. The program addresses three critical areas in order to be effective in the quest to close the achievement gap: attendance, homework, and behavior.

Black Diamonds Academic Success program consists of weekly meetings to discussions related to personal identity, development, and responsibility. Guest speakers share their life stories related to education and professional choices.  Field trips expose participants to various life lessons and experiences along with college visits and connecting with student organizations on campus. 

Participants include grade 9 through 12 at all levels of academic achievement, ranging from high achieving students to students that are at risk of dropping out. The program monitors grades, attendance, any behavior issues, graduation rates and college/trade school acceptance. 

Peekskill skate park on Highland Avenue named a Hudson Valley “noteworthy stop”

Chronogram Media recently highlighted Peekskill’s 2nd Nature Skate Park as a noteworthy Route 9 stop:

2nd Nature Skate Park is a popular destination for skateboarders and BMX riders in the United States. Located at the Highland Industrial Park, this indoor skate park offers a wide range of features for riders of all levels, including ramps, bowls, rails, and ledges.  The facility offers an 8,000-square-foot indoor skatepark that features a mini ramp with a spine, bowl and a street course in addition to the skate shop.

The Park provides a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, with a focus on safety and fun. Whether you’re an experienced skater or a beginner looking to learn, 2nd Nature Skate Park is a great place to hone your skills and connect with other riders who share your love of skateboarding.  

Since 2004, 2nd Nature has been the premiere skate shop and skate park in Westchester County. Owned by Doug Brown, 2nd Nature takes pride in stocking the best skateboarding brands with free service, great product knowledge, and giving back to the community through skate camps, lessons, contests, events, and donations. 

2nd Nature 1 Highland Industrial Park, Peekskill, (914) 402-4624| 

Peekskill tourist sites included in County Tourism Guide

Westchester County Tourism & Film’s official travel and meeting guide is hot off the press. Brimming with beautiful photos, crisp graphics, and fresh content, the 60-page guide is a treasure trove for both visitors and residents and showcases the County’s extensive offerings.

“We have a thriving tourism and travel industry in Westchester County that generates $2 billion annually, supports thousands of jobs, and provides millions in tax revenue for the local economy,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. 

“This indispensable resource outlines everything from Westchester’s exquisite hotels and conference centers to the must-try dining scene, exceptional arts and cultural attractions, outstanding entertainment, outdoor adventures and plentiful shopping. The fold-out map enables visitors to quickly plan itineraries that cover multiple points of interest.”

The guide features several well-known Peekskill destination sites including The Abbey Inn & Spa, The Inn on the Hudson, the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, the Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art, Table 9, Factoria at Charles Point, and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

You can order your free guide here. It is also available for pickup at County hotels and other information centers throughout the region. Or, download a digital version. 

Spring comes “roaring” in on Bear Mountain Bridge

It can only mean one thing when four Tyrannosaurus Rexes are spotted on the Bear Mountain Bridge, most likely returning to the Park after an afternoon of fine dining at one of Peekskill’s restaurants.

The historic moment was captured on film by Sean Distefano as he was driving toward Peekskill last Sunday. He speculated the first warm weather day of the season might have brought the prehistoric predators out for a stroll.

Distefano hosts a Facebook site “Goat Trail/Bear Mountain Traffic reports” where he keeps an eye on the comings and goings along the Hudson River roadway.

It could take another 65 million years for these Tyrannosaurus Rexes to re-emerge, or they could show up again soon. Stay tuned.

Copland House expanding to Brewster at 24-acre complex

Copland House, the award-winning creative center for American music and the arts, based at iconic composer Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in Cortlandt, has purchased a vast school campus on the New York-Connecticut border, heralding a transformational programmatic and institutional expansion. 

The $3-million, 24-acre complex nestled in the woods in Brewster will become a major satellite venue for Copland House, enabling it to substantially extend its artistic support, audience reach, public presentations, educational engagement, and programs. For nearly 50 years, the property Bluestone Farm was the site of the Melrose School, an Episcopal grade school.

Copland House will adapt the existing structures and spaces to create: a state-of-the-art venue for public and family concerts, recording and filming, educational and distance-learning programs for all ages; artist studios for theater, dance, opera, the visual arts, and other genres; living quarters for resident artists; reclaimed exterior gardens and green spaces as oases for outdoor reflection, leisure, public performances, and other presentations and activities; a permanent exhibition about Aaron Copland and the evolution of American music; intimate community gathering spaces and administrative offices.

Record employment levels reached in Hudson Valley region

Private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley increased by 10,400 or 1.3 percent, in the 12 months ending January 2024.  

The region’s private sector job count continued to trend upward, reaching 801,3000, its highest January employment count on record. Three sectors posted year-over-year growth of at least 3.1 percent.

Gains were greatest in private education and health services (+8,400), leisure and hospitality (+3,500), and financial activities (+1,400).  Losses were centered in trade, transportation and utilities (-2,300), mining, logging and construction (-900), and manufacturing (-600).  

Within the region, Sullivan County’s private employment sector grew the fastest year-over-year, up 5.7 percent. The second fastest growth was recorded in the Kingston MSA (+4.1 percent), followed by the Dutchess-Putnam Metropolitan Division (+2.4 percent), and the Orange-Rockland-Westchester labor market area (+0.7 percent).

– Released on March 7 by the New York State Department of Labor

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.