Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Newsworthy Notes from the week

Cosmo’s grocery project underway on Washington St; Peekskill student showcase May 22 at HV MOCA
Newsworthy Notes from the week

Washington Street building demolished for new grocery store

Cosmo’s Fresh Market, to be located at 630 Washington Street, broke ground on their project this week, three years after receiving approval from the City of Peekskill.

Wilson Narvaez, founder of La Placita Markets, first pitched Cosmo’s in 2021. Narvaez’s original plans proposed renovating the commercial buildings at 630 Washington Street and removing one residential building, transforming the property into a supermarket (later named Cosmo’s Fresh Market). Narvaez’s plans received final site plan approval in 2021.

In Dec. 2022, the project was awarded $2 million through the Restore NY Communities Program. The month prior, Naravez opened his first Cosmo’s Fresh Market in Hewitt, N.J. 

With funding and approvals in place, construction seemed inevitable in 2023. But, there was no sign of progress at the abandoned property at 630 Washington Street. Finally, in August 2023, architect Marco Mandra presented new plans for Cosmo’s Fresh Market to the Peekskill Planning Commission. Mandra’s plans called for the buildings (formerly a bakery and gym) to be razed rather than renovated, after discovering deficiencies in the buildings. During the meeting, Mandra noted that the masonry of the building was in disrepair and the existing building would not be able to provide desired ceiling heights, roof support and structure for a “modern-day building”. The new plans for Cosmo’s were given final site plan approval at this meeting. 

Nine months later and the project is finally underway. This past week fencing was spotted around the property and within a few days both commercial properties were demolished. When responding to questions from the Herald, Mandra revealed that the project experienced delays during the year due to negotiating prices with the contractor assigned to the project. Mandra stated that given the project’s progress, he is hoping for an early 2025 completion.

Mandra says that now that the buildings are down, the next steps are excavation and foundation work.

– Jeffrey Merchan

Peekskill students to display their artwork at MOCA, May 22

The Peekskill City School District holds its annual showcase of student artwork beginning with an opening reception on May 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m, at Hudson Valley MOCA. 

Peekskill Middle School and Peekskill High School students will get the chance to show their work on this year’s theme “How We Live & War”. Peekskill High School students will act as docents for the event. Everyone is invited to a wonderful showcase of student talent.

MOCA is one of the leading art exhibition galleries in northern Westchester. Hudson Valley MOCA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and education organization, was founded in Peekskill by Livia and Marc Straus, significant collectors of contemporary art since 1968. The museum works with an international roster of renowned artists as well as emerging local talent. The museum is located at 1701 Main St.

The tip line is always open at the Peekskill Herald


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Missing teen girls seen in Peekskill last week

Evelyn Jimenez
Violet Munroe

Yorktown PD has been working around the clock with the New York State Police and multiple law enforcement agencies in an attempt to locate Evelyn Jimenez and Violet Munroe. 

Evelyn was seen in Peekskill on May 11 in Peekskill at around 11 p.m. She is 17 years old, 5’4″ tall and approximately 120 pounds. She sometimes wears a hoodie or tank tops and pajama pants.

Violet was seen in Peekskill on May 10 in the morning. She was wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. She is 15 years old, 5’8″ tall, approximately 150 pounds. The family has since received leads in White Plains. Violet is a student in the Lakeland School District.

Please share any information or tips to the Yorktown Police Department (914) 962-4141 or [email protected]; NYSP Cortlandt BCI Phone Number (914) 788-8044 or [email protected].

A friend of the family has started a GoFundMe page to raise a reward for information. 

Wilson killer takes 30-year plea deal in Peekskill murder

Ernest Wilson was killed a year ago.

Ernest Wilson, a Peekskill native and truck driver who was gunned down in May 2023 at Sherman Avenue and McKinley Street, leaves behind seven children. His killer is now headed to state prison.

Reginald McClure, 39, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and weapon charges, accepting a sentence offer of 30 years in state prison to avoid facing trial in the murder.

McClure, who was dating the mother of two of Wilson’s children, shot the victim when he was dropping off one of the children who had spent the weekend with, according to prosecutors. Wilson died three days later in the hospital. McClure was arrested at a Yonkers hotel several days after shooting Wilson.

Wilson, who had recently moved into a new apartment in Poughkeepsie, was holding two part-time positions – working for Initial REO Services, which maintains homes that are in foreclosure, and driving children for an ambulette company.

The original charge of second-degree murder could have jailed McClure for life, but taking the plea deal dropped his maximum sentence to 30 years.

New HUD rules to help homeless find subsidized housing

Housing agencies can now request to accept self-certification of income to determine program eligibility for people experiencing homelessness, according to a new policy in the Housing Choice Voucher program announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Housing Choice Vouchers help low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities access decent and safe rental housing in the private market, and are an important part of federal, state, and local strategies to reduce homelessness. The waivers that HUD has approved are available to communities experiencing significant or rising rates of homelessness.

People experiencing homelessness often may not have the necessary documents readily available that are typically required to establish their eligibility for voucher assistance such as social security cards or pay stubs. 

Because missing documents can significantly delay assistance and timely access to housing, these Housing Choice Voucher waivers will allow housing agencies to accept self-certification of income, disability status, and other specific information to expedite assistance to people experiencing homelessness. Agencies must then verify tenants’ eligibility within 90 days after they begin receiving assistance.

Mayor McKenzie honored by YWCA White Plains

Congratulations to Mayor Vivian McKenzie on being honored by the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester at its “In the Company of Women” event on May 10.

In the Company of Women is the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester’s biggest fundraising event of the year. It is a day that truly uplifts, inspires, connects and celebrates women who are making an impact in the community.

Annual ‘Salute to Seniors’ at the County Center May 30

Calling all seniors. The Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services is holding its 56th Annual Salute to Seniors on Thursday, May 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. 

Enjoy a day celebrating our seniors, which will include a showcase of senior services, educational workshops, a health and wellness fair, live entertainment and more. Join the event that will feature information on programs, services and products designed to make life better for our senior community. Lunch, wellness activities, and enjoyable music will also be provided to attendees.

For more information, please call (914) 813-6300 or visit the event website.

Calling all artists to the 2024 Peekskill Open Studios

Registration is now open for the 25th Annual Peekskill Open Studios. This year’s Open Studios will be held on June 1 and June 2 from noon to 5:00 p.m. throughout downtown Peekskill showcasing over 100 flourishing local artists.

Open Studios is an opportunity for all our members in and around Peekskill. If you have a studio in Downtown Peekskill or at the Hat Factory, visitors can come and see your work and your process firsthand. 

You get the opportunity to meet prospective collectors, make contacts and make sales if not during Open Studios, often at a future date. Don’t have a studio in Downtown? This year try one of Peekskill’s participating galleries.

Since 1997, art enthusiasts from the Tri-State area and greater Hudson Valley have come to Peekskill on the first weekend in June to meet YOU and learn about your work first hand.

For more information about this year’s Open Studios or to participate, please visit the Peekskill Arts Alliance website. To learn about how to become a sponsor in the 2024 Open Studios Catalog website (opportunities still available), click here.

Riverfront Summer entertainment programs begin June 27

Summer will be here before you know it. Mark your calendars and save the dates for children’s specials, concert series, and family movie nights at the Riverfront Green. 

Performances on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings will include music by First Class Band, the Old Mill Singers and Hillbilly Parade. 

Children’s events include Ned-O the Clown, Antonia Arts Wiz Kids, and Will Shaw. Family Movie Nights will feature Wonka, Elemental and The Fablemans.

For the complete schedule, see page 3 of the Summer Program Guide. For more information about this year’s events, please contact the Parks and Recreation office at (914) 734-7275.

Vendor opportunities offered at the Peekskill Farmers Market

The ever popular, (mostly) healthy and always delicious Peekskill Farmers Market is returning this June and seeking vendors. 

The market offers fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, baked goods, bread, pies, desserts, pickles, olives, cheese, coffee, microgreens, wine, flavored liqueurs, organic beverages, and dozens of other tempting and tasty choices.

The 2024 season will begin on Saturday, June 1 through Saturday, Nov. 23 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. along Bank Street. For those who are interested in participating as a vendor or sponsor, please visit the Discover Peekskill website

The annual Peekskill Farmers Market is sponsored by the Peekskill Business Improvement District (BID).

Calling marchers to join the Peekskill Fourth of July parade

The calendar will be turning to July before you know it, and that can only mean it’s time to prepare for the annual Peekskill Volunteer Firefighters’ Association Independence Day parade.

This year’s Fourth of July parade will line up beginning at 9:30 a.m. and step off at 10:30 a.m. The route is approximately one mile long. Refreshments for all marchers will follow the parade. 

The parade organizers are inviting interested groups to sign up to march in this year’s parade. To find out more information and to register to take part in the parade, contact the Parade Committee at [email protected] or [email protected].

You can find the application form and information available here

‘Old Traditions, New Beginnings’ writing project for seniors

A new not-for-profit project will encourage seniors to share their wisdom and stories in all forms of contributions including essays, poetry, words of wisdom passed down through the generations, recipes, and memories from childhood to present day. 

The project, called “Old Traditions, New Beginnings,” is a collaboration between the office of State Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg and two local seniors, Cora Silvestri and Judith Shangold.

“Capturing stories of our seniors is so important. It’s an opportunity for us to really benefit from lived experiences and pass on the lessons to the next generation. It is my hope that through this effort, new activities, gatherings, and friendships can be cultivated, and younger generations can learn,” Levenberg said.

The project was inspired by the experiences and expressions of Ossining resident Cora Silvestri. Silvestri learned firsthand the value of writing as a means of processing emotions like grief while recovering from a catastrophic accident that took the life of her husband. She self-published her own book, Poetic Emotions.

Before her retirement, Shangold was an Emmy award-winning executive producer at NBC Television. She produced news, three specials a year, and a weekly talk show: The First Estate, Religion in Review.

Levenberg’s office is collecting contributions for sharing online and possible print publication in an anthology. The deadline for inclusion in the first volume of the project is Sunday, June 30. The recommended length is between 250-1,000 words per submission. Those interested in contributing their own writing or volunteering to help others share their contributions are encouraged to email [email protected]. 

Peekskill police receive $316,406 technology state grant

The recently-passed New York state budget will provide $127 million for police departments and sheriffs’ offices outside of New York City for new technology and equipment to prevent and solve crimes, and improve public safety. 

Money was set aside in the FY 2025 Enacted Budget to fund applications made by 378 law enforcement agencies that responded to the state’s application last fall. The City of Peekskill Police Department will receive $316,406 in grant money and the Village of Buchanan Police Department was awarded $84,656.

“Public safety is my top priority, and we are continuing to make record investments in law enforcement so they have the resources they need to protect our communities,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “By investing in the latest technology and equipment, we’re responding to the requests of law enforcement agencies as they look to safeguard the future of our state.”

The grants will support different types of equipment and technology to modernize operations and more effectively solve and prevent crime, including license plate readers, mobile and fixed camera systems, computer-aided dispatch systems, software, unmanned aerial vehicles, gunshot detection devices, and smart equipment for patrol vehicles and police officers.

Rosenberg demands $1.85 million for fraud in land deal

The developer who bought a four-acre parcel on Lower South Street and then offered to construct a new building for the Jan Peek Shelter alleges that the seller hid the fact that the property was contaminated.

Abraham Rosenberg and his company 1070 Park Estates LLC bought the land from the Cartalemi family in October 2021 for $1.35 million, accepting a $950,000 seller-financed mortgage as part of the deal.

Last December the Cartalemis filed a notice of foreclosure action against Rosenberg to take back the property, demanding repayment of the $950,000 mortgage that the Cartalemi family holds on the parcel of land at 1070 Lower South St. According to the foreclosure notice, Rosenberg failed to pay off the mortgage less than a year later.

Now in response to the foreclosure action, Rosenberg’s attorneys allege that the Cartalemis knew all along that the land was contaminated.

“For instance, Plaintiff’s representative KJ Cartalemi and Plaintiff’s broker Tamerlain Realty Corp. expressly represented during the period between the execution of the Contract and the closing thereof that there were no known environmental issues with the Property,” Rosenberg’s attorney contend in court papers.

“Because the environmental issues at the Property were left unresolved by Plaintiff, over half of the Property has been designated a landfill, which effectively precludes the Property’s development.”

Rosenberg now wants Cartalemi to pay his firm $1.85 million in damages, claiming that the property cannot be developed economically. “Subsequent to the closing, 1070 [Park Estates LLC] spent in excess of $500,000 in uncovering Plaintiff’s fraud and then in conducting engineering and environmental consulting costs in order to seek approvals to develop the Property,” the court papers allege.

In response to the charges by Rosenberg’s attorneys, the lawyer for the Cartalemis denies the allegations regarding the sale of the property.

Big Jim’s in Buchanan stock full of vintage vinyl records

For baby boomers, music on records never left, but apparently these vinyl albums of our youth are now making a comeback.

Westchester magazine recently highlighted three shops in Westchester selling vintage records to both collectors and music lovers. One of the stores in the article is Big Jim’s Records in Buchanan.

Big Jim’s Records

3199 Albany Post Rd, Ste 124, Buchanan; 914.239.8589

Big Jim’s Records is an independent record store where you can buy, trade, and sell records. The Buchanan shop is fully stocked with LPs from a range of decades, and you can browse the website to check out available records. If you’re in the market for a specific record, you can email the staff to check the inventory. Records are constantly being added, so make sure to stop by for the most up-to-date vinyl.

County police honored for violent felon arrest in Peekskill

The Westchester County Department of Public Safety held its annual memorial service and awards ceremony at the County Center on May 15, paying tribute to the 18 Westchester County officers who lost their lives in the line of duty and honoring more than 50 officers for acts of bravery, investigative skills, and lifesaving that occurred in the previous year.

The Commendable Duty Medal was awarded to members of the Narcotics Unit and the Emergency Service Unit for their assistance to the Peekskill Police Department on Oct. 4, 2023, in surveilling and apprehending a violent, armed felon who was a suspect in a gunpoint robbery and shooting earlier in the day. 

Receiving the award were Lts. Jeffrey Slotoroff and Michael Demaio; Detectives Jonathan Irwin, Erin Moore, and Stephan Goggin; and Police Officers Paul DeSousa, David Byrnes, and Tariq Hylton.

The ceremony, which coincides with National Police Week, opened with the reading of the names of fallen heroes who served in the Westchester County Police and its predecessor agencies, the Westchester County Parkway Police and the Westchester County Sheriff’s Department.

Muscente promoted to rank of sergeant by Peekskill police

Peekskill Police Officer Frank Muscente has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Sgt. Muscente has been a loyal and dedicated member of the Peekskill Police Department since 2017. 

In his time with the department, he has been assigned to the Anti-Crime detail, the Stop-DWI Detail, is a member of the Emergency Response Team, a member of the Motorcycle Unit, and was an exceptional Field Training Officer. A born leader, Sgt. Muscente has excelled in investigations, taking pride in his work, which is quite evident based on his exemplary casework, according to Chief Leo Dylewski. 

Congratulations to newly-promoted Peekskill Police Sgt. Frank Muscente.

Take 5 top-prize ticket sold at Peekskill market on Main Street

A customer at Valley Brook Market at 1053 Main St. in Peekskill will consider May 14 as their lucky day.

One top-prize winning ticket for the Take 5 Evening drawing worth $35,001 was sold at the market that day, making that trip to the store highly profitable for the lucky shopper. The store was the site of a $5 million scratch-off ticket last September. 

Take 5 numbers are drawn from a field of one through 39. The drawing is televised twice daily at 2:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. A New York Lottery draw game prize of any amount may be claimed up to one year from the date of the drawing.

About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
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.