Thursday, June 23, 2011

St. Casimir's Church

Welcome to our favorite church in Yonkers, St. Casimir's! Very few people have really ventured into this large, Polish church on Nepperhan Ave, but those who have understand what we mean when we say: this church is extraordinarily unique and is unlike any other church in the area.

St. Casimir's is the center of Polish culture in Yonkers. The Polish people are not a large ethnic group in the Northeast United States, but Yonkers became home to many Polish immigrants. To this day, Polish-Americans are heavily involved in how Yonkers operates. Most of these people called St. Casimir's their community and religious center.

St. Casimir's is a type of gothic only found in Poland. The interior is very ornate, but also inviting. There are many pieces of art in the church including its ceiling and its windows. St. Casimir's also has a pulpit similar to the one at Immaculate Conception-St. Mary's which is extremely unique.

We were lucky enough to get into St. Casimir's. Its never really open and I have gone countless times to try to photograph it. I included a picture of a Polish deli located next to the church.

I apologize for the poor quality of some of the photos. Being ornate= impossible to photograph!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Castle of Yonkers

Yes. There is a castle in Yonkers. It is very hidden and very few people know of its existance. There have been many recent news articles about the "Castle of Yonkers" as the current owner, Kohle Yohannan, is trying to sell it for $5 million.

The castle is very interesting. According to the New York Times, half of the castle's twenty rooms were imported from Europe (wall and all!)  The official name of the castle is Greystone Point and has an extraordinary view of the Hudson. It is an UNBELIEVABLE site...

Check out this article on it.. Article

In order to see the castle, you must be comfortable driving on a windy road. If you are, then turn onto Shonnard Terrace from N Broadway and then just go down and follow the road. You can also access Shonnard Terrace from Warburton Ave near the Hudson River Museum.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The "Visit Yonkers!" Campaign

We have recently began an advertising campaign for Yonkers. Our budget is extremely limited at the moment, BUT so far it has worked to a degree and we are getting many emails asking about coming to Yonkers.

We are looking to further our advertising campaign, but we need funding mainly from businesses. What Beautiful Yonkers is trying to do is capitalize on the very large tourist industry just south in NYC. As stated in previous posts, it is ridiculous that Yonkers is not getting its fair share of tourism. If you look to Europe and even across the United States you will see outer cities obtaining a large share of the tourist industry.

We believe that Yonkers has so much to offer. There is history, there are nice restaurants, there is natural beauty, and there is a unique culture.

We can no longer allow Yonkers' to not get its fair share in tourist revenue. We are committed to bringing Yonkers to new heights!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Some Predictions...

As you know, Yonkers has been doing a lot of "gentrification" projects.  Some of them include: 1. Chicken Island Ballpark   2.  "Daylighting" of the Saw Mill River  3.  Ridge Hill.  Besides the obviously shady dealings that got these initiatives approved, these three pet projects are due to fail.

Chicken Island Ballpark
  • Other minor league teams in the NY Metro area have become white elephants and money holes.  They're impossible to get rid of and never bring in the money. One example is Camden, NJ. Camden, which is right next to Philadelphia, decided to destroy an area of its downtown and build a stadium. It is not doing well at all and it has become a constant headache for Camden while not solving any of Camden's problems (welcome to the most dangerous city in the country).
  • Maybe we, at Beautiful Yonkers, haven't made this clear: Unfortunately, a lot of areas on the West side of Yonkers, are known for high-crime and poor socioeconomic standing.  Not the place to bring little Jimmy for a day at the ballpark.
  • The ballpark would arrogantly ignore the area around it.  It would just be ugly and it would cost too much.

The "Daylighting"
  • River fronts that attract people don't have the DMV on it.
  • From the Hudson River, which is right there, you can see the skyline of Manhattan and the Palisades.  Again, Saw Mill = DMV.
  • There is a reason why they covered it up in the first place.  Do not doubt the reasoning of the Freemasons.

Ridge Hill
  • "The City of Parking Garages" actually, "High Priced Parking Garages"
  • Not only is it opening during a recession (face it, we are in a recession again), it was approved AND built during a recession. Economic stupidity (shady dealing remember). This is not the worst of the economic news. Ever since the downturn, White Plains and even Cross County has taken the market of shoppers. How many shoppers with ZERO growth in the NY Metro area are going to flock to Ridge Hill from newish White Plains and brand newish Cross County.
  • Face it, the money isn't going to pour in.  Westchester isn't the Upper East Side, whether the developers of Ridge Hill want to believe it or not.

Yonkers could do well if it took advantage of its own preexisting resources.  Yonkers has as much history as what millions of tourists pay to see in lower Manhattan.  In comparison to cities such as London, Paris, Rome, where the suburban areas get a large percentage of tourist visits, Yonkers has not capitalized on an economic base that would drive the city to new heights.  We are devoted to help Yonkers capitalize on its resources, whether the city is with us our not.  Unfortunately, gentrification will not address Yonkers' problems.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Beautiful Home on Park Hill and the story of the tunnel

This house is by Sutherland Park. Its a very interesting area. A hotel was to be built at the top of Park Hill (right around where this house is) but it ended up just being ruins. Anyway, for quite some time, we have been trying to locate a mystery.

The hotel was going to have exclusive access via a railway tunnel. The tunnel was created and was abandoned with the rest of the site. However, the tunnel became a legendary site in Yonkers and many kids would travel there to explore it. Eventually the tunnel was filled in or was it? The forum on Yonkers, SoYo has some very interesting pictures of below Sutherland Park. It seems that the tunnel was only PARTIALLY filled. Stay tuned. We have some exploring to do...

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Herald Statesman Building- Larkin Plaza

The Herald Statesman used to be the newspaper of Yonkers. Unfortunately, given the unfair advantage of mass media, it was lost its place due to the Journal News which covers from Lower Westchester up to Orange County. Yonkers was essentially turned into just "another northern suburban community."

The media has always been harsh to Yonkers. It has given Yonkers an EXTRAORDINARILY unfair reputation as the "dump" north of the Bronx.

There are some Yonkers news sites on the internet, but they mainly cover Yonkers' messy politics which have done very little to improve Yonkers' name. The Herald Statesman was of Yonkers and was about the culture, people, and way of life in a unique city on the Hudson.

This post is a tribute to the Statesman... Its former headquarters, charming in the 1950's sense, sits majestically in Larkin Plaza. It is a cultural icon. Beautiful Yonkers is trying to recreate the pride that the Herald Statesman gave Yonkers and reverse the awful reputation the popular media has given Yonkers... Maybe some of those news moguls should check Yonkers out for themselves.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fulton & Hudson Monument- Warburton Ave

The Fulton & Hudson Foundation Monument is to celebrate Henry Hudson and Robert Fulton for their achievements. The monument sits about 30 feet off of Waburton Ave up by Odell Ave and is magnificent because of a few reasons. First, the statues is well done. Secondly, the fact that the person depicted in the statue faces the Hudson River actually makes one feel chills. It is a forgotten statue for the most part, but there is just something about it that makes it extraordinarily special.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

St. John's Episcopal Church- Underhill St.

One of the oldest buildings in Yonkers and certainly one of the oldest buildings in continuous use in the United States, St. John's Episcopal church is a hidden gem of Yonkers. Most people, even people who reside around it, hardly know it exists. The church was completed in 1798 and is considered of "Tuckahoe", but after changes to boundaries, St. John's has been located in Yonkers for over 100 years. The church itself is rarely open, but the graveyard can be visited at anytime.

After the Dutch left Yonkers, the English came in and took control of the area, specifically under the care of the Philipse Family. Anyway, the Anglican Church (which would become the American Episcopal Church after Independence) was the chief religious authority over the colony of New York. After Independence, it was Episcopalians who maintained prime influence over political and business affairs over Yonkers up until the large immigration waves that started in the late 19th Century.

Anyway, this church is historic because of the cultural significance it played for the City of Yonkers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Axminster Street

Today's post is on Axminster Street. Located in the Saw Mill River Valley, Axminster is an oddity. There is NO OTHER street like it in America. It cuts through the industrial buildings which used to house the Alexander Smith Carpet Company. It looks like the perfect site to shoot a duel movie scene. But besides the basics, Axminster used to be called the "street without a name" and it was actually in the Guiness Book of World Records beause of this. There are no actual doors on Axminster so, therefore, it was not named for many years...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blessed Sacrament Monastery Chapel

On Park Ave. over by the old Yonkers General Hospital sits a complex of buildings that used to be a monastery for the I believe the Sacred Heart Sisters. Behind the monastery itself is an old house which is private property. The chapel is built in neo-Romanesque style. Here are the pictures:

As you probably have noticed, Yonkers has many churches, specifically Roman Catholic churches. In the early part of the 20th Century an the late part of the 19th Century, many immigrants came to Yonkers from Ireland, Italy, the former Czechoslovakia, Poland, and elsewhere with high Catholic populations. Each community wanted to keep its unique liturgical customs alive so they built their own churches and many times brought their own priests to administor the Catholic faith to them.

All of these churches are very historic for a number of reasons. First, because of the architecture used. Every church is unique in this regard. Second, because they were (and some still are) cultural centers of Yonkers where ideas were discussed and people grew up. Every church is unique in this regard as well.

Unfortunately, with socio-economic changes, many of the churches west of the Saw Mill River parkway are in great danger of being shutdown because of the high cost of maintaining them within their tiny donation incomes. It our hope that by making people aware of these churches that people will start to visit them. They need our help more than ever at this moment. There were once many culturally rich and historic synagogues in Yonkers, but almost all of them have been lost. Let us not allow the same fate to happen to these historical churches in which Yonkers' cultural heritage lies.