Letter to the Editor: Village is Unique

The following is part of an email exchange between Local Editor Ashley Tarr and Village of Brewster Historian Denis Castelli. He gave Patch his permission to print the correspondence.

You will find that the Village of Brewster is unique. It is a walkable community with about 600 buildings and about 2,200 residents (on the books) that does not have an equal in Putnam or Northern Westchester. The nearest comparison for structures and population could be someplace like Ridgefield, but obviously the economic difference is polar.

For this reason, I suggest that you view future stories about the village through that glass. Everyone knows everyone. Store owners help one another. Most residents are on a first name basis with the mayor, clerk and Department of Public Works staff. It is a real community — self-contained — but not isolated.

Brewster has always been that way. Despite everyone’s desire to make it look like Katonah or Bedford, it has never been and could never be like them. It is the “Hub of the Harlem Valley” with [Interstates] 84, 684, [Routes] 22, 202 and 6 nearby or actually in the village and it has a railroad station whose name is a household word in the Northeast and beyond. It was home to the Borden Factory, the Iron Miners, the Circus people, the dam builders and the Railroad workers. Laborers, immigrants, blue-collar workers throughout its history. It was never a draw for white-collar workers in sufficient numbers to change the complexion of the village.

The people who want it to look like Katonah are latecomers and are like the people who move near airports and then complain about the noise. Some political opportunists have tried to make an issue of the immigrant population but the history of Brewster since 1848 could be written on the head of a pin if not for its immigrants. I do not condone illegal immigration but find it laughable that were are still dealing with color, race or national origin in 2011.

You picked the most interesting area in the region for your chapter of Patch. Enjoy it.

CK October 07, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Meh... i would settle for a Dobbs Ferry, a Tarrytown, even a downtown Peekskill. Would Cold Spring or Beacon be too much to aspire for? I agree with Denis that there is a lot of charm and great history to the area. But it's not getting showcased... and right now, downtown is not really a destination for anyone I know.
Ashley Tarr October 10, 2011 at 12:33 PM
Interesting perspective, CK. Thanks very much for your comment.
Bob Dumont October 10, 2011 at 07:39 PM
While I would agree with Mr. Castelli that the VOB's past was blue collar, I truly believe the future of the Village lies with a return of the white collared, suburban residents that surround Main Street. Many people have asked - what's wrong with the Village? My response is always the same - absolutely nothing! You need to come visit it yourself. And for those people fretting about declining home values - imagine if you broke the mold, came into the village, spent some money and contributed to its success. Imagine your home and its value within 5 minutes of an urban oasis (define that however you would like)! Then try and figure out how easy it would be to sell or rent your house or apartment. When the surrounding residents, politicians and even residents start to believe this - not only will CK stop belly aching, but so will everyone else. For those that came to ArtBeat and Founders Day, you have witnessed the beginning of a new Village. ArtBeat is back on October 15th. Why not come take a look at some art, have a slice, or chinese food or dare I say it - spanish food and tell everyone you not only survived the Village, but you are coming back! Go ahead - I dare you.


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