Recently, Crotonblog caught up with Trustee Charlie Kane for an email interview to appear in our “The Minority Report” column. The timely topic of the conversation was Kane’s passion—the Croton River.
Cb: “Charlie, how long have you spent time around the Croton River?”
Charlie Kane: “Let’s see… I was born in the Ossining Hospital in 1950, then our family moved to Grand Street in Croton in 1959 from the Major Bowes estate, (the radio guy that preceded Ted Mack’s amateur hour on TV). As a matter of fact, our class opened the new wing at Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School the next year after double sessions at Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School. So, at about ten years old I started exploring the Croton River with my buddies from school. All in all, about forty years of canoe trips, boats, rafts, swimming, and exploring every inch of river and shore from the dam to the trestle and beyond.
Then, in 1976 my family moved back to Croton on Fourth of July weekend. My son Charlie started first grade that year. So, my five children grew up on the river with me serving as their guide—and I’m about to introduce my grandchildren to the natural wonderland in my back yard also.”
Cb: “On May 21, 2007, by resolution, the village board designated Mayo’s Landing, also known as “Dickies,” as a conservation area. Further, the board moved to restrict access to the village-owned property, located on Nordica Drive (satellite map), to village and school district residents only. Despite 4-0 passage of the resolution, before voting, you raised several objections to the proposal. Would you please explain to residents why you are not satisfied with the resolved outcome?”
Charlie Kane: “Well, my attempts at preserving public access at Mayo’s Landing failed last Monday evening. The regressive Village Recreation Department ID policy voted on by the Republican board majority is in serious conflict with a generation of state and federal mandates on public access. With only a quick glance at the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) and New York State Hudson River Estuary Program initiatives, one can easily see the foolishness of the recent action to deny access to non-residents at Mayo’s Landing.
Add to this the Public Trust Doctrine that mandates the public right to access the tidal shoreline that has existed since Roman Law—passed through the Magna Carta—that prevented English kings from giving away choice shoreline of the empire to his cronies, and you may see my point. Therefore, I gave the board all this information previously to help with an informed decision on a difficult issue.
However, our village attorney opined that the regulation was legal, despite the fact that the public has used the site for access (longer than Silver Lake and Black Rock parks) for generations makes a legal challenge seem possible to me. I voted for the resolution to designate the site as a conservation area only for that reason, to preserve the area for future generations of kids that will explore the area as I did so many years ago.
In a nutshell, the board has since limited access NOT to how many use the site to prevent ecological damage (carrying capacity) but instead to WHO accesses the site—and this smacks of discrimination to me. Also, this action also precludes any and all grant monies for future improvements to the site—thereby making Croton taxpayers alone foot the bill for the serious storm water improvements that must be made to the site.
Cb: “Thanks Charlie. And, can you shed any light on the Mayo’s Landing-Tarzan connection?”
Charlie Kane: “Well, the original silent Tarzan movies were filmed at Mayo’s. And upon purchasing the Mikado Inn across the street, Clayton Senior tossed out all of the rotting canvass scenery stored in his basement in 1952. Local legend also has it that the actor playing Tarzan refused to dive off the cliff into the water below, so a local kid was paid to film the scene.”