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It Ain't What it Used To Be...

June 26, 2007

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
This past Sunday afternoon my family drove to Black Rock Park (satellite map) for a picnic. The park itself was clean, the grass nicely trimmed, but there were only two picnic tables in the whole park, and they were occupied by one party. How could that be? With the micro-management of our recreational areas how could a local park have only two places to sit?

Not only that, there must have been five different signs upon entering the park and if I’m not mistaken, I think the only thing you’re allowed to do at Black Rock is breath… Other than that, there’s a sign telling you not to do it.

I’m saddened by all this; the passes, the Park Rangers, the police, the rules. Down-time is not what it used to be.

— Susan Dorien

On July 13, 2007 9:20 AM, TeaDrinker said:


The four junked cars were in the area on the Echo Canoe Launch for over two weeks.

What is worse is now that they have been taken away, broken auto glass and other debris from the cars remains all over the ground where they were parked.

On July 13, 2007 8:10 AM, waffels said:

I think that everyone can appreciate that the fire dept. needs training, the material(cars) and space to do it. They are an asset to our village. The choice to put this training material down by the river wasn’t a good one. No one knew it was planned, obviously, by the response and it just looks bad. Maybe they should coordinate with other depts. that have the space and vehicles already and train there. This is the job of the mayor and trustees to guide the Fire Dept. through this kind stuff. Someone had to have gotten a heads up about this and it needed to be taken care of then.

On July 13, 2007 12:03 AM, croton_guy said:

Those cars by the Boat Basin were used by our volunteer Fire Department for training on Saturday the 7th. They’re gone now.

The Fire Department was trying to get land from the NYSDOT north of the now defunct Skate Park for a training facility, and I understand it was denied. Other options are being explored.

On July 12, 2007 1:03 PM, weewill said:

And a very good and valid comment by Dors about the lack of picnic tables. But even more to the point, let’s allow our parks to be enjoyed without excluding anyone without a Croton address. Neither Senasqua nor Black Rock are fully utilized and they are wonderful spots indeed. We should be proud of these treasures and be willing to share our natural gifts with our neighbors. We have the ability to ban anyone who abuses the privilege by not respecting the parks.


On July 12, 2007 12:31 PM, dors said:

Ah….but were they sitting at picnic tables? That was the original intent of this blog; the lack of picnic tables at Black Rock. Terrific the park was being utilized but I want to picnic at a table and not sit on the ground. I have an email in to Trustees Konig and Galelli about this issue. I’ll post if I get an answer.

On July 11, 2007 2:44 PM, weewill said:

I just passed by Black Rock Park a few minutes ago and saw a group of perhaps 12 or 15 young girls with 3 or 4 “grown ups” picnicing under the shade trees next to our beautiful Croton River. The adorable little girls were all dressed alike in dark black ankle length skirts, black cotton stockings and crisp white, long sleeved blouses. The temperature is hovering around 95 degrees. They were running and jumping and throwing stones into the water the way so many young people just love to do.

There was a mini-school van parked in the lot and 2 cars which I guessed to be chaperones’ cars. Because of the similarities in dress, I’m assuming they were from a nearby Yeshiva or Conservative School or Camp.

They were having a great time sharing and enjoying our beautiful Black Rock Park …. not bothering any one and no one bothering them.

And why not? It was a delight to see and the way it should be!


On July 1, 2007 7:48 PM, waffels said:

I think the village needs to utilize it’s position as the governing body that oversees approvals for items that the HMB assoc. may need in the future. They (HMB)need to be made aware that if they want exclusivity then they will pay the price. This was/is a friendly, very welcoming, civil and civic minded village long before HMB. I say we organize and storm the gates……..kidding, but I do feel that way sometimes….

On July 1, 2007 11:39 AM, Seth Davis said:

Those, Waffels, are questions that might only be resolved through litigation—something of which we already have too much.

On July 1, 2007 9:20 AM, weewill said:

Boy ….. this topic is generating an awful lot of hoopla!

Come on residents of Half Moon Bay …. aren’t we friends and neighbors? Do you really want to cut yourselves off from your neighbors? Why not say Good Morning and meet us? You just might make some new friends.

What’s the real fear?


On July 1, 2007 12:32 AM, Just The Facts said:

But, no real answers as to whether Canine Croton Residents are included in the easement or whether HMB can put items along the river walk (such as benches and tables) that can not be used by croton residents.

On June 30, 2007 10:49 PM, Seth Davis said:

Gee, I thought I answered those questions.

The walk is open to Village residents only—and their guests. Why? because that is what was negotiated when the project was first planned.

Do the state and county have a say? Not once a binding easement was recorded. Since HMB was built there have been other policies put in place that would make such an arrangement more difficult if a new project were being built.

On June 30, 2007 3:28 PM, waffels said:

Thank you Seth…..Is the walk open only to Croton Residents and if so why. Doesn’t the state and county have any say in the matter with regards to the Hudson access issue.

On June 30, 2007 9:24 AM, Seth Davis said:


I was on the Planning Board at the time so let me elaborate.

Access to the riverwalk was an absolute. The Village was not going to allow anything to be built there if access was to be cut off, and the easement that went into effect memorializes it. HMB cannot get out of that easement without the Village’s consent. No access, no development. It was a sine qua non.

The Village-only restriction was hotly debated—and mostly, to be truthful, before I got on the board. A key factor driving the developer’s concern was the narrowness of the property at the northern end. Look at how close the homes in the original phases are to the riverwalk, and you can appreciate the need for some restrictions.

Since then there has been state and county legislation that would practically require any riverfront development to give access to the entire public—and that’s probably a good thing. But back in 1986 this was the first new project between the tracks and the river, and this was a good pragmatic solution that accomplished the goals of rescuing a large unsightly piece of distressed property and giving the public access to the river that did not previously exist.

By the way, the dogs on the riverwalk issue is indeed a lot more complex than my off the cuff reaction. I am reminded of an incident of another Planning Board Chair—not Ann Gallelli, and not me—taking his dog for a walk on the HMB riverwalk, being stopped by the guard, and raising a big fuss.

Having now moved out of HMB I can tell you that they are in the midst of some difficult times reorganizing their owners association. Relations between HMB and the Village need to be improved, and both sides need to reach out. And, by the way, if anyone ever tried to close the gate there (and I am not aware of that ever happening) they would be quickly disabused of that motion. The access easement is a covenant that runs with the land, and bankruptcy or changes in ownership would not affect it.

Seth Davis

On June 29, 2007 4:04 PM, waffels said:

I don’t know if I am repeating something here but back in the early ????’s when the original plans for half moon bay were before the planning board one of the sticking points to the approvals was the river front access. After many meetings and back and forths the board finally got the aggreement that the river front would stay open and I believe to all not just Croton residents. This was a time when Croton looked to everybody not just it’s own. Anyway after the original builders went bankrupt and the units were basically being given away, the remaining owners up-rose and took over the complex shutting the Gate so to speak. They declared that because of the bankruptcy they didn’t have to honor the original aggreement. Very sleazy and does’t sound legal but I am not a lawyer. I’m pretty sure at that time there was a state wide effort to keep the river front open for all in some sort of long term “riverway” to go from NYC to Poughkeepsie. The bike path “tunnel” around halfmoon bay connecting to croton point is the result. Maybe this was the beginning of the exclusive, snobby get out of here mentality in the village, and this is why Croton should forever hold onto it’s water front because as soon as someone owns it the gates will go up. Also, if the HMB association ever comes before the village for anything this should be brought up and renegotiated. The river belongs to everyone and everyone should have the right to enjoy it.

On June 29, 2007 2:58 PM, Just The Facts said:

Ann Galleli attempted to answer my questions on the other thread, but didn’t really come to a conclusion.

I think in regard to both, it depends what the easement says. The property is definitely owned by HMB, but the question is whether or not that easement allows HMB to restrict access by croton residents along the path. For instance, I would think it would not permit HMB to build an expensive stone walkway over the entire stretch and say “croton residents must not walk on the stones that are HMB property, but instead jump around them”. Ridiculous as this may seem, some HMB may very well think this would be doable. Similarly, the question would arise as to whether or not HMB’s ability to prohibit dogs owned by residents would be applicable to village residents with an easment right to walk through the property with their dog on a leash.

On June 29, 2007 8:25 AM, Seth Davis said:


I am quite sure dogs are not allowed on the riverwalk. They are not allowed at HMB. This could be a case of the Village and HMB not communicating with each other—and that wouldn’t be the first time.

On those signs—it’s news to me and I don’t recall them being up there last year. The original intent was that that area was to be open to the Village. It may be that when the new phase of HMB was built (that’s where I used to live) something was changed. It may also be that the gazebo was built by HMB and not the Village, and that the restrictive conditions were attached then.

My point is simply that there are plenty of people at HMB who are not aware of the public access that Village residents have, and Village residents need to continue to exercise those rights.


On June 28, 2007 10:44 PM, Just The Facts said:

As far as walking dogs on the riverwalk in half moon bay, I specifically inquired about this in the rec dept offices and the manager there explicitly said there is no restriction on residents walking their dogs their. So whats the correct answer in this regard?

As far as the gazebo and the picnic tables there, if this is the case, I would suggest that someone of authority remove the offensive signs posted all over the gazebo that it is “private property for marina owners and their guests only”.

On June 28, 2007 7:24 PM, Seth Davis said:


The Half Moon Bay riverwalk is open to Village residents only.

The paved walkway (and bikeway) on the other side of HMB is open to all. They meet up just north of the bridge.

On June 28, 2007 6:41 PM, weewill said:

The village government is running out of illegal places to store and or dump unused equipment, sidewalk and road debris, tree trunks, yard waste, wood chips and so on. The mess at the old skatepark site on Municipal place is a disgrace. I haven’t been down to the canoe and kayuk launch you mention but watch out. This kind of activity spreads like a cancer.

We spent good money on reviewing and updating our environmental and zoning laws to prevent just this kind of illegal dumping, yet it continues and the village is one of the chief offenders.

Perhaps the code enforcement officers will stop off at Zetinias to have them clean up their alley, then proceed to the DPW offices to remind them there is no dumping at the Municipal Place site, and from there go on down to the canoe and kuyak launching place to check out the cars. And while he’s at it he should check out the multiple parking illegalities at the Croton Auto Park. When he’s finished with that he might want to follow up on the numerous illegal back-lit, oversized, unapproved signs throughout the village.

This kind of enforcement is at least as important as chasing non-residents from our exclusive parks and waterfront.

The Mayor made “beautifying the village” one of his major priorities when he took office and all these simple enforcement activities would go a long way toward reaching that goal. Trustee Brennan has squawked about illegal dumping for years. It’s time for action.


On June 28, 2007 3:59 PM, Gut-C said:

I went to canoe from the south end of the railroad station parking lot over the weekend and there are 3 junk cars sitting there with no plates. 1 looks like it was in a fire. Is this the new dumping ground for the village, or are they abandoned? They looked TERRIBLE sitting at the water front.

Anybody know what’s up?

On June 28, 2007 8:36 AM, waffels said:

All of us, resident and non resident alike? The river walk is open to all I hope…….Y/N……..if not, this I did not know…..Seth please clarify

On June 28, 2007 7:25 AM, Seth Davis said:

Just the Facts:

I lived at Half Moon Bay for 3 1/2 years, and the misconceptions and misinformation among residents there are startling. To the best of my knowledge, that gazebo is open to Village residents. That certainly was the intention when I was on the Planning Board at the time the project was approved. The riverwalk is open to Village residents—that fact is unalterable and was a non-negotiable condition for the very existence of HMB. And the gazebo was merely the first piece of what was supposed to be a larger public area, with a restaurant. (No restaurateur wanted to build one, but that’s another story)

HOWEVER: there have lately been some excesses, such as people biking on the riverwalk or walking dogs there (both are non-nos). I still get news of community goings on there, and there is a lot of concern about that sort of thing, which may have prompted your unfortunate encounter.

Bottom line: Keep on using that riverwalk! It belongs to all of us.

Seth Davis

On June 28, 2007 12:19 AM, Just The Facts said:

The exclusionary nature of many crotonites has really gotten to the point of ridiculousness.

Case in point, a few days ago my wife, my infant son and I sat at one of the tables that are near the gazebo immediately south of Half Moon Bay. Mind you all four tables were empty, none the less a passing half moon bay resident asked if I was a village resident to which I replied yes. Then he summarily told me “I will let it pass this time, but the tables are for half moon residents only”. Mind you we sat there for no more then ten minutes. I told him to call the police if he had a problem.

On June 27, 2007 12:14 PM, waffels said:

I don’t know al-asr but when I go to or pass by most of the croton parks with exception of silver lake on a hot day there really aren’t that many people around. On any given beautiful evening go by senasqua, vassallo, black rock and you won’t see that many people. The population of Croton really hasn’t gotten much bigger in the last 20 years, maybe the surrounding pop. but croton itself really hasn’t changed. The Hudson and Croton rivers are unbelievable natural wonders that should be available to all. Crotons policy for the parks is exclusive, excluding and really not very community minded or supportive of any kind of openness and understanding to our neighbors outside of the village. Most local parks on the river/rivers in Weschester or anywhere I have traveled are open to all and ours should be also……

On June 27, 2007 8:15 AM, al-asr said:

The reality is so many things are changing in small towns like Croton as well as in larger social and political arenas because of this: TMP. Too Many People! Population increase is the nut to many problem trees.

I too use to enjoy Mayo’s landing, Blackrock Park and even Silver Lake for that matter. As more and more folks began to use these areas over the years, I noticed there was always more of an opportunity for someone to behave disrespectfully towards others or the environment. Instead of feeding my blood pressure about it, I simply stopped using these places and sought other quiet spots that few know about (for now!!).

It really is a numbers game; the more folks, the greater chance of misbehavior. The more folks, the greater the need for more and more rules to cover the offensive behaviors. And let’s not even get into the ever present “safety and liability” issues. They alone tie the hands of most from any kind of enjoyment.

On June 26, 2007 9:27 PM, KWilly said:

What message is this sending? That arresting and harassing Hispanics and kids at Mayo’s Landing is ok. While they are getting harassed and arrested, the other day there was PARENT SANCTIONED teen drinking at Senasqua Park and the Police Cars that drove by many times patrolling did not even notice.

  • Kevin Davis

On June 26, 2007 9:04 PM, weewill said:

You are so right. The signs at the entrance to each of our parks should read something like ….. (As a matter of fact, maybe we should post it in each of the Gateway areas to the village so “outsiders” will get the message early and often.)

“No laughing; no smiling; no having fun. Keep off the grass and don’t talk to anyone that doesn’t act, look amd speak just like you. If you should see a stranger, by all means don’t say hello. Call an attendent immediately to make sure that person has a current Croton address. It makes no difference if they grew up here and moved away; no difference if their aged mom and dad still live here and they’ve come to visit and show their own children where they played and swam as a child. They must have a current Croton address. Whatever you do, don’t plan a birthday party for your child at any of the parks and invite a child from another town or village. And tell your children not to bring friends home from whatever school they might attend because that friend will not be welcomed at any of our parks.

I think it’s a shame that it’s come to this and it sure “Ain’t at all like it used to be.”


On June 26, 2007 8:52 PM, waffels said:

this is a very important issue…the walls are going up and the croton I grew up in, which was open, friendly, caring and accepting is now seemingly closed, suspicious, standoffish and excluding…..more people need to talk about this……


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