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My Take on Shopping in Croton

May 31, 2008

Crotonblog: Letters to the Editor, Croton-on-Hudson, New York 10520
To the editor:

Other day we had an article discussing about the closing of the Wondrous Things in Croton, that we should shop more in Croton then in other cities. Well, what I can say about shopping in Croton, is that I live here for a while and we don’t have much good places to shop around here. In my opinion, there are only a few friendly places on this town. I can name a few: Black Cow, Pircio’s Cleaners (which is very pricey), Gabe’s, and Forno II Pizza.

Regarding not-friendly places, there are a lot! In particular, the Croton Deli, which the lady is always in bad mood and the liquor store by Zetynia. This one in special, as last weekend the lady kicked me out of the store because I was trying to exchange a liquor which I had purchased a few minutes before. She said to me after we started to have an argument (in a very bad English): GO TO THE DEPARTMENT, IS MY BUSINESS I MADE THE RULES, YOU GO OUT OR YOU GO JAIL. SEE THERE (Pointing to the sign which says: NO REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES IN BROKEN BOTTLES). My bottle wasn’t broke, was just the wrong one. I will not put my feet on that store anymore.

Also, have you noticed that all the pizza places here, deli’s, etc,—people deal with the food and the money without washing the hands?

The Enterprise rent-a-car, at Croton Auto Park, is another place you should avoid. It is the worse Enterprise location EVER. They never have good condition cars, they take forever to answer the phone and they never hold a reservation that you make over the phone. Even if you make a reservation over the Internet and go there to pick up the car, it is never there.

— Eduardo Ferrari

On June 14, 2008 1:41 PM, weewill said:

I’ve been out of town for the past month and missed the aggressive pursuits of fault and blame in the on-going dialogue about the business climate here in Croton. As always, there are many things to be considered; the Mayor’s and Village Board’s actions or inactions, residents’ opinions and responsibility to patronize local business; and finally business owners’ courtesy and professionalism or lack thereof. All bear the pain and part of the blame game. It’s up everyone to participate in the solutions.

I sincerely hope the Mayor and Trustees will attend the forum this afternoon. It should not be construed as “us against them” in a partisan manner. This is our village and we should be grateful for every kind of leadership that’s offered, be it from Republicans, Democrats or every day citizens. That’s what this Economic Development Forum is all about. We need to speak, listen and consider all options.

Hope to see you at the Library this afternoon!


On June 13, 2008 11:35 AM, TeaDrinker said:

Crotonblog feels it is necessary to address certain objections voiced about our “Album of Shame” by explaining its origins. In August of 2007, we noticed the early signs of what would become Croton’s recession in commercial properties. Because the Schmidt administration was doing nothing about what we saw as an impending problem, we photographed Croton’s empty storefronts and commercial buildings and titled the collection, “Croton’s Album of Shame” to get Mayor Schmidt’s attention to the extent of the problem.

Here’s what we said about it on August 23 by way of an introduction; “Mark Twain once said, ‘Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Similarly, everybody talks about what to do with Croton’s inventory of empty commercial properties, but does anybody really know how many vacancies there are in Croton? Crotonblog decided to do something about it. And now we present for the record our ‘Album of Shame’ portraying every empty location.”

To divert the public’s attention away from his failure to do anything about commercial flight from the Village as the Village’s chief executive, because we had published a useful inventory of empty commercial properties, the Mayor began attacking Crotonblog publicly, charging us with “destroying” Croton-on-Hudson. In retrospect, we were wrong. We should have titled the collection of photos, “Mayor Schmidt’s Album of Shame.” Even after Croton’s recession became apparent to everybody, including the Mayor, it took a local developer, Kieran Murray, to form an ad hoc committee to address the problems of the Harmon area.

At a recent Village Board meeting, our hotheaded mayor went so far as to attack Mr. Murray and his committee staffed with professionals for rejecting the local Republicans’ attempt to pack the committee with additional members with no other visible qualifications other than that they would be more likely to defend our lethargic Mayor from criticism or blame. When Mr. Murray offered to resign from the committee he had formed, Mayor Schmidt hastily backpedaled and fell all over himself proclaiming unconvincingly that his words were not meant to be critical of Mr. Murray or his committee. Oh, yeah, Mr. Mayor? And Crotonblog is to be Queen of the May.

Lashing out unreasonably in public has become a more frequent habit of our Mayor Schmidt lately. If his irrational public behavior continues, readers can forget about our “Album of Shame.” Crotonblog may have to publish its more ambitious “Encyclopedia of Shame.”

‘Album of Shame’ & ‘Update’ Links:

On June 12, 2008 3:48 PM, TeaDrinker said:

While we’re handing out laurels and throwing brickbats, let’s remember The Gazette, which does next to nothing to take note of new businesses in Croton. As a community newspaper, it seems to have forgotten that part of its traditional journalistic job is also to call attention to new businesses that open in Croton. The Gazette gives endless space in its letters pages to the attack letters from the sorehead crowd that exchanges gushing compliments endlessly on the NCN blog because such letters save reportorial shoe leather. And, of course, the paper will take paid advertising from any new business. But the Gazette’s editor is too lazy to get off his duff and interview a new restaurateur or barber in the village. If there’s to be a sudden new spirit of brotherly love in Croton, then The Gazette ought to pull up its socks and get with the program. A couple of letters threatening subscription cancellation might do the trick.

On June 12, 2008 3:42 PM, TeaDrinker said:

In response to your defense of Maria Cudequest’s latest adventure as a roving photographer/cheerleader in Croton, I can see why you chose such a pseudonym as “Devil’s Advocate.” Very funny—and quite fitting indeed.

Wise words like, “a leopard never changes its spots,” could hardly be more appropriate with regard to someone like convicted vandal Maria Cudequest.

Further, I never understood why dear Mayor Schmidt keeps this lady so close to him. She’s like poison.

On June 12, 2008 1:51 PM, Devil's Advocate said:


Whether Maria is genuine or not is irrelevant to the majority of web surfers that stumble across her posts recently on North County News blog. The bottom line is that they read positive.

I am in no way condoning her tactics over the last 10 years and think she has been the most polarizing figure in our village for many years, however if we keep looking back, we will never move forward.

Perhaps if we acknowledge this small positive step, more will follow.

On June 12, 2008 12:25 PM, waffels said:

Devils advocate makes good points about the need to support what buisinesses we have in the community but is missing the Maria factor with regards to her “support”. Go back to the days of Elliot, Grant, Weigman, Watkins and a Democratic controlled board and she was the doom queen with regards to everything that is this village except her pet candidates. She is full of it and is extolling the positive business aspects of our village to make the mayor and his hench-people look better(?)….go back and check the records, come election time she would rant and rave about the business district or lack there of and blame the Democrats. This when Wondrous Things was still in place. Don’t believe her…….PS Maria C is still an anonymous post. There are many Maria C’s in cyber space…..

On June 12, 2008 11:23 AM, Seth Davis said:

In the spirit of unity and concern for this community I would like to endorse Devil’s Advocate’s proposal

On June 12, 2008 9:52 AM, Devil's Advocate said:

I have to draw attention to the positive spin Maria Cudequest is putting on local businesses on the North County News blog. I certainly do not agree with Maria’s positions and approach a good deal of the time, however in this instance I have to admit that she is doing this community a service by highlighting the positives in the upper village commercial district.

I think the Commerical Hall of Shame articles done by the Crotonblog may have been damaging to our community, not to the degree Cudaquest and crew say it did by no means, but it certainly doesn’t help.

On the flip side, Maria’s 10+ years of ranting, raving and sometimes vicious accusations about village officials and their motivations is equally if not more damaging than anything that appears on this blog. Remember, the village board meetings are on TV and the internet, and are certainly the first place a potential business owner would go to get a feel for the village before making a decision to open a business here.

While I am at it, I think it is absolutely rediculous that the Concerned Citizens of Croton crew uses the North County News blog and others use the Crotonblog. So I am issuing the following challenge:

1) Crotonblog - Unbanish Maria C. from this blog and reach out to her consituents to engage in dialogue on this site. Use your incredible writing talent to highlight issues important to the village in a non bias way. If you would like to make your personal opinions known, do it through the comments section. Also, remove Commercial Hall of Shame archives from this site, it is damaging to the village. Also, leave peoples personal business out of articles unless it is truly relevent (and im sure people with your intelligence know when it is and isnt).

2) Maria C. and CCC, Stop the public televised attacks on politicians and their motivations, it looks really bad when watching from home. Remember they are volunteers and give their time for the betterment of our village. Stop calling anonymous posters “cowards” and the like. People have their own reasons for staying anonymous (like not wanting to have their children associated with their opinions at school for instance). It is rediculous to dismiss any blog post for any reason other than its content. Maria, check your tone when speaking in public. You come across as condescending which makes people turn off to what are very good points you make at times.

3) Greg Schmidt, Tom Brennan and Sue Konig. You absolutely need to do something about the insane attack on this blog at Board Meetings. It makes this village look like it is run by a bunch of insane fascists. This needs to be addressed at the next televised board meeting. It was REALLY, REALLY BIZARRE!!!

If either side rejects my challenge, I would love to know your rationale. We need to let the past go and use this great online tool to move this village forward.

On June 10, 2008 3:26 PM, Tom Moore said:

I just got a haircut in the new barbershop next to Cap’s 1. Nice haircut and a very friendly guy giving out haircuts. I save gas money from driving down to O town to get a haircut.

On June 10, 2008 3:14 PM, greengurl said:

i have to agree with mr. red and dors as i do believe that how you are being will affect the outcome of your experience. i have never had a bad experience in the liquor shop next to zeytinia nor the blue pig. attitude is everything.

blogs are venues for self expression and i appreciate that however; i find all of the complaining about business owners really, really, really, boring.

On June 9, 2008 3:01 PM, crotonmomof3 said:

I’m hoping that someone who is friendly with the owner of the Blue Pig will give her a heads-up: please see the comments about your store!!

We all love the Pig, and we would hate to see the business leave Croton. Please hear what your customers are saying, which is that we won’t bring our families there if we are treated rudely! It’s not too late to turn things around.

On June 9, 2008 12:38 PM, Seth Davis said:

Only when absolutely necessary, waffels.


On June 9, 2008 11:48 AM, waffels said:

Seth…….you’re back!…..nice to hear from you…..

On June 9, 2008 11:34 AM, Tom Moore said:

I have lived in Croton going on 15 years. I have watched many stores change. At one time only one pizza shop delivered food. Now everyone delivers everything. The blue pig takes ads out in every school journal yearbook etc etc. Dom’s gas station is a very Croton friendly to every organization looking for something Ads, etc. Small business owners are always trying for more business, so I guess they are still in business because they can pay the rent and put food on the table. J & J’s is a great place for our young people to hang and eat at. They can’t do enough for all the kids.

I happen to like the small business owners in Croton. Help them by spending your money in their stores.

On June 6, 2008 9:22 PM, dors said:

Yea, I gotta jump in too. Sparky…go ahead and open a bakery, please. I’ll definitely come in and buy a cruller.

As far as Mrs. Kim and her liquor store no one can complain about her stock. She has a good selection at competitive prices. Her demeanor however, does leave a lot to be desired. Might it simply be a cultural difference? She obviously has not assimilated into ‘our’ laid back chatty approach to customer service. I regularly shop there and she asks about my family everytime. How one approaches another person sets the mood for reciprocal behavior. Say good day, ask about her day, comment on the weather. She is a hard working woman who earns every cent she makes.

I will not disagree with any of the comments of the Blue Pig…’nuf said.

Mr. Red said it best, a smile and a hello goes a long way. We all need to continue shopping in Croton every chance we can. Get to know the people in your village. We have some real gems and some ‘real gems’.

On June 6, 2008 8:34 AM, Mr. Red said:

Everytime I encounter some grumpiness at our local establishments, I always try to crack a joke or I ask the server to give me a smile. It always works.

Try it sometime, maybe you’ll get a different reaction.

On June 6, 2008 7:43 AM, Seth Davis said:

I’ve got to jump in here.

Jim Anfiteatro and his father Dom have provided loyal, excellent service to my family for over 50 years. Any number of times they or their employees have gone the extra mile (literally, in some cases) to help us or provide extra service. They have also helped the community in many ways.

They are a Croton treasure and have a legion of long-time customers who will give similar testimonials.

On June 5, 2008 9:54 PM, sparky said:

That liquor store near Zeytinia was the first store in Croton I stopped shopping in when I realized how incredibly nasty the woman who worked there could be. Rude, nasty and obviously with no knowledge of customer service.
The woman who owns the Blue Pig always seems to have a puss on her face. She looks frenzied and harried all the time and makes us feel quite unwelcome. The best store in town is the Croton Deli over by Capriccio I. Great sandwiches, nice people. Also, Capriccio of course.
Oh, another owner with a chip on his shoulder is the guy who owns Dom’s Auto (Jim). Naaaasty! And do we really need all those nail salons? A good bakery would be nice.

On June 2, 2008 9:22 AM, SSmith said:

let’s not forget the “lovely” attitude towards kids - HER BIGGEST SUPPORTERS - that the “friendly” owner of the blue pig continues to exhibit. the horror stories of her continue anew this ice cream season. i know of many families who have stopped patronizing her business because she is just plain old nasty to her customers. it’s a shame b/c obviously our village needs unique businesses like that.

the prices for the blue pig’s very average tasting ice cream are absolutely outrageous & have been for many years; but then to have to hear about how she loses it when kids drop something or accidentally knock something over in her store is enough to drive more customers away!! i always thought ice cream and messy (very excited) kids were synonymous…but i guess not in her store.

On June 1, 2008 6:22 PM, crotonres said:

I agree with you on Enterprise. And sadly it looks as if Forno is now gone.


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