My wife and I have lived in Croton for almost a half-century. In 1963, having returned from living in Turkey and tired of coping in a New York hotel, we bought the first house we were shown. It was in Harmon. We’re still in that house. Over the years I fell in love with Croton’s history and wrote extensively about it for The Gazette and in my own blog, “Postscripts.”
The Harmon Committee’s proposal has many faults. Chief among them is their intention to destroy a historic building. At the northeast corner of Benedict Boulevard and South Riverside Avenue stands a nondescript structure housing a nail salon. Under the Harmon Committee’s plan, it’s slated for destruction. How sad if that were to happen. What stories it could tell.
It was the very first building constructed in Harmon. It was the sales office from which Clifford Harmon peddled his lots to city dwellers seeking inexpensive homes in the country. It was once the Harmon post office. Some villages would have already restored it, and it would be serving as a visitors’ center. In the mistaken notion that a building spree during an economic downturn will cause customers and tenants to flock magically to Harmon, this committee that doesn’t give a damn about history wants to raze Harmon’s first building, erect a three-story monstrosity, pave the remaining area and make it a parking lot. What’s next? The Van Cortlandt Manor House?
The time has come to put a stop to this nonsense. Any village that forgets its past has not much of a future. I call on all who love Croton’s rich history to rise up in protest. I also have a message for the Harmon Committee. Its membership includes self-appointed chairman Kieran Murray, a developer hell-bent on remaking Harmon for his own purposes, and members Joe Biber, Jeremy Ezra, Julie Evans, Doug Wehrle, and Leo Wiegman. By their passivity and silence, members have given tacit approval to Mr. Murray’s frequent spontaneous outbursts of irrational rants and rages.
Those who love Croton’s history are not going to stand idly by and let this committee destroy Harmon’s oldest building through irresponsible planning. Our response is taken from the film “The Searchers,” now a classic in the Western genre. It’s John Wayne’s laconic line, “That’ll be the day.”