APRIL 25, 2014


Holding on to train station is worth the effort


There is a gaping hole in Bedford Hills — the vacant Bedford Hills train station. As a leading commuter hub on the Metro-North line, the track and waiting area are thronged with commuters. But 50 yards away, the station stands empty. It has been that way since the closing of Mark’s Time, a clock and watch store, after its owner Mark Reichbach’s death last year. With Metro-North holding a 272-year lease on the property, the town of Bedford is seeking to buy or rent the building and reinstall a commercial enterprise in the hamlet. Right now the station is in a sort of legal limbo as various parties involved work to resuscitate it.

The railroad station opened in 1847 as a depot for dairy farmers in the community who shipped their milk to New York City. As a hub, Bedford Hills was originally called Bedford Station. At the turn of the century, area residents and leaders felt that Bedford Hills was more reflective of the growing community, and the name of the hamlet was formally changed in the spring of 1910.

It wasn’t until 1907 that the station house was built at a cost of $13,514. Writing in the 1980s, Jaap Ketting, the late historian of Bedford Hills, described it as “an elegant small building that looks stylishly dated today.”

In 2012, the MTA announced a systemwide sell-off of its stations. Bedford’s supervisor Lee Roberts and the town board began looking at the purchase of the station from the MTA for $655,000. At the time, the town held off after doing due diligence, which revealed a complicated chain of ownership. They discovered that the building isn’t owned by the MTA but rather by Midtown Trackage Ventures — it wasn’t the MTA’s to sell.

In addition, officials discovered that any sale could be blocked by a deed clause reverting the station back to the heirs of Bedford Hills’ historical Griffin family, the original owners, if it were not used for railroad purposes.

Now, two years later at the March meeting of the Bedford Hills Neighborhood Association, supervisor Chris Burdick said the town is reconsidering its options.

Mr. Burdick said the town is interested in owning the building outright but that Midtown Trackage Ventures — the company that also owns Grand Central Terminal — is not interested in selling. Instead, the MTA would like to sell its long lease to the town. With a reasonable price, this makes the most sense. It gives the town a choice of tenants, provides public access and earns revenue. Even with substantial renovations necessary — first and foremost windows — it’s a property the town should hold on to.

With empty storefronts at the corner of Babbitt Road and Main Street, along with vacancies along Depot Plaza, the train station remains the soul of Bedford Hills. The station should be more than a mere pass-through for commuters on the way to Grand Central Station or elsewhere; it could be a cultural and commercial hub.

The town should move full steam ahead to acquire control of this signature property.


Running for Mother Earth

The Boston Marathon wasn’t the only run of note this week.

This is the weekend of the 28th annual Leatherman’s Loop, one of the most iconic races in the country. Runners from around the country arrive to be, well, tortured, as they run over rocks, 45-degree hills and sand banks before trudging through streams and mud. Weather never cancels this race, which often features runners splattered and weary by the finish. The path of the grueling 10K event is said to map the trail of the famous Leatherman, who was fed by neighbors along his accustomed route, which took him from Westchester and through southern Connecticut during the 19th century.

The Leatherman’s Loop was founded by four trail-running friends in 1987. Tony Godino, Dave Cope, Ken Littlefield and Pete Thompson had run and explored every inch of trails in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and even created a few of their own. Some of these trails are now part of the park’s official trail system.

The race even drew the attention of the world-renowned ultramarathoner Micah “El Caballo Blanco” True, the subject of author Chris McDougal’s paean to the sport, “Born to Run.” Mr. True, who died in March 2012, lived with the Tara Humara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. A Lakota Indian from North Dakota named Tiokasin, also known as “Ghosthorse,” acted as the race’s offical starter.

The Leatherman’s Loop, embedded as it is in the natural surroundings of the reservation only 40 miles from the nation’s largest metropolis, is a tribute to the preservation and health of our environment.

“People run for many causes,” Tiokasin said in 2011. “The runners here today should run for Mother Earth.”

The Loop start time is 9 a.m. Spectators are welcome. This is a local event not to be missed and a great time to appreciate the natural challenges of our land.


Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

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NEWSSTAND LOCATIONS

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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