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May 24, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

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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Carriage Barn opening puts John Jay Homestead ‘on the map’


By EVE MARX
ANTHONY R. MANCINI

Peter Harckham, Melissa Vail, Wendy Ross and Heather Ianucci at the ribbon cutting for the new Carriage Barn at the John Jay Homestead on Sunday.

 

It’s been eight years in the creation, but the long-awaited Carriage Barn at the John Jay Homestead is now open to the public. “I am so happy to have this day come,” said Heather Iannucci, historic site manager, at a special preview for the press held at the Homestead last Wednesday.

The project, which was a total restoration of the original carriage barn Jay built in 1801, one of the earliest pieces of construction on the land he planned for his retirement home in Katonah, was many years in the making. The first obstacle was raising the money, which was accomplished in large part by the nonprofit Friends of the John Jay Homestead. In an eight-year $1.4 million project funded by grants from both the federal and state governments as well as private donations, the Carriage Barn’s exterior was first restored, then its interior. The restored building will now serve as an education and visitor’s center, open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from April through October.

“Fifty-thousand people visit the Homestead every year,” Ms. Iannucci said. “They take walks, they ride their horses, they picnic on the grounds, they visit the orchard and the gardens; but many of them never visit a historic building.”

The Carriage Barn, which opened to the public on May 19, provides a new level of service to the public. Its features include a viewing area for a 12-minute video about John Jay and the site; hands-on activity space to supplement student tours and programs; permanent and rotating exhibitions; computer stations with interactive educational components; an information desk; and a gift shop. Among the gifts are games and toys enjoyed by children during the Colonial era as well as books, postcards and activity kits. The Carriage Barn also provides a venue for small Homestead events and events for the community.

“This puts us finally on the map,” said board member Sascha Greenberg at the press event. “Having a visitor’s center makes all the difference in terms of national significance.”

Allison Bamford, another board member, noted the Homestead’s new logo, which is a circular charcoal orb surrounding the white-inked signature of John Jay. The new logo, designed by Michele Byrne, a graphic design artist who is a friend of a board member, is part of a rebranding effort and reflects a promising future for the Homestead as it progresses into the new century. John Jay took possession of the land in 1785 as part of the settlement of his father’s estate. For the first 16 years he owned the property he used it solely as a farming business.

The Carriage House was built when Jay decided to make Katonah his retirement home. It was built in steps. It started as a stone-and-mortar ground-floor structure for housing carriages. (The horses were kept in stables in the lower story of the coachman’s house across the way.) Later, a second story faced with clapboard was built to store hay and feed. Modifications and repairs were made along the way up into the 1950s while the family still resided in the house. With its wide sliding doors and concrete floor, the building was later an ideal place to house automobiles. In the 1960s, the building served as the downstate workshop of the Taconic State Park Commission’s building restoration staff. From the 1980s through 2001, it was the maintenance building for the Homestead’s State Historic Site.

Lewis Gleason, an architectural conservator with Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, was the principal architect for the restoration. “The Friends were our clients,” Mr. Gleason said, “but there was a lot of interaction with the State of New York.” He said that as with any project there were numerous delays and setbacks.

Wendy Ross, the Friends’ executive director, said that Lloyd Bedford Cox, a lifelong Bedford resident, was instrumental in keeping John Jay’s home from being sold to developers long ago. “He was the one who got New York State to take it over,” Ms. Ross said.

Ms. Iannucci is looking forward to the Carriage House being utilized. “We have five new discovery centers popping up on the property,” she said. “School groups are going to be using it.” On May 29, for example, students from Katonah Elementary School will be on the site for Colonial Day. Ms. Iannucci said that a child she became a history geek because of a single experience she had visiting an historic site.

“The main house is beautiful, but it’s not very child friendly,” she said. “Children need room to move around, and they enjoy experiences that are interactive.” Ms. Iannucci said that because the exhibits are always changing, every visit will be a unique experience. The Carriage Barn is now an extremely friendly and welcoming space. Horse tack for riding and carriages is hung on the walls, along with many charming old photographs from before the birth of the automobile. A company called Blue Rhino fabricated an exact replica of one of the Jay’s carriages that children can climb on. The video is first rate and can be enjoyed in a comfortable mini-theater fitted with beautiful sturdy benches. There is a small stable housing two life-size horse figurines and even a reading room with comfortable leather chairs. This past Sunday at the grand opening of the visitor’s center, Revolutionary war re-enactors performed, there were scavenger hunts and Colonial games, and children and their parents were invited to milk a mechanical cow.

“My total focus for two years has been the completion of the Carriage Barn,” Ms. Iannucci said. “Now it’s done and I can concentrate on my next goal, which is landscaping.” Heralding the success of the Saturday Farmers Market, she said her next project is bringing true farming back to the Homestead. “For starters, we’re no longer mowing 60 acres,” she said, with a small grin. “I’m beginning to work now with Intergenerate and the Food Bank of Westchester and Groundwork.org. I’ve become a professional loophole jumper.”

For more information about the Carriage House and the John Jay Homestead, visit www.johnjayhomestead.org.

The next event taking place at the Homestead is the Bedford Riding Lanes Association Spring Pace & Picnic on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. Advance registration is required for the pace; lunch tickets may be bought on-site. For more information, call 234-BRLA.



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