Space Invaders Offers Virtual Tour of Cool Office Space in Yonkers

By | News

Move over Netflix, Yonkers is on-demand.

Yonkers – the best kept secret in the New York metropolitan area – has launched a new series of online videos showcasing the incredible commercial office space that the city has to offer.

Called Space Invaders, the videos showcase the incredible variety of affordably priced office space in Yonkers. With just by a click of a button, viewers can take a virtual tour of some of the great buildings and loft spaces available along the Yonkers waterfront and throughout its downtown and former industrial areas.

The videos, which are part of the highly successful Generation Yonkers marketing campaign, highlight four unique office properties located at iPark Lofts, 86 Main Street, 28 Wells Avenue, and the former Alexander Smith Carpet Mills at 500 Nepperhan Avenue. With high ceilings, original hardwood floors and spectacular Hudson River views overlooking the majestic Palisades, these properties offer businesses a creative and appealing office environment that appeals to today’s growing workforce of Millennials.

“Word is getting out that Westchester’s hippest city has so much to offer,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “And we don’t plan on stopping. I want everyone, from business owners and executives to artists and designers to see all that Yonkers has to offer. Space Invaders will do just that with an engaging virtual tour of some of the city’s most exciting office space.”
Along with its attractive and affordable office space, breathtaking waterfront views and fabulous restaurants, Yonkers is only a 25-minute train commute to Midtown Manhattan, making it accessible and convenient to most locations in New York City, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey. Among the companies that have discovered the many benefits of doing business in Yonkers are Mindspark, ContraFect and The Energy Project.
The Generation Yonkers campaign highlights the city’s unique assets and qualities while positioning Yonkers as one of the metropolitan area’s next great place to live, work and play. It is an initiative that also speaks to Millennials or Generation Y, which represents the next big wave of the nation’s workforce.
For more information, visit Be part of it.

NewYork-Presbyterian Launches Physician Enterprise to Advance Care in the New York Metro Area

By | News

The new initiative will broaden and expand healthcare delivery across the NewYork-Presbyterian continuum of care

NY, NEW YORK (July 16, 2015) — NewYork-Presbyterian has launched a new physician enterprise with the NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Groups (NYPMG) to increase access to primary care, NewYork-Presbyterian’s leading healthcare services and world-renowned specialists. In collaboration with ColumbiaDoctors and Weill Cornell Physicians, the new physician enterprise will offer coordinated care delivery throughout the region with an initial focus on Westchester, Queens and Brooklyn.

“The NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Groups are engaged in a major initiative to bring NewYork-Presbyterian’s distinguished and celebrated patient-centered care directly to communities,” said Dr. Laura L. Forese, president, NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, “NYPMG will be clinically integrated through state-of-the-art technology with ColumbiaDoctors and Weill Cornell Physicians to facilitate patient access to world-class care.”
Patients will experience enhanced service through the use of advanced technology that will enable same-day appointments at physician practices and access to medical records online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Groups are designed to suit the needs of our patients, physicians and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Michael Nochomovitz, senior vice president and chief clinical integration and network development officer of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System. “We are creating a national model for healthcare delivery in the most unique healthcare market in the nation.”
The NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Groups will initially include providers in Lawrence Medical Associates, Westchester Medical Practice and New York Queens Medicine and Surgery which will be renamed NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group/Westchester, NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group/Hudson Valley and NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group/Queens, respectively.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital:
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive hospitals and a leading provider of inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine. With some 2,600 beds and more than 6,700 affiliated physicians and almost 22,000 employees, NewYork-Presbyterian had more than 2 million visits in 2014, including some 14,000 infant deliveries and more than 262,000 emergency department visits. NewYork-Presbyterian comprises six campuses: NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. The hospital is also closely affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area, according to U.S. News & World Report, and consistently named to the magazine’s Honor Roll of best hospitals in the nation. Affiliated with two world-renowned medical schools, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. For more information, visit


Simone Says It’s Time to Repurpose Suburban Office Parks

By | News, Press, Press Releases, Public Relations

simone.gordonWHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (June 23, 2015) – The transformation of the suburban real estate market and its economy over the next 20 years will entail repurposing office space with a smart combination of healthcare uses, residential and light retail, a leading commercial developer told an audience of more than 100 business leaders at the Business Council of Westchester’s Leadership Conversations Series.

Joseph Simone, President and CEO of Simone Development Companies, said Westchester must modernize its antiquated office parks — particularly along the I-287 corridor – and repurpose existing buildings to reflect significant shifts and consolidations in the healthcare industry; changing housing needs for young professionals that are near public transportation and advances in new technologies. “The suburbs are going to be repurposed for other, higher and better uses,” Simone said. “Things have to be done way more efficiently.”

Simone’s remarks were part of fascinating 45-minute interview between Simone and Business Council CEO Marsha Gordon. Topics discussed included Simone’s role in creating with the first “bedless” hospital with Montefiore Health Systems; his company’s plans to transform the Boyce Thompson property in Yonkers and the explosive growth of New York City’s outer boroughs that will no doubt lead to opportunities for Westchester’s urban centers, notably Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and White Plains. Referring to the urban centers, he said, “That’s where young people are going to live. But you have to provide public transportation.”groupshot

Simone knows of what he speaks. Simone Development Companies is a full-service real estate investment company that owns and manages more than 5 million square feet of property in Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, Long Island and Connecticut. Under Simone’s visionary leadership, the company has been in the forefront of partnering with major healthcare providers to create turnkey ambulatory medical facilities in the New York metropolitan area, with over 2 million square feet of new healthcare and medical office space currently built or in development.

In Westchester, Simone Development recently completed a state-of-the-art medical office building for WESTMED Medical Group at the Purchase Professional Park; it is the first new office building to be constructed on the I-287 corridor in more than 25 years. Simone Development earlier this month broke ground on an innovative project that will transform the former Boyce Thompson horticultural complex in Yonkers into a modern mixed-use development featuring professional offices, medical space, retail stores, bank and restaurants.

During the conversation, Simone cited significant changes and monumental shifts that are happening in the healthcare industry that are creating a need for more efficient systems. The great news, he added, was that these changes are going to create new jobs and opportunities, and necessitate colleges and universities train students for careers in healthcare. He said these advances will reverberate into throughout the economy.

In describing why his visionary approach to real estate development has worked so well, Simone said: “It’s about fulfilling a need. If you fulfill people’s need, you will be successful.”


“Joe Simone’s vision and approach are fascinating and we appreciate that he shared his insight with our members,” Gordon said. “It’s clear that he is playing a key role in transforming the New York Metropolitan real estate market now and for years to come.”

crowd1The June 22 event, which was held at 42 Restaurant and Events in White Plains, was the third in a series of Leadership Conversations held by the Business Council that are sponsored by First Niagara Bank. Previous speakers have included Dr. Steven Safyer, President and CEO of Montefiore Health System and Dr. Leonard Schleifer, founder and CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Jazz Fest Returns to White Plains This September

By | News, Press Releases, Public Relations
White Plains resident and local prodigy Julius Rodriquez of Orange Julius and the Big Beat.

White Plains resident and local prodigy Julius Rodriquez of Orange Julius and the Big Beat.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (June 22, 2015) – ArtsWestchester is pleased to announce the return of the White Plains Jazz Fest, one of the county’s premier music festivals. Presented in collaboration with The City of White Plains and the White Plains BID, Jazz Fest 2015 is a four-day jazz celebration featuring seven live music concert events.

Spanning from Thursday, September 24 through Sunday, September 27, the festival lineup includes Grammy awards winners, established jazz and blues musicians, emerging artists, performance poetry and a tasty array of dining options that promise a great cultural experience for everyone from jazz aficionados and enthusiasts to families and casual listeners.

The concerts are either free or affordably priced and the venues are conveniently located throughout downtown White Plains and accessible by public transportation.

“You won’t find a better or more diverse ensemble of musicians and bands in Westchester County in September,” said Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. “Whether it’s Latin, Brazilian or Contemporary jazz or even the acoustic blues, the White Plains Jazz Fest is going to be rich with live performances by outstanding musicians. We’re so pleased to be able to bring such high quality entertainment to Westchester residents and visitors this fall.”

White Plains Jazz Fest events include:

· September 24 at 8:00pm: The South American Jazz Project at ArtsWestchester. Led by Daniel Freiberg, Grammy award winning composer, arranger, pianist and producer from Buenos Aires, Argentina, the South American Jazz Project explores the rhythms and melodies from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Perú from a Jazz point of view. Freiberg has collaborated in projects with Marc Anthony, Stephane Grapelli, Paquito D’Rivera, and The Wynton Marsalis Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, among many other artists. Admission is $20.

· September 25 at 12:10 pm: Downtown Music at Grace Church: Jazz Faculty of the Music Conservatory of Westchester. The Westchester Music Conservatory Jazz Faculty will perform at the Downtown Music at Grace Church. This will feature Guitarist Greg Diamond, who will perform classics and original compositions of Latin Jazz. This guitarist has been an emerging force of contemporary Latin jazz and has been a semi-finalist at the Gibson International Jazz Guitar Competition hosted by the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Admission is free.

· September 25 at 8:00 pm at ArtsWestchester: Women of the Piedmont Blues. A memorable evening that unites some of the key practitioners of the acoustic blues on the East Coast, Eleanor Ellis, Jackie Merritt, Resa Gibbs, Valerie Turner, and Poet Gold. Presented by the ArtsW Folk Arts Program in cooperation with Admission: $20

· September 26 at 2:00 p.m. -4:00 pm at the Music Conservatory of Westchester: Latin Jazz Workshop. Learn about Latin Jazz concepts and instruments – clave, montuno, tumbao – and the music of its masters like Toto Puente, Cal Tjader and Hilton Ruiz. Free admission.

· September 26 at 3:00 pm. Slam Poetry Performance at White Plains Library. The White Plains Library Poetry Slam will host an afternoon of performance poetry featuring the Duende Project. The Duende Project is a poetry and music project created by Tony Brown, veteran performance poet; Steve Lanning-Cafaro, Chris Lawton and Chris O’Donnell. Free admission.

· September 26 at 8:00 p.m. at the White Plains Performing Arts Center- Brazil Meets Jazz. White Plains Jazz Fest presents, in association with the White Plains Performing Arts Center, a concert of Brazilian jazz featuring: Brazil Meets Jazz, with Grammy-nominated Brazilian Trio featuring Helio Alves, piano, Nilson Matta, bass and Duduka Da Fonseca, drums, with Maucha Adnet, vocals, and Mark Morganelli, flugelhorn. Admission $35/$25©CharlesSeton groupshot

· September 27 at 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 pm: Jazz and Food Fest. Located at the Mamaroneck Avenue Stage, there will be food and a full day of music performances. This includes Orange Julius and the Big Beat; a six piece ensemble led by 16-year-old local prodigy Julius Rodriquez, Doug Munro and Big Boss Bossa Nova with Charlie Lagond, Rocky Middleton Quintet, Sherry Winston, a master electric flutist and the John Patitucci Quartet.
Free admission.

For tickets and to learn more, visit


Yonkers Wins ‘Hippest Town’ Contest

By | News

YONKERS, NY – (June 1, 2015) — The City of Yonkers today was declared the “Hippest Town” in the Hudson Valley by popular vote on The Journal News’ website Yonkers beat out seven other towns and cities over the last month, taking the title by winning over Peekskill in the final round.
Yonkers Hippest Town1

In celebrating the win, Mayor Mike Spano today joined residents and business leaders at a local restaurant, Rory Dolans, for the announcement.

“We always knew Yonkers was the hippest town and the place to be,” said Mayor Spano. “Yonkers has everything from our beautiful waterfront and bustling business districts, to an emerging arts community and growing population of Millennials, to our top-notch shopping and dining. LoHud’s poll reconfirmed what so many in the Hudson Valley and beyond have known for years: Yonkers is the place to live, work and play.”

In recent weeks, The Journal News, through its website,, held the online voting competition and bracketed readers top choices into eight towns and cities, Those were whittled down into four Elite Eight pairings, which gave way to two Final Four brackets. Voters eventually chose their top two towns – the City of Peekskill and the City of Yonkers.

The two mayors held a friendly wager whereby the runner-up would foot the bill at the other mayor’s local restaurant of choice.

“Congratulations to Mayor Catalina and Peekskill for the friendly competition,” added Mayor Spano. “I look forward to calling in our wager and showing what so many people in the Hudson Valley believe and voted for. I’m excited for our trip to Empire City Casino and 5-star restaurant, X20’s.”

In LoHud’s story declaring Yonkers the winner, the news website characterized the victory as “just another feather in the cap of this newly revitalized powerhouse city, which in recent years has invested heavily in the arts, riverfront development and a stronger, safer, hipper downtown business district. (Campaigns) like Generation Yonkers have reached out to the growing Millennial demographic, ensuring Yonkers’ future growth as these young professionals build their lives in the lower Hudson Valley.”

Business owners who have invested in the city were ecstatic with the win and said it shows how great the city is as a destination.
“We are a beautiful city rooted in a rich history and our current growth doesn’t leave that foundation behind,” said John Rubbo, BrewEO of Yonkers Brewing Co. located in Yonkers downtown and waterfront area. “The city offers an array of dining, entertainment, shopping, and more. The Waterfront alone offers a culinary journey from American to Italian to Cuban, dance and arts studios, luxury apartments and of course their very own brewery. To be in competition with places like Peekskill, Nyack, Dobbs Ferry and others is really an honor. Westchester County has so much to offer and being able to showcase our cities like this is important!”
“Yonkers is a suburban community with an urban vitality,” added Peter X. Kelly of X2O Xaviars on the Hudson, “and I am proud to be part of its diversity.”

Yonkers, just 30 minutes by train to Grand Central Station, is New York’s fourth largest city. With fabulous restaurants and entertainment and an enviable location in the New York Metropolitan area, the city is attracting a new generation of business leaders who value an exceptional quality of life and affordable, flexible and accessible commercial office space and lofts for rent in Yonkers.

DSC_0497-editwebThe Generation Yonkers campaign, which was developed last year, builds on the momentum of many new businesses and exciting development happening throughout the city — particularly along its scenic Hudson River waterfront. It speaks to Millennials or Generation Y, loosely defined as those born between 1983 and the early 2000’s that represent the next big wave of the nation’s workforce.

Be part of Generation Yonkers. To learn more, call 1-844-GenY-Now, or visit

Media Contacts:
Christina Gilmartin
Communications Director, Office of the Mayor
City Hall: 914-377-6208
Cell: 914-512-4017

Jerry McKinstry
Thompson & Bender
(914) 762-1900

ArtsWestchester Awarded National Endowment for the Arts Grant

By | News, Press Releases

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded ArtsWestchester a $35,000 grant to support an exhibition that will explore notions of gender and femininity.

In winning the prestigious award, ArtsWestchester is among 1,023 organizations receiving grants that are supporting exhibitions and promoting opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.

ArtsWestchester’s planned exhibition is called SHE: Deconstructing Female Identity. It will feature new and commissioned work created by Westchester and Hudson Valley artists who address ideas of gender and femininity in the 21st century. The exhibition will showcase emerging artists alongside those with established careers, including Laurel Colvin Garcia, Debbie Han, Rebecca Mushtare, Mari Ogihara, Kathy Ruttenberg, Tricia Wright, Nancy Davidson, Marcy B. Freedman and Barbara Segal.

A planned opening is set for March 2016 during Women’s History Month at ArtsWestchester’s gallery in the ArtsExchange building, 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, in White Plains.

“Femininity and gender thread all aspects of society and culture, and what better way to explore those issues than through the arts,” said Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. “We’re grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts and our federal representatives for supporting such an important and worthwhile exhibition.”

The NEA awarded a total of $74.3 million in this round of funding; it’s the second major funding announcement made by the organization in 2015.

“The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States,” NEA Chairman Jane Chu said. “Funding these new projects like the one from ArtsWestchester represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrision, are avid supporters of the arts and ArtsWestchester, the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“Investments in the arts help bolster creativity and showcase our community’s talent and I am glad these funds will support local artists through ArtsWestchester,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The new exhibit will showcase the works of both emerging and established artists, and I hope their talents will inspire creativity in all who visit the exhibit.”

“The arts are an important part of our regional identity,” said Rep. Lowey. “I’m pleased these federal investments will help ArtsWestchester support local artists who are telling amazing stories that enrich the Lower Hudson Valley. As Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit To learn more about ArtsWestchester, visit To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring2015.

Yonkers on the Rise with its Stars

By | News

Yonkers has its share of stars — Ella Fitzgerald, Jon Voight, Steven Tyler, DMX, Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga (depending on who you listen to.)

The list is long and actually pretty cool when you think about who has come from the City of Gracious Living, or The Y-O as some of my contemporaries call it.

But for my money, it’s the lesser known folks that make Yonkers the place that is: a genuine mix of city, suburban, hip and happening — a city on the move.

Capture That’s the underlying message of our Generation Yonkers campaign. It builds on the momentum of many new businesses (like Yonkers Brewery, Alamo Draft House and others) and exciting development happening throughout the city — particularly along the scenic Hudson River waterfront.

The campaign speaks to Millennials, or Generation Y, loosely defined as those born between 1983 and the early 2000’s that represent the next big wave of the nation’s workforce and the group that  –priced out of places like Brooklyn and Hoboken — likes what they’re seeing in Yonkers.

It respects the city’s history, and looks to its future.

To that point, nearly 25 percent of The Business Council of Westchester’s Rising Stars winners work, live or are affiliated with Yonkers. The winners come from a variety of backgrounds and represent the diversity and breadth of the city’s economy and its workforce. Media, medical, public safety, brewing, technology and education to name a few.

The Yonkers winners are:
• Amit Rajani, CEO, General Dentist, Yonkers Avenue Dental
• John Rubbo, Founder and “Brew-EO,” Yonkers Brewing Company
• John White III, Firefighter, City of Yonkers Fire Department
• Jaime McGill, Executive Director, Yonkers Industrial Development Agency
• Richard Giacovas, Producer/on air talent, News 12
• Donvil Collins, Founder & President, VeeKast
• Christopher Phillips Senior Vice President, Product Platform and Technology, Mindspark Interactive.
• Jamell Scott, Dean of Scholars and Families/Athletic Director Amani Public Charter School.
• Jennifer Bannan, Director of Marketing and Advertising for Thompson & Bender, the marketing, advertising and communications firm that created the Generation Yonkers campaign.

Mayor Mike Spano recently congratulated the winners for the honors — and understands they are a good representation of the GenY campaign.
“We’ve always known that Yonkers has great people and great businesses, so I’m pleased to see many of our current and future leaders recognized for their contributions,” Mayor Spano said. “Yonkers is a great city to live and work and that’s clear from our Rising Stars winners.”

The Business Council of Westchester’s Rising Stars program is modeled after the national business recognition program “Forty under Forty” and Rising Stars is specifically designed to recognize individuals under the age of 40 who exemplify leadership, foresight and a vision for the future of Westchester County. Winners were selected based on professional and/or entrepreneurial accomplishments, demonstrated leadership qualities and professional and/or business affiliations.

It’s no surprise to me that Yonkers is well represented among the 40 winners. The city is attracting many Rising Stars. Be part of it at @Generation Yonkers.



The BCW Opens New Offices, Launches Re-Branding Campaign

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grandopening1 More than 250 members of the business community turned out last night for The Business Council of Westchester’s grand opening at its new address at one of Westchester’s premier office buildings.

In celebrating the move to 800 Westchester Avenue in Rye Brook with its members and local dignitaries, The Business Council also unveiled its new logo, branding and strategic initiatives aimed at helping members and growing the county’s economy.

“At The Business Council of Westchester, we are committed to helping our members build their businesses and connect with likeminded leaders – all with an eye for growing the regional economy,” said Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester. “Our new look and new location, coupled with enhanced programming and impressive speakers does just that. We’re incredibly pleased to be moving ahead on so many exciting fronts.”

The Business Council recently moved its headquarters from Corporate Park Drive in White Plains to 800 Westchester Avenue in Rye Brook where it is leasing approximately 4,400 square feet of office space with access to an elegant cafeteria with executive dining room, conference center, board room and indoor parking.

In addition to the new space, The BCW unveiled its new logo, messaging and branding as well as an augmented programming that will include some of the region’s most innovative and provocative thought-leaders and decision makers. (Thompson & Bender created the new logos and branding.)

The new look Business Council was developed in response to a detailed survey completed by its membership in early 2015. As a result, The BCW will continue to serve members in its traditionally successful ways through its signature events such as networking, Hall of Fame, Rising Stars and the Annual Dinner, yet expand with a laser-like focus in areas that members identified as integral to businesses, including business and corporate leadership; government and advocacy; and creating a sustainable and economically strong future in Westchester County.

To help support these efforts, The Business Council will be rolling out its new website,, in the coming months.Bender.Thompson.McKinstry

“We’re building on the success of our popular Conversations and Speakers Series, and expanding into the areas of technology, advertising, media and information,” Gordon added. “When coupled with our already impressive lineup of leaders and programming, this growth will ensure that we serve members in an ever-changing business environment.”

At the grand opening, County Executive Robert P. Astorino praised The BCW and encouraged leaders to get involved with Westchester’s largest business membership organization.

“Westchester County is working hard to attract new businesses to the county, and The Business Council of Westchester is a great partner,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “The Business Council is an invaluable resource, and the new office is a testament to the strength of the organization and the dynamism of Westchester.”




WESTCHESTER’S OWN AL DELBELLO — Political Leadership and So Much More

By | News

In the passing of Al DelBello, Westchester lost a true statesman and native son. The loss of an individual of his stature is particularly difficult to accept because for so long he has been an omnipresent figure in the county.

While many people knew Al in his later years for his sage advice and encyclopedic knowledge of all things Westchester, he first came into the public eye as a young man some 50 years ago when he began his lengthy career in government and politics. Al was something of a boy wonder when he burst upon the scene in his hometown of Yonkers. He became the city’s youngest mayor and brought a youthful spirit and wisdom beyond his years.

But it was when he was elected County Executive in the 1970s that he hit his stride, the first Democrat to be elected to the post. It was often observed at the time that Al and his attractive wife, Dee, were Westchester’s Jack and Jackie. It was not an inaccurate characterization. As a young reporter working at the Westchester Rockland Newspapers (predecessor to today’s Journal News/lohud) I along with the entire newsroom quickly realized that the stodgy County Office Building in White Plains had taken on a feeling of Camelot as the dynamic duo put a focus on the arts, the parks and so much more. Their presence was felt in social as well as political and business circles. With the DelBellos there was a palpable feeling of liveliness and fun that was new to the county. We hadn’t had a “first couple” before.

Al, however, was no empty suit. He thought big and he thought creatively. Two prime examples of this were the creation of a unified bus service in the county, today’s Bee-line System, and construction of the garbage-to-energy facility at Peekskill, which some 40 years later remains a state-of-the-art solution to a vexing problem. And not to be forgotten is that the opening of that plant enabled the closing of the Croton Point landfill which was threatening to become Westchester’s Matterhorn. Al had the vision and the can-do attitude that took these projects from ideas to reality and today we all continue to reap the benefits.

I first met Al at the dedication of Muscoot Park on Route 100 in Somers. He was sitting at a picnic bench, wearing a pair of aviator sun glasses and chatting amiably with a group of reporters who pretty much followed everything he did. I was immediately struck by how at ease he was and how easily he mixed with everyone, young and old, wealthy and not so. He talked proudly about his ideas for the future of the beautiful Victorian era dairy farm with its extensive barn complex that today is one of the gems of the county’s expansive park system. At a Friends of Westchester County Parks event about a year ago, Al and I were chatting and I mentioned that long ago first meeting with him at Muscoot. As was often the case with Al, my remark prompted a question: “Do you know why we have Muscoot Farm today?”

I guessed that it had been bequeathed by the owner’s family but would have been too easy an answer. Al explained that the county had acquired the property and that the Parks Department had put forth a plan to create an ice skating center there, a Playland Ice Casino for the northern part of Westchester, as he put it. Obviously that never came to be and Al explained why.

“One afternoon I decided to drive up and look at the property myself and Dee was with me. When we got there she took one look and said: ‘This needs to remain a farm.’ She fell in love with the beauty and felt it should become an interpretive farm where children and people of all ages can learn not only about Westchester’s agricultural past but how our food is grown and raised. Dee gets the credit for saving Muscoot Farm and it all began with that one chance visit.”

Dee was ahead of her time in thinking about food sources and healthy eating, but then that was the kind of thing that typified Al and his first lady in those days. The county government that few people ever gave a thought to, suddenly become an epicenter of creative thinking and new ideas. It was indeed a spirited and heady time.

As the years went by, Al moved on to be elected lieutenant governor and subsequently to the private sector eventually joining with Al Donnellan and Mark Weingarten in forming the prestigious and influential law firm that carries his name. I left the newspaper to form Thompson & Bender at about the same time and it was then that I become friends with Al and Dee. And, of course, Dee and Al went on to buy the Westchester/Fairfield Business Journals and Westfair Inc. which Dee so ably oversees.

While I have enjoyed numerous business relationships with Al over the past 30 years, it was, however, another aspect of his life that I came to greatly admire in addition to his business and political acumen. Al not only liked visiting a farm like Muscoot, he created his own. Working in tandem with Dee, they took a wooded patch of ledge rock in a corner of northeast Westchester and created a remarkably tasteful and magnificent home and working farm. The first time I saw it, I was awestruck by the sheer beauty, style, décor and ambiance of their home. But that was only a precursor. What totally floored me was Al’s direct involvement in every aspect of the farm operation.

Turns out he loved operating a backhoe. He personally built the henhouse. He worked with the alpacas. And Al being Al, he understood their behavior. At the farm he was, quite simply, totally hands on. He was also handy and had the cleanest, best organized, most complete workshop I have ever set eyes on. That made me envious! Now I knew why Al would be the first to show up at evening events, and about the first to leave. He had farm chores to attend to.

So Al was a genuine renaissance man. But beyond that he was a good soul. My fondest memory of him was when my wife, Liz, and I had the pleasure of being invited to a dinner at the DelBellos’ home several years ago. As to be expected, this was a lovely affair with an intelligent and diverse group of guests. And, again nothing unusual, there was an added attraction. They had invited a husband and wife, she an opera singer and he her accompanist on an accordion, no less.

After dinner, we all settled into comfortable chairs in the large living room to listen to a performance. Four or five dogs of varying breeds and sizes were also a part of the evening, free to wander among the guests or lie in the middle of the floor as they wished. You see the DelBellos not only love dogs but they have rescued many from a wide range of often highly unpleasant and deeply sad situations. And they are full-fledged members of the household.

With the performance underway, I glanced around the room. And there was Al sitting at one end of a couch. One dog lay at his feet, one lay on the sofa next to him and the smallest was sitting on his lap – licking his Al’s cheek. Al was smiling. He was surrounded by friends.

In losing Al DelBello, all of Westchester has lost a friend.


Geoffrey Thompson

May 17, 2015

As Westchester Goes, So Does New York, Says Governor’s Secretary

By | News
Photo caption from left: Anthony Justic, chairman of The Business Council Board of Directors; William J. Mulrow, secretary to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo; and Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester.

Photo caption from left: Anthony Justic, chairman of The Business Council Board of Directors; William J. Mulrow, secretary to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo; and Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester.

Westchester County, with its dynamic economy, burgeoning urban centers, open space, schools and diversity, is a microcosm of New York State and a harbinger of its direction, one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s top aides told members of the business community on Friday, May 8.

Speaking exclusively to members of The Business Council of Westchester, William J. Mulrow, secretary to the governor, candidly covered a variety of topics including regional economies throughout New York, education, casino gambling, state regulations and ethics, among other topics. But it was his characterization of Westchester as a gateway to the state and epi-center of political power and strength that resonated with many people in attendance.

“In many ways, Westchester is a microcosm of New York,” said Mulrow. “Where Westchester goes, so does the state.”

In addition to citing many examples of Westchester’s position as a vital regional economy, Mulrow outlined major economic efforts undertaken by Gov. Cuomo that would affect the region, including:
• Allocating $1.28 billion in the current budget for construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge
• $1 billion in capital investments in transportation, including $250 million for the creation of four new stations throughout the Bronx
• $500 million investment in broadband in areas that do not have it
• Major plans to modernize and revitalize LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International, Republic and Stewart International airports
• Cutting corporate and manufacturing taxes and limiting the growth in property taxes.

As a result, a state deficit has been turned into a surplus; New York has created 640,000 jobs since 2011; and unemployment is down, Mulrow said.

In speaking of Westchester’s prominence, Mulrow, of Bronxville, noted that the governor was a Westchester resident, as are former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. He also said that five of the last 10 secretaries to the governor – a position charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of state government – were Westchester residents.

“To me, it’s the greatest place to be,” he said of the county.

Mulrow also credited The Business Council as being the premier voice for businesses in Westchester County.

Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council and a member of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, said Mulrow was “a man who gets things done.”

“The Business Council of Westchester has been with Gov. Cuomo since the very beginning,” she said. “We’re so proud to be a leader in economic development.”

After his remarks, The Business Council presented Mulrow with its 2015 Legislative Agenda, which is a list of its priority reforms that will help businesses grow and thrive in New York State.