Q: I know by now everyone is sick of Ashley Madison news, but I’m still fascinated by the sheer numbers involved in the cheating site. How scuzzy is Westchester County when it comes to infidelity?
-Rob M., Pleasantville
A: Hmm…scuzzy is a tad judgmental, isn’t it?
I’m sure there’s plenty of folks who accidently typed in the wrong email account, joined just to check on someone else, or were just doing some research for a magazine column.
The trouble with the breach lies in the reliability of the numbers. The website Visual News crunched some stats measuring the validity of the Ashley Madison users. Its figures show that 34 percent of the accounts listed on the site aren’t even real—so you really need to factor that number into your scuzz equation.
Now, when you do look at the breakdown of registered users uncovered in the breach, it does give pause. According to Tecnilógica, a Madrid-based software company that mapped the breach, Yonkers has more than 9,700 users in its 200,000 population—close to 5 percent of the population. Even if you reduce that by the estimated 34 percent, that’s still a lot of folks looking to step out. Mount Vernon is listed to have almost 9,000 users in its 67,000 population—that’s 13 percent!
Westchester’s quaint hamlets appear to be dirty little places as well. Even Granite Springs, with a population of about 1,000, has almost 50 registered users.
So, what are we to deduce? I don’t answer morality questions here; I just try to report the facts. And, in this case, the facts are both scuzzy and sketchy.
As Seen on TV
Q: Rob Petrie (played by Dick Van Dyke) is New Rochelle’s most famous fictitious character, and his family supposedly lived on Bonnie Meadow Road. What happened to that house? Is there any sort of historical marker or anything?
-Joanne Weinstein, Mamaroneck
A: Thank you for bringing us back to a different time. I can’t picture Rob or Laura Petrie looking on the Internet for an extramarital hookup—can you?
Ah, yes, The Dick Van Dyke Show, one of the all-time best TV sitcoms. It ran from 1961 to 1966 and was based on the life of comedy icon Carl Reiner. Rob Petrie, the main character of the show, was a comedy writer, and the series was supposed to depict how a television show was built.
Half of the show was about Petrie’s home life, and his wife, Laura, was played by Mary Tyler Moore. On the show, it’s mentioned that they lived at 148 Bonnie Meadow Road, a real street in New Rochelle but not a real address; there is no number 148.
The houses in that area were built in 1954, and Rob and Laura once mentioned on the show that the house cost them $27,000. Today, houses in that area of New Rochelle can run over a half a million dollars.
Q: There have been so many terrible accidents on the Taconic. It has to be the most dangerous highway in the state and certainly the county. Is it?
-Sal Caligiore, Cortlandt
A: There’s no doubt that the parkway was built for the traffic, automobiles, and mindset of the last century’s drivers. Its hills and curves may be picturesque, but they can be tough to navigate. There are also still intersections where drivers are only controlled by stop signs entering the parkway, and a rolling stop coming after a hill and a curve can be disastrous. Over the years, there have been modifications to the TSP to correct some of these things, but many believe it remains unsafe.
Two of the most tragic accidents involved drivers who entered and continued to drive in the wrong direction, despite “Wrong Way” signs. It’s hard to say if that’s a reflection of poor road design or of distracted or impaired drivers. According to an article on Lohud.com, in the three-year period ending July 31, 2014, there were 2,080 crashes on the TSP (1,254 in Westchester). In that same period, the Saw Mill had 1,998, The Hutch had 1,984, and the Sprain had 1,356. So, even though the Taconic has received a lot of attention for its fatal accidents, it’s not the leader in county crashes.