Larchmont resident Harvey Rachlin is an award-winning author of 13 books, including Lucy’s Bones, Sacred Stones, and Einstein’s Brain, which was adapted for the long-running History Channel series History’s Lost and Found. He also teaches and runs the music business program at Manhattanville College.
Having lived in only two counties for most of my life, I can unequivocally say that Westchester is the greatest county I have ever lived in. (Sorry, Nassau.) But it gets a bad rap for its high property taxes, so I’d like to propose a five-point makeover, to make people forget about those through-the-roof levies and enjoy the amenities here that cannot be found elsewhere.
1. A killer theme song. What could be better than a can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head ditty that residents could tap, grind, or bump to (whatever their preference)—one that makes them squeal with delight about the county they live in? With a high-five to Meghan Trainor, I would suggest “All About That Westchester,” with verses set to a funky beat that tout every great thing about this county, from its bass (Southern Westchester) to its treble (Northern Westchester).
2. A cool new logo. McDonald’s has the Golden Arches; Apple has that picture-perfect apple (minus a picture-perfect chunk); Coca-Cola has its name spread out in elegant white script against a glistening red background. Logos symbolize what they’re advertising, so what would a logo for Westchester look like? If you stare at a picture of the county hard enough, it may begin to look like a flag. So I propose a logo with our county looking flaggish and sporting a classy “W.” For the digital version, we could have a gently flapping flag with the names of different towns under a transparent “W” that the user could click on to see picturesque scenes from those towns.
3. A world-famous county food. New Orleans is famous for its gumbo; Boston for its baked beans. What’s Westchester without its own culinary claim to fame? The Balboa, a roast beef-cheese-garlic sandwich has already achieved some recognition as a homegrown food, but why not let a designated Westchester chef laureate choose from submissions of residents?
4. An official county accent. Brooklyn natives are renowned for talking in a way that surely all youse out theh know. Y’all know that Southerners, too, have their own brand of speaking. So we need an accent that people around the world will recognize as being native to Wes’ Shestuh. As the fashionable county we are, our accent should be a hybrid of French, English, and New Yawk dialects.
5. A county slogan. What’s a great locale without a great slogan? I say let residents decide our slogan in a fun video contest that could be an Internet sensation.
The one thing I’ll refrain from suggesting is to change the name of the county itself. I mean, let’s face it: “Westchester” is not the most glamorous name there is. But if we adopt makeover-rule No. 4, we can make it sound classy, like it’s a place with a Downton Abbey milieu, and then people will feel it’s their privilege to pay such high property taxes.