Tom Schreck On A Westchester Civil Rights Hero, The History Of Mighty Mouse, And Spigots Unleashed In Greenburgh

We’ve got answers to all your Westchester questions.

Q: A friend of mine who considers himself a real cartoon aficionado told me that Mighty Mouse was a New Rochelle native. What is he talking about? 

—Ed Dobson, New Rochelle

A: True, Mr. Mouse was a New Rochelle resident and quite the yachting party animal in his Premium Point neighborhood on the Sound. Of course, after the incident with Dinky Duck, Heckle and Jeckle, and Kiko the Kangaroo, well, his reputation never recovered, and word is he went off to live in some cheesy Florida Gulf Coast town.

Cheesy. You see what I did there, right?

But to your question…

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Terrytoons was a prolific cartoon studio in New Rochelle from 1930 to 1972. Its founder, Paul Terry, acknowledged that he wasn’t trying to compete with Walt Disney. Terry once said that while Disney was the Tiffany of the cartoon business, Terrytoons was the Woolworth’s. Terrytoons were released to theaters by 20th Century Fox and their rights are now owned by the CBS Corporation. 

The company was headquartered in the Kaufman Building in downtown New Rochelle on the corner of North Avenue and Huguenot Street. Terrytoons created Mighty Mouse and a few other well-known cartoon characters, but they also created scores of lesser-known and, uh, less successful cartoons. Sidney the Elephant, Sad the Cat, and Clint Clobber probably don’t stir up tons of fond memories in even the most ardent cartoon fans. There was even a character named Little Roquefort, who I hope didn’t get the nickname because of poor hygiene.

Paul Terry retired in 1955 and died in 1971, leaving behind nearly 1,300 cartoons. If you’re of the right vintage, you know that CBS put them into heavy rotation on Saturday mornings throughout the 1960s.

Q: This spring, Greenburgh let all the fire hydrants loose, spilling what had to be thousands of gallons of water into the streets. Isn’t this a horrible waste of resources?   

—Amy Whalley, Greenburgh

A: At first glance, one might think so; however, it is a necessary part of maintaining the water system. Over time, sediments and deposits accumulate, leading to a deterioration of the water quality, causing taste and odor problems. And, if the water isn’t periodically flushed from the pipes, it can become stagnant in lesser used parts of the distibution system.

There’s another important reason to let the hydrant water run: The fire department needs to test the pressure to ensure that the hydrant can do its job if needed for a fire. This is a case in which we need to  weigh environmental concerns against safety and quality-of-life issues—and safety wins out.

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