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Why 2 Westchester Golf Clubs Turned Away President Obama


Golf Snubbed

Q: Is it true that Winged Foot Golf Club turned down President Obama from playing there last Labor Day? They can’t still be restricted as a white-only club, can they?

—Davidson Fields, Mamaroneck

A: Yes, they turned him down from playing the course.

No, they aren’t a restricted club, at least not in the old dirty sense of that word. Though I believe that the reported initiation fees of more than six figures would restrict more than a few people from joining.

Last Labor Day, President Obama was in Westchester for a fundraiser and the wedding of MSNBC host Alex Wagner and White House staffer Sam Kass. The president thought he’d like to play a round of golf and that it shouldn’t be too hard to make those plans. He is, after all, the commander in chief.

President Obama’s aides called Winged Foot (and, for that matter, Trump National) for a tee time. Both courses declined out of loyalty to their members, who pay dearly to swing their wrenches when they want to. The president’s security detail would have impacted play at the course on the holiday weekend in such a severe way that they decided it wasn’t fair to the regulars. 

Nuclear Fault Lines

Q: Is there really an earthquake fault line going right through the middle of the Indian
Point reactor?

—George Baskin, Croton-on-Hudson

A: No, it doesn’t go right through the reactor. Geez, don’t be such an alarmist—that fault line is a good mile away!

In 2008, Columbia University researchers discovered the Stamford-Peekskill fault line, which intersects with the 70-mile Ramapo fault line, the longest in the Northeast. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should an earthquake occur, Indian Point’s Reactor 3 has a one in 10,000 chance of incurring core damage and Reactor 2 a one in 30,000 chance. The plant was built to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 6.1, which is stronger than any earthquake that has ever hit our region.

A gas vent/regulator in lower Westchester.

Gas Relief

Q: What are those tapered metal poles (usually green) with pointed caps on various streets in lower Westchester? They appear to be some type of venting system. Some have boxes attached to them. Are they for sewer gases? 

—J. Camillone, New Rochelle

A: My good buddy Patrick Raftery at the Westchester Historical Society tells me those things don’t have anything to do with the sewer system, but I thought that was a perfectly respectable guess. 

Those Tin Man-like poles are what the gas companies call vent/regulators. Their function is to safely ventilate the natural gas from underground valve control chambers. 

Boring, but necessary—under normal circumstances, they allow the gas line to “breathe” (I’ll avoid getting too technical here), and during an “overpressure situation,” they relieve pressure.  


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