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Talk of the County


Talk Of The County



Mother’s Day Gifts



Having given, gotten, and (shush—let’s  keep this our little secret) returned my fair share of Mother’s Day gifts, I know what’ll make most moms’ hearts melt: baubles in small boxes, yes; automatic can openers, no. So if you’re looking for the perfect present for Mom, consult our handy gift-giving guide below.


THE MOM-TO-BE: Pamper a special expectant mom with spa services designed just for bodies with bumps. Choose the Mom-to-Be Massage ($130 for 50 minutes; $85 for 30 minutes); a Free Your Mind face, head, neck, and shoulders massage ($85); or a Yummy Tummy skin treatment ($140). Available at Edamame Spa at Destination Maternity, 5 Maple Ave, White Plains; (914) 948-1279; edamamespa.com.


THE POST-BUMP, BRAND-NEW BABY MAMA: Because a brand-new mommy rarely actually gets dressed, odds are she’d love to live in an ultra-soft “sheepy fleece” bathrobe by Pine Cone Hill ($68); available in a variety of delicious, sorbet colors at Wish (3 Purdy Ave, Rye; 914-967-2910). Then tuck something special in the pocket: a custom-made “Love Letter” charm necklace by Westchester jewelry designer Mauri Pioppo. From $420 to $1,500, depending upon stone. Available at Landsberg Jewelers, 132 S Ridge St, Rye Brook; (914) 510-8920; landsberg jewelers.com or mauripioppo.com.


THE BOOK-LOVING MOM: Gift a bibliophile mom—especially if her last name is Yarnell—the Kindle wireless reading device ($399; only from amazon.com). This portable reading machine stores more than 200 books and is lighter (10.3 ounces) and thinner than the typical paperback. Choose from more than 100,000 titles (up to $9.99 each) with free first-chapter previews.


THE GOURMOM: Treat a foodie mom to a gourmet brunch at home prepared by personal chef Jennifer Urda of The Runcible Spoon in White Plains ($80 per hour—typically three hours for a family of four—plus the cost of groceries). Available through myhousechef.com; (917) 648-7013.


EARTH MAMA: Gift your favorite “green” mom a DVD of Planet Earth, the Emmy Award-winning BBC nature documentary series narrated by David Attenborough. Reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing it locally at Barnes & Noble (230 Main St, White Plains; 914-397-2420) for $71.99.


MULTI-TASKING MOM: What mom couldn’t use an extra pair of hands? Treat Mom to some extra help, like the services of a personal assistant ($500 for 10 hours) or mother’s helper ($500 for 20 hours). Available through LifeWorx in Chappaqua; (914) 458-9933; lifeworx.net.


SENTIMENTAL MOM: Make a lasting memory for a sentimental mom by commissioning a one-of-a-kind future heirloom: a professional photographic portrait of her darlings. Scarsdale’s John Fortunato, whose work has graced Parents Magazine, and Cathy Pinsky of Bedford, will do just that (Full disclosure: both photographers freelance for this magazine). Cost: from $500 to $750. Contact him at (914) 725-2838 or johnfortunato.com; her at (914) 509-4502; pinsky


THE EMPTY NESTER: No one can replace her own two-legged offspring, but a furry little four-legged friend might be just the thing to keep an Act II mom company. Smaller “designer hybrid” dogs of up to eight pounds (both $499) are easy to take care of and tote around. Or purchase a purebred toy poodle ($899) or toy Maltese ($1,200). Available at Puppy Tails,

313 Halstead Ave

, Harrison; (914) 315-6016; justpuppytails.com.

//  Laurie Yarnell


Westchester in 2050


Find out what global warming holds in store for the County.



Fast forward to the year 2050: global warming is in full swing. What will life in Westchester be like when the world is warmer? Scientists peered into their crystal balls to give you a glimpse of the future.


True to its name, global warming will bring higher temperatures. In as few as three decades, New York could feel like the Carolinas. According to Tarrytown resident Cynthia Rosenzweig, a scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, very hot days will occur roughly four times as often in the 2050s as they do now.


No worries; you’ll just cool off on one of Rye Playland’s watery rides. Wrong. By 2050, the park could be underwater—along with much of Westchester. With climate changes will come an increase in sea levels, explains Rosenzweig. Not good news for a county sandwiched between the Hudson River and Long Island Sound.


“Areas three feet above sea level or lower are all going to have to be protected,” says Nicholas Robinson, a professor of environmental law at Pace University School of Law. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the troubles that will be lapping against Metro-North’s Hudson Line or Sleepy Hollow’s million-dollar riverfront condos.


Concerned? Don’t pound a “For Sale” sign into your lawn just yet. County Executive Andrew Spano—who recently joined the board of directors of ICLEI, a network of local governments committed to smart development—is working to protect Westchester against climate change. Given the weird weather of recent years, “Everyone understands the importance of doing this,” he says. You can help curb global warming by switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs and turning off the water when you shave. “Little tiny things that everyone can get used to doing, that don’t affect their life one iota, can affect the global situation in an incredible way,” says Spano.

//  Patricia Janes


Top 5: Andrew Gross

The best-selling local author on his

favorite suspense novels



Author Andrew Gross knows his thrillers. After co-authoring five #1 New York Times bestsellers with James Patterson, Gross last year penned his first solo effort, The Blue Zone, and it, too, made the New York Times bestseller list. His second book, The Dark Tide, was published in March, and already is on the list. When we chatted recently, Gross shared the titles of his five favorite suspense novels for “grabbing a reader by the throat and not letting go.”


1) Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth This spy fiction classic, about a professional killer contracted to take out French President Charles de Gaulle “sets the page-turning bar high for all to come,” Gross says. “Your heart will pound as the clock counts down to its inescapable conclusion. And, you may even switch allegiances out of respect for the canny, dogged assassin.”

2) The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris This chilling tale, featuring “the likeable, redoubtable Clarisse Starling facing down the all-time sinister serial killer, Hannibal Lecter, still holds up as one of the most chilling glimpses into the mind of a twisted killer,” Gross says.

3) The Wind Chill Factor, Thomas Gifford Gross calls this title the ultimate conspiracy thriller. “The Fourth Reich, coupled with the Telemachean search of a wayward son for his lost father, makes this forgotten classic an un-put-down-able ride.”

4) The Firm, John Grisham While others may have their own favorite Grisham, The Firm is Gross’s top choice because “this legal groundbreaker sets up the perfect catch of the young achiever lured by fortune who finds himself boxed in a Mephistophelean deal that has no way out.”

5) Dog Soldiers, Robert Stone This is “a game-changing novel—part thriller, part National Book Award winner,” Gross says. “It opened the gate to the modern ‘literary thriller.’ It was the first to weave Vietnam, drug smuggling, the underside of the sixties, and violence into a powerful, suspenseful, and ultimately heartbreaking classic.”

//  LY



Ask The Expert:

Q: I have a headache. Will a store-brand pain reliever really work as well as a name brand like Tylenol or Advil? 




A: We brought this question to resident expert Yousuf Jawad, a pharmacist at Russell and Lawrie Medical Center Pharmacy in Tarrytown, who says there are differences between store-brand and brand-name pills. “The main active ingredient is the same, but the inactive ingredients are different,” he says. “The effects of those may vary from person to person. Some of my customers notice a difference, and some don’t.” According to the FDA, a store-brand or generic drug must be the same as the original in terms of dosage, strength, performance, use, quality, and safety. However, the look of the brand-name drug is trademarked, so the store-brand version uses the inactive ingredients to change the size, shape, color, or taste, and those ingredients may give you a different reaction.

//  Marisa LaScala



This Year’s Must-Have Flower



What’s 2008’s most fashionable flower? The coneflower (aka Echinacea), says Ann Acheson, landscape designer at Nabel’s Nurseries in White Plains. “It used to come in just plain old pink, but it’s been hybridized to come in all colors,” she says. “The hottest one is Green Envy; it has greenish white petals that turn pink as it ages. And Coconut Lime, with double flowered blooms, is another exciting choice.” Jan Axel of Delphinium Design agrees. “Coneflowers are deer-resistant and have an incredible glow,” she says. Her top choices? The vibrantly hued After Midnight and Sunset varieties.

                                                                        // Nancy L. Claus


following up //

From CNN to ASU

Catching up with Aaron Brown



In June 2005, we profiled Aaron Brown, then an anchor for CNN’s NewsNight and  Scarsdale resident. Today, almost all of what we wrote has changed. He’s no longer with the cable net, having been replaced after four years by a certain silver-haired anchor whose name rhymes with Schmanderson Schmooper. He’s no longer a full-time Westchester resident, having deacamped to Tempe, Arizona, for part of the year. And, while we wrote that Brown was a so-so high school student and college dropout, in truth he’s returned to academia—this time as a member of the faculty of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


The decision to move to Arizona actually came before the teaching gig. “We always knew we’d spend at least part of the year out here,” he says. While out on the links in the Copper State, Brown was hesitant when a golf buddy predicted he would end up teaching. But when an offer came from Walter Cronkite himself, Brown lost all his reservations. “He came up to me and said, ‘You are going to teach.’ That was it. I can’t say no to him. If he said, ‘You are going to fall on your head,’ I’d probably do it.”


Luckily, Brown likes the classroom life. “I enjoy not being a celebrity. The students don’t really know me as an anchor—they just heard I used to be on TV,” he says.


Of course, there are challenges. “It’s hard to keep score,” he notes. “In television, you just look at the ratings every day. You know where you stand. With teaching, you might not know for a long time if you’re getting through.”


So how does life out West compare with life in Westchester? “It’s the same as Westchester in that everything is within a fifteen- or twenty-minute drive—only you go fifty-five miles per hour,” he says. “Everything is so spread out. But the weather is better here.”


Living out in the dry heat, molding young minds, and enjoying a healthy new freedom means Brown isn’t bitter about the end of his tenure at CNN. “CNN made a business decision that they were entitled to make,” he says. “I suppose everybody wants to manage their own end-game rather than have someone else manage it for them, but it didn’t matter that much to me.”


“Now,” he continues, “I get to go around making speeches to groups where I say what I want to say without the aggravation of having bosses. I’m working on a radio program, where we’re doing a pilot out here and seeing if we could get it distributed nationally. So there’s lots interesting things going on, and I get to decide what to do and when to do it. That freedom makes a big difference.” He pauses for a second, then adds: “And I never have to say another thing about Anna Nicole Smith.”

// ML



forget me NOT


Want a more meaningful WAY TO honor our armed forces on Memorial Day than backyard barbecues and shopping for sales? Consider visiting the Westchester Veterans Memorial and Museum at Lasdon Park in Somers—and walk its winding
Trail of Honor, which commemorates Westchester soldiers from every major American conflict, from the American Revolution through Operation Desert Storm. Along the trail stands the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a bronze sculpture depicting a soldier carrying a wounded comrade, with a nurse reaching out to assist them. The trail is stroller- and wheelchair-accessible; pets are not allowed. The museum has photographs, paintings, prints, and military memorabilia from each of the wars as well. For more information, call the Westchester County Veterans Service Agency at (914) 995-2145 or the Vietnam Veterans of America, Westchester Chapter 49, at (914) 682-4949. Oh yes, you can always enjoy a barbecue afterwards.

// NLC



BY the numbers //

Memorial Day Weekend in Westchester



3:  number of county beaches opened for the season


5,000:  pounds of hamburgers sold at Stew Leonard’s (average weekend: 1,000)



100:  percent increase in sales of patio furniture and barbecue grills at the Port Chester Home Depot


10: number of school marching bands participating in the Yonkers Memorial Day parade


6: number of Tarrytown police officers assigned to work the village’s parade


$142,100,000:national box office receipts of highest-grossing movie opening Memorial Day weekend, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (1997).




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