Westchester's Hidden Gems: The Arts

Priceless Art, Unearthed

Most of us have paid a visit or two to Lyndhurst , the historic former estate of railroad tycoon Jay Gould (the biannual Crafts at Lyndhurst is a perennial favorite). But far fewer are aware of the priceless works of art that hang in the home’s third-story gallery (above and previous spread). Some of the 35 paintings now on display, all part of the Gould family’s collection, were languishing in storage for a decade—and two, “Entrance to the Harem” by Addison Millar and “Cattle Resting” by Constance Tryon, had never been displayed before—prior to last winter, when the gallery underwent significant changes (walls restored, paintings repaired by conservators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and frames doctored by the renowned Eli Wilner & Company). The result?  A chance to enjoy the works of art in the same accessible manner Jay Gould did more than 120 years ago.

635 S Broadway, Tarrytown
(914) 631-4481; www.lyndhurst.org

Entertaining I.Q.

You might think you need a student ID and a schedule of classes to get access to Westchester Community College’s Smart Arts Events, but they’re open to anybody. Reasons you should take a ride to the school’s Valhalla campus this semester: The National Players’ production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird (January 24), a life-sized puppet show by The Cashore Marionettes (February 21), and a girls’ night of standup with the Ladies of Laughter (May 23), in addition to foreign films, dance performances, and discussions of great works of literature with WCC professors. 

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75 Grasslands Rd, Valhalla (914) 606-6600; www.sunywcc.edu/about/smartarts​

Art by the Tracks (Literally)

Don’t count on your GPS to navigate to the Hastings-on-Hudson site devoted to famed Hudson River School painter Jasper Cropsey. (We did, and ended up in some random driveway.) Instead, look for the little blue sign directing you past the Metro-North parking lot and under the Warburton Avenue overpass to the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, where you’ll find the stunning Gothic Revival-style Gallery of Art. The building houses the majority of the Foundation’s collection of Cropsey’s scenic oil paintings. Call ahead for appointment-only guided tours of the Gallery, as well as Ever Rest, Cropsey’s former home and studio on nearby Washington Avenue.

25 Cropsey Ln, Hastings-on-Hudson
(914) 478-7990; www.newingtoncropsey.com

Washington in White Plains

History buffs aside, most Westchesterites know nothing about the tidy red-shingled house that sits at the end of a bend in the road on Park Ave in White Plains. It’s the circa-1721 Jacob Purdy House, thought to be George Washington’s primary headquarters during the Battle of White Plains in 1776.  Arrange for a tour of the home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to see artifacts from the battle, copies of letters Washington wrote while at the house, as well as period artwork, furniture, and household tools—and experience the cool juxtaposition of Colonial history against the expanding skyline of modern downtown White Plains.  

60 Park Ave, White Plains
(914) 328-1776; www.whiteplainshistory.org

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Where Lincoln Looms Large

In October 2007, a life-sized statue of Abraham Lincoln appeared at an old rail depot situated between Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park and Homestyle Desserts Bakery. A sign promised that a museum dedicated to Lincoln and his stop at the depot on February 19, 1861, would someday emerge. This past October, the Lincoln Depot Museum finally opened, providing us with a refurbished 3,000-square-foot collection of art and artifacts from and about the 16th president. 

10 South Water St, Peekskill
(914) 402-4318; www.lincolndepotmuseum.org

A Bit of Oz in Peekskill

Peekskill’s very own yellow brick road (which may or may not have inspired L. Frank Baum, who attended the Peekskill Military Academy, to write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) is actually not a road anymore. It’s a small parking lot behind Dylan’s Wine Cellar on Hudson Avenue. If viewing a patch of yellow Dutch bricks is not your idea of fun, you can combine this homage to Oz with a trip to the newly opened 4.4-acre Historic Peekskill Landing Park, Peekskill Brewery, or Homestyle Desserts Bakery. South Water Street, Peekskill

Prison Break

While an actual Sing Sing museum doesn’t exist yet (funds are being raised to build one), you can study up on the history of Ossining’s most famous address at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center. There, at the Sing Sing Prison Exhibit, you can see a replica of an electric chair, get the feel for what it’s like to be in a prison cell, and view confiscated weapons. And (as we discovered when we tried to visit at the end of October) at Halloween, it turns into a haunted house!

95 Broadway, Ossining (914) 941-3189

Our CEOs & Business Leaders Golf Outing is August 5!

Our Best of Westchester Party is July 24!

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

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