Archive for the 'New Castle' Category

Project Update: Bedford Road 052010

Fivecat Studio Project Manager John Whalen forwarded me his latest photos of our current Bedford Road project. Take a look.

A Day Off with New Castle Historical Society

Peter Wing is an eccentric man. Forty years ago, he and his wife claimed the high corner of his father’s dairy farm and started building a home. Today… they’re still building.

Wing’s Castle, located in Millbrook, New York is a home like no other. With inspiration from local agriculture buildings and architectural references borrowed from Gothic churches, Asian pagodas, medieval castles and the free form Art Nouveau towers of Antonio Gaudi, Peter Wing has created, one stone at a time, an architectural masterpiece (if not only in his own mind) among the rolling  hills of Dutchess County.

This past Thursday, Annmarie and I joined the entire Fivecat Studio crew for a bus tour guided by the New Castle Historical Society. It was a great day of interesting people and inspiring places.

Following the tour of Wing’s Castle personally guided by Peter Wing himself, we headed to Charlotte’s restaurant for an early lunch and some relaxing sunbathing in their blooming flower garden.

Then back on the motor coach, and off to the global headquarters of Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders for a tour of the factory floor personally guided by founder and CEO, John Harney. I wonder is Mr. Harney ever met Peter Wing. I think they’d hit it off. John is another very interesting character.

Half informative narrative, half sales pitch (being an entrepreneur myself, there’s a part of me that enjoyed the sales pitch more), the tour lead us through the tea blending bays, past the packing machines (they make Rube Goldberg’s contraptions look simple and straight forward) and between the tall mountains of labeled cartons ready for shipping around the world.

A quick trip around the corner, we ended the day at Harney’s & Sons’ tasting room and gift shop in Millerton. After a quick sip of fine tea (yum), we had free time for a leisurely stroll up the hill and through the village. Millerton may be a place we return to take in the antiques and artisan shops.

The ride home is always quiet, as we rest our eyes and enjoy the view through the bus windows. Joe the driver did a stellar job navigating the small country byways and muddy parking lots.

We appreciate the kindness of all the members on the trip. It was clear that most of the people on the tour were veterans of Historical Society events. Being “interlopers”, as the tour leader referred to us with a smile, our crew felt a bit out of place when we left Chappaqua early Thursday morning. By the end of the day, we made several new friends and felt welcomed by all.

The fall NCHS tour will be out to Oyster Bay and a visit to Sagamore Hill, home of Theodore Roosevelt.

We can’t wait!

Chappaqua Bridge Project Halted – NYS Owes Company $900K+


Conti of New York construction company has pulled its workers off the Route 120 bridge reconstruction project in the center of the hamlet in reaction to the state’s suspension of payment for transportation projects.

A company official, Patrick Hogan, told staff for Assemblyman Robert Castelli, R-Goldens Bridge, that the company feared not being paid in a timely way for its work.

Read more.

New Castle town supervisor Barbara Gerrard has issued a report of the issue. Check it out NOW on


Photograph by L. C. Anderson

Martin Stankiewicz Gallery on King Street

Martin Stankiewicz has opened a new art gallery in Chappaqua. Located at 142 King Street (about half-way up the hill), The Martin Stankiewicz Gallery features works inspired by nature.


The Martin Stankiewicz Gallery invites you to view its monthly exhibits by emerging and contemporary artists. Each month’s theme in some way expresses our appreciation of nature and raises awareness of environmental issues we face today. The gallery hosts fundraisers in partnership with local conservation and educational foundations. A portion of the gallery’s proceeds is donated to environmental charities.

Currently, the gallery is featuring the work Stetson Hundgen, Carol Lyons and Martin Stankiewicz in a mixed exhibit called Nepal – Visionary Images. Stetson and Martin together convey life in Nepal through their moving images from city to country. Carol, through her monotypes, using accidental blots to stimulate her imagination, takes us into her fantasy world of Landscapes.

Be sure to check out the recent article about Martin’s gallery published in Inside Chappaqua magazine this month.


I have always been fascinated with historic photos of places I know and love. Here is a very interesting photo of the bridge leading into downtown Chappaqua taken around 1930.

Notice the lack of trees? Well, if you are a New Castle resident or enjoy visiting the shops downtown, you’d better get used to this look. Construction for the new “improved” bridge is scheduled to start this fall and the first item on the list is to remove every tree adjacent to the crossing.

New Castle NOW has more information, including news on a protest being organized during this weekend’s New Castle Family Fun Day.

Castles of New Castle… and Pleasantville

Last week, Annmarie and I joined the whole Fivecat crew for the 6th Annual Castles of New Castle house tour organized by the New Castle Historic Society. It’s always a great show, but this year was even better.

In addition to several local historic homes, we enjoyed a walk through a 1960′s glass house inspired by Philip Johnson’s iconic glass house in New Canaan. White and black with glass walls from floor to ceiling, it was pure modern minimalism. Very cool.

As great as the glass house was, it did not compare to the Reisley House. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in in the early 1950′s, this Unsonian house was truly inspiring. Every view, every detail, every space was intentional. From the turned up roof on the carport welcoming you home, the small scale entry, the tall ceilings of the living room, the 6 foot high fireplace (with NO soot on the ceilings), to the visual and physical connection to the outdoors, it was just amazing.

How about a modern yankee gutter system hidden in the roof with no down spouts (see photo above – yes, they’re yankee gutters)? We all spent several minutes trying to figure out where Wright hid the drain pipes.

Last April, the New York Times published a great article about the Reisley House.

Look for a guided tour of Usonia in October. Mr. Reisley personally guides a tour of the famed Frank Lloyd Wright community each autumn.


Photo by Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times (no photos on the tour)

Route 120 Bridge: Please Think it Through Before Building

From a Letter to the Editor at written by Chuck Napoli, R.A.:

We must petition our New Castle elected officials to stop the department of transportation’s three-lane bridge replacement and associated highway extension for the reasons that the construction is neither in context nor compatible with the character of the Chappaqua Hamlet and is completely insensitive to the architectural history of the bridge being replaced.

How did we get from simple repair to bridge replacement?

The original bridge project of 2000 has changed dramatically from a simple repair and a type II state environmental quality review action of no substantial changes to something drastically different. The scope of the project we ask to be stopped has morphed into a massive construction, greatly exceeding the definition of minor highway rehabilitation. The bridge replacement component widens the Rt. 120 traveled road width to three travel lanes, two very wide shoulders, four foot high stone guard rails at the sidewalks and expansive concrete surfaces striped with required yellow or white painted caution markings and medians that split the surplus pavement and traffic into four travel lanes as they merge into the triangle intersection at South Greeley Avenue. Very different.

Read Chuck Napoli’s complete Letter to the Editor at He clearly explains who, what, why, when and how to stop a major mistake about to happen in the Chappaqua Hamlet.

In one thought… think, “Big 4-lane highway bridge meets small town hamlet.” Think it can’t happen? In fact, it already has. Read more.

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