A Falling House of Cards By Hezi Aris

eHezi Archives 50 Comments

Ehezi_charicature
The Waterfront Pier, Encore Caterers, Zuppa’s Restaurant / Joe Spiezio / Nick Sprayregen

YONKERS, NY — The first gasp of air to bring Yonkers out of its slumber took place almost two decades ago. Let it be clear that “slumber” was defined by the terms of the day as they related exclusively to Yonkers’ economic and fiscal circumstance at that time. Yonkers societal cohesiveness was strong; its function in that respect was not in question, yet an atrophying inner city, coupled by a waning tax base called for solution. The Terence M. Zaleski Administration, emboldened by Yonkers well-positioned geographical location, having moved beyond its own political instability, housing issues, and a 10-year desegregation battle, recognized the economic development panacea sweeping quietly across the nation, assigned the responsibility of spurring economic development onto the shoulders of Chuck Lesnick, then Director of Economic Development for the City of Yonkers.

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Lesnick’s political connection to
Congresswoman Nita Lowey would have her lead him to the Honorable U.S.
Senator Patrick Moynihan, who in turn directed the first economic
development funds to Yonkers after a long hiatus of such largesse. The
Waterfront Pier would be brought to its former grandeur by the infusion
of government grant funding making it the first of a myriad of projects
undertaken in ensuing years to return hoped for economic vibrancy to
Yonkers.

The Pier would sparkle under a
fresh swath of paint for some time, despite its not being a high
caliber job. It would too soon disintegrate before the climate
encountered along the Hudson River waterfront. Years later, the Pier
required almost $10 million to resuscitate its structure into its
present form, a New York Water Taxi dock, and home to Peter X. Kelly’s
acclaimed restaurant “x2o.”

John D.Spencer, who would succeed
Zaleski as Mayor of Yonkers in 1996, after having won the 1995
election, pressured Zaleski to dismiss Lesnick, including Joe Apicella,
then engaged as Assistant Director for Waterfront/Downtown Development
for the City of Yonkers, at that time. Having met Edward A. Sheeran,
a self-proclaimed “guru” of previously failed ventures in Ireland as
part of his resume, Spencer would appoint Sheeran executive director of
the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency,
director of the city’s Office of Economic Development, as well as
Special Assistant to the Mayor. Sheeran, adept at concocting brilliant
boondoggles was permitted and enabled to draw visions that always fell
short of their expectations and promise, facilitated by carte blanch
support by the mayor..

The stalwart names that would
underwrite Yonkers resurgence brought name recognition and success
among the initiates: Classic Residence by Hyatt, Home Depot, Costco,
Stew Leonard’s, and Ridge Hill. Collectively, they have returned little
that would relieve the Yonkers taxpayer from the growing tax burden
except for Payment in Lieu of Taxes. Those that wish to dispute the
facts are best armed with facts and figures which inexcusably
substantiate little of substance or comfort to the city’s coffers.

Such were the deals that haunt us
today. The backroom handshakes, the antithesis of democratic process,
prostituted by financial gain, prodded into the “deal” sold without
concern for community sensibility or sensitivity.

The recent departure of Encore
Caterers, resident at the Roosevelt Ballroom on Hudson Street reveals
the continuing ineptitude of government vis-à-vis the process to
reinvigorate Yonkers to the days, three generations old, over which
many still remember and yearn.

The Roosevelt Ballroom is the
reincarnation of the once hailed Philipsburgh Performing Arts Center
(PPAC), whose cavernous hall was resurrected from oblivion into a hall,
live and work residence, with the infusion of funds from the Greyston
Foundation and St. John’s Episcopal Church. With great fanfare and
celebration, PPAC opened under the supervision of Mathilda Hohensee, a
neophyte from Syracuse who was totally out of her league. Ms. Hohensee
was relieved of her position as executive director of PPAC in November
2004 to become a Director of Development at Mercy College in Dobbs
Ferry, New York. A dumping groud for employing those who must be
silenced. Contact with Ms. Hohensee after her departure was met with a
stern, “I can’t speak about it!” The Rev. S. Burtner Ulrich, a founder
of PPAC and chairman of its board oversaw the eventual bankruptcy of
PPAC to the tune of over $3 million. Richard Halevy, Communications
Director to the Mayor of Yonkers was assigned oversight of PPAC. He has
to this day refused to discuss the circumstances that brought the over
100 year old structure to a shambles.

City Hall’s removed, though
heavy-handed involvement in PPAC’s direction, had City Hall point a
condescending and demeaning collective finger of blame upon the Sharing
Community whose residents are accommodated each overnight at the
residence abutting the edifice of  St. John’s
Episcopal Church. The accusation was that the people who were resident
of the Sharing Community, when milling about the area, often scared
people who might have considered PPAC a destination were it not for the
indigent population accommodated across the street from PPAC.

The dilemma was at first believable
until this reporter got involved in attempting to expedite a resolution
to benefit every cantankerous perspective in the equation before then
Deputy Mayor Phil Amicone would face the November 2003 election.
Amicone promised that he had the funds in place to accommodate the
indigent population housed at the Sharing Community but had not yet
been apprised of a secure location that would meet the needs of the
community to secure the facility, and would be close to the Sharing
Community building at which this same population was fed daily. Having
met and spoken previously with Real Estate Broker Jeffrey Landsman, I
called to ask if he had the expertise and inclination to involve
himself in finding a facility that would meet Deputy Mayor Amicone’s
parameters and those of the Sharing Community and their constituents.
Landsman agreed to get involved. Within weeks he located three
properties, of which Rev Anthony Hoeltzel of the Sharing Community
agreed met every criterion, including affordability. Advising him more
than once that he must seal the deal prior to the election, Rev
Hoeltzel would retreat from his initial concerns and did not pursue a
resolution that looked to all as pertinent to being concluded. This
reporter was so exasperated by the derailed effort, that I called the
Rev Hoeltzel, “You are nothing more than a poverty pimp!,” and slammed
the phone onto the cradle. The paradigm of blame has not changed one
iota since 2003.

The most recent argument to come to
light revolves over the disagreement between Zuppa Restaurant and its
landlord Joe Spiezio, III.  Not having seen the
lease held by Spiezio’s corporation for the Gazette Building, it does
seem implausible that Spiezio’s offering a 20 year lease to the tenant
(Zuppa’s Restaurant) is incongruous with a lease in which Spiezio has
an option to buy. That being the case, Spiezio could buy the property
at any time up to the 15 years claimed by Zuppa Restaurant and thereby
continue to control Zuppa’s tenancy beyond 20 years time frame. But as
is often the case in the economic and political environment in Yonkers
what has been divulged is not all that must be told to understand the
issues at play. Spiezio is understood to want to sell the lease to Nick
Sprayregen of Rising Publications, owner of The Home News & Times.
Sprayregen is also a well respected developer who has bought much of
the property from Warburton Avenue to Market Place along Main Street
and along Larkin Plaza. Spiezio’s Gazette Building is glaringly not yet
his to claim.

Zuppa Restaurant went into a
financial trough last year, to such an extent, that they were seriously
considering departing Yonkers borders for premises they had opened in
Irvington. While advocates for Amicone’s Administration, Zuppa was
feeling the pain of talk devoid of substance; they were hurting because
the density in Yonkers downtown was insufficient to sustain the
viability of Zuppa’s Restaurant, Patty J’s, Belle Havana, The Pier
View, among others. City Hall came to the rescue. They advised Zuppa’s
Restaurant that they would rescind a $50,000 water bill that was due.
City Hall relieved Zuppa’s Restaurant but did not relieve the landlord
(Spiezio) of the water bill. It is the landlord that is responsible for
the water bill. Had City Hall wanted to relieve Zuppa’s Restaurant of
the water bill, they had to have advised Spiezio that he would not have
to pay the $50,000 water bill he was being charged for Zuppa’s usage of
water. But, City Hall had had enough with Spiezio. They wanted him out.
They promoted Sprayregen take over the property to get Spiezio out. The
latest twist is that they are promoting Zuppa’s Restaurant in their
attempt to wrestle control of the property from Spiezio.

Editor’s note: Spiezio has not spoken to this reporter despite repeated attempts since the filing of the lawsuit.

These examples have been delineated
to divulge the undisclosed funds used by City Hall to prop up “pie in
the sky” schemes in which the heavy-handed arm of government is
extended to friends and family; witness Ed Sheeran over the conduct of
the Yonkers IDA in years past, Richard Halevy over PPAC, Spiezio over
The Gazette Building, Nick Sprayregen over The Gazette Building and
other real estate parcels, among so many more.

Economic development projects are
failing about us. Everyone must wonder why? Over 10 businesses having
opened and closed their doors in the Yonkers Downtown in silence.
Inexperience and lack of management and marketing skills cannot be
ascribed to the demise of all of them. More importantly, how much money
has been spent to subsidizing businesses to forestall their shutting
their doors?

Yonkers must engage itself in
negotiation with developers to the mutual benefit of the investor and
to the benefit the City overall. If the rationale to proceed is not
lucid and salient for discussion before an informed populace, it is
unlikely to be worthy to be moved ahead. Is City Hall and the City
Council ready?

eHeziA Falling House of Cards By Hezi Aris

Comments 50

  1. Some of these comments hurt my heart because if the shoe was on the other foot would u like 4 these things 2 b said about yall? If you want 2 be mad be mad at the city of yonkers not wanting to help the sharing or them closing every progam under the sun. Some of are homeless people can’t help that this has happened to them but we gonna beat them down instead of trying 2 find away 2 help all parties? Go to city hall find out why they not willing 2 help or fund us so that we can find anrw place that’s not right in the heart of there precious waterfront area cause that’s what this is really about. I have so much more 2 say but I’m at work but just keep in mind we all are a paycheck away from being homeless so please don’t think it can’t happen 2 you. Let’s work together 2 help the sharing community

  2. that’s a good question why did Spiezio had to be involve with the dealing between the owner and the restaurant . here is a simple answer it doens’t matter if spiezio had that lease he was entitle to sublease any way he wanted the qauestion is why he offer a twenty year lease to zuppa when he only got the lease with an option to buy for 15 years. obviously he over extended him self , but any way when it comes to zpiezio noone is more of a snake then he is , if you want to know more ask all the people he has scam one way or another please that is a disgrace that a guy like that still pretending to be a honorable man, he was always cooking a huge deal here or there to get peoples money and never re pay any of it, instead used that money for his next scam then he burned that one to get the insurance money god help this suy when he has to answer for all he has done .

  3. granted may be doing well but i wonder if the above poster ever tried to do business in the downtown or ever spoke to any of the business owners? doesn’t sound like it.

  4. There are certainly problems downtown but there are businesses that are doing well, even though you may not want to patronize them.
    The service stores in the heart of the Square do well despite the economy and the merchants are making money.
    There are dozens of financial institutions, a bakery that is the best in the city, a dress shop on Main Street that caters to weddings and the entire city, Belle Havana has some hot night life, as does Patty J’s, Zuppas and the Pierview.
    The Pizza place by the train underpass (not sure of the name) is always packed as is the one by the DMV. They opened a little taco, burger place that never has seats available on Main, too. The clothing, sneaker and phone stores like Sprint and tmobile are packed, so at the end of the day, yes they need more services, and maybe this is not some people’s place for shopping, but they do well and are servicing a population.
    The places that went out of business all had individual personal reasons for doing so.
    At the end of the day, some people will never visit downtown and won’t even shop in the Cross County, but some will and as new places open up more will come.
    Maybe when the economy does a turnaround, this will too.

  5. to the above poster: you are correct there is no business downtown. that’s part of the plan. just follow the city hall bouncing ball. ready now? “there’s no business like show business like no business i know…”and since there are several qaulified actors around you can even pick who plays the Ethel Merman part. yonkers own version of annie get your gun.

  6. If Ken S wants to pass comments towards YFD Chief Fitzpatrick then why not let him? Chief Fitzpatrick has been the subject of many recent blogs relating to questionable overspending by the YFD. If people have the right to questions Commissioner Hartnett about YPD Overtime, then Cheif Fitzpatrick is open for the same questions. At least we see Hartnett speak pubically about the questions, when Fitzpatrick has not made any responses against the allogations. As public servants, no one should be allowed to hide and not responsd.

  7. There is no leadership in this situation. The city doesn’t seem to wan’t much to do in the affairs downtown Yonkers. They want to plow it all down and those who are their to help them do that are “in the right” to begin with.
    It’s crazy, they ask for people to take on the task of setting out in an un-established area with a putrid reputation, andopen up some type of business.
    What ever happened to the Guiness Pub? Oh yeah they “told” the city the bar was breing built in Ireland and a Rory Dolan type Restaurant Pub was going to open in the Sears building….NEGATIVE!! They flipped the building they bought from the city for nothing and made a couple Mill.
    Also the “Christian science Coffee Shop” Ok here it appears that the buildings facade was improved with city grants telling thm they are going to open a Cafe with a Christian Science spin to it…ok, great, looks great from the outside but No Business! more money the city pisses away on Bullshit in Downtown.
    Lejends looked nice, opened & closed….couldn’t get a full liquor licnese due to 500 foot rule to a church. come on, they could have gotten help from the city to get a full license in that location.
    Heart & Sould went on the other side of the “DO NOT ENTER” sign on Main St. Bold move, nice place but too early.
    Not 1 new business has opened on Main Street in 4 years
    Not 1 real business renting any sizable space in the Homes for America building which is now 5 years old. Retail there too is not rented with Nick Spano as 1 of the listing agents, What is that?
    66 main is’t even close to renting it’s retail space, no one wants to pay the 30 per sq.
    The “New commer” neighbors residing in this area too around all this insanity, are not in any way shape or form involved in this area. They move in mostly for short terms because they can’t get 1 decent convenience other than a beer.
    The absolutly dull and downtrodden appearence Main Street generates is a trestament to City Hall, The Council, and the BID. We have several hundred people living in these buildings and there hasn’t been a true out reach by Yonkers to welcome these people. They feel shunned, their attiudes begin well but frustration sets in fast when they have to Go all the way up Yonkers Ave, 1.5 miles away to get cold medicine at any time of the day. The shopright sells bad milk and rotten meat and is not an option for most who live there.
    Some good people have already made yonkers it’s last address, if we keep turning over people due to the lack of forward progress, this stangnate atmosphere we have incubated will produce more negative “PR” for yonkers and Yonkers will just remain in it’s own world with some nice empty apartments in all of our shiney new downtown

  8. Did you see the deal Zuppa got to go in down there? Shit man, I’d do the same thing if someone gave me 200k and no rent for 2 years with, Im sure, some other perks. Zuppa played the city when they bluffed to leave, the city gives em 50k to sit tight. wow, nice for the few no so much for the many

  9. hahahahaha
    ….”continue to provide the community crappy products at inflated prices, and generally fight anything and everything that doesn’t directly line their pockets with cash.”
    sounds like SFC.
    hahahahahaha…..11:03 is a joke.

  10. Mr. Goldman has been supported of much of the downtown efforst big and small. He assisted and was present at this year’s tree lighting in the Square and got along with new and existing merchants and property owners.
    Despite what some people want to see, everyone is beginning to get along and work toward positive solutions at helping the downtown and their businesses.
    Nothing positive is gained by bashing the downtown folks that have been there for years; people are coexisting despite attempts to paint everything in a negative light.
    Forget who wants what downtown, the merchants including Mr. Goldman have good hearts and continue to prosper and help the community. People have reached out to him and will continue to do so in attempt to unite and not divide this city.

  11. Stop waving the flag for Goldman. It’s silly. He has been there for the money. If he wasn’t making it, he’d be gone.

  12. In any normal place Mr. Goldman, like others downtown would be supported and presented with honorary congratulations for sticking it out in Getty Square all these years. but we are in yonkers. Instead he is portrayed as an obstacle to overcome. Congratulations Mr. Goldman you are not the minority some would have us believe. To the poster who takes issue with Mr. Goldmman’s presence in downtown: one question: what have you risked?

  13. Well, what a story. Typical Yonkers mess. The Zaleski administration paved the way in gold for all of this redevelopment and should have been reelected with a landslide but no way folks we had to have King John Spencer. The rest is history and worse it all gets as we see southwest Yonkers burn and die before our eyes and all the waterfront development and building will do NOTHING!!!!! Wait until none of the new housing buildings get occupied and the fancy expensive restaurants are out into the river. You’ll see its going to come and it will not be long. Good bye crooks and Amicone with Apicella

  14. To 11:03 Just for the record, I at least can not be corrupted. We try do what is good for the city and not the politicos in city hall. We have been in business serving the community for over 25 years. We brought Santa to the square when the city would not. We stopped the minor league field. We with the help of others initiate the opening of this city government. If anyone would like to debate the good of the proposed development for Getty Square it would be my pleasure. Mr. Amicone, Do you have the ability to tell the truth? To be honest to the people? So far it sure doesn’t seem that way. It is obvious the city hacks that want to bad mouth us, Have the guts to at least sign your name. Sincerely, Harvey Goldman P.S. There is another development proposal available. It was on display until the architect was threatened not to be given any business in the city if it was not taken down. Do we really need more box stores?

  15. apparently the BID revised the mission statement.
    whatever.
    what have they done?
    MISSION STATEMENT:
    The Yonkers Downtown/Waterfront Business Improvement District (Yonkers D/W BID) shall serve the special improvement district identified within its geographically specified bounds, the Yonkers business community and the City of Yonkers to formulate, promote and implement the economic revitalization and general welfare of the District and the City, promote and preserve the cultural, historic, tourist and civic interests of the District and the City; mobilize available public and private resources for these purposes; provide a mechanism by which service firms, retail establishments, property owners, employers, citizens, and others can cooperate to promote business opportunities, employment, consumer choices, shoppers’ facilities, and the general civic interests; and aid, work with, and participate in the activities of other organizations, individuals and public and private entities within and outside the City engaged in similar activities.

  16. CH Martin?!?! A real investor in the downtown?
    They have done nothing for Yonkers except sue the city, continue to provide the community crappy products at inflated prices, and generally fight anything and everything that doesn’t directly line their pockets with cash.
    If you want to see the decline of the downtown, just give some authority to Harvey Goldman (son of the CH Martin owner).
    Real fast decline that way.

  17. The developers, who control the BID by monopolizing the board, are trying to keep the downtown down so values drop and they can pick up property at bargain prices. CH Martin, a REAL investor in the downtown, can’t get a toe in the door. Neither can any of the real owners. The area continues to decline with businesses closing like mad and empty storefronts all over the place. Every week – worse, worse, worse!

  18. Speaking of Chuck, no red light cameras for Yonkers. The Dem Assembly shot it down. Mike Spano looks stupid trying to spin the rejection. The article is in today’s Journal Snooze.
    It was never about safety, anyway. It was about money.

  19. Apicella was assistant waterfront developer and now works for SFC. Delbello former mayor, Pinto who claims to be the mayor’s cousin….and many more ole boys in and out of city hall bidding for the mayor, running IDA’s, opening banks and taking city roperty for private developers. add an inept and currupt city council and what do you have?
    open, honest, intelligent and transparent are not words which spring to mind.
    hey chuck how about “hell of a city”

  20. Agreed that the Planning Board’s decision was correct. Is DelBello involved?, a poster asked. As a shadow mayor for decades, he might be. DelBello has far too much influence in Yonkers. And nobody does anything to show him to the door.

  21. The Planning Board’s decision was correct. There are plenty of locations in Yonkers where that type of operation would be more appropriate, and could also offer jobs to neighborhood resdents who need them.

  22. Lets sell all of YFD Fitzy’s SOD Toys to the County of Westchester and see how much extra money the city would have that is needed.

  23. More Lawsuits in Yonkers. Is Del Bello involved with this?
    June 25, 2008
    Yonkers Planning Board sued by uniform company over proposed Executive Boulevard laundry
    Ernie Garcia
    The Journal News
    YONKERS – A uniform-supply corporation is suing the Yonkers Planning Board over its rejection of a laundry and distribution center off Executive Boulevard.
    The Cintas Corporation No. 2 wants to build a 1-story, 64,000-square-foot building at 325 Corporate Blvd. South.
    Cintas applied to the Planning Board in 2006, and on Jan. 9 this year the Planning Board rejected the application, stating that the operation did not match the character of the Southern Westchester Executive Park as defined in the city’s ordinances.
    Cintas filed its petition May 9 in state Supreme Court asking for an Article 78 review. Article 78 hearings are used to challenge a local government’s actions.
    Cintas’ court filings argue that the city’s ordinances are vague and that its proposed laundry and distribution center match the uses outlined in city ordinances for corporate parks. Those permitted uses include facilities for light manufacturing, processing, distribution and warehousing.
    Cintas’ proposal includes office space, a commercial laundry and storage and equipment space, in addition to a 195-car parking lot and water-treatment equipment for its laundry.
    The 5.2-acre parcel is on the southern end of corporate park, next to a recently built animal hospital.
    In their January decision, Planning Board members wrote that although city ordinances did not define light manufacturing, they did define the term light industrial as a business engaged in assembling, packing, storing and distributing finished products.
    City ordinances also define “medium industrial” as a business that processes or treats materials, which is what Planning Board members decided most closely matched Cintas’ application.
    The Planning Board’s decision also noted that Cintas’ expected use of 80,000 gallons of water a day and trucks coming and going from 6 a.m. throughout the day went well beyond other business activities in the corporate park.
    Based on the ordinances and the proposed uses, the Planning Board concluded that the Cintas proposal was not a light manufacturing operation and was incompatible with the corporate park.

  24. Let’s all not forget that the City was constantly feeding this business with events and the like. What a joke like everything they touch, it turns to shit. Political fundraisers for the Clown, business week lunches………
    How about letting businesses just do business, and keep government away. This welfare tit is way too expensive.

  25. “If the rationale to proceed is not lucid and salient for discussion before an informed populace, it is unlikely to be worthy to be moved ahead”
    hezi hit it.
    the problem here is this is for SFC and anyone who supports this development is missing the point. just another backroom deal for a few. while the rest of us pay and pay and pay.
    the businesses that have failed and the ones that are about to is a serious point. and it is not only zuppa. it is everyone in the downtown who has tried to make a go of the hype.
    in all of this where is the BID?
    with a controlling board of directors consisting of mostly developers.
    a city of crooks living off the backs of everyone here.
    CONTROL BOARD
    RECALL
    NOW.

  26. Don’t let the mayor do a ribbon cutting for your business, it’s like getting on the cover of Sports Illustrated, it dooms you!!
    ie. legends, greystone bakery, charteuse, heart & soul, She-socko

  27. Hezi’s article hit a lot of nerves that I know of first hand. Yonkers downtown has been a debacle for years. Now that it’s looming closer, it almost as far away as it has ever been. The city only supports the downtown when it gives them photo ops. The mayor Im sure wants to stamp his name all over this but the council wont let him until their “peeps” get theirs first. Contracts, work, grants etc. The capital flow downtown is unfair and not balanced.
    How long do we wait for this to get the shovels in the ground and the cranes in the air? How can the businesses there survive without patrons and publicity other than shootings, rapes, drugs, homeless vagrants littering the street?
    When is Yonkers going to get its act together and stop doing EVERYTHING IT EVER DOES COMPLETEYL HALF ASSED!
    The ineptitude in this city is unreal, NYC moved away from this culture becasue it tore it down to the core and now look at the transformation from just 10 years ago. Yonkers needs the same. The people we pride ourselves on to lead us, only hold us back. The political innuendo and top to bottom unprofessionalism on all level is why Yonkers will only & always be Yonkers.

  28. A church is supposed to be a plus in the neighborhood not a place for sheltering and feeding criminals that prey on the community.More often than not, you read arrests of people arrested 50,60 or 70 times and their address is the Sharing Community and the city closed the Dunwoodie Motel for housing criminals.

  29. I have to agree. The sharing community dishes out meals, but also a lot of stress to the area with their out of control patron. I am so upset to wait for the bus at Getty Square, and you see all these bums undressing in the square.

  30. Then get rid of the “PC police” and shut down the Sharing Community. Move it to Palm Beach, or Greenburgh, next door to Edelman.

  31. The above post is right. Most folks in my neighborhood go to the Hastings’ Farmers Market and avoid downtown Yonkers.

  32. You guys just have no idea how many defendants in City Court are arraigned everyday who give “1 Hudson Street” as their ‘home’ address.
    The Sharing Community is nothing but a sea of scumbags. You’ll never make anything out of the downtown until you close that place and put the ‘drop-in’ shelter someplace else.
    Preferably MARS.

  33. Let’s keep it simple folks. Government should not drive the economy. The business of business is not government’s business. Ask yourself, could any of these dopes working at “city haul” run a hot dog stand? I’m sure if the could, they would not be working (ha) for “city haul.”

  34. So now you’re souring on development? You flip-flop as much as John Kerry.
    The new development will work. The new downtown will be fine. But it has to start moving NOW, and the slums have to be torn down. The Phillipsburg Center-Roosevelt Ballroom is a perfect example of what happens when you put something good in a bad area. Also, Zuppa could have thought about lowering its prices, unless they did that by now. But they have to hang in, or not, until the new development gets moving.
    The fact that it hasn’t is the fault of the Yonkers City Council, which has been foot-dragging for a long time.

  35. here is the problem in a nutshell…
    if you want to go to zuppas or to
    kelly’s you have to drive through
    yonkers downtown..its still a crummy
    area with no ambiance whatsoever
    no wonder zuppa’s wants to move to
    irvington where One is making big
    bucks..the money is outside of yonkers
    and will stay outside of yonkers…unfortunate but true..I fear
    that yonkers is doomes to be just an
    appendage to the rest of the county

  36. Too bad about all of this. It’s a great building. Blame?
    1. Spencer, Sheeran and Amicone.
    2. The City Council for stalling development so long.
    And, how could we forget Spencer’s director of waterfront development, James Surdoval? Five felonies for child porn and sex with an underaged male. But Spencer backed him all the way, threw a fundraiser for him, and kept him on the payroll until he pleaded guilty.
    And then Surdoval got only probation for those five felonies. Tangled web there. Angelo Martinelli, Spencer, Nick Spano, Jeanine Pirro, the judge, and likely Al DelBello. All protecting Surdoval. WHY? To keep him quiet, that’s why.

  37. Actually I would like to clarify some things that were stated in this article. Matilda Hohensee was not out of her league when she was hired as Executive Director of PPAC; PPAC was not set up or funded correctly. Yes they restored this beautiful building spent millions of dollars and turned into an art center. That was all well and good but they never looked at the future in terms of who would continue to fund this art center.
    When you look at most performing art centers they are either owned by schools or the city or some other bigger entity. PPAC had to pay rent every month which was about $7000 which didn’t include the electricity that they were also responsible for at about $2000 a month. That is not including the cost of performances and sound for any events they would have liked to have. The City did give PPAC funds but it only covered but so much. The city didn’t want certain music being brought into the ballroom and having the sharing community across the street of course did not help. If you ask the caterers most of their problem was the homeless drop off across the street.
    If the City had waited to open the art center a few more years it probably would have done much better down here especially now that a lot of the apartment buildings have opened.
    I would like to say one more thing that Matilda worked her ass off at that art center and not being from Yonkers you know how hard it is in this city, you have to know someone to get somewhere. Don’t bash the people who try to make it work down here, bash the people that destroy it.

  38. Why was Spezio made the unnecessary middle man in the lease from the LDC to Zuppa.
    Surely there was a markup in it for Spezio.
    It would be nice to know how much Spezio paid the LDC and how much he collects from Zuppa.
    Why couldn’t the LDC lease directly to Zuppa without putting money into Spezio’s pocket?
    Hey Maniace, it seems you have awaken from the dead lately, now that Hartley isn’t around to chop up your stories.
    Please find out the numbers and let us know how much Spezio made on this apparent no show deal.

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