Portrait of a Village in a Time of Crisis: Irvington 2020

Various Authors

The Irvington Historical Society called for the public to submit their images and stories to help chronicle the extraordinary circumstances we are living through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Everyone is covered in Irvington.
Submitted by Reginald Marra

Signs of the Times

Three photographs of signs that appeared in shop/restaurant windows in Irvington in

March and April, 2020.

The first one, in the window of MP Taverna, handwritten by the owner, Michael Psilaki, announces that he has reduced the price of takeout meals by 50% for customers who are not working.

The second and third, are a magnificent hand made work of metal artistry that appeared in the window of Angelica Cammarota Jewelry along with the sign in the doorway explaining that the jewelers’ whole family worked on it as a way of expressing gratitude to essential workers.

Each of these caring gestures lifts my spirits during these difficult and dreary days.

Ruth Cowan


This was definitely not the senior year that all of my classmates and I had dreamed of. We will never be able to partake in special traditions like proudly wearing merchandise from our college on decision day, attending the senior awards dinner, or walking through the halls of Dows Lane before our graduation. What is most upsetting for me, however, is that I never got a chance to truly say goodbye to my amazing friends and teachers who have been so impactful for me during my time in high school. It is crazy to think that when I left track practice on Thursday, March 12th, I would never come back for a normal school day. While it is okay to acknowledge these struggles, I have tried not to focus on them throughout much of this pandemic. We are so lucky to live in a community whose members are so willing to come together in this time of crisis to help one another. We are also fortunate that we live in an age with so many opportunities to connect remotely. While I miss human contact, doing workouts on google hangouts with my track team; playing games with my extended family over zoom; or talking with my dad, who is a first responder and has isolated himself, each day on the phone have made this situation so much better. I have also been reminding myself that there are so many amazing experiences that I will have in the future. It’s not like I will never be able to return to school and finally thank my teachers or see my closest friends. At this point, there is nothing we can do to evade this pandemic except waiting it out while remaining positive, and obviously taking necessary safety precautions.

Sarah Garcia


Among the many disappointments that Covid 19 has brought was the curtailment of our Easter Eggs-travaganza. The egg hunt was gone. The dyeing was gone. But we did have baskets and goodies bought before the pandemic. Fortunately our son and his family live close by. We were able to enjoy outdoor time at a safe and masked distance.

Dorothy & Al Berman

berman.png

Townhall.png
Sign outside Irvington Town Hall
Elizabeth.png

As a member of the community of Immaculate Conception Church, being able to “park and  pray” and worship the Blessed Sacrament along with our pastor Father Ashman,  and Father Roy has been so important to me during this pandemic. Fellow parishioners park in the large lot behind our church on Broadway, stay in our cars, windows closed and pray, hear the gospel and homily and worship the Blessed Sacrament which is carried around the lot.  I will never forget this time in our lives!

As a member of the community of Immaculate Conception Church, being able to “park and  pray” and worship the Blessed Sacrament along with our pastor Father Ashman,  and Father Roy has been so important to me during this pandemic. Fellow parishioners park in the large lot behind our church on Broadway, stay in our cars, windows closed and pray, hear the gospel and homily and worship the Blessed Sacrament which is carried around the lot.  I will never forget this time in our lives!

Elizabeth Lydon

Reflections

Ryan Flanagan


          The whole experience has been very surreal, as I’m sure it is for everyone. Initially (at the beginning of March) there were two main emotions as everything was taking place. One was a lot of disappointment. My family had to cancel our vacation to Spain, my older brother had to come home from Spain which had exponentially more cases than the US at that time, track practices were cancelled and there was a growing apprehension that the season would be too, and of course being in my senior year it was annoying not to be able to see friends. The other initial emotion was that this could be fun: a break from school and time with my family. The excitement very quickly left to just disappointment; the only thing left that was exciting was that my parents had just bought a house on Long Island that we still haven’t been able to go to yet. 

              After about a week I got over the disappointment and learned to live with coronavirus. It was nice spending time with my family, especially my older brother who I don’t see a lot anymore. My Uncle came out of the city to stay with us because he didn’t want to be stuck there if things got crazy (my other Uncle stayed and got pepper sprayed by a woman who thought he was standing too close to her on line in the grocery store when he was on the “6 feet apart lines”). My family and I did puzzles, built things like a garden box for my mom and a weight rack, and watched movies. I essentially got used to living like this.

              About a week after my brother got back from Spain he got sick and someone else from his study abroad trip tested positive for coronavirus, so we all probably had it. He was only coughing for a few days and the rest of us never showed any symptoms. Over the months everyone in my family got a routine going and since then it’s been pretty normal. I have been working out a lot, doing schoolwork, relaxing and spending time with my family, and reading new books.

           Luckily the worst thing that has come out of this for me is not being able to run my final season of track and probably winning leagues, sectionals, going to states, and breaking two long standing school records.

Katy.png
Katy Navarro Designs
Main Street Irvington

In the topsy-turvy world of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are still bedrock points.  And the arrival of one’s personal natal day is one of them.  So we found a way to celebrate the 96th birthday of Margaret (“Joan”) Lobdell. 

Joan lives in her childhood home in the Cedar Ridge neighborhood.  When Joan first arrived there ninety years earlier, the neighborhood was just developing.  But soon thereafter, with the Depression, building came to a halt.  Only about 18 houses comprise “the early ones”.  Joan’s home at 18 Hillside Terrace and those on either side of hers are among them.

There are now close to 100 homes in cedar Ridge, whose owners share a strong sense of neighborhood connectedness.    So even though social-distancing meant we could not get together for a party, and the narrowness of Joan’s dead-end street meant that a parade of cars was out of the question, the word went out via email that at noon on April 16 people were invited to stand outside her house and sing “Happy Birthday”.  Nature was merciful; there was no rain and even some weak sunshine.  Neighbors and friends arrived on foot and in cars.  At two minutes to noon Joan appeared on her front walk, wearing a big smile, her signature blue, Harris tweed coat and a classic felt hat (that ,we learned, had been her mother’s).  She was the perfect “guest of honor”.    

Thank goodness there were other gifts:  cake, flowers, an avalanche of cards, lawn signs, and a visit from the local press.  Because the singing was horrible.

JOAN.png
Jimmy's Soft Serve.jpg
Jimmy’s Softserve masked curbside delivery during Covid 19, April 2020.

The Harbingers

In a small pine tree as close to the window without being inside,

Two mourning doves systematically work.

One perched on the branch, while the other ventures out,

Returning with materials to build their nest.

At first I have no interest in this pair.

Taking my own flight, I gaze out the window soaring far beyond the pine branch searching for a sign as to what lessons this challenging time will reveal, while isolating from the world in this room like a hostage.

Like clockwork he takes off and flies back, each time mimicking what sounds and looks like a crash landing. Drawn by these distractions, I begin sleuthing.  Quietly I spy through the window, observing that on each landing he is carrying merely a torn blade of grass, a tiny twig or something so small it appears as though he has brought nothing at all. He delivers each find, approaches each take off and landing unequivocally.

Surprisingly, the nest is unimpressive.

My attention eagerly turns to this mesmerizing, industrious pair.

Who are these mourning doves?  What are they mourning and why aren’t they white?  Aren’t all doves white? I read about them.

Mate for life, construct flimsy nests, and communicate between two worlds, harbingers of peace grace and love.

And there it is, as close to the window without being inside, two nesting birds speak.

Like birds we must soar with the events of our lives.

Non-contention will alleviate the suffering.

Adapt, and only then we will find peace, grace and love.

They could have picked any other tree or bush in my yard.

But they picked the one tree we were advised to cut down many years ago.

They picked the perfect branch for their hope and chose a branch directly in my view so not to see them, but rather to notice them.

-Lynn Lutomski


19 lines about the Coronavirus Pandemic

We are in a global pandemic,

That’s ruining my academic. 

It’s making me schizophrenic,

That it harms a biogenic.

This virus is new and authentic,

No cure for a novel epidemic.

It’s nature is Bronchogenic,

A wide spread toxigenic,

Non-immunogenic Pandemic. 

The only cure is social distancing,

Washing your hands and partitioning.

I can’t go visiting,

It feels imprisoning.

So for now no commingling,

My birthday is quickening,

Missing my party is inhibiting.

Hospitals are bustling.

Health workers are sickening.

A horror to be witnessing.

-Poem-rap song by 5th grade Cameron Brown


Thoughts on Strolling the Old Croton Aqueduct

connie.png

Connie:  Sharing a few words with another human being (casual friend, close friend, barely known person) is appreciated 100 fold now over “the old days” when such encounters were common and interaction was full and frequent.

Kevin:  My delight in  the simplest parts of life: the bluest skies and clearest air we have enjoyed in years; the young ones playing on the street without a worry in the world;  “discovering” a neighbor behind our ubiquitous masks as we stroll on the OCA! 

-Connie Kehoe and Kevin Weber

Picture1.png

Interesting pictures along the Old Croton Aqueduct

-Posted by Hillel Gedrich


This past April 16th was our 70th wedding Anniversary.

We knew our children were planning a party to be held in our Nyack son’s home.

They had not yet sent out invitations.

At the beginning of March, rumors of the Virus made their appearance.

We all held our breath until it became apparent that we had to postpone or cancel.

Who knows if and when we’ll be able to have the party.

With full knowledge of these facts, five of our favorite people, masked and gloved, along with a dog and a luscious flourless chocolate cake serenaded us outside our house with a traditional “Happy Anniversary” song.

And beginning in April. our Senior Center made frequent deliveries of groceries along with prepared foods. All brought to our door by smiling, masked and gloved individuals,

including, one day, a smartly uniformed fireman and our own Joan Armstrong. 

It was such a heartfelt warm feeling of being cared for and looked after.

-Bernice and Lester Feldman


A few nights ago my family got a surprise visit from my brother and his family who live in NJ.  They brought homemade cookies and we visited outside for about 15 minutes while of course remaining at the proper social distance (cookies were left on a planter in order to remain 6 ft apart).

Elaine.png

-Thanks, Elaine Fuld & Joe DeMatteo


I am very proud of our team that has been working so hard to try and make sure our seniors know we are here for them.

We have gone from 60 deliveries to almost 90 this week and that includes a few families that really need help. Close to 500 bags of food, supplies and more have been delivered since we started this program.

Requests range from the basic foods to medication, diapers and masks. When we have someone that needs specifics that we can’t make happen we try to pare the individual with a volunteer who is willing to do that personal shopping. That has allowed us to focus on the big numbers.

We also are trying to not ask for more helpers as we want to limit the exposure we create for all. That is why the core group I have had is so valuable.

We are blessed to have people like the D’Arrigo Family, Irvington Hardware, Larry Schopfer, amazing volunteers, dedicated and loyal staff  and a generous community.

We will keep moving forward and do all we can or as long as we can. I will keep all my thoughts together and when I can will try to put into words what the past 6 weeks have been like.

BE well and be safe!

God Bless us all.

-Joe Archino
Superintendent
Irvington Parks and Recreation

X