Saturday, June 1, 2019

Hillside Students as Urban Planners - Visions of Downtown and the Waterfront

By Natalie Barry

This past January, Hillside teacher Dianna Clarke invited me to speak to the 2nd grade about Hastings history. I had a great time talking about early industry in the ravine, our waterfront factories, plus sharing “then and now” photos of important buildings from Hastings’ past. 

As I was walking out of Ms. Clarke’s classroom, I came upon some wonderfully creative dioramas of downtown Hastings, which were displayed in the hallway. I was so struck by these projects, I immediately pulled out my cell phone and took some photos. When I emailed Ms. Clarke to ask what they were all about, she explained:

We’ve been learning about different types of communities, including our own, and what goods and services are available in our community. Students were asked to pick a business on Main Street or Warburton Avenue to create and then present to the class the goods or services the business provides.  Students were so excited to share what they had learned!  Their projects looked fantastic when we put them all together to recreate some of the streets in Hastings. 

With the permission of Amy Cazes, the principal of Hillside, I’m happy to share my photos of the diorama projects put together by Ms. Clarke’s class. If you look closely, you can see that the kids included some incredible details, including conversations going on within an establishment (see Sakura Garden) and others that show goods in the window (e.g., Hastings Own Bagel). And we have a very realistic depiction of the Village Balloon and Flower Shop, which closed its doors a few weeks ago. 


Ms. Clarke also told me about the final segment of the 2nd graders’ studies concerning Hastings history. Here’s what was involved:

Lastly, the students studied the Hastings waterfront. They looked at the past land use of the waterfront and were asked to create a plan for the current empty space. Students were very thoughtful in their planning, thinking of a plan that would benefit many in the community. There were so many fabulous ideas, including an amphitheater to hear bands and performances, a hotel for visiting family and friends, an aquarium that highlights the Hudson River, and the first In-N-Out Burger on the East Coast. Students learned a lot about their community and are invested in the future of the waterfront.  
The following are some of the drawings done by Ms. Clarke’s students, which depict what they envisioned on the waterfront. I hope you’ll agree that they did a terrific job of imagining what could be possible for the future of village!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Telephone Booths and Numbers 

I“On This Day in History,” featured in The New York Times, it mentioned that on January 7, 1951, the minimum price of a coin-box telephone call rose to 10 cents from 5 cents in the state of New York.  

This made me think about those coin-box telephone booths that were located around Hastings.  There was one located outside the auditorium in the High School that was often used to call home for a ride back from an event at the school. And there was one outside the Center Restaurant, or was there just a phone inside?  I’ve forgotten.  That was used if you were in the middle of the village and needed a lift or had to check in with your parents.  I’m sure there was one near the train station and I remember some near service stations.  And now, they’re gone.  Cell phones are much easier.  It’s no longer necessary to fish through in your pockets or purse for that much needed dime.  But there was something special about pulling the door of that booth closed to have a private conversation.

by Judy Chamberlain (née Wemer)


A recently unearthed piece of ephemera included a set of very important numbers. At least important to a teenager in Hastings in the 80s. 

The numbers to various pay phones throughout the village: the A&P, just before the Gulf station on Warburton and the two in the alley outside of the Center Restaurant. Of course they were nothing like using the one wooden phone booth. In my twenties and thirties, I used the one at The Hastings House in the back beyond the dining room and John's Bar & Grill – creaking shut the door and dialing the rotary phone.

by Lindsey Taylor


In 1961, The Hastings News kept us informed about the new and emerging area code: 914. 


This was perhaps the last payphone in Hastings-on-Hudson, in the now defunct Tony's Steak & Seafood’s foyer. Photographed by Jeff S Alterman.  Posted to Facebook December 18, 2015. 


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