This week in the Villages: We get a glimpse, after a series of building violations, inside Nyack College’s new life after it was bought by a Yeshiva in 2020. Plus, more local news, your weekly weather prediction, health updates, upcoming meetings and much more. Thanks for being here!
Diving In: A Glimpse into Nyack College’s New Life
Whenever I ask Nyackers what they would like to know more about, the fate of Nyack College’s gorgeous, sprawling, 107-acre hillside campus is almost always at the top of the list.
The college itself vacated the premises in 2018, eventually selling to the Yeshiva of Viznitz D’Khal Torath Chaim in Ramapo in November of 2020 for $45.5 million.
(Interestingly, Nyack College gave most of the sale, $38.5 million, to pay off a debt to Donald Trump’s “original apprentice,” Billy Procida, a financier and developer who lives in Piermont.)
The campus’s sale, and residents’ fear of Yeshiva residents gaining a foothold as a voting bloc in South Nyack, ultimately led to the South Nyack village deciding to dissolve itself.
But in the two years since its sale, the campus has basically been a rumor mill.
For a while, some “very plugged-in people” wrongly believed the campus had already been flipped to new buyers — not likely, since the campus enjoys a special education-specific zoning status that would require government approval to overhaul.
After the sale, Yeshiva representatives said the campus would initially be used to operate schools for about 500 high school and college-level students. (Nyack College apparently housed about 600 students, plus some staff, in campus facilities during its time.)
Yet, it wasn’t clear if this was actually happening.
Driving through the campus on any random afternoon and the place appears to be mostly empty, aside from the occasional person dressed in traditional Hassidic attire walking on the streets or between buildings.
What’s really going on?
Well, now, thanks to the excellent reporting of Lohud’s Steve Lieberman, we have some answers.
Last Tuesday, Yeshiva officials pleaded not guilty to a handful of fire and safety code violations in Orangetown court.
Mostly, the violations were for using the facilities without acquiring certificates of occupancy, which state law requires.
According to court documents, which cited a Sept. 6 inspection, the Yeshiva was running an elementary school and daycare center in what was known as the Boon Campus Center on 1 South Blvd. and also using a dormitory on Highland Avenue, all without the proper permits.
Yeshiva officials and Orangetown prosecutors say progress is being made to address the violations and no fines have been imposed yet.
While it’s disconcerting to hear about the violations, especially in the wake of troubling investigations into Yeshiva schools failing to educate their students, it’s also kind of nice, or at least comforting, to know what’s going on at the old Nyack College.
Better that, than churning through the rumor mill.
Stay tuned . . .
Quote of the week
Video of the week: Angela Davis in Rockland
First, please read Amaya McDonald’s NNV-exclusive story on activist Angela Davis’ much-discussed and much-traveled road to speaking in Rockland County last week. And then Nancy Cutler’s excellent Lohud article, which goes into more detail about why Davis’ appearance was opposed (apparently, she’s too “radical” for Rockland youth). Then, watch the speech, which goes into the roots of the word radical. Then, let’s discuss!
In other relevant news:
- Talk about evenly divided races! In the 99th Assembly District, which includes Rockland’s Stony Point, as well as several Orange County towns, Democrat Chris Eachus leads Republican Kathryn Luciani by a total of 21 votes, with all votes, including affidavit ballots, now counted. Still, it’s not over. An automatic recount was triggered because the margin was so slim.
- Ed Day is not standing for what could be a $2 toll increase on the new Tappan Zee Bridge by 2027, according to News 12. “These authorities are getting away with cold-blooded murder,” said Day. “Things are tough right now. This is the worst time to ask for an increase.”
- The Regal Cinema in Nanuet is fighting in court to keep the movies rolling, according to Rockland Biz Journal.
ICYM NNV’s weekly features: Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”, Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places”; and our coverage in last week’s “The Villages”. If you haven’t read it yet, please check our vision for the future of Nyack News & Views and how you can help build our coverage and capacity.
A mostly sunny Monday will give way to rain Tuesday and Wednesday and then clear up with temps hovering in their early 40s. [Click here for the National Weather Service‘s latest 7-day forecast for the Nyack area.]
According to CDC data of recent hospitalizations and cases, Rockland’s community level of Covid-19 is now considered “medium.” (Updated 12/4/22 — just last week it was considered “low”)
- According to state records, Rockland’s Covid-related death total now includes 1,240 human beings. https://rockland-covid-19-portal-rockland.hub.arcgis.com/.
- To find out what case and hospitalization trends look like in your town, click here.
- Here’s the CDC’s data on Rockland.
- Get free at-home Covid tests sent to your home, visit Covidtest.gov. Or pick them up at Village Hall in Nyack, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
- More than 82.4% of eligible people in Rockland County are vaccinated with at least one dose. To schedule an appointment for a 1st dose, 3rd dose (for immunocompromised), or booster COVID-19 vaccine from any Rockland County Department of Health Clinic visit rocklandgov.com/departments/health/. To search for additional COVID-19 vaccination opportunities nearby visit vaccines.gov.
- Find a COVID-19 testing site near you, by visiting coronavirus.health.ny.gov. Individuals who have questions regarding eligibility or access for testing should call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit the NYSDOH website covid19screening.health.ny.gov.
- Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack. The Board of Trustees meets Thursday, Dec. 8, from 7:30 to 9 pm at Village Hall
- If you could use help paying your water bills, click here.
- Wondering what’s going on with street closures, check out Nyack’s “Fall Paving Map”.
- Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).
- Click here for updates from the Village of Upper Nyack.
- Due to reader request, we have re-added South Nyack, which dissolved as an official village earlier this year. Please send us info about what’s going on in South Nyack at email@example.com.
- Check out the draft chapters of Orangetown’s new 2022 Comprehensive Plan.
- ICYMI: Here’s the official resolution Orangetown enacted with regards to the sale of two South Nyack properties, which appears to say the proceeds will go toward wiping out South Nyack’s debt, which is what South Nyack officials were lobbying for as the dissolution date approached.
- Help limit greenhouse gasses and curb pollution by joining this new food scraps recycling program.
- Check out the Orangetown YouTube channel.
- The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including this Wednesday, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.
- For a calendar list of all Clarkstown meetings and events, click here.
Other Local Updates
South Nyack advocates have filed a petition with the town of Orangetown seeking to show support for a new Elizabeth Place Playground — the grassy play area and dog park just south of 87 and right off the Esposito trail. After South Nyack dissolved in March, the town found the playground equipment at Elizabeth Place was unsafe and not compliant with ADA regulations and removed it. A new ADA compliant park has been proposed and advocates want to see the proposal approved and implemented. Click here to read and/or sign the petition.
- Recently, we reported that Nyack Schools were hoping to have a new superintendent in place by January 2023.
- Check out our latest Nyack Schools Report, a new regular feature we will be posted every couple of weeks or so.
- Find out what else is going on in Nyack-area schools at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (nyackschools.org)
A rare polio case was recently discovered in Rockland County. Here’s some info on how to protect yourself:
- New Yorkers can pre-register for a free polio vaccination appointment here or call 845-238-1956 to schedule. Walk-ins will also be accepted.
- Vaccines are also available through local healthcare providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers.
- For more information on polio including symptoms and spread, visit NYSDOH’s page here.
- New Yorkers can learn more about the polio vaccine available in the U.S. at CDC’s page here.
- The Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program will reimburse businesses between $5,000 and $25,000 for past expenses or fund future expenses for eligible outdoor dining COVID-19 mitigation equipment. Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, bakeries, delis, cafes, breweries, wineries, and other similar places of business. For more information and to download an application visit rocklandgov.com.
- Fill out this survey to help the county provide better digital services.
Connect with Nyack News and Views
Note to readers: We want to hear from you and welcome your input! What do you think we should be covering in your Rockland County village? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us story ideas, issues to investigate, letters, reviews, photos, videos, feedback and news tips. And read about our vision for delivering high-quality, hyper-local journalism and how you can help us fulfill our mission going forward.