Around the Neighborhood – Around Scarborough Station – The Post Office at Scarborough Station

This is the Post Office at Scarborough Station, but it hasn’t always been so – only since 1961 when the Briarcliff Manor village government purchased the 1899 building to house its Scarborough post office. I passed by this building pretty much every workday from late 1998 to 2012 on my way to and from work in New York City.

The building was used as a filming location in 1966, in the first episode of the television soap opera Dark Shadows as the Collinsport train station. Before that it was the actual station building. As with the rest of the Hudson Line, the Scarborough station became a Penn Central station once the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads merged in 1968. Penn Central’s continuous financial despair throughout the 1970s forced them to turn over their commuter service to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The station and the railroad were turned over to Conrail in 1976, and eventually became part of the MTA’s Metro-North Railroad in 1983. In 2007, the MTA overhauled the station, installing new systems such as platforms, canopies, shelters, enclosed staircases, lighting, and benches. The station’s overpass was demolished and a replacement was built with elevators on either side. The new overpass was designed in a less modern style and now has glass-sided elevators. During the construction, Metro-North built a temporary wooden station to the station’s south.

The first station building was built by the Hudson River Railroad sometime before 1860, and acquired by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad in 1869. The station was named “Scarborough” until 1867. On July 16 of that year and until November 26, the area was officially called Weskora. The Scarborough station was accordingly changed by local government officials to “Weskora”, and changed back in December 1867.

The Scarborough post office dates to December 3, 1864, when the U.S. Postal Service established a “catch and throw” office there in the same small building as the earlier established station. A hook was installed along the tracks to hang mail bags to be grabbed by workers on the passing trains for outgoing mail distribution; in turn workers threw mail bags off the train for incoming mail distribution. The first postmaster of the Scarborough Post Office facility was James Van Velsor who had an annual salary of $200 ($4,300 in 2019) in 1873.

A large thunderstorm occurred in the area on August 4, 1898; the newly renovated station building, built in 1893, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. At the time, the building also housed Scarborough’s post office. Mail was destroyed although registered mail and money was being kept at the postmaster’s house each night; damage amounted to $5,000 ($153,700 in 2019) and the post office opened the next day, with mail being held in a pushcart. The building was reconstructed identically to its predecessor.

In 1909, after the community of Scarborough was incorporated into the village of Briarcliff Manor in 1906, the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad put up a sign reading “Briarcliff West” at the station. Soon afterward, attributed to the neighborhood’s pride over their name, that sign was thrown into the Hudson River and replaced with the original Scarborough sign.

In April 1931, Siamese King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambai Barni traveled from Bangkok to Ophir Hall (currently Reid Hall of Manhattanville College). The couple had flown from Japan to Vancouver and took a train to Chicago. From Chicago, they took another train, departing at 10:30 a.m. on the 21st and arriving at noon on the 22nd, and the trip took 25 hours; the king had requested the train travel slowly, as he was recovering from bronchitis and malaria. The train arrived at the Scarborough station, where journalists, spectators, and video and still photographers met them, along with one of their hosts. They were later driven across the county to stay at Ophir Hall for about six weeks in order for a cataract operation to be performed on the king’s left eye. State troopers and a squad of New York Central policemen were stationed at Scarborough to ensure a smooth transfer. At the time, the king was an absolute monarch; he later became the country’s first constitutional monarch.

Other notables passing through the station included: William Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller, C. C. Clarke (the First Vice President of the Hudson River Railroad), Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard, Walter William Law, members of the Webb family (Who owned the Beechwood Mansion before the Vanderlips) (Adapted from Wikipedia).

I’ve been fascinated for years by the colors, shapes and textures of this wooden support.

The view from the new station, a couple of hundred yards from the post office.

Taken with an Olympus OM-D EM-10 and Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42 f3.5-4.6 II

Boats on the Hudson

Taken by the Tarrytown Boat Club and Marina on the Hudson River at Tarrytown, NY on the east shore one-half mile north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which can be seen in the background. There used to be a couple of nice restaurants here: The Striped Bass (a particular favorite), which was badly damaged during Super Storm Sandy and never re-opened, and Sunset Cove, recently announced (March 2021) that it was closing after 24 years in business.

Too bad.

Taken with a Sony A6000 and Canon 50mm LTM (I think).

Birds taking flight

I was walking around along the waterfront in Tarrytown, NY. As I was approaching this tree I noticed that it was full of small birds (I have no idea what they were). I was still quite a distance away when they took off en masse. I was lucky that I had already raised my camera in anticipation of taking a picture and was able to get something.

I quite like it. It something about the mass of birds, the fact that they’re blurred combined with the delicate branches with their red berries that appeals to me. There’s something oriental about it.

Taken with a Sony A6000 and Canon 50mm f1.4 LTM (I think).