Pedestrians Take Back Seat in New Pedestrian Mall

The TJs ventured out to Ridge Hill over the weekend, checking out the funky bronze bug sculpture playground, noshing at the Yard House, and navigating a fairly tricky parking garage and labyrinthine exit.

Ridge Hill is a lifestyle center, in modern parlance–an outdoor mall featuring some upscale retailers, a handful of restaurants, the aforementioned playground and a performance stage.

Ridge Hill has been woefully undermarketed. The Missus, who converses with the moms of Westchester most every day, had not heard of it until I mentioned it.

And I only knew of it because of the numerous news stories on News 12, about how it was greenlighted on the back of a corrupt Yonkers councilwoman. It’s really not the publicity an $850 million initiative is looking for.

The stage is about 40 feet from the playground. Bernie Williams–yes, that Bernie Williams–is scheduled to play July 16. We happened to catch a lively wedding-style band, doing the likes of Adele and some old R&B, while at the playground, and later caught the headliner–classic rock dude Dave Mason, who made his name in Traffic.

Speaking of Traffic, the playground was a swarm of moppets on Saturday, after the sun finally broke through.

The playground is a work of art, literally–a sculpture from Tom Otterness. The kids loved it. The only problem is, the playground needs to be several times larger. I’m surprised the Ridge Hill principals did not allow for more recreation space, since space isn’t exactly a huge premium when you have a few hundred acres to use. The traffic for climbing up the lone ladder to the bug thingy’s midsection and skull lasted several minutes.

After a romp on the playground, we headed over to the Yard House. It’s a chain that features a giant beer list, and giant beers–a yard is, of course, a three foot beer, though the largest beer we saw was a half yard, and the dad parked in front of it wasn’t working too hard to find the bottom. So extensive is the beer list that there’s a section for Pale Ales, and another for Indian Pale Ales.

One suggestion for the chain: Post the prices next to each beer. With such a large list, surely some of the beers would be quite expensive. We had a 21st Amendment pale ale and were curious about the price (the server did not know, though he did offer to ask); as it turned out, it was a not unfair $6.25, same as The Missus’ house honey blond.

They might add the alcohol level of the beers too, as each table surely features at least one driver.

The service was bad. Missteps included forgetting the bread basket we asked for, neglecting to give us silverware, bringing our party of four just one napkin when it was pointed out that we did not have napkins, bringing a full plate of fries when we asked for an extra plate to put some fries on (that one was an honest mistake), giving Little G the wrong drink that may have, but probably did not have, alcohol in it, and perhaps others that The Missus might remember.

Those aside, the meal was good. We had a very nice banquette table overlooking the keg room–waterfront real estate, in a sense. TVs all over the place showed baseball, tennis, horse racing and whatever other sport was playing around the world.

From there, it was on to the parking lot, which is a claustrophobic experience. We parked in the Archer Avenue lot, and it’s tight–meaning you’re probably climbing three or four levels before finding a spot. Honking was frequent and anxiety was apparent. And as we checked out, we were never informed how much we had paid to park there. Guess we’ll find out when the credit card bill comes.

Also worth noting…the outdoor mall concept is all about walking around al fresco, but crossing the street from the Archer Ave lot to the shopping area and playground was a dangerous nightmare. It’s four lanes of traffic, much of it agitated from the anxiety-inducing parking garages, and a lone guy trying to help pedestrians cross, while also addressing the number of How the hell do I get out of here? questions from motorists. You feel like you’re on your own in crossing, and with kids, it’s scary.

Huge oversight by the planners. A pedestrian will be injured. Soon.

In fact, crossing any street in Ridge Hill felt dangerous. I didn’t see a signal actual crosswalk–a pedestrian lane marked with zebra stripes. I saw lots of would-be walkways featuring two painted lines across the street, but not the type of crosswalk drivers associate with stopping for pedestrians.

But it was an interesting experience. You didn’t really feel like you were in Westchester, much less Yonkers, while there. I thought a few times of an afternoon we spent in Burlington–availing ourselves of the pedestrian plaza in that city, stopping for lunch, for a beer, etc.

And one final note: the name. We’re an editor by trade, with little stomach for redundancies. Think about it…Ridge Hill. Isn’t the Hill implied within the Ridge, or vice versa? You need a hill for a ridge, so I don’t know that both merit a spot in the name.

Oh well. It’s no more a redundancy than Ocean Beach, and that has never slowed tourism in that Fire Island enclave.

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1 Response to Pedestrians Take Back Seat in New Pedestrian Mall

  1. jerseyjim says:

    Hockey. The other sport is Hockey. Yes, they are still playing hockey in mid-June. Let’s hope for 2 more games. Go Devils!

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