The Hawthorne and Valhalla train stations were knocked out of commission following the horrific crash from Feb. 3, and I figured they’d remain out for weeks.
Waiting on a bus at Hawthorne station, which would take me to North White Plains, sounded like a nightmare scenario. So I poked around for some other options.
Since we now have two cars, I decided to drive to Philipse Manor in Sleepy Hollow, park in the village, and walk to the train station. I’d been to that station before. The old tudor building is owned by the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. Years back, when I had a novel coming out, I figured it would serve me well to take part in their open mike and get my public reading chops back in order.
I arrived in Philipse Manor Wednesday morning, and saw a sign informing me that there is no street parking anywhere in Philipse Manor, which is the village/neighborhood surrounding the station.
It’s a really cool looking neighborhood, tucked up against the Hudson, big, wide streets, large but not ostentatious homes. Sidewalks everywhere. Lots of character.
But I could not park there.
So I ventured on, just out of Philipse into Sleepy Hollow proper. I found a spot. I looked at the sign and saw I was legit. My walk from there, about .8 of a mile, took me past the site of the Horseman’s Hollow.
When I was trying to describe to myself the difference between my own Harlem Line and the Hudson Line that runs parallel to the river, the phrase “quality of life” kept popping into mind. There were plenty of seats. We stopped moments later in Tarrytown and then went express to 125th. The train stayed at a steady pace throughout. The view was not just different from the one I’ve seen for eight years, but beautiful: the river. The Palisades. The Tappan Zee.
I got back to Philipse Manor that evening. The ride was 42 minutes, a good 10 less than my usual commute to Hawthorne. The lights of the Tappan Zee twinkled in the distance. The blue recycling bins had the Headless Horseman on them. The streets are impossibly wide; people walked in the streets because the sidewalks are snowy. Cars go by in either direction, and there’s still room for pedestrians, unlike the mean, narrow, unforgiving, no-damn-sidewalks of Mount Pleasant.
I thought that I could actually live in Philipse Manor, my kids walking to friends’ houses along those sidewalks, or riding their bikes safely on those big, broad roads.
I walked past the Old Dutch Church from “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” fame. I passed a sign for Kykuit.
I got back to my car dwelling on how, amidst a truly awful tragedy on the railroad, my excursion to Sleepy Hollow had been kind of a treat–a break from the monotony of my usual commute.
I saw the paper tucked under my wipers. Fifty bucks for an “alternate” violation.
See you in court, Sleepy.