You may recognize his name from the last time he appeared on Patch. Enzo Simone, a resident of a town near Somers, NY (about 30 minutes drive from here) was written about when he last summer.
Simone had been dropping off his wife, Jennifer, at the train station up north when he saw an article about Betty Iannarelli, 84, on the front page of a paper in the deli. He immediately called the Irvington Police Department and, not satisfied with the little information they gave him on the search, drove down to the station right away in order to help organize the effort to find her. Tragically, all of this ended the worst possible way, as weeks later Iannerelli's body was found just a few streets away from her home. Simone has since stayed in touch with her daughters; they have some things in common.
Simone's own mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2002 and, he says, she's nearing the end soon. In short succession his father-in-law found out he had Parkinson's. “These things in life don't come with an instruction book,” he said.
Simone, who describes himself as a person who needs to be “kicked to curb and somehow knocked down” in order to change, changed fast. “At that point it was Game On for me.”
For a few years prior he had taken to mountaineering (a pursuit that began with an interest in cave diving which led to dry caves to climbing and then to mountaineering since he “likes the sense of a journey"). “Marrying what I love to do with what I had to do,” Simone soon launched the “10 Mountains 10 Years” project, ambitious to say the least, which intends to hike 10 of the world's tallest/most beautiful peaks in as many years to raise awareness for these degenerative brain diseases.
The timeframe has since extended some – perhaps this will be achieved in 11 or 12 years – but the ambition remains the same. Simone and his group of some 11 mountaineerers are about halfway through their list of planned peaks so far.
There's been a documentary made on their pursuit, by the same name as the project, which has won 28 film awards and, Simone said, is considered the most successful of its kind for this cause. And in case such big ambition is all too much for the casual hiker who wants to get involved, Simone's also got the Army of Change project going for a small army (300 or so members) to do more regional climbs. Conquering these mountains, he said, is a metaphor for perserverance in the face of adversity. "It's not about the mountains."
When you meet Simone you might wonder where this guy gets such perserverance. Well, it could be the juice.
Simone's latest life endeavor is in evidence on the sign on the former window on Main Street. “Coming soon: Believe Juice and Books. Fuel the body, inspire the mind.” Perhaps he is about to discover that creating and owning a small business is the greatest challenge of all.
Over three years ago, Simone, who as a climber is necessarily fit, nonetheless discovered he had a very high cholesterol count. He bought a juicer and he and his wife threw whatever they had in the fridge into the machine. “It tasted great," he said. "The next morning I woke up and felt like I was on rocket fuel. Why wouldn't I want to feel like this all the time?”
Shortly after, Simone lost his job as an architect, another casuality of “the Great Recession." Since then, he's toyed around with the idea of opening a juice bar with his wife and sharing the goodness of liquid vegetables with the people. The couple was was looking for a special spot with foot traffic, “a certain profile and personality,” and, lucky for us, found it here in Tarrytown.
More than a take-out juice joint like Jamba in the city, Simone hopes this could be a destination with – a few, according to what's allowed by code – seats and some shelves of inspirational books. Not self-helpy books per se and nothing competing with the , but some choice titles on people overcoming the odds, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, mountain climbing books and others on such demanding sports. Books about people like Simone.
Of course the whole endeavor depends on the official nod of permits and inspections and the like, but barring any blips with the building and health departments, Simone intends to open the doors in May and fuel the minds and bodies of our community. The works of Harrison artist Jo Jayson will be featured in murals on the walls. It's also guaranteed that he will provide a lot of the ambience with conversations from behind the counter. “Storytelling is a huge fuel for me,” he said.
As is the juice. “Tasting it is a physical reminder of what's in my head,” Simone said. “You taste change. The juice is an extension of the philopshy of the Project. Ultimately what I tell people impacted by these diseases is that if you believe in something enough and are willing to work hard at it you can change – yourself and the world around you.”
To follow the progress of Simone with his juice bar and his Project, click on his "The Regulars" Facebook page here.