I was having lunch [on Friday] in Beacon with a couple of friends -- fellow violinmakers I had been to school with many years ago. Around 2 I got a call from a member of Yorktown Smart Growth whom I had seen just the night before at the Mohansic Grill when they did the informational seminar. "Have you heard about this demonstration?" he asked. "What demonstration?" I asked. No one had said a word about anything of the sort at the meeting. I figured it had to be that group the developer has paid for, but to my surprise, he told me it was going to be people opposed to the superstore. I got home and checked the net; no notice of any event -- but I decided to lay aside the tools and pop down anyway and see what, if anything, was going on.
To my surprise a large group was gathering at the abandoned gas station that's going to a part of the site. Numbering around forty, the crowd included nearby residents who fear the congestion and added traffic, employees of some of the local businesses along 202 who are worried about losing their jobs, and other residents of the town. I saw my friend Stephen Steenick there, so I asked him what was going on and who had organized it. He waved down the hill. “They did,” he said. “It’s not a formal group. These guys are really worried about what’s going to happen to them.” Nodding toward the demonstrators holding signs and waving to passing cars, and handing leaflets to the many who paused, he said “They’re here because a lot of them are the ones who are going to be out of work. I grew up with a lot of the people here in town who run businesses, and I worry about what’s going to happen to them."
It was a diverse and (considering the scope of the impending development and the gravity of the impact it will have) a festive crowd -- including children, one fast asleep in a stroller, and two dogs. Aside from Stephen, who's not even a member of YSG, I didn't recognize anyone there. He showed me a petition that’s being filed with the Town Clerk, signed by over 150 local residents. “They’ve been canvassing the neighborhood for a few weeks. Do you know how many people live around here? This is right in the middle of a residential community. The last thing they want is to be living next to a strip of big box stores.”
Many passing motorists honked as they passed by -- sometimes you don't know what that means, but many slowed to wave or gave a thumbs up to show their support.