An Exciting Reopening of the Club!
The Tennis Courts
Yonkers’ historic Racquet Club on Park Hill was fortunate in having only a short delay in restarting its social calendar this year in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The four tennis courts were reopened by mid-May, barely a week later than usual. And with the tennis courts open, so has been the bar, with drinks served outside by our busy bartender, Kathy.
The Tennis Committee, under its long-time chair, Director Patty Gamba, worked hard in getting the courts into playing shape on time. The committee also distributed to members the guidelines of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) on maintaining social distancing, on minimizing contact between players and on maximizing hygiene on the courts. For the time being, the clubhouse remains off-limits to members, except for the use of the restrooms.
Thanks to Gianna and Anthony D’Alessio for their great help last month to our House Super, Roger Herrera, in getting the tennis courts rolled and keeping the premises, inside and out, cleaned and sanitized, especially while Roger and Enrique were working tirelessly on the pool. Special credit also goes to Roger, Anthony and Vinny Liberatore for their efforts in repairing the courts after the recent series of heavy damaging rains, requiring the digging out of the deep drain near Court 1 by Roger and the complete resurfacing of the courts with red clay and calcium by the full maintenance team.
The Swimming Pool
Thanks to the Pool Committee of Robert Moment, Karin White, Chrissy Gervais and Gaby Cinquemani for their month-long project of refurbishing the pool and overseeing the efforts of Roger and Enrique, who labored in the early-summer heat to finish the pool last month. In fact, the team finished the project in time for the pool’s reopening on July 1st, just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday week end, with its annual fun tennis tournament and the excellent “barbecue” lunch from the Road Grub Mobile recruited by Director Justine Henry.
Thanks to our six lifeguards this year for their service to the club. They include Gianna, who is returning, and new lifeguards Joel, Kristin, Luke, Maggie and Sean. Maggie will also assist Kathy as one of the bartenders.
Hydroevolution Aquatics Fitness Class will be held weekly on Saturdays from 10 to 11 AM. Class is priced at $15 for members an $20 for non-members, paid directly to the instructor.
Visit to the Club Pool by Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers Businessman Stew Leonard
On Thursday, July 9th, around noon, the club was honored by a visit from Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, who accompanied the well-known businessman Stew Leonard and his wife, Mrs. Kim Leonard, for one of the annual pool-safety demonstrations that the couple conduct every summer at area swimming pools. The demonstrations, typically with Channel 12 TV reporters in tow, are held in memory of the death of the Leonards’ young son, Stewie, who drowned in a pool accident in 1989 at the age of 21 months.
Since then, the Leonards have been on a mission – locally, nationally and even internationally – to make sure that no other parents or grandparents endure the same heartbreak. Their water-safety campaign over the last three decades has raised several million dollars to promote awareness of the importance of water safety for young children.
The Leonards’ demonstrations seek to instill in families total watchfulness for their young children when they are in or near water. The Leonards teach families that their young children should (1) never go near water unaccompanied by an adult, (2) always go into the water wearing a flotation device, and (3) take swimming lessons.
In the photo, from left, are Stew Leonard; Stewie the Water-Safety Duck (played by a Stew Leonard employee); Mrs. Kim Leonard; Chase, one of the Leonards’ daughters; Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; and PHRC members Karin White, Shantell James and Robert Moment.
Personal Hygiene and Safety
The club has placed numerous signs around the grounds reminding members of good hygiene and safety habits. Clean face masks are available on the porch, as are bottles of hand sanitizer for frequent use. Club staff are frequently sanitizing the front gate, the men’s and ladies’ bathrooms (both upstairs and downstairs), the outside tables and chairs, the pool chairs and tables, and the playground for young children behind Court 1.
Parties This Year
Due to Covid-19 precautions this summer, the club has temporarily suspended its usual Friday evening pot-luck barbecues. In their place, we have recruited quality food trucks from around the New York City metropolitan region for what we are calling Food Truck Fridays. Thanks to Justine Henry for having already lined up food trucks for every Friday evening all summer long! The food truck this week end will come from Mickey’s Oasis Grill & BBQ of Scarsdale.
The Fourth of July Fun Tennis Tournament and Picnic. The holiday fun tournament this month attracted 20 members who formed ten teams of doubles, and it took place on a picture-perfect Saturday morning in ideal weather. Thanks to Paul Meissner for organizing and running the tournament and doing his best to balance the 10 teams for ability levels. In the final, Todd Geremia and Kevin Morrison defeated Joe Harbeson and Bill Coffey in a spirited one-set match.
Later, members and guests were pleased with the menu of the Road Grub Mobile food truck, which highlighted the freshness of its Black Angus beef burgers, its all-beef hot dogs and the trimmings. The truck called itself “The Ultimate Road Grub Experience.” Drinks were served by our bartender Kathy, and a good time was had by all.
Junior Tennis Program. At the request of many parents, the Tennis Committee has recruited a new coach, Felix Solano from the Yonkers Tennis Center (YTC), to run the club’s junior tennis program this summer. The program is expected to run through the last week of August and possibly through September 4th.
The program this year is structured differently due to Covid-19 restrictions. Therefore, no more than four children are on a court at one time. Lessons are taught between 10 am and 2 pm each day. Beginners are taught first, followed by the intermediate and the advanced levels.
Parents may register their children for single or multiple days per week. Cancellations or rescheduling of sessions must be made within 24 hours to be refundable. Package deals of five or ten sessions are available at $20 per hour. Individual sessions are available for $40 per hour. Package deals must be paid in advance, with payments made directly to Felix.
Parents must register for space at least one week in advance, since there can be no more than four students per lesson. Sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be a wait-list in the event of cancellations.
Sunday Tennis Round-Robins. The club will resume its summer round-robin tennis play this Sunday and every Sunday from 4:30 to 6:00 PM, weather permitting. The round-robins are open to everyone, regardless of skill level, and are not mainly about winning or losing. They are just a great way to get to know people better on weekends. Come, have a good time, enjoy a drink from the bar, socialize, and take a dip in the pool later.
Dates of Club Competitive Tennis Tournaments. The dates (all Saturdays) for this year’s competitive tennis tournaments will be as follow:
- Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles: Saturday, August 1st
- Singles: Saturday, August 29th
- Mixed Doubles: Saturday, September 26th
All tournaments will begin at 8:45 am. Each doubles team and/or singles player should bring a can of new tennis balls for tournament play. Breakfast will not be served this year as a result of the Covid-19 precautions. Anyone with questions should feel free to email Tom “Westy” Westmoreland for more information at email@example.com or to text him at (914) 629-9847.
Welcome to New Club Members
The Board is pleased to welcome many new members to the club this summer. It’s true that our policy of asking members to wear their masks as much as possible this year might make it a bit more difficult than usual to get to know one another. However, beverages from the bar should help to quickly break down social barriers! (It’s hard to enjoy a drink with a mask on!) New members thus far include four singles and 13 families:
New Singles: The four new singles are Vicky Sturner, Krysta Harvey, Carrie Schoen and Joan Claire Chabriel.
New Families: The 13 new families are as follows:
- Cesar Gonzales and Dealal Ahmed
- Jay Murrin and Gary Ages
- Jean Lambert and Jonathan Selzer
- Aidan and Kristine Quinn and famiy
- Ruth and Nathan Mazurek and family
- Pam Opdyke and family
- Tracey and Michael Frisch and family
- Nancy and Joseph Garcia and family
- Sinead Horan and family
- Geraldine Mayorga and Matthew Macalusa and family
- Aileen and Declan McKenna and family
- Eric and Iris Schaer and family
- Olivia Powell and Lucas Chilczuk and family
- Lynn Gabriele and Paul Ammirato
Welcome to all the new members!
Members of the book club meet around once every four to six weeks to discuss a book. The group next meets on Wednesday, August 5th, to discuss the book Born a Crime by the South African comedian Trevor Noah. Those interested in taking part can contact book-club member Claire Miko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The club’s first film in this year’s Summer Outdoor Screening Series will be “Jurassic Park Interactive” on Saturday, August 1st. The screening will take place in the large, usually empty, field behind the club building. For safety purposes, the club will space out chairs. But members are welcome to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets if they prefer. Club mask rules will apply. Strobe and lighting effects may be used. Attendees may want to bring mosquito repellant as a precaution.
Seating and the preshow will occur at around 7 pm. The movie will begin at dusk. There will be a $5 admission charge per person. Bar service will be available. “Jurassic Park” is rated PG-13. Parents may want to use discretion to decide whether the event is appropriate for their children.
Coordinators Matt and Chrissy Gervais say they will be ordering the Three Little Pigs Food Truck for the occasion. They say they will also be giving out packaged popcorn and ice cream cups as part of the price of admission. They add that the photo ops and interactive elements present no Covid-19 risks.
Eloquent Letter of Thanks from Rosemary and Jim Beirne to the PHRC Board of Governors
The PHRC Board of Governors recently received this letter from Rosemary and Jim Beirne, expressing appreciation for the successful reopening of the club under the difficult circumstances of this year. The Board would like to thank Rosemary and Jim for their kind gesture in writing us that eloquent and very kind letter. And we would like to share it with the rest of the membership, by appending it to the July 2020 newsletter, because we believe the sentiments of gratitude expressed therein are directed as much to the entire membership of this special club as to the Board. The letter reads as follows:
“Dear Members of the Board of Governors, Committees and All the Volunteers at the Racquet Club:
“We want to take a moment to simply say Thank You to all those intrepid volunteers, our Directors, our Governors, and all of our committee members who have worked so tirelessly to get our club up and running, working to keep membership stable and our club facilities remaining beautiful in the middle of a pandemic that is unprecedented for anyone in our society today.
“We know from personal experience how difficult it is to keep the club operating even in good times. To keep it not only afloat but thriving in this uncharted territory is truly amazing. That we are able to play tennis and use the pool and enjoy a drink on our renovated porch while still seeing friends is more than most people could hope for right now. How fortunate are we to have this hidden gem, and a wonderful community of friends to share it with.
“The pool looks magnificent, and the courts smooth as silk. The fact that you could even have opened these courts at 9 a.m. today after the torrential rains of the last two days is remarkable.
“We just want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you are doing for our members. You all rock. It’s a good thing we pay you so well for your efforts. - Jim and Rosemary Beirne"