The Ghosts of Bronxville
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Five houses were on the tour: 25 Prescott, 2 Wellington, 6 Chestnut, 61 Tanglewylde, and 54 Tanglewylde. Following a beautifully drawn map of the route, created by Conservancy Co-Chair and artist Bill Dowling, the children carried battery-powered candles to light their way. Originated, planned and executed by three Conservancy board members, Erin Saluti, Michelle McBride and Stafford Meyer, the Ghosts of Bronxville tour was truly a village effort, including residents, and students from Sarah Lawrence College and Bronxville HS.
Five actors from the Sarah Lawrence theater department portrayed the following historic “ghosts” from Bronxville’s past:
At 61 Tanglewylde, Carolina Ordonez played Harriet Hubbard Ayer, the cosmetics entrepreneur involuntarily committed to Dr. Granger’s Sanatorium in Bronxville; Jessica Hart portrayed Elizabeth Custer, an early resident of Bronxville and widow of General Custer, at 6 Chestnut; at 54 Tanglewylde, Zach Lusk played William Augustus Bates, well known architect who designed many of the first homes on the Hilltop; Alex Emond portrayed famous Bronxville artist Will Low in his original studio at 25 Prescott; and, at 2 Wellington, Jeremy Lipsin played Edmund Clarence Stedman, the “Poet of Wall Street,” writer, editor, and stock broker. These Sarah Lawrence actors were under the direction of Joshua Kreis McTiernan, a graduate drama student.
The actors were dressed in period attire based on historic photographs. Each delivered a monologue about his or her life in Bronxville at the turn of the century. Scripts were written by Erin Saluti. The monologues were completely factual, but connected to something spooky about that person’s life. In addition, seven Bronxville High School actors portrayed “apparitions” along the route. These students also were dressed in period attire, performing activities related to their characters, but having no interaction with the children. It was as if they just “materialized.” The BHS actors included:
Ghostly Girl: Natalie Arenzon (10th grade)
Train Conductor: John George Braketselos (10th grade)
Sleepless Spirit: Kathleen Conaton (10th grade)
Boy Playing Jacks: Griffin Garbarini (8th grade)
Dr. Granger’s Sanatorium Patient: Olivia Samios (10th grade)
Spectral Servant: Caroline Schetlick (10th grade)
Spooky Cello Player: Lucy Whitney (11th grade)
Each home had a set including backdrops, created by artist Marc Pollack, as well as unique and authentic antique props. Outside each home, the children participated in various fun activities, including Donut on a String, Ghost Bowling, Pumpkin Toss, Candy Corn Guess and Pin the Beak on the Owl.
According to Conservancy Co-Chair Judy Unis, “The Ghosts of Bronxville gave the children a fun and exciting glimpse into the history of our village. It was a huge success and I look forward to it becoming a Bronxville tradition.”