Friday, December 19, 2008

Where's My Monument?

The Town Center in Thornwood, New York is a strip mall that features a Shop Rite and a CVS I occasionally visit. For reasons I cannot explain, there exists an impenetrable malaise at that Shop Rite. Everyone is angry…really angry. No one smiles. Upon entering, beautiful women turn old and ugly. Virile young men loose the will to live.

For years I have pondered why this anomalous dead zone of hostility exists amid a town filled with wonderful people, many of whom I love dearly.

A quick peek at the Wikipedia entry on Thornwood, NY provided all the answers:


Thornwood once had a large and thriving marble quarry near its heart, the intersection of Route 141 and Kensico Road (known as Four Corners). The quarry pit was filled in in the late 1980s and the Town Center shopping center constructed over it.

Thornwood once had a station stop on the Harlem Line of the Metro-North Railroad and was about a 48-minute ride to Grand Central Terminal. The station building remains on Commerce Street, but the stop was eliminated when the upper Harlem Line (north of North White Plains) was electrified in the mid-1980s. Thornwood was the only stop eliminated as a result of the electrification process. While the station could accommodate diesel trains, the curve of the line as it proceeds north to Pleasantville made the construction at Thornwood of an elevated platform, necessary for electric trains, impractical.

In 1993, there was a robbery and shooting at the Shoprite Supermarket.

Suddenly, it all makes sense: the marble.

Having lived nearby in my youth, I remember that quarry before it was filled in. It was a ghostly and anachronistically strange looking place. There’s now a small plaque at the Town Center that commemorates the quarry. In fact, it said that some of the marble used from that site went to St Patrick’s Cathedral among other iconic structures.

So the malaise felt and endured at the Town Center Shop Rite, therefore, is a manifestation of Mother Nature’s rage…her betrayal:

“Look how you took from me….Look at what you did! I gave you all of that! You ripped it from me and created monuments to glorify yourselves! And what is my compensation? Where is my monument? You give me Shop Rite.”

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