Nyack Sketch Log: Mario the Maker Magician

by Bill Batson

When the Nyack Mask Makers wanted an iconic local talent to serve as spokesperson, they reached into the hat, and pulled out a rabbit… that held the name Mario the Maker Magician, in its furry little paw! Mario is described by America’s most prominent magician, David Blaine, as the greatest kids magician in the world. As a maker, Mario has infused the digital into prestidigitation.

Learn how much magic there is in making and how much making there is in magic, and how he got to Sesame Street. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Nyack’s marvel, Mario the Maker Magician.

What is your earliest memory of magic?

I walked into an antique shop one day, but unbeknownst to me, the antique shop had gone out of business and the location had reopened as a magic shop. As I entered the shop, my eyes were immediately drawn to an old TV set on the back wall, at that moment playing my favorite scene from my favorite movie: Robin Williams, playing Peter Pan in the movie Hook, sitting at a table with no food while a bunch of Lost Boys pretend to eat. Bewildered and frustrated, he picks up an empty wooden spoon and flings imaginary food across the table. At that moment–BOOM–a real dollop of what looks like sherbet ice cream splats right onto Rufio’s face. In shock, Peter is finally able to see that the whole table is filled with food. A feast of magnificent proportions awaits. For me, seeing that scene, at that moment, on that old TV in a shop I didn’t intend to enter, ended up being one of the most important days of my life. I bought a few magic tricks and ended up coming back every other day for the next year and half.

What is your earliest memory of making?

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of drawing with my mom when I was five or six years old. We used to have contests. She’d place an object on the kitchen table and see who could draw it the best. In my teen years, I started exploring anything and everything that sparked an interest. Carving wood, making puppets, floral design… I remember a hair cutting stage, too, butchering willing friends’ heads for a few months. HA!

How much magic is there in making and how much making is there in magic?

There is so much making involved with magic. What makes great magic is usually invisible to the spectator, all the secret moves and gimmicks hidden from the audience. But in reality, to me, sometimes the method of the magic trick is even more fascinating than the trick itself. There can be beautifully complicated mechanical mayhem just to make a single playing card seemingly float in mid air! And conversely, there is a lot of magic in making! I watch my son build cardboard “robots” that have no autonomous movement, but because he made it, it is able to fly between rooms, talk, and interact with the world.

What brought you to Nyack?

The short version, I attended Nyack College for a semester.  But I fell in love with the town, and stayed. I mean, I really fell in love with Nyack. This was 1997. Playing in pop punk bands. Hardcore Sundays at Knuckleheads. Skateboarding at the square. The people, the restaurants, the music, the coffee shops. Damn man, the people… the PEOPLE are what make a place alive. Those same people today keep me here. I left Nyack saying that if I ever get married, I wanted to come back here and raise a family. And here we are.

How did you and your wife meet?

Katie moved to New York as a junior in the high school I had just graduated from. We met briefly a few years down the road through a mutual high school friend, and reconnected a few years after that, after both of us returned to New York from crazy adventures.

How did you get to Sesame Street?

We were pushing so many private shows in the NYC area back then. Apparently, a couple of folks at Sesame Street had seen us at events, passed on our info, and when the idea of a magic episode came up, they sent me an email! I’ll forever be impacted by meeting the likes of Joey Mazzarino and Peter Linz that day. GIANTS in their field. What they do to inspire kids all over the world is so insanely inspiring!

Have you always toured in your VW bus?

We toured in our 1971 VW, the “Little Blue Bus,” all the way to Boulder, Colorado and back a few years ago. It was the best, most memorable tour of our career to date! The breakdowns were all part of the adventure! But now, with busier tour schedules and more at stake, we have moved onto a more reliable modern tour vehicle, our newest baby: an Airstream travel trailer!

What is the allure of the road?

It’s about being free from everything. Not being tied to the traditional school schedule. Homeschooling our kids. Learning life skills along the way. Being able to do what we truly love, and getting paid to do it, is the greatest feeling. Traveling with a camper and not depending on hotels is liberating. “Home is where you park it!”

But traveling is also humbling. Being far from home teaches us so much. It can be scary at times. We drove through some heavy storms this winter… blizzards, detours, hundreds of miles of wilderness, unpaved roads. Man, even so… I miss it deep right now. This whole pandemic has really made me appreciate touring even more.

Why do kids need magic?

Magic starts when we are kids. By teaching a child a simple magic trick, you are giving them tools to overcome fear. Performing in front of people is such a great life skill. Someone said to me recently that magic is just undiscovered science. I feel that! Also, when I was young, my mom taught me a different kind of magic… about the importance in having faith. Hoping for things unseen. Believing in something invisible, eternal. These small seeds can sprout into great things as we get older. Ancient stories that teach us life lessons. I feel that so much, too!

Why do kids need making?

Making, aw man, how I love making. I talk about this in my live show a lot. When you make something, you understand something. And when you understand something, it gives you freedom. That’s all I live for! The earlier we teach our kids to use a sewing machine, to solder a circuit together, to 3D design, to fry an egg, to change the oil on a car, the sooner they will find what their own story is. Maybe that’s the answer. It’s important to make things, because by making things we find out who we are.

Any other makers and magicians in the family?

There are three other makers in our family! Gigi, our eight year old, knits, draws, sews doll clothes, makes jewelry, and is a constant example of resourcefulness, using what she finds to create what she desires. Our five year old, Bear, is a dancer, a robot maker, and a cardboard genius. He makes something new every single day. And Katie is the biggest maker in our family! She is a photographer, a video maker, a genius with branding and marketing, creating the image that the world sees of us online.

You appear in the Nyack Mask Makers video with one of your Arduino driven allies, Mr. Table. When was Mr. Table born?

It’s funny, because there has only been one other time in my career that I’ve had to take a pause from live shows, and that was when I underwent surgery and rehabilitation for a badly broken hand. During that time, while everyone said the world was telling me to rest, I built Mr. Table. It was September, 2017.

He’s an autonomous, interactive and super expressive table sidekick! Ultimately, he didn’t make the cut as an addition to my theater show. But now, in this new season away from the stage, Mr. Table has found a recurring role in my virtual shows. In fact, several former projects that were retired from the show, or never made it in, are now finding new life in the virtual world! It’s been really fun to explore this new avenue and bring them back to life.

How did David Blaine come to call you as the “greatest kid’s magician in the world”?

It started when David hired me to do some private events with him. It was absolutely insane. He’s given me invaluable tips that have changed my performance. And what an AMAZING human, onstage and off. He has given so much to my family. I got to tour with him two years ago, opening his show, and that gave me an opportunity to find myself on a big stage. Without that experience, I’d never be where I am now as a performer.

I know that this pandemic has been particularly scary for your family. How is everyone?

We are well and healthy right now. Katie was pretty sick a few weeks back, but we are all fine now!

We hear you’ve developed a robot kit. Tell us more.

Yes!! We’re coming out with a DIY Electronic Snake-in-a-Can Kit early next month! Keep your eye on our social for more about that.

What was it like working with Nyack Mask Makers on the #masks4all project?

I am beyond honored to have been able to collaborate with an organization that I truly admire… Donna and you, Bill, and all of the mask makers… YOU are why Nyack is so special. YOU are the people who make Nyack what it is. THIS is the type of community we want our children to know.

What’s next for Mario?

It’s hard to know when theater touring will resume. For now, we are continuing to work on virtual formats and live content collaborations. Creating videos and livestream experiences for partners like Make: Magazine has been a primary focus and a huge blessing to us during this time. We are continuing to do our best to stay connected to all of the amazing families and audiences that have been our lifeblood and supported us all of these years!!

Links:

If you have enjoyed my column at any point during the last nine years, I ask that you support the continuation of the Nyack Sketch Log by visiting nyackgift.com and consider acquiring or sharing one of my books or some of my merchandise. As one of Nyack’s smaller businesses, I thank you for your past support and hope to continue to provide the people of the village that I love illuminating illustration and edifying essays long into the future.

Donations are also welcome through paypal via wrbatson@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: ” Mario the Maker Magician” © 2020 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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Nyack Sketch Log: 8 North Broadway

by Bill Batson

In the culinary arts, presentation is as important as preparation. With table service precluded by the social distancing measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19, restaurants must find new ways to present their once plated masterpieces. 8 North Broadway was one of the first kitchens in Nyack to successfully transition from a la carte to cardboard box.

As early as March 12 – ten days before New York instituted the shelter in place order that expires in parts of the state this Friday, Executive Chef Constantine Kalandranis was already serving as many to-go orders as sit-down dinners. My fiancé Marisol and I were there planning the meal for our June wedding that would soon be postponed. We witnessed Constantine stoically absorbing the cancellation of months of reservations and catering gigs, while boxing meals for anxious families.

Here’s how a past natural disaster prepared Constantine to pivot so quickly from sit down to pickup and delivery. You’ll learn whose food he likes to eat as well.

When 8 North Broadway opened in the fall of 2012, just days after Superstorm Sandy, you focused on feeding first responders for several days rather than patrons. How did that influence community relationships in town? And how did that shape your outlook as a business owner?

Yes, it was one of those things where we had bought the building and closed the deal the night before the treacherous storm. We were one of the few buildings untouched by Sandy and for some weird reason, never lost power. We felt so thankful that we had a growing moment where we made chili for people in town and served hot water and lemon and had people come in and charge their phones…it was really cool and we got to meet the neighborhood at a time when we all had to really pull together.

How does COVID-19 feel similar to Sandy?

We have been thorough crises before in our restaurant path. COVID -19 is definitely a more intense and sad story than past occurrences.  What doesn’t change is that these moments are what level the playing field for all of us and help us remember what we have to be thankful for. Taking things for granted, racial and political divides and even terrorism seem to have taken a back seat and people are trying to unite the best way they know how.

What are you doing today that is helping Nyack survive and come together?

We have been doing our part as chefs do. We’ve participated in Nyack Nourishes. We have been cooking for hospitals once a week and trying to send out a donation once a week just to make the world turn. It is not always a first responder that needs the help — it can be a homeless person in town.

What does the future look like for 8 North Broadway and Nyack business generally?

It is a very scary time and I made the decision at a young age to cook and make people happy through food. I stand by that and was just thinking today that although things may never be the same, there is still an oath I made to myself to do my part whether we make money or not.

What were your early food influences and favorite food memories?

Johna and Constantine Kalandranis Photo credit: Julie Stapen

I think the memories of things I associated with comfort, like lemon roasted chicken and vegetables and dips, are things that I am really focusing on now. You may know we do $45 chicken dinner that feeds four people and that is mostly because this was a dish that I remember making me and my family happy. It was just something we always had when we were together — delicious, nutritious and full of flavor and comfort.

I grew up in Astoria, Queens and from a very young age cooked with my grandma and my mother. Family meals were always a big deal and still are.

What was your culinary training and early experiences in the restaurant world?

I have worked in every type of restaurant, from gyro joints to Michelin- starred establishments. I have been a dishwasher and a busboy. I have been a sous chef, partner, head chef and owner. I had a good work ethic at a young age and put myself through 2 schools and paid it in cash with my own money that I made working in restaurants. Other than that, we have dipped into virtual media as well as small cooking programs along the way.

What attracted you to the Hudson Valley?

Farms, incredible veggies, produce and the neighborhood atmosphere were big factors in my immediate love for the Hudson Valley. Those are the very things that I also felt New York City was losing. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, which is in Dutchess County, and from that time on, the Hudson Valley was irresistible.

How did you come to open your first business in Nyack and what attracted you to the Rivertown?

I had an uncle on my wife’s side who knew of a building in a town that he thought I should look at. I peeked through a dirty window and saw a glimpse of a copper bar. I think that’s when I really fell in love with idea of making a change and investing the time into the neighborhood and Nyack generally. I loved the town, the community and the warmth of the people.

You own 273 Kitchen in Harrison and have also opened other Westchester restaurants and are running a handful of Montauk restaurants. Describe those restaurants and their communities in comparison to Nyack.

We do the same thing in Harrison where we offer a family package of a protein like lemon chicken with all kinds of other goodies for $45.  It is a great value for the neighborhood and we make zero money once all is said and done. But I look at it as our way of helping since we are not doctors or first responders. It is also showing the neighborhood that we are not a selfish restaurant group but one that has always focused on listening and filling the food needs of those who patronize us. We’ve been successful because we listen and care that people feel nourished and cared about when they come to 8 North Broadway or any of our restaurants.

What do you enjoy most and least about the restaurant business?

I enjoy the challenge that every day there is a catastrophe or a problem that makes you think and be creative. I do not like the self- proclaimed critics of food and business who feel it is ok when you make a mistake to go blasting it on social media as if you had done something criminal…I learn to laugh at it. too, but it makes me very sad to see that. I have never seen that done so pointlessly with other professions and I think it is a great way to make a tense situation out of a business that is based on joy and eating. If there’s a problem in a restaurant, deal with it on the spot rather than ranting on social media.

What do you want people to know about you and 8 North Broadway?

I want them to know that we invest all of ourselves in our restaurants.  While we are far from perfect and make plenty of mistakes, the things we do are for our guests and our team are very thoughtful and done with a lot of care. We base all our difficult decisions on careful thinking and the pursuit of a customer base that loves us, patronizes us often and talks up their love for us to colleagues and friends. We want people to feel at home here, well-nourished, cared about and feeling great while here and when they leave.

What do you most enjoy eating?

Well, this is a funny story. Two competing restaurants, one in Nyack, the other in Harrison, are part of this story. In these difficult times, it is important to understand how we are all in this together as restauranteurs and I think a lot of amazing food is coming out of these restaurants because we are focusing on the food and what brought us into the industry in the first place!

Lately, I have had amazing meals at these venues and will continue patronizing them in the future. I feel bonded to them, like we’ve been through a battle together as restaurateurs – we understand each other on a very basic level.

Mumbai Dreams (Nyack) – I got a delivery because I wanted to spend some money on a restaurant as people are with us. It was some of the more creative (Indian tacos) and traditional (saag) Indian food I have had – thoughtful and delicious — in spite of being in a to-go box!

Dimitri’s Grill (Harrison) – I had a traditional beef and lamb gyro that was great — brought me back to my childhood roots.

Learn and read more:

You can view 8 North Broadway’s pickup and delivery menu here

Also, learn more about Nyack Nourishes, a project that 8NB participates in that provides meals for the healthcare heroes working at Montefiore Nyack Hospital and the Nyack Community Ambulance Corps during the COVID-19 crisis while supporting local Nyack restaurants.

With public support, 50 individually boxed, full course meals are sent each day to our community doctors, nurses, medical staff and first responders, prepared by local businesses.

The ten participation Nyack Nourishes restaurants are 8 North, Casa del Sol, Didier Dumas, Hudson Market, Karenderya, Maura’s Kitchen, Mumbai Dreams, The Olde Village Inne, Strawberry Place and Thai House.

To donate and learn more about this community effort, please visit NyackNourishes.com.

If you have enjoyed my column at any point during the last nine years, I ask that you support the continuation of the Nyack Sketch Log by visiting nyackgift.com and consider acquiring or sharing one of my books or some of my merchandise. As one of Nyack’s smaller businesses, I thank you for your past support and hope to continue to provide the people of the village that I love illuminating illustration and edifying essays long into the future.

Donations are also welcome through paypal via wrbatson@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: ” 8 North Broadway” © 2020 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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Nyack Sketch Log: Michael Rogozik

by Bill Batson

Although his death was not caused by COVID-19, the complications of our nation-wide shutdown contributed to the demise of Air Force veteran and artist Micheal Rogozik.

Michael was the kind of person that would’ve had a crowded memorial service, but again, the pandemic that has insinuated itself into every aspect of our lives, precluded such a gathering. In keeping with military tradition, however, his compatriots from the American Legion Hall made sure he received his military honors.

If you spent much time in Nyack over the last few decades, you know of Michael. He was on a first name basis with virtually everyone at our weekly, year-round farmers’ market as well countless other shopkeepers and residents. His warmth and gentlemanly manner drew you in.

Mikaela Martin and Kris Burns have found a way to celebrate his life by sharing his unique insights as an artist. Nyack Sketch Log spoke to them about what he meant to them and to Nyack.

How did you meet Mike?

Mikaela Martin: I met Mike about seven years ago, at what was Sweetpea’s, on Main and Broadway. I overheard him talking to someone about his childhood in Australia, which is where I’m from. I eagerly interrupted, and am so glad I did! I had found an expat with so many nostalgic–almost romantic–memories of a small country town in the middle of my native “nowhere land.”

Mikaela Martin and Michael Rogozik

I would soon learn that all of Mike’s tales and memories had one thing in common: joy. He really was full of joy.

Kris Burns: Meeting Michael in the middle of your day was an invitation to meditate on eternal riddles of the universe–could you meet him halfway? Would you linger in the presence of the present? Michael was the gift of Main Street, the prize for walking downtown, for showing up, for remaining.

He was the daily encounter with the divine you forgot you were after. He gave us a glimpse into a pure heart and invited us to marvel in the tarot, Elvis, and Max Ehrmann; to consider what it would look like to live in a constant state of salutation; to be reliably kind, unwaveringly warm, and predictably unpredictable. There was even prophecy, if you could calm your cluttered mind long enough to recognize it.

How prolific was Mike as an artist?

MM: He didn’t stop. The difference between Mike and many artists is that he didn’t seem to have a self-critic. Even though he repeated many pieces, many times over, I don’t think it was because he was trying to perfect something. I think the repetition was a deepening of his love for what he was depicting and creating. The work was without judgement, and without ego. I think that’s evident too when you see it. Like him, it is full of joy.

KB: Several years ago, I had a store on Main Street called Festoon. Michael used to stop by regularly to say “hi,” show me his latest work, and then proceed to knock my socks off with some off-the-cuff bit of profound enlightenment before he sauntered out. I fell in love with his portraits of Lincoln, Elvis, and the Virgin Mary and asked if I could exhibit his work. One day he brought me two entire collections of drawings and we talked about the possibility of reproducing them as a book or cards.

Regrettably, I closed the shop before I had the chance to exhibit or reproduce Michael’s work, and his wonderful collection got caught up in the shuffle of my best, but neglected, intentions. Little did I know that in a parallel universe, Mikaela was also talking to Michael about the possibility of exhibiting his work around the same time she was stopping in to buy flowers at Festoon!  Sigh…

How close was Mike with the local community of veterans?

MM: Mike was a proud veteran, and a recipient of a Bronze Star. If members of the community didn’t know him personally, they certainly knew of‘ him. Just last September he attended the Nyack Legion 100th Anniversary Dinner. He was talking it up for months prior. The Nyack Legion had generously given Mike a scooter last year, and regularly checked in on him. Their generosity and care for Michael went beyond their sense of duty, and I know they had a genuine admiration and fondness for him.

In a time when many restrictions have been placed on funeral services, members gave Mike an honorable farewell, with individual salutes and traditional TAPS.

What would you want people to know about Mike?

MM: Mike was a gentleman… not in the chivalrous or courteous sense of the word, but in that, he was a gentle man. He was a storyteller–and I don’t care if some of them weren’t true, I chose to believe them. He loved The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and I think more than anything, his Mother. In Mike’s home there is a room where he spent most of his time, and the pastel-painted walls are completely filled with his drawings, portraits of family, presidents, cards, iconography, military certificates–and on one wall, a small piece of paper with the letters Z E N. That was my friend: at peace with himself and the universe. Enlightened, and full of light.

KB: For one, the exchange with Michael required standing in place for an uncertain amount of time when you were certainly en route to someplace else.

It meant replacing the urgency you brought with you with the innocence you found.

It meant losing sight of where you were expected, and listening, really listening to a voice that was completely hypnotic and full of enlightenment.

How Great Thou Art

Mikaela and Kris are organizing a series of prints, cards, tote bags, and possibly a puzzle emblazoned by Michael’s work. The collection will be called How Great Thou Art, and will be available soon at Main Street Beat at 95 Main Street. Proceeds from the sales will benefit Soup Angels and the Veterans Administration. The banner above that honors Micheal’s military service will soon hang in The Village of Nyack. To learn more about the life of Michael Rogozik, and to share your own recollections or pictures, please visit this facebook page

Read also: Local Arts Index: Michael Rogozik

If you have enjoyed my column at any point during the last nine years, I ask that you support the continuation of the Nyack Sketch Log by visiting nyackgift.com and consider acquiring or sharing one of my books or some of my merchandise. As one of Nyack’s smaller businesses, I thank you for your past support and hope to continue to provide the people of the village that I love illuminating illustration and edifying essays long into the future.

Donations are also welcome through paypal via wrbatson@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: ” Michael Rogozik” © 2020 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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Nyack Sketch Log: United Hospice

by Bill Batson

The cruelest moment of social distancing during a pandemic comes at the end of life. Almost all of the 56,000 Americans (as of 4/28/20) who have been lost to the novel coronavirus met their demise without the company of loved ones. When I was informed by nursing home staff that my mother had COVID-19 symptoms, I implored the doctor to approve her enrollment with the United Hospice. I might not be at her side, but the profession committed to bringing comfort and alleviating pain would be there for her.

Thank heaven, my mother is in no hurry to meet her maker. She has rallied in recent weeks and may survive the six-months life expectancy required for hospice eligibility. But when the light of life dims, the promise of United Hospice can be engaged again, to ensure that the end need not be a cold departure but a warm embrace.

United Hospice provides a wide range of services to individuals facing serious illness and their families. This was the third occasion we were confronted with the challenge of making end-of-life decisions. Each time, all of our most urgent personal and professional needs were met by United Hospice.

Dame Cicely Saunders

Dame Cicely Saunders

Hospice provides palliative care that not only eases the physical suffering of the patient, but also reduces the emotional and psychological stress of the caretaker. The living have been called upon since time immemorial to witness their loved ones shuffle off this mortal coil. But since the mid-20th century, the health care community has begun to pay more attention to the particular needs of the elderly and the terminally ill.

In medieval times, a hospice was a place of shelter for the weary or for travelers who encountered medical misfortune on a long journey. British physician Dame Cicely Saunders first used the term in a clinical setting for her work with the terminally ill, creating the first modern hospice–St. Christopher’s Hospice, in London, in 1948.

In 1963, Saunders was invited to lecture at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where she introduced the concept of specialized care for the dying to medical practitioners in the United States. Six years later, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published the seminal work, On Death and Dying, a book based on more than 500 interviews with dying patients.

United Hospice

CEO, Amy Stern

amy color photo

On June 12, 2020, Amy Stern is retiring  after 32 years of service. United Hospice Chief Operating Officer, Cara Pace, has been appointed to be the next CEO.  This will assure a smooth transition.

Amy Stern has led United Hospice since 1989. She was hired in 1988 as their first social worker. Before UH, Amy’s work included the establishment of a palliative care home care program at Good Samaritan Hospital and social work in acute care hospitals and foster care settings.

“We know firsthand from our observations and from what has been conveyed to us by patients and families that people reap the largest benefit from hospice when they access hospice services sooner rather than later,” Stern said. “We continue to be surprised by how many Rocklanders  are unaware of the services we provide or have inaccurate information about eligibility and the services we  provided. Studies have demonstrated that hospice patients live longer than  their counterparts that do not use hospice services.

Hospice care is not a death sentence.  We help to improve quality of life, reduce caregiver burden, and provide invaluable resources.”

For additional information visit United Hospice.

By the late 1980s, there were three organizations attempting to offer hospice-like services in Rockland County. A strong desire to have a a true hospice organization led these groups to form United Hospice of Rockland in 1988. (The organization recently dropped “Rockland from their name as they expand their services to other counties.)

UH envisions a community in which all individuals and their loved ones facing serious illness can retain their dignity and hope while receiving quality care. UH’s mission is to honor life, give care, and bring comfort. The services they provide can take place in a patient’s home or at the Joe Raso Hospice Residence that opened in New City in 2012.

A patient must be diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a six-month or less life expectancy to be eligible for hospice services. UH works with patients and their families to develop a personalized plan of care. Guidance and support includes:

  • Nurses, including on-call nurses who are available 24 hours/day
  • Home health aides
  • Social workers
  • Physician care
  • Spiritual support
  • Nutritionist
  • Therapies (physical, respiratory, occupational, speech, music and massage)
  • Volunteers
  • Medications
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Bereavement counseling
United Hospice of Rockland_FAB

Frances Adeline Batson

Our family has relied upon the services of United Hospice three times in the last 12 years. In our household, taking one’s last breath at home in bed is the preferred, time-honored tradition. My father, William Prime Batson, and his sister, Frances Adeline Batson, struggled to grant that wish to their mother, Frances Lillian Avery Batson.

When Frances and Prime, as their friends called them, requested that same consideration, my cousin Sylvia Peterson and I were compelled, by their example, to accommodate them. We both feel strongly that the services of UH made it possible for us to fulfill that promise.

william prime batson

William Prime Batson

Since the cost of hospice care is significantly less than hospitalization, coverage is available from Medicaid, Medicare, and most insurance carriers.

A team of people and a variety of equipment vendors helped transform a room in our home into a hospice setting. On a good day, that task would have been daunting. While overcome with despair, it would have been impossible. Hospice assumed the logistical and medical responsibilities, leaving our family to sit, dine, and commune with our nearly departed.

If you want to be in the position to help ease the suffering of a parent and terminally ill family member, the time to act is now. If you want your wishes respected at the end of your run, commit those desires to notarized papers.

Volunteer Needed

United Hospice relies on the services of volunteers. In fact, Hospices must demonstrate each year cost savings realized through the utilization of volunteer services.

Volunteers who wish to work with patients and families will go through a comprehensive training program. They are also happy to have volunteers work in their office, assist fundraising department, offer personal care (manicures, pedicures, haircuts, shaves, etc) services for patients, tend gardens, and participate in speakers’ bureau.  There are no limits to the ways in which volunteers can help.

If you have an interest in volunteering, please contact Marie Woodsmith at (845) 634-4974.

Make sure that older members of your family have a health care proxy, power of attorney, and living will in place. UH provides a free service to help families create and store their advanced directive online at assuringyourwishes.org. However, everyone 18 years of age and older–but particularly seniors–should be aware of the legal and medical documents that express your wishes in the event of your incapacitation.

No matter how prepared you are, the loss of a loved one is devastating. Being unprepared can expose the patient to unnecessary suffering and leave a family with a feeling of irreparable regret.

Three years and one month apart from each other, my father and his sister passed away in their beds, as they had wished. When the dreaded loss of a parent comes with such tranquility and dignity, the lingering impression is of your loved one slipping gently into the eternal slumber.

United Hospice CEO Amy Stern receiving a donation of homemade PPE from Nyack Mask Makers co-founder and Nyack Sketch Log author Bill Batson

For those transcendent memories, we thank United Hospice.

If you have enjoyed my column at any point during the last nine years, I ask that you support the continuation of the Nyack Sketch Log by visiting nyackgift.com and consider acquiring or sharing one of my books or some of my merchandise. As one of Nyack’s smaller businesses, I thank you for your past support and hope to continue to provide the people of the village that I love illuminating illustration and edifying essays long into the future.

Donations are also welcome through paypal via wrbatson@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: ” United Hospice” © 2020 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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Nyack Sketch Log: The Other Pandemic, Domestic Violence

by Bill Batson

Advocates from the Center for Safety & Change have witnessed a tsunami of domestic violence follow the public health earthquake that shook the world in March, 2020. Chief Development Officer Tracie McLee reached out to the Nyack Mask Makers, requesting 500 cloth face coverings to protect their growing number of clients from the viral contagion, the third largest request in Rockland County. Massive institutions like Montefiore Nyack Hospital and Rockland Psychiatric Center came in first and second. “Demand for our services increased by 50% in one month,” McLee alarmingly reports.

The real need may be even greater, considering the challenge of calling for help when you “shelter” in place with your abuser. As cynical as it may sound, we will #flattenthecurve for coronavirus long before we stop the global spread of domestic violence.

Nyack Sketch Log recently sat down with the Center’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Santiago. Here’s the story of a domestic violence shelter that has not had an empty bed since 1979, which begs the question, what can we do to end the scourge of intimate partner violence.

A letter From Elizabeth Santiago

The pandemic and shelter-at-home mandates have added new layers, creating unimaginable environments at home. Hundreds of families – our loved ones, friends and neighbors – are living each hour of every day in fear and uncertainty.

Their lives depend on breaking through their current circumstances. Yet, they cannot do it alone and we pledged to them that they would never need to. Our help is needed now more than ever which is why I am calling on compassionate friends like you.

One month ago, the Center transitioned to remote and virtual operations, with the exception of the Emergency Residential Shelter. This ensured continuity of our essential work, yet resulted in more than $100,000 of unbudgeted expenses.

We have since worked with an unprecedented 50% more victims and survivors, illustrating just how essential our services are to our community, most especially during turbulent times like these.

Click here to learn more and donate

If you or someone you know needs these services, their 24-hour hotline is (845) 634-3344.

What was it like before 1979 for victims of domestic violence?

Victims of domestic violence before 1979 did not have anywhere to go. Police would be called to homes by neighbors to intervene in a domestic violence occurrence. It was routine for police to tell the abuser to take a cold shower or take a walk around the block to calm down.

Danielle Watson, Center for Safety & Change’s Development Manager, received first shipment of masks from Nyack Mask Maker co-founder, Bill Batson

Today, Center for Safety & Change trains many businesses, non profits, schools including Police Academy on how to recognize domestic violence and on to manage this safely for all parties involved.

How much demand was there for your services when you started?

We started out with a 15 bed house, 24 hour rotary and a few concerned citizens ready to answer the phone. They brought board games to pass the time because they truly didn’t believe the demand was that great. On October 5, 1979, we officially opened the doors to our shelter and filled 11 out of the 15 beds. The second day the remaining beds were filled. And the phones have not stopped ringing since then.

Center For Safety & Change:

A story in shocking statistics

15 bed facility opened Oct. 5, 1979 and has been filled to capacity since the day after opening

24 hour a day hot-line starts at same time and has run continually for 350,400 hours

1,900 calls per year

Every 15 seconds: how often a woman is battered

1 in 4 women reports experiencing violence from a former or current intimate partner;

1 in 5 women report being raped in their life time

1 in 71 men report being raped in their life time

50% increase in likelihood of child abuse in home with battery

71% of pets in these homes are harmed or killed

Women who earn 65% or more of their
households’ income are more likely to be
psychologically abused than women who earn
less than 65% of their households’ income.

18% of female victims of spousal rape say
their children witnessed the crime.

Between 10 and 14% of married women will
be raped at some point during their marriages.

Only 36% of all rape victims ever report the
crime to the police. The percentage of married
women who report a spousal rape to the police is
even lower. Marital rape is the most underreported form of sexual assault.

In 2012, 924 women were killed by intimate partners.

40% of female murder victims are killed by intimate partners.

Almost half of intimate 1 in 3 female murder victims and 1 in 20 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners.

72% of all murder-suicides are perpetrated by intimate partners.

19.3 million women and 5.1 million men in the United States have been stalked.

66.2% of female stalking victims reported stalking by a current or former intimate partner.

Between 2005 and 2006, 130,000 stalking
victims were asked to leave their jobs as a
result of their victimization

500%: the increased likelihood of homicide for a women if a gun is present in a home where there is domestic violence.

Source: centerforsafetyandchange.org

The most important number: the 24hour hotline for victims of domestic violence:

(845) 634-3344

You can also call (845) 634-3344 to volunteer in 2018, volunteers donated close to 12,000 hours of services, a cost savings of about $270,000

You can also click here to donate or call 845.634.3391 to donate by credit card.

Last year, our volunteers donated close to 12,000 hours of services, a cost savings of about $270,000

What services do you currently provide to the victims of domestic violence and their families?

We have an emergency residential shelter that has 15 beds. On average, this shelter provides safe nights to about 100 victims of domestic violence on a yearly basis. In addition, we had to turn away close to 400 victims because there was no vacancy.

When this happens, we work with other sister agencies in other areas to provide housing options, as well as safety planning tactics to keep families safe. We help them think of options on staying with a family member, or friend, etc. Although the shelter is the heart of our agency, it only accounts for about 20% of the work that we do.

The bulk of the work is through our non-residential services. Center for Safety & Change’s Domestic Violence Non-Residential Services was developed and implemented specifically for domestic violence victims who do not require or desire residential placement.

Non-Residential services, include, but are not limited a 24/7 crisis hotline; individual and group counseling; support and empowerment groups; advocacy and accompaniment; safety planning; legal services and court assistance; information and referral services; community outreach and education; children’s services and school advocacy; education programs for professionals, for teens, and for others; transportation and translation services, as needed; and comprehensive crime victim services including assisting with applications to the New York State Office of Victim Services.

How has your organization grown over the years?

The Center has grown in so many ways. Our children and youth department has literally more than tripled in size starting out with a Director, Jean Roemer, who implemented Creative Arts Therapy. Before the program, we were seeing at maximum 100 children and youth on an annual basis. We see close to 500 children and youth, with staff of 6 employees – and there is a current waitlist of about 40 children.

We added our Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program in 1984 but added on our partnerships with Nyack Hospital (Montefiore Nyack) in 2003 and Good Samaritan Hospital in 2005. We have specific rooms in each Emergency Department dedicated in supporting victims of rape and sexual assault by our specially trained medical examiners.

The annual Fashion Sale Preview is held at the Hudson House of Nyack, who donate the food, service and restaurant every year ensuring that the Center for Safety & Change can maximize every fundraising opportunity

Our legal department consisted of two lawyers about three years ago and has literally quadrupled in size since 2016. The legal department has six attorneys including matrimonial, family, immigration and anti human trafficking lawyers, as well as four legal advocates and two paralegals. The legal department provides legal advice, assistance and court accompaniment for victims of violence and abuse. They help them fill out orders of protection, explain what their rights are and provide them with options.

May 2019 Night for Change Gala honorees Anita Kopacz, Mark Jacobs, and Yvonna Kopacz-Wright

What are some of the ways that women and children find out about your services?

We host trainings to youth in all of the high schools including all private schools. We host trainings to corporations and local businesses on a variety of issues such as sexual harassment, domestic violence in the workplace, etc. We host many outreach events and attend many events in the community. In addition, we have 11 locations in the County. We recognize that there is a stigma that comes along with our home office on 9 Johnsons Lane in New City. A victim may feel intimidated or may not want someone to see them in that area. We strategically placed satellite offices throughout the County including Haverstraw, Nyack, Spring Valley to help preserve anonymity, confidentially and geographically availability.

Inside the Center for Safety & Change’s Emergency Shelter, which, for the protection of its residents, is located at an undisclosed location

Would you say that incidents of domestic violence are increasing or decreasing?

This is a tough question to answer. Although the number of victims we help annually has remained steady, the number of times we help victims achieve safety and seek services has increased. Last year alone, we helped close to 2,000 victims of gender-based violence, close to 30,000 times

I understand the 71% of pets in homes where domestic violence occurs are harmed or killed by their intimate partner. What does a victim do with their pet(s) when escaping violence and abuse?

We know our pets are family. In fact, the bond is so strong that 48% of domestic violence victims delayed leaving their intimate partner out of concern for their pets’ safety.

In partnership with the Hudson Valley Humane Society, Center for Safety & Change established the Paws for Safety program in 2011. This unique program temporarily places animal victims of domestic violence in a loving and confidential location while their owners make safe living arrangements and escape the abuse. Paws for Safety provides victims with the security of knowing their pets are safe and handled with care until they can be reunited. If you are in a relationship, where you and/or your pets are being abused, harmed and/or threatened, please call the Center’s 24-Hour Hotline 845-634-3344. No one deserves to live in fear of violence, abuse and trauma.

 40 Years of advancing Safety & Change

The doors to their Emergency Shelter opened officially on October 5, 1979 and a rotary phone was turned on. The first day 11 beds were filled out of 15. The second day the house was filled to capacity and the phones have not stopped ringing.

Today, their shelter remains a safe haven for thousands of children and families.

Your monthly donation ensures that the Center remains strong serving thousands of children and families escaping violence and abuse. As well, monthly donors will receive special benefits if the commitment is for five years of more.

You are helping to give the gift of safety and comfort to victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and all crimes like Maritza and her three children.

Maritza and her family received support from the Center through counseling, support group, and safety planning to cope with trauma from years of experiencing emotional, verbal, physical and financial abuse.

Make your donation online here

For more information, please call Tracie McLee at 845-634-3391 or email tmclee@centersc.org

What impact has the #metoo movement had on your work?

We believe the #metoo movement has created a safe space to allow victims to come forward and tell their story and seek services.

How does the current climate towards immigrants impact your work?

A) Immigrant survivors are afraid to report crimes and seek the protection of the courts, and are more vulnerable to domestic violence and other crimes as a result. The reason for this fear is that immigration enforcement priorities no longer exist – during the Obama administration, people with more serious criminal histories were prioritized for removal and people who were simply out of status were not. ICE presence in courthouses has increased by 1700% and victims have been swept up in court raids.

Also, many victims want to bring their abusers to court to get an order of protection but do not want them deported. Many are afraid for fear of impact on the father of their children. For example, one of our domestic violence clients was recently arrested at the Ramapo Justice Court and detained – ICE knew she was the victim and still arrested her.

Elizabeth Santiago, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Safety & Change

B) Immigrant survivors are afraid to serve as witnesses for the same reasons above. We like to use voluntary witnesses in our trials and are being hampered in calling undocumented witnesses – we cannot give them the assurance we once did.

C. Immigrant survivors are more afraid to file for immigration status. Under former policies, if humanitarian applications were denied, the applicant simply reverted to being undocumented. Now, if a survivor’s application gets denied, they will be put into removal proceedings. Also, scrutiny of applications has become heightened and negative discretion is exercised far more harshly. For clients with children especially, they put a lot on the line. USCIS statistics reflect significant declines in filings.

I understand that you do outreach in Middle Schools. What is your message to young people?

Our message to young people is teaching them what healthy relationships look like, and defining what consent is. It is no longer no means no but yes means yes.

Playroom inside the Center for Safety & Change’s Emergency Shelter

What should a person do if they know of a friend or family member who is being abused?

They should call our 24-Hour Hotline at 845-634-3344. We can answer any questions or address any concerns.

What are some of the ways that they public can help. The public can help in many ways.

First, they can sign up to volunteer. There are many jobs, tasks that need to be done. Last year, our volunteers donated close to 12,000 hours of services, a cost savings of about $270,000. We encourage everyone to start changing social norms, let’s begin to create a safer space for victims to continue to come forward by believing them. The Center starts by believing victims. Finally, donate. From making a one time donation to becoming a monthly donor, your donation will continue to sustain our programs and services for generations to come. We also encourage friends of our agency to attend community and fundraising events.

This week’s sketch is by Juliet Craig, Craig, a student at Tappan Zee High School, was the 2014 winner of the Center for Safety & Change Student Art Competition. I saw her drawing displayed, along with other winners, in a hallway at the Center’s offices. Juliet perfectly captured the despondency one would imagine a victim of domestic violence must feel. If my column about the Center was to have an illustration, this was it.

Bill Batson is an artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “The Other Pandemic Domestic Violence” © 2019 Bill Batson. To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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Nyack Sketch Log: During COVID-19, Restaurant Mumbai Dreams Inspires

by Bill Batson

I recently saw Nausil Kumandan, owner of the newly opened restaurant, Mumbai Dreams, in the parking lot of Montefiore Nyack Hospital. He was delivering donated food to frontline health care workers.

A note attached to each box read:

Strength, Courage, Hope, Appreciation, Determination, Motivation, Patience, Perseverance, Our Community.

Originally it was for their cuisine, but now for their philanthropy, Mumbai Dreams inspires.

I’ve seen no mention, but a friend tells me you have donated a dinner to every person at Depew Manor.

Nausil Kumandan, owner, Mumbai Dreams

Shhhhhh, that’s a secret, it’s from the heart. My parents came from very humble beginnings; they struggled a lot in the early parts of
their life. There were times when they had no food and they had were very low income.

Hearing/feeling their stories has always inspired me to give back. It’s part of
life, we all have to support and have each others’ backs when we’re in a
tight spot. If my parents didn’t have that support I wouldn’t be here.

So I don’t advertise what is essential.

That being said, in today’s social media
environment, secrets travel fast so if my actions can inspire then the job is done.

How has the policy of social distancing impacted your business?

I’ve always been a social person thus having a dialogue with my customers is very
important in how I run my business. Even with the current environment my regulars and I still chat when they call to place an order. We’ve had to adjust and are focusing more on curbside and delivery service. My team is still intact but we’ve had to cut back on hours. It’s a tough time but the
community has been great; we’ve gotten a lot of support and an increase in new customers.

Have you submitted an SBA application disaster relief?

I have not submitted the application but am currently reviewing the requirements. It’s a very difficult time for Mumbai Dreams. We didn’t expect 6 months after our grand opening we would be forced to shutdown our dine-in operations. I’m confident the government relief efforts will add fuel to the industry and bring us back stronger than ever.

Nyack Nourishes

Nyack Nourishes has an important mission: To provide meals for the health care heroes working at Montefiore Nyack Hospital and the Nyack Community Ambulance Corps — while at the same time supporting local Nyack restaurants.

Nyack Nourishes will provide 50 individually boxed, full-course meals per day to our health care heroes. The food will be prepared and packaged by the hard-working people working at the restaurants in Nyack that we all treasure.

This initiative is headed up by a handful of local residents working with the support of the Nyack Chamber of Commerce, Nyack restaurants, Montefiore Nyack Hospital and the Nyack Community Ambulance Corp. A Go Fund Me page is now ready for contributions.

Click here to learn more or donateAll donations go straight to the local Nyack restaurants providing these meals.

Spread the word, and feel free to contact Annie Hekker Weiss or Susan Wilmink through the GoFundMe platform if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.  You can also contact the team through the Nyack Nourishes website, nyacknourishes.com

How has your experience been as one of the participants of Nyack Nourishes? How does it work?

I’m actually very excited to represent our community and support an initiative for our frontline. This is a very stressful time for hospitals and if providing a healthy meal can brighten a day, bring a smile or even show that we care then it’s mission accomplished. We are planning to offer a mix of 25 non-veg & 25 vegetarian healthy meals with a weekly change in menu. In addition, Nyack Nourishes is also supporting restaurants during this difficult time by providing donated funds from the community to pay for the meals. This is uncharted territory for many businesses thus having your community come out and support shows a united front.

When did your Mumbai Dream begin?

As soon as my Dad had his grand opening! I grew up in the business, it’s been part of my bloodline, my life, it’s my passion. I remember working weekends, taking orders, doing deliveries, counting my tips at the end of the night. It just brought me pure joy, watching how the restaurant functions. All the credit goes to my parents who taught me a lot about food; even today I can just sit in the kitchen and watch my Mom make my favorite dishes. She gets all the credit for Mumbai Dreams, as a good portion of the menu are her recipes.

What are your early memories of being in the family restaurants in Brooklyn?

We had two restaurants which ran for over 30 years. The first was in Cobble Hill and the second was in Park Slope, where we resided. I remember my lunch breaks as my elementary school was a block away, especially the chicken tandoori, cheeseburgers, masala fries, curry and the fragrant basmati rice my Dad would make.

On Tuesdays he would make a special Maharashtrian chicken curry which was my favorite, I can still remember the taste. Sorry I’m a foodie, so that’s pretty much what my early restaurant memories are about.

What are some of the enduring lessons you learned from the family business?

I always remembered how my Dad welcomed his customers. It was as if they were family or old friends. A customer would walk in with a smile and walk out with one. He would always remember customers’ favorite dishes, the spice level, and the preparation. His customer service was always next level and very rare to find in today’s time. He also had great vision and could see an empty water glass from afar, when a plate needed to be removed or when a refill on the basmati rice was needed. His vision was something I was always in awe of and till this day try to match.

How does the cuisine reflect Mumbai?

Two of the best culinary cities in the world in my opinion are New York and Mumbai. When I was planning the concept, I knew the food would be influenced by the region, the cooking techniques, the spices, and add in our homestyle recipes. I wanted my menu to reflect authentic Indian food which is hard to find today. Customers are always raving about the freshness they taste in our food, the spices, that’s the result of premium products with a mix of love and passion.

Is there any significance to the lantern that is part of your decor that I used for my sketch?

The candle holder or lantern has great significance to my parents upbringing and my visits back to India at a young age. We had very limited electricity in our village and would rely on candles or kerosene lanterns for lighting. I remember in each room, we would have a single lantern which didn’t give us the brightness of a light bulb but we made it work. In addition, we would use them to get around our village during night as we had no street lights.

Even today our village has sporadic outages, older folks bring out the lanterns while the youngsters use the iPhone flashlight!

How did you come to open your restaurant in Nyack?

I LOVE NYACK; it’s always been a part of my life. My family and I would frequently head up
north for weekend getaways and would travel via the Tappan Zee. I remember sitting in my Dad’s car gazing at the homes on the hills and telling my Mom one day we will live in this town. The Palisades mall was always a favorite destination to shop and we would save time to walk through the village, spending some time by the waterfront. Even today when I commute from Brooklyn I always have a moment of peace looking at the picturesque views while crossing the bridge. Nyack is filled with love, diversity and very family oriented which is very important. Even in present day, the community has become one and everyone is doing their part as we struggle through this dark cloud. That was what I wanted when sourcing locations for Mumbai Dreams.

How large is the Indian Community in Rockland?

I was surprised, but it’s a fairly large group from south India many of whom have become customers. I’ve got a soft spot for southern India, as my grandmother was born there and my chef is from Kerala. It’s next on my list of places to travel within India. I’m
finding the younger generation dining with us more and bringing their
parents along who really have appreciated our food. Indian parents approving
food from restaurants is a big thing so we are very grateful and appreciate the
continued support.

Are there any dishes that one might be surprised to find on your menu?

While we have a traditional north Indian /Maharashtrian menu, I’ve added a
creative “East meets West” section. It’s what I grew up eating, a mix of both
cultures. Our butter mac n’ cheese and tacos are very popular, in fact they
have become staples for many of our customers. I remember when first
discussing this menu with my chef he wasn’t very confident, but today he’s a
fan as well. Wait until we re-open the dining room, I have a handful of tricks
up my sleeve. It’s surprise a lot of people to see what I can do with
Indian food.

What’s your dream for Mumbai Dream?

I want Mumbai Dreams to be your first choice when choosing a dining experience. A place where you spend your special moments in life, a place that creates lifetime memories, where you know a good meal is waiting for you. A place where you can come with family, friends and forget about all the problems in the world and just enjoy fine dining…with free parking. Simply to be the best Indian restaurant in the World.

What would you like people to know about Mumbai Dreams?

Mumbai Dreams is a family-owned business offering traditional homestyle Indian cuisine. It’s a culinary journey that was inspired from family recipes, a dream that started at a young age, a passion that grew every day, a love for food. Mumbai Dreams is a thank you to Dawood Kumandan, my dad, who taught me so much, who led by example. It’s a hope, a wish and a prayer that he is looking down on me with pride, with that beautiful smile, knowing that he was my inspiration. It’s my way of telling him I love you and that I’ll take care of the family in his absence.

And now he has adopted the residents of Nyack, into the family, through me.

Mumbia Dreams offers contactless curbside pick-up and contactless free delivery.
Mumbai Dreams is located at 9 Ingalls Street, Nyack, NY 10960 (845) 643-8333 or mumbaidreamsnyack@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “During COVID-19, Restaurant Mumbai Dreams Inspire” © 2020 Bill Batson. To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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Nyack Sketch Log: #Masks4All

by Bill Batson

Our region has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. By yesterday, April 6th, Rockland County had recorded 119 deaths and 5,700 cases. In the face of this tidal wave of contagion, creatives in Nyack have enlisted to protect the front line.

Over 250 volunteers have formed NyackMaskMakers.com to protect health care workers from this microscopic, lethal threat. Since launching on March 20, we have collectively produced over 3,000 masks, provided primarily to Montefiore Nyack Hospital. We tripled our goal of 500 masks per week.

A global #masks4rall movement has shown that communities that practice universal face covering #flattenthecurve. Nyack has to find a way to support everyone in making or finding a free-homemade cloth face mask, while leaving manufactured masks for our health care workers.

Instantly iconic Nyack Mask Makers sign by the  inimitable Peter Cheney

Initially, our goal was to provide a quality home-made level 2 mask to health care workers. Now, we are exploring how to expand our production in light of this  from the Center for Disease Control on Friday, April 4:

CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Kim Cross and Dolly Tassy of the Nyack Center observing the new CDC guidelines with face coverings by Nyack Mask Makers.

Countries, like Taiwan and the Czech Republic, that have achieved more the 80% participation in public face covering, have been able to more rapidly reopen their economies. If portions of the public can not make or obtain free cloth masks, the curve flattening critical mass can not be met. We need #masks4all in Nyack.

The weight of the loss of life, in our county, country and around the world is so enormous, a way forward feels uncertain. And still, the helpers rise, on porches, street corners, restaurants, laptops and in our case, with sewing machines.

Monterfiore Nyack Hospital President Dr. Mark Geller wearing a mask by Nyack Mask Makers.

To date, we have given masks to:

  • Montefiore Nyack Hospital
  • Nyack Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
  • Rockland Psychiatric Center
  • Blaisdell Addiction Treatment Center
  • Chemical Dependency Unit of Good Samaratan Hospital
  • Cardinal McCloskey Community services
  • Center for Safety and Change
  • Nyack Center
  • Bronx Lebanon
  • Flushing Hospital

The health care workers who risk their life every shift have two messages to the community that has stepped up to support them. One is thanks and two is… “please stay home and #flattenthecurve.”

Donna and I have witnessed that, like the virus, the volume of community effort has been growing exponentially. But in order to prevail, we must settle in for the long haul.

Nyack Mask Makers co-founders Donna Timm and Bill Batson

A Yale University study published April 1, 2020 argues if masks4all is embraced adopted, the virus could be stopped cold.

The effectiveness of the universal adoption of homemade cloth face masks in mitigating this public health crisis; we find that this policy could have very large benefits, but that it should be coupled with policies that protect and increase the availability of medical masks for frontline healthcare workers.

Recently, only half of the people I see outside the home are wearing masks.

We will be announcing a Mask4All plan with the Village of Nyack on Wednesday, April 8 at 11am on Facebook live, thanks to the social media services of Christine Gritmon.

“I cannot begin to tell you how many makers have expressed how grateful they are to have this opportunity to use their sewing skills at this time.”

They contribute to the community and feel they’re making a difference while coping with uncertainty like the rest of us,” said Nyack Mask Maker co-founder Donna Timm.

To learn visit nyackmaskmakers.com

For more information visit

Nyack Sketch Log: Nyack Mask Makers

Nyack Sketch Log: Special COVID-19 Edition: Wash Them, Do Not Shake Them 

Bill Batson is an artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Mask4all” © 2020 Bill Batson. To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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