Nyack Sketch Log: Adam’s Chocolate

by Bill Batson

Adam Berrios has converted his Burd Street chocolate factory into Nyack’s newest espresso bar. In the cacao bean business since 2015, the drummer for the band Impossible Colors had previously vended his artisanal chocolate from a tent at the Nyack Farmer’s Market. Nyack Sketch Log dropped by Adam’s new spot for some organic dark chocolate recently, digging the sound track filling the modest ground floor storefront. Adam serves flavor notes of toffee and raspberry for the taste buds, and some butter and oak for the ears.

Why Chocolate?

It just happened. I’ve always been fond of coffee and thought I would pursue it. I went to Costa Rica after college and was introduced to cacao by the indigenous people I met there. The more time I spent around cacao, the more I grew fascinated with it. Adam Berrios

Why a coffee shop? or are you an espresso bar?

I don’t know really. It’s like a chocolate and coffee kitchen where you can hangout.

How did you find this place?

I was praying for one. I had been making chocolate in this same building for a number of years.

When I came in, what music were you playing?

A song by my band Impossible Colors, Like Blades.

Who are Impossible Colors?

Ben, Scott, Chris, and myself

Give me some lyrics?

“They want us numb and contained, numbered, not named” Impossible Colors

Are there impossible flavors?

Umami is half flavor and half your glutamate receptor being happy. Maybe that. I think Jelly Belly would make an impossible flavor. Maybe then we will know for sure.

Will you have events where you combine music and chocolate?

Sure Bill, you can bring your bass guitar.

What’s next?

A sign!

I heard that you jam at Living Christ Church?

The whole place jams really. Gotta check it out.

Do you like gospel music?

Oh yes, they are some of the best musicians in the world. They are on fire.

What’s your favorite gospel song?

The one with the dancing pastor.

Can you hear the choir from St. Philip’s on Sunday?


Health Benefits of Cacao

1. 40 Times the Antioxidants of Blueberries2. Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron3. Full of Magnesium for a Healthy Heart & Brain4. More Calcium Than Cow’s Milk5. A Natural Mood Elevator and Anti-DepressantSource: begoodorganics.comAdam’s Chocolate is made from organic cacao from Bolivia. The bars have flavor notes of smoke, toffee, raspberry, butter, and oak.

What are your hours?

Seems to be all day and night at the moment 10am-1030pm

Do you exhibit any artists other than Vinny Raffa

It’s an exhibit?

What the best thing about having you own business?

Skipping songs on the spotify, youtube, pandora phone.

What is the hardest thing?

Going to bed early.

What’s the significance of the coin wrapper by the counter?

We are never above counting coins to make it happen.

Who’s is (are) your inspiration(s)?


Is there such a thing as chocolate soup?

There is now.

Adam’s Chocolate is located at 150 Burd Street, Nyack, NY. Hot Chocolate anyone?

Props to the late Craig Mack for the last sentence in the first paragraph!

Read also:

Nyack People & Places: Adam Berrios, Chocolate Maker  by Micke Hayes, May 17, 2017

Nyack Sketch Log, Volume 2 will be available the last week in November. Fifty-five more sketches and short essays! Purchase an advance copy and get $5 off the cover price. Email your interest to wrbatson@gmail.com or stop by the Bill Batson Arts tent at the Nyack Farmers’ Market on Thursdays.Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Adam’s Chocolate“ © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 




Nyack Sketch Log: Ed Simons, A Century of Music

by Bill Batson

As a musician, educator and conductor, Ed Simons is the stuff of legend. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest working conductor in when he led an orchestra through Barber’s Adagio at the Remembrance Concert for 9/11 at Grace Church in Nyack in 2017. Before passing away this summer, Simons was more expansive about his longevity during a History Channel interview. “I’ve been playing the violin for 91 years,” he proudly proclaimed. But his exposure to music, he suggested,  occurred before his first birthday. From “my mommy’s belly… I responded to the music my father was playing on his record player and it made me move.” Ed Simons lived a full century of music!

Ed Simons and Jeff Crowther at Grace Church

As a result of teaching hundreds of students and conducting before audiences of countless thousands, Simon’s legacy will continue through the centuries. On October 28 at 4p, the Rockland Symphony Orchestra will hold their annual Young People’s Concert at Rockland Community College. The concert will be renamed for Simons to honor their beloved music director and founder. As a student who later performed under Ed’s baton, Jacqui Drechsler shared some of her memories about the man and his century (plus) of music with the Nyack Sketch Log.

When did you meet Ed Simons?

Jacqui Drechsler

I met Ed when I went to a Young People’s Concert when I was 13 years old. That year, Robbie and Nina Gross from Nyack, Bill Bauer from Tappan and I founded the Palisades Chamber Players – a summer orchestra for youth, and Ed was one of our guest conductors.
He conducted for several summers.

Eventually, I was asked to join the Rockland Symphony Orchestra. Originally, it was called the Suburban Symphony (before my time) and rehearsed at the Rockland Center for the Arts.

What are some of the highlights of his musical career?

Ed started out conducting at the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra. He also conducted at least eight Broadway shows between 1948 and 1964, including “My Fair Lady’’ and “Camelot.”

Last year, at 100 years old, he conducted Barber’s Adagio at the Remembrance Concert for 9/11 at Grace Church in Nyack. This is an orchestra of local musicians as well as chair players from  the New York Philharmonic, the  New York City Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. They are led by Avi Nagan, as concert master, who is truly a prime example of Ed’s lifetime approach to teaching. Avi studied with Ed as a young person and was mentored by Ed throughout his career.

The History Channel did a documentary on him regarding this concert – and his life, of course, and two or three years ago Suzanne Mitchell produced a movie called “Ed’ about him. His daughter Jo wrote a book about him and he deserved all of the accolades he received!

First Annual Ed Simons Memorial Young People’s Concert

Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4pm

Presented by The Rockland Symphony Orchestra

Guest conductor, Maestro Murray Colosimo. The program includes Dvorak’s Carnival Overture and the Nimrod variation from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Featured performances by Wynnum Sabile, who will perform a movement of the Greig Piano Concerto. Mr. Sabile started playing the piano at the Rockland Conservatory of Music at age eight and has been inspired to be a musician. He is currently a student of Jan Deats of Nyack. Wynnum was one of ten students selected to receive the Edward Hopper House Scholarship for Artists Curiosity.

Also performing, Mr. Laurence Lu who will perform his winning Concerto movement from the Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor. Mr. Lu has been studying the piano since the age of eight as well, with Mr. and Mrs. Zhao of Pearl River.

To honor Halloween’s arrival, the orchestra will play Danse Macabre by St. Saens and the program will conclude with Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.4

Rockland Community College Cultural Center, 145 College Road, Suffern. Tickets at http://www.rocklandsymphony.org

Ed often played for the Fellowship Community in Chestnut Ridge and in the last few years of his life also played with Annamae Goldstein, a violinist with the Metropolitan Opera orchestra at The Fountainview, an Assisted Living Home in Suffern.

It wouldn’t be misstating anything to say that he touched thousands of lives, between his teaching of violin students, teaching at RCC, playing and conducting. All positive.

What was he like to work with?

Ed was a very exacting conductor. He always had a vision of what he wanted from the musicians in order to bring out the music. He had a dry sense of humor. However, he was quite charming with the young musicians who played in the Young People’s Concerts. These were winners of a concerto competition of the Rockland County Music Teacher’s Guild.

He expected them to be great performers – they were the winners after all! He always gave them a sense of comfort in what must have been the challenging situation of being presented as a soloist with an orchestra.

When did Ed start the Community Music School?

I think Ed and Janet, his wife (who was a violist) wanted to bring the joy of music to everyone, anyone who had an interest. Music education needs to start at a young age and so about 50 years ago they started the Community Music School, which is now know as the Rockland Conservatory of Music.

All of the classes were as little as a dollar, and if you didn’t have your dollar, you still got a class.

Music touches the heart and soul, brings out the best intentions and feelings for people and it also teaches discipline. And shows growth; students see that they learn, grow and move into different stages of music making, which is a very positive experience for them.

Nyack Sketch Log, Volume 2 will be available the last week in November. Fifty-five more sketches and short essays! Purchase an advance copy and get $5 off the cover price. Email your order to wrbatson@gmail.com or stop by the Bill Batson Arts tent at the Nyack Farmers’ Market on Thursdays.

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Ed Simon, A Century of Music“ © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


Nyack Sketch Log Book Vol. 2: Map of Our Heart

I found my heart in Nyack; its homes and history, its houses of worship and businesses, its open spaces and crowded street fairs, and its people and pets. The second volume of Nyack Sketch Log is a tour of that organ that pumps life though this community, the place where we all live. Nyack Sketch Log, Volume 2 is a map of our heart.

On November 27,  I’m having a book party and signing for Nyack Sketch Log, Volume 2 at the Hudson House at 134 Main Street. This new volume is a compilation of 55 more essays and illustrations from my weekly column. Pre-orders are discounted at $20 in advance. On November 27th, the price is $25. If you would like to reserve a copy at the advance sale rate, send me an email at wrbatson@gmail.com or you can catch me on Thursdays at the Nyack Farmer’s Market, which just happens to be where the journey of volume 2 begins.

Dedicated to

James F. Hershberger, Jr.


My second volume is dedicated to the late James F. Hershberger, Jr. Without Jim, there would be no Nyack Sketch Log books. Jim mentored, cajoled, and when necessary field marshaled me through self-publishing my first book. He brought all the skills of his extensive career in business to bear on helping individuals and organizations preserve local history. The benefits of his efforts impacted many during his life and will be of value to countless others for many generations to come.

I also dedicate this book to his widow and my friend, Mary Hershberger. Blessings to her and the entire Hershberger family and thank you all for sharing Jim with us.

Special thanks to the Nyack Sketch Log book production team:
Loraine Machlin, Designer
Patricia Jarden, Copy Editor
Judy Martin, Proofreader, Content Consultant
Bonnie Timm, Production Assistant, Social Media Coordinator and Researcher
Nancy Sailor Philips, Troubleshooting, Marketing
Ray Wright, Photographer

For their kind words that appear on the back cover and pages of my second book, I am eternally grateful to: Ross Benjamin, Dr. Don Hammond, Dr. Lori Martin, Dr. Jennifer Patton, Dr. Frances Pratt, Dr. Craig Stutman, and Win Perry.

And for their support, I thank my sponsors Lisa Hayes of Creative Financial Planning and Sabrina Weld of Weld Realty.

When I selected the essays for my second book, my challenge to find the best 55 essays and sketches that I had not yet published. When I stepped back and looked at what I had assembled, I was startled. More than half of the essays are about small businesses. The biggest category of entries is about vendors (and a musician) at the Nyack Farmers’ Market.

It is true that for the last six years I have worked closely with the Nyack Chamber of Commerce, as a marketing manager and artist-in residence at the Nyack Farmers’ Market that the Chamber sponsors, but my personal concerns are usually governed more by social justice than commercial imperatives and concerns. What then am I to make of this mental map having so many merchants on it?

Maybe it’s not so odd. We spend most of our lives hunting or gathering the stuff of life; our food, clothing, furnishings and diversions. These businesses that we frequent, what they sell, why they sell it, who owns them, who works there, how long they endure, if they’re “local” or “corporate” have a powerful influence over the character and quality of a community’s life.

The first section of this book can almost serve as a self-guided walking tour of downtown Nyack. I am proud to know and introduce you to each person whom you will meet on these pages; the knife sharpener and the musician, the pastry chef and the antique dealer, the barber, the builder and the beeswax candle maker. These brick and mortar and farmers’ market merchants are defying the trend that has relocated shopping and office work inside the home. Their survival is a testament to their creativity and perseverance and a deep well of community support that keeps their doors and tent flaps open.

Some of the businesses that I chronicle are an expression of advocacy, like the natural burial boutique (Dying to Bloom). There’s a salon that heals, as well as dresses your hair by advocating the internal and external introduction of organic foods (Candice Robins).  As anywhere, the landscape is completed by houses of worship and charities, clubs and a YMCA. But what I hope you find here is what Google can’t expose; the soul of the Nyackers that animates each enterprise.

The second section of the book consists of essays that map my heart. These are the concerns that reveal what matters most to me and keeps me moving forward. Foremost is the need to commemorate and build monuments for hard-won civil rights and public policy achievements, because these can be easily reversed if not consistently advanced (see Black Parents v. Hillburn). And there are essays that record my encounters with social service programs that feed the hungry and ease the anguish of those final moments of living (see Soup Angels and United Hospice.)

The last section includes essays that connect this local map to the globe.  The essay on John Perry is the story of one of the special people, a dear friend, who was lost on 9/11 in New York City, but it resonates throughout Nyack, which lost so many family members and friends.  And from one the last of these essays, The World Needs More Mandelas. Sam Harps, founder and director of the Shades Repertory Theater in Garnerville, discovered, that one of his heroes, Nelson Mandela, was a member of the fraternity of the stage. I am honored to be producing his play, Antigone on Robben Island, Mandela takes the stage inspired by my essay, will be staged at the Nyack Center in February of 2019.

From Bluefield Farm in Blauvelt to Robben Island in South Africa, these essays honor the efforts of individuals who work not only for themselves, but for the betterment of others. I hope that you will find them edifying. But perhaps more important would be for YOU to keep a diary and make mental maps of your community, because there are too many stories, and not enough storytellers!

Please join me on Tuesday, November 27, at 6:00p at the Hudson House at 134 Main Street. Get the discount the price of $2o by pre-ordering today.  If you would like to reserve a copy at the advance sale rate email at wrbatson@gmail.com or you can catch me at the Nyack Farmers’ Market every Thursday.

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Nyack Sketch Log Volume 2“ © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


Nyack Sketch Log: Hannemann Funeral Home

by Bill Batson

NSL110_Hannemann's Funeral Home_Featured Image_revisedWhen Keith Taylor leaves his office at Hannemann Funeral Home each night, he transfers the phone lines to his house. One recent morning at 1:30a, he got a call from a family from Nyack reporting their mother had passed. Ten minutes later he got a call from a hospice nurse in Congers. “We don’t rely on an answering service. When you call Hannemann’s at night you get me.” For the past 36 years, Keith has been a comforting familiar figure that many have needed to reach out to at that darkest hour when a life has come to an end.

There has been a funeral home at the corner of Broadway and Cedar Hill Avenue since 1933. Henry Hannemann bought the business from Robert McCloskey in 1957. One afternoon in the 70s, Hannemann let an eighth grader from around the corner mow his lawn. “I grew up on Depew Avenue. My six  brothers and my sister and I were raised by a single mother. We couldn’t just go to mom and ask for money for snacks or the movies.”

NSL110_Depew and S. Broadway

Cedar Hill and South Broadway, 1909

Taylor parlayed that job into an internship, a partnership and then at age twenty-five, he purchased the funeral home from Hannemann. “Hannemann was like a father to me. When I got out of high school in 1976, he sent me to Mortuary School in Syracuse.” Keeping the name of the business as Hannemann’s is a tribute to the man who launched his career as a funeral director.

Taylor has also adopted Hannemann’s ideas about staff development. Taylor paid for the training of funeral directors Brian Knecht and Shaun Cassidy. Like Taylor, Knecht started at Hannemann’s as a landscaper,  but instead of yard work, he helped Keith shovel five tons of gravel to create the addition in 1986.

NSL110_Sam MacDonnell

Sam MacDonnell, with foot on the running board, 1917

Taylor’s approach to business that combines a professional guild and personal generosity might not be a product of Hannemann’s influence alone. A photo of Taylor’s maternal grandfather, Sam MacDonnell, hangs in a waiting area in the funeral home. In the image from 1917, MacDonnell’s foot rests on the running board of the first Telephone Company truck in the county. The prospect of employment is what brought MacDonnell to Nyack from Nova Scotia several years before the photo was taken. And it was the kindness of Taylor’s ancestors that provided him room and board, and eventually, a family.

NSL110_Keith Taylor_Portrait

Keith Taylor

When Sam MacDonnell disembarked from the ferry from Tarrytown, he walked to Gedney and Main and took his room at a boarding house that the McNulty family ran for phone company employees. MacDonnell must have impressed his landlords because he eventually married their daughter.

MacDonnell went on to become the Construction Supervisor for the phone company in Rockland County for 38 years. And his daughter and Taylor’s mother, Anna Mae MacDonnell, became an operator for the phone company, working from 99 Main Street, the old phone company building at the corner of Cedar Street.

Because of the size of his family and their length of time in Rockland, chances are that Keith knows a member of every family whose final arrangements he helps manage. But the daily communicant at St. Ann’s is proud that his funeral home attends to the needs of all faiths. “I was in Queens the other day for a Jewish service. We organize funerals for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Russian Orthodox, anyone.”

Taylor encourages people to make pre-arrangements for all matters pertaining to funerals. “It’s better to sit down with a funeral home before the time of a death.” He also wants people to realize that just because a funeral home is nearby, it does not mean that its interests are local.

According to Taylor, 75% of the funeral homes in Rockland County are controlled by Service Corporation International (SCI), a national conglomerate based in Houston, Texas. “Independent funeral homes are more reasonable and flexible to deal with on price and other issues,” Taylor said. There have been several highly critical media accounts about the corporatization of what is referred to as the “death care” industry, including a chilling Anderson Cooper expose on 6o Minutes.

NSL110_JV_Watercolor_St. Philips

St. Philips AME Zion church by Jerre Vanderhoef

The circumstances of walking into a funeral home are always solemn, but there is a reason to visit Hannemann that has nothing to do with final arrangements.  The walls of this Victorian mansion are covered by the work of local artists and historical photos. Watercolors by Jerre Vanderhoef and Beverly Bozarth Colgan, woodcuts by Debbi Davis and historic documents that include the earliest map of Nyack made by Tunis Smith in 1825 are exhibited throughout the public rooms.

“I love my job. I am at work every morning at 5:30a,” describes Taylor of his daily ritual. “I was a kid raised as one of eight and here I am with my own business in Nyack.”

That pride is on display at Hannemann’s from the pristine lawn and manicured shrubs to the exquisite art and artifacts that adorn the interior. In the same way that cemeteries have the serene quality of a park, Hannemann has the soothing aspects of a small museum, where precious and poignant memories are honored and kept safe.

Originally published on October 1, 2013

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Hannemann Funeral Home“ © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


Nyack Sketch Log: Green Meadow Waldorf School

by Bill Batson

“We try to connect the head, hand and heart of our students,” said Vicki Larson, the communications director at Green Meadow Waldorf School, as we walked through their campus on Hungry Hollow Road. This organizing principal was inspired by Rudolf Steiner, who created his first school in Stuttgart, Germany 100 years ago next year. His philosophy animates everything at Green Meadow, from the unspoiled setting, to the architecture of the buildings to the organization of both classrooms and lessons.

My conversation with Vicki explored outdoor classrooms, maker-space curriculums, and the universal inclusion of visual and performing arts. For those unfamiliar with Green Meadow, upcoming after-school programs open to the public and a fall crafts fair provide opportunities to visit this educational oasis in Chestnut Ridge.

Rudolf Steiner

When was Green Meadow founded?

In 1950, as a Kindergarten and a Lower School. We added a high school in 1972 and our first high-school class graduated in 1976.

What is the philosophy behind Waldorf Education?

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1919, Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner worked with factory owner Emil Molt at Molt’s request, to create the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany. The goal, on the heels of the Great War, was to educate children to be clear-thinking, compassionate, and conscientious adults that could look at the world in complex ways rather than descend into world war. Steiner achieved this through creating a pedagogy that centered around reverence for, and deep observation of, how we as human beings naturally develop.

The essence of Waldorf Education is founded on the understanding that every child goes through three distinct phases of development:

Infancy and Early Childhood (0-7)
Middle Childhood (7-14)
Adolescence (14-21)

Each of these stages requires a different approach in order to meet and engage the intellectual, physical, emotional, and social needs of the growing child.

What is the significance of your location? I hear you have some very fascinating neighbors?

We are lucky to be located on Hungry Hollow Road, a beautiful, tree-lined stretch of road that still feels rural in this very suburban county. Our neighbors, all like-minded institutions working to transform the world, are the Pfeiffer Center, a biodynamic gardening institute; the Fellowship Community, an innovative intergenerational elder-care facility that also includes the historic Duryea Farm; the Fiber Craft Studio, where you can take a “Sheep to Shawl” workshop and learn traditional fiber arts; Sunbridge Institute, which trains Waldorf teachers and offers educational workshops and conferences that are open to the public; Eurythmy Spring Valley, a teacher-training program for those interested in the movement art of eurythmy (taught in most Waldorf schools); and Threefold Educational Center, which offers classes and conferences and includes the fabulous Threefold Café, also open to the public and offering fresh, delicious meals that often incorporate Pfeiffer Center produce.

Describe some curriculum content for your high-schoolers?

Waldorf Education is based on three pillars: goodness, beauty, and truth. In the High School, we help students discover truth, in the world and in themselves. Our academic curriculum in the High School is inspired by opportunities in the arts, music, drama, movement, and real-world experiences.

One of the most unique things about our High School is that each year is centered around a specific question:

The 9th grade question is “What?”

In 9th grade, students are questioning the world around them with an interest in the dynamics of change. With this in mind, the Waldorf curriculum introduces the study of historical revolutions, thermodynamics, and anatomy.

The 10th grade question is “How?”

By 10th grade, the students develop a more harmonious worldview, revealed in questions such as “How do the processes of the world bring contrasts into balance?” The 10th grade students study balance and harmony as they manifest in mechanics, poetry, and ancient cultures.

The 11th Grade Question is “Why?”

Between 10th and 11th grades, the student embarks on what will be a lifelong quest for knowledge of self and others. Students encounter the tales of Parzival and Hamlet. In the sciences, students learn about the physics of electromagnetic fields.

The 12th Grade Questions is “Who am I?”

As seniors, students explore the nature of existence through such sources as American transcendentalism, Russian literature, evolutionary theory, and modern history. Internships and independent senior projects reflect the students’ emerging individuality.

What are some practices that you would find only at Green Meadow?

Green Meadow Waldorf

After-School Program

For the first time in their nearly 70-year history, Green Meadow Waldorf School is offering after-school classes, open to the public. Through this after-school program, Green Meadow hopes to out farther into our local communities, and better serve public-school students, homeschoolers and un-schoolers, and children from other independent schools.

All classes take place on their 11-acre wooded campus in Chestnut Ridge. Courses are run by teachers, parents, and friends of our school and are designed to offer students opportunities to stretch their minds and bodies while they develop new skills and friendships. Fourteen classes this year include:

  • Activism/Civics
  • Capoeira
  • Circus Arts
  • Cooking
  • Culinary Arts
  • Fiber Craft
  • Gardening
  • Jewelry
  • KEVA Planks: The Making of an Architect!
  • Making Herbal Remedies and Products
  • Photography
  • Textile Design and Sewing
  • Theater Arts
  • Woodworking,

The deadline for Cycle 2 registration is October 24.

Fall Fair

Saturday, October 13 from 10am-4pm.

The Fall Fair is more than 40 years old and draws about 3000 visitors to our campus every October. A beloved event, it features curated vendors of handmade toys, jewelry, clothing, maple syrup, honey,  and much more; children’s activities like pumpkin carving, tree climbing, candle dipping, face painting, a hayride, and caramel apples; puppet shows and live music, and fresh, organic food on the grill.

Parking and admission are free and activity tickets are $1.

Main Lesson: Each day at Green Meadow begins with “main lesson,” a period of one hour and 40 minutes in which a given academic subject is studied intensively, in a block that last three to four weeks, allowing for an in-depth study and integration of the material.

Students are presented with concepts and skills in language arts, math, science, and social studies. The concepts introduced to the students reflect where they are in their development and grow increasingly more sophisticated and rigorous as they mature. Integrating art with all academic work develops new ways of thinking and working, as the students literally take the work into their own hands. Our students experience a deep investment in their learning as they create their main lesson books with compositions, observations, illustrations, and diagrams of their studies.

The Class Teacher often guides students through several years, potentially remaining a cohort’s class teacher for multiple grades. This long-term relationship benefits by seeing the children through a continuity of development, creating established routines, and providing stability for the students as they develop and transform. Class Teachers are supported by a constellation of expert subject teachers who share in shepherding the class through the years. Classes of students grow together from 1st through 12th Grades and form strong, familial bonds. These threads of relationship form a social and human foundation from which the education grows.

No standardized tests or Common Core: Green Meadow believes that time in school should be a process of discovery, not time spent learning to take a test. Since GMWS is an independent school, we do not administer standardized tests or adhere to the Common Core curriculum. High School students do, however, take the SAT and/or ACT as part of the college admissions process.

Freedom from digital classrooms: Green Meadow’s media policy asks students to be media-free through age 11, and the school gradually introduces electronic media in the middle school and high school. We believe that students need to understand and have a relationship to the physical world before they enter the digital world. Rather than being a hindrance, studies of Waldorf grads show that this is actually advantage later in life, with more Waldorf grads entering the sciences than their non-Waldorf peers.

Lastly there is Eurthmy. Eurthmy movement art is unique to Waldorf schools that builds spatial awareness, flexibility, strength, and grace.

The Waldorf curriculum, infused with the arts and interpreted by us: Class plays in every grade (1-8, plus 10th and 12th), two languages beginning in 1st grade, instrument lessons required from 3rd-12th grades.

Describe the philosophy of the architecture of the buildings and classrooms?

Beauty is everywhere in a Waldorf School. Rudolf Steiner had many ideas about architecture, including rounded corners in the Early Childhood classrooms and lazured walls (lazure is a form of painting) for a soft look, with depth of color. Our buildings were designed in alignment with Steiner’s principles, by architect Walter Leicht, and are unique and beautiful. They feature lots of windows to let in natural light, and are arranged on campus to create a village-like feel that stimulates community.

What’s an outdoor classroom?

Our outdoor classroom is a platform in a wooded area by a stream, built with students’ help, with a top for shelter on rainy or snowy days, allowing students the de-stressing experience of studying outdoors.

What is a day in the life of a forest preschooler?

As in all our Early Childhood programs, the Forest Preschool students follow a morning rhythm that includes creative play, circle time, chores, and snack. They may also play in the stream, make a fire in the fire pit they helped construct (and maybe roast their food over the fire), go for a hike, or work in the garden.

What are some practices that you would find only at Green Meadow?

Nyack Sketch Log Artist and Writer

Bill Batson

Teaching Activism and Civics at Green meadow

On Wednesday, May 1, I will be joining the faculty of the after-school program at Green Meadow to share some of my experiences as a labor, community, political and cultural organizer with children interested in joining or already engaged in social justice.

I will use film, music, literature, art,  documents and social media to explore how through history, young people continue to play a leadership role in the expansion of human liberty.

Content includes the exploits of a 27 year-old who led a boycott that changed the world (Martin Luther King), students in Soweto, South Africa that brought the Apartheid government to its knees and more recent example of student activism from Ferguson to Parkland.

Contact BillBason at wrbatson@gmail.com to enroll.

Digital addiction: Our media policy helps students enter the viral world when they are mature enough to handle it, and offers them a foundation in the real world that helps them balance the complexities of life in the digital age.

Abstraction, alienation, and fear of failure: Green Meadow’s experiential, hands-on, “makerspace” curriculum helps students stay grounded, confident, curious, and joyful. By allowing them to do many things—some of which they master and some which they do not, they learn that they can “fail” and survive, they learn where their gifts are and where their challenges lie, and they learn to support and be supported by others.

Stress, anxiety, and competition: The daily and yearly rhythm of life at Green Meadow allows students to breathe, literally and metaphorically. Our outdoor classroom, wilderness trips, and campus setting on 11 wooded acres help students spend time in nature (which is a proven antidote to stress and anxiety). Our curriculum and pedagogy (way of teaching) highlight collaboration, enabling students to feel connected rather than competitive.

What are some of the challenges facing independent schools?

Independent school admissions are declining nationally, as lower birth rates in some regions and economic and political uncertainty make a commitment to tuition a difficult proposition for many families.

photo by F. Lopez

We also have a long way to go toward equity and inclusion in most independent schools. Even in schools where there are reasonably high percentages of underserved kids or kids whose families have not traditionally been in independent schools, research shows that inclusion is a goal that is still unmet.

What is the forrest school?

Our children benefit from a rich variety of outdoor spaces. Rain or shine, our students in the new Forest Preschool spend most or all of their day outdoors, developing strong, healthy bodies and expanding their sensory experiences. Depending on the time of year, children sled down snowy hills, climb rocks, follow the stream, and balance on fallen trees. Munching on autumn apples in the orchard or tasting a maple tree’s sweet water in late winter foster a lifelong respect for the earth and a deep appreciation for nature’s bounty, and build the foundation for future academic learning.

Where do your graduates go?

Our graduates are prepared to go wherever they like. They tend to seek out schools where they can continue to pursue a well-rounded education, where a balanced life will be respected and encouraged. Our Class of 2018 went to the following schools: Bard College, Bennington College, Berklee College of Music, Bucknell University,  Fashion Institute of Technology, Hampshire College, , Lafayette College, Stony Brook

Green Meadow Waldorf School
307 Hungry Hollow Rd.
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977

ph: 845.356.2514
fax: 845.356.2921

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Meals on Wheels“ © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


Nyack Sketch Log: Meals on Wheels

by Bill Batson

Meals on Wheels delivers. For people who can not shop or cook because of illness, physical disability or advanced age, their service fleet is a lifeline. For those who can travel, but need a destination for social and recreational activity, MOW operates five senior center in Rockland County. Granting independence for individuals and support for fragile families, MOW provides more than just the safety net, but the tent and a team of acrobats who bend over backwards to care for seniors. I should know. My mother attends their daily program at 90 Depew Avenue in Nyack.

Daisy Batson and MOW Nyack Manager Jo Lore

On July 23, 2014 Meals on Wheels Programs & Services of Rockland delivered their 9 millionth meal. The milestone was accomplished during their 40th anniversary, commemorates not only millions of meals served, but millions of human connections and a safety checks.

When that momentous meal was served, Jo Lore, the current director of the MOW Nyack was winding down her 48 year career in the banking industry. Many people in Nyack know Jo from her work with non-profits including the YMCA, Rotary, American Cancer Society, and United Way.

Meals on Wheels Director and Village of Nyack Mayor Dr. Don Hammond asked Jo to a “part-time” manager after her retirement.  “Initially, I was meant to work part-time ” Jo said. “Meals on Wheels is, in my opinion, one of those organizations that best addresses the needs of our elderly population in our County.” Apparently, there is no such thing as a part-time job for a person passionate about helping others.  Jo is now the full-time manager, arriving early and staying late. “Having the opportunity for me to give back every day for our seniors in Nyack is a privilege and an honor.”

“Many of our  members live alone and do not have family members always available to provide them with assistance and companionship….that is what our five centers provide. “We are a place they can come to for a friendly smile, a hug, a hot meal, the company of other seniors,  games, field trips, exercise, and to learn about health, nutrition, and safety at home. When you see our vehicles on the road, it may be dropping off a meal, or it could be picking up a senior to come here!”

Daisy dancing

At 90, my mother needs the structure of a place to go to on a regular basis and the stimulation that social interaction provides. During the last year she has sharpened her watercolor and dancing skills, made legions of friends and gone for day trips. Her health and well-being is buoyed by the program that asks for a modest donation of a few dollars for daily meals and snacks. Food is also available for those who can’t afford to pay.

“The toughest part of my job is living in a community like Rockland County and not having the resources available to support ALL the needs of our seniors to live independently. Although, Rockland County residents are very supportive of our non-for-profit organizations, we always have room to do more. We all need to continue and expand our programs for senior. And we hope the public will continue supporting organizations like Meals on Wheels, through donations and volunteering.

According to Lore, the senior population of Rockland County to face a litany of challenges that dull the luster of what should be their “Golden Years”.

  • Limited access to inexpensive dental and vision care
  • Seniors who did not grow up in a digital age need access to computers
  • Addressing the loneness of Seniors without family members
  • Access to social programs without payment
  • Homeless issue in our Community
  • Easier, more frequent and inexpensive transportation throughout the County.

“Joining our senior centers is easy as 1.2.3,” said Lore. “All you need to be is over 60 years old, able to function independently, and a resident of Rockland County.”

Day care is no longer just for children. Our aging population needs more programs like Meals on Wheels and champions like Hammond and Lore. To paraphrase Flannery O’Connor, the senior programs you save may some day be your own.

The Meals of Wheels Nyack Senior Activity Center as well as their other four Centers in Rockland County with other various programs are funded in part by the Administration on Aging , New York State Office for the Aging, Rockland County Office for the Aging, donations, grants and fees.

To volunteer click here.

Join me on Oct. 6 for the first Nyack Sketch Log Walking Tour. The 2-hour trek through the village includes 2 museum visits (Edward Hopper and Historical Society) and a $5 donation to the Historical Society of the Nyacks. You can buy tickets at nyacksketchlogtour.brownpapertickets.com, my Nyack Farmer’s Market booth or meet me at 11a and 2p at 23 Main St. on Oct. 6.

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Meals on Wheels“ © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


Nyack Sketch Log Walking Tour

by Bill Batson

The Nyack Sketch Log is now a walking tour. What started as a digital diary of village life is now an ambulatory adventure through the streets that inspired over 300 short essays and sketches. Meet visitors and neighbors who share your fascination with the racial, cultural, and socio economic history of Nyack. Learn more about local people and places of interest, viewed through the prism of my family’s 130 years of village residency. Twenty five percent of the proceeds from the inaugural tours on October 6, 2018 will go to the Historical Society of the Nyacks.

Here are some highlights of the first ever sketch log tour. I hope my mixture of personal history and facts unearthed during 8 years of researching, writing and illustrating a local history column will be edifying. You will encounter compelling narratives, hiding in plain sight.

The tours starts at the John Green house, the oldest standing structure in Nyack and ends at the Historical Society Museum, where you can purchase books by local authors and historic maps of the village, and listen to oral histories from the current exhibit, the Nyack Record Shop Project.

The premise behind the Nyack Sketch Log has always been that the unexamined place is not worth inhabiting. As we learn from each other’s lived experiences and avail ourselves to the local historic record, we become more aware of the needs of our communities.

This knowledge, collectively gathered, maintained and shared, will make us better and more  zealous defenders of our democratic institutions and our built and natural environment.

Nyack Sketch Log Tour: A few Selected Stops

John Green House: 23 Main Street: Originally published January 31, 2012

Since his death in 1842, John Green’s house has lived on, standing at the foot of Main Street, occupied by a litany of various owners and tenants. Neglect from an absentee landlord almost caused her collapse. But the John Green Preservation Coalition came to her rescue. Marshaling legal resources and skilled labor, they saved Nyack’s oldest building for future generations to contemplate and enjoy.

The Edward Hopper House Museum and Study Center originally published August 7, 2012
82 North Broadway

This house was saved from destruction in the early 1970s by an ad-hoc coalition that included neighbors, Rotarians, labor unions, students and artists. Not many causes can assemble such a vast cross section of humanity, fewer can inspire the kind of contributions that were necessary to restore a structure that was literally a few signatures away from condemnation. The family that once lived in this home at the intersection of North Broadway and Second Avenue provided the motivation. This is the childhood home of one of America’s greatest visual artists, Edward Hopper.

Couch Court originally published January 24, 2012
Corner of South Broadway and Depew

Not every beautiful old house in Nyack merits its own historic marker.  For other properties, the traditional historic marker is not a loud enough shout out.  Clearly, there are many addresses that could compete for the title of most interesting building in the village.  In lieu of the debate over criteria, and before a jury can be impaneled, I suggest the former offices of feminist pioneer Natalie Couch for future consideration.

Bench by the Road originally published November 18, 2014
Memorial Park

On May 18, 2015 several hundred citizens, students, historians and fans of Beloved author Toni Morrison came to Memorial Park to dedicate a Bench By The Road monument to the 19th century entrepreneur and Underground Railroad conductor Cynthia Hesdra.

Enjoy the beauty and history of Nyack in my  first ever Nyack Sketch Log walking tour. This tour will take place on October 6th from 11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm. All tours start at the John Green House and end at the Historical Society of the Nyacks Museum. Tour price includes admission to the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center and the Historical Society of the Nyacks Museum (a suggested donation is encouraged at both venues). Cost is $20 per person. Visit https://nyacksketchlogtour.brownpapertickets.com/ or stop by the my booth at the Nyack Farmer’s Market to purchase tickets.

Special thanks to Bonnie Timm for her skill and artistry and to Dave Zornow, who urged me to turn my text into a tour.

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: ” Walking Tour” © 2018 Bill Batson.  To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com