Nyack Sketch Log: Squash Blossom

squash blossomby Bill Batson

Squash Blossom is the last store standing from the crafts and antique renaissance that restored the economic fortunes of the Village of Nyack in the 1970s. Situated at 49 Burd Street, a few steps down from South Broadway since 1973,  the Native American crafts store is operated by nonagenarian Trudi Feiner.

The family that launched the venture, however, is equally recognized for the zeal of their progressive politics, personified by Trudi’s late husband, Irving Feiner. Irving and Trudi Feiner met at a self-proclaimed interracial resort called Camp Unity in 1948. A year after they met, Irving Feiner became embroiled in a legal case that tested the boundaries of political speech and transformed both of their lives, Feiner v. New York.

Irv and Trudi

Trudi and Irving Feiner

As a student on the GI Bill at Syracuse University, Feiner mounted a soap box one afternoon to urge local residents to attend a rally. The gathering was to protest the verdict in the trial of the “Trenton Six,” a group of black men given the death penalty for killing an elderly white shopkeeper based on a confession that was later impeached. Former United States Assistant Attorney General, O. John Rogge, a member of the defense team, was on the program. A permit to hold the event in a local high school had been revoked by the Mayor of Syracuse. Subsequent accounts reported that Feiner gave a contentious speech that disparaged elected officials. When a member of the crowd threatened to “get him down” from his improvised platform if the police didn’t, Feiner was arrested.  The case made it to the Supreme Court where a 6-3 majority ruled against Feiner, requiring him to serve a one month sentence for the misdemeanor. He was also expelled from the university.

Hugo Black

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

“I understand that people in totalitarian countries must obey arbitrary orders,” wrote Justice Hugo Black in his dissent. “I had hoped that there was no such duty in the United States.” According to Irv Feiner’s obituary in The New York Times “the legal principle involved came to be know as the heckler’s veto, meaning that a disruptive listener could effectively stop a controversial speaker by threatening havoc.” The Feiners moved to Rockland County in the late 1950s and joined a group of young couples that included Betty and Carl Friedan (Betty would later write The Feminine Mystique) and Herb and Edith Kurz (Herb, who passed away on November 24, 2014 founded Presidential Life and was a prolific philanthropist.) The goal of the families was to start a progressive interracial community.

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Epaminondas from “Epaminondas and His Auntie”

When they were unable to acquire the land they sought for their utopian enclave, the Feiners bought a home in nearby Blauvelt. They quickly regretted the decision. One of their three daughters, Rachael, brought home a book from school entitled “Epaminondas and His Auntie,” a work of unreconstructed Jim Crow era racism.  They moved to Nyack in 1963 because of the village’s diverse demographics.

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(l-r) Susan, Irving, Emily, Rachael and Trudi Feiner

In Nyack, the Feiners worked with a group that included Joan Bodger and Win and Betty Perry and Gerry and Eddie Dahlberg to create Nyack Head Start. Irving began a successful career in New York City as a lithographer. The tragic death of Rachael in a car accident in 1971 came six weeks before the Feiners planned to leave Nyack. The family’s relocation to Santa Fe, New Mexico seemed to exacerbate their pain, so after two years they returned. Packed into their station wagon was the inventory for the first Squash Blossom that was located on the corner of Main Street and Broadway.

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Herb Kurz visits Irving and Trudi at Squash Blossom

In 1974, Trudi and two partners bought their current location from the estate of a member of the Blauvelt family.  The structure once served as the hay loft for the horse stables used by the St. George Hotel. Irving continued his outspoken exploits, running for Rockland County Executive, New York State Assembly, and Mayor of Nyack.  As the local organizer for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign in 1976, Feiner successfully changed New York State election law to allow voters to know which candidate convention delegates in Democratic presidential primaries were supporting.

Following in her parents footsteps, Emily Feiner ran for Village of Nyack Trustee in 1985, winning by two votes. Feiner contends the margin of her victory came from “my mom and my dad.” Emily is now an Outreach Manager at the New Jersey VA for programs for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Emily’s sister, Susan, is a Professor of Economics and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine, where she is also the president of her union. Feiner at Tully CenterIn 2006, Irv Feiner, who later completed his degree at Syracuse, was invited to give the lecture at the dedication of the Tully Center for Free Speech. Irving Feiner passed away in January 2009, but not before seeing Barack Obama’s inauguration as the first African American President of the United States. He watched the watershed event on a large screen TV he purchased just for the occasion. It was his last waking day.

trudi Feiner Featured

Trudi Feiner with photo of President Obama and White House Intern Laurie Roberts hanging proudly on the wall at Squash Blossom

All of the objects that are assembled on the shelves of Squash Blossom have sacred meaning. Trudi can tell you about the significance of each Zuni fetish animal or the rituals surrounding wedding vases. She can tell you about how dreamcatchers serve to ensure that when the sun rises, all your bad dreams just disappear.

Yet, as incomprehensible as some of the losses the Feiners have weathered are, a photo behind the counter demonstrates that their grandchildren are dream catchers made real. In the picture, Laurie Roberts, Trudi and Irving Feiner’s granddaughter, is standing with President Obama, during her White House internship. Another granddaughter, Rebecca Blair, completed an internship at in the Obama White House as well.For two life-long advocates for racial equality and political empowerment, the image, in substance and symbolism, represents the progress that they fought to secure.

If you want to learn more about Native American culture, or talk politics with an old-school progressive who tells it like it is, visit Squash Blossom.

Looking for a unique, hand made gift, consider the aboriginal artistry available at Squash Blossom. Open Thursday through Saturday from 11a to 5p and Sundays from noon to 5p.

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. “Nyack Sketch Log: Squash Blossom” © 2019 Bill Batson.


Nyack Sketch Log: Skypunch Creative

by Bill Batson

Smitten with Nyack after several forays to meet a client, Brooklyn-based Skypunch Creative opened a satellite office on South Broadway in 2017.  Since then, the branded merchandise company, with an affinity for projects related to the  environmental, has brought their expertise to several local small businesses. Meet founder Joshua Wolfe, who is about to answer the question, what is a skypunch?

What is a Skypunch?

When an airplane flies through some clouds, ice crystals on their wings can trigger supercooled water droplets to freeze and fall, creating a skypunch. As someone who works at the intersection of environmental issues and the creation of corporate branded merchandise, it represents how our actions can leave a mark on the environment. It’s a reminder that we should be thoughtful about how we make things.

How did you start making promotional material?

It was really by chance. We started as a design and creative firm. As we started taking on more and more complicated production projects, clients started to ask if we could handle all the things that involved printing (pens, apparel, bottles, welcome kits, those sorts of things) and we found what we were really great at was creating products and managing the production/fulfillment aspects of creative projects.

It’s why we love working with artists like Bill Batson. He has wonderful sketches of Nyack and we can navigate the design/production process to create compelling products from them. So while our background is design, we found through years of client work, we really excel at designing for physical objects and delivering them to clients.

About seven years ago, we decided to stop offering contract design services and focus on promotional products and branded merchandise full time. It’s the best
decision we’ve made as a company. Now we only help companies with the things we are the best at.

What are some of your more interesting clients and projects?

We’ve been really grateful to have a range of clients from solo-entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. One of our recent favorites was a beauty and wellness kit we created with three Rockland based businesses: Lucky Chick Cosmetics, Soap and Paper Factory and Mata USA. The proceeds from the kits went to the Center for Safety & Change.

Our contribution was working with Nyack based artist Marisol Diaz to design a bag for the items. She created a really powerful painting and we had it printed and sewn into custom bags.

What brought Skypunch to Nyack?

We were doing a lot of work at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and the scientists there introduced us to Nyack. We stayed because its a wonderful place to run a business.

Nyack Gift 2019

Three Nyack artisans, Bill Batson, Lisa Chang and Preston Powell, brought together by Joshua Wolfe of Skypunch Creative, have created two more Nyack gift sets.

The Rockland County gift set consists of a NEW Nyack Sketch Log inspired a 15 oz mug by Batson, 1.5 oz bag of loose Organic Assam tea from Powell’s Teagevity and two mini chocolate covered Oreos and two pieces of almond orange nougat by Chang’s Nyack Sweets. ($35)

The deluxe set includes a Rockland County mug AND the classic Nyack mug, Assam tea AND a steep and two full size chocolate covered Oreos and 4 pieces of nougat. ($50)

Supplies are limited. Order TODAY at Nyackgift.com.

Photo at Hartell’s by Raymond Wright.

I understand we both went to Pratt Institute. What did you study?

I was a photography major, but never graduated. I later got a degree in History from Hunter College. Aaron, our senior designer/illustrator, studied 2D animation…he actually graduated.

Tell us about your time documenting the environment..-and reggaeton artists?

I did have an eclectic career before Skypunch. In my early twenties, I was a photographer. I’m probably best known for my work on climate change. I co-authored Climate Change: Picturing the Science (W.W. Norton and Company, 2006) with Gavin Schmidt, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Lots of traveling to glaciers, forest fires, floods, melting permafrost, etc.

When I wasn’t traveling to seek out the visible effects of climate change, I worked as an editorial photographer in NYC. One of my regular clients was a magazine that covered Latin music. I got to photograph a lot of artists when they were passing through NYC. Not just reggaeton, although that was just on the verge of becoming really popular, so those artists were more open to photoshoots with a smaller magazine than they would be now.

Tell me about the environmental non profit you started?

I started the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund with Scott Mandia, a professor at SUNY Suffolk and Charles Zeller, a retired tech executive in 2011. It started because friends of ours in the climate science had growing legal bills from being attacked by well funded climate denial non-profits. We raised the money to help cover the costs of a case in Virginia. When we won that case, the three of us sat down and decided that we couldn’t keep doing this in our kitchen and raised the funds to create a non-profit with a professional staff. There are now three lawyers, whose sole job is to provide legal assistance to climate scientists. We didn’t build the organization with the Trump adminstration in mind, but are really glad we did all the work beforehand.

What can we do in our individual lives to fight climate change?

he biggest thing an individual can do is support policy changes on the local, state, national  and international level. The challenge is global in scale and we need to tackle it together. On an individual level, we can reduce our own carbon footprint. In addition, I think this is one of our greatest areas of potential impact beyond advocacy is voting with our wallets. As consumers we have the ability to push for changes in the marketplace. When I started in the field almost twenty years ago, the idea that residential solar installation would be affordable was a fantasy. Now it is cost effective. That came about by a combination of individual purchases, government policy and commercial investment. Being the early adopter matters.

How did nyackgift get started?

Bill and I were talking about how to make a project that promoted Nyack businesses and I really wanted to turn Bill’s drawings into a landscape. I’m not sure Bill really knew what he was getting into,  but he was nice enough to send me the scans and Aaron crafted a landscape that became the Nyack mug.

From there, Bill asked Preston Powell of Teagevity and I reached out to Lisa Chang of Nyack Sweets to be part of the project. Together we made kits that we pre-sold. It was really an experiment. Would the local community be interested? I think we were all really excited to see how much people liked the kits. And now are able to do it for a second year. A side note, we’re also really grateful that people were willing to pre-order. Having the orders in hand before we created the kits, removed the financial risks to the businesses and made it much easier for us to collaborate together.

What’s next for Skypunch?

We’re investing more and more in recycled and upcycled products. Going back to my answer about how individuals can fight climate, we want to encourage our business clients to use their promotional marketing dollars to encourage the development of the recycling and upcycling industries. Both are going through big changes right now and its a time where our purchases can have a big impact.

Although a lot of the company’s story is tied to my eclectic career, we have eight employees on our team split between offices in Nyack and Brooklyn.

They are absolutely wonderful to work with and none of the things we make would be possible without the talent and deep set of skills they bring to the company.

Read more:

Nyack Sketch Log: Nyack Sweets
Nyack Sketch Log: Bruce Lee of Loose Tea
Nyack People & Places: Bill Batson, Artist & Columnist

An activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Skypunch Creative” © 2018 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more. Weld-Sponsor-Graphic_Final

Nyack Sketch Log: The Bruce Lee of Loose Tea

NSL_Powell Teagevity_featured Imageby Bill Batson

Preston Powell is a civil rights scion, who has been a DJ, night club owner, artist rep, and sensei.  His grandfather was Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.,  the first African American to be elected to Congress in the state of New York. Preston has fused his talents and early experience with tea drinking culture into a successful business and dojo. If you visit the Nyack Farmers’ Market, look for Teagevity and meet the Bruce Lee of loose tea.

Tell me about this teacup?

When I was about 19 or 20, I walked into a martial arts dojo on Lexington Ave in New York City and saw a man, who turned out to be the Sensei, holding a cup of tea. The way he held that teacup struck me. It reminded me of my childhood, when women would sit for tea after services at Abyssinian Baptist Church. When I started my martial arts training everything was about holding a cup of tea; your posture, your movement, you had to defend a teacup. Eventually, I was given this teacup. For over twenty years, I have protected this cup. It has been my introduction to Asian and other tea drinking cultures. It is a connection to the fellowship of drinking tea after church.

Family photo courtesy Preston Powell © 2014, all rights reserved.

Family photo courtesy Preston Powell © 2014, all rights reserved.

What is your connection to Abyssinian Baptist Church?

My grandfather was Adam Clayton Powell Jr. He was pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and in 1945, he was the first African American from New York State elected to Congress. My grandmother, Isabel Washington Powell, was a dancer at the Cotton Club when she met and married Adam Clayton Powell. I am in the process of donating some items from my family to The Smithsonian Institute in Washington for their new African American wing. One of the exhibits is going to be about early black residents on Martha’s Vineyard. My grandparents summered and owned a cottage there.

How did you get your start in music?

My first radio show was on WYBC “Black Spectrum” at Yale University. I did the over night Saturday Soul and R&B Radio Dance show. This was the early 70’s. From there, I DJ’d at the Snow Chicken in New Haven and would spin basement blue light parties from , Connecticut to New York City. As a mobile DJ, I traveled with an old Crown Reel to Reel and two Technic SL1200 Turntables and a Bozak Mixer. Man those were the days!

WBLS Program Director Frankie Crocker hired me to create Dance Mix shows to be aired on WBLS in New York which aired on weekends. I also did Mix shows for WKTU.

Preston spinning at the legendary Studio 54

This was the early defining period for what we now know as the Disco era. The next step was becoming a club DJ and Billboard Dance reporter and working all the big Clubs in Manhattan: Xenon, Club A, Magique, Leviticus, Pippin’s, Mellow Mouth in the Hamptons, and regular guest spots and famed Studio 54, the Anvil and Tea dances at the Cock Ring in the Village.

In the early 1980’s in the Hampton’s, I owned operated and DJ’d at Bay Street night club in Sag Harbor. There I mixed music during the week and produced major concerts creating The legendary Reggae on the Wharf Concert series and producing major Live concerts featuring artists such as: Bobby Short, Chuck Berry, Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, Tina Turner, James Brown, Billy Joel, Simply Red, Burning Spear, Jimmy Cliff & Steel Pulse to name a few.

How did you come to Nyack?

As a child, I spent my summers by the water in Martha’s Vineyard. I also spent a lot of time in Sag Harbor. When I came across the Tappan Zee Bridge one day around 1999, and I saw the Village of Nyack and the Hudson River, I instantly knew this would be a home for my family.

It helped that it was only 20 minutes from New York City, where I had a music business. My company, Jazzateria, managed jazz and reggae artists including Reuben Wilson, Bernard  “Pretty” Purdie, Jimmy McGriff, Miri Ben-Ari and Midnite, a reggae band from St. Croix.

When did you open your dojo?

NSL_Preston Powell_To-te Ueshiro Karate Club

Students under Sensei Powell’s watchful gaze

To-te Ueshiro Karate Club opened in 2006. It is organized as a club more than a business. We don’t advertise, we don’t have a neon sign. The focus is on training for personal growth, not for competition or trophies. In our Shorin-Ryu tradition, skills are handed down through the family. We try to prepare the father to train the daughter and the grandfather to train with the grandson. It’s an activity for the whole family. Our style of Karate was brought to Okinawa, Japan by men who were taught by Shaolin monks in China. They were in Okinawa as traders and taught their trading partners martial arts to protect themselves from the mainland Japanese. My teacup came from Japan.

When did you launch Teagevity?

Powell with Dr. Oz at Nyack Farmers Markrt

I was frustrated with the business of music, and I wanted to create something new and local that my family could be a part of. Tea had been on my mind. I loved the substance of it and the rituals around it. In the dojo, students would ask what to do when they didn’t feel well. I had become an elder dispensing wisdom about medicinal properties of different teas and herbs.

Nyack Gift 2019

Three Nyack artisans, Bill Batson, Lisa Chang and Preston Powell, have came together again to create two more Nyack gift sets.

The Rockland County gift set consists of a NEW Nyack Sketch Log inspired a 15 oz mug by Batson, 1.5 oz bag of loose Organic Assam tea from Powell’s Teagevity and two mini chocolate covered Oreos and two pieces of almond orange nougat by Chang’s Nyack Sweets. ($35)

The deluxe set includes a Rockland County mug AND the classic Nyack mug, Assam tea AND a steep and two full size chocolate covered Oreos and 4 pieces of nougat. ($50)

Pre-order before mid-nite on Dec. 2nd for a $10 discount.

Order at Nyackgift.com.

Photo at Hartell’s by Raymond Wright.

Then one day, when I was driving with my wife and saying how much I loved life, she said the word longevity, and then added the word tea. When I heard “Teagevity,” that was it. I got the domain name that day. That was two years ago.

How many varieties of teas do you offer?

I have 54 teas that I carry at any time.  With blends it can be 75 or more.

What is your most popular item?

Our most popular item is Organic Assam, which is also known as Irish Breakfast. And a South African tea called Rooibos,  with blue mallow flowers is also very popular.

Is there one tea in particular that people should know more about?

That would be Pu-erh, from the Yunnan province, China. It has beneficial properties that many in the world have known about forever. Dr Oz talks about it and all the fashion models in Europe drink it. The tea breaks down cholesterol. It’s good for your blood pressure too. It works as a detoxifier, helping with the liver,  because it helps you flush water. And if you are looking to cut weight, this is your tea.

What’s the best way to make a cup of tea?

Water :

The water you use is very important. The number one beverage in the world is water. The number two is tea.  Since a good tea is rich in anti-oxidants and minerals, the water should be pure as well. If you had a free flowing spring, that would be best. If not, use bottled or filtered water. Try not to use water from the tap.


The temperature depends on the tea; for a green tea, pre-boiling or about 170-175; for black tea, herbal and botanicals bring your water to a 210 – 212 degree full boil.

Steep time:

  • Black teas should steep no longer than five minutes. At six minutes, it gets bitter, however, people may like the taste.
  • Green tea, after three minutes, it will get bitter.
  • White tea is the rarest of teas, picked before the bud comes at the beginning of spring. It should be steeped for one or two minutes.

You can peruse Teagevity’s selection of loose tea and tea gear online at teagevity.com or every Thursday from 8a-2p at the Nyack Farmers’ Market at the main municipal parking lot until December 19. Starting on January 2, 2020.

Visit to-te.com for information about martial arts classes. To-te Ueshiro Karate Club is located at 85 South Broadway, Nyack, NY

An activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Bruce Lee of Loose Tea” © 2018 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more. Weld-Sponsor-Graphic_Final

Nyack Sketch Log: Nyack Sweets

by Bill Batson

If you take a seat at Hartell’s Deli in Upper Nyack most weekdays, you can be the unofficial taste tester for Nyack Sweets. Regulars at the Deli are privy to the production kitchen where Lisa Chang transforms water, flour and sugar and the lessons of her Italian immigrant mother, into the decadent concoctions that kiddies and foodies dream about.

Here’s the story about how a fashion designer became the baker her mother always intended her to be. Also learn how Chang has teamed up with the Nyack Sketch Log and Teagevity’s Preston Powell to reprise their annual Nyack holiday gift set.

Where did you get your baking chops?

My mother is a master bread and cookie make. She immigrated from Italy and raised 4 girls and made us make food and treats from scratch our whole life.  She still surprises me with new and delicious things!

When did you launch Nyack Sweets?

I actually worked in fashion for 15 years as a designer and later a product developer. Once I started having children, it started getting harder and harder to keep traveling for work and leaving my babies home. I always loved to bake and I started making my children elaborate birthday cakes. Friends started asking me to make their children’s birthday cakes and it just took on a life of its own.

I’ve been making sweets in Nyack for close to 9 years now, but I made it official in 2017 with Nyack sweets

What are some of the biggest challenges of running a business?

Balancing work and family.

Being a mom raising three kids, and a foodie entrepreneur, you must live in the kitchen. How many hours do you clock each week in front on the stove?

A LOT! I cook proper breakfasts and dinners for the kids (and husband) everyday – make myself lunch when I’m home and then I bake bake bake any free hours I have while the kids are in school- either for us at home or at Hartell’s Deli for everyone else. So probably anywhere from 25-40 hours a week

Are you the only confectionist? Does anyone help produce your concoctions?

I’m a one woman show when it comes to the baking, dipping and decorating. Although my mom has definitely helped me out a bunch. I have had some help from some wonderful friends and family too when I need it especially with packaging!!

Do you have a taste tester? How can one apply for that job?

Hahaha my number 1 taste tester is my 5 year old James- he loves sweets almost as much as I do and has no problem telling me how it is. Also, if you sit at the bar in Hartell’s any morning I’m there your bound to get a taste of something I’m working on to go with your coffee!

Are there any other entrepreneurs in the family? What are the benefits of having two entrepreneurs under one roof?

My darling husband is an entrepreneur and jack of all trades! He does residential and commercial real estate, is a Lulu Lemon ambassador, teaches Crossfit and is a volunteer firefighter to name a few.

The benefit of having two entrepreneurs under one roof is that we can be flexible. We both left corporate jobs so we can spend more time with our children and be more involved in their day to day. Between the two of us and all the hats we wear we meet a lot of people. We love bringing people together and connecting people that otherwise would not have met.

Do you think there is one item that put you on the map?

I think people like working with me for a special custom cake but cake pops have certainly become my number 1 selling item.

What are some of the fan favorite’s?

Vanilla cake pops are for sure a favorite, as are chocolate covered Oreos and but chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies are big winners at Hartell’s.

What happens at one of your cupcake decorating parties?

Cupcake decorating parties are all about letting people be creative – I can’t have all the fun!

I create a package of the customers favorite flavor cupcakes naked (without any icing or decoration). I bring fresh Swiss meringue buttercream in a color of their choice or chocolate buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star tip… and a selection of fun toppings sprinkles, chocolate chips- possibilities are endless.

Everything is laid out on a table so their guests can decorate away and enjoy their creations instantly.

Nyack Gift 2.0

There are two Nyack Gift Sets. The Rockland County Set consists of a NEW Nyack Sketch Log inspired mug by Bill Batson, 1.5 oz bag of loose Organic Assam tea from Preston Powell’s Teagevity and two mini chocolate covered Oreos and two pieces of almond orange nougat. The deluxe set includes a Rockland County mug and a Nyack mug, Assam tea and a steep and two full size chocolate covered Oreos and 4 pieces of nougat.

Pre-order until November 29 for a $10 discount.

Order at Nyackgift.com. Photo at Hartell’s by Raymond Wright.

It’s great to see your logo up at Hartell’s Deli in Upper Nyack? How long have you had that association?

Hartell’s has been so good to me! I love working in that space and with that team!

I started using the kitchen at Hartell’s in early 2018. I would go in late at night when they were closed and work in the middle of the night- like an elf! Adding cupcakes and cake pops to the refrigerator and fresh cookies on the counter. I only added a table at the bar this September right after having my son so I could do some baking in the morning while he naps- no more late night for me right now. Actually, it’s been fun baking with company and getting to talk to customers while I work.

Where else can one find their Nyack Sweets?

Hartell’s of course. I also do seasonal products for The Editor in Nyack. I’ll also be doing some holiday fairs- see my website for updates!

Are you exited to be teaming you for a second year with Teagevity’s estimable Preston Powell and the peripatetic illustrator and essayist, Bill Batson?

Yes! As always these classy guys know how to make things fun while making quality products locally. It’s so fun to work with them

What are you offering this year

I have two options this year- the Rockland county gift set has two mini chocolate covered Oreos and two pieces of a very special almond orange nougat (family recipe) in the deluxe set you get two full size chocolate covered Oreos and 4 pieces of nougat.

Where can one get a Nyack Gift Set?


What’s next for Nyack Sweets?

I have lots of ideas! For one I think I’m finally ready to start talking to brides and doing more wedding cakes and favors.

An activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Nyack Sketch Log: Nyack Sweets” © 2019 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more.


Nyack Sketch Log: Sage’s Herbal Apothecary

by Bill Batson

According to Sarah Bergmann, “An apothecary is a callback to a more natural holistic approach to medicine and lifestyles. Think of the stories once told of how ‘grandma’ use to cure a sore throat, or how ‘your great grandparents’ use to have this balm that relieved the pain so easily.”

Her answer to that call, Sage’s Herbal Apothecary,  fits as seamlessly into the zeitgeist of Nyack as the popular antique store that occupied their South Broadway address for decades, Christopher’s, once did.

Learn about the story of how urgency to find holistic remedies created one of Nyack’s newest small businesses and meet the Apothecary’s name sake, Sage.

Leah St. George and her niece, Sage.

Who is Sage?

Sage is the daughter of two of the owners, Sarah and Will Bergmann and niece to the third, Leah St George.

What’s the difference between a pharmacy and apothecary?

Pharmacies are more known in today’s society for providing specially prescribed medicines which are prepared by pharmacists.  While some pharmacies might offer some natural remedies, those are quite few and far between.

An apothecary traditionally carries organic herbs & spices to use in cooking, making herbal remedies, and even taken in tea forms to help with everything from muscle pains to stress to illnesses.

Whereas pharmacies usually feature a pharmacist that fulfills a doctor’s prescription, an apothecary would normally be host to an herbalist that can assist with suggesting and making custom remedies from syrups to salves and much more.

How did the idea for Sage’s emerge?

In our search for natural remedies we often found ourselves traveling to many places outside of Nyack, and we felt there was almost a calling for an herbal shop to be find a home in the Nyack area.  We wanted to provide a safe and trusted space for our local community to find natural products that they can trust as well as help to educate our local communities on living healthier lives through raw natural herbal remedies.

When did you become interested in holistic remedies?

About 15 years ago, Sarah started her journey on using more all-natural products when pharmaceuticals were no longer working well for skin care use or for illness.  Once starting to look into pharmaceuticals and their goal, it became more obvious that the medicines where only attempting to replicate the healing effects of herbal remedies.

Sarah Bergman and Sage

Have you had personal need for any of the alternative health and wellness products that you provide?

In the beginning of Sarah’s journey, she had chronic stomach and gut issues as well as skin related issues.  Like most people, she visited a Doctor’s office and was prescribed various medicines to help cure and treat her.  The issue was that the medicine was not working and in fact sometimes made things worse.  When she first tried to use a more natural approach with herbal remedies and changes to her diet, she noticed the symptoms were going away and her skin started to become much healthier.  With these changes and using more natural remedies, she also happened to notice her anxiety and stress levels were improving and her energy levels increasing.  Since then our go to has been a combination of herbal remedies or homeopathic remedies to help keep our bodies strong and healthy.

Who are your customers?

We see a wide variety of people that patronize our store, from local community members searching for an all-natural remedy to the person visiting our town on a weekend getaway.  People come in our store with a wide range of knowledge about herbs and natural medicine.  Some know exactly which herbs and spices they are looking for while others look to us for assistance and guidance.

What are some of the maladies that your products address?

Some of the maladies that our products address and support are healing various bacterial and viral infections, different types of skin conditions like eczema, sleeping issues, gut and digestive problems, allergies, and simple first aide like scrapes and cuts to name but a few.

Who prepares your remedies?

Sarah, who is our certified herbalist, formulates our herbal remedies and skin care products.  She can also help create custom remedies for individuals after having consultations with them to learn more about their medical history.

Where do you get your ingredients from?

We source our ingredients for the herbs, spices, and teas mostly from Mountain Rose Herbs.  They are based in Oregon and work with various farmers to help ensure that the herbs, spices, and oils being produces are done so in a sustainable and organic nature.  They have a very high standard when it comes to ensuring the quality of the products they sell and are trusted by many herbalists and individuals who search for natural organic herbs and spices.

What are some of your most popular products?

While it’s hard to say which loose herbs and spices people love the most, we can note some of the more popular items that we make using them.

Some of the more popular items are our raw skin care like our Calendula Witch Hazel and our Honey Cleanser which is great for clearing up all types of skin conditions. While we offer over 50 different herbal tinctures, our more popular ones are Passionflower, Elderberry, California Poppy, Calendula, and Hops which can aide with things from sleeping to digestive to fending off colds & flu. Our Eczema salve and Mugwort salve are also very popular and help with skin conditions and muscle soreness. For our tea blends, the Let’s Relax Tea blend is one of our most popular which helps with sleeping.  Our Immune Boosting and our Help My Tummy Tea are also popular among our patrons.

How do tinctures’ work?

Tinctures work by using a solvent which is a substance that dissolves a solute which are the medicinal constituents within the plant. The solvent used is called a menstruum. The different types of solvents used in making tinctures are alcohol, vinegar and glycerin. Some solvents extract more medicinal constituents than others. At Sage’s we use an organic, non-gmo, corn-based alcohol to extract a large number of medicinal constituents from the herbs. What is great about tinctures’ is that you can take less of it than if you needed to consume a tea. Tinctures have a long shelf life versus a tea, a large portion of constituents are very soluble in alcohol, they can maintain their potency for many years, convenient to travel with, easier to monitor dosage, helpful when needing to take herbs that are not pleasant tasting.

Rockland Community College Occupational Therapy students and the Center for Safety and Change were at Sage’s on Sunday, Nov. 10 to raise money to donate self-care items for survivors of domestic violence.

Are tinctures better than pills and syrups?

Everyone is different and can require different ways to consume an herbal remedy. For a lot of people tinctures are more convenient which means the person is more likely to consume the medicine than if they had a tea. Herbal capsules can be helpful when taking certain herbs but not all herbs will work well in capsule form because of the way your body processes and absorbs it. Syrups can also be effective for some but there are a lot of people who cannot consume sugars, even natural sugars. Also, not all herbs are highly effective in a syrup form. Tinctures and teas are the most common and more potent ways that people consume medicinal herbs. The best way to consume an herbal medicine would be to use a tincture or tea or have a consultation with a certified herbalist.

Will Bergmann, Sarah Bergmann and Leah St George

What is fire cider?

Fire Cider is an herbal tonic that is made from food and medicinal herbs. Raw apple cider vinegar is traditionally used as the base because it is a great solvent and good at extracting large portions of medicinal constituents and minerals. These solutions can help ward off colds and flu, boost the immune system, overcome an illness more quickly, feed intestinal flora which provides great support for the gut, helpful with heart burn, and fungal infections. It can be taken alone or used with food. Fire Cider typically contains hot or warm foods such as onion, garlic, horseradish, rosemary and spicy peppers.

What are some of the benefits of aroma therapy?

Applied topically it can to help relieve pain, inflammation, antibacterial and antifungal skin conditions plus more. When used aromatically through a diffuser or tissue it can also help to calm, uplift and even energize people. Aromatherapy is also used to help conditions such as depression, anxiety and those who are grieving. Certain oils and oil blends when used appropriately can even help to ward off viral and bacterial illnesses. Essential oils are extremely potent and need to be used with care when using them for medicinal purposes like getting rid of a rash or treating a topical infection. Getting advice on using essential oils for medicinal purposes comes best from experienced well-educated certified herbalists, certified aromatherapists, and those certified in aromatic medicine.

What are some of the in-store events you have coming up?

Coming up we have an Aromatherapy event and our Herb of the Month club event featuring Chaga Mushrooms and hot cocoa in November and a Sweet Hormone Balance in December.

What’s next for Sage’s

Up next we will be looking to host more events to help educate the local communities about different benefits of herbal medicines and truly all-natural products.  One thing we often times find pride in is knowing exactly what went into each item made and confidently saying they are free of chemicals and harsh toxins.

Will Bergmann and Sage

Wasn’t your space formerly Christophers?

Yes, our store was previously home to Christophers. While the inside of the building may have been remodeled, we loved that the old exposed brick wall remained.

Any lingering vibe from all the antique, objects d’art and flowers?

We would say the brick wall still holds some of the Christophers essence as well as the artists we have been lucky enough to showcase in our store. Currently we are featuring Jackie Fiore’s artwork through the end of the year.

An activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Nyack Sketch Log: Sage’s Herbal Apothecary” © 2019 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more.


Nyack Sketch Log: Jennifer Attebery’s Moving Arts

by Bill Batson

Comfortably dressed people, gliding down the sidewalk with a yoga matt tucked under their arm is a common sight in Nyack, New York. Our village has been a yoga hub since the 1920s, when Pierre Bernard became the first to introduce the American public to the ancient practice from his Clarkstown Country Club ashram. However, some of those striding toward a fitness appointment might be taking a Pilates class, a system of exercises developed in Germany in the early 20th century.

Nyack Sketch Log got to experience the fitness method, thanks to a former professional ballet dancer and owner of Moving Arts Pilates Studio, Jennifer Attebery.

How did you discover Pilates?

I first discovered Pilates 35 years ago while I was training as a dancer in New York City. It was long before Pilates became widely known and back then it was specifically used as a rehabilitation for injured dancers and a small group of the population. After I left the dance world, I received a degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on mind/body health and healing.

I love the balance of the physical and mental components of health. The physical space of my studio reflects these beliefs as I have tried to make my studio a tranquil and peaceful place.

Also, I usually have one or two dogs sleeping in the studio as a reminder of the simple pleasures of life.

How does your career as a dancer inform your work?

Dance is extremely physical work. Our bodies are the instrument, so it is important to fine tune it and be as physically fit as possible. I was always curious in the ‘why’ of movement. How can I lift my leg or how do I get my body off the ground?

Joseph Pilates

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, whose father was a gymnast and mother, a naturopath.

Pilates developed his system of exercises while he was being held at an internment camp on the Isle of Man during World War I.

There are as many as 11 million people around the world you take Pilates classes. In the United States, there are over 14,000 instructors.

After I aged out of dance, succumbing to many injuries, I was still left with a curiosity of movement. I love when my clients become ‘curious’ and find ways to feel more fit and move with more ease.

What are some off the apparatus you employ in your practice?

The Gyrotonic tower is a unique, holistic exercise system with pulleys and weights that exercise the body. It helps create range of movement, spine mobility and stabilization. It’s a beautiful wooden machine and one of the machines I use in my exercise studio.

The majority of my work is in the Pilates method. My studio is a fully equipped Pilate’s studio which includes the reformer and the tower

How do you approach your work with your clients

The work I do is very individualized. It is one-on-one training. My clientele run the spectrum of young people with newly diagnosed scoliosis, professional musicians, everyday people who come in with aches and pains and I am happy to say that my oldest client is an 88 years old gentlemen.

Pilates is for every body. My work is best to serve the individual and a workout that specializes their needs. Every session is different as every individual is different.

Is Pilates a daily practice?

I don’t believe that people have to do Pilates everyday but I do believe in using the tools of pilates such as awareness of posture & core support daily.

People should have some sort of daily practice that includes physical and mental tuning. Whether that includes walking, meditation, dancing to great music, gardening, keeping a gratitude journal or anything else that fills us up as  we run around in our daily lives.

Is it my imagination, or does Nyack have a large wellness sector?

Nyack has a large wellness community for a small town. I find it a positive that there are so many choices. There is something for everyone.

What’s next for your practice?

I am at a phase of my life where I still love what I do and working with my clients. Most have been with me for years,  but I also have a real passion for travel. Now that my children are grown and my spouse has retired, my work is purposely not as busy as it was a few years ago. My clients know that there will be times when I am away traveling.

I feel very fortunate in my work and have tried my best to be helpful to those that walk through my door.

You can contact Moving Arts Pilates by phone and/or email at 845 642-6373 and Jennifer.pilates16@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. “The Moving Arts of Jennifer Attebery ” © 2019 Bill Batson.


Nyack Sketch Log: Bongo Fries

by Bill Batson

Brian “Bongo” Davis has become a brand. In just six months, the reggae musician and tour manager launched a popular product that has a logo that bears his resemblance. Where ever he parks his orange food cart, his Bongo Fries sell out before the close of business.

Meet the man behind the hat, glasses and beard, who has won over the foodie faithful with his fierce, fresh, hand-cut fries.

When did you launch Bongo Fries?

March 29,2018. It was an awesome pop-up in front of Boxer Donuts for 5 hours, non-stop. There was a line around the block.

The people of Nyack really came out and supported me…one of the best days of my life. This community is really a beautiful thing.

I heard you had a brush with the spud earlier in your life?


I have always loved French Fries, so when I started doing commercials in 1979 it came as a wonderful surprise that I landed an Ore Ida French Fry commercial.

It was 1981. I was 14. I looked 11.

Where did you find your distinctive bongo cart?

Well, I searched for about a year looking for something different. I was looking all over the US for a small camper or wagon. I didn’t want a truck. Finally, I found my food cart in China.

It took two months to deliver and finally a huge crate was in my driveway. That’s when I  knew this was real

What makes Bongo Fries better?

Honestly, I’m not doing anything people haven’t been doing for years. But Im doing it right and not cutting corners. I use fresh Idaho Russet #1 potatoes, cut them fresh, soak them over night and double fry them to perfection. I make them to order. No heat lamps. I also make my own signature spice and homemade sauces.

photo by Luis Bruno

The real difference is that I have fun doing what I do and try to connect with each person, big or small, who wants my fries.

So far, so good?

It’s been great. I love it. Of course there’s been ups and downs, challenges and disappointments, but that’s life and you have to roll with it. Sometimes I’m good at rolling with it…sometimes I suck.

What’s you other line of work?

I have been a stagehand for the last 22 years working as a video utility, audio utility.  I’m also the Tour Manager of The Grahams, a band out of Nashville,Tennessee.

How did you get the name Bongo?

It was the first week of college, back in the day, and I was carrying my Conga around and some guys were like hey it’s a Bongoman. Thirty-two years later…well, you can figure it out lol

What was the name of your first band?

The Razor Boys, in 1983-1985. The Razor Boys Are Coming was a Steely Dan song…we were a Punkish Mod band. We played CBGBS and a couple other bars back in the early 80’s

What’s the name of your current band?

JLP & The Very Bad Ideas, a local Reggae band

Where did your love for reggae music come from?

A friend of mine turned me onto Bob Marley (of course) back in 1979 or 1980. I then went and bought his newest album Uprising which would unfortunately be his last.

I would listen to it almost every day. Then I started buying more and more reggae, on vinyl of course. There was this great little record store on 1st ave and 90th street called Zig Zag  Records. I had a little job delivering bagels on the weekends and spent all my $$ at Zig Zag.

Then it was off to Jamaica every year from 1985-88, but that’s another story.

I was a Reggae Disc Jockey on my college Radio Station.

And now, finally 25 years later, in my first reggae band, and I love it.

I hear you have a signature dance move?

I guess. I just do a bit of skanking when I feel it, just for fun.

Any gigs coming up?

Yes Casa Del Sol on Oct. 18th at 9:30pm

What are some of the joys of owning Bongo Fries

Talking to all the people and hanging with the Nyack community.

There are so many great people.

What are some of the hurdles?

Dealing with red tape, cleaning and taxes

Same questions but with managing bands?

I love the band I work with.

When people don’t communicate or take their time getting back to me.

Who are some of the people in your early years that sent you on this path?

My parents for one. They taught me to always work hard and have fun.

I have always been able to connect with people, from all walks. I learned that from my dad and I learned respect and empathy from mom.

Of course there’s been people like Ernie Ferrigno who gave me my first job at the bagel place and my best friends growing up.

What brought you to Nyack?

The same as most people who move from NYC. I think all people want a better life for their children and family.

Slower life, better schools, and now I can GRILL!!

What’s coming next from your basement recording studio?

The band is working on recording about 3 tunes. It will happen…when, I have no idea.. but soon.

What’s next from Bongo’s kitchen?

I am going to be adding some new sauces and taking a few away. I’m also working on a breakfast fry thing and a nice late night item. You’ll just have to wait and follow me on Instagram to find out…

For those who have read this far and are now hungry for Bongo Fries. Where can we find you?

You can go to bongosfries.com for all my upcoming locations…

I’ll be hitting some local fall festivals, breweries, and always The Nyack Farmers Market on the first and third Thursdays until December!

Bill Batson is an activist, artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. “Nyack Sketch Log: Bongo Fries ” © 2019 Bill Batson.