MyRye.com sat down with Rye Newcomers and Neighbors’ Club (RNNC) co-presidents Lora Katsikas and Sue Wexler to ask about the types of services provided by the RNNC.
MyRye.com: What is the Rye Newcomers and Neighbors’ Club?
The Rye Newcomers and Neighbors’ Club has been an important part of the community for over 50 years. The organization was formerly called the Rye Newcomers Club and changed its name in 2004 to reflect the changing membership.
(PHOTO: Happy Mullooly, Sarah Barringer & Lora Katsikas dressed up for the Halloween Bunco Night.) The club is a social organization that introduces new families to the Rye community. We strive to provide our members with a sense of ongoing camaraderie through many events and activities. Our club serves all residents of Rye, Rye Brook, Rye Neck, Purchase, Port Chester and Harrison. And you don’t have to be new to the area in order to join. In fact, we have found that many families join the club when they are new to town and continue to remain active members after many years because of the fun and the friendships.
Our events not only bring together members of the community, they also help people to become acquainted with the resources and attractions of Rye and the surrounding area. Our many events include:
• Wine tasting, bowling nights
• Community service opportunities in and around Rye
• Courses on finding balance in our lives, led by a clinical psychologist and popular club speaker
• Spring Luncheon, Girls’ Spa Night, pottery classes, jewelry making
• Kids’ ice cream parties, beach blasts, pumpkin carving, sledding
• March Madness Basketball tournament, paddle tennis parties, golf clinics
How many “newcomers” and “neighbors” do you serve?
Currently we have about 200 families in our membership. Our goal is to meet the needs of all our members by providing monthly children’s events, playgroups, opportunities to go out as couples or ladies nights out. Our special interest groups such as book club, bunco, good foods club, lunch bunch meet monthly. Our bridge group meets weekly, and the philanthropy, dining around town and working mom’s groups meet about every other month or two.
Each year we have approximately 40 new families to the area join our organization.
What are the three most common requests you receive from newcomers moving into Rye?
1. Those newcomers with children usually ask about pediatricians, schools, children’s stores, etc. We also have a very active playgroup so many moms want to get involved in this.
2. Many new residents also need to know where to buy groceries. It sounds silly, but grocery store chains are different all over the country and world. People want to know which stores have the freshest produce or tastiest bakery items, etc. Since Rye does not have a grocery store, brand new residents need to know where to go!
3. Lastly, people just want opportunities to meet other people. We find our club to be such a success because we offer many events each month for people to get to know one another. Moving can be a lonely time and everyone in our club was new at one point so that automatically gives us all something in common
You have lots of different groups and services from playgroups, to Bunco to dining around town to walking to philanthropy. What are three of the most popular groups?
1. Our playgroups are a huge success. It’s difficult to find a network of moms when you move into a new town, and this group provides just that. Moms and little ones instantly meet others, and begin building friendships that last even when the children have out grown their playgroups.
2. Ladies night out is also very popular. Usually once a month something is organized such as wine tasting, pottery, movies and we even have a spa night in May in honor of Mother’s Day. The coordinators are always looking for fresh and new ideas.
3. The largest monthly turn out is always for our children’s events. We typically have any where from 50-100 children each month. This past fall our pumpkin decorating event and ornament making events were a huge success. The Rye Recreation Center has been fantastic in allowing us to use their facilities for most of our events.
What type of work has your philanthropy group, run by Leah Stevens, done?
Last fall our philanthropy group served lunch at the Don Bosco soup kitchen in Port Chester. We have also helped paint/decorate the Carver Center and brought cookies/caroling to a children’s hospital. Last winter the chairwomen organized a philanthropy fair at the Rye Free Reading room which featured all the local non profit organizations in the area. It gave our membership the opportunity to get involved in various charities.
Your “Dining Around Town” group is run by Diana Tapper. What are her three favorite restaurants in Rye?
1. Koo, 17 Purdy Ave, 921-9888. Great for a group of friends or date night. Atmosphere is lively but not overwhelmingly loud. Sushi is always great and the mushroom salad and sushi bullet (only available in-house) are not to be missed.
2. Ruby’s Oyster House, 45 Purchase Street, 921-4166. Also good for friends or date night, as well as for weekend brunch with the family. Most nights this is a happening scene, with a large and boisterous bar crowd. Great selection of oysters and there is just never anything bad about truffle mac n’ cheese. When we still lived in NYC and went looking for houses, we came to Ruby’s for brunch, and we knew we would be okay if we moved to Rye.
3. I am torn here by two extremes: the consummate special occasion place – La Panetiere (530 Milton Rd, 967-8140) and the casual breakfast and lunch only place – On the Way Cafe (34 Ridgeland Terrace, 925.0049). They are very different. Rye is lucky to have La Panetiere as part of our neighborhood. A beautiful, intimate place with wonderful food perfect for that special night. But for weekend breakfast with the kids, the very casual On the Way Cafe has fresh and delicious food great for a stop between crazy weekend days filled with activities.
And I know I am pushing my luck by mentioning a 5th place when you only asked for 3, but Cafe Livorno (92 Purchase St, 967-1909) just did a fabulous job for a private party I organized. They are finishing their renovation and have a great party room upstairs. They were very accommodating, extremely pleasant to work, and the food was delicious (not so easy a feat with a large group). Would definitely recommend them both for parties and for an every day night out.
Your “Walking” group is run by Cliona Cronin. What are her three favorite (and also stroller and dog friendly) places to go for a walk in Rye?
1. Rye Town Park to the Boardwalk is our favorite walk. Sometimes we have several strollers so this permits easy talking while we’re walking. We go to the end of the boardwalk and towards the Edith Read sanctuary where we do a turn if there is a dog in our company. This takes close to an hour. Parking is free at the town park lot except in July and August. Dogs are not permitted by Seaside Johnnies in July and August.
2. From Rye Town Park to Milton Point – again takes close to the hour.
3. When we have no strollers or dogs, we start at Rye Town Park, walk along Forest to Manursing and through the Edith Read Sanctuary and back through the park.
(PHOTO: Board members: Rena Pemble, Shoshana Rosenfield, Melissa Grieco, Sue Wexler, Lora Katsikas, Raquelle Frenchman, Aimee Ryan. Back row: Tanya Messina, Alexandra Hickey, Dee O’ Brien, Annebet van Weerelt and Amy Damascus.)
What do you do to join The Rye Newcomers and Neighbors’ Club?
Our website provides a link to download a membership form. Joining is easy. Anyone interested can download a membership form from our website, and mail it with a check for $40. to either one of our membership chairperson’s addresses which are on the form. That’s it! As soon as the form and payment are received, members begin receiving our monthly newsletter with our club’s events as well as local events and a supplement with information such as ski resorts, shopping for the holidays, good places for birthday parties, nursery school directory as so on.
Tell us your contact information:
Web site: www.ryenewcomersclub.net
Phone number: the club does not have its own phone number