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Saturday, February 4, 2023
Home Government Tiki Bar: Last Call This Thursday

Tiki Bar: Last Call This Thursday

Foofy drinks Tiki Bar Playland

(PHOTO: 50% Foofy drinks? County pol Astorino decides Thursday.)

Playland's Tiki Bar is looking to up its order of drink umbrellas by 50%.

Last week a pending vote by County Exec Rob Astorino to grant the Tiki Bar 50% additional space to serve patrons foofy drinks caused a stir and a pending vote (proclamation?) was postpostoned. In a MyRye.com reader poll, 81.3% of respondents votes against the Tiki Bar expansion.

But time is up this Thursday and the missives are flying from local pols – with the exception of the decider Astorino – we think he might be hiding behind the bar.

Westchester County Legislator Judy Myers said in a statement “Since the opening of the restaurant this summer, many Rye residents have expressed their concern that, under the current license agreement, the restaurant and Tiki Bar are seriously infringing on the public  boardwalk space. With the adoption of this new agreement, residents will see the licensing of even more public space. Rye residents who phoned and emailed the County Executive convinced him to postpone the vote… however, the only by one week. This item is to be voted upon next Thursday, November 18th at 11:00 am and his vote is the deciding vote.”

And Rye Mayor Doug French weighed Monday afternoon saying "The City has been vigilant in reaching out to the County Executive, County Legislator as well as residents to ensure their views are properly represented.  The City of Rye's position is that more time is needed for residents to have their voices heard and for elements of the pending contract extension to be fully vetted before any final decisions are made.  When commercial and residential interests come together, it is better to evaluate their impacts up front rather than find remedies after the fact.  In this case, we have a track record with the two establishments on the sound shore and residents have significant concerns." 

What do you think? Leave a comment below.


  1. I understand the need to consider all expenditures and revenue sources in a tough economic environment but expanding Tiki Bar, whether for $15,000 or $150,000, is to materially diminish a stunning asset that is enjoyed by many. As Astorino considers his RFPs behind closed doors, let’s hope that he has not already sold/does not sell one of the crown jewels for a pittance and that he considers the long term implications of his decisions for other uses of the park and pier.

  2. Hopefully there will also be some thought given to the reasonableness of a $1/year lease to the putative children’s museum also at Playland. If there ever was a giveaway, that would be it.

  3. Bob let’s not forget the $1,000,000 Bird property giveaway, the $1,000,000 meeting house giveaway and of course the $5,000,000 CVS giveaway.

    Then there is the Durland property that you, other members of the school board and the City Council let slip away apparently because certain people didn’t want a public park in their back yards.

    Now we have French wanting to punish the taxpayers with excessive user fees and fines and the Rye employees with layoffs and other punitive measures for his and other administrators screw ups.

  4. Standard boiler plate – “Really?!” if you want your ideas treated seriously, use your real name. Otherwise you appear to have such limited confidence in your comments that you need to hide.

    Now to the meat.

    Are you unhappy with the money the City (in multiple administrations) has spent on taking property public, removing it from the tax base, etc.? OR are you unhappy that the City and School District did not do the same with Durland? Your logic is unclear to me. If the former, where would you propose that the City and/or School District have gotten the $5-6 million asked for Durland? If the latter, then you should be happy with the City having spent roughly $7million on the three properties you identify.

    Personally, the old CVS building mess is just that, a mess. The City should never have bought this piece of property, certainly not without a voter referendum. I can only hope that the City is able to get rid of the thing without too great a loss. The other items you mention also appear to me to be of questionable value. A 50 year lease for $50k TOTAL as approved in last week’s city council meeting is absurd. There may be historical value to the site, but it’s in a wetlands and is only ever going to be a money pit. Why not plow the thing under and convert it into a passive park? Alternatively, at least make the lease contingent upon the tenant maintaining the property at a certainly level without City funding.

  5. I am for fiscal responsibility and common sense. Not buying Durland while giving away taxpayer money to buy Bird, Meeting House and CVS were all poor decisions and at best not vetted properly. Recklessly giving away control of all three of these properties while bankrupting Rye is scandalous.

    A bond for Durland could have been funded by fees from Rye Recreation camp and other similar camps and programs.

    The School of Leadership also would have paid towards the bond from monies paid by other school districts for their students to attend there.

    Where does the Rye swim team swim and how much do they pay? What about Rye Country Day?

    The school district administration wouldn’t have moved out of Midland Avenue which would have saved the mucho dollars now being paid to rent space somewhere else.

    The bond for Durland may have been at or near net zero to taxpayers.

  6. Really?!? – Woulda Coulda Shoulda. There was far from sufficient interest to have the community buy Durland. I remember no groundswell of interest, large group comments at City Council or School Board meetings, etc. There were “discrete” comments, but they were far from sufficient to make something happen. And, while you can paint a backwards looking picture that says a bond for Durland would have been at “near net zero”, I do not believe the community would have voted in favor of it. Remember what happened with the first Rec bond? Remember the school district budget that was voted down?

    Re the other three sites, yes, the City Councils involved made poor decisions. But we’re stuck with them. What’s needed is a strategy for maximizing the value to the community going forward – selling them, getting full public use out of them, etc. Hopefully the current city council won’t get Rye stuck in more poor property transactions. The agreed lease for the Friends Meeting House does not bode well. The refinancing / payoff of the loan for the old CVS does look reasonable, but it’s a first step.

  7. Although I do not know all the details behind the Durland demise, I think both points are valid, unfortunately it all falls on deaf ears!
    Ofcourse anything is possible, but all that is too late and we are left holding the bag of responsibility of cleaning up this mess created and left behind by no other than STEVE OTIS and GANG!!!

    There is not much we can do now but move forward and hopefully make smart crisp decisions to get back on track.

    “Recklessly giving away control of all three of these properties while bankrupting Rye is scandalous”.

    I couldn’t agree more, why don’t you do us all a favor and knock on Otis’s door to get the answer!

    Mayor French and the current Council are all human and are not future tellers. They are doing what they can with the hand their were dealt, what more do you expect?
    They did not create this mess but are asked to fix it!!!

    Do you attend Council Meetings? Do you step up to the podium to be heard? Do you only speak on blogs with a hidden identity?

    You make some very valid points and have good ideas, putting them here is useless!

  8. Bob and Jim I have some bad news for you. French and his GANG met behind closed doors with their lawyers for an hour and a half Monday night and then met in public for an hour and 15 minutes.

    Maybe they talked about buying another property and how to give it away to politically connected people again. Who knows?

    Maybe they talked about how much more taxpayer money to spend to fight subpoenas issued to Rye employees to testify about their involvement in the Schubert case. Who knows?

    Maybe they talked about why French and his GANG are fighting the Schubert subpoenas of two public employees to testify about what happened in a very public matter? Who knows?

    Maybe they talked about Shew’s lawsuit and why Otis allowed Shew to ride roughshod over the taxpayers for five years. Who knows?

    Maybe they talked about how to pay Shew off so other Rye employees and officials will not have to testify and expose themselves to embarrassment and culpability? Who knows?

    This type of covertness by French and his GANG will not bode well for taxpayers.

  9. Jim:

    Lets do the math on Durland. A $5,000,000 fifteen year bond at 4% would cost about $400,000 a year.

    Tuition collected by the Rye school district from outside school districts for their students to attend the School of Leadership is approximately $300,000 a year.

    If Rye were to run a summer camp there that could raise approximately another $50,000 or so.

    The rent that the Rye School District now pays because they had to move out of Midland Avenue so the School of Leadership could move in is approximately $150,000 a year.

    How much does the Rye School District pay for their swim teams to swim? Could they have charged other school districts to practice and swim there?

    As you can see the acquisition of Durland would have been at the very least a net zero to taxpayers and possibly a new revenue stream.

    The best part is Rye would have acquired for the remainder of time the last piece of waterfront property available in Rye at no cost to taxpayers.

    What did we get? CVS, a meeting house ready to fall down and a Bird property so politically connected people can grow tomatoes.

    One has to wonder how did our elected officials let this happen?

  10. Really?!? – You continue to talk about the past which can’t be changed. It’s fixed. … Unless you have a time machine.

    Your financial analysis re Durland is interesting, but irrelevant. (Can’t resist – Does Rye REALLY need yet ANOTHER summer camp? And counting the RSOL tuition towards the bond ignores the fact that there are already carrying-costs for the school that have to be covered.)

    The important point is what needs to be done now, going forward. There’s far too much litigation to be cleaned up on top of the real estate mess created by OUR elected officials.

    Really?!? Provide something constructive and forward looking. And get out from behind your pseudonym. Your comments carry credibility {not more, but some} if made with a real-world name attached.

  11. Welcome “really?!?” You Bob Z and Jimmy have sure made a mess of one of Jay’s “Playland” strings. Sounds to me like you’ve been following The Schubert saga pretty closely and know a little more than me – but I like what I see.

    Bob Z – it really is a cesspool of apparent municipal malfeasance and criminality that’s come to light thanks to Bob Schubert personally spending close to $300K to date to depose the players and collect the written evidence once thought destroyed. It’s been amazing what some people hold on to and how carefully they maintain their files. (5 sheets of paper for a comprehensive FOIL request on Schubert – puhleese.)

    And it’s been similarly amazing that the new administration has now forced multiple long serving, totally honest senior city employees to remain silent as they watch this costly tragedy play out. The investigation called for by Joe Sack and authorized under the laws of the City of Rye would have preempted this entire affair. Readers here should ask who exactly benefited – in dollars – from that investigation NOT happening.

  12. Really,

    I am not arguing or disagreeing with you.

    You do make some very valid points and comparisons.

    As Bob and I have said…too little too late. Like I mentioned, as well as Bob, Please use your real identity, we could use another dog in our pound!

    In the future, when you stand tall and speak up in public, your ideas might be put to use!!!

  13. Bob:

    Those Who Forget History Are Doomed to Repeat It.

    I do have something looking forward though.

    I’m looking forward to the day when perhaps the people responsible for the Schubert coverup, CVS, the “Free” Bird Homestead, the Meeting House, Beaver Brook, Hen Island, Shew, Plunkett,the Central Avenue Bridge to nowhere and the financial mess Rye is now in being held accountable for their actions, inactions and any possible misconduct.

    As for something constructive until these people are held accountable there is no incentive for our current Rye officials to act any different than their predecessors.

    As much as I would like to have a Hot Tub Time Machine of my own I think a Cesspool Time Machine would do wonders at City Hall.

    BTW why aren’t French and his GANG telling the taxpayers how much the Osborn litigation is going to cost and why isn’t it detailed in the 2011 budget?

  14. Okay, “Really!?!”, you’ve got a pile of beefs. I get that. So does Ted C. And I wish you [both] luck with getting them addressed. Although I would advise you to focus what you’ve learned from the past on the future rather than trying to assign blame. That blame path only rarely leads to personal vindication and will certainly not lead to recovery of any money by the tax payers.

    Jim has already identified what you need to do; e.g., speak in public at City Council meetings (and you also seem to have an issue with the School Board, so also there, I guess, for relevant issues). Heck maybe you should run for office. If enough people agree with you, you might even get elected. You could launch another law suit, but that’s expensive and will most likely not lead to your desired outcome.

    But whinging on a public board is certainly not going to achieve much beyond making you feel like you’ve vented. *EOThread*

  15. Bob, I also would like Rye to ‘move on.’ But without sun lighting the bad actors and their actions we will never be able to have confidence again in our city government. This particular situation is really unique for Rye – and came about because of some uniquely bad people and their actions.

    Remember what I’ve written previously about our insurance coverage, and how it stops covering the city if malfeasance is proved? That situation also drops the municipal shield for the individuals involved and allows judgments to be personally attached. You can’t break the law and claim immunity from a judgment. Thus a recovery for all the taxpayers is not only possible, but really deserved.

  16. Good points Ted C. From what I have heard it is not the two Rye employees who have exposure in the Schubert case. Supposedly they only did what they were told to do.

    So who told them to do what they did?

    Maybe Otis, Plunkett, Shew and Kristen Wilson should get subpoenas.

    Why did Plunkett and Otis side step procedure and protocol and supposedly conduct their own investigation? Have the results of that supposed investigation been released?

    So If the two Rye employees have nothing to hide why is French and his gang fighting with taxpayer money to keep them from testifying?

    Is there an unwritten policy in Rye of protecting former Council members and administrators at all costs monetary and otherwise?

  17. Some Locally Relevant News.

    Here’s what happens to private/public miscreants when the truth piles up. In this example, my own slimy politically wired business competitor finally gets really nailed. I’m familiar with all the players here and the kind of evidence that the AG gathered. And it looks a lot to me like what’s been gathered in the Rye City/Schubert/Gates matter.

    Summary point 3 on page 2 of the Summons and Complaint describes fiduciary duty violations of the participants. Certain who owe and owed similar fiduciary duties among us should pay particularly close attention. We the taxpayers want your money.



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