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Home People Rye Lifer: Michael Collins

Rye Lifer: Michael Collins

Rye Lifers is a MyRye.com series that introduces you to people that have spent their lives in Rye – people who have grown up in Rye, worked in Rye, come back to raise their family in Rye. Do you know someone we should profile for Rye Lifers? Tell us.

 

Today, meet Michael Collins.

(PHOTO: Rye Lifer Michael Collins with his family on Highland Road 1969.)
(PHOTO: Rye Lifer Michael Collins with his family on Highland Road 1969.)

Rye Lifer: Michael Collins

MyRye.com: Why are you a Rye “Lifer”?

Collins: I was born and grew up in Rye, as did several generations of my family before me. After getting married and starting a family, my wife and I knew it was time to leave Manhattan. We looked for homes in several towns in Westchester, but the short commute, proximity to the coast, great schools and existing ties to the community brought us back to Rye.

Tell us about the street in Rye you grew-up on.

(PHOTO: Rye Lifer Michael Collins playing with his friends in Indian Village (circa 1975).)
(PHOTO: Rye Lifer Michael Collins playing with his friends in Indian Village (circa 1975).)

Collins: I grew up in Indian Village on the corner of Highland and Mendota, halfway between the train station and Apawamis Club, and right on the banks of Blind Brook. Just about every house in the neighborhood had a few kids close to my age, so there were always fun to be had — football games in our backyard, bouncing on the trampoline at the Lowitz’s, kickball at the Duffy’s, skateboarding down the DuBois’ driveway and on down Cayuga, and, of course, stopping by Mrs. Woods’ house to ask for candy. Dinner often was at house of whichever friend’s backyard you were playing in at the time.

Where in Rye do you live now? 

Collins: My family and I currently live on Cloverdale Lane, which is between Midland and Milton just south of Apawamis Avenue. When we were house shopping, we were lucky to find a house in a great neighborhood that was that in the process of being built and were able to be customized to our specifications.

Who was your favorite teacher at Rye High School and what year did you graduate?

(PHOTO: Rye Lifer Michael Collins' fourth grade class at Midland Elementary School.)
(PHOTO: Rye Lifer Michael Collins’ fourth grade class at Midland Elementary School.)

Collins: As is the case with so many of us who ran track at RHS and RMS, my favorite teacher / coach was Jim Yedowitz. With track being a two-season sport, three if you ran cross-country, all of us on the team spent a huge amount of time with Mr. Yed. He taught us, and showed us, how to take responsibility, work hard, be respectful and challenge ourselves – all while having fun. Few people in education invested more heart and soul into the futures of the children around them than Mr. Yed.

Where do you work in Rye and what do you do? 

Collins: I’ve spent most of my career in technology and now work with private equity investors to provide capital and operational support to great tech companies who are looking to grow. My office is on Theall Road, just behind The Osborn, and a 4-minute commute from my house. Not commuting into Manhattan every day has dramatically improved my quality life, and, based on the increasing number of Rye friends who have also taking office space near me, working close to home looks like it is becoming part of the fabric of our community.

What in your view are the two or three greatest Rye traditions—current or past? 

Collins:

  • Halloween Window Painting. A one-of-a-kind event that brings pure happiness to for the parents and the children, and guaranteed smiles for everyone else who drives through town and sees the work of all the young artists.
  • Almost nothing has brought the town together over the decades like the Rye / Harrison game. However, the traditions and celebrations surrounding “The Game” would get a welcome upgrade for the 21st Century if a girl’s sport like soccer or field hockey would join football at the center of the action.
  • For many generations of Rye college students, the first night back home for Thanksgiving break was reserved for a trip to the bar at the Mug & Ale. No need to make plans – just show up and your friends would be there.

What about the great Rye institutions—community organizations, shops, restaurants. Which ones are or have been part of the Rye fabric? 

  • The Mug & Ale House: When it was in business, The Mug was the center of the Rye universe. It was Rye’s version of Cheers – everyone there knew your name.

(PHOTO: Michael Collins' son Nate, with his father, Albie, playing tennis at Manursing.)
(PHOTO: Michael Collins’ son Nate, with his father, Albie, playing tennis at Manursing.)

  • Manursing: We’re so fortunate in Rye to be so close to the coast and have clubs like Manursing right on the beach where families can get together to relax and have fun. Friendships made on the beach, courts, pool and Sound can last a lifetime or, in the case of many Manursing families, for generations.
  • Jerry’s Port Road Market: It never lets you down.
  • The Rye Arts Center: In a town that stresses competition and achievement, the Rye Arts Center has been an oasis in the heart of Rye for open-ended creation and exploration. Both serious artists and the those just looking for an outlet for their creativity have been drawn to the Rye Arts Center. I took my first class there while in grade school, as did my children, and my mother is still enrolled in their Wednesday morning painting class.
  • The Smoke Shop: Peggy and Tony had something to meet the daily needs of just about everyone in the family – newspapers, magazines, tobacco, and candy. No problem if you didn’t have any money with you – Tony and Peggy knew who you were, knew you would come back soon, and knew you would (eventually) pay your tab.

Thanks Michael!

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