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Thursday, February 9, 2023
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The 40 Bradford Avenue Teardown is Not News

A two-story, 2,008 square foot home at 40 Bradford Avenue was torn down on Thursday. It will be replaced by a home nearly three times its size. This is hardly new – teardowns are a common occurrence across Rye. There is plenty of money to be made, and we all want to live in large homes with modern amenities.

What is new is heightened concerns around flooding, courtesy of the floodwaters of 2021’s Hurricane Ida. In last week’s debate between Rye City Council candidates Matt Fahey and Lori Fontanes ahead of Tuesday’s election, the two seemed in vehement agreement over investing time and resources into flooding mitigation. And since Ida reeked havoc in September 2021, there is an almost permanent “flooding update” agenda item on the City Council agenda to discuss what to do about flooding and how to pay for it.

Back to 40 Bradford Avenue.

The front yard at 40 Bradford is known to collect water, and so is the area on the opposite side of the street, adjacent to another large home just completed during the pandemic. Keep going down the hill and you will get to York Avenue, where the homes on the east side of the street have a sometimes stream along their backyards that continues down the hill into Beaver Swamp Brook.

A neighbor says the prior home at 40 Bradford was known to get water in the basement, and that he understood at a point many years ago the property was a pond. A quick search of City documents shows a variance granted in 1993 from the City’s Board of Appeals for a deck. “The back yard contains extremely damp spots during wet weather,” says the variance. Another pointer to a water issue from nearly thirty years ago.


(PHOTO: 40 Bradford Avenue this past Thursday. House down, mature trees still up, for now.)
(PHOTO: 40 Bradford Avenue this past Thursday. House down, mature trees still up, for now.)

The trees on the property were still there as of Sunday afternoon, but a number of them appear to be marked for removal, including three large, mature specimens. Mature trees are good for many things including flood mitigation. The new home is already being marketed across the MLS system for $4,250,000, bragging “Chic contemporary colonial 6 bedroom, 5.1 bath to be built on .44 level acres by renowned builder.”

(PHOTO: For $4,250,000 the new 40 Bradford Avenue can be yours - all 5,493 square feet. Mature trees don't appear to be part of the plan.)
(PHOTO: For $4,250,000 the new 40 Bradford Avenue can be yours – all 5,493 square feet. Mature trees don’t appear to be part of the plan.)

There are no mature trees in the artist rendering of the new home. The “renowned builder” mentioned in the MLS listing is Eilon Amidor of Scarsdale. In 2022, according to scarsdale10583.com, “residents were shocked to see a brazen developer raze an historic Tudor home while his [Amidor’s] application to demolish it was still be considered by the Scarsdale Committee for Historic Preservation.” A post on Amidor’s Instagram shows a large tree coming down on a project “Tree removal day and fun to watch”.

Good Developers

Certainly most developers play by the rules. Each one is doing what most of us do every single day, working hard to earn a living. And if some push the boundaries, that is why we have laws and enforcement. If things are happening we don’t like, that is up to the City to make changes – the staff, the City Council and ultimately each one of us.

Some of our rules are old and outdated. The City’s master plan is from 1985, perhaps the single most importance piece of governance related to land use, flooding and open space. Some of our rules are changing – witness the recent decision to restrict the development of flag lots and steep slopes.

Maybe It is OK

Maybe it is all OK. It is only a bit more imperious surface. Only a few less mature trees. Whatever water there is we can contain, lasso and bend to our will. We will send it to an underground Cultec storage system, pump it, divert it, drain it and send it down hill. Kind of how the people upstream from Beaver Swamp Brook and Blind Brook do to each of us.

The teardown of 40 Bradford is not news. Or is it?


  1. I read with interest the article on 40 Bradford, and want to clarify a few points. I lived at 40 Bradford from 1979 to 1992. We never, ever, got water in the basement, except once when the hot water heater had a really big leak. The backyard never had “extremely deep spots” of water, nor did the front yard. During two separate storms, the two willow trees that stood at the curve of Bradford tipped over – willow are notoriously shallow-rooted and all that rain did them in, but there was never flooding in the front, either. It is entirely possible that all the teardowns on the street, over the past many years, created water problems that we never had. We were never told that there was a pond under the house – if there was, it caused us no problems. Also, we had a large deck. When we listed the house for sale, we were told that the deck, built by the previous owners, did not have a certificate of occupancy and we would have to obtain one. Not wishing to spend thousands of dollars for an engineer and an architect and the granting of a CO for an existing deck, we offered that opportunity to our buyers. Whey were not interested and our option was to tear it down. Several wonderful friends were there one Saturday morning with sledge hammers and axes and tore the deck down. We boarded up the back door that opened to the deck, so no one would fall to the ground exiting. All that wood was placed by the street, and the Rye High School custodians, who had been alerted that it was available,  picked most of it up for the traditional bonfire at the high school. Nice that it had a second, albeit brief, life. Apparently, a variance was required for the new owners to build a new deck.  Some of the “neighbors said” comments are apocryphal, at least dating back to the period of 1979 to 1992.

  2. Thank you for this article. It was tragic watching as several very old (100+yrs?) trees were cut down without any push back. Our town’s top environmental challenge is flood mitigation yet most citizens are fixated on leaf blowers (mostly noise polluters – because if you are talking gas pollution then let’s stop mowing lawns) and do not pay attention as the very things that naturally protect our local environment from water hazards are cut down to make way for large, carbon heavy homes. Today, that property’s driveway floods with every substantial rainfall and many neighbors have had issues with water. As we excavate and cut, water moves. Where will it go next?


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