Today, meet Adriane DeFeo.
MyRye.com: Why are you a Rye “Lifer”?
DeFeo: My father had a vision for building neighborhoods in Rye, so he bought land and built homes on Eldredge Court and Eldredge Place in the late 1960’s. When I was 3 years old, he moved our family from a 2-bedroom apartment in Mt. Vernon to live in two of his houses in this amazing double cul-de-sac neighborhood. It was the good old days of playing kickball; bicycling everywhere; growing vegetables; walking to school, town and Rye Golf Club; running for Good Humor as it came down our street; sledding on the golf course and making bonfires; hanging out with all the kids on the block including the Paganelli’s, Hartigans, and Shevins until it got dark and the street lights came on.
Then my father found a 2-acre property with an English Tudor on Oakland Beach Avenue. He landscaped the grounds, renovated the house, and moved us in along with the vegetable garden, chickens, rooster, rabbits, pheasants and quails. I was slightly closer to walking to school now. He also bought land in the Hix Park neighborhood; subdivided it into lots; and named the street Dalphin Drive which is home to many families.
Rye has been my home for 53 years now. I found no reason to ever leave all this beauty and tranquility. Since I love Rye, the close-knit community, opportunities, schools, beaches, YMCA, town events, quaint small village life, proximity to NYC, ease to travel in any direction, why leave? I did move one more time to the last house my father built a mile away on Theodore Fremd Avenue where I reside today. My three children were fortunate to grow up in the house that Grandpa Guy built. They too went to Osborn and graduated from RHS as Garnets.
How did your father come to start construction in Rye?
DeFeo: My father came over from Italy in 1952 when he was 15. He was the third oldest of 9 children. He worked with some of his brothers in their beauty salon. He got started in carpentry in his late teens/early 20’s. He was only in the beauty shop to do carpentry work. He would help them when they needed something to fix which is when he met my mother. He and his brothers eventually got into real estate. And then he started building homes.
Who was your favorite teacher at Rye High School and what year did you graduate?
DeFeo: My favorite teacher was Dino Garr who taught History. I appreciated his patience and determination to get me through his class, I guess it worked since I minored in history in college. Thanks Mr. Garr! I proudly wore my cap and gown and walked across the Garnet football field in 1985.
Where do you work in Rye and what do you do?
DeFeo: I am a realtor in Rye; licensed in NY and CT with Coldwell Banker Realty since 2010. I truly love being a local trusted real estate advisor for one of the most important investments in my clients’ lives. My extensive knowledge, energy, honesty and accessibility consistently leads to successful transactions and happy clients while building beautiful lifelong relationships.
What in your view are the two or three greatest Rye traditions—current or past?
- Naturally, the Rye-Harrison Game since I was a cheerleader throughout RMS and RHS.Go Garnets!
- Mistletoe Magic, Rye Derby and Turkey Trot – these events bring the community together and showcase our small town feel.
- Osborn School Fair – My kids and I worked the cakewalk making it one of the most lucrative events each year. Seeing the smiling faces of attendees reminds me of how special our community is.
What about the great Rye institutions—community organizations, shops, restaurants. Which ones are or have been part of the Rye fabric?
- Linking Handlebars, a not-for-profit organization that my daughters, Lucia and Cristiana, co-founded and my son, Luca, later joined. We collect gently used bicycles, refurbish them and give them away to underprivileged children in the local area with new helmets. We are thankful for our Rye community who donate bikes. My heart is full to be able to touch thousands of children one bicycle at a time.
- Jerry’s (aka Post Road Market) a local fav for breakfast, The Garnet sandwich, lunches for the beach and hot dinners to go!
- Woolworths for ice cream sundaes at the counter with stools.
- Sunrise has been my long time favorite since I can remember. Tuesday night is now “Grandpa” pizza night. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out!
- Oakland Beach. I was fortunate to grow up in a town with water views and a beach just down the street as did my kids. I loved when we walked out on the rocks in the sound, dug for clams, built sand castles and ordered candy necklaces from the snack bar. The beach still is a favorite as my daughter will be exchanging wedding vows with the love of her life on August 26 and celebrating them at Barley’s on the beach! I am proud to call Rye my hometown!!