Re-occupation of Burned-Out Apartments Pressing Issue at Harrison Coffee and Conversation

NYS Senator Shelley Mayer and NYS Assembly Member Chris Burdick

By Stephen E. Lipken


NYS Senator Shelley B. Mayer hosted “Harrison Coffee and Conversation” on Sunday, February 12th, at Laughing Horse Coffee and Tea Co., reputedly named for John Harrison’s surveying Town land on horseback, purchasing the property from Native Americans in 1696.

Joining Ms. Mayer to answer over 50 citizens’ questions were County Legislators Nancy Barr, Catherine Parker and NYS Assembly Member Chris Burdick, with a special appearance by Westchester County Executive George Latimer. 


Mayer pointed to the 3 Calvert Street apartment fire on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, displacing many tenants. The fire was addressed by Janet Fry, Director of Advocacy, Community Resource Center (CRC) and American Red Cross.  Mayer said that she and Burdick spoke to the landlord to try to allow residents to move back in, since they were displaced for 82 days.  Latimer later stated that he will sign a Bill giving indigent tenants legal representation.


Parker stressed flooding is a big issue; in response the Legislature passed the Flood History Disclosure Law, letting potential renters know if there was history of flooding where they plan to locate. 


Concern was expressed that the 800,000 new housing units the Governor proposes did not specify Affordable Housing; Mayer acknowledged that it is a crisis in the community.


Then Mayer discussed escalating ConEd utility rates, mentioning unregulated portions of bills.  “People are using as little energy as they can and are still getting hit with unacceptably high utility bills.  Everyone should complain to the Public Service Commission.”


Chester B. Edwards II, Executive Director, Westchester County Veterans Alliance, Inc. mentioned that physical, mental and moral veterans’ issues need to be identified, including homeless veterans. Mayer replied that Korean veterans will have a special day in Albany.  Burdick mentioned that during their last Budget, Veterans Services Agency was elevated to full department level. 


“On Saturday, May 20th, 75 Korean War, Viet Nam and World War II veterans will travel to Washington, DC for an Honor Flight,” Edwards concluded.