Headless Horseman Blog

About historic Sleepy Hollow and its environs…

Tag: friendship

Leonard Abraham

…and Notes on the Sleepy Hollow – Tarrytown Jewish Community

By Henry John Steiner

Historian of Sleepy Hollow

From Beginnings in Old New York

Leonard Abraham as a youth

Leonard Abraham as a youth

It was an enriching experience to meet with Leonard Abraham in 2011.  Our interview took place less than two months before his passing at the age of 100.  Leonard died on Sunday, December 18, 2011, a little more than five and a half years ago.  I found him to be warm and intelligent, possessing a great deal of zest for the life he led and a also a fondness for his memories of the past.  The man I met with was a lovely, modest man with a fantastic memory and physical resources that belied his years.  I saw him manage to walk down his steep driveway with careful but sure-footed steps.  Like myself, Leonard was a man who never strayed far from his hometown.  He was born on Main Street and died 100 years later on Neperan Road, two streets that are so close they are practically the same street.  Like my own folks, Leonard’s parents had “migrated” northward to Tarrytown from New York City.  Here the Abrahams put down new roots, and their family became a welcome addition to the life of this community.

Leonard’s parents left the surging Jewish population of Manhattan to become part of the more or less nascent Jewish community rising up along the eastern side of the Hudson River’s Tappan Zee.  This community emerged to a large degree from behind the storefronts of Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, and Ossining.  Jewish merchants had begun to arrive, seeking opportunities to earn a living and to peacefully raise families.  They were not unlike the first Jewish families who arrived in New Amsterdam (the former name of New York City) in the mid-seventeenth century.  Those new arrivals were hoping to start a new life. 

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Old Winter Pastimes in Sleepy Hollow & Tarrytown

By Henry John Steiner

 Historian of Sleepy Hollow, New York

 “Where are the snows of yesteryear?” I can remember the giant icicles hanging, almost to the ground, from our house at 245 Crest Drive. Chunks of black cinder mixed with the snow along the edge of the street. Was it a morning in 1956? After a deep snowfall, the traffic noises were stilled—even the jingling syncopation of the chain-clad milk truck was quieted. In the general silence, the only sound was the crunch of my boot on the crystal snow.

Boot snow crust Sleepy Hollow

Boot snow crust Sleepy Hollow

But before I got too comfortable in my reverie, a snowball would buzz by my ear. There was Geoff Herguth from next-door, freckled and smiling, egging me on to combat. Our driveways lay side-by-side, so shoveling them produced a high mound of snow at the curb that could be tunneled through. The little snow fort served as a position from which we could ambush innocent and unsuspecting passersby.

Henry John Steiner

The writer cross-country skiing in Sleepy Hollow’s Rockefeller Preserve

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Ramblings in the Crest

By Henry John Steiner

 Historian of Sleepy Hollow, New York

My parents were raised in Europe. Dad met mom in Lorraine, France around the time of the Battle of the Bulge. Leo was born and raised in Austria, and he served as a special agent in the US Army Counter-Intelligence Corp of Patton’s Third Army. Lucie was born and raised in France and spent the war working as a school teacher near her hometown.

After the war, the Steiners lived for a time in Manhattan. Seeing a New York Times article about the quality of the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow school system, they resolved to buy a house in the Crest. In 1951, Mom and Dad made a $200 down payment on the purchase of 245 Crest Drive. That’s where I spent most of my childhood years. The low down-payment and their low-interest mortgage were courtesy of the United States G.I. Bill. Our house was a brand-new, three-bedroom, one-bath ranch with no basement and no fireplace—they would have cost extra. It was about half way up the cul-de-sac, on the right side, and it was a standard-issue home of the Upper Crest. The house has since been expanded like so many of the Crest homes, but somewhere within the walls of the updated structure still lies the modest little ranch we called home.


4kids

The Steiner children in front of 245 Crest Drive

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