Scarsdale businesses have had to pivot more times than Ross, Chandler and Rachel moving a couch on “Friends” over the past year-plus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Next week’s annual Sidewalk Sale is no different, but the Scarsdale Business Alliance (SBA) and the village are pulling out all the stops to make the downtown the equivalent of Must See TV for four days July 28-31.
From the high of the excitement of the first ever Scarsdale Music Festival in September 2019 to the low of temporarily shuttering most businesses in March of 2020, the village has certainly seen unexpected ups and downs. Following a revamped weeklong Sidewalk Sale last summer, during which it was clear not everyone was ready to be out and about once again, this year is expected to be different. Very different.
The four-day event from Wednesday, July 28, to Saturday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours for events, is a celebration of the continued progress in driving down COVID-19 infections and a precursor for the return of the music festival, which SBA co-president Marcy Berman-Goldstein expects to return next spring.
“Even though most of the restrictions are lifted, I don’t think anyone’s fully comfortable in our town doing a full-on festival without some sort of restrictive guidelines — with a rise in cases, the Delta variant and breakthrough cases for those who are vaccinated,” she said. “We’re still trying to create a safe, mostly outdoor environment for people to shop, dine and enjoy local.”
The Sidewalk Sale, in addition to deals from local merchants, 15 or more pop-up vendors and dining at restaurants and under the Dine the ’Dale tent, will feature health and wellness events, live music from of lineup of three bands and the return of the Chalk the ’Dale event run by Scarsdale Youth Business and Advocacy (SYBA).
“We’re trying to make each day special beyond just coming to shop and to dine,” Berman-Goldstein said. “It’s great that each day — Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday — there are different activities.”
The Sidewalk Sale highlights (see sidebar for more details) include:
- · Wednesday, July 28: A free Orangetheory Fitness class in Chase Park, 6-7 p.m.
- · Thursday, July 29: A free Club Pilates class in Chase Park at 10 a.m.
- · Friday, July 30: Westchester Burger Company truck from 5-8 p.m.; the Chalk the ‘Dale event in Boniface Circle from 6-8 p.m.; and the ScentFluence Aroma Design Studio event from 6-8 p.m. at the Dine the ’Dale tent.
- · UPDATED: Saturday, July 31: Music in Chase Park from 12-4 p.m., featuring local bands with Scarsdale and Edgemont musicians The Sidewalk Sale All-Stars (Michael Marinelli, keyboards/guitar/vocals; Pete Schell, guitar/vocals; Lee Miller, guitar/vocals; Michael Gliedman, guitar/vocals; Jamie Bliss, bass; Miles Rubin, drums) at 1:15 p.m. and Where is Phi (Rob Shire, bass/vocals; Stu Tucker, drums; Philippe (Phi) Rosset, guitar/vocals; Lisa Goldberg, vocals; Jayesh Gandhi, guitar/vocals; Robert McIver, keyboards/vocals) at 2:30 p.m., plus the White Plains School of Rock Band kicking things off at noon.
Until now, the village has seen individual performers in the Dine the ’Dale tent, not full rock bands in Chase Park, so this is a major step forward.
“It’s been a strange year and Scarchella — or the Scarsdale Music Festival as it had to be renamed at the last minute — was a huge, huge success and we were going to capitalize on that success to make last year’s [event] even bigger and better [but] of course COVID had different plans,” Shire said. “So the fact that the Sidewalk Sale is going to go on, the fact that they’ve got so many activities planned and the fact that we’re able to have some music there is a big deal.”
Shire called the downtown “the epicenter, the heartbeat of our village,” and said he’s determined to help bring people back “after such a devastating time,” which is “hugely important for socialization, economic recovery, mental well-being and just feeding people’s souls.”
He also looks forward to the next full music festival, which he said will be “that much bigger and better” than 2019, which “exceeded all of our expectations and projections.”
Mayor Jane Veron called last year’s weeklong Sidewalk Sale, which featured mask compliance and “ample space” for social distancing, a “bold move,” something the village was proud of.
“It was a wonderful reprieve and an opportunity to gather safely and support our local merchants,” she said. “This year, we can congregate with more ease and have amped up the 2021 Sidewalk Sale to feature not only the very best wares at discounted prices, but also a myriad of events and activities to engage and enrich our residents. The goal is to offer something for everyone: fitness classes, great food, live music, and Chalk the ’Dale, an evening to create street art. I expect the 2021 Sidewalk Sale to be a local highlight and a harbinger of village center vibrancy.”
Since her first term on the village board, Veron has been an advocate for a “strong partnership” between village government and the merchants, a key component “to the long-term health and vitality of Scarsdale overall.” The pandemic further brought that “mutual reliance” into the spotlight and “underscored how much we need each other” as a “cross-functional, cross-stakeholder” task force led to village code changes that permitted sidewalk shopping and dining, in addition to the popular Dine the ’Dale tent, last year, which one resident told Veron was like “bringing a bit of Paris to Scarsdale.”
“To me, the silver lining of these difficult many months was our ability to pilot new ideas that I hope will become lasting fixtures in Scarsdale,” Veron said, adding, “We saw the energy at its height during our inaugural Scarsdale Music Festival, and we will see it again during the myriad of activities and events planned for the future.”
The SYBA, led by rising Scarsdale High School juniors Anna Feldstein and Zach Berman, held their first official event in June by packing meals donated by DeCicco’s Family Market and the SBA for Feeding Westchester, getting dozens of other teens to show up to help out. The SYBA leadership ran Chalk the ’Dale last year before forming the group and they are confident this year’s fundraising event will draw more donations and more participation.
“The sidewalk sale is an event of many purposes,” Feldstein said. “It brings the community together, injects fun and creativity into the village center, and showcases and supports our beloved small businesses.”
Chalk the ’Dale fits in with the Sidewalk Sale’s mission, to unite the community through an event that “sparks creativity and fosters community,” according to Feldstein.
“I am so happy that we get yet another opportunity to strengthen our community, add vitality to our village, and give back to those in need,” she said. “Chalk the ’Dale will not only serve as a means to foster community and help the village grow, but it will contribute to future philanthropic efforts and support the broader community.”
Berman-Goldstein said she has been impressed by the mission and “joy and adrenaline” brought by the SYBA, and she’s glad to have a partner that can bring a different point of view to the table. It’s yet another meaningful collaboration when it’s needed most.
Feldstein lauded SBA for it’s support and generosity and helping the group get off the ground.
“Young people are paving the way for future generations, bringing in new kinds of expertise and adding a different kind of vibrancy through support efforts,” Feldstein said. “Scarsdale Youth Business and Advocacy aims to do just that. Zach and I co-founded the SYBA to support local businesses and reinvigorate the village center and other retail hubs through Scarsdale youth advocacy and engagement and the promotion of teen foot traffic.”
With less time to plan than usual as rules and regulations have constantly changed over the past year-plus, the quick-paced pivoting continues and is yielding positive results and relationships in Scarsdale.
“Now more than ever there is a keen understanding of the importance of supporting local small businesses,” Veron said. “When we spend locally, the vast majority of our spending is channeled back into our local economy, which is not the case when we shop online. We’re providing jobs, offering convenient access to valued goods and services, and contributing to the vitality of our town.
“During tough times, it is incumbent upon us to support our local businesses if we want them to stay viable. It is rare that a small business has sufficient cash reserves to weather these storms, and we don’t want our beloved businesses to turn into empty storefronts. They don’t turn their backs on us, and we must continue to patronize them.”
Friends during the Sidewalk Sale and throughout the year.