Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winter Wonders - The Rock

Imagine being born in a shopping center.  And imagine asking someone to take a picture of your birthplace turning into a history lesson.

That is the story of my last blog post of 2014.

What started as an after dinner Christmas walk has become a holiday tradition for my spouse and me.

This year, it also became a lesson, all because of this rock.
In Yonkers, New York, there is an outdoor shopping center. Both my spouse and I shopped there (well, our parents did - we were just along for the ride) when we were small.

Back in the early 1960's this outdoor mall, the first in Westchester County, New York, contained large and small stores, a play area, and even a hospital.

It was called Cross County Center then, and Cross County Shopping Center now.  It opened in 1954 and is still going strong, unlike many other malls of the era. 

My parents would take two buses from our apartment in the Bronx (the northern borough of New York City, which borders Yonkers) to Cross County just to shop there.  I loved those outings.

Several months ago, I was chatting with a co worker where I work in Binghamton, in upstate New York.  I don't remember how we got on the topic of our childhoods, but I discovered that she had been born in the Cross County Hospital, and spent her early childhood in Yonkers, before moving away, eventually to Binghamton.

Small world.

Then, when I shared the fact that I had Christmas dinner every year in walking distance of that same shopping center, she asked me a favor: would I take a picture of the hospital for her?

I had to break the news to her that the hospital had closed in the 1980's.  The good news was, the building was still there.  I told her I would do my best to get a picture.

So, last week, after Christmas dinner, my spouse, my son and I walked to Cross County.

On the way, we saw flowers valiantly trying to stay alive in the cold early winter weather. (You knew I would try to sneak flowers into this post, didn't you?)
Red and white building on the right, once a hospital, is soon to be a hotel
 I took the picture she asked for. 

But then, walking further, we saw a rock.  A rock with a  historical plaque.  A rock neither my husband nor I remember from our childhoods.  But it must have been there.

It turns out that the land Cross County is located on has been a trading zone for hundreds of years.  First, Native Americans traded here, by a rock which became known as the "Trading Rock". Later, European settlers carried on the tradition.

My family and my in laws were simply carrying on a tradition already hundreds of years old.

Here is one more picture of Cross County to end my blogging year.

Can you imagine, one day visiting the city of your birth and staying in the building where you were born in?  In a small way, I envy her.  (Why, I may blog about next month).

Tomorrow, 2015 begins - a year which I hope will be kinder to us all than 2014 was.

Happy New Year to my readers.


  1. So interesting! I love history, especially unexpected discoveries like this one :)

  2. Hi Alana,

    Thanks for sharing your last post for 2014! I look forward on seeing what you have in store for 2015 :) Have a safe and happy New Years!

  3. What an interesting fact to learn! Thank you for the pictures, too! May you have a great 2015 blogging year (and all around year, too)!


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