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Holidays
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Celebration of MLK Day held virtually - Warwick,NY - 1/18/21

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  • Normally at this time of year, members of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church (UAME) and guests from throughout the Warwick community would celebrate Martin Luther King Day in their church at 98 McEwen Street. And in previous years the church building would often be filled to capacity as people gathered to honor the memory of Dr. King, the world famous civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prizewinner who was assassinated in 1968. However, this year we are still in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and a crowded church would not be permissible or prudent. And so, like many other recent celebrations, the UAME Church opted to host a virtual celebration on Monday, January 18. The service began with music video of the song, “Ain’t gonna let nobody” performed by the Howard Gospel Choir followed by the traditional recitation of the Call to Justice and Community. Viewers were then shown another music video, “Lift every Voice and Sing,” by Wintley Phipps. Rev. Jennifer Morrow, pastor of Warwick’s United Methodist Church, gave the invocation. And following scripture readings by Denise Smith, Channabel Morris Lathem, who had emailed the invitations with the link and password, welcomed everyone including honored guests who each had an opportunity to offer brief remarks on the significance of the holiday. Guest speakers included Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Mayor Michael Newhard, Justices Peter Barlett and Nancy De Angelo, Doug Stage and Cedric Glasper. The presentation also included a musical video tribute to Martin Luther King and the Green Levites performance of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The preacher this year was Union AME Pastor Rev. Dr. Ann Marie Bentsi-Addison Posey. The service concluded with a video presentation and singing of, “We Shall Overcome.”
  • 1/18/2021
  • Album ID: 2274006
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Local residents celebrate Menorah lighting - Warwick,NY - 12/10/20

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  • Just like last year, the weather was cool but not uncomfortable on Thursday evening, December 10, the first night of Hanukkah, the beginning of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights. But unlike last year and following COVID-19 restrictions, a smaller crowd of about 20 residents, including local officials along with Santa, all wearing masks, gathered in Lewis Park as Moshe Schwartzberg, owner of Wolfies restaurant and Forever Jewelers,. began officiating at the Menorah lighting of the first candle, a ceremony he has conducted for the past 27 years. He began by telling the story of how the Temple of Jerusalem was built and then how it was about to be rededicated following its recapture after occupation and defilement by the pagan Syrian-Greeks under Antiochus IV. A small band of fighters, led by Judah Maccabee, he explained, fought to preserve the Jewish religion and culture and their right to worship God. Although greatly outnumbered by a much larger and more professional army they recaptured the Holy Temple, which had been defiled with idol worship and pagan sacrifices. When the Maccabees sought to rededicate the temple, however, they found only one small cruse of oil to kindle the eternal light. Miraculously, Schwartzberg explained, because God was pleased with what they had accomplished, the oil lasted for eight days. And that provided enough time for the holy oil to be replenished. Before lighting the first candle he read the sacred prayers, first in English so that everyone would understand, and then in Hebrew, according to the tradition of the ceremony. “Blessed are you Hashem our God King of the universe,” Schwartzberg read aloud, “who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this season . . .” And then he repeated in Hebrew, “Baruch ata Adonai . . .” Visitors were later treated to refreshments including traditional latkes and donuts, Although not exactly a Hanukkah tradition, the crowd, especially the children, appeared to enjoy another surprise visit by Santa. And pointing to the Crèche and Menorah sitting side by side and the lighted Christmas trees on the hill, Schwartzberg repeated his frequent comment, “The empty space is for the atheists.”
  • 12/13/2020
  • Album ID: 2272483
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Warwick resident’s Christmastime lights returns - Warwick,NY - 12/11/20

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  • With more than 50,000 lights and music, no Town of Warwick home has attracted more tourists at Christmastime than the home of Vincent Poloniak on Spanktown Road in Florida, NY. It takes Poloniak and a few friends about three weeks to complete the annual project. But last year, Poloniac had a medical issue and his doctor ordered that he just rest and postpone any arduous tasks including the Christmas display. But thankfully he promised to resume the spectacular decoration at Christmastime 2020 And it’s bigger and better than ever. It’s also a welcome relief for families that have had to curtail some Christmas traditions. The only request is that visitors wear masks and practice social distancing. . Poloniak and his wife, Joan, now deceased, began decorating their home for Christmas back in 1973, when their daughter Paula was only five years old. “It all started with a Santa we purchased in Newburgh,” he recalled, “and then we would add to our decorations each year. But I got wild in the 1990s and that developed into what you see today.” When he was once asked how long he expected to be doing this, Poloniak answered, “I can’t stop now. Too many people look forward to it. And I love seeing the children and how happy and surprised they are by the display." He also didn’t expect to run out of new visitors. “The children who came here years ago,” he said, “now bring their children.” Visiting Spanktown Road to enjoy his spectacular display has become a Christmastime tradition in the Town of Warwick. The lights are turned on at 4 p.m.
  • 12/13/2020
  • Album ID: 2272490
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Modified Annual Christmas Tree lighting - Warwick,NY - 11/28/20

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  • Last year’s record crowd, estimated at over 500 parents, grandparents and children, gathered in Lewis Park t for Warwick’s annual Christmas Tree lighting despite temperatures in the mid teens. They would have much appreciated this year’s mild temperature, around 50 degrees, on Friday evening, November 27. But as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, less than 50 spectators, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance, were assembled on High Street. The annual event is sponsored by the Warwick Volunteer Fire Department. Absent in this year’s abbreviated ceremony was the large group of students from the Warwick Valley High School Chorus Program and members of the Meistersingers who treat the audience to a selection of traditional Christmas songs. But the guest speakers were on hand and for those who couldn’t attend, the entire event was livestreamed and available on Facebook. Warwick Fire Department President Melissa Stevens welcomed visitors and introduced guest speakers. The ceremony began with an invocation offered by Warwick United Methodist Church Pastor Rev. Jennifer Morrow followed by brief remarks by Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Mayor Michael Newhard. Both officials explained the importance of keeping everyone safe and thanking the members of the Fire Department for continuing the tradition during these difficult times. And they wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Stevens then led the small crowd in the traditional countdown to the tree lighting. And once again, Santa, traveling in a modern fire apparatus, made his usual early surprise visit, limited this year to a drive by instead of the usual handing out of goodies to the children. The Historical Society of the Town of Warwick has helped the Warwick Fire Department continue its long tradition by graciously providing the magnificent evergreen, just outside its Old School Baptist MeetingHouse. This year a smaller tree, which is intended to replace the very tall and difficult to decorate tree, was also lit. And it served as a good substitute during a brief glitch, soon resolved, in the lighting on the larger tree.
  • 11/29/2020
  • Album ID: 2271867
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Eleventh annual Small Business Saturday - Warwick,NY - 11//28/20

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  • On Saturday, November 28, with temperatures in the mid-50s, it was what downtown merchants call an “open door” day. And on that particular day, the 11th annual "Small Business Saturday," a campaign launched by American Express, shoppers came out in droves to Warwick’s downtown business district. But because of COVID-19 restrictions, many shopkeepers or their employees were stationed at those entrances to make sure shoppers were wearing masks and to limit the number of people in the store. And the visitors understood the rules and cooperated. Merchants reported excellent sales and a steady flow of traffic, not only for Saturday but also for Friday, when many of the shops offered extra incentives. Small Business Saturday, sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was created to attract shoppers to local businesses nationwide. “We’ve had lots of traffic this weekend,” said Nicole Repose, owner of Etched in Time Engraving. “It’s been very good and our customers, who waited outside to enter our store in limited numbers and keep everyone safe, were understanding and very cooperative.” Many of the shoppers deliberately shopped in the downtown business district to show their support for small business.. The good turnout was welcome since during this holiday season some of the Home for the Holidays traditional attractions such as the free horse and wagon rides had to be canceled. Business owners, however, have always cited the many advantages of shopping local including personal service, saving fuel and time, free parking, avoiding unnecessary aggravation and fueling the local economy. A viable downtown business district benefits the entire community.
  • 11/29/2020
  • Album ID: 2271871
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Warwick Gardeners decorate Railroad Green - Warwick,NY - 11/20/20

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  • Like many popular events ushering in the holiday season this year, the traditional lighting ceremony at Railroad Green could have been canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. However, once again members of the Warwick Valley Gardeners decorated Railroad Green and the planter to kick off the holiday season. And on Friday evening, November 20, a smaller than usual crowd of local residents, wearing masks and practicing social distancing, gathered on the Green to witness the annual lighting event. The ceremony began with traditional Christmas carols like Jingle Bells and Silent Night sung by four members, also wearing masks and keeping a six foot distance, of the Warwick Valley High School Choir directed by music teacher Noreen Hanson. This year, the Warwick Valley Gardeners selected “Joy to the World,” as the theme for its Winter Project. Laurie Unick, president of The Gardeners, served as Chair of the event. Cathy Garofalo, executive VP and chair of the Railroad Green garden, did the countdown for the lighting. Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, reminded those present that this is a very special year and a most important time to give some joy to our neighbors He stated that Warwick is a very special place and that although we can’t share holiday events the way we usually do, everyone who walks by Railroad Green will see that. He praised the Warwick Gardeners for all they do throughout the year and said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Established in 1992, the Warwick Valley Gardeners Club is a member the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, Inc. and the National Council of State Garden Clubs.
  • 11/22/2020
  • Album ID: 2271588
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

St. Patrick’s Day in Warwick scaled down - Warwick,NY - 3/17/20

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  • To curb the spread of coronavirus the Governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut had agreed to close bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and casinos indefinitely starting at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16. In the Village of Warwick, the leprechauns, who paint a somewhat crooked green line down Main Street for St. Patrick’s Day each year, were back again but they arrived early and before St. Patrick’s Day. “We saw the handwriting on the wall,” said John Christison, owner of Yesterdays, the oldest of the Village pubs. “And that’s why the traditional green line was painted a day early. I just wish the closing order could have waited until after St. Patrick’s Day. Mom and pop stores are the lifeblood of the nation.” In previous years there were green balloons along Main Street and local pubs and restaurants provided color, Irish music, bagpipes and beverages to celebrate the day. But by law this year, restaurants and bars, including Yesterdays, Halligan’s and Blarney Station among others were only allowed to serve traditional Irish fare for take-out. These and other local restaurants plan to continue providing take-out and, in some cases, delivery service for the duration. “Our great staff,” said Christison, “has stepped up to the plate and they will come in and help us provide free delivery service within 15 miles for any take-out order over $15.” Other restaurants have different schedules and should be contacted for the latest information.
  • 3/17/2020
  • Album ID: 2257224
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Blessing of the Throats for Feast of Saint Blaise = Warwick,NY - 2/2/20

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  • On Sunday, February 2, the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr celebrated the day before the Feast of Saint Blaise, February 3, with a blessing of throats shortly after all masses including the 5 p.m. Saturday mass on February 1. The Blessing of the Throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated on the feast day of Saint Blaise. It is also celebrated in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and in parishes of the Anglican Communion. In the fourth century Saint Blaise was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. He has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.
  • 2/4/2020
  • Album ID: 2254607
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Martin Luther King Day at Union AME Church - Warwick,NY - 1/20/20

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  • On Monday, January 20, members of the Warwick Union African Methodist Episcopal Church (UAME) and guests from throughout the Warwick community celebrated Martin Luther King Day. Although it was cold that day, the sun was shining and the church was almost filled to capacity as people gathered to honor the memory of Dr. King, the world famous civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prizewinner who was assassinated in 1968. Early in the service members of the Union AME Young Adult Ministry read a series of statements about the Call for Justice. Then Rev. Bryan K. Lyle ,presiding pastor from the First Baptist Church of Monticello, led the congregation to the Call to Justice and Community followed by the opening hymn, “Lift every voice and sing,” by James Weldon Johnson. Soon afterwards Sister Channabel Latham-Morris welcomed the congregation and asked them what they were going to do this year to make a difference. She suggested they pick up the phone and call someone to just hear how they are doing. Rev. Lyle introduced guest speakers including NY State Senator Jen Metzger, Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Mayor Michael Newhard, Justices Peter Barlett and Nancy De Angelo, Doug Stage and Jesse Wiser from the Bellvale Community. During the service the congregation was treated to several performances including a dance selection by Jessica Facenda of the Union AME Dance Ministry and a musical selection by the Monticello SDA Youth Choir. The preacher this year was Union AME Pastor Rev. Dr. Ann Marie Bentsi-Addison Posey who retold the New Testament story about Joseph fleeing with Mary and the Baby Jesus to Egypt to escape King Herod’s slaughter of all the male babies born in Bethlehem at that time. She then forwarded to the family’s eventual return to Israel and if that was today, questioned how, being different, they would be treated here in the era before civil rights and even now.. The service ended with everyone locking arms and singing, “We shall overcome.”
  • 1/20/2020
  • Album ID: 2253578
  • Photos by Roger Gavan

Latino community Mass to celebrate Epiphany - Warwick,NY - 1/5/20

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  • On Sunday evening, January 5, members of the local Latino community joined together at a Mass said in Spanish to celebrate the Epiphany at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, in Warwick. The celebrant this year was the Pastor, Rev. Jack Arlotta, who is accomplished in the Spanish language. El Dia De Reyes, the Epiphany, reminds us of the time when the Three Wise Men, following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus. In the Hispanic community the 12 days of Christmas starts in December and continues until the Epiphany when in some Latin American countries the children also receive their gifts. The Mass began with a procession of children in costumes who were dressed as Mary, carrying the baby Jesus, Joseph and the Three Wise Men. Warwick resident Judy Battista, an advocate for the growing Latino community, provided the costumes and welcomed the community to the service. In his homily, Father Arlotta reminded the congregation that the arrival of the three kings is a sign to us that Jesus was born for all the world and not just a select group of people. He also added that as the Wise Men brought gifts to the child we should use our talents to bring Jesus to other people in our own special way. Following the Mass, everyone assembled in the atrium for refreshments and breaking of the traditional “Rosca,” a sweet bread. Battista explained that the Rosca is traditionally eaten during the celebration of "Día de Reyes" (literally "Kings' Day"). A small figurine of the Christ Child, hidden in the bread, represents the flight of Joseph, Mary and Jesus after learning of King Herod's order to murder all the children under two years old that could be the prophesied Messiah. Whoever finds the baby Jesus figurine is blessed and must take the figurine to the nearest church on Candle Mass Day (Día de la Candelaria). In the Mexican culture, this person also has to throw a party and provide tamales and atoles (hot drinks) for the guests. “There are many amazing celebrations, in many different countries, towns, homes and churches that celebrate the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Epifania, Los Reyes,” said Battista, “But there is only one place I would rather be each year. It is with these little ones to dress them up as kings, shepherds, angels and the holy family and to see their faces light up. It creates such priceless memories for them.” The next Spanish Mass will be the Mass of the Dia de la Candelaria (Candle Mass Day) on the first Sunday of the month, February 2 at 5 p.m. For more information, or to be a part of this ministry, call Judy Battista at 987- 4207.
  • 1/7/2020
  • Album ID: 2252804
  • Photos by Roger Gavan
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