Chris Lima of Stony Point has recently created www.anniessnackshack.com, an online tribute to the Annie’s Restaurant and Drive-In on Route 9W and Filors Lane in Stony Point. The 1951 County Landmark will be razed in the coming weeks to make way for a CVS drugstore, the eighth drugstore in the immediate area. The story of Annie’s and its demolition prompted me to write an opinion for the Rockland Journal News:
Nowhere, New York
By the time you thumb carefully through the Journal News and your eyes lay rest on this column, my home town, of which I am emotionally and spiritually invested, has become Strip Mall, U.S.A. An even better appellation would be Nowhere, New York. The only vestige of my home is the land itself – the undulating hills and peaks, the creeks, the Mighty Hudson. But even these natural reminders of that long lost place called “Stony Point” are clad in vinyl siding, CVS, and banks. Our community is a parking lot. We yearn for true neighbors and that long-gone America, with milkmen and corner stores, yet we settle for life in a parking lot. We all have our castles on ½ acre lots. We are each citizens of our own addresses, alone. And when we venture off our property, our solitary nations, we are whisked away through asphalt conduits in steel, glass, and rubber pods; no time for neighborhood, no time for milkmen, no time for a walk, because we have Nowhere to walk to.
We pay a premium to live here amidst nature. But do we live in true, unspoiled nature? Do in-ground swimming pools and 5,000 square foot Happy Meal homes that lay strewn over the landscape constitute nature? As we yearn for Main Street, to see and be seen by neighbors, we’ve descended to a bastardized version of Main Street, the Palisades Mall. I can and cannot blame Pyramid; the air-conditioned wonder in Nanuet was the original culprit, the Palisades was the eventual outcome of money-hunger, lack of education, and a proper plan.
By the time you read this, Stony Point has been demolished. A 1950s Drive-In, a Victorian beauty, our General Store have fallen to the rumbling of bull-dozers. Main Street has come to an end and it has been replaced by more asphalt, tar, and more drug stores. Route 9W is a sea of black tar and concrete, with stucco and neon ships that bob to and fro, boasting “International Commerce” and “Globalization” and “Made in China.” Our leaders are wrapped in “chains” and pinned beneath “big boxes.” The Drive-In owner feels guilty that she betrayed the community. Did she really? Or, did CVS betray us? There’s enough room to leave the Drive-In standing, but the town’s parking laws wouldn’t allow that. Did our leaders betray the community? Yes. They could, in one night, call for a cease to this destruction. We have been betrayed. Main Street has little time left to live.
We can change this, and I know how; explore these terms: “New Urbanism,” “Smart Growth,” and “TND – Traditional Neighborhood Design.” Sit back and examine what’s missing in Nowhere, New York and you’ll see it’s Main Street; she’s lying on her deathbed.