Hello my name is Tom Roberts and I have been a resident of New Rochelle, NY for the past 43 years. My father Dr. Donald Roberts was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at 50 Pintard Avenue from 1966 to 1984. Currently he lives in Pelham with my mother. No matter where I have been in life or where I have lived I have always felt that New Rochelle was always my home. Living at the manse next to the church we always felt that we were in the middle of all the action in New Rochelle. There were always different community leaders stopping by to see my father. My dad worked with different groups and community organizers to help start July-o- Rama on David’s Island in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we worked to unify the North Avenue Presbyterian church with the First Presbyterian Church at 50 Pintard Avenue. Both of my parents fed the homeless, started support groups and were real community leaders. New Rochelle was a great city to grow up in during the 1980’s. I worked on the fishing boat Klondike VII and VIII with Pete Pearson and also Lifeguarded at Hudson Park. Over the Years I have worked part time with Janet Guarasci and Nina Shawn-Gainor in the socialization programs for developmentally disabled through the New Rochelle Parks and Recreation Department. Being a resident of New Rochelle I have witnessed the fire at New Rochelle high school, the grand opening of the “New Mall” on LeCount Place the sniper at the Neptune storage building on Weyman Avenue the opening of the New Library on Laughton and the closing of the old library on Pintard. The movie theaters on Main Street have come and gone and the “Mall” closing and being demolished to be reborn again as “New Roc City”. Growing up one of our favorite places to eat was the Thru-way Diner which I guess is now going to become Walgreens. When I went to college in West Virginia I would try and describe to classmates of mine what it was like to live in a true melting pot. I told them it is a place where people from various cultural and social back grounds live and work in the same community with tolerance creating a rich stew of people and ideas. Fortunately New Rochelle has escaped from being one of those numerous intolerant communities that plague our nation today. New Rochelle has many problems and great challenges as we go forward as a community, however these problems are fixable and the challenges will be overcome if we continue to work together, which we have always done as citizens of this great city.
My wife and I with our daughter live in New Rochelle and in the next few years my daughter will attend Trinity School the same school that I first attended back in 1970. Over the years buildings and ideas have come and gone however at its heart New Rochelle is still the same old great town that I have known and loved.