New beginnings at Meadow Hills

Residents thrilled to move into first completed section of long-awaited development

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  • Barbara Syphrett, originally from Brooklyn, made a transition from her daughter's place nearby (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Victor Gonzales is pleased with his new washer and dryer (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • The newly completed Meadow Hills apartment complex in the village of Chester (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Humor makes the job easier: Steve Bollenback and Tony Corradino's crew on moving day (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Movers get the job done (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Victor Gonzales' new kitchen (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

By Ginny Privitar

— Big smiles shone through spritzes of rain on Saturday, as new residents moved into their finished apartments at the new Meadow Hills development.

Their pride in their new homes, and their joy at beginning a new chapter in their lives, was evident, and contagious. Meadow Hills is located at 44 High St. (Route 94), near Vista Lane in the village of Chester

The apartments are bright and airy, with washer, dryer and air-conditioning. A one-bedroom apartment with den and one and a half baths goes for $1,400 a month, while the two-bedroom units are $1,600. Some have a bucolic view of black dirt farm fields.

Victor Gonzalez loves the quiet
Victor Gonzalez, recently retired from the state parks system, was supervisor of maintenance at Roberto Clemente Park in the Bronx. He worked there for more than 42 years, ever since the park opened in 1973. At a ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the park in 2013, Gonzalez was honored with a plaque for his service. His retirement party was written up in the Aug. 28, 2015, issue of The Bronx Free Press.

Daughter-in-law Christina Gonzalez is married to Victor’s son Carlo and lives in Monroe. She was on hand to help on Saturday. They expected the moving company to arrive with his furniture.

“I think he made history," Christina said of Victor’s retirement party, which was attended by many government and state park officials. "They actually closed the park in the evening for him for his party, which they never do."

Victor was not just any parks employee.

"When he started working there, he opened up the park and then, I think, in state park history, he’s the longest-serving employee," Christina said. "They keep calling him to come back and work part time."

But he’s committed to enjoying his retirement.

The best part of working at the park all those years was seeing the children and grandchildren of the people Victor knew first as youngsters.

“Since I’ve been there in 1973, people will be visiting the park," he said. "They go to the picnic area with their family. Sometimes I used to walk through the people and someone would say, ‘Oh! This guy’s still working here. I remember him from when I was a young kid.’ And that makes me proud.”

He once saved the life of a young boy run over by a drunken driver, who was about to back up over him again. Gonzalez opened the door of the car and pulled the driver out, turned off the car, and called the police. He was in the local paper for that, too, and on TV.

He supervised teenagers in summer jobs at the park and gave them advice. A number of them grew up to be police officers, detectives, and firefighters. They came back to tell Victor, “Thank you for the advice you gave me when I was young,” he recalled.

He loves the Bronx, but now he loves the quiet up here — especially the absence of loud music.

From a daughter's place to her own
Another resident, Barbara Syphrett, arrived at the same time as her movers, the Corradino/Bollenbach Moving Company. She said she's very pleased with them and added, “I got them through (an ad in) The Chronicle."

"I tell you, I read The Chronicle and I really like it — very interesting articles and there’s always something that I’m learning," she said.

Syphrett is moving in by herself but is engaged to be married. She had been living for a year with her daughter nearby and saw the development going up. She’s very happy to be moving into her new home.

“I love it up here,” she said. “Being from Brooklyn, this is totally different."

Syphrett’s field is physical therapy. She used to work in Manhattan and is now looking for a position here.

Moving company owners Steve Bollenback and Tony Corradino and their crew were in good spirits, with plenty of good-natured banter. They were happy to pose for a photo.

“With our luck, one of us will be wanted," they said.

Maybe for more moving jobs?

Here’s wishing a long happy life in Chester to its newest residents.

Editor's note: This story has been revised to reflect the fact that not all of the Meadow Hills development is completed, as was incorrectly stated in the original article. The Chronicle regrets the error.

“I love it up here. Being from Brooklyn, this is totally different."
Barbara Syphrett

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