Port Chester is a small coastal town(1) just on the New York side of the NY-CT border. It was founded by settlers from nearby Greenwich, Connecticut in 1660.
As we walk through the town and discover its history together, I’d like to share with you some photographs I took. At the top of this post, that’s a sign advertising Fresh Meat from a grocery store on Main Street. Mmm, delicious! Here’s “Enchanted Home” (side view), on Highland Street, the car is registered in Florida:
The original settlers bought the land from the Mohegan Indians. A short while later, the Mohegans found themselves landless and eventually lost their tribal status.(2) In 1994, after decades of petitioning, the Mohegans gained federal recognition and now have a reservation in east-central Connecticut. In 2003, the Mohegans became the first Native American tribe to purchase a professional sports team, the WNBA team Connecticut Sun.(3)
Here’s the view through a window of a hardware store on North Main Street:
In 1683, the town of Sawpit (as Port Chester was originally known) was given to the New York Colony. Connecticut was not pleased and they contested this for over a hundred years.
On June 30th, 1974, Peter J. Leonard broke into a bowling alley where he probably burglarized(4) some cigarette machines. Before he left, he set fire to the place in order to cover up his tracks. The fire spread to Gulliver’s, the nightclub next door. Twenty-four people died. One of the survivors was Eric Carr(5) who later went on to join KISS as drummer. Carr died on the same day as Freddie Mercury, November 24th, 1991.
This is Los Chuzos de Juancho, a Columbian Restaurant on South Main. The store on the second floor offers “Facial Waxing”:
Today, Port Chester is famous for its restaurants.
1) Legally speaking it’s a village within the Town of Rye. The Town of Rye consists of the Villages of Rye Brook and Port Chester as well as a chunk of Mamaroneck. Rye itself is not part of the Town of Rye, instead it is an independent City. Although only a part of the Town of Rye, Port Chester has a population of 29,000 which is almost double the City of Rye’s 16,000. I’m not going to pretend to understand why this is so.
2) I’m not sure how this works exactly. Mental note to dig deeper into this.
3) Previously known as Orlando Miracle they were based down in Florida. A big change in climate, then.
4) Or burgled, if you’re from the UK. I’ll never get used to the verb “burglarize.” It has one too many vowels for a word so urgent.
5) Real name: Paul Caravello.