The has issued a statement expressing concern for the future of the Cudner-Hyatt House, owned by the , which is seeking permission from the village government that would remove the building's status as a museum.
Members of the Forum are suggesting:
— The village Board of Appeals, before acting on the Scarsdale Historical Society’s application for removal of the variance authorizing operation of Cudner-Hyatt as a museum, ensure that the Society has informed the Attorney
he is in accord with the application.
2. The Forum urges the Historical Society, for so long as the proceedings indicated by the first recommendation are pending, give priority to the care and maintenance of Cudner-Hyatt and making it available for use by the public in Scarsdale and nearby communities.
Here is the text of the Scarsdale Forum statement:
THIS WRITTEN STATEMENT IS BEING MADE BY THE
VICE PRESIDENT OF THE SCARSDALE FORUM INC. (DUE
TO THE RECUSAL OF THE PRESIDENT) AND HAS BEEN
APPROVED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF
THE FORUM AND AUTHORIZED FOR RELEASE TO THE
PUBLIC. IT EXPRESSES ONLY THE VIEWS OF THE VOTING
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND HAS NOT BEEN SUBMITTED
TO THE FORUM MEMBERS FOR THEIR APPROVAL.
March 7, 2012
THE SCARSDALE FORUM
Vice President’s Statement
The Cudner-Hyatt House (“Cudner-Hyatt”) was built between
1734 and 1754, well before the Revolutionary War created the
United States of America. Situated on the White Plains Post
Road, a major thoroughfare both then and now, Cudner-Hyatt has
had an active role in the life of Scarsdale and the surrounding
region for more than two and a half centuries. Since 1974,
Cudner-Hyatt has been owned by the Scarsdale Historical Society
(the “Society”), whose principal focus and activities until very
recently have been to care for the property for the benefit of
current and future generations of Scarsdalians and others from
neighboring communities and the conduct at Cudner-Hyatt and
providing of historical exhibitions and other related programs.
Cudner-Hyatt has over time been visited by thousands of school
children and others to gain an understanding of America’s
earlier times and participate in the numerous Society programs,
including ones raising funds needed for the upkeep of the
property and the successful conduct of public programs there.
Currently pending before the Scarsdale Board of Appeals is
an application by that same Society seeking to remove the
variance permitting the operation of Cudner-Hyatt as a museum,
preparatory to an intended sale of the property for single
family residential use. Based on Scarsdale Inquirer press
reports, the current President of the Society, has said that
“there is nothing significant about [Cudner-Hyatt] aside from
being old,” and that in the modern, technology-connected world
of iPods and the like, the time of Cudner-Hyatt as a museum “is
past.” The Scarsdale Inquirer has also reported that the
Society on January 27, 2012 adopted a new mission, having no
reference to the care and use for the public benefit of Cudner-
After some review of the current situation, the Executive
Committee,* including Vice President of the Forum due to the
recusal of the President, has serious concerns about the
propriety of the Society’s application for a variance
cancellation at this time, has determined that a statement is
appropriate under the circumstances, and has approved issuance
of this statement.
The recent actions of the Society raise a number of
important questions for the entire Scarsdale community.
Although the matter has been referred to the Forum’s Zoning and
Planning Committee for further consideration, and a more
detailed report may follow, the procedural setting of the
current Board of Appeals proceeding initiated by the Society
prompts this statement as a more immediate, interim measure.
Pending more careful consideration of the total picture,
the Forum has two immediate recommendations:
1. The Forum recommends that the Board of Appeals, before
acting on the Scarsdale Historical Society’s application for
removal of the variance authorizing operation of Cudner-Hyatt as
a museum, ensure that the Society has informed the Attorney
General of these proceedings and received his determination that
he is in accord with the application.
2. The Forum urges the Society, for so long as the
proceedings indicated by the first recommendation are pending,
give priority to the care and maintenance of Cudner-Hyatt and
making it available for use by the public in Scarsdale and
The Forum makes the first recommendation because the New
York Attorney General by law is responsible for the supervision
of charities in New York, subject to possible judicial review,
and ought to have an opportunity to address the matter before
major changes are made, especially ones which may be
irreversible or cause irreparable harm. The Attorney General
has numerous tools at his disposal, whether by assisting in
finding the proverbial “white knight” or otherwise, which may
yield an alternative whereby this important historical site can
still be preserved for the public benefit, despite the obvious
difficulties of recent years.
The Forum makes the second recommendation for two reasons.
First, priority should be given at this time to the care and
maintenance of Cudner Hyatt in order to avoid irreparable harm
to Cudner-Hyatt while the New York Attorney General (and
possibly others) seek some way again to save Cudner-Hyatt, one
of Scarsdale’s most important sites from a historic preservation
standpoint, for Scarsdale’s posterity. Second, such maintenance
should help considerably should there ultimately be questions as
to the Society’s focus away from use of Cudner-Hyatt as a museum
and proposed change in principal activities.
Scarsdale Forum Inc.
* Members of the Executive Committee who are, or whose
immediate family members are, also members of the Village Board,
the Village’s land use Boards or have other conflicts, have
recused themselves from the discussion and vote.