Winds of change blowing on the Sound Shore
The 2.4-square-mile village is amid an ambitious waterfront development project that includes a 300,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex being built downtown.
The hulking structure, called The Waterfront at Port Chester, is transforming this quaint, largely working-class village into a shopping and entertainment destination for residents of Westchester County and beyond.
But as a new era begins in the village, another has ended.
The closing of New York United Hospital Medical Center in February 2005 was a big blow to many residents. The community hospital stood at one of the village's gateways for 116 years.
At the other end of the village, near the Greenwich, Conn., border, The Waterfront brings a combination of big-box stores and national retailers to a downtown business district once dominated by small, family-owned shops and restaurants, many of them ethnic.
The village has a large immigrant population, with more than half its residents coming from Hispanic countries, and large concentrations of Italians and blacks.
Those residents have brought parts of their cultures to Port Chester, opening Peruvian, Colombian, Brazilian, Italian, Indian and Japanese restaurants downtown.
Bakeries also are abundant and include the landmark J.J. Cassone Bakery, which was founded in 1910 and ships Italian breads and pastries and hundreds of varieties of baked goods across the country.
Beyond the busy downtown are quiet neighborhoods that bleed into neighboring Rye Brook, a mostly white-collar village that is almost entirely residential. The Rye Ridge Shopping Center is the commercial hub of the 3.5-square-mile village.
Rye Brook has plenty of green space, with four village parks and Crawford Park, which is in the village and owned by the town of Rye.
Additionally, two artificial turf athletic fields are being built on a former compost site on King Street. The 6-acre recreation area, expected to open in 2006, will contain softball, soccer and football fields to accommodate the village's youth leagues.

(Original publication: October 30, 2005)
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