A Red Sandstone Colonial and 27 Green Fairways
In the '50s, the Empire Country Club had three nine-hole courses. The blue nine began at the top of a hill, and the fairway ran parallel to Union Road, on your right. Even a modest slice on your tee shot would bounce on the road and reach the woods across the street. The first tee on the white course ran parallel to Brick Church Road, and there a hook might reach macadam or cause a driver coming up the hill to flinch. The red nine was across the street, and there the first had your back to Brick Church Road. What's left today are the buildings on the hill and some of the blue and white courses--the red has long been built over.
Recently, there has been a lot of concern over the 165-acre golf course because the present owner had presented plans for development. This past week, an agreement was reached between the country club and New Hempstead. Owner, Joseph Cho will be allowed to develop no more than six senior citizen townhouses per acre on 20 acres (120 total), and the rest of the site (145 acres) will not be developed. Further, any future decisons on the property will belong to the village of New Hempstead. A good deal for New Hempstead with a caveat: If a future board in New Hempstead looks more favorably on development, things could change dramatically.
Not so with the 23-acre farm on South Little Tor Road known as Cropsey Farm. This piece of Rockland history reaches back to about 1769 when two Blauvelt brothers built their houses out of red sandstone. The current owners had been receiving offers from developers, but they wanted to "preserve history ...so [their] future grandchildren's grandchildren will be able to walk the farm." The property could have brought the Cropsey's as much as $10 million, and might have had as many as 75 single-family homes had they sold to developers. It will, instead, be held as open space in perpetuity by Clarkstown.