Port Chester, New York has something to be proud of in 2018. The village is one of the oldest towns in Westchester County and turns 150 years old this year. The village was incorporated on May 14, 1868. The village's most famous venue, The Capitol Theatre, is located here. Jerry Garcia made it famous because of his band, The Grateful Dead loved to play concerts there and it was known as his favorite venue. There's even the Grateful Dead logo embellished on the front of every fire truck. I like to refer to the town as, Dead-Head City!

Discover historic Port Chester, New York

The village will be hosting several special events throughout the summer to commemorate the 150th anniversary, including a trolley ride and a downtown walking tour, history-flashback seminars at the Port Chester-Rye Brook Library, and tours of the village itself. They already had one of their celebrations in May over the Memorial Day weekend with the Port Chester High School marching band, but the rest of the program was called off due to inclement weather.

Port Chester Mayor Richard Falanka said there will be a series of events going forward. “There will be a history flashback seminar at the Port Chester-Rye Brook Library where there will be discussions by Port Chester residents about the history of Port Chester that runs from now until July 3,” Falanka said.

“June 30 will be History Day where there will be a historical trolley tour to our Bush-Lyon Homestead. There will also be an open house and a scavenger hunt—and they will meet on the library lawn on Westchester Avenue and it takes place from 10 AM to 4 PM with a rain date July 1. The big celebration will be Port Chester Day on August 25 held at John Lyon Park.”

There will be plenty of food, entertainment, and a fireworks display.

Denise Quinn, the Co-Chair of the Port Chester 150th Anniversary Planning Committee told me the committee has been working on planning the celebration for about a year and a half. The anniversary happens every 50 years.

“We kicked off the anniversary on May 14 which was the incorporation date of the village with a small party and we had some people that did some representations of people that did some proclamations with various village officials around the area and we had people come up and do some presentations on the history of the village," Quinn said.

"We had a gentleman who is a direct descendant of someone that came over on the Mayflower and we had someone present some pictures of the village and we discussed what events were coming up—it was just a 'happy birthday' party.”

Planning Port Chester’s future

Planning Director, Eric Zamft explained the upcoming plans that the Village of Port Chester has in place. “Plan the Port” is the code name for our re-zoning effort which is occurring over the calendar year—hopefully next year. We have a website which contains videos and the upcoming plans; we’re halfway through the process there’s been a lot of engagement with the public. Our consultants are now drafting up and streamlining the new zoning code which will be reviewed and discussed with the public in the Fall.” Zamft continues, “We’re envisioning what the village might be like in the future and building a zoning code around that— there are no projects associated with it, we do develop individual projects; in this case, this is just a re-zoning effort.”