20081119

66 Armonk ... Really



Armonk is not officially a town. It is a "hamlet." Downtown consists of two intersections dotted by a post office, fire department, and a smattering of stores. I stopped at a breakfast joint with a little deli counter up front offering low-fat muffins and bottled latt├ęs. Like in Purchase, I was told that few people lived in Armonk besides the firemen. Luckily, one of the firemen turned out to be the cook behind the Hopper-era short order grill in back. He cheerily bobbed his head and shrugged as he agreed to be interviewed.

"You don't mind, I gotta make a omelet [sic] while we talk," he shouted above the drone of the grill's smoke hood and the radio blaring U2's "Street With No Name."

"How many people live in Armonk?" I asked.

"Not many at all." His boy-next-door face smiled uneasily above his white apron as he answered my questions. "You can't walk down the street and not know somebody. I've lived here my whole life. I grew up knowing the whole damn town. My father was in the fire department and so am I, and that just adds to it. I love it here. It's expensive, but it's homey. Armonk's started changing because a lot of new people are coming in who like big expensive houses."

"What's the relation of the corporation headquarters to the town?"

"As far as I know, it's very good. They do a lot of stuff in the community. They donate money for parks and stuff. They give stuff to the firehouse."

"Are people in your community isolated?"

"Nah. Everybody here's friendly. Well, they all want to be left alone, which is isolated. They want the peace and quiet of the country. I think a lot of 'em are; a lot of 'em want to be. You just gotta get away from the hustle and bustle. Now, you'll forgive me, I gotta finish this omelet and wrap it."

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