New City residents—and anyone else who loves to visit Cropsey Farm on Little Tor Road—have also been enjoying country breakfasts offered at neighboring Red Hill Nursery for many years. When owner David Hansen’s longtime friend Andrew Michael approached him with an idea to repurpose the old café on the nursery’s six acres and create an event space, it was a “go”—then the country got rocked by the 2020 Pandemic.
Michael’s only option to stay afloat while waiting out New York’s hibernation was to make the most out of the service window Hansen’s son had sold ice cream from during the summer months. He renovated the space, installed a new window, and opened RH241 Farm to Family—meeting his new customers while serving them through the only means available during the long shutdown.
“‘The Window’ saved me during the pandemic,” said Michael. “Originally, I was planning to open in February, 2020 but things were shaky out there. When everything closed down, I redid the space where ice cream was sold and began offering coffee, croissants and light breakfast fare and lunch through the new service window. I got to know the neighbors and people started coming regularly—it became a destination. In the summer, people could enjoy their breakfast or lunch on the patio. I also had the opportunity to host events under the canopy out in the garden so people could socially distance. It’s a beautiful, peaceful location.” Guests had the opportunity to tour RH241 Farm to Family and marveled at the clean, country look of the event space. They also got to sample some of the food Michael plans to bring to guests of the new venue. “The food is fabulous,” said Doreen Briglia, Vice President of the Rockland Business Association. “He’s done a wonderful job. It’s a great space and a beautiful location for private and community events.
“The Window” is still very much in business, and Michael is just awaiting the arrival of new furniture to open the new event space in former café’s interior. “I’ve been planning events for others for 18 years. I was ready to start planning my own, and I’m thrilled I’m going to be able to do it.” Perfect for small gatherings, RH41’s renovated indoor space will comfortably seat 85 people.
Michael hosted his first community event on Monday evening, July 19, welcoming the business and non-profit community to formal opening. All who attended made a donation to Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland, and Michael presented a check for $1,600 to Daniel Eudene, CC’s executive director, after the ribbon cutting. “This is wonderful,” said Eudene, thanking the new business owner and his guests. “There are many people struggling with food insecurity as a result of the pandemic, and this will go a long way to help in our community.”
Michael is also planning to offer pop-up dinners, cooking and baking classes (“We have a terrific chef on board!”) and hopes to partner on other family-friendly events with neighboring Cropsey Community Farm once it is fully reopened. “We launched a year late, but the community support was worth the wait.”
RH241 is located on Little Tor Road, across the street from Cropsey Farm. Visit www.rheventspace.com to learn more.