"We're right in the middle of a war zone, and I don't even have a gun," says Andrea Composto.
Composto is one of several South Nyackers who learned Tuesday that she will likely be directly affected by the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge. Transportation officials released a comprehensive document earlier this week outlining what lands may be commandeered for the project—and in the case of Composto, it is all of her neighbors' homes.
"They're taking all the houses around me, but not mine," she explained. Composto lives at and owns 79 Smith Avenue with her partner, Beth Brown. She purchased the home four years ago, and heard little from the state until now.
"About four years ago, we received a notice that our house was flagged," Composto said, adding the notification was not correct—it was meant for her neighbor. Composto straightened out the mix-up, she said.
Communication soon ceased; months passed without news, and then years.
But yesterday, she saw the aerial shot that was released—it shades in the properties that could tentatively be swept up by the project. And Composto's house is surrounded by shaded grids. Houses in front of and behind her are slated to be eaten up, as is a nearby green space.
"It's so disconcerting," she said. "Looking at this [aerial shot] boggles my mind. How do they think they can't notify me or compensate me or at the very least have a conversation with me?"
Composto says it is now time to become the squeaky wheel, and create a paper trail of objections.
"This hit me like a ton of bricks," she said. "I'm writing a letter to [transportation officials], and will get on the phone to my local representatives, too."
As for of the DEIS document—"It's already in my calendar," Composto said.
South Nyack officials are behind Composto completely.
"It's 1955 all over again," wrote mayor Trish DuBow in a Wednesday evening press release. "Once again, the state is steamrolling South Nyack."
DuBow hearkened back to the 1950s and construction of the original bridge, when broad swaths of South Nyack were wiped off the map.
"Now, 57 years later, in order to replace the bridge, they plan to take several more homes from South Nyack citizens," she said. "And for this sacrifice South Nyack gets nothing in return."
DuBow continued, calling the project "outrageous" and "unconscionable," and stated that South Nyack residents "deserve better."
DuBow said she and other village lawmakers met with state officials Wednesday night, securing a pledge from bridge project team members that the state will look into alternatives to perhaps spare some South Nyack infrastructure.
"The Village of South Nyack is committed to doing everything in its power to not only mitigate the impacts of this Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project on the village and protect its citizens, but to use the opportunity to gain some benefits for the River Villages region," DuBow added.
Politicians on a larger scale have been less involved with the details. Congressman Eliot Engel has voiced support for the project as a whole, but did not sound off on residents who may be affected.
"To my understanding they haven't asked us for help yet," said Joe O'Brien, Engel's press secretary.
Patch is awaiting a call back from the office of Joan McDonald, commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. In past interviews, McDonald said, "we have been planning and talking for too long—it's time to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge."