UPPER NYACK, N.Y. -- Every town should have a song, declares Lezlee Peterzell-Bellanich, a folk singer with a thick black mane and a detectable southern accent.
Apparently many agree, as Peterzell-Bellanich's catchy song, "My Town Nyack" has been making the rounds on social media, and on VisitNyack.org, a group that is boosting the river town's image with a visible media campaign.
For Peterzell, a mother of two, and co-owner of NY Boat Charter with her husband Robert, living in Nyack is like coming home, even though she was born in Manhattan and raised in Atlanta. Peterzell's great grandparents and grandparents, Jewish immigrants from Russia, Poland, and Austria, were prominent citizens in Nyack for more than a century, both in business and in the synagogue.
Nyack stories were legendary during her youth but it wasn't until Peterzell married and started a family that she and her husband left Manhattan's Upper West Side for Nyack.
For Peterzell, it was like coming home.
"Not a day goes by that I don't have a conversation with one person or another who doesn't recognize the Peterzell name," she said. Especially older folks who actually remember her ancestors, or who know the younger generations.
"I feel like my grandparents are looking down and smiling," she said. "My grandmother grew up on Division Street. I feel her spirit.
The songwriter was drawn to the river, the mountains, the small-town feel, the characters. Coming to Nyack also re-invigorated her to get back to music after a five-year hiatus. Peterzell has formed the River Skye Band (named for her children River and Skye). The four-member rock/folk group plays locally at Olives and street fairs and festivals. They'll be at Olives on Main Street on April 9th at 7 pm.
"Our Town Nyack" is a fun video (the singer was kind enough to do an impromptu version for Daily Voice) extolling the benefits of the village, from cool stores to good eats. Mayor Jen Laird White makes an appearance as do other familiar locals.
"This is my gift to Nyack," said Peterzell, who feels like it's the least she can do for a town that holds the Peterzell family in its heart and it memory.
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