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Call Me Crazy: Travels with Rivertown

Call Me Crazy: Travels with Rivertown

Last month I wrote about the early years of Rivertown Magazine. One of the untold stories is about our star writer Tom Riley. Tom was a mailman writing obituaries part-time for the Journal News. We happened to meet, and Tom said he was looking for more exciting work. 

Tom Riley

Believe it or not, he has been with the magazine for 17 years and has written about 270 stories over those years. Tom, like me, became a regular at Rivertown events with his sweet wife Crucey. 

The great thing about those Rivertown events, like the one held in March at the Hotel Nyack, is you’re always surprised to find out just how many people read Rivertown. 

The Call Me Crazy column started as the idle thoughts of an idle mind. Some people called them ramblings. Others called them ravings. 

Some months I sounded like Andy Rooney. Other times like Mickey Rooney. And still other times like Mickey Mouse. Someone said I was a curmudgeon and sent me an article explaining what a curmudgeon is — “a bad tempered or surly person.” What, me? 

I’m still amazed by the number of readers who’ll stop me in the street, or the mall, or the movie theater and say, “I love your column.” 

Or, “You’re not that old.” 

Now that I’m semi-retired and living in Florida, I was in a small boozy fishermen’s bar, and suddenly a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey aren’t you Phil from Rivertown?” 

Turned out he was from Piermont. But he’d lived in Florida for more than 10 years. Still missed Rockland County. 

Some funny things happen when you’re an editor… One reader called me up one morning and said, “What time is it in Stony Point?” I was on deadline, so I was a little less polite than I should have been: “Well, it’s 9:30 here in Nyack. It should be 9:30 in Stony Point.” The woman was very polite and hung up without another word.” 

Phil Bunton is the Founder of Rivertown Magazine. He is retired and living in Florida with his wife, Candice. 

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