One day in Pleasantville in the 1970s, sisters Patricia and Catherine Cavalieri sat their youngest sibling Joseph down for an impromptu stained-glass class. Little did they know they were inspiring a career that would lead to a permanent installation of stained-glass artwork decades later. “My sisters took a class together and they brought it home and were like, ‘Oh, let’s give little Joey a class.’ So I made a box,” Joseph said.
In 2008, seven years after Catherine’s death, Cavalieri was a selected artist by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit (MTA Arts & Design) program. That simple box from childhood had led him to a role designing and helping create the stained-glass windows that have adorned the overpass at Philipse Manor Train Station in Sleepy Hollow since 2009. The windows represent the people and the history of the community: North, South and Home.
“They said don’t even think about using a Headless Horseman in your work,” Cavalieri recalled, about the MTA’s directions. “I just wanted to think about the people that are walking through that space every day. I used to commute from Pleasantville, so I know what it’s like. You want to see something and see it fresh and notice something else in it every time you see it. I tucked in a lot of different, smaller details that people could see.”
Passers-by can pick out different details each time. One of the more obscure hidden images is a “really, really small train on the railroad track,” he said. The tiles around the edge represent the Dutch settlers and other historic elements associated with the River Towns’ history.
But the Cavalieri family’s ties to the community run deeper than inch-thick glass above the Hudson Line. They ran Cavalieri’s Market on the corner of Cortlandt and College streets in North Tarrytown until it closed in 1985.
Joseph said he never worked at the family market, but has fond memories of his time there. “We used to sell these sandwiches which we called wedges. They were always so popular. People just loved them.” he said. “I also remember steps up to an office. I think that’s where they kept me most of the time so I couldn’t get into trouble.”
But instead of sharing trouble, the Cavalieris shared creativity. Patricia, who died in November, was artistic too. Her passion for creating stained-glass windows and other items will live on through her brother.