My Neighborhood: The wide world of Irvington’s Doug Wilson

Video and article by Mike Nelson – Originally published on The Journal News

Doug Wilson spent his career as a producer and director for ABC's Wide World of Sports.
Doug Wilson spent his career as a producer and director for ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Doug Wilson has a wide sphere of influence, culled from a long career as a producer and director with ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” From 1961 through 1998, Wilson helped to produce 10 Olympic Games telecasts and become known as the premier director in figure skating. No wonder he counts Dick Button and Peggy Fleming among his friends. Button says of him, “Doug Wilson has an elephantine memory.” Fleming wrote the foreward to his book “The World Was Our Stage: Spanning The Globe with ABC Sports,” which he co-wrote with Jody Cohan. (For more on the book, go to Wilson’s website, DougWilsonABCSports.com)

Wilson and his late wife Debbie moved to Irvington in 1964 and raised three sons in the village, Ted, James and Peter. In 2005, he and his wife Betsy found themselves empty-nesters and instead of leaving altogether, they moved into the village.

Wilson says Fleming would absolutely love Irvington. “She’s a very ‘down to earth’ person, despite being an Olympic Gold Medalist and a national treasure. She would especially appreciate the way very-well-known residents are given a combination of appreciation and privacy. Irvington’s the best!”

Here’s what Doug Wilson loves about living in Irvington:

1. Why Irvington:

My late wife and I moved to Irvington from Manhattan to provide a better place to raise our kids. We wanted a suburban atmosphere for the kids. We looked all over Westchester and were guided to Irvington by John and Fred Streb, who were (real estate agents)on Cedar Street in Dobbs Ferry at the time.

2. Dining:

That’s a tough one, there are so many choices and they’re all good. We love the Red Hat on the River, of course. (1 Bridge St., 914-591-5888) The new MP Taverna has become a favorite, as well. (1 Bridge St., Irvington, 914-231-7854) For Sushi, we love Haru Hana. Go there almost every week, (35 Main St., 914-479-1688,www.haruhanairvington.com) and we often dine at Il Sorriso, which is just down the block. (5 N. Buckhout St., 914-591-2525, www.ilsorriso.com)

3. Shopping:

Irvington Hardware is our superstar. Has been for decades. (81 Main St., 914-591-7710) Geordanes is an everyday stop, (57 Main St. 914-591-6911) and we often check in at Zarrilli’s Deli. (77 Main St., 914-591-8167)

The Irvington Historical Society is in the McVicar House.
The Irvington Historical Society is in the McVicar House.

4. Something people don’t realize:

I don’t believe most people know that there are 11 structures listed on the New York State and/or National Registers of Historic Places. I wish every citizen would visit the Irvington History Center inside the McVickar House and take a few moments to go back in time and absorb the historic richness of our village. It is one of Irvington’s gems. (131 Main St., 914-591-1020)

5. Outdoor pastimes (or best place to skate?):

Well, I’m 78 now and sports activity is pretty much limited to my workout with physical trainer Sergei Nabatov. Regarding skating, one year the village flooded a section of Memorial Park and folks enjoyed that. In days gone by, Halsey Pond used to freeze and it was a center of winter activity for kids and families.

Wilson catches Giants games at the MP Taverna bar.
Wilson catches Giants games at the MP Taverna bar.

6. The nearest sports bar:

Well, I wouldn’t characterize MP Taverna as a sports bar, really, but whenever I go there the Giants and other sports telecasts are well displayed on a couple of hi-definition flat screens over the bar. Love it.

7. How has your neighborhood changed:

It’s become much less “country” and much more suburban. However, Irvington retains great community spirit, especially in trying times, like Hurricane Sandy and 9/11. Irvington remains the best little village on the Hudson, and those of us who are lucky enough to be residents realize that.