The coronavirus has put New Rochelle, New York, in the spotlight as there have been more than 100 cases reported, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has highlighted how serious the epidemic has become.
“We have 36 cases in New York City -- New York City is 100 times the size of New Rochelle, so New Rochelle is the hottest spot, if you will, in the country,” Cuomo said Wednesday during an appearance on the "Today" show.
Cuomo stressed the importance of taking action to alleviate the spread of “the most dense cluster” of the virus. The New York governor has deployed the National Guard and created a 1-mile containment zone, which means there are no large gatherings and schools are closed. He is also putting the onus on the federal government to allow other states to take their own measures.
"The federal government in large measures is leaving it up to the states. Just take the handcuffs off me and let New York state do what New York state can do,” he said. “Let the other states take their path forward and we're going to ramp up as quickly as possible now that the federal government is giving us some leeway."
While discussing the spread of the virus in the area where it’s most prevalent, the mayor of New Rochelle, Noam Bramson, said the area of containment was not a quarantine zone.
“It’s not a prohibition on people entering or exiting. It does not have an impact on individual residents or individual businesses. It’s not an exclusion zone,” Bramson told FOX Business’ David Asman on Wednesday. “We’ve been given no indication whatsoever from state officials that those additional measures are under contemplation for this time.”
New Rochelle is a city in Westchester County, New York, which is located about 30 minutes from the heart of Manhattan. As of 2017, its population consisted of 79,946, making it the seventh-largest city in the state, according to estimates from the U.S Census Bureau.
The 325-year-old city was born after Huguenots fled France in the 1600s to avoid religious persecution. In 1775, George Washington made a stop in New Rochelle on his way to take command of the Army of the United Colonies in Massachusetts. At one point in 1776, the British army established a headquarters and occupied the city. A few years later, British and American troops engaged in a skirmish, according to the city’s official website.
"Just take the handcuffs off me and let New York state do what New York state can do"
By the 1840s, New Rochelle had become a resort destination.
Centuries later, residents are known to refer to their hometown as “New Roc City."
The world's third-richest person, Bernard Arnault, who is the chairman and chief executive of French luxury giant LVMH, owned a home in the city.
Jay Leno, the former host of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," spent his childhood in New Rochelle. The comedian told The Journal News, during an interview in 2017, that he grew up in a fun “multicultural” neighborhood and remembered searching for the house featured on the famous sitcom "The Dick Van Dyke Show," which was supposedly based there. His uncles were also local business owners of the Green Tree Country Club, a waterfront mansion built in the early 1900s, and Leno’s Clam Bar, which is known by locals as “Greasy Nick’s.”
Iona College, built on a 45-acre campus, also lies within New Rochelle. It is in the NCAA Division I sports program and has produced numerous professional alumni including, Jason Motte who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and was the closer in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. It is also the alma mater of singer-songwriter Don McLean, who is known for the 1971 hit “American Pie.”
The city is experiencing a “transformation of a lifetime” according to the city’s website.