NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — As part of WCBS Newsradio 880’s celebration of 50 years of covering news in New York, we are launching a weekly series that focuses on the people who have made contributions to our community.
Each week on CBSNewYork.com and on WCBS Newsradio 880, we will present “50 People to Know.”
Just over 50 miles to the north of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is the small town of Brewster New York, population approximately 2,400.
It is the very definition of a railroad town. In fact, history tells us that the Village of Brewster derived its name from landowner Walter Brewster who invited the Harlem and New York Railroad to build a depot on his property. The idea back in 1886 was to extend the railroad up from Croton to allow for better connection to stages from Danbury, Connecticut.
So, Brewster’s Main Street was built around the town’s train depot. No slight to the current Mayor James Schoenig — we found someone who, for lack of a better title, may be the Mayor of the Brewster Train Station.
Meet George Godfrey, a man who arrives at the Brewster train station every day in time to catch the 4:30 trip to Grand Central. But Godfrey doesn’t get on board; he stays on the platform, greeting passengers like Rick Rogers. The veteran commuter tells WCBS reporter Sean Adams that he “brings a smile every morning, which is pretty much what everyone needs”.
Godfrey spends each weekday morning on the platform and returns in the afternoons to welcome commuters home. Why, you may ask?
“I feel great when I can say hello to everybody and they smile back at me and say hello,” he said.
Sometime after his wife passed away, the Korean War veteran decided to come to the train station as a way of fighting loneliness and depression.
“I didn’t want to hang around the house feeling sorry for myself… it just helps me out,” he said.
Considering the reception Godfrey gets every day in Brewster, it seems as though he’s the one who’s spreading the joy and friendship.