I grew up in Putnam Lake, and later Brewster and I love both communities but "The Lake" has a special place in my heart because it's where I lived at an exploratory age.

WRKI and WINE logo
Get our free mobile app

I moved to Putnam Lake from Brewster when I was about 9, and it was the perfect place for a young boy who wanted to go on adventures.

That is how I'd describe my youth there, adventure after adventure on my bike, playing ball, hiking through the woods, we did it all. It was particularly special because everyone knew everyone else, it was safe and riding from one side of town to the other to see a friend was normal and allowed by our parents. You left in the morning and didn't return home until dinner.

Recently, I received a direct message on Facebook that got me thinking about the lake, it came from Jesse Voss who wrote:

"Any ideas on how to make Putnam Lake great again? I did not grow up there, but I bought my first house on Bainbridge, a little under two years ago. I see gas tanks lined up to be installed at the place next to the market. Just my thoughts, you and Ethan f----- rock. Nice work, great job. Keep it up."

I told Jesse I'd get back to him on this, and immediately posed the same question of the Putnam Lake Facebook group writing:

"QUESTION: Any ideas On how to make Putnam Lake great again?
Someone who moved there asked me this question and I got to thinking that this will make a great article but I can't do it alone, what do you all think?"

Below are just some of the many responses I got:

Roy Garamone:

"Water we can swim in." 

Heather Pollock

"Neighbors working together and getting to know one another."

Christopher Michael:

"Lenny Ferrara said he misses the section at Warren Beach that was topless! Bringing that back might make the lake great again!" 

Vinny Santelmo:

"Another Hobby Shop."

Roy Garamone:

"More Milanos in Putnam Lake."

Google Instant Street View
Google Instant Street View

Gary Conran:

"Lou Milano, I grew up in the lake my family was there from 1962 to 2012 unfortunately times have changed, and the lake will never be the same it was back in the day."

Lawrence Miller IV:

"What we had back then you could never reproduce. That's what makes it so special. Are parents weren't uptight we weren't uptight and the police weren't uptight. We know how to have fun. We may have caused a little trouble but we were never malicious. I wouldn't change the time place or people. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up there."

Gary Conran:

"Lawrence Miller IV We grew up at the best time and had the best friends anyone could ask for." 

Sue Susanne:

"I don’t think you can recapture what it used to be. Since kids aren’t allowed to play outside and roam freely anymore it’s like a ghost town. Social media and video games have replaced everything. People are more hesitant to utilize the beaches as the water is not the greatest. Most of the summer homes have become permanent. People tend to not be outside socializing like they used to. For a lot of people it’s easier to connect over the internet than take the time to do it in person."

Lisa Collignon Formisano:

"The softball league Sundays were a great way to spend time watching the games."

Google Instant Street View
Google Instant Street View

Jaime Godano Duncan:

"Stop building 1500+ sq ft houses on the tiny little lots that were NOT intended for nor spaced out for houses that huge."

Joseph Doceti Jr.:

"A well kept, cleaner, healthier, and more attractive lake. Bring back the old rope swings or put up new ones. Cleaner beaches. Allow golf carts around lake shore, install a walking path around the lake. Just make it somewhere you would want to travel to. The rest will happen naturally. Memories will be made and the lake will be a desirable destination again. Which can all be done by investing in the land itself."

Sean Higgins:

"Bring back the old Put Lake deli."

Tommy Hoppus:

"Food Truck Festival with live music. We need something new."

Tom Betty Tronconi:

"Open the Castle for entertainments, kid and teen activities, and more events at the lake, luau etc."

Lou Milano
Lou Milano

Carol Willis:

"Put Lake has a great core for decades. It is a beautiful lake with an amazing history. My dad told stories of Putnam Lake from his childhood and we certainly loved all our visits to our friends in the Lake. Please remodel the castle. That area deserves a Castle!!"

Barbara Sargeson:

"Dredge it properly. Have lessons on how to fish, including ice fishing, skate and swimming life guards, maybe organized sports, rowing contests etc, and do something cool with the castle."

Christopher Michael:

"Bring back Sean Connors!!!"

Anaida Laboy Rodriguez:

"Put sprinklers in the park for the kids to enjoy. Not everyone has the funds to go to a water-park."

Lou Milano
Lou Milano

Nicolina Castillo:

"Putnam Lake has encroached to a Level “Karen” if we could get it back to Level “Dirt Bike Brigade” that might work."

John Nigro:

"Have it be fully incorporated into New Fairfield. Lower CT taxes, closer schools, local police dept., more stores etc. It's a big disservice to keep it in the Town of Patterson (and more specifically, the State of NY)."

Cindy Guardo:

"A lot of you have great ideas…….the best way to get things done for what you want is to go to the town meetings and propose something and get a committee and do it. As that is what we did back in the day."

Hughie Courtney:

"Putnam Lake Piranhas! Lake parties, Winterfest, movie nights, fishing contests and live music! All the things we used to have. Maybe draining the lake and cleaning it out completely is a good idea."

Erin Judson Galella:

"Update the playground, sprinklers would be awesome never happen, been waiting 18 years (us anyways) for the walkway, dog park area, something with the castle, pedal boat rentals at the lake, Covid needs to go away Easter Halloween kids new year window painting loved all those activities!"

Google Instant Street View
Google Instant Street View

Sean Witoshynsky:

"The lake needs to be made deeper so that the lake is more healthy. That way it brings people to the lake not run from it. Over the last 10 years many people have been cleaning up properties and bringing the value up. Now it’s time to work on the lake itself."

Hughie Courtney:

"Joe Tripi castle into a brewery!! 100% on board! Bringing it up at a town meeting! Boost the economy for the town! Give young adults a place to hang out and bring brewery hopping tourists into the town! I'm in!" 

Lou Milano
Lou Milano

Yes, a lot of these folks are friends and acquaintances and some made jokes made but there were some genuine answers here. As a collective, those answers add up to say that residents, past and present believe Putnam Lake has seen better days. However, the comments are not without hope, and you seem to hear some of the same answers.

People want to revive the quality of the lake water so they can use it, folks want to see something done with the building known as "The Castle", people want a spray park for kids in the area and others are just nostalgic for defunct businesses.

Google Instant Street View
Google Instant Street View

Putnam Lake is a Hamlet of Patterson, NY and if I told you I knew the name/s of any of the local leadership representing Patterson/Putnam Lake, I'd be lying. I do hope they read this, and understand I just want what is best for the community I grew up in.

Maybe they can use this article as an opportunity to start the discussion. Maybe they can generate an open-forum town meeting, dedicated solely to hearing what changes residents would like to see made?

P.S. If this upset you in anyway, I have the best answer in the world, the ultimate out. My response is, "I don't know, I'm just telling you what they told me." Boom preemptive response roast. 

You Know You're from Putnam Lake, NY If...

Putnam Lake is a Hamlet of the Town of Patterson, NY. "The Lake" was, and continues to be a great place to raise a family but it most certainly is not boring. People from surrounding communities have a lot to say about "Lakers", they just don't do it to your face.

Putnam Lake has a personality all it's own. "The Lake" is loaded with great people with wonderful personalities that all seem to have a few things in common. This is why it will be easy for those of you who lived there, to identify with the "You Know You're From Putnam Lake If.....Examples. 

Vacant Putnam Lake Properties

Putnam Lake is a Hamlet of the Town of Patterson In Putnam County, NY. Originally, the community was a vacation getaway for city folks who wanted Lake property in the country. Today, it’s not any kind of weekend or destination getaway but a great place to live, I would know, I grew up there. Like any small town, Putnam Lake, NY has its setbacks. It’s difficult to open any business and even harder to keep the doors open. These are some of the long vacant commercial properties of “The Lake.”

Virtual Tour of New Fairfield Summer Camp for Sale on Candlewood Lake

Camp Candlewood was a Girl Scout camp for many years in New Fairfield, CT. The camp sits on the shores of Candlewood Lake, the largest lake in the Nutmeg State. The Girl Scouts of Connecticut decided to sell the property along with Camp Katoya in Milford and use money from the sale to improve other Girl Scout facilities. 

More From WRKI and WINE