New Rochelle

New Rochelle

[ruh-shel, roh-]
New Rochelle, city (1990 pop. 67,625), Westchester co., SE N.Y., on Long Island Sound; settled by Huguenots 1688, inc. as a village 1858, as a city 1899. Although mainly a residential suburb of New York City, it has some light industry. The house where Thomas Paine lived has been preserved. Iona College and the College of New Rochelle are in the city.

New Rochelle (French: Nouvelle-Rochelle ) is a city in the south-east portion of the U.S. state of New York in Westchester County.

The town was settled by refugee Huguenots (French Protestants) in 1688 who were fleeing Catholic pogroms in France. Many of the settlers were artisans and craftsmen from the city of La Rochelle, France, thus influencing the choice of the name of "New Rochelle."

The era of suburban living began in the late 1800s when the New York & New Haven Railroad opened a line with a stop in New Rochelle. It was during this period that the city became famous as a summer resort. New Rochelle soon became one of the country's first 'bedroom communities', with most residents traveling daily to New York City for work, and back home to the suburbs to sleep. The 1960s television hit The Dick Van Dyke Show popularized New Rochelle suburban life as an American ideal.

In 2005, the city had a population of 72,967, making it the seventh largest in the state of New York. In 2008, New Rochelle was recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) as one of the 100 Best Walking Cities in America, and the second best in New York State next only to New York City.


17th century

In 1689, the absolutist Catholic monarch of France Louis XIV unilaterally revoked the Edict of Nantes. This royal edict had protected the minority Protestant population from religious persecution within certain defined areas of France. Despite the fact that the Protestants were France's most industrious class, Louis XIV was determined to drive them out of France. Faced with the prospect of the resurgence of another war of religion, Protestant countries of Europe opened up their territories to the these French Protestants, or Huguenots. John Pell, Lord of Pelham Manor, under warrant from the King William III of England, provided land to Huguenot families, most of whom were from the Province of Annis and the city of La Rochelle. Some 33 families established the community of New Rochelle. A monument containing the names of these settlers stands in Hudson Park, the original landing point of the Huguenots in 1688..

Thirty-one years earlier, the Siwanoy Indians sold their land to Thomas Pell. His land patent was confirmed by his nephew, John Pell, who became lord of Pelham Manor - a feudal domain with its own civil and criminal courts. It was from John Pell and his wife that Jacob Leisler, acting as an agent for a group of Huguenots in New York, purchased the land upon which they would settle for a sum of 1,675 pounds. In 1689 Pell officially deeded 6,100 acres (25 km²)to Leisler for the establishment of a Huguenot community. In addition to the purchase money, Jacob Leisler and his heirs and assigns were to yield and pay unto John Pell and his heirs and assigns (Lords of the Pelham Manor) one 'Fat Calf' yearly as acknowledgement of their feudal obligation to the Manor.

Jacob Leisler is an important figure in the early histories of both New Rochelle and the nation. He arrived in America as a mercenary in the British army and later became one of the most prominent merchants in New York. He also served for a time as mayor of New York City. He was subsequently appointed acting-governor of the province, and it was during this time that he acted of behalf of the Huguenots.

Several other prominent Huguenots were integral in creation of New Rochelle including Gabriel Minivielle, Broussard Des Champs and Jean Bouteillier. Gabriel Minvielle arrived in New York in 1673 and prospered both as a merchant and also politically, becoming mayor of New York City in 1684. Broussard Des Champs was in New York as early as 1674, where he was established as a merchant. Between 1678 and 1683 he was involved in lending money on mortgage on lands in and around New York City and on Long Island. Bouteillier was a merchant on the Island of Martinique as early as 1678, and, upon his removal to New York, he became actively interested in helping other refugees upon their arrival to the city. Each of these men participated in promoting the first settlement of Huguenots at New Rochelle along with the assistance of Jacob Leisler. An initial purchase of the tract including Davenport Neck and the adjacent island, now Davids' Island, with Leisler securing the largest share. This purchase proved too limited to handle the lage number of refugees arriving in New York, thus resulting in the larger purchase of land from John Pell in 1687. No conveyance of the New Rochelle purchase, pursuant to the 1687 contract, was delivered until 1689, and John Pell conveyed it to Jacob Leisler alone, ignoring all others interested in the purchase. The explanation may be that there had already developed among the Huguenot refugees considerable hostility to Leisler and opposition to his political activities and ambitions. Many of the prominent settlers of New Rochelle actively opposed Leisler. Minivielle was so hostile that he cast his vote in the Governor's Council in 1691 for Leisler's execution. Of all the Huguenot settlements in American founded with the view of being distinct French colonies, New Rochelle most clearly conformed to the plans of its founders. The colony continued to attract French refugees until as late as 1760. The choice of name for the city reflected the importance of the city of La Rochelle and of the new settlement in Huguenot history and distinctly French character of the community. French was spoken, and it was common practice for people in neighboring areas to send their children to New Rochelle to learn the language. John Jay, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Washington Irving were among the most notable individuals to have been educated in the private boarding school at Trinity Church.

18th century

The French Huguenots, as Protestant Europeans, quickly assimilated into the English colony. Although, most continued to marry within other Huguenot families over the first two generations, the colonists use of English and their similarity in customs and race to the larger English population quickly promoted the assimilation of the Huguenots into overall society. By 1738 the last recorded entries in French were made on town records.

In 1775 General George Washington stopped in New Rochelle on his way to assume command of the Army of the United Colonies in Massachusetts, recounting: "The road for the greater part, indeed the whole way, but the land strong and well covered with grass and a crop of Indian corn intermixed with Pompions (which were yet ungathered) in the fields... The distance of this day's travel was in which we passed through Eastchester, New Rochelle, Mamaroneck, but as these places (although they have houses of worship in them) are not regularly laid out, they are scarcely to be distinguished from the immediate farms which are very close together and are separated as one inclosure from another is, by fences of stones which are indeed easily made as the country is immensely stony" .

In 1776 the British Army briefly occupied sections of New Rochelle and Larchmont. Following British victory in the Battle of White Plains, New Rochelle became part of a "Neutral Ground" for General Washington to regroup his troops.

The first national census of 1790 shows New Rochelle with 692 residents, 136 of whom were African American .

In 1784, after the Revolutionary War ended, patriot Thomas Paine was given a farm in New Rochelle for his service to the cause of independence. The farm, totaling about 300 acres (1.2 km²), had been confiscated from its owners by state of New York due to their Tory activities. Now located on a small street in New Rochelle, the Thomas Paine Cottage is a small museum where many Revolutionary War re-enactments occur.

19th century

Through the 18th century, New Rochelle had remained a modest village that retained an abundance of agricultural land. During the 19th century, however, with the rapid growth of New York City by immigration principally from Ireland and Germany, more American families left New York City and moved into the area. Although the original Huguenot population was rapidly shrinking in relative size, through ownership of land, businesses, banks, and small manufactures, they retained a predominant hold on the political and social life of the town.

A tollhouse was constructed in 1802 across the Westchester County Turnpike (now known as Main Street). Four cents was charged for each horse and rider and ten cents was charged for each horse-drawn cart. The tollhouse remained in operation until the discontinuation of all tolls in 1867 .

The 1820 Census showed 150 African-Americans residing in New Rochelle, six of whom were slaves.

The era of suburban living began around the year 1849 when the New York and New Haven Railroad opened a line with a stop in New Rochelle. It was during this period that New Rochelle became famous as a summer resort.

In 1855 the wealthy hotelier Simeon Leland completed his 60-room summer home, "Castleview". Notable guests of "Castleview" included the Prince of Wales and Charles Dickens.

In 1857 the Village of New Rochelle was established within the borders of the Town of New Rochelle.

In 1858 the wealthy industrialist Adrian Iselin purchased land on Davenport Neck. The Iselin family began the New Rochelle Water Company as well as the first savings bank in the city. C. Oliver Iselin, and the six other children of Adrian Iselin, engage in many philanthropic causes in New Rochelle, donating substantial financial gifts to The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Hospital and also the World War Memorial Committee.

In 1861 a group of volunteers created the first fire service named ‘The Enterprise Hook/Ladder/Bucket Company #1’.

In 1879 John H. Starin, a former United States Congressman and descendant of the Huguenots, purchased five islands off of Davenport Neck, which would soon become Glen Island Park. One of the first theme parks open to the public, Glen Island boasted a natural history museum, an aviary, a railway, a bathing beach, a German beer garden and a Chinese pagoda. A chain ferry brought people to the island from a mainland dock. He used a fleet of steamboats to bring thousands of New Yorkers to the park, handling up to a million visitors a season by 1882.

In 1889 a bill creating the New Rochelle City Charter was signed by Governor Theodore Roosevelt. It was through this bill that the Village and Town of New Rochelle were joined into one municipality.

In 1892 Rose Hill Gardens, one of the largest botanical gardens in the country during the 1800s, cultivated the first orchid in the United States. Also in that year, the artist Frederic Remington moved to a New Rochelle, purchasing a three-acre estate on Webster Avenue.

In 1896 Davids’ Island became the site of Fort Slocum, named for General Henry Warner Slocum, a Huguenot descendant and a Civil War officer. Fort Slocum became one of the largest recruiting stations in the country, with greatest use during World War I and World War II.

n 1899 Michael J. Dillon narrowly defeated Hugh A. Harmer to become New Rochelle's first mayor. The recently established city charter designated four wards, a board of alderman (two from each ward), and 10 elected from the city at large .

20th & 21st centuries

As the effects of continuing immigration continued throughout the northeastern United States and New York in particular, the early French Huguenot character of the town and its ruling class dissolved. In the early part of the 20th century, the County's famous Glen Island Casino on Long Island Sound continued to draw such celebrities as Glenn Miller, the Dorsey Brothers and Ozzie Nelson.

By 1900 New Rochelle had a population of 14,720.

In 1904 plans were completed for Rochelle Park, one of the first planned communities in the country.

Forty-five Minutes from Broadway, a musical comedy about New Rochelle, opened January 1 1906.

In 1909, Edwin Thanhouser established Thanhouser Film Corporation. Thanhouser's Million Dollar Mystery was one of the first serial motion pictures.

The artist Norman Rockwell moved to New Rochelle in 1915, sharing a studio with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe, who worked for The Saturday Evening Post. He often drew his illustration subjects from members of the community.

In 1923, New Rochelle resident Anna Jones became the first African American woman to be admitted to the New York State Bar .

In 1928, women's rights advocate Carrie Chapman Catt settled in New Rochelle. Catt, President of The National American Womans Suffrage Association, was influential in the fight for the 19th Amendment (Susan B. Anthony Amendment).

In 1929 the city manager form of government was adopted. Under this arrangement, the city council is the legislative body that establishes city laws, ordinances and resolutions. The council appoints the city manager, who oversees and implements the directives of the council.

In 1930 New Rochelle recorded a population of 54,000, up from 36,213 only ten years earlier. During the 1930’s New Rochelle was the wealthiest city per capita in New York state and the third wealthiest in the country.

On June 18, 1938 the City celebrated its 250th anniversary with a massive parade of more than 6,000 marchers. Notable spectators included Governor Herbert H. Lehman, U.S. Postmaster General James A. Farley and a number of visiting dignitaries from La Rochelle, France. The U.S. Government authorized a limited edition of New Rochelle half dollar commemorative coins to mark the anniversary.

Two of the nation's first suburban branch department stores, Arnold Constable and Bloomingdales, opened in New Rochelle in the 1940s.

In 1941 New Rochelle based Terrytoons Studio introduced the famous Mighty Mouse cartoon character.

New Rochelle was the scene of the first court-ordered school desegregation case in "the north", when the Supreme Court in 1962 denied certiorari and so let stand a decision of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that the Lincoln School boundaries had been intentionally drawn to create segregated elementary school districts. Lincoln School was closed and demolished in 1965, with students of that district allowed to attend certain other city elementary schools. The school district is known for its diversity, and the high school honors civil rights leader Whitney Young in the name of its auditorium and civil rights martyr Michael Schwerner in the name of its library.

In May 1968, New Rochelle High School was damaged by an arson fire. Displaced students were accommodated at local junior high schools under a time-sharing arrangement while the high school was being rebuilt.

In 1976 New Rochelle resident E.L. Doctorow wrote the novel Ragtime, which would later become a major Broadway musical.

In 1987 New Rochelle was awarded the U.S. Conference of Mayors City Livability Award.

By the end of the century, the City had begun a massive revitalization of its 'downtown'. In 1999, part of downtown New Rochelle near the Metro North train station was rebuilt with a $190 million entertainment complex, nicknamed New Roc City, which features a 19-screen movie theater, Westchester's first IMAX theater, an indoor ice-hockey arena, mini-golf, go karts, an arcade, a health club, restaurants, a hotel, loft-apartments and a mega supermarket. The complex was built on the former Macy's and Mall which had opened in 1968.

Additional revitalization has come by way of two new luxury residences. The construction of Avalon On The Sound East, a luxury apartment complex was unveiled by Avalon Bay Communities in 2007. Trump Plaza, a 40-story luxury residence is the second tallest building in Westchester County. Properties along 'main street' which had been empty for years, such as the former Bloomingdales department store and Lillian Vernon headquarters, have been transformed into condominiums and rental apartments.

Residential profile

New Rochelle is commonly referred to as 'The Home Town' because of the significant amount of single-family, residential development that exists throughout most of its 10+ square miles. While the formerly industrial downtown section is more densely developed, with condominiums, high rises, offices, shopping centers, affordable housing complexes, a medical center, nursing homes, two college campuses and an inter modal transportation hub, the rest of the city consists of sprawling, residential neighborhoods. There are more than 11,500 single family units within the city, more than that of neighboring Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Scarsdale combined. The total number of separate households surpasses 26,000, more than that of neighboring Pelham, Pelham Manor, Eastchester, Scarsdale, Mamaroneck and Larchmont combined.

Housing variety. Some of the country's most expensive real estate can be found in New Rochelle. The north end of the city (10804) is ranked in Forbes Magazines list of the '500 most expensive zip-codes' in the country . According to the list, the average household income was $199,061 and the average home price was over $752,000. Homes in Premium Point, a gated section of the city on Long Island Sound, are priced anywhere from $2 to $20 million. The three newest residential developments, 'Kensington Woods', 'The Greens at Cherry Lawn' and 'Riviera Shores', are all gated communities with single family homes priced from $2 million. With a population approaching 80,000 residents, New York State law dictates that the city provide an adequate amount of affordable housing units for the less fortunate. New Rochelle has historically met and surpassed state requirements, currently working to replace the existing Weyman Avenue Projects with more forward thinking, community centered townhouse-style housing units. By embracing the needs of the poor, New Rochelle sets a precedant for other suburban communities to follow. Neighboring towns including Mamaroneck, Larchmont and Scarsdale neglect to address such concerns, failing to meet the minimal affordable housing requirements set by the state. Popular consenus is that the presence of the poor precludes that of the middle-class and the wealthy. Considering the large number of working-class and affordable housing units found 'Downtown', the high property values prevalent throughout most of the city reflects the true economic diversity of New Rochelle. It is home to the financially disadvantaged and the very wealthy. One of 'the wealthiest people in the United States' according to Forbes Magazine is longtime New Rochelle resident and multi-billionaire Sidney Frank.

Communities. Within the greater city borders are many established neighborhoods and subsections, several of which are larger in both size and population than neighboring towns of Larchmont, Bronxville and Pelham Manor. The areas most noted include: Bayberry, Beechmont, Bloomingdale Estates, Bonniecrest, Cherry Lawn, Daisy Farms, Davenport Neck, Echo Manor, Forest Heights, Forest Knolls, French Ridge, Glen Island, Glenwood Lake, Heathcote, Kensington Woods, Lake Isle, Larchmont Woods, Lyncroft, Northfield, North Ridge, Paine Heights, Pinebrook , Premium Manor, Premium Point, Quaker Ridge, Residence Park, Rochelle Heights, Sans Souci, Scarsdale Downs, Shore Road, Sutton Manor, Vaneck Estates, Ward Acres, Wilmot Woods and Wykagyl. Whereas Bayberry and Wilmot Woods are public-communities, Premium Point, Kensington Woods and Cherry Lawn are gated neighborhoods accessible only by those immediate residents.



The city is served by the City School District of New Rochelle, which operates a renown public high school, two junior high schools and ten elementary schools. On seven separate occasions, the City's schools have received the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education. New Rochelle High School is one of the most diverse high schools in the country; the student body represents over 60 different countries from around the world. The school offers over 240 courses including honors, research and advanced placement courses.


  • Primary and secondary:

Hudson Montessori - private Montessori school in Wykagyl serving pre-k level through 5th grade.

Iona Grammar - all-boys Catholic grammar school in Wykagyl serving grades 1 through 8.

Iona Prep - all-boys Catholic school in Wykagyl serving grades 9 through 12.

Mount Tom Day School - private day school serving pre-k level through second grade. The school is housed in the mansion of renowned Twentieth Century American artist and illustrator J.C. Leyendecker.

The Thornton Donovan School - co-ed, private preparatory school in Beechmont.

The Ursuline School - all-girls Catholic school in Wykagyl serving grades 6 through 12.

Salesian High School - all-boys Roman Catholic school serving grades 9 through 12.

Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel High School - coed Catholic High School in Downtown.

  • Higher education:

The College of New Rochelle - The largest woman's Catholic college in the United States, founded by the sisters of the Ursuline Order.

Iona College - Catholic college founded by the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

Monroe College - provides professional, career oriented and business centered education.

Parks and recreation


The shoreline within the City of New Rochelle measures , but due to many irregularities and off-shore islands, the actual length of the waterfront is . The unusual coastal features have over the years earned it the nickname, "the Queen City of the Sound."

  • Yacht, sailing and rowing clubs dot the coast on Long Island Sound and beach clubs line the shores of Davenport Neck. Beckwithe Point, The Greentree Country Club and The Surf Club are the largest of the private shore clubs, providing waterfront recreation to members during the summer season. The New York Athletic Club sits on Travers Island, located on the border of New Rochelle and Pelham Manor.
  • New Rochelle Yacht Club, Echo Bay Yacht Club and Imperial Yacht Club are several well known, private yacht clubs in the city.
  • New York Sailing School and New Rochelle Rowing Club each have histories dating back over 100 years.
  • The City operates a large marina with 300 slips and 150 mooring spaces.


The City has an impressive collection of parklands and nature preserves, with of inland waters, of public park lands and of park lets.

  • Glen Island — In 1879 John H. Starin, a former U.S. Congressman and New York transportation king, bought five islands which he named 'Glen Island ' and created perhaps the first theme park open to the public. His 12 steamboats transported millions of New York residents and others to the attractions which included a zoo, a natural history museum, a railway, a German beer garden (around the castle-like structure which still stands today), a bathing beach, and a Chinese pagoda. Today the park is a island property connected to the mainland by a drawbridge built in the 1920s. One of the main features of the park is its pristine, crescent shaped beach offering access to Long Island Sound.
  • Five Islands Park is a series of islands connected by small footbridges and pathways, offers playground, sports, hiking and camping facilities for all residents to enjoy.
  • Hudson Park encompasses along the city's harbor front and includes a beach for residents, the city boathouse, greenhouses, the shore station of the United States Coast Guard and several yacht and rowing clubs. The park is traditionally accepted as the original landing place of the Huguenot settlers. A granite boulder with bronze tablets commemorates the event.
  • Davids' Island, a 78 acre island of the coast of the city, is being transformed from a former American military base (Fort Slocum) into a park and environmental preserve. Beginning just after the Civil War, the island was a military base used to protect New York Harbors, during World War I it served as an army recruitment station and up until 1967, it maintained various ‘Cold War’ facilities. Today it is home to a variety of plants, birds, and animals. These include the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, and rare birds such as osprey and least terns. Davids Island also supports valuable wetlands, rare rocky intertidal areas, and sandy beaches. The waters surrounding the Island are home to Winter Flounder, Atlantic Herring, and Atlantic Silversides.
  • Ward Acres, located in the North End, is a combination of untouched forest, wild lawns and meadows, acres of hiking, exercise trails and historic horse stables/cemeteries. In 2007, The Westchester County Department of Conservation produced a Natural Resource Management Plan in order to identify and protect the natural resource needs of the park. It encompasses 62 acres, with the forests divided into four main sections, each distinct in both general characteristics and species presence. It's formed by a portion of a former private state that contained a horse farm, and by an old railroad right of way. It includes a three acre fenced-in dog run, and it's is the only park in the City in which residents can walk a dog.
  • The Leatherstocking Trail is a long, inter-municipal hiking trail situated between New Rochelle and Mamaroneck, eventually linking into Saxon Woods County Park. It is part of a larger "Colonial Greenway Trail" in which it connects to Twin Lakes/Nature Study and Saxon Woods parks.
  • Sheldrake Lake which formerly served as a reservoir supplying the areas drinking water, is now a park and nature conservancy promoting an increased understanding of the local ecology.
  • Twin Lakes Park, combined with the adjacent Nature Study Woods comprise of woods, marsh, lakes, ponds and some fields along the Hutchinson River in New Rochelle’s Northend. There are many foot trails weaving through woods, marshlands, fields and around two large lakes (formerly reservoirs).


  • Wykagyl Country Club is located in the Wykagyl section of New Rochelle on North Avenue just south of Quaker Ridge Road. Golfweek magazine ranks Wykagyl as one of America's Top 100 Classic Courses.
  • Pelham Country Club, straddles the border of New Rochelle and Pelham Manor. The course is a mile from the Westchester, New York City border and Pelham Bay Park.

Landmarks, sites and attractions

  • Columbia Island - a small island (appx. square) situated between Davids' Island and Pea Island. Up until 1940 it was known as Little Pea Island. CBS purchased it and built a concrete foundation to support a transmitter building topped by a tall antenna tower for WCBS-AM. The transmitter remained in operation until the 1960s, when the station was moved to nearby High Island.
  • Execution Rocks Lighthouse - centered in the middle of Long Island Sound, just south of Davids' Island.The structure was built in 1849 and includes a tall tower and the ‘keeper's house’. It is rumored that the lighthouse's site got its name before the American Revolutionary War when British colonial authorities executed people by chaining them to the rocks at low tide and allowing the rising water to drown them. In reality, the name was chosen to reflect the historically dangerous shipping area created by the rocks exposure during low tides.
  • Huckleberry Island - a 10 acre island owned by the Huckleberry Indians, Inc., a club within the New York Athletic Club. The island is an important nesting site for waterbirds such as egrets and night herons.
  • Leland Castle - a 19th century gothic revival castle built as the summer residence of Simeon Leland, a wealthy New York City hotel entrepreneur. It has since been acquired by the College of New Rochelle and is used as an art gallery available to the public.
  • St. John's Wilmot Church - a historic Episcopal parish located in the northern end of the City at the intersection of North Avenue and Wilmot Road, formerly referred to as “Cooper's Corner”.
  • Thomas Paine Historical Site - a historical nexus within the city, the site is comprised of: the country home of the American pamphleteer and Revolutionary War hero Thomas Paine, his burial site, monument, and a museum. Paine's Cottage was built in 1793 and is a National Historic Landmark. The Thomas Paine Memorial Building, built in 1925, houses the library and museum collection of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. Also on the site is the Brewster Schoolhouse, one of the oldest structural relics in Westchester County.
  • Trinity-St. Paul's Episcopal Church - added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. It is located at the northwest corner of Huguenot Street (also known as the Boston Post Road) and Division Street. This church represents the body of the majority group of New Rochelle's founding Huguenot French Calvanistic congregation that conformed to the liturgy of the established Church of England in June of 1709. King George III gave Trinity its first charter in 1762. After the Revolutionary War, Trinity became a parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America.


New Rochelle is located at the southeastern point of continental New York State. It lies on the Long Island Sound, bordered on the west by Pelham, Pelham Manor and Eastchester, by Scarsdale to the north and east, Mamaroneck and Larchmont to the east. The city lies north of the New York City border (Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx).According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.2 square miles (34.3 km²). The city has a rough triangle shape, approximately 10 miles (16 km) from north to south and 1.5 miles (2 km) from east to west at its widest point.

Government and emergency services


Since 1932 New Rochelle has operated under a Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager is the chief administrative officer of the city selected to carry out the directives of the Council. The Manager monitors the city's fiscal condition and enforces it's ordinances and laws. The City Manager is involved in the discussion of all matters coming before Council yet has no final vote. The City Council is the legislative body consisting of the Mayor and six council members. The Mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Council. Since 1993 the City has had six council districts, with one council member elected from and by each district. The Council functions to set policy, approve the annual budget, appoint the City Manager and City Clerk, and enact local laws, resolutions & ordinances .


New Rochelle's Fire Department actively pursues code enforcement and fire prevention. By keeping buildings up to code, controlling illegal occupancies, monitoring the safety of living-areas and issuing licenses and permits, the department works to control the potential for dangerous situations. With five state-of-the-art facilities stationed throughout the city, the department is capable of handling fires, rescues, extrications, medical emergencies, hazardous material incidents and natural disasters. The NRFD is known as the premiere fire department in the area because of its wide range of services and is frequently called on by nearby communities to assist in handling emergency situations. Unlike nearby communities that depend on volunteer fire and emergency medical resources, the city's emergency services are municipally funded.


The Town of New Rochelle formed its first professional police department in 1885, 14 years before the city incorporated in 1899. The Department currently has 186 sworn officers and a total staff of more than 250. In 1993 the Department was certified as an accredited agency by the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation Council. Special programs inlcude community oriented policing through the 'Police and Community Together' (PACT) program, harbor patrol, and a bicycle patrol.


Sound Shore Medical Center of Westchester is a not-for-profit health care organization located in located in New Rochelle that treats over 85,000 patients annually and operates the only New York State Area Trauma Center in southern Westchester County.

Crime statistics

According to the New Rochelle Police Department, New Rochelle is the safest city of its size in New York State and the fifth safest city of its size in the United States. The majority of crimes committed within New Rochelle are non-violent property crimes, including burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Property crime, on a scale of 1 (low crime) to 10, is 4 compared to the US average of 3. Violent crime (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) is 3, equal to the US average.


As measured by the census of 2000, New Rochelle (City) had a population of 72,182 people, 24,275 occupied households, and 17,546 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,973.5 people per square mile (2,692.7/km²). There were 26,995 housing units at an average density of 2,608.0/sq mi (1,007.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68% White, 19% African American, 0.20% Native American, 4% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6% from other races, and 3% from two or more races. 20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males. There were 26,189 households out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.29.

19,312 residents of New Rochelle were enrolled in school, with 2,743 in pre-school or kindergarten, 8,105 in elementary school, 3,704 in high school and 5,030 in college or graduate school. Out of 42,872 individuals over the age of 25, 20% (9,766) had no high school diploma, 23% (11,325) were high school graduates, 14% (6,710) achieved some level of college education, 5% (2,347) received their Associate's Degree, 19% (9,120) received their Bachelor's Degree and 20% (9,604) received a Graduate Degree.

The working population was 35,262 individuals, 95.7% of whom were employed. The occupational breakdown had 42% working in 'management', 25% working in 'sales', 17% in 'services', 8% in 'construction', and 7% in 'production and transport'. The average daily commute was 30 minutes, with 60% driving to work, 12% carpooling, 18% traveling via public-transportation and 7% using other means.

According to the 2006 Census estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $58,141 and the median income for a family was $81,533. About 9.8% of the population was below the poverty line.



Major highways include Interstate 95 and the Hutchinson River Parkway. Interstate 95 serves as the main route through New Rochelle with four exits directly serving the city. The Hutchinson River Parkway, which is designated for passenger vehicles only, runs through much of the city. Substantial congestion on the Parkway occurs in both directions during the morning and evening rush-hour.

The Boston Post Road, also known as Main Street in downtown New Rochelle, is used as a major artery during the morning and evening commute. Most traffic via the Post Road is short distance or fairly local, yet vehicles have utilized Route 1 during times of heavy congestion on I-95 as a re-route.


The city has a commuter railroad station served by Metro North as well as Amtrak.

The New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad

By 1848, the New York & New Haven opened their line along Long Island Sound. After the end of the Civil War, proposals for new railroads reached new levels. As New York City continued to expand, many proposals were made to link The Bronx with Westchester County, hoping to capitalize on increasing real estate values. Banking that the city would continue to grow northward, the New York, Westchester and Boston Railway Company developed new lines of service to serve the large populations moving to the suburbs. Two main lines were built as part of the NYW&B; the Port Chester line and the White Plains line. The Port Chester Line ran along the same route as the New York Railroads New Haven line which remains in service today. The White Plains Line ran north through much of New Rochelle's rural, undeveloped Northend. Even by 1912, much of 'Upper Rochelle' remained sparsely populated. The Wykagyl and Quaker Ridge stations fronted dirt roads and were not served by public transportation. Ironically, most of the real-estate development that did occur at the time was attracting wealthier residents who owned their own automobiles, frequently chauffeur-driven, and used them instead of public-transportation for local trips. While the populations of some communities served by the NYWB did grow between 1912 and 1937, the growth was not large enough and did not occur fast enough to provide sufficient business for the railroad and service was discontinued on December 31 1937. The only signs of the railway that are left can be found in a few remaining station houses, most notably the Quaker Ridge station, currently a private residence and the former Wykagyl station, now part of a shopping center.


New Rochelle has been home to a variety of industries over the years, including: Thanhouser Film Studios, Terrytoons Studios, P.J. Tierney Diner Manufacturing (now DeRaffele Manufacturing Company), Flynn Burner Company, New York Seven Up (Joyce Beverages, Inc), RawlPlug, Inc., the Longines Symphonette Society, Conran's USA. Manufacturing and warehousing has declined since the 1990s as industrial land near both exits from Interstate 95 have been converted to "big box" retailer use. New Rochelle remains a center of business, home to the corporate headquarters of Sidney Frank Importing, Blimpies, and East River Savings Bank.

Sister city

New Rochelle’s ‘sister city’ is La Rochelle, France, a city and commune of western France with a (population 78,000 in 2004).

New Rochelle in film, music, television and fiction

Notable residents


External links

{{Geographic Location (8-way) | Centre = New Rochelle | North = Scarsdale, White Plains | Northeast = Harrison, Mamaroneck(village) | East = Mamaroneck(town} | Southeast = Larchmont | South = Long Island Sound | Southwest = Pelham Manor, Pelham | Northwest = Eastchester | West = Bronxville | image = }}

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