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fares well

Yonkers, New York

Yonkers is the fourth largest city in the U.S. State of New York (behind Rochester, Buffalo, and New York City), and the largest city in Westchester County, with a population of 196,086 (according to the 2000 census). More recent estimates put the population at 197,234 in 2002, 197,126 in 2004 and 196,425 in 2005. Yonkers borders the New York City borough of The Bronx and is 2 miles (3 km) north of Manhattan at the cities' two respective closest points.

The city is home to several attractions, an example of which is Yonkers Raceway, a harness racing track that has renovated its grounds and clubhouse and added legalized video slot machine gambling in 2006 in a "racino" called Empire City. The race track's renovation forced the move of the city's weekly Flea Market; now held in the parking lot of the Edward J. Murray Skating Center, located at 348 Tuchahoe Road, every Sunday between the months of May & December. There are also many large shopping areas along Central Park Avenue (NY 100), informally called "Central Avenue" by area residents, a name it takes officially a few miles north in White Plains, New York.It is also in consideration of being annexed by the city of New York as a new borough

Geography

The city is spread out over hills rising from near sea level at the eastern bank of the Hudson River to 416 feet (126 m) at Sacred Heart Church, whose spire can be seen from Long Island, New York City, and New Jersey. The landscape of the city has been compared to that of San Francisco and Sarajevo.

Yonkers is located at (40.941478, -73.864365).

The city occupies 20.3 square miles (52.6 km²), including 46.8 km² (18.1 sq mi) of land and 5.8 km² (2.2 sq mi) (11.02%) of water, according to the United States Census Bureau.

The Bronx River separates Yonkers from Mount Vernon, Tuckahoe, Eastchester, Bronxville, and Scarsdale to the east. The towns of Greenburgh and Hastings-on-Hudson are to the north, and on the western border is the Hudson River.

On the south, Yonkers borders the Riverdale, Woodlawn, and Wakefield sections of The Bronx. In addition, the southernmost point of Yonkers is only 2 miles (3 km) north of the northernmost point of Manhattan when measured from Broadway & Caryl Avenue in Yonkers to Broadway & West 228th Street in the Marble Hill section of Manhattan.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there are 196,086 people, 74,351 households, and 49,294 families residing in the city. The population density is 10,847.5 people per square mile (4,187.5/km²). There are 77,589 housing units at an average density of 4,292.2/sq mi (1,656.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 60.00% White, 16.61% African American, 0.44% Native American, 4.86% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 13.44% from other races, and 4.42% from two or more races. 25.93% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.9% were of Italian and 11.6% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 61.3% spoke English, 22.7% Spanish, 3.9% Italian, 2% Arabic and 1.3% Portuguese as their first language.

There are 74,351 households out of which 30.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% are married couples living together, 17.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% are non-families. 29.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.23.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $44,663, and the median income for a family is $53,233. Males have a median income of $41,598 versus $34,756 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,793. 15.5% of the population and 13.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.8% of those under the age of 18 and 9.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

City Departments

Aging, Office for the
City Clerk
Code Enforcement Bureau
Community Services
Constituent Services
Consumer Protection Bureau
Corporation Counsel
Downtown and Waterfront Development
Economic Development
Emergency Management, Office of
Engineering
Finance
Film Office
Fire Department
Housing & Buildings
Human Resources Administration
Human Rights
Inspector General
Parking Violations Bureau
Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation
Planning and Development
Police Department
Public Affairs
Public Works
Purchasing
Real Estate
Support Services
Veterans' Services

History

The land on which the city is built was once part of a 24,000 acre (97 km²) land grant that ran from the current Manhattan/Bronx border at Marble Hill northwards for 12 miles (19 km), and from the Hudson River eastwards to the Bronx River. This grant was given in July 1645 by New Netherland Director-General Willem Kieft to Adriaen van der Donck, originally named Colen Donck. Van der Donck was known locally as the Jonkheer or Jonker (etymologically, "young gentleman"; in effect, "Esquire"), a word from which the name "Yonkers" is directly derived. Van der Donck built a saw mill near where the Nepperhan Creek met the Hudson; the Nepperhan is now also known as the Saw Mill River.

Near the site of van der Donck's mill is Philipse Manor Hall, a Colonial-era manor house which today serves as a museum and archive, offering many glimpses into life before the American Revolution. The original structure (later enlarged) was built around 1682 by Frederick Philipse, a wealthy Dutchman who, by the time of his death, had amassed an enormous estate which encompassed the entire modern City of Yonkers, as well as several other Hudson River towns. Philipse's great-grandson, Frederick Philipse III, was a prominent Loyalist during the American Revolution, who, because of his political leanings, was forced to flee to England.

For its first two hundred years, Yonkers was a small farming town with an active waterfront. Yonkers's later growth rested largely on developing industry. In 1853, the Otis Elevator Company, opened the first elevator factory in the world on the banks of the Hudson. Around the same time, the Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Company (in the Saw Mill River Valley) expanded to 45 buildings, 800 looms, and over 4,000 workers and was known as one of the premier carpet producing centers in the world. In 1892, Smith carpets were sent to Moscow for the czar's coronation. Bakelite, the first completely synthetic plastic, was invented in Yonkers circa 1906, and manufactured there until the late 1920s.

Early in the 20th Century, Yonkers also hosted a brass era automobile maker, Colt Runabout Company; despite the car's seemingly glowing performance, the company went under.

Yonkers was also the headquarters of the Waring Hat Company, at the time the nation's largest hat manufacturer. World War II saw the city's factories manufacture such items as tents and blankets in the Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Factory and tanks in the Otis Elevator factory.

After World War II, however, with increased competition from less expensive imports, Yonkers lost much of its manufacturing activity. The Alexander Smith Carpet mill fell on hard times and ceased operation on June 24, 1954. In 1983, the Otis Elevator Factory finally closed its doors. With the loss of jobs in the city itself, Yonkers followed the trend of many suburban cities after World War II, becoming primarily a commuter city. Yonkers' excellent transportation infrastructure, including three commuter railroad lines (now two) and five parkways and freeways, as well as its 15-minute drive from Manhattan, made it a desirable city to live in. Yonkers' manufacturing sector, however, has recently shown a resurgence. A Kawasaki railroad cars assembly plant opened in 1986 in the former Otis plant, producing the new R142A and R160B cars for the New York City Subway, and the PA4 and upcoming PA5 series for PATH.

Aside from being a manufacturing center, Yonkers also played a key role in the development of entertainment in the United States. In 1888, Scottish immigrant John Reid founded the first golf course in the United States, St. Andrew's Golf Club, in Yonkers. On January 4, 1940, Yonkers resident Edwin Howard Armstrong transmitted the first FM radio broadcast (on station W2XCR) from the Yonkers home of C.R. Runyon, a co-experimenter. Yonkers also had the longest running pirate radio station, owned by Allan Weiner during the 70s through the 80s. In spite of this historic broadcast, Yonkers has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the United States to not have a broadcast station licensed to it, but WVIP / WRTN 93.5 FM has been in Yonkers, NY since the 1950s. One of the main reasons for this is its central location in the New York City market, with many nearby stations crowding the airwaves.

The Irish-American community plays a prominent role in Yonkers, and the city hosts one of the oldest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country.

The city is also home to a large Italian-American community, many of whom moved to the city after originally settling in the Bronx and in Brooklyn. The city hosts a large Columbus Day festival with a Miss Italian-American pageant.

Another large community is the Slavic community. In the early and mid 20th Century a large amount of people emigrated from Poland , Ukraine , Czechoslavakia , Russia , and Croatia . Recently a large amount of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia have called Yonkers home. The Slavic community is centered around St. Casimir's Roman Catholic Church, Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Most Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, and St. John the Baptist Ukranian Catholic Church. Yonkers still has a large Slavic community.

Southwest Yonkers is home to a large Arab community. Many people have come from Jordan and Lebanon . Arabic masses are held at Immaculate Conception Church.

Yonkers also has a signifigant Portuguese population.

There also once was a significant Jewish population (the Broadway plays Hello Dolly! and Lost in Yonkers both take place within the Yonkers Jewish community). However, its size has dwindled (but not vanished) as the older generation dies off and the younger generation moves to the Sunbelt or to other (usually more affluent) parts of metropolitan New York City, with the trend accelerating after the housing integration court battles (see below). However, in recent years, some areas bordering similar neighborhoods in Riverdale are seeing an influx of Orthodox Jews.

There was a years-long battle over housing integration in the 1980s and 1990s, which ended only after a court ruling nearly bankrupted the city government, by imposing exponentially increasing contempt of court penalties after the then-mayor refused to build public housing outside of the traditionally black and Latino neighborhoods downtown. (See "Image", below.)

Neighborhoods

Though Yonkers contains many small residential enclaves and communities, it can conveniently be divided into four quarters, demarcated by the Saw Mill River. There are roughly 37 or more distinct neighborhoods, but these names are out of date only being used by real estate agents, along with a few other natives.

Northeast Yonkers

This is a heavily Irish-American and Italian-American area. Though suburban, it is noticeably less so than the Town of Greenburgh to the north. House sizes vary widely, from small houses set close together, to some larger houses in areas like Lawrence Park West. Tuckahoe Road, which intersects Central Avenue, contains many stores as well. Notable former residents include Steven Tyler of the rock band Aerosmith (born Steven Tallarico), whose childhood home was just off Central Avenue. Northeastern Yonkers contains the Crestwood section of Yonkers, as well as several other enclaves. Landmarks include St Vladimir's Seminary, the Tanglewood Shopping Center (one-time home of the Tanglewood Boys gang), as well as Sarah Lawrence College. The Lawrence Park West and Cedar Knolls sections are unique in many ways from the rest of Northeast Yonkers. These two neighborhoods include more upscale housing and residents are generally commuters to Manhattan. This is mostly due to the promixity of various nearby Metro-North commuter railroad stations. Both sections are heavily white, but unlike most other Yonkers neighborhoods, are not dominated by any particular ethnicity. Because they share the zip code of the neighboring upscale village of Bronxville, many residents feel they are more a part of Bronxville than Yonkers. Because these communities share a post office and ZIP code with its Bronxville counterpart, there are apocryphal stories about residents not knowing they live in Yonkers until they receive a city tax bill. Many residents seem to opt to send their children to private schools. There is also a joke that Sarah Lawrence College has two sets of stationary. One identifying it as in Yonkers and is used for dealings with the city. The other says it's in Bronxville and it's used for recruiting and public relations. Sarah Lawrence College has historically bought homes in Lawrence Park West and converted them to dormitories and classrooms.

Northwest Yonkers

Northwest Yonkers is a collection of widely varying neighborhoods, spanning from the Hudson River to around the New York State Thruway/I-87 and from Ashburton Avenue north to the Hastings-on-Hudson border. With the Hudson River bordering it to the west, this area has many beautiful Victorian-era homes with panoramic views of the Palisades. An interest in historic preservation has taken hold in this neighborhood in recent years, as demonstrated on streets like Shonnard Terrace, Delavan Place and Hudson View Terrace. The population of northwestern Yonkers is probably the most ethnically diverse in the city.

Landmarks include the Hudson River Museum, Untermyer Park and the Lenoir Nature Preserve. The significant amount of surviving Victorian architecture and 19th century estates in northwest Yonkers has attracted many filmmakers in recent years.

The two block section of Palisade Ave between Chase and Roberts Ave in northwest Yonkers is colloquially known as the "end" of Yonkers. It was and still is the only retail and food shopping area in the neighborhood, and was well known by the local kids for an original soda fountain store "Uricks". It was once the end of the # 2 trolley line. The # 2 bus replaced the trolley line. One part of Yonkers that is sometimes overlooked is Nepera Park. This is a small section at the northern part of Nepperhan Avenue on the Hastings-on-Hudson border.

Southeast Yonkers

Southeast Yonkers is mostly Irish-American (a lot of the Irish being native born) and a good amount of Italian-Americans. Much of the architecture and types of stores in the area cause southeastern Yonkers to bear a greater resemblance to certain parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island than to points north. This is not surprising as southeastern Yonkers is largely within walking distance of the Riverdale, Woodlawn, and Wakefield sections of the Bronx. Many residents regard eastern McLean Avenue, home to a vibrant Irish community shared with the Woodlawn section of the Bronx, to be the true hub of Yonkers. Similarly, a portion of Midland Avenue in the Dunwoodie section has been called the "Little Italy" of Yonkers. Landmarks of southeastern Yonkers include the Cross County Shopping Center, Yonkers Raceway, and St. Joseph's Seminary in the Dunwoodie neighborhood, which was visited by Pope John Paul II in October 1995 and later by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008.

Southwest Yonkers

This area in Yonkers has suffered from past economic, political, and social challenges that hindered many positive social changes. However, the area presently reveals a decrease in crime rate and a juxtaposition of poverty and revitalization that mirrors newly gentrified neighborhoods of New York City's Harlem and Brooklyn. Off of South Broadway (a major thoroughfare) one can find residential neighborhoods, such as Nodine Hill, Park Hill, and Hudson Park (off the Hudson River) with residential streets of turn-of-the-century mansions, and upscale luxury rentals and condominiums. Other upscale neighborhoods are Ludlow Park, Hudson Park & Van Cortlandt Crest, off Riverdale Avenue, right over the Riverdale border - the former alongside the Hudson River. The area is also home to the historic Phillips Manor, the Hudson River Museum with its Andrus Planetarium and a state of the art Yonkers Public Library with panoramic Hudson River views.

Many southwesterners are of African, Caribbean, Italian, or Hispanic decent while an influx those from other cultural backgrounds has continued to shape a culturally diverse community. Some neighborhoods right on the Riverdale border are increasingly becoming home to Orthodox Jews. The revitalization of the downtown Yonkers/Getty Square area has helped to nurture growth for Southwest Yonkers. In the early 2000s several new luxury apartment buildings were built along the Hudson, as well as a new monument park, renovation of a Victorian-era pier, a new public library housed in the remodeled Otis elevator factory. Many new projects are intended to revitalize downtown Yonkers.

Transportation

Mass transit

Yonkers is among the cities with the highest transit ridership. It has four Hudson-Line Metro-North Railroad stations providing commuter service to New York City: Ludlow, Yonkers, Glenwood and Greystone. The Yonkers station is also served by Amtrak. Several Harlem-Line stations are on or very near the city's eastern border. These include Wakefield, Mt. Vernon West, Fleetwood, Bronxville, Tuckahoe and Crestwood.

Bus service is provided by the Westchester County Bee-Line Bus System, and an MTA Bus Company express route to Manhattan.

Recently, New York Water Taxi has started a ferry service from downtown Yonkers to Manhattan's Financial District. As of January 4, 2008, this service runs four times a day.

Roads and paths

Major limited-access roads in Yonkers include Interstate 87 (the New York State Thruway), the Saw Mill, Bronx River, Sprain Brook and Cross County parkways. US 9, NY 9A and 100 are important surface streets.

The former New York and Putnam Railroad running through the middle of Yonkers has been converted into bicycling and walking paths going north along the Saw Mill River to Elmsford and south to Van Cortlandt Park.

Image

Yonkers fares well in most measures of crime. According to a 2003 report by the city it was ranked with a much lower crime rate than other suburbs around New York City, such as Newark, New Jersey, and Paterson, New Jersey, as well as similarly-sized New York cities like Buffalo and Rochester.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Yonkers developed a national reputation for racial tension, based on a long-term battle between the City of Yonkers and the NAACP over the building of subsidized low-rent housing. The City wanted to use federal funds to create or expand high-rise housing projects in southwest Yonkers; other groups, led by the NAACP, felt that concentrating subsidized housing in traditionally poor neighborhoods perpetuated poverty. The climax of the battle came when United States district court Judge Leonard Sand imposed a fine on Yonkers which started at $1 and doubled every day until the City capitulated to the federally mandated plan. A history of this battle can be found in Lisa Belkin's 1999 book Show Me a Hero.

Education

Public schools in Yonkers are operated by Yonkers Public Schools

Libraries are operated by the Yonkers Public Library

Revitalization

Amidst a growing need for increased economic viability in Yonkers, a vast revitalization project proposal, promising to add luxury housing, waterfront development, commercial and retail space, has been designed for the city. With hopes of increasing the city's tourism and economic importance in the state and county, the project is one of the largest revitalization projects ever proposed for any locality within the New York Metropolitan Area, totaling more than $3 billion

The project is headed by Westchester County's Louis R. Cappelli, Struever Bros. of Baltimore, and New Jersey's Fidelco Realty. The project is expected to include a controversial Minor League Baseball stadium, and an expansive retail and residential project, adding approximately 800 residential units throughout the downtown area and the waterfront. The community's strong opposition to plans for high rise buildings along their waterfront is so far being ignored by both developers and city government.

The project has as its catalyst the "daylighting" of the now buried Saw Mill River, an idea championed by community-based organizations like Groundwork Yonkers and its Saw Mill River Coalition. The Pataki Administration at Scenic Hudson's urging contributed $34 million in funds for daylighting. The concept of a river accompanied by a natural greenway path and commercial development has been successful in the revitalization of downtowns in San Antonio, Texas and Providence, Rhode Island.

Although many city officials and residents find much need for city revitalization and urban redevelopment efforts, controversy has surfaced over the major project. A number of residents feel the project is an insidious attempt by the city government and project officials to enforce a policy of outright gentrification. Due to the use of eminent domain and other methods, some residents are fearful that they will ultimately be the victims in the redevelopment battle.

Others, however, are staunch proponents of the multi-billion dollar redevelopment effort, foreseeing the transition of Yonkers from a suburban city in the shadows of New York City, to a tourist attraction of economic importance.

Although no official time table has been proposed for the redevelopment project, it will likely take several years before the completion of the project.

Notable people

See also

References

External links

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