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Mount Vernon is a city in Westchester County, New Yorkmarker. It lies on the border of the New York Citymarker borough of the Bronxmarker.


Mount Vernon is the eighth most populous city in the state of New York. It is a predominantly African-American city in a majority Caucasian county. The northern half of Mount Vernon has a suburban presence with tree lined streets and close knit homes side by side while the southern portion of the city has a very urban feel, nearly mirroring its border city The Bronxmarker. The city's downtown business district is also located on the city's southside, which features the City Hall, Office buildings, and other municipal establishments.

Mount Vernon has in recent years undergone a transition from a city of homes and mediocre businesses to a city of regional commerce. Between 2000 and 2006, the city of Mount Vernon's economy grew 20.5%, making it one of the fastest growing cities in the metropolitan area of New York. Mount Vernon is often considered a poster child for cities within the county for having such a large magnitude of diversity for a city of its size.

During the 1960s, Mount Vernon was a divided city on the brink of a "northern style" segegration. Many blacks from the South came to the north and settled in the city of Mount Vernon for better job opportunities and educational advancements. At the same time, many Caucasians from the Bronxmarker and Manhattanmarker looked to Mount Vernon as a new "bedroom community" due to rising crime in New York Citymarker (a "white flight" factor entailed as well). As a result, Mount Vernon became divided by the New Haven Line railroad tracks of the Metro North railroad into two parts north and south. The population of the "South Side" of the tracks became predominantly African American while the "North Side" of the tracks was largely white. At the height of this "segregation" in the 1970s August Petrillo was Mayor; when he died, Thomas E. Sharpe was elected Mayor. Upon Sharpe's death in 1984, Carmella Iaboni took office as "acting-Mayor" until Ronald Blackwood was elected. Mr. Blackwood was the first Afro-Caribbean mayor of the city (as well as of any city in New York State). In many ways he was the perfect man to try to bridge the gaps and bring a divided city together. For one thing, he did not come to Mount Vernon from the South but was originally from Jamaicamarker (at the time unlike today very few of the black population was of West Indianmarker origin). His wife was white and he was a former Republican in a heavily Democratic and liberal city. He claimed that Mount Vernon would stand apart from cities that supported segregation and division amongst its people, touting itself as "The City Too Busy to Hate." He was popular among Mount Vernonites of all races, leading African Americans to become the dominant social and political force in the city, as representatives of all of the city's diverse ethnicities.


Mount Vernon was first settled in 1664.

Postcard view of Mount Vernon Avenue in the late 19th century
1850, John Stevens, a merchant tailor from New York City, set out to improve the condition of the working class in New York. Among his goals was to create a property-holding class out of rent payers. To this end he organized the Industrial Home Association No. 1 of New York. Qualifications for membership were moral character, industrious habits and the desire to promote a common purpose. 1,017 due-paying members joined the Association, which purchased the land that then became the Village of Mount Vernon, part of the Town of Eastchestermarker. It consisted of five farms with a combined area of about , costing a total of $75,342.88, or roughly $205 per acre. The land extended from what is now Union Avenue on the east to Fifteenth Avenue on the west; and from Valentine Street on the north to Sandford Boulevard (6th Street) and a small portion of Kingsbridge on the south.

Mount Vernon at this time consisted mainly of farm lands crossed by two important railroads, the New York and Harlem (that already had a station there) and the New York and New Haven. Mount Vernon was named after the Virginiamarker plantation where George Washington lived and died, just as neighboring Wakefield was named after the plantation where he was born.Central Mount Vernon remained mostly undeveloped until Charles Crary bought land on Chester Hill in 1869. He laid out orderly building lots and placed restrictions on the use of the lots and who could purchase them. Chester Hill became a privileged community.


Spanish-American War Memorial Fountain
Community Church at the Circle, and statue
Mount Vernon has many turn of the century historic places.

A famous landmark has existed on Gramatan and Lincoln Avenue since the late 1800s.It was known simply as "The Circle" until circa 1942 when it was named McArthur Circle after General Arthur MacArthur, a Civil War and Spanish-American War hero, a Medal of Honor winner and father of WWII hero, General Douglas McArthur. "The Circle" was torn down in 1972.

A statue of a Spanish-American soldier was added and remains in the center of the new "Roundabout," which opened in 2007.

Law and government

Mount Vernon is governed by a Mayor and a City Council. Currently serving in the second year of his first term is Clinton Young, mayor of the city, who is a Democrat. The City Council consists of five representatives. Each council member is elected at large and therefore represents all of the citizens of the city. The City Council President is William R. Randolph. The other members of the city council are J. Yuhanna Edwards, Marcus A. Griffith, Steven D. Horton, and Eileen Justino. All members of the City Council are Democrats. The City also has an elected Comptroller. Maureen Walker is serving in her fourth term (16th year) as Comptroller.

2009 Election Season

In the election held on November 3, 2009, Maureen Walker was re-elected as Comptroller. She ran unopposed.

Democrats Yuhanna Edwards, Karen Watts and Roberta Apuzzo won election to four-year council terms and Diane Munro was elected to fill a term that expires in two years.

Court System

The Mount Vernon city court is part of the New York State Unified Court System. It has three elected full-time judges who serve for ten years and one part-time associate judge who is appointed by the mayor for a period of eight years. The Judges of the Court are William Edwards, Mark Gross, and Helen Blackwood. Adam Seiden serves as an Associate Judge of the court. The Court handles a wide variety of cases including initial processing of all felony criminal cases; handling of all misdemeanor cases from inception through trial; civil proceedings with a limited monetary jurisdiction of up to $25,000; all landlord tenant cases originating in the city; small claims cases; and all vehicle and traffic law matters. The court is housed in a state of the art facility in the public safety complex which is adjacent to city hall.

Law enforcement services are provided by the Mount Vernon Police Department. The police commissioner, David Chong, a former NYPD police officer, was appointed by former mayor Ernie Davis, and has been retained by the current mayor, Clinton L. Young.

Fire Department

Mount Vernon is protected 24/7 by the professional firefighters of the Mount Vernon Fire and Rescue Department(FDMV), that operates out of four city-wide fire stations, with a fire apparatus fleet of six engines (including one reserve engine), four trucks (including one reserve truck), one rescue, one field support unit, one squad support unit, one fleet maintenance unit, one utility pickup, and three command cars.

Fire Station Locations

  • Fire Headquarters-Fire Station # 1-470 East Lincoln Avenue
    • Ladder 2
    • Engine 6
  • Fire Station # 2-435 South Fulton Avenue
    • Engine 5
    • Rescue 1
    • Squad Support Unit
  • Fire Station # 3-50 West 3rd Street
    • Tower Ladder 1
    • Tower Ladder 3
    • Tower Ladder 4(Reserve)
    • Engine 1(Reserve)
    • Engine 3
    • Field Support Unit
    • Utility Unit
    • Fleet Maintenance Unit
    • Command Cars
  • Fire Station # 4-9-11 Oak Street
    • Engine 2
    • Engine 4


Mount Vernon is located at (40.914060, -73.830507). It is the third largest and the most densely populated city in the county of Westchester.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.3 km2), of which, 4.4 square miles (11.3 km2) of it is land and 1.7 square miles (4.3 km2) of it (0.76%) is water.

"Mount" Vernon's elevation at City Hall is about , reflecting its location between the Bronx River to the west and the Hutchinson Rivermarker to the east. From many parts of the City Throgs Neck Bridgemarker can be seen from away on a clear day and at night the bridge lights can be seen. The seal of the City, created in 1892, depicted what were then considered the highest points in Mount Vernon: Trinity Place near Fourth Street, Vista Place at Barnes Avenue, and North 10th Street between Washington and Jefferson places. Since then, it was discovered that the city's highest elevation is on New York Route 22, North Columbus Avenue, at the Bronxvillemarker line.


Map of Mount Vernon's neighborhoods
Mount Vernon is typically thought to be divided into four major sections in four square miles: The North Side, the South Side, Mount Vernon Heights and Downtown.

Complete Neighborhoods List

  • Chester Heights
  • Downtown
  • Estate Manor/Aubyn Estates
  • Fleetwood
  • Huntswood
  • Mount Vernon Heights
  • North Side
  • Oakwood Heights
  • Parkside
  • Southside
  • Standford Square
  • West Mount Vernon

North Side

This area of Mount Vernon is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Westchester County. Residents of all races seek out this area because of its multicultural and tolerant appeal and peaceful tree lined streets, steps from the Metro North Train to Manhattan. The Northern part of the city consists of five neighborhoods: Fleetwood, Chester Heights, Huntswood, Estate Manor/Aubyn Estates, and Oakwood Heights. In Fleetwood, there are many large Co-Op buildings lining the center of town, which is bisected by Gramatan Avenue. The Hunstwood and Estates sections in particular are more affluent areas that are on the border between Mount Vernon and the Village of Bronxvillemarker with property valuesranging from high $400,000 to millions of dollars for single houses.

South Side

Third Street Business Corridor
The South Side of the city includes Parkside, Southside, the West Side, and numerous other commercial and industrial businesses.

Within this area of the city, the population density is very high. The majority of the city's African American and Brazilian population resides here. It is home to many parks, the NYC famous "Fourth Avenue," Gramatan Avenue, the Boys and Girls Club (made famous by Denzel Washington who started attending the club when he was 6 and has often given the club credit for keeping him on the straight path), and many historic landmarks.

Mount Vernon Heights

Typical Mount Vernon heights neighborhood
This area's highly elevated terrain has named it "The rolling hills of homes". It is home to the Sandford Square section of the city's commercial corridor known as Sandford Boulevard (6th Street), which anchors businesses such as Best Buy, Petco, Staples, Stop and Shop, Bed,Bath,and Beyond, Famous Footwear, Memorial Field, Colonial Plaza, Hooperstown and Restaurant Depot. The area is also a certified commercial corridor in the city attracting shoppers from near by communities in the county as well as Bronx residents even as far away as Connecticut via the Merrit Parkway which merges onto the Hutchinson River Parkway. Most of the commercial development has occurred since the 1980s. The area is still undergoing revitalization to encourage economic development within this 400 acre of land situated along and around the boulevard.


Downtown Mount Vernon is currently in the same condition it was 40 years ago. It features the same mid-century architecture and format, little changed. It struggles to keep up with the surrounding communities' rapid development. The current mayor Clinton Young has vowed to make Mount Vernon a new epicenter with a new central business district. His plans include establishing commercial office space and rezoning to allow high density development in the downtown as well as affordable and market rate housing for well to do people looking for affordable modern style living.


The soon-to-be-demolished grandstand at Memorial Field
the city are a number of city parks large and small, and Willson's Woods Park, a 23 acre county-owned park. Straddling the border of Fleetwood and Chester Heights is Hunt's Woods, a county preserve taken over by the city in 1967. It is a small stretch of open woods with hiking and nature trails that is relatively unknown even to most residents of the city.

Numerous events take place periodically during the year, both indoors and outdoors. The Ice Hutch is a domed sports complex where ice hockey is played during the winter, located on the grounds of Hutchinson Field, on the southbound side of the Hutchinson River Parkway. Indoor golf and tennis are also available at the Ice Hutch throughout the year. Outdoors at Hutchinson Field, there are many minor-league fields and a batting cage. Hooperstown, a sports facility located on Sandford Blvd (6th St), contracts basketball-court time to teams and leagues and use of the facility for baseball clinics. It also rents the facility to other businesses that may offer one-on-one training or fitness camps. It is not yet open to the public. Adjacent to Hutchinson Field is the stadium-like Memorial Field, which contains a track for running, a soccer/football field, and a tennis court.

The city hosts many annual events, such as the Arts on Third Street Festival that is held in September, Parade of Flags in October, the MVCSD's Band Day Parade which is held in June, the Veterans Day parade which is held in November, Ben Gordon Day in August and the go-cart Grand Prix which is held in June or July in the downtown.


Mount Vernon has a large amount of commercial industry which boosts the city's economy, with industries such as manufacturing, electronics, engineering, and high tech mainly located in the Southside section of the city. The city is home to the headquarters of Zelco Industries Inc., Unitex, and Clickable Enterprises Inc., as well as Capri Album Inc. and Spl Integrated Solutions' northeast branch. Mount Vernon is also home to Columbus Construction Co., who helped at Ground Zero during the World Trade Centermarker cleanup in lower Manhattan. Mount Vernon also has an established Empire Zone for commercial and industrial use located in the southern portion of the city which has attracted manufacturing companies and nationally recognized businesses for major retailers and companies such as:

  • Window Modes
  • Esm/Bekins Movers
  • HalCraft USA
  • Granite Tops USA

  • WDF Greene
  • OWN Instruments
  • Furniture Restoration
  • Formasano

  • Century 21 Awnings
  • Travers & Company
  • Quality Ford (defunct)
  • Complete Plumbing & Heating

Economic development

Plans are moving forward to revitalize and regenerate the city's infrastructure. At only four square miles developers have over looked the city, but are now showing a tremendous interest in the city. As the only city in Westchester County served by two different commuter railroad lines (Metro North's Harlem Line traveling north, and the New Haven Line traveling east) and with three station stops (Mount Vernon West, Fleetwood on the Harlem Line and Mount Vernon East on the New Haven Line), developers have realized that it has all the benefits of becoming an economic powerhouse and bedroom community cradled between The Bronxmarker and upper Westchester Countymarker. Condominium projects are underway in the Fleetwood neighborhood of North Mount Vernon, though construction is currently stalled. Also in Fleetwood, the former A&P supermarket is currently being renovated as a CVS pharmacy. Construction is expected to be completed in 2010. Current plans in the downtown area include a mall center and shopping venue located along and within the Sandford Blvd (6th St) corridor, and a transit center.


As of the census of 2000, there were 68,381 people, 27,048 households, and 18,432 families residing in the city. The population density was 14,290.3 people per square mile (5,792.7/km2). There were 28,558 housing units at an average density of 7,205.9/sq mi (3,509.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 28.63% White, 59.58% African American, 0.32% Native American, 2.12% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.85% from other races, and 4.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.48% of the population. A significant proportion of the population is of Brazilian origin, and they can be included into the categories of African American, White, Multiracial and/or Latino. Similarly, a significant part of the Black and/or Latino population is of West Indian origin.

There were 27,048 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 28.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 82.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,128, and the median income for a family was $55,573. Males had a median income of $41,493 versus $37,871 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,827. 13.9% of the population and 11.8% of families were below the poverty line. 12.7% of the population is 65 or older.

The city of Mount Vernon's three major employers are the Mount Vernon city school district with 1,021 employees, Michael Anthony Jewelers (712 employees), and Mount Vernon Hospital (700 employees).

Brazilian community

According to estimates by the city and the Brazilian Consulate in New York, one in 10 people in Mount Vernon is from Brazil and two-thirds of those Brazilians are from Poços de Caldasmarker[...].

The Brazilian community is heavily concentrated in an area along and near West Lincoln Ave., from its beginning at the corner of Mt. Vernon Ave. going about half a mile down to Gramatan Ave. (N. Fourth Ave.), and has begun to expand into East Lincoln Avenue. Brazilian stores line commercial areas in these parts of Mount Vernon (especially within Gramatan Avenue [North Fourth Avenue]. from the railroad tracks to Lincoln Ave. and adjacent blocks), and neighborhood public schools have brought in teachers and counselors who speak Portuguese. The language can be heard on the streets throughout this area.

The Brazilians living in Mount Vernon have also transformed their Brazilian hometown, pumping millions of dollars into its economy and helping to pay for new homes and businesses there. So important are these remittances that Brazilian journalist Walther Alvarenga has made Mount Vernon the focus of a series of documentaries for Brazilian public television called New York, O Sonho Brasileiro ("New York, the Brazilian Dream").

In November 2005 Mayor Ernest D. Davis traveled to Poços de Caldas to sign a sister-city agreement to strengthen the bond between the two cities.

Health and education

The city has three high schools, Mount Vernon High Schoolmarker, Nellie A.Thornton High School, and Nelson Mandela Alternative High School. There are two middle schools (Longfellow Middle School and A.B. Davis) and eleven elementary schools (Traphagen, Pennington, Grimes, Longfellow, Graham, Lincoln, Columbus, Parker, Edward Williams, Hamilton, and Holmes). There are plans to make Pennington a combined elementary-middle K-8 school by the 2007-08 school year.

The city has the largest public library system in Westchester Countymarker and the sixth largest in New York Statemarker.

Mount Vernon Hospital has 228-beds. It provides in-patient, critical care, and ambulatory services to residents of Mount Vernon and neighboring communities. The hospital is most known for its premier Chronic Wound Treatment and Hyperbaric Center, which is one of the most advanced in the Northeast. It also offers a variety of services including the Assertive Community Treatment Center (ACT), the Family Health and Wellness Center, the Hopfer School of Nursing, Hyperbaric Medicine, and Intensive Case Management.

Mount Vernon Hospital is one of four hospitals in the county (Sound Shore Medical Center, White Plains Hospital, and Westchester Medical Center are the others), which provides programs in medicine, nursing, surgery and podiatry. The hospital has “some of the finest medical doctor educators on staff. There is a 92 percent pass rate on boards for medical residents.”

Mount Vernon hospital's emergency room is going to be expanded at a cost of 2.5 million dollars. The 115-year-old hospital is doubling the size of its emergency room from to 18,500. The expansion plans include 15 private treatment rooms and upgrades to the waiting area, triage room and other areas in the emergency department.

The hospital treats 25,000 patients a year in the emergency room and is part of the Sound Shore Health System.

The area around the hospital has many medical office buildings and facilities for treatment which provide healthcare to residents living in Mount Vernon, the southeast section of Yonkersmarker, and the north Bronxmarker which shares a border with the city.

Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, the Planned Parenthood affiliate that services Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester Counties of New York, opened its first medical center in Mount Vernon in 1935, and the affiliate remains a vital source for reproductive health care services to Mount Vernon residents.

Westchester Community College also has an extension site education facility located in the downtown.

Culture and ancestry

The city has an enormously diverse population for its size. Over 98 different nationalities call the city home. In just four square miles the ethnic background of the people range from German, Portuguese, Eritreanmarker, Indianmarker, Middle Eastern, and Brazilianmarker to Mexicanmarker, Gambianmarker, Italian, Jewish, Korean, Puerto Rican, and Jamaicanmarker. The city has a large Brazilian community located in the neighborhoods just north and east of the downtown, and it also has the largest West Indianmarker and West African population in the county, these groups mainly occupy the southwest corner of the city nearer to The Bronxmarker borderline. The Korean-American association of Mount Vernon calls the city home. Throughout the year, the city hosts events that honor these groups for their contributions to the city of Mount Vernon. The city's previous motto was "A City That Believes". This is reflected in the houses of worship in the city that represent over 25 denominations.

Major ancestry groups reported by Mount Vernon residents include:

Note: This adds up to much more than 100%.

Notable persons from Mount Vernon

The following were born (and/or raised) in Mount Vernon, or are (were) residents.

Selected Mayors: William Hart Hussey, Joseph Vaccarella, August Petrillo, Thomas E. Sharpe, Ronald Blackwood, Ernest D. Davis

Films using Mount Vernon for set locations

For all movies except Dead Presidents, as reported in Internet Movie Database ( The Thomas Crown Affair shot a scene in Wilson Woods park as it was transformed to look like Central Parkmarker, with the Vernon Woods co-op complex being used to stage and store equipment during the scene.


Metro North has three train stations in Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon Eastmarker is in the heart of downtown, on the New Haven Line. Mount Vernon Westmarker and Fleetwoodmarker on the Harlem Line are both on the western edge of the City. Petrillo Plaza, adjacent to the Mount Vernon East station in downtown Mount Vernon, is the hub for Westchester's Bee-Line Bus System service in Mount Vernon. Bee-Line routes serving Mount Vernon are 7, 40, 41, 42, 43, 52, 53, 54, 55, as well as the 91 which operates during the summer. MTA NYC bus route serving two blocks in Mount Vernon are Bx16 [Mundy Lane (S. 11th Ave) between W. 5th Street (Nereid Avenue) and W. Sandford Blvd (Pitman Avenue)]. The Mount Vernon's taxi services operate from Petrillo Plaza as well. In late 2005 the RBA Group conducted a study and found that over 5,000 commuters traverse the area on a daily basis: about 3,600 commuters use the Bee-Line Bus System, and 1,500 use the Metro North railroad.

Both the 2 train and the 5 train of the New York City subway system have terminals just south of the border of Mount Vernon, served by the Bee-Line. The 2 train terminates at 241st Street & White Plains Road in the Wakefield section of the Bronx (During rush hours the 5 also goes to Nereid Ave/238th St & White Plains Road), and the 5 train terminates at 233rd Street & Dyre Avenue in the Eastchester section. Both locations are within 5 minutes walking distance of the South Side of Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon is served by three of the county's busiest parkways which link to New York City, the Cross County Parkway, the Bronx River Parkway, and the Hutchinson River Parkway. I-95 and I-87 are both less than a mile from Mount Vernon's borders, offering both passenger car and truck access to the area.


  1. Encyclopedia Brittanic. 1984. Vol. VII, p. 74
  2. If You're Thinking of Living In Wakefield, the Bronx Hugging Westchester At the Subway's End from the New York Times, date January 31, 1999
  3. Mount Vernon Democrats keep majority on council, from LoHud.Com, date November 4, 2009
  4. [1]
  5. "A Brazilian Outpost in Westchester County." The New York Times 26 June 2006.[2]

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