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Yonkers is the fourth most populous city in the state of New Yorkmarker (behind Rochestermarker, Buffalomarker, and New York Citymarker), and the most populous city in Westchester County, New Yorkmarker, 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 Bronxmarker and is 2 miles (3 km) north of Manhattanmarker at the cities' two respective closest points.

The city is home to several attractions: the Hudson River Museum, the Sherwood House, Cross County Shopping Center, Yonkers Racewaymarker, 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 Tuckahoe 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 Ave" by area residents, a name it takes officially a few miles north in White Plains, New Yorkmarker.


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 Islandmarker, New York Citymarker, and New Jerseymarker. Its landscape has been compared to San Franciscomarker, Sarajevomarker, and Romemarker.

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 Vernonmarker, Tuckahoe, Eastchestermarker, Bronxvillemarker, and Scarsdalemarker to the east. The towns of Greenburghmarker and Hastings-on-Hudsonmarker are to the north, and on the western border is the Hudson River.

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

The gentilic for residents is alternately Yonkersonian or Yonkersite

Climate: Yonkers has cold winters and warm summers. Temperature ranges average lows of 27 degrees F in January, and average highs of 84 degrees F in July.


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 cultural makeup of the city is 57.00% 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 ethnicities. 25.93% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any ethnic background. 19.9% were of Italian and 11.6% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 61.3% spoke English, 22.7% Spanish, 3.9% Italian, 5% 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 25, 30.6% from 25 to 45, 21.2% from 45 to 65, 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.


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 Hillmarker 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 Hallmarker, 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 and his wife Margaret Hardenbroeck. Frederick was 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. All the lands that belonged to the Philipse family were confiscated and sold.

For its first two hundred years, Yonkers was a small farming town with an active industrial waterfront. Yonkers's later growth rested largely on developing industry. In 1853, Elisha Otis invented the first safety elevator and the Otis Elevator Company, opened the first elevator factory in the world on the banks of the Hudson near what is now Vark Street. It relocated to larger quarters [now "I.Park on Hudson] in the 1880s. 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 by Leo Baekeland, and manufactured there until the late 1920s.

Dignitaries at the 2005 Yonkers Saint Patrick's Day Parade
The community was incorporated as a village in the northern part of the Town of Yonkers in 1854, and as a city in 1872. The southern part of the Township became the South Bronx. The city having declined to join the City of Greater New York, plans were dropped to extend the new subway to Getty Square.

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 in which to live. 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, R143 and R160B cars for the New York City Subway, and the PA4 and upcoming PA5 series for PATHmarker.

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 1970s through the 1980s.

The Irish-American community is prominent in Yonkers, and the city hosts one of the nation's oldest St. Patrick's Day parades. There is also home to a large Italian-American community, and the city hosts a large Columbus Day festival with a Miss Italian-American pageant.Yonkers also has a significant Portuguese population.

Another large community is the Slavic community. In the early and mid 20th Century a large amount of people emigrated from Polandmarker, Ukrainemarker , Czechoslavakiamarker , Russiamarker , and Croatiamarker . Recently a large number 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 Jordanmarker and Lebanonmarker. Arabic masses are held at Immaculate Conception Church, St Mary's and The Virgin Mary Orthodox Church which was formerly located on High St but recently relocated to Grandview Blvd behind central ave. The Arab Community plays a big part in Yonkers. These churches are usually a big target for politicians, since they can swing tight elections. The churches play a huge role for the very active teens in their community. The Arab Community has given Yonkers a good name bringing up many Doctors and successful people in the city. A notable member Dr. Joseph Sayegh was a key member in the school district. Also the role of president at St Josephs Hospital the city's biggest employer has been given to a number of Arab Americans in Yonkers.

There also once was a significant Jewish population (the Broadwaymarker plays Hello Dolly! and Lost in Yonkers both take place within the Yonkers Jewish community). However, it has dwindled. In the 2000s, some areas bordering similar neighborhoods in Riverdale began seeing an influx of Orthodox Jews. Subsequently, Riverdale Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Service[14012] began serving some neighborhoods in the southwest section of the city.

Government and infrastructure

City departments include: 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



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


Real Estate

Support Services

Veterans' Services


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 Greenburghmarker 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 on Pembrook Drive. Northeastern Yonkers contains the Crestwoodmarker, Colonial Heights, and Beech Hill sections of Yonkers, as well as several other enclaves. Landmarks include St Vladimir's Seminarymarker, the Tanglewood Shopping Center (one-time home of the Tanglewood Boys gang), as well as Sarah Lawrence Collegemarker. The Lawrence Park West and Cedar Knolls sections are unique in many ways from the rest of Northeast Yonkers. The two neighborhoods consist of more upscale housing, and, due to the promixity of several Metro-North commuter railroad stations, its residents tend to commute to work in Manhattanmarker.

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-Hudsonmarker border. With the Hudson River bordering it to the west, this area has many beautiful Victorian-era homes with panoramic views of the Palisadesmarker. 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 "the north end" or "the end". 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 "Urich's". 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.

#4 Beeline bus heading west on McLean Ave. at Central Ave. in southeast Yonkers

Southeast Yonkers

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church
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 Bronxmarker, Brooklynmarker, Queensmarker, or Staten Islandmarker than to points north. This is not surprising as southeastern Yonkers is largely within walking distance of the Riverdale, Woodlawnmarker, 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 Harlemmarker and Brooklyn. Off 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 significant historical and educational institutions including the historic Philipse Manor Hall [a New York State Historic Site that houses one of three papier mache ceilings in the United States [], the Hudson River Museum[14013] with its Andrus Planetarium, the Science Barge, Beczak Environmental Education Center [14014], and a rather new Yonkers Public Library.

Many southwesterners are of African, Caribbeanmarker, Italian, or Hispanic descent 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 such as 66Main[14015], a luxury high-rise and Metro92[14016], a converted trolley barn turned loft rentals, both erected in 2007 , as well as a new "Sculpture Meadow on the Hudson," 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.


Mass transit

The Yonkers Metro-North train station.
Yonkers has the eighth-highest rate of public transit ridership among cities in the United States. It has four Hudson Line Metro-North Railroad stations providing commuter service to New York City: Ludlowmarker, Yonkersmarker, Glenwoodmarker and Greystonemarker. The Yonkers station is also served by Amtrak. Several Harlem Line stations are on or very near the city's eastern border. These include Wakefieldmarker, Mt.marker Vernon Westmarker, Fleetwoodmarker, Bronxvillemarker, Tuckahoemarker and Crestwoodmarker.

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 Elmsfordmarker and south to Van Cortlandt Parkmarker.


Yonkers fares well in most measures of crime. According to a 2008 report by the city it was ranked with a much lower crime rate than other suburbs around New York City, such Newark, New Jerseymarker, as well as similarly-sized New York cities like Buffalomarker and Rochestermarker.

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.


Public schools in Yonkers are operated by Yonkers Public Schools [14017].

Libraries are operated by the Yonkers Public Library [14018].


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 statemarker and countymarker, the project is one of the largest revitalization projects ever proposed for any locality within the New York Metropolitan Areamarker, totaling more than $3 billion.

The project is headed by Westchester Countymarker's Louis R. Cappelli, Struever Bros. of Baltimore, and New Jerseymarker'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 [14019] 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, Texasmarker and Providence, Rhode Islandmarker.

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 Citymarker, to a tourist attraction of economic importance.

Notable residents

In the media

Yonkers is the setting of two feature films by local filmmaker Robert Celestino: Mr. Vincent, a 1997 Sundance Film Festival entrant in the non-competition Spectrum section, and Yonkers Joe, a scheduled 2009 release by Magnolia Pictures, starring Chazz Palminteri and Christine Lahti. Yonkers' locations also provide the setting for A Tale of Two Pizzas, a "Romeo and Juliet" theme played out among two rival pizza owners.The film "Doubt" starring Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier filmed scenes for this movie at St. Marks Lutheran Church's school.Yonkers is also the location for many major filming projects: Catch Me if You Can with Tom Hanks and Leonardo diCaprio; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with Jim Carey and Kate Winslet; Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts; A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe, Big Daddy with Adam Sandler, The Preacher's Wife (a remake of "The Bishop's Wife) with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston, Kate and Leopold with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman. Some episodes of the new TV series Fringe were taped in the downtown. The City Hall Courtroom is also the setting for many film and commercial scenes.

The starting scene from Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind where Joel Barish played by Jim Carrey drives his car up Riverdale Ave past the 3rd police precinct. Then turns right on Valentine Ave to his apartment.

In Max Brooks's novel, World War Z, the US armed forces are defeated in the Battle of Yonkers by an army of zombies.

Steve Meretzky created several Infocom games, such as Sorcerer. One of the spells in that game, "Yonk", is named after Yonkers.

Dunder Mifflin, the fictional paper supply company from NBC's The Office has a branch in Yonkers.

Yonkers is one of the settings in the musical Hello Dolly!

A character in the musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable is named after Yonkers.

Neil Simon wrote a play entitled Lost In Yonkers, set in the city. The story is about two young boys during World War Two, whose father leaves them with their grandmother in Yonkers so he can earn money for the family.

In the episode "The One With Ross' Tan" of Friends, Yonkers is mentioned as the town where Monica and Phoebe's old friend, Amanda Bouvamonteezi, is from.

In the episode "The Handcuffs" of I Love Lucy, Mr Walters, the locksmith has to return to his house in Yonkers.

In the Twilight Zone episode, "What's In The Box," a philandering cab driver, played by William Demarest, tells his wife he was late coming home because he had to take a "fare" up to Yonkers.

Yonkers was shown on A Shot at Love 2 with Tila Tequila, as it was contestant Kristy's hometown.

Yonkers is mentioned in Bon Jovi's song Raise Your Hands

There has also been some rumours that Pop Star Lady GaGa was born here, However she is born in Manhattan.

Twin Towns - Sister Cities

Yonkers is twinned with:

See also


  1. [1] Paul Dickson
  2. No apparent relation to Colt's Patent Firearms. Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.63.
  3. New York Water Taxi. "nywatertaxi Yonkers Route", New York Water Taxi. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  4. - 2004 Morgan Quitno Crime Survey. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
  5. Fox, Margalit. "Elsie B. Washington, a Novelist, Dies at 66", The New York Times, May 16, 2009. Accessed May 18, 2009.
  6. Filmmaker: "Tribeca Director Interview: Robert Celestino, Yonkers Joe", April 23, 2008
  7. Magnolia Pictures: Yonkers Joe press notes

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