Riverdale (population: 47,850, according to the 2000 U.S. Census) is an upper middle class residential neighborhood in the northwest portion of New York City. Riverdale contains the northernmost point in New York City.
Early in its residential development, Riverdale was a 19th-century estate district where many of Manhattan's moguls built their country estates. At the turn of the century, the new popularity of railroad commute enabled wealthy businessmen to make Riverdale their year-round residence. The Fieldston neighborhood, owned by a private association, is a particularly intact example of a turn-of-the century upper class suburb. The Hudson Hill neighborhood retains many of its historic mansions. Riverdale's elite private schools and historic churches also reflect this past.
As the 20th century progressed, upscale apartment buildings and smaller houses were added to the neighborhood. To this day, Riverdale continues to maintain its character as an affluent enclave in the city of New York. The rich history of Riverdale has led to the creation of the Riverdale Historic District.
Leland Weintraub, the commissioner who moved for the district's creation, noted that "most of the features commonly associated with the American romantic suburb of the mid-19th century," including "a picturesque site, landscaping and architecture; connection to the city by accessible transportation and a layout adapted to the topography" are present in the area.
As of the 2000 census, there were 47,850 people residing in Riverdale. The population density was 19,997 per square mile (7,724/km²). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 78.74% White (71.89% White Non-Hispanic), 5.36% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.66% Black, 0.16% Native American, 4.85% from other races, and 3.18% from two or more races. Of those, 13.38% of the population were Hispanic of any race. Fully 24.15% of the population was foreign born; of this, 51.76% came from Europe, 22.92% from Latin America, 21.71% from Asia and 3.61% from other parts of the world. Riverdale is well known for its substantial Jewish, Irish and Russian-speaking populations.
With a median residence value of $1,921,122, Riverdale is one of most expensive neighborhoods in New York City and is considered one of the most sought-after residential neighborhoods. Riverdale is known for its relative lack of crime, having some of lowest crime rates in New York City.
Before the wider development of Riverdale, housing consisted of large, architecturally distinguished mansions built in the early 20th century, mostly in Georgian- and Tudor-revival styles, which recall scenes of "rural Connecticut" rather than the city. These are mostly concentrated in the Fieldston section of Riverdale, known as the estate area. In addition, more affordable pre-war buildings and smaller houses are scattered throughout Riverdale.
The 1950s saw the construction of many low rise (six story) brick buildings. By the early to mid 1960s, a number of larger brick towers (10-20 stories) started popping up. Many of these full service buildings featuring doormen were designed by seasoned architect Philip Birnbaum who designed over 300 buildings in the city, including Skyview, the Windsors, and the Whitehall.
By the 1980s, most of the apartment buildings which were owned by single landlords and rented, were converted in to cooperatives. Unlike most of the Bronx, Riverdale is mostly owner-occupied housing.
Spuyten Duyvil has the greatest concentration of high rises in Riverdale with the Century, 555 Kappock, and Winston Churchill next to one another.
Since 2005, Central Riverdale has experienced a building boom with the addition of many mid- and high-rise condominium buildings which contrast with the older brick style.
Riverdale's ZIP codes are 10463 and 10471. While 10471 is entirely in Riverdale, 10463 also covers the adjacent neighborhoods of Kingsbridge and Marble Hill.
Riverdale is home to the modernist landmark Saul Victor house, designed by Ferdinand Gottlieb in 1967. Other famous mansions in the Hudson Hill neighborhood include: Greyston (1864), Alderbrook (1880), Stonehurst (1861) and Oaklawn (1863) Since 2005, Central Riverdale has experienced a building boom with the addition of many mid- and high-rise condominium buildings.
In August 2008, Columbia University purchased an almost-completed apartment building by Henry Hudson Parkway for use as faculty housing. In 1974, a large, fortress-like residential compound and school was established in North Riverdale by the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the United Nations (now the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN) to house diplomats and their families. The 20-story building was constructed from the top down, with the upper floors built first.
Administratively, Riverdale is part of Community Board 8.Wave Hill, a combination botanical garden and outdoor art gallery, is located in the so-called Estate Area overlooking the Hudson River.
An increase in the Jewish population of the neighborhood late twentieth century has led to Riverdale now being home to top-ranked Jewish day schools, the SAR Academy, an elementary school, and the SAR High School, as well as the Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School. Kinneret Day School is a private Jewish day school in Spuyten Duyvil, serving grades K through 8 in addition to pre-school. Catholic elementary schools in the area are St. Gabriel's School and St. Margaret of Cortona School, where President John F. Kennedy received his First Holy Communion.
Also in the area are several pre-schools including BedRock Preschool, the Riverdale Temple Nursery School, Spuyten Duyvil Preschool, Kinneret Day School, SAR Academy (Early Learning Center) Riverdale Nursery School and Family Center, the Riverdale Presbyterian Church Nursery School., and Riverdale Montessori School.
Riverdale has often been cited in literature, film and television. Exteriors of many of Riverdale's locations have been used in both television and movie production
In On the Road, Riverdale-educated Jack Kerouac writes about getting off at a subway stop in Riverdale: "Filled with dreams of what I'd do in Chicago, in Denver, and then finally in San Fran, I took the Seventh Avenue Subway to the end of the line at 242nd Street, and there took a trolley into Yonkers; in downtown Yonkers I transferred to an outgoing trolley and went to the city limits on the east bank of the Hudson River."
Elia Kazan's 1961 classic Splendor in the Grass starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty included several high school scenes shot at the elite Horace Mann School, such as a post-party scene outside Horace Mann's Prettyman Gymnasium. The scenes at the asylum where Natalie Wood's character goes for treatment following her nervous breakdown were shot on one of the campuses of Riverdale Country School.
A mansion near Wave Hill was used as a set in the film The Godfather
The contemporary artist Ilja Karilampi´s novel "The Hunter in the Armchair" mentions Spuyten Duyvil several times. The author describes journeys with the Metro North, drinking wine on the balcony in one of the high buildings on Kappock Street, and walking through the lush Ewen Park from the Bronx subway system.
Wave Hill, former residence of Mark Twain amongst others, is a botanical garden featuring two preserved historic mansions. It has exhibit spaces with a rotating series of art exhibitions, and performance spaces with a noted series of concerts.
The Riverdale train station on the Metro-North Railroad
The Riverdale section of New York City is protected by the FDNY Fire Station # 52 or Engine 52/Ladder 52, located at 4550 Henry Hudson Parkway East in Central Riverdale. Engine 52/Ladder 52 is the only firehouse in the Riverdale Section and the most northern fire station in the FDNY. Also, the companies of Engine and Ladder 52 are the second of two fire companies where the engine company and the ladder company each have the same number, the other being Engine and Ladder 10 on Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan. Engine Company 52 currently operates a 2003 Seagrave Commander II Custom 1000/500 Pumper Engine and Ladder Company 52 currently operates a 2006 Seagrave Commander II Custom 100' Rear-Mount Aerial Ladder Truck.
Churches and synagogues
Due to its large and diverse Jewish population, synagogues slightly outnumber churches in Riverdale. Houses of worship include:
In May 2009, the FBI thwarted a terrorist plot to car bomb two local synagogues by clandestinely supplying the would-be terrorists with blanks instead of real bombs.
Bronx Community Board 8. A group of community members working under the mandate of the City Charter to monitor the delivery of city services, establish budget priorities, and influence land-use decisions.
Riverdale Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp. A local volunteer EMS Corp., supported by community donations, that offers fast, reliable medical treatment and transport free of charge.
Riverdale YM-YWHA. A community center for youth, adult and senior activities.
Arts and culture
Derfner Judaica Museum: maintains a collection of approximately 1,400 objects used in traditional Jewish ceremonies and rituals, as well as Jewish art.
^"Editorial comment: Where we live now". The Riverdale Press (Bronx, NY). July 10, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2013. "Just what are Riverdale’s boundaries? Community historians and residents have been trying to answer that question for decades."
^Goodman, Lawrence (March / April 2008). "Too Jew For Who?". Brown Alumni Magazine. Retrieved May 4, 2008. "Altman, who grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, doesn't consider himself religious."
^Oestreich, James R. (September 3, 1997). "Rudolf Bing, Titan of the Met, Dies at 95". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "Sir Rudolf Bing, who as the ... general manager of the Metropolitan Opera from 1950 to 1972 ... died yesterday at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers. He was 95 and lived at the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale in the Bronx."
^ abJacobson, Mark (April 17, 2006). "Joltin' Jew". New York. Retrieved May 3, 2008. "I lived in Riverdale, in the same building with Willie Mays"
^Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (March 22, 2005). "Ted Brown, Talk Show Host and New York Radio D.J., Is Dead". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "As a teenager in the 1950s, Jonathan Schwartz, another New York radio colleague, watched Mr. Brown broadcasting from his basement studio at his home in Riverdale, in the Bronx."
^Blomberg, Ron (2010). Designated Hebrew. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. p. 120. ISBN9781613210550.
^Gorenberg, Gershom (March 2, 2008). "How Do You Prove You’re a Jew?". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "Farber ... grew up in Riverdale, N.Y...."
^"Eric R. Kandel - Biographical". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. "Finally, Denise was on the Columbia faculty and our house in Riverdale was near Columbia..."
^McPhee, Michele; Wedge, Dave (August 2005). "The Fall of Joan". Boston magazine (Boston, MA). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "Virginia Joan Bennett was born September 9, 1936, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx..."
^Gross, Max (April 24, 2008). "Riverdale Run". The New York Post (New York). Retrieved May 3, 2008. "John F. Kennedy spent his youth in an enormous white mansion on Independence Avenue"
^Bernstein; Stein, Robin (December 16, 2004). "Mystery Woman in Kerik Case: Nanny". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "Most puzzled about the nanny, perhaps, are former neighbors of the Keriks and their kin. In the Riverdale section of the Bronx, where the family lived in a first-floor apartment for years before ..."
^ abcdefgJackson, Nancy Beth (February 17, 2002). "If You're Thinking of Living In/Fieldston; A Leafy Enclave in the Hills of the Bronx". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 3, 2008. "Fiorello H. La Guardia, a three-time mayor of New York, lived and died at 5020 Goodridge Avenue.... After World War II, Richard Simon, founder of Simon & Schuster, bought a Georgian red-brick Baum house where he brought up his three musical daughters: Joanna, Lucy and Carly. TODAY, residents include United Nations ambassadors from Benin and Guinea; Jennifer J. Raab, president of Hunter College and former head of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission; and G. Oliver Koppell, the former New York attorney general newly elected to the City Council. Theodore Kheel, the labor lawyer, has a house around the corner from Ruth Friendly..."
^McCarthy, Peggy (March 16, 1997). "A New York Irishman, and Flaunting It". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "When John L. Lahey was growing up in St. Margaret's parish in the Riverdale section of the Bronx..."
^"Novelist Chri" (Press release). ". "... Lehmann-Haupt resides in Riverdale with his wife, writer Natalie Robins."
^Glueck, Grace (February 5, 1982). "ART: PERU'S 'NAZCA LINES' AS SEEN FROM AIR". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 3, 2008. "Feb. 20 marks the 100th birthday of the sculptor Elie Nadelman (1882–1946), who spent the last 26 years of his life living and working in the Riverdale section of the Bronx."
^Maslin, Janet (April 17, 2008). "Heroines in the Footlights, From All Sides Now". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 3, 2008. "And Ms. Weller segues neatly from the fictional melodramas watched by the young Ms. Mitchell (then Roberta Joan Anderson) on Canadian movie screens to the real-life ones unfolding in Ms. Simon’s privileged, sexually overcharged household in Riverdale in New York."
^Lowenstein, Roger (July 16, 2006). "As Governor, What Would His Battles Be?". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved April 13, 2008. "Eliot and his two siblings grew up in the prosperous Riverdale enclave of the Bronx..."
^Dunlap, David W. (November 16, 1987). "Bronx Residents Fighting Plans Of a Developer". The New York Times (New York). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "A group of neighbors from Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil has demanded that the city acquire as a public park the 4.75 acre parcel known as the Douglas-U Thant estate, north of 232d Street, between Palisade and Douglas Avenues."
^Frank, Mortimer H. (April 2002). "A Toscanini Odyssey". The Juilliard Journal Online. Retrieved February 26, 2008. "That archive was housed at Wave Hill, Toscanini's Riverdale residence during World War II"
^Walker, Rebecca (2000). Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self. San Val, Incorporated. ISBN9780613494052.
^Stern, Eliyahu (May 24, 2002). "Leaping to respectability". The Jerusalem Post (Jerusalem). Retrieved May 4, 2008. "Based in the affluent Jewish enclave of Riverdale, in the New York City borough of the Bronx, Weiss has never really been accepted in the upper echelons of the US Jewish establishment."
^"Rosalyn Yalow - Biographical". Nobel Media AB 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013. "During that period Aaron and I had two children, Benjamin and Elanna. We bought a house in Riverdale, less than a mile from the VA."