Westchester County, New York

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Westchester County, New York
City of White Plains, Jul 2012.jpg
White Plains, seat of Westchester County
Flag of Westchester County, New York
Flag
Logo of Westchester County, New York
Logo
Map of New York highlighting Westchester County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded1683
Named forChester, England
SeatWhite Plains
Largest cityYonkers
Area
 • Total500 sq mi (1,295 km2)
 • Land433 sq mi (1,121 km2)
 • Water67 sq mi (174 km2), 13.45%
Population
 • (2010)949,113
 • Density2,193/sq mi (846.6/km²)
Congressional districts16th, 17th, 18th
Websitewww.westchestergov.com
 
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Westchester County, New York
City of White Plains, Jul 2012.jpg
White Plains, seat of Westchester County
Flag of Westchester County, New York
Flag
Logo of Westchester County, New York
Logo
Map of New York highlighting Westchester County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded1683
Named forChester, England
SeatWhite Plains
Largest cityYonkers
Area
 • Total500 sq mi (1,295 km2)
 • Land433 sq mi (1,121 km2)
 • Water67 sq mi (174 km2), 13.45%
Population
 • (2010)949,113
 • Density2,193/sq mi (846.6/km²)
Congressional districts16th, 17th, 18th
Websitewww.westchestergov.com

Coordinates: 41°09′N 73°46′W / 41.150°N 73.767°W / 41.150; -73.767

Westchester County, locally known as Westchester, is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. Westchester covers an area of 450 square miles (1,200 km2) and has a population of 949,113 according to the 2010 Census,[1] containing 45 municipalities. The county, established in 1683, was named after the city of Chester in England. The county seat of Westchester is the city of White Plains.

The county's location puts New York City and the Long Island Sound to its south, Putnam County to its north, Fairfield County, Connecticut to its east, and Rockland County as well as New Jersey to the west across the Hudson River. Westchester became the first suburban area of its scale in world to develop. Its significance as a suburb derived mostly from the upper-middle class development of entire communities in the late 19th century, and the rapid population growth that occurred as a result.[2]

According to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data, the per-capita income in the county was $47,814 and the median income for a household in the county was $77,006.[3] In terms of household income, Westchester County is the fifth-wealthiest county in New York (after Nassau, Putnam, Suffolk, and Rockland Counties) and is the forty-seventh wealthiest county nationally. Westchester County ranks second after New York County in terms of highest median income per person, with a higher concentration of incomes in smaller households.

History[edit]

Prehistory[edit]

At the time of European contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Native American inhabitants of present Westchester County were part of the Algonquian peoples whose name for themselves was Lenape ("the people"). The region inhabited by the Lenape—called by them Lenapehoking—consisted of the area around and between the Delaware and lower to middle Hudson Rivers. Throughout the region were spoken two related languages (part of the Algonquian language family and related to Mahican) collectively known as the Delaware languages: Unami and Munsee. Munsee was spoken by the inhabitants of present-day Westchester County as well as those from Manhattan Island. Some ethnographers, lacking valid contemporary sources, simply referred to the various tribes of the area as Munsee speakers, or, even more generally, as Lenni Lenape (the "true people").

Title deeds given to European settlers supply considerable information on the sub-tribes in the region and their locations. The "Manhattans" occupied the island known by that name today, as well as part of southern Westchester now covered by Yonkers. The Weckquaesgeek band of the Wappinger lived along the Hudson River and central Westchester's modern settlements of Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown and White Plains. The Siwanoy lived along the coast of the Long Island Sound at Pelham, New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and Rye. The northern portions of the county were occupied by smaller bands of Wappinger such as the Tankiteke, Kitchawank and Sintsink.

Colonial Era[edit]

The first European explorers to visit Westchester were Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and Henry Hudson in 1609. European settlers were initially sponsored by the Dutch West India Company in the 1620s and 1630s. English settlers arrived from New England in the 1640s. By 1664, the Dutch lost control of the area to the English and large tracts of Westchester were established as manors (held by a single proprietor) or patents (jointly held by partners). The lords of the manors and patents leased land to tenant farmers and provided them with many essential services.

Westchester County was an original county of the Province of New York, one of twelve created by an act of the New York General Assembly in 1683. At the time it also included present day Bronx County, which constituted the original Town of Westchester (the center of which was around the present-day Westchester Square) and portions of Yonkers, Eastchester, and Pelham.

During the colonial period, life in Westchester was quite primitive. Roads were few and in poor condition. Transportation was heavily dependent on water. Nearly everything settlers consumed was raised or made on their farms. Wood, cattle and food were bartered for everything else. Colonial churches not only served as religious centers but played important social and political roles. Over time cottage industries such as shoe and furniture making sprung up. This led to heavier use of local roads, which encouraged improvements and spurred increased travel. Taverns catering to travelers were established and ferries were launched. By 1775, Westchester was the richest and most populous county in the colony of New York.

Revolutionary transition[edit]

Westchester County experienced a variety of effects caused by the American Revolutionary War. The Revolution was in some ways a civil war, as families were often divided between Patriot and Loyalist sympathies. After the battles of Pell's Point and White Plains in 1776, the primary American headquarters was at Continental Village, north of Peekskill. The British were headquartered in New York City. Westchester was the "Neutral Ground" between the two camps and the countryside was pillaged by both sides.[4]

Although the Revolutionary War devastated the county, recovery after the war was rapid. The large landowners in Westchester were mostly Loyalists, and after the war their lands were confiscated by the state and sold. Many local farmers were able to buy the lands they had previously farmed as tenants. In 1788, five years after the end of the Revolutionary War, the county was divided into 20 towns. In 1798, the first federal census recorded a population of 24,000 for the county, centered in northern Westchester.

Early infrastructure improvements[edit]

1867 map of Westchester

In 1800, the first commercial toll road, the Westchester Turnpike, which ran through Pelham and New Rochelle, was chartered. Other toll roads including the Croton (Somerstown) Turnpike were later established. During this same period, steamboats began to be used on the Hudson River. Expansion of transportation options encouraged economic expansion. Larger industries were gradually established such as iron foundries in Peekskill and Port Chester, brickyards in Verplank and Croton, and marble quarries in Ossining and Tuckahoe.

Two developments in the first half of the 19th century – the construction of the first Croton Dam and Aqueduct and the coming of the railroad – had enormous impact on the growth of both Westchester and New York City. Construction of the Croton Dam and Aqueduct began in 1837 and was completed in 1842. The aqueduct carried water 41 miles (66 km) from Croton to two reservoirs in Manhattan to be distributed to the city. Now a National Historic Landmark, the Croton Aqueduct is considered one of the great engineering achievements of the 19th century.

In the 1840s, the first railroads were built in Westchester. In 1844, the New York and Harlem Railroad reached White Plains. The Hudson River Railroad[nb 1] was completed to Peekskill in 1849. That same year, the New York and New Haven Railroad opened its route through eastern Westchester. The railroads often determined whether a town grew or declined, and they contributed to a population shift from northern to southern Westchester. By 1860, the total county population was 99,000 and the largest city was Yonkers. Many small downtowns, centered around railroad stations, flourished.

Post-Civil War[edit]

Yonkers Civil War monument

The period following the American Civil War brought vast fortunes to a new class of entrepreneurs in the New York area, and many built large estates in Westchester. Several grand mansions of this era are preserved and open to the public. Among them are Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, Kykuit in Pocantico Hills, the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, Caramoor in Katonah and Glenview in Yonkers.

Expansion of the New York City water supply system also impacted local development, creating new dams, bridges and roads. The flooding of thousands of acres for reservoirs created considerable dislocations in many towns north of White Plains. The building of the New Croton Dam and its reservoir, for instance, resulted in the relocation of the hamlet of Katonah to higher ground. In North Salem, the hamlet of Purdys was moved when five percent of the town was inundated, including hundreds of acres of prime dairy land.

During the latter half of the 19th century, Westchester's transportation system and labor force attracted a manufacturing base, particularly along the Hudson River and Nepperhan Creek. Pills and patent medicines were manufactured in Ossining; greenhouses in Irvington; beer in Dobbs Ferry; sugar, paving material and conduit in Hastings; and in Yonkers, elevators and carpets.

In 1874, the western portion of the present Bronx County, consisting of the then towns of Kingsbridge, West Farms, and Morrisania, was transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County, consisting of the Town of Westchester and portions of the towns of Eastchester and Pelham, was transferred to New York County. By that time, the portion of the town of Eastchester immediately north of the transferred portion had seceded from the town of Eastchester (1892) to become the City of Mount Vernon so that the Town of Eastchester had no border with New York City. In January 1914, those parts of the then New York County which had been annexed from Westchester County were constituted as Bronx County.[5]

Twentieth century[edit]

Playland Beach

During the 20th century, the primarily rural character of Westchester would yield to the suburban county known today. Between the county's railroad network and the proliferation of the automobile in the early 20th century, working in New York City and living in the country became possible for the middle class. In 1907 the Bronx River Commission was established to acquire the necessary lands to eliminate nuisance conditions along the river's banks and improve its water quality through a joint undertaking between New York City and Westchester County. The Commission's efforts led to the creation of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation, completed in 1925, and the first modern, multi-lane limited-access roadway in North America. The success of the Bronx River Parkway Reservation encouraged the County government to develop its parks system, preserving great tracts of open space.

Playland in Rye, a National Historic Landmark, opened to the public in 1928, was the first wholly planned amusement park in the country. It continues to be operated by Westchester County. The development of Westchester's parks and parkway systems supported existing residential communities and encouraged the establishment of new ones. New homes were constructed on former estates and farms. The parkways were a boon for commuters and transformed the development pattern of Westchester. New businesses appeared in response to expanded markets; White Plains, with branches of many New York City stores, became the County's central shopping center. With the need for new homes for new families following World War II, multistory apartment houses appeared in the urbanized areas of the County, while the market for single-family houses continued to expand. By 1950, the total County population was 625,816.

Major interstate highways were constructed in Westchester during the 1950s and 1960s. The establishment of these roadways, along with the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge, encouraged many major corporations, such as PepsiCo, General Foods, Ciba-Geigy and IBM to establish headquarters in Westchester. They accomplished this by assembling large tracts of property to construct office facilities, which were often designed by world-famous architects and enhanced by extensive landscape.

Today it is one of the most affluent counties in the country, home to many of New York City's most desirable suburban communities. It is a haven for commuters, whether traveling by car, bus, or by the Metro-North Railroad.

Historic sites[edit]

St. Paul's Church in Mt. Vernon was designated a National Historic Site in 1942. The original church, a wooden structure known as Church of Eastchester, was built in 1695. The present-day stone church was completed in 1764, and its name was changed to St. Paul's in 1795. The church property, which is operated by the National Park Service, includes a cemetery with burial stones dating to 1704 and the remnants of a village green that was the site of what came to be known as the "Great Election" of 1733.[6] The publisher of the New York Journal, John Peter Zenger, wrote an account of the election and was arrested and tried for seditious libel. His acquittal established the legal precedent for "freedom of the press," which was later incorporated as a basic freedom in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

Horace Greeley's house stands in Chappaqua. Horace Greeley was most famous for his newspaper The New York Tribune, which ran late into the 19th century. Greeley received 66 votes in the electoral college when he ran for president against Ulysses S. Grant in the United States presidential election, 1872, and died shortly thereafter from severe illnesses and broken spirits. His home and the grounds are run by the New Castle Historical Society and is open for guided and self-guided tours.

One of the Founding Fathers native to New York, John Jay, grew up in Rye and returned there to rest among his many descendants. His boyhood home is now a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public. It is managed by the Jay Heritage Center. The buildings on this historic site, including the 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House built by Jay's eldest son, are being restored for educational programs in American history, architecture and environmental stewardship.

The Thomas Paine Cottage in New Rochelle, was the home from 1802 to 1806 of Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and Revolutionary War hero. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark on November 28, 1972.

Geography[edit]

Westchester County is located at the southeastern tip of New York State. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 500 square miles (1,300 km2), of which 433 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 67 square miles (170 km2) (13.45%), water.[7] The County shares its northern boundary with Putnam County and its southern boundary with New York City. It is bordered on the west side by the Hudson River and on the east side by Long Island Sound and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

The closest point on the southern border of Westchester is just under 11 miles (18 km) from Columbus Circle in Manhattan (the customary point for measuring distances from New York City), where Pelham Manor meets Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. At over 2,700 acres (11 km2), Pelham Bay Park is the largest of New York City's parks, forming a substantial 'buffer' between suburban Westchester and urban Bronx County. Van Cortland Park on the western side of the Bronx similarly acts as a similar "buffer".

Southern Westchester's Long Island Sound shore is generally rocky. Tidal mud flats, marshes and wetlands, as well as several natural and artificially-maintained sand beaches are interspersed on the coast. Public waterfront access is limited by residential and other development, although municipal and County owned parks provide access to beaches, nature preserves and passive and active waterfront recreational facilities. Several large harbors lie along the shore including Milton Harbor in Rye, Mamaroneck Harbor, Larchmont Harbor and Echo Bay, and the Upper and Lower harbors in New Rochelle. A number of islands can be found offshore from New Rochelle. The uses of these islands vary: Davids' Island, the former location of the U.S. Army’s Fort Slocum, is currently unoccupied but is slated for use as passive parkland; Glen Island is a County park for passive and active recreation; Huckleberry Island is largely undeveloped and has one of the largest rookeries for some shore bird species in western Long Island Sound; Columbia Island was the former site of CBS television broadcast antennas and is currently unoccupied; Echo Island is used by a private yacht club; Execution Rocks is the site of a 19th-century lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Pea Island is owned by Huguenot Yacht Club but remains undeveloped; Goose Island is undeveloped; Clifford, Harrison and Tank Islands are part of a nature preserve and city park; and Oak and Pine Islands are used as private residences.

The widest section across the Hudson River, at 3.6 miles (6 km), is found between the Westchester and Rockland County shorelines immediately north of Croton Point in Croton-on-Hudson. In Colonial times, this area was called the Tappan Zee or Sea. The Hudson River is tidal and brackish through Westchester and contains a small number of estuarine marshes. Two bridges span the Hudson in Westchester; the Bear Mountain Bridge crosses at Cortlandt and the Tappan Zee Bridge at Tarrytown. Municipal, county and state-owned parks provide access to waterfront landmarks and sites, including Croton Point in Croton, Kingsland Point in Sleepy Hollow and JFK Memorial Marina in Yonkers.

The Hudson River waterfront in Westchester is in the midst of a renaissance, converting from primarily industrial uses to mixed residential, commercial, retail, and recreational uses. This transformation is most notable in Yonkers, Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Ossining, and Peekskill, where redevelopment projects are in various stages of design and construction. In 2004, Westchester County embarked on a project to create a Hudson RiverWalk of 50 miles (80 km) which will provide public access between New York City and Putnam County along or close to the river. RiverWalk will weave through the Hudson River communities and provide access and linkages to recreational, cultural, and historic resources as well as community business centers.

The county's interior generally is more hilly north of Interstate 287, which bisects the County. The highest elevation in the county is a U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey benchmark known as "Bailey" at 980 feet (300 m) above sea level in Mountain Lakes Park near the Connecticut state line. The lowest elevation is sea level, along both the Hudson and Long Island Sound.

Westchester County is divided into six primary drainage basins or watersheds, which are the Lower Long Island Sound, Upper Long Island Sound, Bronx River, Upper Hudson River, Lower Hudson River and Croton River basins. Within these primary drainage basins are approximately 60 smaller basins, or subwatersheds. The principal streams draining the southern part of the County include Beaver Swamp Brook, Blind Brook, Bronx River, Hutchinson River, Mamaroneck River, Saw Mill River, Sheldrake River, Stephenson Brook and Tibbetts Brook. The primary streams draining the central part of the County include Byram River, Kisco River, Mianus River, Mill River, Pocantico River and Silvermine River. The principal streams draining the northern part of the County include Dickey Brook, Furnace Brook, Hallocks Mill Brook, Hunter Brook, Muscoot River, Peekskill Hollow Brook, and Titicus River. The County contains several major reservoirs for public drinking water supply: The Croton system and the Kensico Reservoir are important components of the New York City water supply system. The system is a series of interconnected reservoirs and lakes in northern Westchester and Putnam Counties that provides 10% of New York City’s water under normal conditions and up to 30% of the in-City consumption in times of drought. The components of the system include the New Croton Reservoir in Cortlandt, Yorktown, Somers and Bedford; the Cross River Reservoir contained largely in Bedford; Titicus Reservoir in North Salem; Amawalk Reservoir in Somers; and the Muscoot Reservoir in Somers, Lewisboro and Bedford. The Kensico Reservoir is located in Mount Pleasant, Harrison and North Castle; and Byram Lake Reservoir in North Castle and Bedford. A number of other smaller reservoirs exist throughout the County.

The Westchester County Department of Planning divides the county into North, Central and South sub-regions.[8]

Geology[edit]

The rocks, which compose the Island of Manhattan in New York City and underlie the county of Westchester, are chiefly gneiss and mica-schist, with layers of dolmiticmarble and serpentine.

Communities[edit]

Westchester County has 6 cities, 19 towns and 23 villages. In New York, any land area in the county that is not contained part of a city or village is within a town. A town may have zero, one or multiple villages. As well, a village can be located in more than one town, as two of Westchester's villages are.[nb 2]

Climate[edit]

The climate of Westchester County is somewhat cooler than that of New York City, with temperatures sometimes as much as 15°F colder. Winters are cold throughout the county and summers are hot inland but cooler towards the coast. Rainfall is plentiful and in some areas reaches over 45 inches. Snowfall is more common in Westchester than in New York City With the exception of the southwest of the county, snowfall is often between 40 and 60 inches , even by the coast. In January, less dense areas have a low of 16-18 and a high of 30-34 while dense areas like Yonkers and White Plains have a low of 20-25 and a high of 35-40. In the summer, this effect is much milder. Coastal areas (Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Port Chester) have highs of 80-83 and lows of 62-66, while inland highs will be 84-86 and lows will be 60-66. Wind is heavy, especially by the coast.[citation needed]

Government[edit]

The Westchester County Government is headed by County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican. The district attorney is Janet DiFiore, a Democrat. The county clerk is Timothy C. Idoni, a Democrat.

Board of Legislators[edit]

The Westchester County Board of Legislators is the legislative, policy-making branch of Westchester County. The County Board has seventeen members and is led by a majority coalition of two Democrats and seven Republicans. The current board chair is Michael Kaplowitz.[9]

Law enforcement[edit]

There are currently 42 local police agencies located in Westchester County. As well as other county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies responsible for protecting Westchester County, these agencies frequently work with one another and other agencies located in the surrounding counties and states as well as the New York State Police and the New York City Police Department.

Politics[edit]

Presidential elections results
YearRepublicanDemocratic
201237.2% 143,12261.8% 240,785
200835.8% 147,82463.4% 261,810
200440.3% 159,62858.1% 229,849
200037.5% 139,27858.6% 218,010
199635.9% 123,71956.9% 196,310
199240.1% 151,99048.6% 184,300
198853.4% 197,95645.8% 169,860
198458.7% 229,00541.1% 160,225
198054.4% 198,55235.6% 130,136
197654.3% 208,52745.1% 173,153
197262.8% 262,90136.9% 154,412
196850.3% 201,65243.4% 173,954
196437.9% 149,05262.0% 243,723

Although the county historically leaned Republican, it swung Democratic in the early 1990s – much like other New York City suburbs. In the most recent national elections, Westchester voters tended to be far more Democratic than national average. In fact, Westchester, after New York City and Albany County, has produced the biggest margins for statewide Democrats in recent years. Democratic voters are mainly concentrated in the southern and central parts of the county. More than 63% of Westchester County voters voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race, the seventh-highest percentage of any New York county, behind four New York City boroughs and Albany and Tompkins counties.

Currently, all three U.S. congressional representatives from Westchester County are Democrats. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, both of whom are Democrats, represent most of the rest of the county (Engel's district also includes parts of the Bronx and Rockland County, and Lowey's also reaches into Rockland County) in Congress. Westchester's third representative is freshman Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, a former advisor to Bill Clinton, who was elected in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth.

However, Westchester County is less Democratic in state and local elections. For instance, it voted for Republican George Pataki, by a margin of 23.07% against Democratic candidate, Carl McCall in the gubernatorial race of 2002, and by 26.22% in 1998. Pataki hails from Westchester, where he previously served as mayor of Peekskill prior to being elected governor.

Former County Executive Andrew Spano is just the second Democrat to hold the post in at least a half-century. In 2006, county legislator Andrea Stewart-Cousins defeated 20-year incumbent Nicholas Spano (unrelated to Andrew) for a seat in the New York State Senate in a rematch of the 2004 race, which she lost by only 18 votes. Assembly Member Mike Spano (brother of Nicholas) switched parties in July 2007 to become a Democrat. Current district attorney Janet DiFiore also switched parties from Republican to Democratic in August 2007. In 2009, Republican Rob Astorino ousted three-term county executive Andy Spano, who had the endorsement of the New York Conservative Party, winning in a landslide. Astorino became the first Republican county executive since Andrew O'Rourke, who left the post after the 1997 election. In 2011, the GOP broke the Democratic two-thirds majority in the county legistature by picking up two seats. The current composition is 10 Dem to 7 GOP.

Westchester County was the home of former vice-president Nelson Rockefeller, who occupied the Kykuit mansion of the Rockefeller family 3,400-acre (14 km2) estate after the death of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; it is situated near the hamlet of Pocantico Hills.

The county is also home to the former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who live in Chappaqua. Former First Lady Barbara Bush grew up in Rye.

Emergency services[edit]

Westchester County has a wide array of emergency services and is the home to 58 fire departments, 42 ambulance services, two Haz-Mat teams, a volunteer technical rescue team, a fire academy and a fire investigations unit. Each department has career, volunteer or a combination of career and volunteer personnel. Westchester County Department of Emergency Services operates the main dispatching system for EMS and fire departments referred to as 60-control located in Valhalla. The department also provides numerous support services for the various agencies throughout the county.

The Career Chief's Association, a cooperative of the career fire departments also operates the Special Operations Task Force consisting of six squad companies that can be rapidly assembled for a major hazarous materials incident, CBRNE event, collapse or confined space rescue, or other incident requiring a large number of HazMat or rescue technicians. Over 700 firefighters, police officers and EMS providers were trained to be part of this effort and serve over half the population of Westchester County including Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains, Scarsdale, Eastchester, and the Fairview, Hartsdale, and Greenville Fire Departments in the Town of Greenburgh.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
CensusPop.
179023,978
180027,42814.4%
181030,27210.4%
182032,6387.8%
183036,45611.7%
184048,68633.5%
185058,26319.7%
186099,49770.8%
1870131,34832.0%
1880108,988−17.0%
1890146,77234.7%
1900184,25725.5%
1910283,05553.6%
1920344,43621.7%
1930520,94751.2%
1940573,55810.1%
1950625,8169.1%
1960808,89129.3%
1970894,40410.6%
1980866,599−3.1%
1990874,8661.0%
2000923,4595.6%
2010949,1132.8%
Est. 2012961,6701.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of 2010, there were 949,113 housing units at an average density of 807 per square mile (312/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 57.4% White, 15.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 5.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 7.6% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.8% of the population. 71.7% spoke English, 14.4% Spanish, 3.5% Italian, 1.1% Portuguese and 1.1% French as their first language.

By 2006, the population was 68.12% White, 13.91% African-Americans, 5.58% Asian, 0.16% Native American and 12.23% of other or mixed race. 18.54% of the population was Latino or Hispanic of any race.

There were 337,142 households of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.90% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.20% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.21.

Age distribution was 25.00% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.30 males.

According to 2006 HUD data, the median income for a household of one person in the county was $67,555 and the median income for a family of four was $96,500.

According to census data, the per capita income for the county in 1999 was $36,726. The American Community Survey lists Westchester in 2011 with the median household income of $77,006, the 47th highest in the country.[3] The Census Bureau reports that 6.40% of families and 8.7% (2003) of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.53% of those under age 18 and 7.60% of those age 65 or over.

The largest census reviewed area in Westchester County is the City of Yonkers, New York's fourth-largest city, with a population of almost 200,000. The smallest is the community of Scotts Corners in the town of Pound Ridge with a population of 624.

Expatriates[edit]

As of 2000 different expatriate populations lived in Westchester County. The expatriates include Australians, Brazilians, French, Germans, Japanese, and New Zealanders.[11]

As of 2000 Australians, Brazilians, and New Zealanders had a preference for Scarsdale and a lesser preference for Rye. The French lived in Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and New Rochelle. The Germans had a primary preference for White Plains and have also settled in Mamaroneck, Rye, and Scarsdale. The Japanese had a primary preference for Scarsdale and also lived in Eastchester, Hartsdale, Harrison, and Rye.[11]

Transportation[edit]

The Tappan Zee Bridge connects Tarrytown in Westchester County and South Nyack in Rockland County across the Hudson River in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York State. Federal and state authorities are currently planning a $4 billion Tappan Zee replacement bridge.[12]
Bee-Line bus in Port Chester, New York
Arrivals and Departures at Grand Central Terminal

Westchester County is served by Interstate 87 (the New York State Thruway), Interstate 95, Interstate 287 and Interstate 684. Parkways in the county include the Bronx River Parkway, the Cross County Parkway, the Hutchinson River Parkway, the Saw Mill River Parkway, the Sprain Brook Parkway and the Taconic State Parkway. The Tappan Zee Bridge connects Tarrytown to Rockland County across the Hudson River. The Bear Mountain Bridge crosses the Hudson from Cortlandt to Orange County. The combination of these numerous highways, proximity to New York City, and the county's large population all lead to substantial traffic enforcement and very busy local courts.

The development corridors in the county have defined sections and follow transportation corridors. The main north-south corridors are, from west to east, the U.S. Route 9/Albany Post Rd/Broadway Corridor along the Hudson River from Yonkers in the South to Peekskill/Cortlandt in the North. The Saw Mill River Parkway Corridor traverses the county in a north-eastern path, beginning in Yonkers, and terminating at I-684 in Bedford, mostly following the path of the Putnam Branch of the New York Central Railroad, which was abandoned in March 1970 (and which has largely been replaced by a paved path known as the South County and North County Trailways). The Sprain Brook Parkway traverses the county's midsection from a point in Yonkers where it breaks off from the Bronx River Parkway until Hawthorne about 15 miles (24 km) north where it merges with the Taconic State Parkway and continues until I-90 near Albany. The Hutchinson River Parkway lines the eastern county, from the Bronx (terminating at the Long Island Sound crossing—the Whitestone Bridge) until the Connecticut state line in Greenwich, where it becomes the Merritt Parkway. I-684 begins at a junction with the Hutchinson River Parkway and I-287 in Harrison, and continues north into Putnam County (with a brief stretch in Greenwich, Connecticut) through Bedford and North Salem. The eastern most corridor is the I-95/New England Thruway which traverses the county on the Long Island Sound, from the Pelhams through the Town of Rye and into Connecticut. The East-West corridors are the Cross County Parkway, which traverses the southern county from Yonkers in the west through New Rochelle in the east, terminating at the Hutchinson River Parkway. The Cross Westchester Expressway/I-287 is the mid-county corridor spanning from the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown to the west to I-95/New England Thruway in the east. The northern-most corridor is that approximating the U.S. 202 route from Cortlandt, and the Bear Mountain Bridge, to Lewisboro and the Connecticut border. But unlike the more southerly corridors, U.S. 202 is for the most part not a limited-access highway and has frequent traffic lights.

Robert Moses and others once proposed a bridge connecting Westchester with Nassau County, most likely using I-287 to do so. Public opposition was fierce, and the New York state government abandoned the plan.

Commuter rail service in Westchester is provided by Metro-North Railroad (operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority). Metro-North operates three lines in the county; west to east, they are the Hudson, the Harlem and the New Haven lines, former operations of the New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads, each of which stops in the Bronx between Westchester and Manhattan. Amtrak serves Croton-Harmon, New Rochelle and Yonkers. There are proposals for a cross-county rail line to connect all three lines and provide easier access to Stamford, Connecticut.

NY Waterway also operates a ferry service between Haverstraw in Rockland County and Ossining.

Bus service is provided by the Bee-Line Bus System (owned by the Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation) within Westchester and to/from the Bronx, Manhattan (BxM4C), and Putnam County (16 and 77). The MTA Bus Company also runs the BxM3 to and from Getty Square in Yonkers to Midtown Manhattan.

Westchester County Airport is adjacent to White Plains.

Media in Westchester[edit]

Westchester has numerous county-wide media outlets, including:

Newspapers[edit]

Television and radio[edit]

Education[edit]

Westchester County contains 48 public school districts,[13] 118 private college-preparatory and parochial schools, and 14 colleges and universities.

Libraries[edit]

Westchester County is served by the Westchester Library System which was established in 1958. The system comprises 38 public libraries.

Historic and cultural attractions[edit]

Spillway at the New Croton Reservoir, in Croton-on-Hudson
Lyndhurst, home of Jay Gould in Tarrytown.

Historic sites and buildings[edit]

Other attractions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Hudson River Railroad later became part of the New York Central Railroad and is currently the Hudson Line of the Metro-North Railroad.
  2. ^ The village of Briarcliff Manor is located in the towns of Ossining and Mount Pleasant; the village of Mamaroneck is located in the towns of Mamaroneck and Rye.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ Westchester: The American Suburb, Robert Pannetta;foreword, vii
  3. ^ a b Top 100 counties - Median household income, 2011. Washingtonpost.com (2012-09-20). Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  4. ^ Burrows, Edwin G. & Wallace, Mike (1999). Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195116348. 
  5. ^ On the start of business for Bronx County: Bronx County In Motion. New Officials All Find Work to Do on Their First Day. The New York Times, January 3, 1914 (PDF retrieved on January 30, 2011)
  6. ^ "St. Paul's Church: History & Culture". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "Westchester County, New York". Westchester County Department of Planning. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Westchester County Board of Legislators" 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Foderaro, Lisa W. "For Expatriate Families, A Home Away From Home; Foreign Enclaves Dot the Landscape as County Attracts Temporary Residents." The New York Times. May 7, 2000. Retrieved on January 17, 2014.
  12. ^ Khurram Saeed and Theresa Juva-Brown (2012-12-17). "It's official: State picks builder for new Tappan Zee Bridge". Copyright © 2012 www.lohud.com. All rights reserved. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  13. ^ "Westchester County School Districts". Westchester County Data Book. Westchester County Department of Planning. Archived from the original on 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-04-26. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]