Port Chester, New York
|— Village —|
|• Total||2.5 sq mi (6.4 km2)|
|• Land||2.4 sq mi (6.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)|
|Elevation||43 ft (13 m)|
|• Density||12,000/sq mi ( 4,500/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0977392|
Port Chester is a village in Westchester County, New York, United States. The village is part of the town of Rye. As of the 2010 census, Port Chester had a population of 28,967. The village name is pronounced with the same emphasis pattern as that of the county which contains it, i.e. PORT ches-ter, not Port CHES-ter.
The Bush-Lyon Homestead, Capitol Theater, Life Savers Building, Putnam and Mellor Engine and Hose Company Firehouse, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, and United States Post Office are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Early settlement 
In 1660, three settlers from Greenwidge (now Greenwich, Connecticut), Thomas Studwell, John Coe, and Peter Disbrow, arranged to buy Manursing Island and the land near the Byram River from the Mohegan Indians. The land that they bought is now Port Chester. The village was originally known as Saw Pit for the saw pits which were in use during the time. Logs were cut in holes in the ground for wood to be used for shipbuilding. The name of Sawpit was used for the first time in 1732. The village eventually outgrew this name and became Port Chester by incorporating as a village in 1868. When Port Chester was first incorporated, it was considered a major seaport.
In 1665, Sawpit was claimed by both New York and Connecticut. However, the land was given back to the New York Colony by Connecticut in 1683. This struggle over the ownership of Sawpit continued for almost 105 years. In 1788, the Legislature of New York ruled that Sawpit was a part of the town of Rye in New York.
Travel was considered dangerous in the early years of Sawpit as good roads were hard to find. The Boston Post Road, King Street, and Grace Church streets are some of the early migration paths in the Sawpit/Rye settlement. Other roads were usually dirt, which made transportation via water important.
The local waterways, the Byram River and Long Island Sound, were a key part of the growth and development of Sawpit/Port Chester. Early residents took part in boat building, farming, and shell fishing.
As of the census of 2010, there were 28,967 people, 9,240 households, and 6,348 families residing in the village. The population density was 11,722.5 people per square mile (4,526.1/km²). There were 10,046 housing units at an average density of 4,185.8 per square mile (1,646.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.1% White, 6.5% African American, 0.9% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 24.6% some other race, and 4.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 59.4% of the population.
There were 9,240 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were headed by married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08 and the average family size was 3.54.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.4 years. For every 100 females there were 110.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.4 males.
At the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the village was $45,381, and the median income for a family was $51,025. Males had a median income of $32,848 versus $32,461 for females. The per capita income for the village was $ About 10.1% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 12.6% of those age 65 or over.
Port Chester is a more diverse community than many nearby areas.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), of which 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 5.22%, is water.
|Climate data for Port Chester|
|Average high °F (°C)||35
|Average low °F (°C)||21
Port Chester is unofficially divided into 7 distinct neighborhoods, located north and south of Westchester Avenue, Port Chester's main east-west street.
- North of Westchester Ave.
- Tower Hill
- Colonial Ridge (Area of Puritan Dr.)
- Alden Estate (Area of Quintard Dr.)
- Rye Brook (Village in town of Rye)
- Washington Park
- South of Westchester Ave.
- The Bowery (South Main St./ Grace Church St. from the square to Midland Ave. including all the streets off of and including Purdy Ave.)
- Edgeland (Area served by Midland Ave. and upper Grace Church St.)
- Purdy's Grove
- The Life Savers Candy Company operated a factory in Port Chester from 1920 until 1984. The building, now apartments, is one of Port Chester's prominent landmarks.
- Port Chester is the home of Hubba's and Texas Chili.
- National Collector's Mint is headquartered there.
The Port Chester train station provides commuter rail service to Grand Central Terminal in New York City or Stamford and New Haven-Union Station via the Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line. The Bee-Line Bus System provides bus service to Port Chester on routes 13, 61, and 76, and CT Transit Stamford Division provides bus service to Port Chester on routes 11A and 11B.
Port Chester's Government consists of a Mayor and 6 Trustees. The Board and Mayor employ a professional Village Manager.
Current Mayor: Neil J. Pagano
Current Board of Trustees: Daniel Brakewood, Joseph Kenner, Gene Ceccerelli Saverio Terenzi, Luis Marino, Greg Adams
Current Village Manager: Chris Steers
Local Elections in Port Chester occur in March. The next election is March 2015. Only the Mayoral seat will be up for election at that time. As part of a recent Justice Department decision, Port Chester now employs Cumulative Voting for trustee positions. The Mayoral position is not affected by cumulative voting. One vote per person.
Fire Department 
The village of Port Chester is protected by the Port Chester Fire Department(PCFD), established in 1823 and organized in 1868. Paid staff comprise two Engine companies, and volunteer fire companies operate a fleet of five Engines, two Trucks, one Rescue, two Utility Units, one Marine Unit, and three Chief's Vehicles, operating out of 4 Fire Stations. The current Chief of Department is Robert F. Drought.
Below is a list of all fire company and fire station locations in the village of Port Chester:
- Fire Headquarters/Harry Howard Hook & Ladder Co. # 1, Reliance Engine & Hose Co. # 1, Fire Patrol and Rescue Co. # 1, Port Chester Fire Department(Paid) - 209 Westchester Ave.
- Engine 58(Paid)
- Engine 60
- Ladder 31
- Tower Ladder 2
- Rescue 40
- Putnam Engine & Hose Co. # 2, Mellor Engine & Hose Co. # 3 - 51 Grace Church St.
- Engine 61
- Engine 63
- Utility 65
- Utility 66(Transport Unit)
- Marine 40
- Mass Decon. Support Unit 2
- Washington Engine & Hose Co. # 4, Port Chester Fire Department(Paid) - 464 Westchester Ave.
- Engine 59(Paid)
- Engine 64
- Brooksville Engine & Hose Co. # 5 - 509 Willett Ave.
- Engine 62
- Port Chester Senior High School 1,244
- Port Chester Middle School 911
- John F. Kennedy Magnet School 650
- Thomas Edison Elementary School 620
- Park Avenue Elementary School 600
- King Street Elementary School 595
Port Chester High School history 
Port Chester High School was built in 1933 on the grounds of what was once the Port Chester Country Club. The initial stages of planning involved acquiring 23 acres (9.3 ha) of land at a cost of $175,000. The architects, Tooker and Marsh, designed a structure to cost in the vicinity of $1,000,000. Although work began in 1930, occupancy did not take place until February 1932, with the first full graduation exercise taking place in June 1933. The size of the building was in itself astounding. A total of 140,000 square feet (13,000 m2) was thought to be adequate. Included was a gymnasium measuring 94 feet (29 m) by 72 feet (22 m), an auditorium seating 1250 persons, 38 classrooms, a library, two study halls, and four shops. A model apartment for the homemaking class, and a student cafeteria and kitchen were also provided. Looking at the exterior, the villagers saw a tower rising 135 feet (41 m) and faced with a clock 7 feet (2.1 m) in diameter. An electric master clock synchronizing all individual clocks in the building was also installed. Complete radio equipment and an electric fire alarm system completed the plans. A slate and copper roof accentuated the beauty of the Harvard-type brick exterior. Despite frequent updating such as new lighting systems and advanced equipment, the past lingers charmingly on. The school's motto, inscribed over the entrance doors, is "TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE ARE THE FRUITS OF LEARNING".
Port Chester High School was featured in the 2006 movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend featuring Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson. The school was used for the main characters' high-school scenes, and both the exterior and interior of the school are shown in the movie. The school's distinctive clock tower was also featured on the cover of a recent edition of Robert Cormier's novel "The Chocolate War".
The Port Chester High School's Marching Band has appeared in the movies Spider-Man 3 and Miracle on 34th Street (1994 film) and has performed in the 2003 Orange Bowl as well as the Disney World Festival of Lights. The band has also participated in the 1997 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Gulliver's Fire 
On June 30, 1974 an infamous nightclub fire killed 24 young men and women. The fire at Gulliver's was the deadliest dance club fire in the United States in more than a generation—the Coconut Grove fire in Boston in 1942 had killed 491 and the Happy Land fire in the Bronx in 1990 was to kill 87—and it called attention to the dangers of herding young people into windowless underground rooms without smoke alarms, sprinklers, fire-resistant walls or limits on occupancy. Desipite the tragedy of Gulliver's, comprehensive New York State Fire Code reform would not be seen until he 1980s. Fire Code Enforcement continues to be a top priority in Port Chester to this day.
Legal challenges to Port Chester's electoral system 
To enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the United States Department of Justice brought a lawsuit in 2006 to compel the village government to change from an allegedly racially discriminatory at-large electoral system to one that was district-based. This lawsuit would halt the scheduled March 2007 elections until the village develops an acceptable plan. In its December 15, 2006 complaint the Justice Department alleged that, "the current at-large system for electing members of the Port Chester Board of Trustees results in Hispanic citizens having less opportunity than white citizens to participate in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice to the Port Chester Board of Trustees." (United States v. Village of Port Chester 6 Civil 15173) Local Latino activist Cesar Ruiz, NYS Assemblyman Peter Rivera and Angelo Falcón, President of the National Institute for Latino Policy held a news conference on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday (January 15, 2007) to display support for the Justice Department's lawsuit and the need to reform the village's electoral system.
The Village Board of Trustees passed a resolution on December 4, 2006, expressing its disagreement with the Department of Justice's decision that the village must reform its election system, claiming that the problem was not discrimination but rather "apathy" in the Hispanic community. Federal authorities believed that the village's "at large" voting system denied Hispanics representation on the board of trustees and the board of education. According to Reuters, "All voters in town elect each board member, whereas dividing the town into six electoral districts would give Hispanics a majority in at least one of them because they are largely concentrated in one area of town, the suit said." Although Latinos make up 46 percent of Port Chester's population, no Latinos had ever been elected to their Board of Trustees or local school board.
On March 2, 2007, federal court judge Stephen C. Robinson ruled in favor of the Department of Justice and placed an injunction on the March trustee elections scheduled to take place. This ruling did not affect the mayoral election, but it was expected to result in Port Chester being broken down into election districts. Instead, village officials came up with an alternative plan to address the problem by using cumulative voting. This plan was approved by the federal judge on November 6, 2009.
Redevelopment area controversy 
In 1999, the Village of Port Chester established a "redevelopment area" and relegated regulatory authority within that area to private developer Gregory Wasser (from G&S Port Chester, LLC), including power to condemn private property. The decision has spawned several lawsuits, including Brody v. Village of Port Chester, and Didden v. Village of Port Chester.
Notable residents and natives 
- Jon Alpert, reporter and documentary filmmaker
- Lex Barker, film actor, famous for playing Tarzan
- Nick Bianco, amateur motocross racer
- Edson Buddle, Major League Soccer player
- Paul Costa, professional football player
- William W. Cook, legal scholar and major benefactor of the University of Michigan Law School
- Elliot del Borgo, composer
- Arnold Diaz, journalist for Fox 5 News
- Meaghan Francella, LPGA player
- George Gallo, screenwriter and filmmaker
- Arnold Gamson, conductor
- Rob Ianello, University of Akron football coach
- E.L. Konigsburg, author, illustrator, Newbery Award winner
- Frank E. "Lank" Leonard, cartoonist and creator of the "Mickey Finn" comic strip
- Val Lewton, writer and producer
- Ruth Roberts, songwriter
- Andre Roy, NHL player
- Carl Schmehl, director and producer
- Ed Sullivan, entertainer
- David Tutera, celebrity wedding planner
- Peter J. Vita, holder of the world record for the longest working career as a barber
- William Wheeler, Upcoming singer (Local Celebrity)
Sister Cities 
Port Chester has two sister cities.
See also 
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Port Chester village, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
- "Local Government Handbook – Village Government: Historical Development" (PDF). New York State Department of State. 2008, 5th edition. pp. PDF page 72. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Berger, Joseph (2010-07-22). "Enjoying a Mix of Latin Cultures and Local History". The New York Times.
- Hagey, Keach. "JEWISH SCHOOL GAINS ITS OWN PLACE." Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. September 18, 2006. 6A. Retrieved on January 10, 2012.
- Fitzgerald, Jim (November 6, 2009). "US judge selects cumulative voting to protect Hispanics' rights in NY village's elections". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
- Forbes Magazine, "The Taking of Port Chester", accessed 2009-07-17.
- Detroit Free Press, "Eroding constitutional limits on governmental takings", accessed 2009-07-17.
- Brody v. Village of Port Chester, 345 F.3d 103 (2d Cir. 2003)
- Didden v. The Village of Port Chester (Summary Order), 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals (April 05, 2006). Accessed 2009-07-17.
- Edmeka.com, "N.Y. Eminent Domain Fight Appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court", accessed 2009-07-17.
- Forbes.com, accessed 2009-07-17.
- Village of Port Chester official website
- Town of Rye official website
- Port Chester Public Schools
- Port Chester Fire Department
- Your Port Chester Snapshot (community website)