Ramapo, New York
|Ramapo, New York|
|Harriman State Park|
|• Total||61.9 sq mi (160.4 km2)|
|• Land||61.2 sq mi (158.6 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)|
|Elevation||371 ft (113 m)|
|• Density||2,000/sq mi (790/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0979406|
Ramapo, formerly known as New Hempstead and then Hampstead, is a town in Rockland County, New York, United States, located north of Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, southeast of Orange County, New York, south of the town of Haverstraw, and west of the towns of Clarkstown and Orangetown. As of the 2010 census, Ramapo had a total population of 126,595.
Ramapo is in the southwest corner of Rockland County, consisting of about one-third of the county's land area. The name, recorded variously as Ramopuck, Ramapock, or Ramapough, is of Native American origin, meaning either "sweet water" or "sloping/slanting rocks".
In 2006 Money magazine ranked Ramapo as the 49th best place in the United States and the best place in New York State to live. Arts and leisure, business, housing, low crime rates and open spaces/parkland determined the towns ranking. In the category of park space, percentage of land set aside for gardens and parks, the town finished first. The town received the highest rating and one of the best in the country for its open spaces and parkland.
On April 24, 2006, Ramapo received the Outstanding Facility Award (Class 3) for communities with a population more than 75,000, for its community, health and sports center located in the village of Hillburn.
Ramapo is run by a Town Supervisor, Christopher St. Lawrence. It is represented in the United States House of Representatives by Nita Lowey. In state government it is represented by Senator David Carlucci, and Assemblymembers Ellen Jaffee, Kenneth P. Zebrowski and Annie Rabbitt.
During the American Revolutionary War, Commander-in-Chief George Washington is said to have climbed the Ramapo Torne (near Ramapo hamlet) with a telescope to watch the movement of British ships off Sandy Hook in New Jersey.
The Town of Hempstead was formed from part of the Town of Haverstraw in 1791. In 1829 the name was changed to Ramapo.
Ramapo Iron Works, located near present-day Route 17 at the base of Terse Mountain, was a producer of cut nails, wood screws, cotton cloth, and spring steel in the first half of the 19th century. Its founder, Jeremiah H. Pierson, was influential in building the Nyack Turnpike and the New York & Erie Railroad across the county. A cotton mill is still standing on the east side of the road.
See also the histories of Suffern and of Rockland County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 61.9 square miles (160 km2), of which 61.2 square miles (159 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2), or 1.11%, is water.
The south town line is the border of New Jersey, and the west town line is the border of Orange County. The break in the Ramapo Mountains at Suffern formed by the Ramapo River causes the town to be the site of the New York State Thruway and I-287, New York State Route 17, and a railroad line. The Palisades Interstate Parkway runs through the northeast corner of the town, with an exit at the Haverstraw town line on the northern border.
Torne Mountain (1,130 ft or 340 m; shown on topographic maps as "High Torne"), in Harriman State Park, overlooks the Ramapo Pass and remnants of the once-thriving Ramapo Iron Works. During the American Revolution, the Torne served as a lookout for British ship movements on the Hudson. Legend tells that Gen. George Washington lost his watch on the mountain, and it may still be heard ticking up there in a crevice of rock.
The highest point in Ramapo is Squirrel Swamp Mountain near the northern border of the town, with an elevation of 1,252 feet (382 m).
As of the census of 2000, there were 108,905 people, 31,561 households, and 24,870 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,778.2 people per square mile (686.6/km²). There were 32,422 housing units at an average density of 529.4 per square mile (204.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 72.54% White, 17.04% African American, 0.32% Native American, 4.60% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 2.65% from other races, and 2.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.19% of the population.
There were 31,561 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.3% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.2% were non-families. 17.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.37 and the average family size was 3.82.
In the town the population was spread out with 33.6% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $60,352, and the median income for a family was $67,004. Males had a median income of $46,286 versus $34,632 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,868. About 11.5% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.3% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
Communities and locations
- Antrim – A hamlet near the south town line.
- Airmont – The Village of Airmont.
- Chestnut Ridge – The Village of Chestnut Ridge.
- Harriman State Park – a state park in the western part of the town.
- Hillburn – The Village of Hillburn in the southwest part of the town.
- Hillcrest – A hamlet.
- Kaser – The Village of Kaser.
- Monsey – The hamlet of Monsey.
- New Hempstead – The Village of New Hempstead.
- New Square – The Village of New Square.
- Montebello – The Village of Montebello.
- Ramapo – The hamlet of Ramapo in the southwest part of the town.
- Sandyfield – A hamlet.
- Sloatsburg – The Village of Sloatsburg.
- Spring Valley – The Village of Spring Valley.
- Sterlington – A location near Sloatsburg.
- Suffern – The Village of Suffern.
- Suffern Park – A hamlet near Suffern.
- Tallman - A hamlet in the south part of the town.
- Viola – A hamlet in the eastern part of the town.
- Wesley Hills – The Village of Wesley Hills is in the northeast part of the town.
Rockland Community College is in the hamlet of Viola. The western portion of the town (Suffern and Sloatsburg area) is primarily served by the Ramapo Central School District and the eastern part of the town (Spring Valley, Monsey and Pomona area) by the East Ramapo Central School District.
In recognition of Ramapo's substantial cultural diversity, former Town Supervisor Herbert Reisman, along with many volunteers from the various communities in Ramapo, started the twinning program. This program is made up of committees that raise funds and organize trips to Ramapo's twin towns around the world, providing local high school students the opportunity to experience life in other lands.
There are currently seven active twinning committees in Ramapo:
- African Twinning Committee (Ghana)
- Chinese Twinning Committee (China)
- Indian Twinning Committee (India)
- Irish Twinning Committee (Doneraile, Ireland)
- Israeli Twinning Committee (Beit Shemesh, Israel)
- Italian Twinning Committee (Andretta, Italy)
- Philippine-American Twinning Committee (Makati, the Philippines)
The Joseph T. St. Lawrence Community, Health, and Sports Complex was dedicated and opened on November 19, 2006. The facility features a turf multi-purpose field with stands to accommodate 1800 spectators, a separate climate-controlled dome, a 60 x 40 yard, and a turf practice area. It also features three multi-purpose indoor courts, a running track, cardio equipment, weight training machines, two racquetball courts, a computer room, and a dance/aerobic studio.
Sports include football, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, and field hockey, as well as year-round sports programs that were not available to Ramapo residents before.
Although the residents of the Town of Ramapo have the exclusive right to join the Joseph T. St. Lawrence Community and Heath Center, paid memberships are available to others.
The Rockland Boulders are a professional baseball team based just outside the village of Pomona and a member of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, also known as the Can-Am League. Christoper St. Lawrence pushed through the financing of the park even after residents voted it down. A state audit has found that taxpayers could be liable for up to $60 million for Provident Bank Park in Ramapo.
Landmarks and places of interest
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Ramapo town, Rockland County, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
- U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographic map series; Acme Mapper
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- DiNapoli Takes on Stadium, Work Habits of Ramapo Town; Rockland County Times
- Zimmermann, Linda, Rockland County Scrapbook. Eagle Press, 2004.