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
Seal of Westchester County, New York
Seal
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.
Founded 1683
Named for Chester, England
Seat White Plains
Largest city Yonkers
Area
 • Total 500 sq mi (1,295 km2)
 • Land 433 sq mi (1,121 km2)
 • Water 67 sq mi (174 km2), 13.45%
Population
 • (2010) 949,113
 • Density 2,193/sq mi (846.6/km²)
Congressional districts 16th, 17th, 18th
Website www.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), consisting of 48 municipalities. According to the 2010 Census, the county had a population of 949,113, estimated to have increased by 2.1% to 968,802 by 2013.[1] The county, established in 1683, was named after the city of Chester, England.[citation needed] The county seat of Westchester is the city of White Plains.

The county's location places 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 the world to develop, due mostly to the upper-middle class development of entire communities in the late 19th century, and the subsequent rapid population growth.[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, meaning the people. They called the region Lenapehoking, which consisted of the area around and between the Delaware and Hudson Rivers. Two related languages, collectively known as the Delaware languages, were spoken throughout the region: Unami and Munsee. They were part of the larger Algonquian language family and related to Mahican. Munsee was spoken by the inhabitants of present-day Westchester County as well as on 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.

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 the part of southern Westchester now covered by Yonkers. The Weckquaesgeek band of the Wappinger lived along the Hudson River and near the modern settlements of Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown and White Plains. The Siwanoy lived along the coast of the Long Island Sound near present-day 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.

The colonial era and the Revolutionary War[edit]

The first European explorers to visit the Westchester area 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, while 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 owner) or patents (held by partners). The manor and patent owners leased land to tenant farmers and provided them with many essential services.

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

During the colonial period, life in Westchester was quite primitive. Roads were few and in poor condition, and transportation was heavily dependent on water. Nearly everything settlers consumed was raised or made on their farms. Wood, cattle and food were bartered for the items the settlers couldn't grow or make themselves. Over time cottage industries, such as shoe and furniture making, sprang up. This led to heavier use of local roads, which encouraged improvements, which in turn 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.

The county experienced a variety of effects caused by the American Revolutionary 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 located at Continental Village, north of Peekskill, while the British were headquartered in New York City. The area between Morrisania and the Croton River, which was considered neutral ground between the two camps, 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 war, the county was divided into 20 towns. In 1798, the first federal census recorded a population of 24,000 for the county.

The 1800s[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. The expansion of transportation options encouraged economic growth. Larger industries were 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. The Croton Dam and Aqueduct was begun in 1837 and 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, as was That the New York and New Haven Railroad's 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, with the largest city being Yonkers. Many small downtowns, centered around railroad stations, flourished.

Yonkers Civil War monument at Philipse Manor Hall in Getty Square

The period following the American Civil War enabled entrepreneurs in the New York area to create fortunes, and many built large estates in Westchester. Several mansions of this era are preserved and open to the public, including: 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, as new dams, bridges and roads were built. 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.

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 materials and conduit in Hastings; and in Yonkers, elevators and carpets.

In 1874, the western portion of the present Bronx County, consisting of the 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 (centered around the present-day Westchester Square) and portions of the towns of Eastchester and Pelham, was also transferred to New York County. Prior to that, a portion of the town of Eastchester had seceded, to become the City of Mount Vernon. In January 1914, these annexed parts were split off from New York County and Bronx County was created.[5]

Twentieth century[edit]

Playland Beach

During the 20th century, the rural character of Westchester would transform into 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, a joint venture between New York City and Westchester County, was established to improve the river's water quality. 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 parkway 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, the first planned amusement park in the country, and is operated by Westchester County to this day. The development of Westchester's parks and parkway systems supported existing communities and encouraged the establishment of new ones, transforming the development pattern for Westchester. Homes were constructed on former estates and farms. New businesses appeared in response to expanded markets; White Plains, with branches of many New York City stores, became the County's central shopping district. With the need for homes expanding after 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.

Geography[edit]

Westchester County is located in the southeastern area 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) are land and 67 square miles (170 km2) (13.45%) are water.[6] 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 the Long Island Sound and Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Where Pelham Manor meets Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, the southern border of Westchester is just under 11 miles (18 km) from Columbus Circle in Manhattan. 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 the urban Bronx, while Van Cortland Park to the west acts as a similar buffer.

Westchester's Long Island Sound shore is generally rocky, interspersed with tidal mud flats, marshes and wetlands, as well as several natural and artificially-maintained sand beaches. 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, Mamaroneck Harbor, Larchmont Harbor, Echo Bay, and the upper and lower harbors in New Rochelle. A number of islands can be found offshore from New Rochelle. 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; Huckleberry Island is largely undeveloped, and has one of the largest rookeries in western Long Island Sound; 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; Columbia, Pea, and Goose Islands are undeveloped; Clifford, Harrison and Tank Islands are part of a nature preserve and city park; while Oak and Pine Islands are used as private residences.

The widest section of the Hudson River, at 3.6 miles (6 km), is found between the Westchester and Rockland County shorelines immediately north of Croton Point. 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 a transitional period, 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 completion. In 2004, the county began a project to create Westchester RiverWalk, a walkway along the Hudson River of 51.5 miles (80 km) which will provide pedestrian access between New York City and Putnam County. 32.9 miles of the route are complete and accessible.[7]

At 980 feet (300 m), the highest elevation in the county is a U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey benchmark known as "Bailey" 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 Upper and Lower Long Island Sound; and the Bronx, Upper Hudson, Lower Hudson, 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; 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 provide 10% of New York City’s water under normal conditions and up to 30% in times of drought. The components of the system include the New Croton Reservoir, the Cross River Reservoir, the Titicus Reservoir, the Amawalk Reservoir, and the Muscoot Reservoir. Other major reservoirs are the Kensico and Byram Lake Reservoir, while there are a number of smaller reservoirs throughout the County.

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

Geology[edit]

The rock which underlies the Island of Manhattan and the county of Westchester, are comprised chiefly of gneiss and mica-schist, with layers of dolomitic marble and serpentine.

Communities[edit]

Westchester County has 6 cities, 19 towns and 23 villages. 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 where snowfall is often between 40 and 60 inches . In January, less dense areas have a low of 16-18°F and a high of 30–34 °F while dense areas like Yonkers and White Plains have a low of 20–25 °F and a high of 35-40 °F. In the summer, this effect is much milder. Coastal areas (Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Port Chester) have highs of 80–83 °F and lows of 62–66 °F, while inland highs will be 84–86 °F and lows will be 60-66 °F. Winds can be heavy, especially by the coast.[citation needed]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 23,978
1800 27,428 14.4%
1810 30,272 10.4%
1820 32,638 7.8%
1830 36,456 11.7%
1840 48,686 33.5%
1850 58,263 19.7%
1860 99,497 70.8%
1870 131,348 32.0%
1880 108,988 −17.0%
1890 146,772 34.7%
1900 184,257 25.5%
1910 283,055 53.6%
1920 344,436 21.7%
1930 520,947 51.2%
1940 573,558 10.1%
1950 625,816 9.1%
1960 808,891 29.3%
1970 894,404 10.6%
1980 866,599 −3.1%
1990 874,866 1.0%
2000 923,459 5.6%
2010 949,113 2.8%
Est. 2013 968,802 2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
2013 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% non-Hispanic 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 only English at home, while 14.4% spoke Spanish, 3.5% Italian, 1.1% Portuguese and 1.1% French at home.

There were 337,142 households of which 34% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% 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% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 14% 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 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 6.4% 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.

Expatriates[edit]

As of 2000, several different expatriate populations lived in Westchester County. The expatriates include Australians, Brazilians, French, Germans, Japanese, and New Zealanders.[10] The 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.[10]

Culture and recreation[edit]

Historic sites[edit]

Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site is the oldest standing building in Westchester. It is located in Getty Square (downtown Yonkers), and is operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

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.[11] 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; most famous for his newspaper The New York Tribune, Greeley received 66 votes in the electoral college when he ran for president against Ulysses S. Grant in the 1872 U.S. presidential election. His home and the grounds are run by the New Castle Historical Society and are open to the public.

One of the Founding Fathers, John Jay, grew up in Rye and is buried there. His boyhood home is now a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public. It is managed by the Jay Heritage Center, which are restoring the buildings, including the 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House built by Jay's eldest son.

The Thomas Paine Cottage in New Rochelle, was his home from 1802 to 1806. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark on November 28, 1972.

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

Libraries[edit]

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

Other attractions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Westchester County has been the home of many novelists, including Washington Irving. His most famous work is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", which is set at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow among other locations in Sleepy Hollow, New York. The story has inspired a variety of works, including 2013 television series Sleepy Hollow, set in the modern village.

In multimedia[edit]

In film[edit]

In print[edit]

  • This area is named in several Nero Wolfe stories (1934-1975).[citation needed]
  • An early documented mention of Westchester County is in the Trixie Belden series (1948-1986), set the series in Sleepyside-on-Hudson (called Sleepyside-on-the-Hudson in later books), a fictional village in the Hudson Valley. The original author, Julie Campbell, modeled Crabapple Farm, on Glen Road in Sleepyside, after her own home at Wolf Hollow on Glendale Road, in Ossining. She also mentioned it in her last offering in the series: Cherry Ames, Country Doctor's Nurse.[citation needed].
  • Westchester is the primary setting and home to the main characters in The Clique young adult novel series by Lisi Harrison.[citation needed]
  • In Edward Lewis Wallant's novel The Pawnbroker, the main character Sol Nazerman lives in Mount Vernon.

In television[edit]

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 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.[12]

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.

Politics[edit]

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2012 37.2% 143,122 61.8% 240,785
2008 35.8% 147,824 63.4% 261,810
2004 40.3% 159,628 58.1% 229,849
2000 37.5% 139,278 58.6% 218,010
1996 35.9% 123,719 56.9% 196,310
1992 40.1% 151,990 48.6% 184,300
1988 53.4% 197,956 45.8% 169,860
1984 58.7% 229,005 41.1% 160,225
1980 54.4% 198,552 35.6% 130,136
1976 54.3% 208,527 45.1% 173,153
1972 62.8% 262,901 36.9% 154,412
1968 50.3% 201,652 43.4% 173,954
1964 37.9% 149,052 62.0% 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 the 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.

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

However, Westchester 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 had 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 left the post in 1997. 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 near the hamlet of Pocantico Hills.

The county is also home to the former President Bill Clinton and former 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 personnel. Westchester County Department of Emergency Services operates the main dispatching system for EMS and fire departments, 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 career fire departments, also operates the Special Operations Task Force. The force consists 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.

Education[edit]

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

Media[edit]

Westchester has numerous county-wide media outlets, including:

Newspapers[edit]

Television and radio[edit]

  • News 12 Westchester, a television news station.
  • White Plains Week, weekly 30-minute news broadcasts on White Plains issues.[citation needed]
  • WFAS-FM (103.9 FM), a Hartsdale radio station focusing on Westchester.
  • WHUD (100.7 FM), a Peekskill station that focuses on the Hudson Valley.
  • WRNN-TV, a television news station in Rye Brook.
  • WVIP (93.5 FM, formerly known as WRTN), a Whitney Radio-owned New Rochelle radio station with varied programming.
  • WVOX (1460 AM), a Whitney Radio-owned New Rochelle radio station with varied programming.
  • WXPK (107.1 FM), a White Plains/Briarcliff Manor radio station for music.

Transportation[edit]

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. A $4 billion replacement bridge began construction in 2013.[14] 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.

Transportation routes have been responsible for the county's development patterns, with city and town growth being most pronounced along these corridors.[citation needed] There are five mostly north/south corridors and three which traverse the county in the east/west direction. The north/south routes are (going from west to east): S. Route 9/Albany Post Rd/Broadway Corridor; the Saw Mill River Parkway Corridor; the Sprain Brook Parkway; the Hutchinson River Parkway; with the most eastern corridor being the I-95/New England Thruway. The east/west corridors are, from south to north: the Cross County Parkway; the Cross Westchester Expressway/I-287; and the U.S. 202 corridor.[15]

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.

Bee-Line bus in Port Chester, New York

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. These are 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, and Putnam County. The MTA Bus Company also runs to and from Getty Square in Yonkers to Midtown Manhattan.

Westchester County Airport is adjacent to White Plains.

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 March 28, 2014. 
  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. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Westchester RiverWalk". WestchesterGov.com. Westchester County. October 29, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Westchester County, New York". Westchester County Department of Planning. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "St. Paul's Church: History & Culture". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  12. ^ "Westchester County Board of Legislators". 
  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. 
  14. ^ "New Tappan Zee construction starts". New York Post. The Associated Press. October 16, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  15. ^ Westchester County Department of Planning (February 2012) (PDF). Westchester County, New York – County and State Roads and Parks (Map). http://planning.westchestergov.com/images/stories/MapPDFS/CountyStateRoadsParks.pdf. Retrieved April 6, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Borkow, Richard (2011). George Washington's Westchester Gamble: The Encampment on the Hudson and the Trapping of Cornwallis. Charleston, SC: History Press. ISBN 978-1609490393. 
  • Williams, Gray (2003). Picturing Our Past: National Register Sites in Westchester County. Westchester County Historical Society. ISBN 0-915585-14-6. 

External links[edit]