There’s a reason so many city families are heading to the Rivertowns
A few decades ago there was a local advertisement that read, “Hastings-on-Hudson…Shhh.” The Rivertowns have always been a bit of an undiscovered area nestled along the beautiful Hudson River, but in recent years, that has changed.
These were factory towns filled with workers who spent their days working with commodities like steel. At the end of a long, hard day, they could then have a drink at a local bar and walk home to their families in the peaceful oasis outside NYC. Life was tough but good.
Later the Rivertowns started attracting artists like the cubist sculptor Jack Lipschitz. He had his art studio in Hastings-on-Hudson and would meet his friend Picasso at the station cafe from time to time.
The landscape painter Jasper Francis Cropsey painted at his breathtaking estate in Hastings-on-Hudson till 1893, where you can still tour the amazing property and see his work.
Fast-forward, I moved here in 2011 with my musician boyfriend, who is now my husband, and fell in love with the Rivertowns. I loved that this area was right outside the hectic NYC, but it wasn’t what I envisioned a suburb to be. I could walk to towns and even escape back to NYC in 30 minutes or so.
The villages in the Rivertowns were cute and quaint. I liked most the people I met who lived there because they were down-to-earth and friendly. It actually felt like I had moved to some small college town, filled with married adults instead of students. And of course, who wouldn’t love the beautiful and calming Hudson River, which flows both ways and follows you everywhere you go.
Of course, a year or two after I lived here, this area started getting popular. All of sudden I would see young and hip couples moving in, or even 30-something men with beards walking the streets! How could this be? This area was always more folksy than super hip, so something was a’ changing.
But it all made sense, the New York Times had found us. In 2013 the New York Times writer Alex Williams wrote the story Creating Hipsturbia about how Brooklyn was coming to our “suburbia.” The piece talked about how young creatives were leaving NYC and Brooklyn because it had become too expensive and they were attracted to the laid back vibe of the Rivertowns.
The term “Hipsturbia” and NY Times piece itself didn’t thrill many people in the community. People were offended to be labeled that way because we were much more than some manufactured idea or trend. Our community included all types of families from blue-collar to white collar, to no collar. Also, I’m not sure everyone was happy that our quiet little community wasn’t such a secret anymore.
Of course, real estate prices started rising after that and I started meeting younger and sometimes hip families on our streets, searching for their dream non-suburban home and life outside the city.
Since then the New York Times published a few more favorable pieces about this area. One called, Twenty Miles from Midtown a Riverside Village Awaits was all about the area, highlighting the Hastings Farmers Market and the great stores and restaurants in the village.
“There’s nothing cookie cutter about Hastings,” the market’s organizer Pascale Le Draploulec said in the piece. And yes, after that story, I would see more stragglers walking through the village and farmer’s market, checking out the area.
Last year, when I asked a mom who moved here with her family from outside London how she discovered the Rivertowns, she said it was the first listing that popped up on Google when she searched for towns outsides NYC. She hadn’t heard about Suburban Jungle like the rest of us!
I guess it’s hard to keep such a beautiful and quaint area, with an amazing community and school-system under wraps. Whether it’s Google is to blame for the buzz or something else, we welcome each newcomer to the Rivertowns, no matter what you do, what you look like or where you come from—as long as you’re not too hip to be friendly.
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