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Living in

Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.: An Inclusive Community on the River

Many of the residents in this Westchester County village are city transplants, drawn by the creative, environmentally conscious vibe.

  • Jan. 6, 2021, 5:00 a.m. ET

Over the years, Pato Paez and his husband, Brian Harris, shared many Thanksgivings with a family member who lived in the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, perched above the Hudson River in southern Westchester County. But they never considered moving there — or even leaving the city — until their daughter was born in 2017 and the space in their Park Slope, Brooklyn, rental seemed to shrink.

“Our two-bedroom apartment wasn’t working,” Mr. Paez said. “We needed more room.”


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By The New York Times

Mr. Paez, 47, is a partner at the Commission Project, an art consultancy; Dr. Harris, also 47, is a music psychotherapist in private practice. Before the pandemic, both commuted to Manhattan; now they work remotely.

For much of 2018, Dr. Harris monitored real estate websites, with a focus on Hastings-on-Hudson and the adjacent river towns. In some ways, the couple’s criteria mirrored those of other young families transitioning to the suburbs: more space, proximity to the city and good schools. They were also seeking a less transient community than they had found in Brooklyn. “We wanted to live someplace where our daughter could grow up with the same group of kids,” Dr. Harris said.

Also, he added, “we needed a place where we wouldn’t stick out as a queer family in a problematic way.”

They toured two homes, both in Hastings-on-Hudson, and bought the second one in December 2018: a 1,215-square-foot, two-bedroom Croydon model Sears home built in 1940 on 0.16 acres. They paid $600,000.

Shortly before they moved in, Dr. Harris announced their arrival on a Hastings-on-Hudson parents Facebook page. “He outed us as a two-dad family,” Mr. Paez said. “The response was pivotal. We received an enormous amount of welcoming messages.”

Warburton Avenue is part of Hastings-on-Hudson’s walkable downtown.
Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

That would have pleased Nicola Armacost, the mayor of the nearly three-square-mile village, one of six in the town of Greenburgh. Ms. Armacost touted the community as a progressive one, filled with talent and passion — from the creative (“we have writers, artists, musicians, thinkers,” she said) to the politically engaged (“we always have a high voter turnout”) and environmentally conscious (last September, Hastings-on-Hudson became one of seven silver-certified Climate Smart Communities in the state; in 2015, it was the first municipality in the region to ban single-use plastic bags and foam food containers).

Hastings-on-Hudson’s population of approximately 7,850 includes young families, many of whom, like Mr. Paez and Dr. Harris, are city transplants, as well as empty-nesters who “can’t bear the thought of leaving the village they love,” Ms. Armacost said.

There are initiatives to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity, she said, among them a push for more affordable housing and efforts to ensure broad representation on village boards and commissions.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Living in Hastings-on-Hudson means driving on narrow streets that meander up and down steep hills. Those streets are lined with an eclectic mix of predominantly modest (though not modestly priced) homes, including Tudors, colonials and Capes, most on quarter-acre or smaller lots. Garages, if they exist, tend to be undersized, so the streets are made narrower by parked cars.

Hastings-on-Hudson’s lively downtown, a chain-free hub of shops and restaurants, sits near the Hudson. To the west, bordering the waterfront, are remnants of the village’s industrial past: former factory sites on contaminated land undergoing remediation. The rest of the village is primarily residential, with leafy neighborhoods like Hudson Heights, in the northeast corner; Uniontown, farther south, where some antebellum homes still stand; and in the northwest, Riverview Manor, the priciest section, with expansive river views.

Edye McCarthy, Greenburgh’s assessor, said Hastings-on-Hudson has 1,779 single-family homes and 180 multifamily homes, plus 167 condominiums in seven complexes, 386 co-op apartments in six complexes, 287 rental apartments in 37 complexes and 16 affordable-housing units in one complex.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

John Doherty, a salesman with Houlihan Lawrence, said prices in Hastings-on-Hudson range from around $150,000 for a co-op to about $500,000 to $2 million for a single-family house. “Most sales are between $650,000 and $1.5 million,” he said.

He described the village as a place where it’s “the hardest to buy and the easiest to sell — there is always low inventory and a lot of demand.”

As the pandemic surged last spring, the demand escalated, said Melissa Palley, an agent with Compass’s Francie Malina Team. “We had bidding wars and people buying houses sight unseen. Then, once things started opening up, we saw less panic-buying and more pushback on pricing. Now we have some people looking and some saying they are going to wait till spring. Inventory is still low, but the market is returning to a more normal pace.”

Data provided by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service showed that as of Dec. 23, there were 10 single-family homes on the market, from a 1,550-square-foot, two-bedroom colonial, built in 1928 on 0.47 acres and listed at $310,000, to a 4,642-square-foot, four-bedroom house, built in 1989 on 0.45 acres, for $2.15 million. There were no multifamily homes for sale. There were three condominiums listed: a 694-square-foot one-bedroom for $260,000, a 2,500-square-foot two-bedroom for $719,000 and a 1,443-square-foot two-bedroom for $930,000. There were seven co-op apartments on the market, from a 750-square-foot one-bedroom for $189,000 to a 1,001-square-foot two-bedroom for $329,000.

As for rentals, there were nine homes available, from a 750-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment for $1,700 a month to a 1,149-square-foot, three-bedroom single-family home for $4,400.

The median sales price for a single-family home during the 12-month period ending Dec. 23 was $827,500, up from $755,000 during the previous 12 months. The median for a multifamily home was $712,000, down from $750,000 in the previous 12 months; for condominiums, the median was $672,500, down from $700,000; and for co-ops, the median was $235,000, down from $387,500. The median monthly rental was $2,650, up from $2,575.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Mr. Paez described Hastings-on-Hudson as unpretentious: “Rather than driving Mercedes,” he said, “people drive Subarus.”

Or they walk. Neighbors run into one another downtown, where various needs are covered by a hardware store, pharmacy, dry cleaners, veterinarian and supermarket, as well as Galapagos Books, open since 1987, and the months-old Refill Room, an eco-minded household-supply store.

On Saturdays, the well-stocked Hastings Farmers Market serves as a gathering spot, with safety measures instituted so it can remain open during the pandemic.

Restaurants include Bread & Brine, Taiim Falafel Shack, Boro6 Wine Bar, the 25-year-old Maud’s Tavern and the waterfront Harvest on Hudson. The village has encouraged outdoor dining by repurposing parts of parking lots and streets. “We tell people to BYOB: Bring your own blanket,” Ms. Armacost said.

Whatever the weather, outdoor enthusiasts can hike the Old Croton Aqueduct, a 26-mile, state-owned linear park, a segment of which cuts through the village. They can explore the village-run Hillside Woods and Park, some 100 acres of parkland, with trails, tennis courts, the Chemka Pool and Sugar Pond, where fishing and ice skating are permitted. At MacEachron Waterfront Park and Kinnally Cove, they can enjoy views of the Palisades and the Manhattan skyline.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Hastings-on-Hudson is served by the Hastings-on-Hudson Union Free School District, which also serves an unincorporated portion of Greenburgh. The district is presently following a pandemic-driven hybrid model. Its 1,674 students attend Hillside Elementary School for kindergarten through fourth grade; Farragut Middle School for grades five through eight; and then Hastings High. The high school, which was named a 2019-2020 Recognition School by the New York State Education Department, includes the Hastings Alternative School Program.

On the 2018-19 state assessments, 81 percent of the district’s fourth-graders were proficient in English language arts and 83 percent were proficient in math; statewide equivalents were 48 percent and 50 percent. Mean SAT scores for the 2020 graduating class were 606 in evidence-based reading and writing and 582 in math; statewide means were 528 and 530.

Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Commuters to Manhattan, 20 miles southwest, can catch Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson line at the Hastings-on-Hudson station, where rush-hour trains to and from Grand Central Terminal take 35 to 53 minutes. Round-trip fare is $25.50 peak, $19.50 off-peak and $278 monthly; currently all fares are considered off-peak. Riders can grab their morning coffee at the Good Witch coffee bar, in the depot, or nearby at Antoinette’s Patisserie.

Drivers can use the Saw Mill River Parkway, which has several Hastings-on-Hudson on- and offramps. The trip to the city takes about half an hour, barring traffic.

Snow dusts the Palisades across an icy Hudson River in “Winter at Hastings-on-Hudson,” painted in 1894 by Jasper Francis Cropsey, a prominent Hudson River School artist. The composition captures the vista from Cropsey’s home in Hastings-on-Hudson, where he lived with his wife, Maria Cropsey, from 1885 until his death, at 77, in 1900.

The Cropseys named their lemon-yellow, Carpenter Gothic house Ever Rest and added a painting studio in 1887. Ever Rest is now owned by the Newington-Cropsey Foundation, established in 1977 by Cropsey’s great-granddaughter, Barbara Newington, to preserve the artist’s home and display his work. In 1994, the foundation built a Gothic Revival-style art gallery not far from Ever Rest.

From the Newington-Cropsey Foundation’s collection, 30 oil paintings and 24 watercolors hang in Ever Rest, and 80 oil paintings and 10 watercolors are on view in the gallery. Visitors were welcome for appointment-only tours before the pandemic forced the foundation’s temporary closure.

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