HistoryAt the time of European First contact (anthropology), contact in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Native American inhabitants of present-day 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 River, Delaware and Hudson Rivers. Several different tribes occupied the area, including The Manhattans, and the Weckquaesgeek and Siwanoy bands of the Wappinger in the south, and Tankiteke, Sintsink and Kitchawank Wappinger in the north. The first European explorers to visit the Westchester area were Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and Henry Hudson in 1609. Dutch people, Dutch settlers began arriving in the 1620s, followed by settlers from England in the 1640s. 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 included present-day Bronx County, and abutted then-Dutchess County to the north. By 1775, Westchester was the richest and most populous county in the colony of New York. Although the American Revolutionary War, Revolutionary War devastated the county, recovery after the war was rapid. 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. Two developments in the first half of the 19th century—the construction of the first Croton Dam and Croton Aqueduct, Aqueduct, and the coming of the railroad—had enormous impacts on the growth of Westchester. The Croton Dam and Aqueduct was begun in 1837 and completed in 1842; 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, and included the New York and Harlem Railroad, the Hudson River Railroad, and the New York and New Haven Railroad. The railroads often determined the growth of a town, and the population shifted from Northern Westchester, Northern to Southern Westchester. By 1860, the total county population was 99,000, with the most populated city being Yonkers. The period following the American Civil War enabled entrepreneurs in the New York area to create fortunes, and many built large estate (land), estates, such as Lyndhurst (mansion), Lyndhurst, in Westchester. 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. In 1874, the West Bronx, western portion of the present Bronx County was transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County was also transferred to New York County. These would later split from Manhattan to form a county. During the 20th century, the rural character of Westchester would transform into the suburban county known today. The Bronx River Parkway, completed in 1925, was the first modern, multi-lane limited-access roadway in North America. 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. 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 (1955–2017), Tappan Zee Bridge, led to further growth in the county.
GeographyWestchester County is located in the and Downstate New York, north of New York City and south of Upstate New York. It shares its southern boundary with New York City and its northern border with Putnam County, New York, Putnam County. 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. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (14%) is water. Where Pelham Manor meets Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, the southern border of Westchester is just under from Columbus Circle in Manhattan. At over , 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 Cortlandt Park to the west acts as a similar buffer.
Long Island Sound shoreWestchester'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 (Long Island Sound), Milton Harbor in Rye, New York, Rye, Mamaroneck, Mamaroneck Harbor, Larchmont, Larchmont Harbor, and Echo Bay (Long Island Sound), Echo Bay, and the New Rochelle Harbor (Long Island Sound), upper and New Rochelle Harbor (Long Island Sound), lower harbors in southern New Rochelle, New York, New Rochelle. A number of islands can be found off the Long Island Sound shore, most of which are located in New Rochelle. Davids' Island (New York), 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 Park (New Rochelle, New York), Glen Island, currently a Westchester Parks Department run beach and park, was one of the first amusement parks in the country serving as a summer resort at the turn of the twentieth century; Huckleberry Island is largely undeveloped, and has one of the largest rookery, rookeries in western Long Island Sound; Echo Island is owned and used by a private yacht club; Execution Rocks Light, Execution Rocks is the site of a 19th-century lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Columbia Island (New York), Columbia, Pea Island (New Rochelle, New York), Pea, and Goose Island (Long Island Sound), Goose Islands are undeveloped; Clifford, Harrison and Tank Islands are part of the "Five Islands Park" and nature preserve; while Oak and Pine Islands are used as private residences.
Hudson RiverThe widest section of the Hudson River, at , 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, New York, Cortlandt and the Tappan Zee Bridge (2017–present), Tappan Zee Bridge at Tarrytown, New York, Tarrytown. Municipal, county and state-owned parks provide access to waterfront landmarks and sites, including Croton Point in Croton, Kingsland Point in Sleepy Hollow, New York, 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, New York, Irvington, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Ossining (village), New York, 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 which will provide pedestrian access between New York City and Putnam County. 32.9 miles of the route are complete and accessible. At , the highest elevation in the county is a US National Geodetic Survey, U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Benchmark (surveying), 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.
WatershedsWestchester County is divided into six primary drainage basins or watersheds: 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 (New York), 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 Reservoir, 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.
GeologyThe rock that underlies Manhattan and Westchester is chiefly gneiss and mica-schist, with layers of dolomitic marble and Serpentine group, serpentine.
ClimateThe climate of Westchester County is primarily a humid subtropical climate (Koppen ''Cfa''), with higher elevations bordering on a humid continental climate. Winters are cold, wet, and occasionally snowy throughout the county, with more snow inland in higher elevations. Summers are hot inland but cooler towards the coast, with somewhat of a relative dryness in the early part of summer. Precipitation is plentiful and in some elevated areas reaches over 50 inches. Snowfall is more common in Westchester than in New York City, with the exception of the southeast of the county where snowfall is often between 20 and 25 inches. In January, inland areas have a low of 21-26°F and a high of 34-37 °F while coastal areas have a low of 27-30 °F and a high of 38-41 °F. In the summer, this effect is much milder. Coastal areas (Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye, Port Chester) have highs of 81-83 °F and lows of 68-73 °F, while inland highs will be 84-87 °F and lows will be 65-70 °F. Winds can be heavy, especially by the coast.
2010As of 2010, there were 949,113 residents at an average density of 807 per square mile (312/km2). The Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, 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 language, English at home, while 14.4% spoke Spanish language, Spanish, 3.5% Italian language, Italian, 1.1% Portuguese language, Portuguese and 1.1% French language, French at home. There were 337,142 households, of which 34% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were Marriage, married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. Of all households 25.7% 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. The United States Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau reports that 6.4% of families and 8.7% (2003) of the population were below the Poverty threshold, poverty line, including 26.53% of those under age 18 and 7.60% of those age 65 or over.
2018At the American Community Survey's 2018 estimates 967,612 people inhabited the county, up 18,499 from 2010's census. 53.1% of the county was Non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic white, 16.6% African Americans, Black or African American, 1.0% Native Americans in the United States, American Indian or Alaska Native, 6.4% Asian Americans, Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from Multiracial Americans, two or more races, and 25.1% Hispanic and Latino (ethnic categories), Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.6% of the population were foreign-born. From 2014 to 2018 there were 375,852 housing units and 347,332 households. The owner-occupied housing rate was 61.3% and the median monthly owner costs of a house were $3,398 with a mortgage and $1,426 without. The median gross rent in 2018 was $1,493, up $517 from the monthly owner cost without a mortgage. The average persons per household in 2018 was 2.71 and 33.3% of residents spoke a language other than English at home. 21.9% of Westchester was under 18 and 17.1% were aged 65 and older. Westchester County's median income was $92,758 and the per capita income was $54,572. The Census Bureau reported 65.4% of the county's residents aged 16 and older were employed in the civilian labor force, and 59.5% of women worked in the labor force. 8.3% of the county lived below the poverty line from 2014 to 2018.
ExpatriatesAs of 2000, several different expatriate populations lived in Westchester County. Notable French Americans, French communities are located in Larchmont, New York, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New York, Mamaroneck, and New Rochelle, New York, New Rochelle; while Scarsdale, New York, Scarsdale, Tarrytown, New York, Tarrytown and Bronxville, New York, Bronxville are the preferred locations for Japanese in New York City, Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans.Foderaro, Lisa W.
CommunitiesWestchester County has 6 city (New York), cities, 19 town (New York), towns, and 23 village (New York), villages. Cities in Westchester have many well established sub-areas within the municipal boundaries. Many of these are similar to hamlets and date back to as early as the late 1600s such as Cooper's Corners in New Rochelle. These areas also include some of the first planned communities in the country such as New Rochelle's Residence Park (New Rochelle, New York), Residence Park, Rochelle Park-Rochelle Heights Historic District, Rochelle Park and Heights and Sutton Manor (New Rochelle), Sutton Manor. The six Political subdivisions of New York State#City, cities in the county are: Any land area in the county that is not contained in one of the cities is in a town. A town may have from zero to multiple villages. A village can be located in more than one town, as two of Westchester's villages are. The largest city in the county by population is Yonkers with nearly 200,000 residents. The city with the highest population density is Mount Vernon, New York, Mount Vernon with a density of 15,564 individuals per square mile. The towns of Harrison, Mount Kisco, and Scarsdale are coterminous municipality, coterminous with the village of the same name. Two villages are split between two towns - Briarcliff Manor crosses the border between Ossining town and Mount Pleasant, and Mamaroneck village straddles the boundary between Mamaroneck town and Rye town. With the exception of the towns of Rye, Pelham, Harrison, Mount Kisco, and Scarsdale, all the towns contain area and residents which do not belong to any village. These areas may contain communities referred to as Political subdivisions of New York State#Hamlet, hamlets, or "unincorporated areas". Hamlets have no legal status and depend upon the town for all municipal government and services. There are also areas called Political subdivisions of New York State#Census-designated place, census-designated places (CDPs), which are defined by the U.S. United States Census Bureau, Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. A CDP may or may not correspond to a hamlet. Because some municipalities have the same name, it is often necessary to indicate whether one is referring to the city, town, village, or hamlet. For example, the town of Rye is completely separate from the city of Rye. Pelham is the name of a town and also of a village in the town. The village of Mamaroneck is located partially in the town of Mamaroneck and partially in the town of Rye, but has nothing to do with the city of Rye. All of the towns have Justice Courts (New York), justice courts, and some of the villages do as well. The towns are listed as follows: * Town ** Villages (if any), one per bullet ** ''CDPs (if any)'', all listed on a single bullet ** ''Communities not in a village or CDP (if any)'', all listed on a single bullet :(''The list of towns, villages, and CDPs is complete. The listing of additional communities should not be considered complete.'') * Bedford (town), New York, Bedford, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDPs of Bedford (CDP), New York, Bedford, Bedford Hills, New York, Bedford Hills and Katonah, New York, Katonah'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP'') * Cortlandt, New York, Cortlandt, containing two villages: ** Buchanan, New York, Buchanan ** Croton-on-Hudson, New York, Croton-on-Hudson ** (''contains the CDPs of Crugers, New York, Crugers, Mohegan Lake, New York, Lake Mohegan, Montrose, New York, Montrose and Verplanck, New York, Verplanck'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no village or CDP, including the community of Cortlandt Manor, New York, Cortlandt Manor'') * Eastchester (town), New York, Eastchester, containing two villages: ** Bronxville, New York, Bronxville ** Tuckahoe, Westchester County, New York, Tuckahoe ** (''contains the CDP of Eastchester (CDP), New York, Eastchester, which encompasses all area outside the villages'') * Greenburgh, New York, Greenburgh, containing six villages: ** Ardsley, New York, Ardsley ** Dobbs Ferry, New York, Dobbs Ferry ** Elmsford, New York, Elmsford ** Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, Hastings-on-Hudson ** Irvington, New York, Irvington ** Tarrytown, New York, Tarrytown ** (''contains the CDPs of Fairview, Westchester County, New York, Fairview, Edgemont, New York, Greenville and Hartsdale, New York, Hartsdale'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no village or CDP) * Harrison, New York, Harrison, coterminous with the village of the same name (''includes the communities of Purchase, New York, Purchase and Harrison, New York, West Harrison'') * Lewisboro, New York, Lewisboro, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDP of Goldens Bridge, New York, Goldens Bridge'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP, including the communities of Cross River, New York, Cross River, Lewisboro, South Salem, New York, South Salem, Vista, New York, Vista and Waccabuc, New York, Waccabuc'') * Mamaroneck (town), New York, Mamaroneck, containing two villages: ** Larchmont, New York, Larchmont ** Mamaroneck (village), New York, Mamaroneck (''This village is shared with the Town of Rye.'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no village (or CDP)'') * Mount Kisco, coterminous with village of same name * Mount Pleasant, New York, Mount Pleasant, containing three villages: ** Briarcliff Manor, New York, Briarcliff Manor (''This village is shared with the Town of Ossining.'') ** Pleasantville, New York, Pleasantville ** Sleepy Hollow, New York, Sleepy Hollow (''formerly named North Tarrytown'') ** (''contains the CDPs of Hawthorne, New York, Hawthorne, Thornwood, New York, Thornwood and Valhalla, New York, Valhalla'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no village or CDP, including the community of Pocantico Hills, New York, Pocantico Hills'') * New Castle, New York, New Castle, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDPs of Chappaqua, New York, Chappaqua and Millwood, New York, Millwood'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP'') * North Castle, New York, North Castle, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDP of Armonk, New York, Armonk'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP, including the communities of Banksville, New York, Banksville and North White Plains, New York, North White Plains'') * North Salem, New York, North Salem, containing no villages: ** (''contains the portion of the CDP of Peach Lake, New York, Peach Lake that is not in Putnam County, New York, Putnam County'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP, including the communities of Croton Falls, New York, Croton Falls, Purdys, New York, Purdys and Salem Center, New York, Salem Center'') * Ossining (town), New York, Ossining, containing two villages: ** Briarcliff Manor, New York, Briarcliff Manor (''This village is shared with the Town of Mount Pleasant.'') ** Ossining (village), New York, Ossining (''The village of Ossining is contained within the Town of Ossining.'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no village or CDP, including the community of Crotonville'') * Pelham (town), New York, Pelham, containing two villages: ** Pelham (village), New York, Pelham (''The Village of Pelham is contained within the Town of Pelham.'') ** Pelham Manor, New York, Pelham Manor ** (''The villages cover the entire area of the town.'') ** (''The village of North Pelham, New York, North Pelham existed from 1896 to 1975, when it was merged into the village of Pelham.'') * Pound Ridge, New York, Pound Ridge, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDP of Scotts Corners, New York, Scotts Corners'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP, including the community of Pound Ridge, New York, Pound Ridge'') * Rye (town), New York, Town of Rye (''Rye is also the name of a city.''), containing three villages: ** Mamaroneck (village), New York, Mamaroneck (''This village is shared with the Town of Mamaroneck. The portion in Rye is unofficially also called "Rye Neck". The city of Rye separates Mamaroneck from the rest of the town of Rye.'') ** Port Chester, New York, Port Chester ** Rye Brook, New York, Rye Brook (''Prior to 1982, Rye Brook was the unincorporated area of the Town of Rye, and still shares the same ZIP Code as Port Chester.) ** (''The villages cover the entire area of the town.'') * Scarsdale, New York, Scarsdale, coterminous with village of same name * Somers, New York, Somers, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDPs of Heritage Hills, New York, Heritage Hills, Lincolndale, New York, Lincolndale and Shenorock, New York, Shenorock'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP, including the communities of Amawalk, New York, Amawalk, Baldwin Place, New York, Baldwin Place, Granite Springs, New York, Granite Springs, and Somers'') * Yorktown, New York, Yorktown, containing no villages: ** (''contains the CDPs of Crompond, New York, Crompond, Jefferson Valley, New York, Jefferson Valley-Yorktown, Mohegan Lake, New York, Lake Mohegan, Shrub Oak, New York, Shrub Oak and Yorktown Heights, New York, Yorktown Heights'') ** (''plus additional area belonging to no CDP, including the community of Kitchawan, New York, Kitchawan'')
EconomyDue to its proximity to New York City, many Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Westchester county, including: * Mastercard, MasterCard in the hamlet of Purchase, New York, Purchase * PepsiCo in the hamlet of Purchase, New York, Purchase * IBM in the hamlet of Armonk * ITT Inc., ITT Corporation in the city of White Plains * Jarden in the city of Rye, New York, Rye * Universal American in the city of White Plains * Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in the village of Tarrytown, New York, Tarrytown
High technologyTech Valley is a marketing name for the eastern part of New York State, including the Hudson Valley and the Capital District, New York, Capital District. The term originated in 1998 to promote the Greater Albany, New York, Albany metropolitan area as a competitor to regions such as Silicon Valley and Boston. It has since grown to represent the counties in New York between IBM's Westchester County plants in the south and the Canada–United States border, Canada–U.S. border to the north.
BiotechnologyWestchester County has also developed a burgeoning biotechnology sector in the 21st century, with over US$1 billion in planned private investment as of 2016, spurring ''Westchester Magazine'' to nickname the county ''Biochester''. In April 2017, county officials unveiled plans for an 80-acre, 3 million square-foot biotechnology hub to be built with US$1.2 billion in private investment on vacant land adjacent to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York, Valhalla; the bioscience center, a public-private partnership, is anticipated to create 12,000 new jobs and include over 2.25 million square feet of biotechnology research space.
EducationWestchester County contains 48 Public school (government funded), public school Political subdivisions of New York State#School district, districts, nearly 120 private school, private University-preparatory school, college-preparatory and parochial school, parochial schools, and 15 colleges and universities. Many public and private high schools are continuously ranked among the best in New York State and the United States. Public schools in the county are largely funded by local property taxes, and the median annual property-tax bill for Westchester County residents was $13,842 in 2013, the highest in the United States. According to the 2018 rankings provided by the education website Niche (company), Niche, taking into account public comments, 28 of the top 100 school districts in the state of New York were located in Westchester County.
Culture and recreation
Historic sitesThe Timothy Knapp House and Milton Cemetery, Timothy Knapp House, built around 1670, is the oldest standing building in Westchester. Philipse Manor Hall and the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow are also among the oldest, built around 1682 and 1685 respectively. Philipse Manor Hall is located in Getty Square, Yonkers, and is operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The former Edwin H. Armstrong House is the only delisted National Historic Landmark in Westchester. Current National Historic Landmarks in the county are: * The Aaron Copland House * The Armour-Stiner House * The Boston Post Road Historic District (Rye, New York), Boston Post Road Historic District * The Elephant Hotel * The John Hartford House * The John Jay Homestead * The John William Draper House * Kykuit * Lyndhurst (mansion), Lyndhurst * Old Croton Aqueduct * Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow * Philipse Manor Hall * Philipsburg Manor House * Playland (New York), Playland * Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site, St. Paul's Church * Stepping Stones (house), Stepping Stones * Sunnyside (Tarrytown, New York), Sunnyside * Thomas Paine Cottage * Van Cortlandt Manor * Villa Lewaro
LibrariesWestchester County is served by the Westchester Library System, established in 1958. The system comprises 38 public libraries and 25 college and special libraries in the county. The Westchester Library Association is an organization which advocates on behalf of libraries and their personnel and support systems within Westchester County.
Other attractions* Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah * Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens, Purchase * The Emelin Theatre, Mamaroneck * The Hudson River Museum, Yonkers * Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah * Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase * New Roc City, New Rochelle * Teatown Lake Reservation, Ossining * Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Chappaqua * Westchester Philharmonic, White Plains * Westchester County Center, White Plains * Mianus River Gorge, Bedford
GovernmentThe Westchester County Government is headed by Westchester County Executive, County Executive George Latimer (New York politician), George Latimer, a Democratic Party (United States), Democrat. The district attorney is Miriam E. Rocah, and the Westchester County Clerk, county clerk is Timothy C. Idoni.
Board of LegislatorsThe Westchester County Board of Legislators is the legislative branch of Westchester County. Currently, sixteen of them are Democrats, and one is a Conservative who caucuses with the Republicans. The current Chair of the Board is Legislator Benjamin Boykin.
PoliticsWestchester County generally leans toward the political left. It last voted for the Republican nominee for president in 1988. Historically, Westchester County was a classic "Yankee Republican" county. It supported Republican presidential candidates in all but two elections from 1896 to 1988. However, 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, New York, Albany County, has produced the biggest margins for statewide Democrats in recent years. Democratic voters are mainly concentrated in the more populated southern and central parts of the county. More than 63 percent of Westchester County voters voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, 2008 presidential race, the seventh-highest percentage of any New York county. Currently, all three U.S. congressional representatives from Westchester County are Democrats. and represent most of the county. Jones' district covers most of the county's central and northwestern portions, including White Plains, Chappaqua, and Tarrytown, and reaches into Rockland County. Bowman's district is based in the Bronx, but includes most of the southern half of the county, including Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Rye. The northeastern portion of the county is represented by , a former advisor to Bill Clinton, who was elected in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth. Maloney's district includes the towns of Bedford, Somers, Pound Ridge, North Salem, Lewisboro, and a portion of North Castle. However, Republicans remain competitive with Democrats 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 2002 New York gubernatorial election, gubernatorial race of 2002, and by 26.22% in 1998. Pataki hails from Westchester; he previously served as mayor of Peekskill and represented part of the county in the state Assembly and state Senate prior to being elected governor. In 1998, County Executive Andrew Spano became 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 for a seat in the New York State Senate in a rematch of the 2004 race, which she had lost by only 18 votes. His brother, Assembly Member Mike Spano, switched parties in July 2007 to become a Democrat. District attorney Janet DiFiore also switched parties from Republican to Democrat 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 legislature by picking up two seats. However, two of the Democrats formed a coalition with the Republicans to control the board, with a Republican becoming vice-chair. In 2017 Democrats gained three seats to take outright control of the board. In 2019 Democrats gained two seats and in 2020 the last remaining Republican switched parties to become a Democrat. The current composition is sixteen Democrats and one Conservative. Westchester County was the home of U.S. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, who occupied the Kykuit mansion near the hamlet of Pocantico Hills, New York, Pocantico Hills. The county is also home to 42nd U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who live in Chappaqua, New York, Chappaqua. Former First Lady Barbara Bush grew up in Rye. 45th U.S. President Donald Trump owns a home in Bedford (town), New York, Bedford. The 230-acre Seven Springs (Bedford, New York), Seven Springs estate was acquired by Trump in 1996.
Law enforcementThere are currently 42 local police agencies located in Westchester County. These agencies frequently work with one another and with other agencies, including county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies responsible for protecting Westchester County.
Emergency servicesWestchester County has a wide array of emergency services and is the home to 58 fire departments, 42 ambulance services, three 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 hazardous 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.
MediaNotable county-wide media (communication), media outlets include: ;Newspapers * ''The Daily Voice (U.S. hyperlocal news), The Daily Voice'', a news website for Fairfield and Westchester Counties. * ''El Sol (Stamford), El Sol'', a Spanish news website covering Connecticut and Westchester. * ''The Hudson Independent'', a monthly newspaper serving Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Irvington. * ''The Journal News'', a daily newspaper and news website for Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam. * ''The Westchester County Press'', a print newspaper produced in White Plains, part of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. * ''The Westchester Guardian'', a print and online newspaper, distributed three days a week. * ''The Rivertowns Enterprise'', a print and online newspaper covering Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley and Irvington. * The Scarsdale Inquirer, a weekly newspaper that serves the residents of Scarsdale and Greenburgh. ;Television and radio * FiOS1 Lower Hudson Valley, a television news station available on Verizon FiOS. * News 12 Networks, News 12 Westchester, a television news station. * WNBM (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.
TransportationThe combination of the county's numerous roadways and bridges, proximity to New York City, and the county's large population all lead to substantial traffic enforcement and 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. 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, and 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.
Major roadways* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
BridgesThe Tappan Zee Bridge (2017–present), Tappan Zee Bridge connects Tarrytown, New York, Tarrytown in Westchester to South Nyack, New York, South Nyack in Rockland County, across the Hudson River; a $4 billion replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge (1955–2017), original bridge began construction in 2013 and opened in 2017, and was renamed the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. The Bear Mountain Bridge crosses the Hudson from the town of Cortlandt, New York, Cortlandt to Orange County, New York, Orange County.
Public transitWestchester County Airport serves the county, and is adjacent to White Plains. 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. Additionally, the MTA Bus Company runs to and from Getty Square in Yonkers to Midtown Manhattan. The Hudson Link operates express bus routes from city centers and train stations in Tarrytown and White Plains to Nyack, Nanuet, Spring Valley in Rockland County on the opposite side of the Hudson River. Additionally, NY Waterway operates a Haverstraw–Ossining Ferry, water ferry service between Ossining in Westchester and Haverstraw, New York, Haverstraw in Rockland County.
RailroadsAmtrak serves Croton–Harmon station, Croton-Harmon, New Rochelle station, New Rochelle, and Yonkers station, Yonkers. 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 Line (Metro-North), Hudson, the Harlem Line, Harlem, and the New Haven Line, New Haven lines. These are former operations of the New York Central and the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroads (and their successors, Penn Central and Conrail), each of which stops in the Bronx between Westchester and Manhattan.
In popular cultureWestchester 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 the 2013 television series ''Sleepy Hollow (TV series), Sleepy Hollow'', set in the modern village. In the ''X-Men'' multimedia series, the X-Mansion is located on the Titicus Reservoir, on (fictional) Graymalkin Lane, outside of Salem Center. At the mansion, Professor X, Professor Charles Xavier runs the Xavier "School for Gifted Youngsters" to educate mutant (Marvel Comics), mutant children and keeps a headquarters for the X-Men. One of the most successful films shot in the county was the 1988 film ''Big (film), Big''. While the majority of the film takes place in New York City, the amusement park scenes were filmed in Playland (New York), Rye Playland in Westchester. American singer and songwriter Loudon Wainwright III recorded a song titled "Westchester County" for his 1983 LP record ''Fame and Wealth''. It recounts his postwar upbringing in Bedford (town), New York, Bedford, Westchester County, New York. In print media, the area is a frequent setting of the Nero Wolfe detective stories by Rex Stout, which ran from 1934 to 1975. An early documented mention of Westchester County is in the Trixie Belden series (which ran from 1948 to 1986). The series was set in Sleepyside-on-Hudson, a fictional village in the Hudson Valley. The original author, Julie Campbell Tatham, modeled the fictional Crabapple Farm in Sleepyside after her own home at Wolf Hollow on Glendale Road in Ossining. She also mentioned it in her last work in the series: Cherry Ames, Country Doctor's Nurse. Westchester is the primary setting and residence of the main characters in ''The Clique (series), The Clique'' young adult novel series by Lisi Harrison. In Edward Lewis Wallant's novel ''The Pawnbroker'', the main character Sol Nazerman lives in Mount Vernon. In television, an early broadcast media presentation of Westchester County was on ''The Dick Van Dyke Show'' (1961–1966), whose main characters live in New Rochelle. Much was made of their suburban setting and Rob's separate world from New York City. The 1970s sitcom ''Maude (TV series), Maude'' was set in Tuckahoe (village), New York, Tuckahoe. In the Friends (season 10), final season of the American sitcom ''Friends'', the characters Monica Geller, Monica and Chandler Bing, Chandler moved from New York City to live in Westchester. In the CBS sitcom ''How I Met Your Mother'', Ted Mosby, Future Ted and his family live in Westchester. In the AMC (TV channel), AMC show ''Mad Men'', Ossining is home to main characters Don Draper and his family. From season 4, Don lives in Manhattan and Betty Draper, Betty lives with Henry Francis and the children in Rye, New York, Rye. The animated show ''Big Mouth (TV series), Big Mouth'' is also set in Westchester County, where creator Nick Kroll grew up.https://www.distractify.com/p/where-does-big-mouth-take-place
HealthIn March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic first affected the county. The town of New Rochelle, New York, New Rochelle later in March (the 10th) had a state government-ordered one square mile "containment zone" in the northern part of that town. Part of New Rochelle is adjacent to the Bronx, where the majority of New York State's COVID-19 positive cases were (as of May 8, 350,000 out of 20 million residents). As of April 22 there were a total of 25,276 cases, 838 deaths, and 9,371 recoveries. As of May 22, 2020, there were between 30 and 35,000 cases going both by COVID-19 testing and serological samples, constituting the highest number of highest per capita infections in the world: 3% out of 1 million residents.
See also* Biodiversity of Westchester County, New York * Downstate New York * List of counties in New York * National Register of Historic Places listings in Westchester County, New York * Southern Westchester * USS Westchester County (LST-1167), USS ''Westchester County'' (LST-1167)
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