Westchester is a county of the State of New York, the United States. It is a major suburb of New York City founded in 1963, with an estimated 2012 population of 961,670. It is part of the New York metropolitan area. It was named after Chester, England. It has an area of 1,295 km². The county seat is in the city of White Plains. Westchester has a per capita income of $ 58,592, making it the eighth highest rate county in the United States.
The first Europeans to explore Westchester were Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524 and Henry Hudson in 1609. The first European settlements were sponsored by the Dutch West India Company in the 1620s and 1630s. English settlers arrived from New England in the 1640s.
Westchester County was one of the original twelve counties in the province of New York, created in 1683. At that time, it included present-day Bronx County, the city of Westchester, and portions of three other cities: Yonkers, Eastchester, and Pelham. In 1846 a new city was created, West Farms, secession from the city of Westchester; later, in 1855, the town of Morrisania seceded from West Farms. In 1873, the town of Kingsbridge seceded from Yonkers.
In 1874, the western portion of present-day Bronx County, consisting of the then cities of Kingsbridge, West Farms, and Morrisania, were transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remaining portion of present-day Bronx County, then constituted by the City of Westchester and portions of the cities of Eastchester and Pelham, were transferred to the county of New York. At that time, the area of the city of Eastchester immediately to the north of the part transferred to New York, secession from Eastchester (in 1892) to become the new city of Mount Vernon, thus the city of Eastchester ceased to have border with New York City. In 1914 The parts of New York County that were annexed from Westchester County became the new Bronx County.
Despite the image of elitism that the county has acquired, due to its wealth per capita, the truth is that, today, Westchester is a diverse region, both economically and demographically. For example, the cities of Yonkers, Port Chester, Elmsford, and Mount Vernon have significant communities of African American or Hispanic origin. The county is home to a maximum security prison, Sing Sing, and a nuclear power plant, at Indian Point. Westchester is among the most densely populated counties in the United States with the highest crime rates when compared to other suburban counties in the country.
Westchester County is located in the southeastern part of New York State. The highest elevation in the county is a landmark of the US National Geodetic Survey, known as the “Bailey,” with 300 m (985 ft) elevation above sea level, in Mountain Lakes Park, near the Connecticut state line.. The lowest part is at sea level, both in the Hudson River and in Long Island Sound.
The county is usually divided into two areas, one to the north and one to the south, divided by Interstate 287 / Westchester Expressway. The northern part, in general, is richer and more rural, the southern part being more urban. However, in this southern part are rich communities, such as Bronxville, Larchmont, Rye and Scarsdale. Officially, Westchester is divided into three subregions, North, Central and South, by the County Planning Department.
At the closest point, Westchester is just 2 mi (3.2 km) north of Manhattan (from the intersection of Broadway and Caryl Avenue in the southern part of Yonkers, to Broadway and West 228th Street, in the neighborhood New Yorker from Marble Hill). The major cities in the county are Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Peekskill, Rye, White Plains, and Yonkers.
The counties bordering Westchester are: Putnam, New York, to the north. Fairfield, Conecticut, northeast. Bergen, New York, southwest. Rockland, New York, to the west. And the Bronx, New York, to the south.
According to the 2000 census, there were 923,459 residents in Westchester County, with 337,142 households and 235,325 families residing. The population density was 824 / km² (2,134 / mi²). The Census Bureau estimates a population in 2006 of 949,355 residents.
The racial makeup of the county, according to the 2000 census, is as follows: white, 71.35%; African Americans, 14.20%, Native Americans, 0.25%; Asians, 4.48%; from the Pacific Islands, 0.04%; of other races, 6.63%; of two or more races, 3.05%. The Hispanic or Latino population (which can be of any race) was 15.61%. The white population of non-Hispanic origin makes up 64.1%.
Historical and cultural attractions
- Aqueduct and footpath in Old Croton
- Thomas Paine National Historical Association, in New Rochelle
- Jacob Purdy House, White Plains
- Timothy Knapp House, Rye
- Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale
- Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville
- Performing Arts Center, at Purchase College, Purchase
- Jay Heritage Center, John Jay’s Historic Family Estate, in Rye
- Paramount Center for the Arts, Peekskill
- Ever Rest, historic home of painter Jasper Francis Cropsey, in Hastings-on-Hudson
- Yonkers Racecourse, in Yonkers
- Union Church, in Pocantico Hills
- Donald Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo, Inc. World Headquarters in Purchase
- Kykuit, historic home that is part of the Rockefeller family estate, founded by John D. Rockefeller, in Sleepy Hollow
- Lyndhurst, historic neo gothic house in Tarrytown
- Neuberger Arete Museum, at Purchase College, Purchase
- The Square House Museum in Rye
- Hudson River Museum, Yonkers
- Westchester Jazz Orchestra, at Mount Kisco
- Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, White Plains
- Croton Gorge Park
- Philipsburg Manor, Historic Site, in Sleepy Hollow
- Playland, the only government-owned and operated amusement park in the United States, in Rye
- Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, Yonkers
- Sunnyside, historic home of author Washington Irving, in Tarrytown
- Tarrytown Music Hall, in Tarrytown
- Emelin Theater, in Mamaroneck
- Irvington Town Hall Theater, in Irvington, built in 1902
- In the Marvel Comics universe, Charles Xavier’s Talented Youth High School (the headquarters and training site for the X-Men) is located in the Salem Center in Westchester County.
- Radio host and host Howard Stern began his professional career as a DJ at WRNW-FM in 1977, a low-power station located in Briarcliff Manor, in central part of the county.
- Albert Fish, serial killer, pedophile and cannibal, committed his most heinous crime in Westchester; was tried and convicted in White Plains
- “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz, another infamous serial killer, lived and was arrested at 25 Pine Street in Yonkers.
- Former United States President Bill Clinton and his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton, reside in Chappaqua, in the northern part of the county.
- David Letterman, TV host, lives in North Salem
- Martha Stewart, a businesswoman, lives in Bedford, on the same road where the property of John Jay, founding father and first member of the United States Supreme Court, is located.
- The editor of The New York Journal, John Peter Zenger, covered the account of an election that took place in the church of St. Paul, in the town of Eastchester (today, Mount Vernon), in 1733, being arrested and tried for libel seditious. He was acquitted and, therefore, the legal precedent for “freedom of the press” was set. This was later incorporated as a basic freedom in the United States Bill of Rights.
- Westchester County is often referred to as “The Golden Apple.”
- The origin of the fictional town Bedford Falls in Frank Capra’s film “How Beautiful It is to Live!” Is a combination of the town of Bedford Hills in Westchester County (a small suburban town about a 45 minute drive from the New York City) and Seneca Falls, in Seneca County, New York State (a small town halfway between Rochester and Syracuse)
- The artist Alton Tobey lived most of his life in the Larchmont neighborhood of Mamaroneck, Westchester County.
- Fictional characters Chandler Bing and Monica Bing move to Westchester County, after the final episode of Friends.
- Lisi Harrison’s fictional teen series “The Clique” is set in Westchester.
- Westchester County is also known as “The Beverly Hills of New York”