I’m delighted to continue our Westchester Snapshot series, this time on the picturesque village of Irvington, NY. You can see more of our series in our articles on Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Pelham, Bronxville and Scarsdale. This series is in collaboration with The Westchester Living Team at Compass.
Irvington, NY is a cool town. Located about 40 minutes north of New York City (via Metro North) on the Hudson River, Irvington is one of Westchester’s “Rivertowns”, along with other towns such as Dobbs Ferry, Tarrytown and Hastings-on-Hudson. What once used to be the epicenter of America’s industrial past (the Hudson River) is now becoming the epicenter of hipster Brooklynites looking for more space and reasonable home prices for their budding families. The New York Times even published an article called “Creating Hipsturbia”, referring to the cool factor that has descended upon this part of the burbs.
Of all the Rivertowns, Irvington has long been considered the most upscale of them all, though some people would argue that that has started to even out. The Rivertowns, as a whole, have been attracting New Yorkers looking to escape the busy city and its ever-increasing cost of living. What makes Irvington cool? Apart from its beautiful setting on the Hudson River, the town is an interesting mix of charming 19th century architecture and modern warehouse-style buildings. These buildings tend to be down by the water, in Irvington’s waterfront if you will, and house trendy restaurants, and a few stores and studios. All located next to an amazing park on the water with views of Manhattan. Sounds a lot like Brooklyn!
The overall feel of Irvington is low-key and laid-back, a quaint village where residents will while the morning away at its popular Farmers Market on Saturdays, and doddle around Main Street. Speaking of Main Street, it’s very scenic and takes you down a hill to the Hudson River. You can see the river the entire time walking or driving down the street, automatically lending the town a relaxed feel, making it hard to believe it’s just 40 minutes outside of the big city.
Irvington is known for its good restaurants, including the Red Hat on the River, the first restaurant my family and I ever went to in Irvington. It has great reviews for having both excellent food and fantastic river views, and indeed it did not disappoint. Other popular restaurants include MP Taverna, Mima Vinoteca, River City Grille, Chutney Masala Indian Bistro, Sambal Thai and the Black Cat Café. One of my favorite places in Irvington is the Red Barn Bakery, the cutest of bakeries we wound up at one time when we couldn’t get into the Red Hat. It has amazing quiches, muffins and baked goods, and homemade granola, among other things, and totally hit the spot.
One of the great draws of Irvington is that it is very compact, and you can walk down Main Street to the water in a short amount of time, covering many of the restaurants as well as the shops. Irvington’s fire station is located right on Main Street, as is its library, as well as the Irvington Town Hall Theatre, just off of Main Street. At the bottom of the street is the Metro North train station, front and center and easy to get to.
Irvington is home to some beautiful parks, one of them the private Matthessien Park, next to the train station. I have to say I didn’t realize it was private at first and waltzed right in with my girls and had a splendid afternoon! It is scenically located on the river with views of the Tappan Zee Bridge down to Manhattan. There is a playground, swings, BBQ grills, and lots of green grass. I would imagine this is one of the village’s family treasures, and a great place to go on a weekend afternoon.
Another gem of a park is Scenic Hudson Park, where you have amazing views of the Manhattan skyline. Of course the day I went to take photos it was an overcast day, but this is one spot you don’t want to miss when in Irvington. There is a walking path, benches and playing fields, all set on the Hudson River looking out onto the city from afar. It’s clear it’s well taken care of and the pride of the village.
I think one thing to take note about Irvington is its outdoor space and the importance of that to its residents. In addition to the parks, there are woodland trails and the Old Croton Aqueduct nearby. There are lots of places to go running or walking both along the river as well as in the woods. If you are a nature lover, then Irvington is the place for you. There is even the Irvington Boat and Beach Club, open to the public, to enjoy the river by boat. On my last visit to the village I kind of wondered why I didn’t take a closer look at Irvington when we were looking at the suburbs when moving from the city!
Many families move to Irvington for its schools. With two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, the Irvington school district is by all accounts excellent. That combined with the many outdoor parks and nature experiences, and the walkable and easy-going village, make it an ideal place to raise a family. Nearby in places like Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow there are cultural institutions such as Lyndhurst Castle, Kykuit and Philipsburg Manor, which all offer kids-oriented programs at various times throughout the year. And of course there is Irvington’s own Sunnyside, the former estate and home of renowned author, Washington Irving, for which the village is named after.
Irvington (and the rest of the Rivertowns) breathe history from an industrial American era long ago, yet with a modern vibe full of New Yorkers who have turned to this village on the river as their new home. Good restaurants, funky coffee shops, yoga studios, artisan shops and an overall slower-paced atmosphere make the village feel like a slice of Brooklyn in the suburbs.