Nyack (pron.: ) is a village primarily in the town of Orangetown, with a very small western section in Clarkstown, in Rockland County, New York, United States. It is a suburb of New York City, situated north of South Nyack, east of Central Nyack, south of Upper Nyack, and west of the Hudson River, approximately 19 miles (31 km) north of the Manhattan boundary. Nyack had a population of 6,765 as of the 2010 census.
Administration and layout
Nyack is one of five villages and hamlets (Nyack, Central Nyack, South Nyack, Upper Nyack and West Nyack) that make up an area of southeastern Rockland County called The Nyacks. Named after the Native Americans who resided there before colonization, the village itself lies on the hilly terrain that meets the western shore of the Hudson River.
The village takes up approximately 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), with over 50% of the area consisting of the water of the Hudson River. Nyack consists mostly of low-rise buildings that lie along the river's western shore. It is in the Nyack School District.
Stone Native American relics and heaps of oyster shells found along the shore of the Hudson indicate that this was a favorite fishing spot of the natives. In 1675, the first Europeans settled in Rockland County at Nyack.
Harman Douwenszen came to America as a toddler and grew up in Bergen, New Jersey. He settled his father's rough land that is today Nyack. The Tappan Register of 1707 claimed it was pronounced Nay-ack. Harman was thought to be the first white settler. In the State Archives in Albany there is a 1687 letter on file petitioning Governor Dongan to buy a strip of land in the west hills of Tappan (today Nyack), in which he had lived on for 12 years. His partition was granted and he bought the land from the native Americans. He called his farm New Orania (Oranje in Dutch, meaning "pure and simple"). This section of Nyack became known as Orangetown in 1683. Nyack became part of Rockland County in 1798. Harman's younger brother Theius changed the family name from Douwse (Frisian dialect for first son) to Talma proper Dutch for first son. His children became Talman and eventually Tallmans. The New Orania farm became the Tallman homestead, at the northeast corner of what is now Broadway and Tallman Place. The building was demolished in 1914.
Letter dated 8/31/1687 on file at New York State Archives at Albany:
- The humble Peticon of Harman Dowse of Tappan Neare Ye River Side, Alias New Orania farm ... your peticonr is a farmer that hath nothing wot comes by his hard labour but by God's Blessing out ye Produce and ye ground, and hath a family to provide for.
On the north wall of the Midland Trust Building at South Broadway and Burd Street in Nyack is a plaque installed in 1938 that reads:
- The Tappan Indians, from time immemorial, occupied these lands fronting the river shore. Here, in summer they lived upon fish and oysters. In Algonkian dialect spoken by them they called this location NAY-ACK which means the fishing place. The first settlement of white people within the limits of the present Rockland County, New York, took place in 1675 when Harmen Dowesen (Tallman), a young Dutchman of Bergen, New Jersey relocated here.
The Tallmans erected a mill upon a stream which still is known as Mill Brook. Abraham Lydecker, purchased land from the Tallmans when there were but seven homes in Nyack in 1813. Nyack became an incorporated village in 1872 according to the same plaque on the Midland Trust Building.
Three major industries once thrived in Nyack: sandstone quarrying for New York City buildings (ca. 1800–40); boat building—sloops, steamboats, then pleasure craft and World War I and II submarine chasers (ca. 1815–1948); and shoe manufacturing (ca. 1828–1900). Following the extension of the Northern Branch of New Jersey into the community in the mid-19th century, rapid growth ensued. Because town government was no longer seen as an effective way to deal with the community's needs, village incorporation was discussed. Fearing higher taxes, those in what would have become the northern part of Nyack village formed their own municipal corporation first, named Upper Nyack. Nyack village was incorporated, although without this northern portion. Residents in the southern part of Nyack village, however, soon became dissatisfied with the notion of paying taxes that more heavily benefited the rest of the village. After succeeding in dissolving Nyack's corporation, the southern portion of the former village incorporated as the village of South Nyack. The area between Upper Nyack and South Nyack was reincorporated thereafter, again as Nyack.
Throughout the 18th century and 19th centuries, Nyack was known for its shipbuilding and was the commercial center of Rockland County. In the 19th century, a number of factories manufactured shoes. The Erie Railroad connected with Jersey City, New Jersey, where ferries took passengers to Chambers Street, New York City, until it was discontinued in 1966. With the completion of the Tappan Zee Bridge in December 1955, connecting South Nyack with Tarrytown in Westchester County, the population increased and Nyack's commercial sector expanded.
In the 1980s, the village underwent a major urban revitalization project to commercialize the downtown area and to expand its economy. The Helen Hayes Theatre was built, and the downtown area became home to many new business establishments.
In 1991 the landmark court case Stambovsky v. Ackley ruled that a house at 1 LaVeta Place on the Hudson River was legally haunted and that the owner (but not the real estate agent) was required to disclose that to prospective buyers. The owner, Helen Ackley, earlier had organized haunted house tours and was party to an article about it in Readers Digest. After Ackley sold the house to another buyer there were no subsequent reports of hauntings.
On August 10, 2010, Highland Hose Company No. 5, a two-story brick firehouse located at 288 Main Street, celebrated 100 years at the firehouse. The firehouse was built in 1910 – fifteen years after Highland Hose was founded. The company's 1949 Ahrens-Fox fire engine was polished to bright, gleaming red and is still in use after more than 50 years.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), of which 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) (51.88%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,737 people, 3,188 households, and 1,511 families residing in the village. The population density was 8,749.1 people per square mile (3,378.1/km²). There were 3,288 housing units at an average density of 4,270.0 per square mile (1,648.7/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 63.81% White, 26.33% African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.42% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.66% from other races, and 4.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.56% of the population.
There were 3,188 households out of which 20.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.6% were non-families. 42.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the village the population was spread out with 19.0% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 36.2% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $54,890, and the median income for a family was $69,146. Males had a median income of $50,043 versus $35,202 for females. The per capita income for the village was $32,699. About 2.2% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.
Landmarks and places of interest
- Edward Hopper House Art Center – 82 North Broadway – This home of the realist painter Edward Hopper was built in 1858. One room is devoted to materials about Hopper's work and life in Nyack. Three other rooms provide space for monthly exhibits by local artists. The restored garden is the setting for jazz concerts on summer evenings. (NRHP)
- First Methodist Episcopal Church of Nyack 1812–1813 (NRHP)
- John Green House – Main Street – Built in 1817 by John Green of local sandstone, now covered with stucco, painted yellow. This is the oldest house standing in Nyack. Green started the first lumber yard in Nyack and later opened a store. House is a private residence.
- Memorial Park, a short walk from downtown, has a children's playground and a beautiful butterfly garden. Canoes and kayaks can be launched from the shores of the park into the Hudson River. Memorial Park hosts many special events including weekly music concerts in the summer, numerous festivals and even outdoor movies.
- Nyack Library – 59 South Broadway - the 1903 Carnegie Library building.
- Nyack Post Office – 48 South Broadway - The 1932 building is a rare example of an American post office constructed between the world wars in the Classical Revival architectural style. The post office is located on South Broadway in the center of the village. It serves the 10960 ZIP code, which covers South Nyack and Upper Nyack in addition to the village. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. (NRHP)
- Nyack-Tarrytown Ferry – foot of Main Street – Begun 1834 by Isaac S. Blauvelt on a vessel named Donkey, an Anglo corruption of Dutch dank je, or "thank you". The ferry remained in service until the opening of the Tappan Zee Bridge in the 1950s. This spot was also the start of the Nyack Turnpike, the first direct highway across Rockland County.
- Oak Hill Cemetery – 140 N. Highland Avenue (Rte. 9W) – since 1840. Dedicated on June 27, 1848, it reflected a change from small family and religious burial grounds to community cemeteries. Graves include founders of Nyack, playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife, actress Helen Hayes, scientist and inventor William Hand, and artist Edward Hopper.
- Red Cross Center – 143 North Broadway. A cross gable Queen Anne building, it was built by Julia and Garret Blauvelt, a physician, surgeon and director of Nyack Hospital, in 1882 and given to the Red Cross in 1915. During World War I, World War II and the Korean War, the center was a hub for food and blood drives, gathering of clothes and supplies for shipment overseas. Helen Hayes, who lived nearby, was chairwomen of the war fund drive during World War II. Camp Shanks, one of the military's major wartime staging areas, relied heavily on the Red Cross volunteers and services. Today the center continues to provide clothing, food and shelter in times necessity and emergencies. The center has also provided certification courses in first aid and lifesaving skills since 9/11.
- River Rowing Association (RRA) – In 1881, Julian O. Davidson, a local artist and marine painter, founded the Nyack Rowing Association (NRA), which was dedicated to the sport of sculling (two-oared rowing). The grand boat house, built in 1882 was designed by William Smith and built in the Stick style architecture found in many river homes in the village.
- Riverspace Arts in Nyack – 119 Main Street. Home of the Rockland Symphony Orchestra
- St. Paul's United Methodist Church – 134 South Broadway, South Nyack - A Romanesque church built in 1894. (NRHP)
- Tappan Zee Playhouse – 20 South Broadway – (NRHP) It was demolished in April 2004.
- "Pretty Penny" - 235 North Broadway - A Victorian river home that was formerly owned by American actress Helen Hayes and comedian Rosie O'Donnell
- First Milestone from Nyack, Route 59 and Mountainview Avenue, Central Nyack
- Couch Court, 46 South Broadway
- Edward Hopper House Art Center, 82 North Broadway
- First Reformed Church, 18 South Broadway
- Historic Underground Railroad, 298 Main Street
- Historic Underground Railroad, 176 Main Street
- Memorial Park, Piermont and DePew Avenues
- Liberty Street School, Cornerstone Placement, Depew Avenue near Liberty Street
- Nyack First Settlement, 17 South Broadway
- Nyack Library, 59 South Broadway
- Oak Hill Cemetery, 140 North Highland Avenue
- "Pretty Penny," 235 North Broadway
- Camp Ramah is a Jewish Day Camp is located on Christian Herald Road in Valley Cottage.
- Helen Hayes Youth Theater is a theater program for students aged 4–17.
Nyack Public Schools serves Nyack. Nyack High School is the village's high school. Nyack is also home to Nyack College, a Christian liberal arts college and one of the four colleges in the United States affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance church.
- Stephen Baldwin, American actor
- Coheed and Cambria, American Rock band formed in 1995 in Nyack
- Welles Crowther, an equities trader known for saving at least a dozen lives during the September 11 attacks in New York City, during which he lost his own life
- John Francis Daley, American actor, musician, writer, and director
- Ryan Grant, Professional NFL running back
- Helen Hayes, American actress
- Edward Hopper, American painter
- George Marshall, conservationist
- Rosie O'Donnell, American talk show host, actress, writer and philanthropist
- Jim Shooter, comic book writer and former EIC for Marvel comics
- Glynis Sweeny, Cartoonist
- Robert Ward, American composer
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Nyack village, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
- "Nyack to be Incorporated: A majority of citizens vote for the project." (PDF). The New York Times. February 28, 1883. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
- "Phones Ringing (Eerily?) For Nyack Spook Home – New York Times – March 20, 1990". New York Times. 1990-03-20. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- "Ghost of Nyack – Ghost Update – Kavanagh webpages -comcast.com – Retrieved March 14, 2009". Home.comcast.net. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- "Highland Hose Company No. 5 of Nyack celebrates 100 years at the firehouse – Retrieved August 4, 2010". Lohud.com. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Rockland Symphony Orchestra official site
- Rob Yasinsac. "Tappan Zee Playhouse". Hudsonvalleyruins.org. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- ""Jim Shooter @". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-05-07.