8.3 out of 10

Peekskill

Ranked 4th best city in New York
41.2866914907172 -73.9299418160879
Great for
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Clean & Green
  • Eating Out
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Childcare
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Schools
  • Safe & Sound
  • Gym & Fitness
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Country Lovers

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
May 08, 2012

"A city on the rebound"

Peekskill, located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, is a city bouncing back from years of challenges. It has leveraged its waterfront location and reasonably priced real estate to ignite interest in the city by attracting artists and young families priced out of New York City and other parts of Westchester.

Peekskill has an area of downtown designated by the state as a “business improvement district” and the results have been positive. The city now boasts several blocks of shops, restaurants and cafés. The Paramount Center for the Arts is Peekskill’s cultural heart, staging performances and films, and sponsoring arts education programs. There are several galleries and two museums, the Peekskill Museum and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. However, the city’s emphasis on art is not just visual; live music can be found at many of the coffee houses, wine bars and restaurants.

There are excellent recreation choices in Peekskill as well. Hikers will be drawn to the Briarcliff Peekskill Trailway, which is a 12 miles, beginning in Ossining and ending in Peekskill at the Blue Mountain Reservation, a 1,528 acres park. This park also has playgrounds, picnic areas, horse trails and camp sites. There are also smaller city parks with a variety of amenities.

The Peekskill City School District has 4 elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. The district has been identified by the state as being in need of improvement in English Language Arts. This means the school has not met state-mandated benchmark for state exams and is receiving additional funding from the state as part of the effort to improve the schools. However, parents who settle here are generally not deterred by the schools; there are numerous public and private options.

Travel time to Grand Central from the Peekskill Metro North station is about an hour, making it a great location for train commuters. Route 9 is the major road through the town.

Homebuyers may be drawn to the real estate prices, which are among the more reasonable for Westchester County. However, Peekskill is full of charming older homes too. There’s also a good selection of condominiums.

Peekskill has made great strides in recreating itself as Westchester’s premier arts destination. Though any concerns about the schools are valid, improvements are likely with support from the state and private options exist. It is worth checking out.
Pros
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Bustling downtown area
Cons
  • Slightly isolated
  • Public schools need improvement
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
May 06, 2012

"Art, Diversity, and the River"

Peekskill is one of the northernmost Westchester river towns, just south of Putnam County. It has a fascinating history and is more diverse and active than the surrounding towns; although since they are in such proximity, residents flow easily from one to another. It is affordable, with a mix of single-family residences, apartments, and subsidized housing. It has a thriving arts community, so lofts are available for artists as well.

Peekskill is famous as the site of the Peekskill Riots (actually held in Cortlandt Manor) which occurred in 1949 after Paul Robeson, the famous black singer, gave a concert to benefit the Civil Rights Congress. Robeson had become a vocal opponent of the Ku Klux Klan (which, at that time, was still locally active) as well as the growing anti-Communist movement; meanwhile, tension already existed between the town’s blue-collar, war-veteran population and its more bohemian visitors. The resulting post-concert clash between concertgoers and a violent mob – during which the police did nothing - left 140 people injured, fanned the flames of a simmering national debate, and would soon be followed by the McCarthy era.

Now, however, Peekskill is a lively multi-cultural town, with just over 50% of the population non-white. There are five schools located within the Peekskill district, and summer camps for all ages. The Peekskill Recreation Department sponsors events, classes, and oversees its boat ramp and all its parks, including Peekskill Stadium and Peekskill Dog Park.

The Paramount Theater is a renowned entertainment resource for films and live acts, and the Peekskill Playhouse showcases plays and poetry readings. For a supermarket and large chain stores residents go to the nearby Cortlandt Town Center, but Peekskill itself has many interesting shops - especially the Bruised Apple, one of the few independent used book-and-music stores still in existence. If they’re not overstocked, they will buy or trade books, records and CDs in good condition. It’s hard not to leave with some treasure from a bygone era, no matter what the era!

There is nightlife in Peekskill … a restaurant row on Division Street, as well as restaurants and cafés spread throughout the town’s limits. Be sure to check out the Peekskill Brewery, which sports not only a variety of excellent beers, but two completely separate entrances around the corner from each other. Should you arrange to meet someone there, make sure you’re specific as to which door you’ll be coming in!
Pros
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
  • Bustling downtown area
  • Relatively affordable (for NY)
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Apr 01, 2012

"An ethnically diverse, artistic and affordable community"

Peekskill is a burgeoning city on the Hudson River in Westchester County, NY. Peekskill has had a colorful and sometimes tumultuous history and is known for re-inventing itself. In recent years, the latest wave of reinvention is turning it into an interesting, affordable and more ethnically diverse arts community on the rise.

There is a ton to do here for people from all walks of life. One of Peekskill’s crowning jewels is the historic 1930’s-era vastly renovated Paramount Center for the Arts. This landmark theatre offers high-caliber programming including fine film showings, comedians and big name musical acts like Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik. There is also the lesser known, but excellent Peekskill Playhouse which hosts spoken word poetry and original plays. 12 Grapes Music & Wine Bar was a Best of Westchester Magazine winner for “Best New Live Music.” There are also a couple of cool coffee shops including the Peekskill Coffee House with its internet café as well as the Bean Runner Café.

Peekskill is home to the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art as well as the Peekskill Museum.

For book hounds and out of print treasure hunters, there is Bruised Apples Books and Music. The downtown area and historic arts district has a slew of interesting, mostly family-owned businesses and services including several art galleries and studios, boutiques, florists, antique shops, a liquor store, a jeweler, a hair salon and several fresh food markets. There is also a weekly farmer’s market and even an organic, raw food cooperative.

Restaurant choices are a-plenty and include Zeph’s Restaurant, La Villetta for pizza, Fat Joe’s Café and Deli located in a renovated warehouse, T.K. Casquarellis, Nellies Café, Homestyle Desserts, Henry’s on the Hudson, Rubens Mexican Café, La Herradura, Birdsall House Tavern, NY Firehouse Grille and The Cove Restaurant, to name only a small portion. There is also the ever-popular and beloved Peekskill Brewery, a one-of-a-kind microbrewery which also offers excellent cuisine that enhances and compliments the beer drinking experience.

As far as outdoor recreation, you certainly cannot beat the views of the mighty Hudson River. Hudson Highlands Cruises offers scenic three hour tours on the river which are narrated. There are quite a few parks and wonderful varied levels of walking trails in the beautiful Blue Mountain Reservation. There is also the Fox Den Country Club.

The Hudson Valley Health Center is a great local medical resource.

The crime rate has diminished over the years and is now less than half of the national index, although there are still some pockets of crime.

The school system is decent. The median SAT score is 1328.

The median home income is $62,448. The median home value is $219,280 and the median rental value is $1,228.00. Peekskill definitely offers some of the most affordable options and value for that money in Westchester County.

Peekskill is 48% White, 27% Hispanic and 25% African American.

The population of Peekskill is 22, 441 and the median age is 34.
Pros
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
  • Bustling downtown area
  • Relatively affordable (for NY)
Cons
  • Removed from other large cities
  • near Indian Point
  • pricey parking
  • safer than it used to be
  • some unsafe sections
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Mar 27, 2012

"Forging a family friendly identity!"

Peekskill used to be associated with some degree of unpleasantness many years ago. Today’s Peekskill is proof positive that a town can re-invent itself. Take a walk down the main street and experience a vibrant downtown with exciting restaurants and shops.
Peekskill has a long history intertwined with the history of the nation with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln having stopped here. Today Peekskill is creating a new kind of history with its focus on developing an artists’ district.
Peekskill is more middle-income than many other Westchester County towns and it has a great mix of races and classes. This makes the town feel noticeably different, and more in keeping with what one would expect in the New York City area with its population of people from around the world.
While the schools here do not have the same reputation as Scarsdale or Rye, Peekskill does offer a good public school system. The moderate rating of the schools actually helps the housing prices stay relatively more affordable!
Kathleen’s Tea Room in Peekskill is great for when you have a craving for a High Tea. It is a nice place for scones and sandwiches, although it is not exactly cheap. There are many other good eateries in Peekskill including Birdsall House, Bean Runner Cafe and Zeph’s.
The Paramount Center for the Arts continues to develop a strong reputation as a place to catch some nice performances. Its proximity and variety both make it very attractive for many Westchester residents.
The direction of Peekskill’s growth and development holds a lot of promise!
Pros
  • Rich history
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
  • Bustling downtown area
  • Relatively affordable (for NY)
Cons
  • some unsafe sections
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Mar 22, 2012

"A Town thats Transforming Itself into a Legend"

Peekskill has really changed its name from one thought of as a crime-infested city, to one that now brings in creative people and entrepreneurs. It’s largely diverse and has a very proud Hispanic community, which has established many businesses in town (just note the amount of Ecuadorian and West Indie-based businesses in the area, including a Market and Deli). Peekskill is known for its unique history: it was one of George Washington’s headquarters (now the famous Birdsall House Pub), and was the only stop that Lincoln made during his trip to Westchester. During the Civil War, it took in slaves that were trying to escape their masters, known today as “The Underground Railroad”. Today, you can take a historic tour of Peekskill using the Peekskill Trolley.

In the heart of Peekskill you’ll find many artists at work in the historic Artist’s District. There’s Artist Housing (pricey but worth the high rent), where you can be creative for a living and turn your studio into an artist’s business space. There are studios all over the area you can visit, such as artist Maureen Winzig’s Studio 44 (she does great landscape and original artwork). If it’s a good eat or nightlife you’re looking for, visit 12 Grapes and the Quiet Man Pub on North Division (12 Grapes also has live weekly performances that will greet you from the street). Don’t forget to visit Open Studios Day (an annual event that takes place during the summer, where all studios are open for public display and walk-ins). Also, on Main Street (also known as Rt. 6) there’s a wonderful Contemporary Art Museum that’s free to the public.

You’ll always find someplace fun to eat in Peekskill. here’s plenty of diverse food, including Ruben’s Mexican Café, Precious Garden Chinese and La Valetta Pizzeria (some of the best pizza in Westchester County). There’s Kathleen’s Tea Room and Nellie’s Karaoke, where you can grab a sandwich, some awesome gelato and Italian Ice and sing a song for your friends (rooms and karaoke machine to rent for an hour or so are only $5 a person). If you’re looking for antiques, you can’t pass up The Coop, or Past & Present (both funky, charming stores right near the Peekskill Coffee Shop).

The Peekskill Coffee Shop has great coffee and free Wi-Fi, live performances and a cozy atmosphere, perfect for families (you can even pick a storybook to read to your children). Bruised Apple Books and Music holds up to 50,000 books (and counting); it’s an old-fashioned store that I think is even better than the Strand in NYC. The staff there is very personable---if you have a question, just come on up to the front desk and see owner Scott Sailor or manager Andrew Acciaro. They sell books, music, movies and vinyl records and there’s always interesting music playing. The proudest venue of Peekskill to date is the Paramount Center for the Arts, with its live performances showcasing everyone from Joan Baez to George Carlin. When you’re done, you can hang out with your friends at the Coffee Shop, or on 1st Fridays, catch a Poetry Open Mic at Theater and Dance Studio, Antonia Arts of Studio Two (on South Street---please see my review of that street on the Streets of Peekskill listing). (There’s also a Musical Open Mic once every month as well. The atmosphere is wonderful---very cozy and will make you feel right at home! The folks here really care about the art scene and Scarlett Antonia is a wonderful director and producer who’s opened her home to many people from all over the world.)

Housing is fairly affordable, and you can get assistance from Department of Social Services if you need to (there’s a building in town, on Washington Ave---be prepared to wait, so it’s best to get started with them before you move). Most places take food stamps and cash cards. Medical care is bar-none, and if you can’t afford health insurance, you can see ANY kind of doctor at Hudson Valley Health Center (on Main Street, which later becomes Rt. 6). There are plenty of streets and communities to choose from.

As someone who lives here, I can attest that Peekskill is a very fun and artsy place that is really coming along. Businesses are flourishing and there’s something here for everyone. It overlooks the Hudson River and it’s very scenic, too. Personally I’m very proud of Peekskill---what it’s been, what it is now, and what it can become!
Pros
  • family friendly
  • affordable housing
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
  • Bustling downtown area
  • Relatively affordable (for NY)
  • great night life
Cons
  • near Indian Point
  • pricey parking
  • safer than it used to be
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Jan 08, 2012

"Up & coming town with a growing art community"

Located in northern Westchester, Peekskill is a small waterfront city that is very safe and affordable. It has just about everything you could want from a suburban community. The residents in Peekskill are friendly and there is a fairly bustling downtown area. In recent years, Peekskill has seen an influx of young professionals with families; they have come here from the city because of Peekskill's cheaper real estate, nice parks, and developing business community. Housing is diverse; there are great private houses, as well as lots of condos and co-ops, particularly along the waterfront. There is also a pretty big inventory of rental properties here. The tax rate is comparatively low (at least by Westchester County standards). The town also has a growing artists' community. There are lots of artists' studios, a museum, and centers for the arts. There are also lots of cute shops, nice restaurants, and comfortable cafes. The parks and recreational activities are numerous. Residents also like to picnic and relax at the waterfront. While it's great that the taxes and housing costs are low here, you do get what you pay for, so the school district isn't very good. There are slightly better private schools around though.
Pros
  • Bustling downtown area
  • Relatively affordable (for NY)
  • Art Scene
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
Cons
  • Removed from other large cities
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Jan 05, 2012

"A city made for artists"

One of the great things about Peekskill is its diversity. There isn't much crime here and any that exists is normally nonviolent.

There are a lot of big parks with trails to meander down and recreation options. A community pool is available at an additional fee to residents as are day camps for children during the summer. The parks and camps take full advantage of the nearby Hudson River. Peekskill also offers a unique Teen Travel Camp that takes teenagers to various places in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for the day.

Peekskill has some great entertainment options as well. There's a performing arts center and some delicious restaurants. I've also heard that the coffee shops are very good. I guess that's not very surprising due to the large artist community. "Art Along the Hudson" is a big summer event and showcases work from local artists. There's even an Artist District that offers affordable lofts to work and live in.

The city is also a big fan of family run businesses. Peekskill's Office of Economic Development offers a lot of resources and help for anyone interested in opening a business in the city. The only downside is unless you are an artist, local business owner, or can work remotely there aren't many jobs in the immediate area.
Pros
  • Parks
  • Recreational Programs
  • Art Scene
Cons
  • Removed from other large cities
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Country Lovers