You are here
Home > PEEKSKILL HISTORY

Introduction to Peekskill, New York

Peekskill, New York, in Westchester County, is 19 miles NW of White Plains, New York and 38 miles N of New York, New York. The city benefits from easy access to the nearby cities and towns that it shares the New York metropolitan area with.

Located alongside the Hudson River, with its beautiful riverfront scenery. It’s a major highlight, with its annual concerts, festivals and celebrations. With the Metro North And Amtrak Train right alongside. While at the riverfront taking a stroll alongside its breathtaking beautiful trail, you can grab a bite from some of its restaurants and on a hot summer day or night, some ice cream for the family and kids. 

At the downtown core is a popular Gazebo located on Park and North Division Streets. The structure often serves as a centerpiece for political speeches, holiday ceremonies and other festivities. Also located in this neighborhood are City Hall, the Field Library, the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the Paramount Center for the Arts, the Peekskill Museum and Historical Society, Westchester Community College’s Art Workshop and the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, which also represents and promotes Peekskill as a tourist destination, as well as Cortlandt, Croton and Putnam Valley (Putnam County

Peekskill History Fun Facts: 

Europeans settled down in this area during the early 1700s. Peekskill was one of the first towns to develop into an American industrial center, manufacturing stove products, and iron plow. The Binney and Smith Company, which currently makes Crayola products, began as the Peekskill Chemical Company in 1864. Peekskill’s manufacturing industry operated well into the later years of the 20th century. The infamous Peekskill Riots took place in the summer of 1949 and involved entertainer Paul Robeson and World War II veterans of the area took place in nearby Van Cortlandtville.

Peekskill has often caught the interest of “the big screen,” as well as TV and cable networks. One movie, “Unfaithful,” starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere, had its closing scene with the Hollywood duo parked outside the architecturally striking “Standard House,” a former 19th Century hotel and saloon located by the river (Standard House is also on the State and National Register of Historic Places).

“Along Came Love,” starring Westchester resident Vanessa Williams, was also filmed here and its closing shot featured the actress sitting at a café table just outside the Peekskill Coffee Shop, located in the historic Flat Iron building and directly across from the recently restored Paramount Center for the Arts (also on the National Register of Historic Places).

Not to be forgotten is “The Facts of Life,” a 1980s TV sit-com about a girl’s boarding school which plays out in Peekskill (although it was not filmed here); and, more recently, in 2010, HBO filmed part of its “Mildred Pierce”vminiseries remake of the classic Joan Crawford film right here on Bank Street. Kate Blanchett was its leading lady. Also, Trudy better knows as Kim Fields. 

More than this, a famous and diverse group of people have lived here, at one time or another, including Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin); Peter Cooper who founded Cooper Union; Rose Bonavita Hickey of Rosie the Riveter World War II fame; 20th Century composer Aaron Copland; L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wizard of Oz;” one U.S. Senator (Chauncey DePew); one NYS Assemblyman and Senator, George A. Pataki, who went on to become Governor of New York for three terms; and Elton Brand, NBA basketball star who attended high school here.

Parks

The town contains several parks and recreation areas, including Charles Point, with bay and river views; Depew Park, which has pools and a pond in addition to ballfields and trails and is the home of the Recreation Department headquarters; Franklin Park; Lepore Park; Fort Hill Park; Peekskill Dog Park; Peekskill Stadium; Riverfront Green Park; and Tompkins Park (home of Little League).

Peekskill and nearby Attractions

  • Blue Mountain Reservation
  • Bear Mountain State Park
  • Peekskill Museum
  • Haverstraw Brick Museum
  • Mohansic Golf Course
  • Wallace Pond

Things To Do In Peekskill

Peekskill, with its vibrant downtown area, has drawn several artists and art appreciators in the recent years. The city is quite hospitable to artist studios and galleries. Some of the interesting local venues include the Paramount Center for the Arts, which regularly screens independent films, the Peekskill Coffee House, where local acts are showcased, and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. The Peekskill Celebration is a significant local festival held every August.

Peekskill Higher Education

Pace University, Rockland Community College and SUNY Westchester Community College are some of the nearby institutions of higher education. 

Check out some of the wondersof Peekskill below. 

Top