Best Places to Live: Downtown Peekskill

Blueprint: Henry Hudson, who anchored his ship off Peekskill in 1609, was the first to note that the area was a “very pleasant place to build a town.” The town featured prominently in the Revolutionary War, as the site of Fort Independence. Incorporated in 1816, it remained part of the town of Cortlandt until 1940.

Façade: A dynamic cultural area and a thriving artists’ enclave. Increasingly sophisticated, yet still affordable, Downtown Peekskill offers outstanding diversity, value, and river views.

Foundation: The neighborhood’s art-and-culture scene is the direct result of an early-1990s city-planning strategy whose mission was to turn unused downtown properties from this once-industrial city into live/work artist studios and galleries, actively wooing artists from New York City via tax incentives, grants, and loans. While residents today enjoy trendy eateries like RamenEsque, galleries like the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the historic Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, “there is no hustle and bustle of a big city,” says resident Joe Di Tillio. “You are surrounded by nature.”

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Recent Reno: Spins Hudson, a 40,000 sq ft aerial ropes course and laser-tag arena, opened in summer 2017.

Trending: Closed sales are up 10 percent over the past year. “Price points are lower than neighboring areas,” notes Joe Lippolis, associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices River Towns Real Estate.

Selling Points: affordability, thriving arts scene, proximity to nature

Trade-off: a longer commute to Manhattan

Starting Point: approximately $200,000

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Topping Out: mid-$400,000s

Best For: hipsters, artists, families

Need to Know: Parking downtown and by the train station is difficult as the area becomes more populated.

Fast Fact: Actors Stanley Tucci, Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman), and Mel Gibson were all born and raised in Peekskill.

Assessment: City transplants can find affordable access to the Hudson in this evolving artists’ enclave.

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