Is Westchester County New York City’s Sixth Borough?

Hastings-on-Hudson’s Boro6 Wine Bar / Photo by Ken Gabrielsen

In a host of unlikely ways, Westchester County has a claim to being the Big Apple’s northernmost sixth district. Do you think the description fits?

Many regions outside New York City think of themselves as the city’s sixth borough, and Westchester is no exception. There is, for example, Hastings-on-Hudson’s Boro6 Wine Bar, as well as Captain Lawrence Brewing, which served its 6th Borough Pilsner to thirsty patrons at its Elmsford and Mount Kisco locations, before the brew was recently discontinued.

Boro6 owner Paul Molakides left Harlem in 2010 and settled in Hastings. He heard the Rivertowns referred to as “the sixth borough,” which became more apt when a surge of city folk arrived during the pandemic. When he opened his wine bar on Warburton Avenue in late 2016, Boro6 guests often asked if Molakides saw Hastings as the sixth borough.

Not exactly. “The whole idea of the sixth borough is that you may work in the city,” Molakides explains, “but wherever you hang your hat at the end of the day is your sixth borough.”

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Captain Lawrence’s hoppy pilsner “will transport you to the ’burbs and leave you in a laid-back 6th Borough state of mind,” read its description. Owner Scott Vaccaro was born and raised in Westchester and spent lots of time in the city, selling and sampling beer. “I’ve always considered Westchester the sixth borough,” he said. “It’s our way of saying that we’re part of the big-city picture. As the city goes, we go.”

Hastings-on-Hudson’s Boro6 Wine Bar / Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
Hastings-on-Hudson’s Boro6 Wine Bar / Photo by Ken Gabrielsen

Plenty of other regions see themselves as the sixth borough. There’s tattoo shop Borough Six Gallery in the Connecticut town of Fairfield; 6th Borough Salon in Hoboken, NJ; and 6th Borough podcast on Long Island. In 2005, The New York Times ran a story suggesting Philadelphia as the sixth borough.

Back in 1934 and closer to home, an alderman proposed merging Yonkers into New York City as the sixth borough. But can there ever be a proverbial sixth borough? Pat Kiernan, longtime anchor at NYC news network NY1, isn’t having any of it. “Nice try,” says Kiernan. “There’s no sixth borough.”

The Boro6 employee training manual suggests otherwise: “Boro6 refers to OUR idea that Westchester County (the Rivertowns in particular) has seen an influx of families moving from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan…. The majority of these new residents still work in the city and commute back and forth. Hence, Boro6 is the sixth borough of New York City.” But for Molakides and countless others, the sixth borough is ultimately a personal perception. “For us, my family,” he says, the bonus borough “happened to be Hastings-on-Hudson.”

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