Railway Redux

Old train stations now new destinations for local travelers.

Decades ago, the county’s train station buildings were for buying tickets and waiting for trains. These days, it’s where Westchester residents shop for glittering Tag Heuer watches, sip on Prosecco, and dine on timbale of Peaky Toe crab. As ticket booths staffed by humans gave way to cold but efficient electronic ticket machines, villages all over Westchester began to find novel uses for the former depots. A few of the more notable station second acts:

Via Vanti! (2 Kirby Plz 914-666-6400) translates to “the road ahead,” though “the track ahead” might be more apt for this eatery located in the Mount Kisco station house. Via Vanti! offers a creative take on Italian cuisine, including more varieties of gelati/sorbetti than Baskin-Robbins has ice cream.

Pleasantville’s former depot is the popular Iron Horse Grill (20 Wheeler Ave 914-741-0717), its name an homage to the train that rumbles by just a few feet away. The 60-seat, dinner-only, contemporary American restaurant is run by Catherine and Philip McGrath.

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A few stops south on the Harlem Line, Valhalla’s station house is home to the popular restaurant/bar Valhalla Crossing (2 Cleveland St 914-682-4076), whose quirky dining rooms include the antique Presidential Car and the kiddie fave, the Caboose.

Hastings-on-Hudson’s Hastings Station Café (134 Southside Ave 914-205-3423) offers a tip of the conductors’ cap to its previous life and an array of espresso drinks, full-leaf teas, and fresh-baked delectables to commuters and residents alike.

Ubiquitous Starbucks also has a presence in Westchester’s station houses, including those in Tuckahoe, Hartsdale, and Scarsdale.

But it’s not just food-and-drink outlets that populate the depots. Bedford Hills’s 1906 brick structure, for instance, features the high-end watch and clock shop Mark’s Time (1 Depot Plz, 914-242-0058), where an 18K Rolex Daytona stainless-steel watch, selling for a cool $9,500, will ensure you’ll never miss your train. “It’s a nice location,” says owner Mark Reichbach. “It’s a tradition for a watchmaker to be in the train station.”

Next up is Hawthorne, where the Mount Pleasant Town Board is considering what to do with the run-down former station house there. “We’re excited about it,” says Town Supervisor Joan Maybury. “It will be a nice improvement for Hawthorne’s downtown.”

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