Nyack, New York, is neither easily defined nor easily confined. It is a luxurious enclave an hour away from New York City. It is quaint and historic. It is chic and sophisticated. Its population is arty and professional. It is a small community. And it is a cluster of five villages—Nyack itself, Central Nyack, South Nyack, Upper Nyack, and West Nyack in the towns of Orangetown and Clarkson—on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 19 miles from Manhattan. Not hard to figure out which Nyack is which on a map, since the literal names are geographical too.
Considered a suburb of New York City, the commute by car is easy via the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (formerly the Tappan Zee) on Interstate 287. The commute by train, not so much, since the nearest train station is in Tarrytown, across the Cuomo Bridge. But there’s a bus and soon-to-open bike lane across the bridge to get commuters to the Metro-North Railroad.
Whichever way you get there, coming home to any of the Nyacks is worth it. For beautiful homes and lifestyles, for sights to see, for things to do.
Nyack has a rich history, beginning with its inauspicious beginnings in 1675 when a Dutchman settled on land he’d purchased from the Native American Nyacks. More Dutch followed and for more than 125 years the area was a Dutch-speaking farming community. Until the farmers began quarrying the red sandstone outcrops along the Hudson River. By the 1860s, Nyack was a bustling quarry, boatyard, and shipbuilding center.
By the late 19th century, new industries created a need for housing, goods, and services for the increasing population—and the increasing population built more housing, general stores, and shops. Manufacturing, especially shoe factories, moved in and thrived until the Great Depression. The villages of Nyack struggled through the years during and post-World War II, eventually becoming the charming residential and tourist destinations they are today thanks to improved highways, bus routes, and ferries into Manhattan.
Along the way, the villages of Nyack have drawn their fair share of notable writers, artists, and musicians. Edward Hopper, the American realist painter, was born in Upper Nyack and his childhood home, on the National Register of Historic Places, operates as a non-profit community arts center. Helen Hayes, the Oscar, Tony, and Emmy Award-winning American actress, spent her last years in Nyack and is buried, along with her last husband, actor Charles MacArthur, and their son James MacArthur, also an actor (“Book ’em Danno,” from the original Hawaii Five-O TV series), near Hopper in the Oak Hill Cemetery, which was dedicated in 1848. Carson McCullers, the Southern Gothic writer, spent the last 20 years of her life in Nyack. Not to overlook Oom the Omnipotent, Pierre A. Bernard, who taught hatha yoga in in the former Nyack Country Club mansion in the years following World War I, collecting quite a following of socialites—and scandals.
Living celebrities reside in Nyack too, including Rosie O’Donnell, Stephen Baldwin, and Larry Mullen, Jr, the drummer for U2. The Showtime cable-television series Ray Donovan is filmed in Nyack so Lieb Schreiber sightings are not uncommon.
The biggest draw in Nyack is its location on the Hudson River. There is Nyack Beach State Park, Memorial Park overlooking the river, and the Nyack Boat Charter for public or private water tours up and down the Hudson. Keep in mind, it’s New York, where winter temperatures can be as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus six degrees Celcius) and feel like the minus teens in February and summer temperatures can be in the high 80s and feel like a Finnish sauna. Either season’s onslaught can be escaped by enjoying Nyack’s indoor galleries and museums or heading to the river’s shore.
Downtown Nyack offers diverse world-class restaurants, outdoor cafes, pubs, child-friendly dining, and eateries featuring locally sourced ingredients, including those from the oldest farmer’s market in the county. One of Nyack’s newest restaurants, Karenderya, a Filipinothemed eatery on Main Street, was recently named by Esquire Magazine as one of the 20 best new restaurants in the country.
South Broadway in Nyack is lined with shops as varied as the Pickwick Book Shop, Funny Business for comic books, Pied à Terre for home furnishings, Hickory Dickory Dock for collectable clocks and decorative items, and The Grow Room for all the green thumbs the Nyacks attract.
For families, the Nyack Union Free School District is dedicated to fostering scholastic excellence, cultural appreciation, and ethical behavior. Nyack High School is ranked 815th out of 18,841 as a Best Public High School in America by Niche, a US community research company. Nyack also has a middle school and three elementary schools.
Five colleges and universities are in the area as well, including Nyack College, Dominican College, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and Long Island University-Orangeburg Campus.
Any of the five villages that comprise the Nyacks are great places to live, whether you are a retiree, a corporate lion or lioness, a young single, raising a family, or simply want to experience the art and soul of life.
Deciding where to live in Nyack may be a happy challenge. Architectural styles range from Italian Renaissance, Classical Revival, and Victorian to suburban Cape Cods and colonials. Each of the five Nyacks offers something different for everyone.
Prices are somewhat more affordable in Nyack than across the Hudson in Tarrytown and Hastings-on-Hudson. Upper Nyack is noted for its older larger estates along East Castle Heights Avenue, part of the Van Houten's Landing National Register historic district. Moving away from the river, you’ll find newer homes; northward offers bigger lots and more open space. Victorian homes predominate in South Nyack and many line streets that end with private docks. Nyack itself has the highest density of apartments, condominiums, and smaller homes within walking distance of the bars and restaurants of the Village, while large-scale luxury housing developments can be found beyond the village center.
If you want to get away from it all—and still have it all, including some art and some soul—one of the five villages of Nyack, New York, has it, from luxury estate living on the Hudson River to nature to history and culture.
All five Nyacks:12,400