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Briarcliff Manor, New York
Village
Clockwise from top: the Village Center; village pool at Law Memorial Park; Briarcliff High School; Briarcliff Manor Public Library; village clock and Municipal Building.
BriarcliffRose.jpg
Village symbol
Seal of the Village of Briarcliff Manor.png
Village seal
Official name: Village of Briarcliff Manor
Named for: The Irish family home "Brier Cliff"
Motto: A Village between Two Rivers
Nickname: Briarcliff
Country United States
State New York
Region Hudson Valley
County Westchester
Municipality Mount Pleasant and Ossining
Parts Chilmark and Scarborough
Landmark Briarcliff Manor Public Library
River Hudson
Elevation 351 ft (107 m)
Coordinates 41°09′N 073°51′W / 41.15°N 73.85°W / 41.15; -73.85
Highest point 1,200 ft SW of NGS station mark LX4016, off Farm Road
 - elevation 533 ft (162 m)
 - coordinates 41°09′24″N 73°50′46″W / 41.15667°N 73.84611°W / 41.15667; -73.84611
Lowest point Sea level (at the Hudson River)
 - elevation ft (0 m)
Area 6.7 sq mi (17 km²)
 - land 5.9 sq mi (15 km²)
 - water 0.8 sq mi (2 km²)
Population 7,867 (2010)
Density 1,200 /sq mi (463 /km²)
Settled 1890s
Incorporation 1902
Government Briarcliff Manor Village Hall
 - location 1111 Pleasantville Road
 - coordinates 41°08′56″N 73°49′43″W / 41.14889°N 73.82861°W / 41.14889; -73.82861
Mayor Lori A. Sullivan (People's Caucus)
Board
Timezone North American Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 10510
Area code 914
FIPS code 36-08103
GNIS feature ID 969912, 2391558
VIAF code VIAF: 130216697
Boundaries of and major thoroughfares through Briarcliff Manor.
Boundaries of and major thoroughfares through Briarcliff Manor.
Location of Briarcliff Manor within Westchester County and the county within New York.
Location of Briarcliff Manor within Westchester County and the county within New York.
Wikimedia Commons: Briarcliff Manor, New York
Website: www.briarcliffmanor.org

Briarcliff Manor /ˈbrərklɪf/ is a suburban village in Westchester County, New York, around 30 miles (50 km) north of New York City. It is on 5.9 square miles (15 km2) of land on the east bank of the Hudson River, geographically shared by the towns of Mount Pleasant and Ossining. Briarcliff Manor includes the communities of Scarborough and Chilmark, and is served by the Scarborough station of the Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line. A section of the village, including buildings and homes covering 376 acres (152 ha), is part of the Scarborough Historic District and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The village motto is "A Village between Two Rivers", reflecting Briarcliff Manor's location between the Hudson and Pocantico Rivers. Although the Pocantico is the primary boundary between Mount Pleasant and Ossining, since its incorporation the village has spread into Mount Pleasant.

In the precolonial era, the village's area was inhabited by a band of the Wappinger tribes of Native Americans. In the early 19th century, the area was known as Whitson's Corners. Walter William Law moved to the area and purchased lands during the 1890s. Law developed the village, establishing schools, churches, parks, and the Briarcliff Lodge. Briarcliff Manor was incorporated as a village in 1902, and celebrated its centennial on November 21, 2002. The village has grown from 331 people when established to 7,867 in the 2010 census.

Briarcliff Manor was historically known for its wealthy estate-owning families, including the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Rockefellers. It still remains primarily residential and its population is still considered affluent by U.S. standards. It has about 180 acres (70 ha) of recreational facilities and parks, all accessible to the public. The village has seven Christian churches for various denominations and two synagogues. The oldest church is Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, built in 1851. Briarcliff Manor has an elected local government, with departments including police, fire, recreation, and public works. It has a low crime rate: a 2012 study found it had the second-lowest in the state. In the New York State Legislature it is split between the New York State Assembly's 95th and 92nd districts, and the New York Senate's 38th and 40th districts. In Congress the village is in New York's 17th District.

History

Names

JohnDavidOgilby
John David Ogilby

Briarcliff Manor's original settlement was known as Whitson's Corners for brothers John H., Richard, and Reuben Whitson, who owned adjoining farms in the area totaling 400 acres (160 ha). Whitson's Corners was named after the corner of Pleasantville and South State Roads, where John H. Whitson's house, the Crossways, stood from 1820 until the 1940s. The Briarcliff Congregational Church's parish house currently stands at its former location. The neighboring community of Scarborough was known as Weskora until it was renamed in 1864, after resident William Kemey's ancestral hometown in Yorkshire. After the community was incorporated into Briarcliff Manor in 1906, the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad put up a sign reading "Briarcliff West" at the village's Scarborough station. Soon afterward, attributed to the neighborhood's pride over their name, that sign was thrown into the Hudson River and replaced with the original Scarborough sign.

Briarcliff Manor derives from "Brier Cliff", a compound of the English words "brier" and "cliff". The name originated in Ireland as that of the family home of John David Ogilby, a professor of ecclesiastical history at the General Theological Seminary. Ogilby had named his New York summer home Brier Cliff after his family home in Ireland. In 1890, Walter Law bought James Stillman's 236-acre (96 ha) Briarcliff Farm and further developed it, later using the name Briarcliff for all his property. Law's friend, Andrew Carnegie, called him "The Laird of Briarcliff Manor"; since the title appealed to all concerned, the village was named "Briarcliff Manor". By 1897, the village post office and railroad station bore the name Briarcliff Manor. The village (and its name) were approved by its residents in a September 12, 1902 referendum; the name prevailed over other suggestions, including "Sing Sing East". On November 21, 1902, the village of Briarcliff Manor was established.

The village is also known by several other names. It is conversationally called "Briarcliff", and often erroneously written as "Briar Cliff Manor" (although historically there has been little distinction). The village has been called "Briarcliff on the Hudson" by Mark Twain and Aileen Riggin; it is also known as "the Village of Briarcliff Manor". The name Briarcliff has also been applied to other municipalities, including the 470-person town of Briarcliffe Acres in South Carolina; in naming it, the town's founder had drawn inspiration from Briarcliff Manor's name.

Precolonial and colonial eras

BriarcliffFarms-World'sWork 07
A portion of the village in 1901, with Briarcliff Farms' Barn A in the foreground and the School of Practical Agriculture in the background

The history of Briarcliff Manor can be traced back to the founding of a settlement between the Hudson and Pocantico Rivers in the 19th century. The area now known as Briarcliff Manor had seen human occupation since at least the Archaic period, but significant growth in the settlements that are now incorporated into the village did not occur until the Industrial Revolution.

In the precolonial era, the area of present-day Briarcliff Manor was inhabited by a band of the Wappinger tribes of Native Americans, known as Sint Sincks (or "Sing Sings"). They owned territory as far north as the Croton River. In the 1680s, Frederick Philipse purchased about 156,000 acres (631 km2) from the Sint Sincks, and named it Philipsburg Manor. The Philipses lost their claim to the land because of the American Revolutionary War; the family, which was Loyalist, had its property confiscated in 1779. The area remained largely unsettled until after the war; in 1693, fewer than twenty families lived in the 50,000-acre (202 km2) area of Westchester which included Briarcliff Manor.

Progressive era to present day

WalterWLaw1910
Walter William Law

After retiring as vice president of W. & J. Sloane, Walter Law moved with his family to the present Briarcliff Manor. He bought his first 236 acres (96 ha) in 1890, and then quickly expanded his property, buying about forty parcels in less than ten years; by 1900, he owned more than 5,000 acres (7.8 sq mi) of Westchester County. Law developed the village, establishing schools, churches, parks, and the Briarcliff Lodge. His employees at Briarcliff Farms moved into the village, and the population grew to encourage Law to establish the area as a village. A proposition was presented to the supervisors of Mount Pleasant and Ossining on October 8, 1902 that the area of 640 acres with a population of 331 be incorporated as the Village of Briarcliff Manor, and the village was incorporated on November 21.

The Tudor Revival-style Briarcliff Lodge was opened in 1902 as a premier resort hotel. It was surrounded by Walter Law's dairy barns and greenhouses, and hosted numerous distinguished guests, including Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. The lodge held the Edgewood Park School (1936–1954) and The King's College (1955–1994) before it burned to the ground on September 20, 2003.

The Briarcliff Manor Fire Department was founded on February 10, 1903 from Briarcliff Manor's first fire company, the 1901 Briarcliff Steamer Company No. 1. Scarborough was incorporated into Briarcliff Manor in 1906, and the Police Department was organized two years later. The Village Municipal Building was built in 1913 and was opened on July 4, 1914. The high school opened in 1928, and in 1946, the People's Caucus party, an organization which calls out interested residents for candidacy, was created. Briarcliff Manor celebrated its semicentennial celebration from October 10–12, 1952, publishing a book about the village and its history; that year, the Crossroads neighborhood of 84 houses was completed.

In 1953, Todd Elementary School opened to free space at the Law Park grade school. The Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad was discontinued in 1958, and the following year the Briarcliff Manor Public Library opened in the former Briarcliff Manor train station. The village's first corporate facility (part of Philips Research) opened in 1960. In 1964 the new Village Hall opened, replacing the Municipal Building. The present high school opened in 1971 to ease the large enrollment at the grade-school building. In 1980, Pace University began leasing the middle-school building, and the middle school was moved to a portion of the new high-school building. The grade-school building was demolished in 1996, and a retirement home was built on its site the following year. The village celebrated its centennial in 2002, which involved celebratory events. A two-story addition to the village library was built in 2009, and the original portion was renovated to become the village's community center in 2016.

Geography

Todd Lane of Briarcliff Manorf
The Pocantico River as it flows under Todd Lane

Briarcliff Manor is around 30 miles (48 km) north of Manhattan. It is part of Westchester County and so part of the New York metropolitan area and the New York–Jersey City–White Plains, NY–NJ Metropolitan Division. It is on the Hudson River, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge and south of Croton Point (near the widest part of the river) and just northwest of the county's center. According to the 2010 United States Census Briarcliff Manor covers an area of 6.7 square miles (17 km2), of which 5.9 square miles (15 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) is water.

The village is a part of the Pocantico and Saw Mill River Basin and the Lower Hudson River Drainage Basin, which leads to the Hudson west-southwest of the village. Major streams running through Briarcliff Manor include the centrally-located Caney Brook, the Pocantico River, and Sparta Brook. Abundant rock outcroppings include dolomite, granite, gneiss, and mica schist. Copper and silver were once mined near Scarborough, and Briarcliff Manor's geographical area has large boulders, deposited in the last glacial period. Elevations within the village range from less than 100 feet (30 meters) above mean sea level near the Hudson River to approximately 500 feet (150 meters) above mean sea level around the center and eastern areas. The highest natural point in Briarcliff Manor is 1,200 feet (370 m) southwest of NGS station mark LX4016, off Farm Road, at 533 feet (162 m) above sea level. The village, which covered one square mile when incorporated in 1902, has expanded primarily through annexation: of Scarborough in 1906 and acreage from the town of Mount Pleasant in 1927. It is in telephone area code 914 and the postal ZIP code area 10510. Briarcliff Manor's Ossining portion takes up nearly half of the village land area, about 93 percent of its population, and 85 percent of its land parcels.

Climate

The village is in a humid continental climate zone (Köppen climate classification: Dfa), with cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers and four distinct seasons. The United States Department of Agriculture places Briarcliff Manor in plant hardiness zone 7a. Summer high temperatures average in the lower 80s Fahrenheit (upper 20s Celsius), with lows averaging in the lower 60s F (upper 10s C). Its highest recorded temperature was 100 °F (38 °C) in 1995, and its lowest was −10 °F (−23 °C) in 1979.

Climate data for Briarcliff Manor
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
(18.3)
75
(23.9)
82
(27.8)
90
(32.2)
95
(35)
97
(36.1)
100
(37.8)
98
(36.7)
98
(36.7)
84
(28.9)
78
(25.6)
72
(22.2)
100
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 35
(1.7)
39
(3.9)
47
(8.3)
58
(14.4)
68
(20)
77
(25)
82
(27.8)
80
(26.7)
73
(22.8)
62
(16.7)
51
(10.6)
40
(4.4)
59.3
(15.19)
Average low °F (°C) 21
(-6.1)
23
(-5)
29
(-1.7)
39
(3.9)
49
(9.4)
59
(15)
64
(17.8)
63
(17.2)
55
(12.8)
44
(6.7)
36
(2.2)
27
(-2.8)
42.4
(5.79)
Record low °F (°C) −9
(-22.8)
−10
(-23.3)
6
(-14.4)
16
(-8.9)
32
(0)
39
(3.9)
46
(7.8)
41
(5)
33
(0.6)
24
(-4.4)
15
(-9.4)
−5
(-20.6)
-10
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.48
(88.4)
3.10
(78.7)
4.52
(114.8)
4.40
(111.8)
4.12
(104.6)
4.25
(108)
3.71
(94.2)
4.16
(105.7)
4.72
(119.9)
4.41
(112)
3.97
(100.8)
4.32
(109.7)
49.16
(1,248.7)
Source: The Weather Channel

Neighborhoods

The village is home to neighborhoods and business and residential areas, including the central business district, the hamlets of Scarborough and Chilmark, and residential areas Central Briarcliff West, the Tree Streets and the Crossroads.

Scarborough Train Station (4)
The Scarborough Metro-North station platform, tracks, and overpass
Underhill Road, Chilmark
Underhill Road in Chilmark

Scarborough, often called Scarborough-on-Hudson because it borders the Hudson River, is an 0.45-square-mile (1.2 km2) unincorporated district divided between Briarcliff Manor and the village of Ossining, with most of the area within Briarcliff Manor and a few streets in the village of Ossining. Briarcliff Manor's portion of Scarborough was annexed into the village in 1906. The boundary between Scarborough and the rest of the village is roughly along Old Briarcliff and Sleepy Hollow Roads. The area was settled prior to the Revolutionary War. Around that time, the area included a tavern and inn at corner of Albany Post Road and Scarborough Station Road and a blacksmith shop where the Scarborough Presbyterian Church stands today. Scarborough was named after early settler William Kemey's town in England. A cove in Scarborough is named after him.

Scarborough is largely residential, and has some of the most expensive houses in the village, due in part to its proximity to the Hudson. Condominium complexes within Scarborough include Kemeys Cove, built in 1974, and Scarborough Manor, a 7-story, 205-unit complex built in the 1960s. The hamlet has a post office and a station on the Metro-North Hudson Line within walking distance of most houses in the hamlet. Unlike most of Briarcliff Manor, Scarborough is within the Ossining Union Free School District. During the 17th century, Scarborough became one of the first trading posts for the Dutch on the Hudson. During the early 20th century, the Astor, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt families entertained guests on their river-view country estates in the Scarborough area. The Scarborough Historic District, including the Scarborough Presbyterian Church, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Across the street from the church is Sparta Cemetery, containing graves of local Revolutionary War veterans and the Leatherman. A notable building on the register is Beechwood, built in 1780 and considered one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in Westchester County. Beechwood was later purchased by Frank A. Vanderlip, who constructed the Scarborough School on the estate. The school was founded in 1913, and closed in 1978. Holly Hill is a notable house nearby. Hubert Rogers, a New York City attorney, had the house designed around 1927 by William Adams Delano; Rogers named it Weskora. After his death Brooke Astor purchased the estate, renaming it Holly Hill for its holly trees. Directly across from Holly Hill is the site used for the U.S. headquarters of Philips Research from 1965 to 2015, built on part of Waldheim, the former 130-acre (53 ha) estate of James Speyer.

Chilmark (also known as Chilmark Park) is an unincorporated residential community of about 300 acres (120 ha), established in 1925, in northern Briarcliff Manor. The neighborhood was designed with Underhill Road as its main thoroughfare, running north-south. It was named after the village of Chilmark, England, located near the home of Thomas Macy (an ancestor of Valentine Everit Macy), who arrived in the colonies in 1635. The area is culturally significant for its association with the Macy family, whose members were active in New York and Westchester County during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Valentine Everit Macy and his wife, Edith Carpenter Macy, founded the community and aided in its development; Macy purchased several small family farms in present Chilmark in 1897. In 1925, Macy donated 265 acres (107 ha) on Old Chappaqua Road for the first national Girl Scout camp, which later became the Edith Macy Conference Center, a conference and training facility owned and operated by the Girl Scouts of the USA. The Briarcliff Recreation Center was formerly the private Chilmark Club until the 1970s, when the village purchased the land for a recreation center and adjoining park. Macy's residence in the area was the Chilmark estate, a Tudor-style stone and stucco mansion built in 1896 with a nine-hole golf course. The neighborhood hosts Briarcliff Manor's Conservative temple Congregation Sons of Israel.

Chilmark features landscaped, winding roads designed to blend with the topography, access to transportation (including a commuter rail line and a highway and homes built in revival styles echoing Tudor and Gothic architecture; it is architecturally significant as an example of early-20th-century suburban design. During the 1920s Macy's son, V.E. Macy Jr., founded the Chilmark Park Realty Corporation to sell land parcels. When he began marketing the area, he renovated or demolished existing homes to lend an air of development and built a private 8.3-acre (3.4 ha) country club for use by Chilmark residents. The village of Briarcliff Manor later purchased the site, and operates it as Chilmark Park. To denote its development as an exclusive neighborhood, Macy planted distinctive shade trees along Underhill Road. Since its founding, additional homes have been built in Chilmark, most between 1955 and 1960. The developments expanded the area beyond its original 300 acres; it presently comprises Underhill Road and the streets immediately adjacent to it.

A village street lined with shops
A village street lined with shops
Northeast view of the village's Pleasantville Road central business district in 1952 (top) and 2014 (bottom)

The central business district, also known as the Village Center, is located on Briarcliff Manor's main street on Pleasantville Road and continues on North State Road. The area has numerous businesses lining Pleasantville Road, a large expansion from the three stores that existed there in 1906. The business district is home to the village hall and a pocket park, and has brick sidewalks, period street lighting, and free parking. Farther south along the road is the Walter W. Law Memorial Park, and further east along the road are the three schools of the Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District. The Village Center contains a number of pre-Revolutionary War houses, including the Whitson House, built during the 1770s and the former home of Richard Whitson (one of the Whitson brothers, after whom Whitson's Corners was named); Buckhout House, also dating to the 1770s and named for the family who lived there for over a century and the oldest, Century Homestead, dating to about 1767 and first owned by Reuben Whitson. The Washburn House, another pre-Revolutionary house, was sold by the New York State Commission on Forfeiture to Joseph Washburn in 1775.

BriarcliffOutlook3
Porte-cochère of the Briarcliff Lodge, a Tudor Revival resort (ca. 1907)

Central Briarcliff West is a neighborhood which has a number of mansions built by 20th-century millionaires who stayed at the Briarcliff Lodge and later built estates in the area. The lodge stood in the area and on the highest point of Walter Law's estate from its construction in 1902 until it burned down in 2003. Other historic estates in the neighborhood include the Law family homes (built in 1902 for Walter Law's children) and Law's estate, the Manor House, all on Scarborough Road. The three estates for his children are Six Gables, Mt. Vernon, and Hillcrest. The modernist Vanderlip-Street house, designed by Wallace Harrison for Frank A. Vanderlip (who built it for his daughter and son-in-law) was one of the first contemporary-style homes in Westchester. Ashridge, a large Greek Revival estate, was built around 1825.

The Tree Streets is a network of streets in the Mount Pleasant portion of the village. Several of the streets are named after regional trees, including Satinwood Lane, Larch Road, and Oak Road. A number of houses in the neighborhood were constructed during a 1930s building boom, circling Jackson Park and near Todd Elementary School. The Crossroads is a group of 84 houses on streets named after local World War II veterans, including Schrade Road, Hazelton Circle, Matthes Road, and Dunn Lane. It was constructed at the end of World War II to provide affordable housing to returning veterans, and was completed in 1952.

Demographics

Historical

Historically, Briarcliff Manor's racial composition has not changed significantly. The village has seen a decrease in its non-Hispanic white population to 86 percent, down from 92 percent in 1990. The mid- to late-20th century saw an increase in the African-American population from 2.1 to 3.4 percent.

The village has experienced significant population growth, with it and neighboring communities undergoing more rapid growth than Westchester County overall. The period from 1950 to 1970 saw the greatest increase in population, with growth leveling off since then.

Modern

Briarcliff Manor is primarily non-commercial, with over 80 percent of village land residential. Approximately 99% of the buildings are residential; of these, 85.3% are single-family units. In the 2010 United States Census there were 7,867 people, 2,647 households, and 2,037 families living in 2,753 housing units. Hispanic and Latino Americans made up 5.3 percent of the population. Of the 2,647 households, 39.7 percent had children under age 18 living with them; 68.5 percent were married couples living together, 6.6 percent were headed by women, 1.9 percent were single males and 23 percent were non-families. Twenty-one percent of all households were individuals, with 14.1 percent age 65 or older. Average household size was 2.71; average family size was 3.16, with a median age of 43.4 years.

The village's population density was 1,319.5 inhabitants per square mile (509.5/km2). In 2010, its racial composition was 86.4 percent white, 3.4 percent African American, 0.1 percent Native American, 6.9 percent Asian American, and 2.0 percent from two (or more) races; 25.6 percent of the population was under age 18.

Median household income was $169,310, and median family income was $219,063. Males had a median income of $169,118, with $100,039 for females; per capita income was $81,465. About 4.3 percent of families and 4.8 percent of the overall population were below the poverty line, with the percentages rising to 5.6 percent for those under 18 and 6.4 percent for those 65 or over.

English is the primary language spoken at home, spoken by 87.2 percent, followed by Spanish at 3.3 percent, and 9.5 percent primarily speaking other languages. Ancestry is primarily Italian and Irish, at 20.8 and 18.1 percents respectively, followed by Russian at 10.3 and German at 10 percent.

Exact numbers on religious denominations in Briarcliff Manor are not readily available. Demographic statistics in the United States depend heavily on the United States Census Bureau, which cannot ask about religious affiliation as part of its decennial census. It does compile some national and statewide religious statistics, but these are not representative of a municipality the size of Briarcliff Manor. One report from 2010 offers religious affiliations for Westchester County. According to the data, 59.3% of county residents identified as Christian: 50.9% are Roman Catholic, 5.9% are mainline Protestants, 2% are Evangelical Protestants, and .5% are Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Christians. Residents who practice Judaism make up 10.1% of the population and practitioners of other faiths represent .9%. Note that these values are county-wide; municipal values could be significantly different.

Population growth in Briarcliff Manor since 1902
Year 1902 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
Population 331 950 1,027 1,794 1,830 2,494 5,105 6,521 7,115 7,070 7,696 7,867
1902 to 1940  • 1950 to 2000  • 2010

Arts and culture

BriarcliffMemorialDay2
American Legion and BMFD members alongside village residents at the annual Memorial Day ceremony

The village symbol is the Briarcliff Rose, a more brightly colored offshoot of the American Beauty rose. Since 2006, the Briarcliff Rose has been used on village street signs. The Briarcliff Manor Garden Club, which also uses the Briarcliff rose as their symbol, was established in 1956. One of its primary functions is in planting, maintaining, and improving public gardens and grounds.

Briarcliff Manor has groups in several Scouting organizations, including Cub Scout Pack 6 and Boy Scout Troop 18. Pack 6 became the first Cub Scout pack in the village at its establishment in 1968; by 2002 it had over 70 cubs in 12 dens. The village's first Boy Scout troop was Troop 1 Briarcliff, founded before 1919. Sources cite Bill Buffman as the first Scoutmaster and John Hersey as the troop's first Eagle Scout. The first Girl Scout troop in the village was founded in 1917 by Louise Miller and Mrs. Alfred Jones, and the first Brownie troop was founded in 1929.

The Briarcliff Manor Community Bonfire is a winter holiday event at Law Park, hosted by the village and the Briarcliff Friends of the Arts, involving live music (primarily seasonal and holiday songs), refreshments, and craft projects for children. Another annual community event is the Memorial Day parade, a tradition in Briarcliff Manor for more than fifty years. Before the parade begins, the Municipal Building's bell is rung to commemorate firefighters who have died in the previous year.

Historical society

A rock wall and trees behind a large signpost
A wooden Tudor Revival-style building
The Briarcliff Manor Public Library is home to the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society

Briarcliff Manor maintains strong ties to its history and traditions. During Briarcliff Manor's 1952 semicentennial, nine people served on the Historical Committee and published a village history book. In March 1974, after the mayor appointed twelve people for a 75th anniversary committee, the committee began by forming the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society (BMSHS). The historical society published an updated village history (A Village Between Two Rivers: Briarcliff Manor) in 1977, marking the 75th anniversary of the village. The historical society was initially located at the since-demolished Briarcliff Middle School building; it later moved to the second floor of a realty building on Pleasantville Road, and moved back to the school building after it was leased by Pace University. On March 21, 2010, the BMSHS was given a permanent location at the Eileen O'Connor Weber Historical Center, established as part of the expanded Briarcliff Manor Public Library. Members of the historical society joined the nine-member Centennial Committee in 2002 to organize events for Briarcliff Manor's centennial.

The Centennial Committee and BMSHS helped organize several events for the village's 2002 centennial celebration, including the Centennial Variety Show at the Briarcliff High School auditorium in a sold-out two-night run on April 26–27, 2002. The two-act show consisted of interpretations of village life by village organizations and a revue of Briarcliff Manor history in skits and songs. Other society-sponsored events have included tours of homes and churches, bus tours, Hudson River cruises on historic boats such as the M/V Commander (built in 1917 and listed on the national and state registers of historic places), dances, antique-car exhibits, day trips to historic points of interest, art exhibits, and events with authors and elected officials.

Historic sites

Woodlea in Briarcliff Manorf
The 1895 McKim, Mead & White-designed mansion Woodlea

Briarcliff Manor is home to a number of historic buildings and districts. Buildings on the National Register of Historic Places include All Saints' Episcopal Church (added May 14, 2002), Carrie Chapman Catt's house Juniper Ledge (added March 4, 2006) and several structures in the 376-acre (152 ha) Scarborough Historic District (added September 7, 1984). Part of the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, controlled by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, lies within the village. The Old Croton Aqueduct is on the National Register and is a National Historic Landmark.

Although Catt's house Juniper Ledge is within Briarcliff Manor's postal boundaries, the property is located within the municipal boundaries of the nearby town of New Castle. Briarcliff Manor composer and historian Carmino Ravosa initiated the house's preservation by researching and initiating the nomination of Juniper Ledge to the National Register.

Houses of worship

AllSaintsBriarcliff
All Saints' Episcopal Church

Briarcliff Manor is home to seven Christian churches and two synagogues; three churches (Holy Innocents Anglican Church, Saint Mary's Church and Scarborough Presbyterian Church) are in Scarborough. Other churches in the village are All Saints' Episcopal Church, St. Theresa's Catholic Church, Faith Lutheran Brethren Church, and Briarcliff Congregational Church (United Church of Christ). Jewish synagogues Congregation Sons of Israel and Chabad Lubavitch of Briarcliff Manor & Ossining are in Chilmark.

Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, founded in 1839 by William Creighton as Saint Mary's Church, Beechwood, is Briarcliff Manor's oldest church; it was reincorporated in 1945 as Saint Mary's Church of Scarborough. The granite church was built by local stonemasons and paid for by Creighton's wealthy neighbors, including Commodore Matthew Perry, James Watson Webb, William Aspinwall, and Ambrose Kingsland. The church is in near-original condition, with a design based on the 14th-century Gothic St. Mary's parish church in Scarborough, England and the only church with a complete set of William Jay Bolton stained-glass windows. The church, built in 1851, is a contributing property to the National Register-listed Scarborough Historic District. The 338-acre (137 ha) Sleepy Hollow Country Club surrounds the church grounds on three sides. Notable parishioners included Commodore Matthew C. Perry and Washington Irving. Irving, author of "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", brought the ivy surrounding the church from Abbotsford (home of Walter Scott). On July 5, 2015, Saint Mary's Episcopal Church closed after 175 years in operation; the Church of South India's Congregation of the Hudson Valley moved in that November.

Scarborough Presbyterian Church, given to the community by Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard and her husband Colonel Elliott Fitch Shepard (who lived on the nearby Woodlea estate), was the first church in the United States with an electric organ. Built in 1895 and designed by Augustus Haydel (a nephew of Stanford White) and Shepard (a nephew of Elliott Shepard)—who designed the 1899 Fabbri Mansion in Manhattan—the 3-acre (1.2 ha) church property is also part of the Scarborough Historic District.

All Saints' Episcopal Church is a stone church also on the National Register of Historic Places. It was founded in 1854 by John David Ogilby, whose summer estate and family home in Ireland were the namesakes of Briarcliff Manor. The Gothic Revival church, built on Ogilby's summer estate, was designed by Richard Upjohn and modeled on Saint Andrew's in Bemerton, England. The church, with an 1883 Stick style rectory and 1904 Arts and Crafts-style parish hall, is an example of the modest English Gothic parish church popular in the region during the mid-19th century.

St.Theresa's Church in Briarcliff Manorf
St. Theresa's Catholic Church

The parish of St. Theresa's Catholic Church was established in 1926 with thirty-six families, and the present church was dedicated on September 23, 1928. The rectory of the church was the original farmhouse of Briarcliff Farms. The church ran a school for pre-kindergarten to eighth grade students from 1965 to 2013. At its closing, the school had approximately 150 students and 20 employees.

Faith Lutheran Brethren Church had its 1959 beginning in a white chapel in Scarsdale. Its congregation then sold the chapel and moved to its 2-acre (0.8 ha) current site in Briarcliff Manor. The church, built largely through volunteer labor by the congregation's twelve families, held its first service on October 8, 1967. A nursery-school program, the Little School, began in 1972 and the church also sponsors women's and youth groups.

Briarcliff Congregational Church, built in 1896, has windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany, William Willet, J&R Lamb Studios, Hardman & Co., and Woodhaven. The church began in a small, one-room schoolhouse (known as the "white school"), built around 1865 and used as a school, a religious school, and a house of worship for up to 60 people. In 1896, George A. Todd Jr. asked Walter Law to support the construction of a new church. Law donated the church land, making his new church a Congregational one so the entire community (regardless of religious background) could attend. The nave and a Norman-style tower were built first, in an English-parish style with Gothic windows. When the congregation outgrew the church, Law funded a northern section (including transepts and apse) which was dedicated in 1905. He donated the church organ (replacing it in 1924), four Tiffany windows, and the manse across the street. The church housed a weekly indoor farmers' market at its parish house from 2008 to 2011, when the market was moved to Pace University's Briarcliff Campus.

Congregation Sons of Israel, self-described as egalitarian Conservative, was the first synagogue in Briarcliff Manor. The congregation was formed in 1891 by eleven men in Ossining, and until 1902 services were held in homes and stores. That year, the congregation (now twenty-three families) purchased a building on Durston Avenue; the Jewish Cemetery, established in 1900 on Dale Avenue, is still in use. In 1920, the synagogue, numbering forty-five families, established a religious school. After outgrowing its facilities, it purchased a site on Waller Avenue and completed a new synagogue in 1922. During the 1950s the congregation purchased the eleven-acre Mead Farm on Pleasantville Road, which it has used since 1960.

Chabad Lubavitch of Briarcliff Manor & Ossining was established around 2004, and is located on Orchard Road in Chilmark. On March 18, 2015, the organization purchased a building previously owned by the Ossining Heights United Methodist Church, on Campwoods Road in the village of Ossining. Chabad Lubavitch plans to renovate the building significantly before making it its first permanent synagogue.

Parks and recreation

Law Park in Briarcliff Manor (2014)f
Law Memorial Park's pond

Briarcliff Manor has about 180 acres (70 ha) of recreational facilities and parks, all of which are accessible to the public. The village's library houses its recreation department, which has four staff and a six-member advisory committee, and provides recreation programming for the village. The village's Department of Public Works maintains the village's parks and recreational facilities with one parks foreman and two groundskeeping personnel. The following are available to Briarcliff Manor residents:

  • The 12-mile (19 km) Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway runs from the village to the Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill. The parkland was acquired for use by the Briarcliff-Peekskill Parkway (now part of New York State Route 9A); the parkway later changed course, freeing the land for trail use.
  • Chilmark Park, 8.3 acres (3.4 ha) on Macy Road, formerly the Chilmark Country Club. The park has six tennis courts (two clay, two all-weather, and two green clay), a half-court basketball court, a soccer field, a baseball-softball field, and a playground. Renovation of the athletic fields and basketball court and the addition of a restroom are planned.
  • The Hardscrabble Wilderness Area is a 235-acre (95 ha) network of wilderness trails.
  • The 4.76-acre (1.93 ha) Jackson Road Park, dedicated in 1975, features two half-court basketball courts: one with a standard 10-foot (3.0 m) rim and one with a 9-foot (2.7 m) rim for younger players. The playground was renovated in 2005. About half of the park is undeveloped wetlands.
  • The 1-mile (1.6 km) Kate Kennard Trail, named for the late daughter of a former mayor, was dedicated in 1988. It begins on Long Hill West, west of the Aspinwall Road intersection.
  • Lynn McCrum Field, named for Briarcliff Manor's second village manager, was dedicated in June 1999. The field, at the corner of Chappaqua Road and Route 9A, has a multi-purpose playing field for baseball, softball, and soccer, parking for 50 cars, and a utility building with restrooms.
BriarcliffLawPark2013-4
Pond and pavilion at Law Memorial Park
  • Neighborhood Park, dedicated in 1954 and augmented in 1958 and 1964, is 5 acres (2.0 ha) at the corner of Whitson and Fuller Roads adjacent to Schrade Road. The Whitson Road side of the park has a youth baseball field; a basketball court and playground are accessible from the Schrade Road entrance.
  • Nichols Nature Area, accessible from Nichols Place, is a steeply sloped 3.8-acre (1.5 ha) site acquired in 1973 as part of a residential subdivision.
  • The Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, running along the Old Croton Aqueduct, crosses the village between Broadway and the Hudson River. Its 26.2-mile (42.2 km) trail, following the aqueduct from the Croton Reservoir to New York City, is a popular bicycling and running path maintained by New York State. Access from the village is from Scarborough Road north of the Scarborough Fire Station.
  • Pine Road Park, an undeveloped 66-acre (27 ha) parcel acquired in 1948 and augmented in 1963, lies between Pine Road and Long Hill Road East.
  • The 70.9-acre (28.7 ha) Pocantico Park, Briarcliff Manor's largest park, was acquired in 1948 and augmented in 1963, 1964, and 1967. Abutting the Pocantico River, it is home to a large number and variety of regional fauna and has marked hiking trails.
  • The Recreation Center, purchased by the village in 1980, is the former Chilmark Country Club clubhouse and provides seasonal indoor recreation. Community organizations using the center include the Briarcliff Manor Garden Club, the Senior Citizens Club and the Max Pavey Chess Club.
  • Scarborough Park, a 6-acre (2.4 ha) park acquired in 1908 and developed in the early 1900s near the Scarborough train station, is surrounded on three sides by the Hudson River. One acre is above-water land, and the rest is below the Hudson.
  • The 2,400-square-foot (220 m2) Village Youth Center, near the central business district, has a deck, a patio, and a lighted outdoor basketball court. It also provides an indoor facility for community programs and activities.
  • Walter W. Law Memorial Park (originally Liberty Park), in the center of the village on Pleasantville Road, is a 7-acre (2.8 ha) park which was donated to the village by Law in 1904. Its outdoor pool complex, added in July 1927 at a cost of $8,641 ($106100 in 2016 ), has a 30-foot-diameter (9.1 m) wading pool and a 120-by-75-foot (37 m × 23 m) main pool, which was Westchester's first public swimming pool. After a complete reconstruction of the pool in 1977, a two-story bathhouse and pavilion was completed in 2001 as part of a rehabilitation project, which included paved walkways and a veterans' memorial. The pavilion was partially destroyed by fire in December 2015. The park was rededicated on Veterans Day 2001. It has four lighted tennis courts: three clay and one all-weather. The pond was used for ice skating and hockey until the village bought a temporary rink for one of the tennis courts; the shallow rink freezes days earlier than the pond, and the tennis court lighting system allows easier skating at night. Adjacent to the tennis courts is a playground. Two platform tennis courts are north of the park, and the Briarcliff Manor Public Library and Community Center is on its eastern edge. In 2016, a memorial to Medal of Honor recipient John Koelsch was constructed in the park and dedicated on Veterans Day that year.
  • The Westchester County Bike Trail (also known as the North County Trailway) is a 22.1-mile-long (35.6 km) rail trail criss-crossing forests, towns, and highways. One highlight is the New Croton Reservoir and its former railway bridge. Trail access from the village is behind the library, off Pleasantville Road. The trail extends north (primarily along Route 100) to Baldwin Place in Somers, and south along Route 9A to Eastview in Mount Pleasant.

Although there are no public golf courses in Briarcliff Manor, the village has two large country clubs: Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough and Trump National Golf Club, owned by Donald Trump. The Trump property has been home to several golf clubs since the early 20th century, including Briarcliff Country Club, Briar Hills Country Club, and Briar Hall Golf and Country Club. Trump purchased the site in 1996 and opened the club in 2002. The main building of Sleepy Hollow Country Club was formerly Woodlea, the 140-room Renaissance Revival mansion of Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard and her husband Elliott Fitch Shepard. The building, which has about 70,000 square feet (6,500 m2), is one of the largest houses in the United States.

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