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Port Chester
Village
Nickname(s): Gateway To New England, PC
Motto: "Tiny But Mighty"
Location of Port Chester, New York
Location of Port Chester, New York
Country United States
State New York
County Westchester
Area
 • Total 2.5 sq mi (6.4 km2)
 • Land 2.4 sq mi (6.1 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 29,248
 • Density 11,700/sq mi (4,570/km2)
Demonym(s) Port Chesterian
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 10573
Area code(s) 914
FIPS code 36-59223
GNIS feature ID 0977392
Website http://www.portchesterny.com
Summerfield U Meth Ch PC jah
Former Summerfield United Methodist Church, now Assembly of God World Vision Ministries Church
GaertnersIsland
In 1906

Port Chester (locally pronounced PORT-chester is a village in Westchester County, New York, United States. The village is part of the town of Rye. As of the 2010 census, Port Chester had a population of 28,967. The village name is pronounced with the same syllable stress pattern as that of the county which contains it, i.e., "PORT ches-ter", not "Port CHES-ter".

Port Chester is one of only 12 villages in New York still incorporated under a charter; the other villages either incorporated or re-incorporated under the provisions of Village Law.

History

See also: The History of the Town of Rye

The Bush-Lyon Homestead, Capitol Theater, Life Savers Building, Putnam and Mellor Engine and Hose Company Firehouse, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, and United States Post Office are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Early settlement

In 1660, three settlers from Greenwidge (now Greenwich, Connecticut), Thomas Studwell, John Coe, and Peter Disbrow, arranged to buy Manursing Island and the land near the Byram River from the Mohegan Indians. The land that they bought is now Port Chester. The village was originally known as Saw Pit for the saw pits which were in use during the time. Logs were cut in holes in the ground for wood to be used for shipbuilding. The name of Sawpit was used for the first time in 1732. The village eventually outgrew this name and became Port Chester by incorporating as a village in 1868. When Port Chester was first incorporated, it was considered a major seaport.

In 1665, Sawpit was claimed by both New York and Connecticut. However, the land was given back to the New York Colony by Connecticut in 1683. This struggle over the ownership of Sawpit continued for almost 105 years. In 1788, the Legislature of New York ruled that Sawpit was a part of the town of Rye in New York.

Travel was considered dangerous in the early years of Sawpit as good roads were hard to find. The Boston Post Road, King Street, and Grace Church streets are some of the early migration paths in the Sawpit/Rye settlement. Other roads were usually dirt, which made transportation via water important.

The local waterways, the Byram River and Long Island Sound, were a key part of the growth and development of Sawpit/Port Chester. Early residents took part in boat building, farming, and shell fishing.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,797
1880 3,254 −14.3%
1890 5,274 62.1%
1900 7,440 41.1%
1910 12,809 72.2%
1920 16,573 29.4%
1930 22,662 36.7%
1940 23,073 1.8%
1950 23,970 3.9%
1960 24,960 4.1%
1970 25,803 3.4%
1980 23,565 −8.7%
1990 24,728 4.9%
2000 27,867 12.7%
2010 28,967 3.9%
Est. 2015 29,620 2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 28,967 people, 9,240 households, and 6,348 families residing in the village. The population density was 11,722.5 people per square mile (4,526.1/km²). There were 10,046 housing units at an average density of 4,185.8 per square mile (1,646.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 31.6% White, 5.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.7% some other race, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 59.4% of the population.

There were 9,240 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were headed by married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.08 and the average family size was 3.54.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.4 years. For every 100 females there were 110.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.4 males.

At the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the village was $45,381, and the median income for a family was $51,025. Males had a median income of $32,848 versus $32,461 for females. The per capita income for the village was $ About 10.1% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.3% of those under age 18 and 12.6% of those age 65 or over.

Port Chester contains a more diverse, working-class population than many of its surrounding communities.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), of which 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 5.22%, is water.

Port Chester has a transitional climate between a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) and a humid continental climate, although in reality it shares far more features with the latter. Due to its location on the coast, temperatures don't get extremely cold or warm and precipitation is plentiful for the entire year. Winters are usually cold and powerful nor'easters are common, often dropping over 2 feet of snow on the city. Average annual snowfall is 38.6 inches, which is significantly more than New York City. Snow cover while typically not persistent for the entire winter is present much of the time, sometimes during all of January and February. During the summer, Port Chester is typically warm, however is far cooler than towns even a few miles inland.

Climate data for Port Chester, New York
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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)

Neighborhoods

Port Chester is unofficially divided into 7 distinct neighborhoods, located north and south of Westchester Avenue, Port Chester's main east-west street.

  • North of Westchester Avenue:
    • Brooksville
    • Tower Hill
    • Colonial Ridge (Area of Puritan Drive)
    • Alden Estate (Area of Quintard Drive)
    • Rye Brook (Village in town of Rye)
    • Washington Park
  • South of Westchester Avenue:
    • Downtown
    • The Bowery (South Main Street/ Grace Church Street from the square to Midland Avenue including all the streets off of and including Purdy Avenue)
    • Edgeland (Area served by Midland Avenue and upper Grace Church Street)
    • Purdy's Grove

Parks and recreation

Port Chester has five main parks, together totaling nearly 50 acres (0.20 km2):

  • Abendroth Park: a 10.1 acre park which includes a newly renovated section for dogs.
  • Columbus Park: a 9.4 acre park located east of Ryan Avenue, west of I-95, and north of Fox Island. This park has one basketball and two volleyball courts, one large and one small playground, one picnic pavilion with picnic grills, a seasonal water spray playground, and an artificial turf soccer field. Bathroom facilities are available on-site.
  • Crawford Park: owned by the town of Rye. The park is used for soccer, tee-ball, and softball by the village.
  • Edgewood Park: a 3.2 acre park with one youth baseball field and small playground structure.
  • Joseph Curtis Recreation Park: a 7.5 acre park located north of the Village’s downtown, not far from Lyon Park. The park is bounded by Putnam Drive on the west, Locust Avenue on the east, and Willett Avenue from the wouth. The park has a small playground structure, one adult size baseball field and batting cage, one roller skating rink, and BOCCE courts with fencing and lighting. Bathroom facilities are available on-site.
  • Lyon Park: a 20.3 acre park that contains two Little League fields, a playground, and the historic Bush-Lyon Homestead. The park is bounded by Putnam Avenue, King Street, and Parkway Drive.

Transportation

The Bee-Line Bus System provides bus service to Port Chester on routes 13 and 61.

Connecticut Transit Stamford Division provides bus service to Port Chester on routes 11A and 11B. The 13 was combined with the southern portion of the 76 on December 31, 2011.

Metro-North Railroad's Port Chester train station is located on the New Haven Line, and thus provides commuter rail service to Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and to Stamford Transportation Center and New Haven-Union Station in Connecticut.

Port Chester – Rye Brook Public Library

The Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library is an association library funded by and for the villages of Port Chester and Rye Brook. The library was founded in 1876 by the Honorable Jared V. Peck and was dedicated at its present location in 1926 at the intersection of Haseco and Westchester Avenues. Three major renovations have taken place over the years: 1967, 2007 and 2012. The latest renovation included the creation of a teen room, a multipurpose meeting room, the addition of new furniture and carpets, and the relocation of the children's room and the implementation of an elevator. Although the renovation did not add square footage to the original three-story, 18,900 square foot building, it did provide a more open design with better use of space and light to promote parent and child reading activities. The 2012 renovations which cost $1M dollars were paid with the kind bequest of the late Douglas and Elise Lefferts. According to 2011 records; 19,900 people hold library cards, and 10,221 people attended programs including GED and community interest classes. The summer reading program typically draws 13,000 children

Gulliver's fire

On June 30, 1974 an infamous nightclub fire killed 24 young men and women. The fire at Gulliver's was the deadliest dance club fire in the United States in more than a generation (the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston, on November 28, 1942, had killed 491, and the Happy Land fire in the Bronx, on March 25, 1990, was to kill 87), and it called attention to the dangers of herding young people into windowless underground rooms without smoke alarms, sprinklers, fire-resistant walls, or limits on occupancy.

Despite the tragedy of Gulliver's, comprehensive New York State Fire Code reform would not be seen until the 1980s. Fire code enforcement continues to be a top priority in Port Chester to this day.

Redevelopment area controversy

In 1999, the Village of Port Chester established a "redevelopment area" and relegated regulatory authority within that area to private developer Gregory Wasser (from G&S Port Chester, LLC), including power to condemn private property. The decision has spawned several lawsuits, including Brody v. Village of Port Chester, and Didden v. Village of Port Chester.

Sister cities

Port Chester is twinned with:

  • People's Republic of China Jingzhou, Hubei in China (2000–present)
  • United Kingdom Portchester, Hampshire in England (2010–present)

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