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Poughkeepsie, New York facts for kids

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City of Poughkeepsie
Poughkeepsie during its annual balloon festival
Poughkeepsie during its annual balloon festival
Flag of Poughkeepsie
Official seal of Poughkeepsie
Etymology: U-puku-ipi-sing: "The reed-covered lodge by the little-water place"
The Queen City of the Hudson, PK
Location of Poughkeepsie, New York
Location of Poughkeepsie, New York
Country United States
State New York
County Dutchess
Founded 1686; 337 years ago (1686)
Incorporated (town) 1799; 224 years ago (1799)
Incorporated (city) 1854; 169 years ago (1854)
 • Type Mayor–council government
 • City 5.72 sq mi (14.81 km2)
 • Land 5.14 sq mi (13.32 km2)
 • Water 0.57 sq mi (1.49 km2)
 • Urban
327.1 sq mi (847 km2)
180 ft (50 m)
Highest elevation
(College Hill)
380 ft (120 m)
Lowest elevation 0 ft (0 m)
 • City 31,577
 • Density 6,143.4/sq mi (2,372.0/km2)
 • Urban
 • Urban density 1,294.7/sq mi (499.9/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 845
FIPS code 36-59641
Primary airport Hudson Valley Airport
Secondary airport NY Stewart Airport
U.S. routes US 9.svg US 44.svg
Commuter rail Poughkeepsie station (Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak)

Poughkeepsie ( pə-KIP-see, officially the City of Poughkeepsie, separate from the Town of Poughkeepsie around it) is a city in the U.S. state of New York. It is the county seat of Dutchess County, with a 2020 census population of 31,577. Poughkeepsie is in the Hudson River Valley region, midway between the core of the New York metropolitan area and the state capital of Albany. It is a principal city of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown metropolitan area which belongs to the New York metropolitan area. It is served by the nearby Hudson Valley Regional Airport and Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York.

Poughkeepsie has been called "The Queen City of the Hudson". It was settled in the 17th century by the Dutch and became New York State's second capital shortly after the American Revolution. It was chartered as a city in 1854. Major bridges in the city include the Walkway over the Hudson, a former railroad bridge called the Poughkeepsie Bridge which reopened as a public walkway on October 3, 2009; and the Mid-Hudson Bridge, a major thoroughfare built in 1930 that carries U.S. Route 44 over the Hudson. The city of Poughkeepsie lies in New York's 18th congressional district.

The City of Poughkeepsie and neighboring Town of Poughkeepsie are generally viewed as a single place and are commonly referred to collectively as "Poughkeepsie", with a combined population of 74,751 in 2018.

Poughkeepsie is situated between the Lower Hudson and the Capital District regions, and the city's economy is stimulated by several major corporations, including IBM. Educational institutions include Marist College, Vassar College, Dutchess Community College and The Culinary Institute of America.


Detroit Photographic Company (0676)
Poughkeepsie Bridge ca. 1900
Main Mall Row, Poughkeepsie, NY
Main Mall Row, one of many Registered Historic Places in the city
Dongan Statue
Statue of Thomas Dongan (the 2nd Earl of Limerick from 1698) in Dongan Park in Poughkeepsie, unveiled in June 1930

The site of Poughkeepsie was purchased from the Indians in 1686 by Robert Sanders, an Englishman, and Myndert Harmense Van Den Bogaerdt, a New Netherland-born Dutchman. The first settlers were the families of Barent Baltus Van Kleeck and Hendrick Jans van Oosterom. The settlement grew quickly, and the Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie was established by 1720. The community was set off from the town of Poughkeepsie when it became an incorporated village on 27 March 1799. The city of Poughkeepsie was chartered on 28 March 1854. Outside of municipal designations, the city and town of Poughkeepsie are generally viewed as a single place and are commonly referred to collectively as "Poughkeepsie", with a combined population of approximately 75,000.

Spared from battle during the American Revolution, Poughkeepsie became the second capital of New York. In 1788, the Ratification Convention for New York State, which included Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and George Clinton, assembled at the courthouse on Market Street, debated, and ratified the United States Constitution. With its ratification, New York entered the new union as the eleventh of the original thirteen colonies to join together as the United States of America. In 1799, a new seal was created for Poughkeepsie.

Early on, Poughkeepsie was a major center for whale rendering, and during the 19th century industry flourished through shipping, hatteries, paper mills, and several breweries along the Hudson River, including some owned by Matthew Vassar, founder of Vassar College. Due to the area's natural beauty and proximity to New York City, families such as the Astors, Rogers, and Vanderbilts built palatial weekend homes nearby. The Vanderbilt mansion, located several miles up the Hudson from Poughkeepsie in the town of Hyde Park, is registered as a National Historic Site; it is considered to be a sterling example of the mansions built by American industrialists during the late 19th century. The city is home to the oldest continuously operating entertainment venue in the state, the Bardavon 1869 Opera House (see below).

Geography and climate


Bird's-eye view of Hudson River from walkway 5
City of Poughkeepsie from Walkway
View of Poughkeepsie from the walkway

The city is on the western edge of Dutchess County, bordered by the Hudson River on the west and by the town of Poughkeepsie on the north, east and south. There are two crossings of the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie: the Mid-Hudson Bridge for motor vehicles and pedestrians, and the pedestrian "Walkway over the Hudson".

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 5.7 square miles (14.8 km2). 5.1 square miles (13.3 km2) of it is land, and 0.23 square miles (0.6 km2) of it (10.05%) is water.

It is about 75 miles (121 km) north of New York City and is in southeastern New York State.

Urban housing


Historic districts


Poughkeepsie has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa) with relatively hot summers and cold winters. It receives approximately 44.12 inches (1,121 mm) of precipitation per year, much of which is delivered in the late spring and early summer. Due to its inland location, Poughkeepsie can be very cold during the winter, with temperatures dropping below zero a few times per year. Poughkeepsie can also be hit by powerful nor'easters, but usually receives significantly less snow or rain from these storms compared to locations to the south and east.

Climate data for Poughkeepsie, New York
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 70
Average high °F (°C) 35
Average low °F (°C) 16
Record low °F (°C) −30
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.19
Snowfall inches (cm) 11.1
Source #1: Weather Channel''
Source #2: Weatherbase (snowfall) "


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 11,511
1860 14,726 27.9%
1870 20,080 36.4%
1880 20,207 0.6%
1890 22,206 9.9%
1900 24,029 8.2%
1910 27,936 16.3%
1920 35,000 25.3%
1930 34,288 −2.0%
1940 40,478 18.1%
1950 41,023 1.3%
1960 38,330 −6.6%
1970 32,029 −16.4%
1980 29,757 −7.1%
1990 28,844 −3.1%
2000 29,871 3.6%
2010 32,736 9.6%
2020 31,577 −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

The American Community Survey's 2018 estimates placed the population at 30,356. There were 14,240 housing units. 39.8% of Poughkeepsans were non-Hispanic white, 36.4% were Black or African American, 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.2% Asian American, 5.0% multiracial, and 0.3% from some other race. An estimated 15 persons were of Pacific Islander heritage according to 2018's estimates. Hispanic and Latin Americans collectively made up 17.1% of the city's inhabitants. Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans made the two largest groups of Hispanic and Latin Americans in the city, followed by Cubans and others.

In 2018, there were 12,627 households, out of which 19.8% had children under the age of 6 living in them. 56.1% of households has children from 6 to 17 living with them. 14.0% of householders aged 65 and older lived alone. The average household size was 2.33. A total of 6,606 families lived within the city of Poughkeepsie and the average family size was 3.21.

The median household income from 2014 to 2018 was $42,296 and the mean income was $60,763.

At the 2010 census there were 32,736 people. The population density was 5,806.2 inhabitants per square mile (2,243.8/km2). There were 13,153 housing units at an average density of 2,556.6 per square mile (988.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 52.8% White, 35.7% Black or African American, 10.6% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 5.3% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races.

There were 12,014 households, out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.8% were married couples living together, 19.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.4% were non-families. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.9% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males.

The median household income in the city was $29,389, and the median income for a family was $35,779. Males had a median income of $31,956 versus $25,711 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,759. About 18.4% of families and 22.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.3% of those under age 18 and 13.8% of those age 65 or over.


Per Sperling's BestPlaces, nearly 54% of Poughkeepsie and its surrounding area have religious affiliation. The largest Christian organization is the Catholic Church (37.8%), served by the Latin Church-based Archdiocese of New York. The second and third largest Christian organizations are Methodism (2.6%) and Presbyterianism (2.0%), which stem from Anglican or Episcopalianism (1.7%). Anglicans or Episcopalians within the city limits and surrounding area are primarily served by the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

The fifth largest Christian group is Pentecostalism (1.3%), followed by Lutheranism (1.1%), the Baptist Church (0.9%), the Latter-Day Saints (0.3%), and Christians of other denominations including the Eastern Orthodox and United Church of Christ (2.7%). The second largest religious group outside of Christianity is Islam (2.4%). The Islamic community primarily identifies with Sunni Islam in the area. Following Islam, 0.8% of the population profess Judaism and 0.1% practice an eastern religion.


Poughkeepsie Bridge by David Shankbone
Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie
Poughkeepsie City Bus 282
Local bus transit in the city of Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie sits at the junction of the north–south US 9 and east–west US 44 and NY 55 highways.

Rail commuter service to New York City is provided at the Poughkeepsie Metro-North station by the MTA's Metro-North Railroad. Poughkeepsie is the northern terminus of Metro-North's Hudson Line. Amtrak also serves the station, along the Hudson River south to New York City's Pennsylvania Station and north along the river to Albany-Rensselaer station and points further north and west. Amtrak trains serving Poughkeepsie are the Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Maple Leaf, and Lake Shore Limited.

The Mid-Hudson Bridge, opened in 1930, carries US 44 and NY 55 across the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie to Highland. The Poughkeepsie Bridge opened in 1889 to carry railroad traffic across the Hudson, the usage of the bridge came to an end when a 1974 fire damaged its decking. A local group (Walkway over the Hudson) raised the funds to convert the bridge into a unique linear park connecting rail-trails on both sides of the Hudson River. The Walkway Over The Hudson opened on October 3, 2009, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's first exploration of the river named for him. The bridge is now open for pedestrian and bicycle use and is a state historic park.

Poughkeepsie Roads
Highways and railroad tracks in Poughkeepsie

The Dutchess County Airport in nearby Wappinger services general aviation, although it once had scheduled air carrier service by Colonial Airlines in the 1950s and regional airline service by Command Airways and others in the 1960s–1980s. The nearest major airport to Poughkeepsie is Stewart International Airport about 25 miles (40 km) south in Newburgh. Other nearby airports include Westchester County Airport approximately 58.1 miles (93.5 km) south, Albany International Airport approximately 85 miles (137 km) north and the three major metropolitan airports for New York City: John F. Kennedy International Airport approximately 88 miles (142 km) south, Newark Liberty International Airport approximately 88 miles (142 km) south, and LaGuardia Airport approximately 80 miles (130 km) south.

Bus transit service is provided by Dutchess County Public Transit, operated by Dutchess County, which travels throughout Dutchess County and also serves as the main link to the Route 9 corridor, including Poughkeepsie Galleria and South Hills Mall.

Both services have a quasi-hub at the intersection of Main and Market streets, adjacent to the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and at the west end of the former pedestrian-only Main Mall (the mall was removed in 2001, with those blocks being restored back to traffic and to the name Main Street). Other buses serving this area include Adirondack Trailways, Short Line, commuter runs to White Plains, and a shuttle to New Paltz.



The Hudson Valley Renegades are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Tampa Bay Rays. The team is a member of the New York–Penn League, and play at Dutchess Stadium in the nearby town of Fishkill.

The Hudson Valley Hawks were a team in the National Professional Basketball League until 2009 when the league disbanded. The team's home court was at Beacon High School, located approximately 16 miles south in the city of Beacon.

The Hudson Valley Highlanders of the North American Football League played their home games at Dietz Stadium in nearby Kingston.

Poughkeepsie hosted a founding member of the North Eastern Hockey League (NEHL) with the formation of the Poughkeepsie Panthers in 2003. However, due to financial problems, the team only played for one season, and became the Connecticut Cougars the following year. The NEHL folded due financial problems in January 2008. Subsequently, the city was home to the Hudson Valley Bears, one of four founding members of the Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL), for one season. Both teams played their home games at the McCann Ice Arena in the Mid-Hudson Civic Center.

1907 Poughkeepsie Regatta
Spectators at the 1907 Poughkeepsie Regatta

One of Poughkeepsie's most notable sports events was the annual Poughkeepsie Regatta of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA), which was held on the Hudson River from 1895 to 1949. The top college teams would attend along with tens of thousands of spectators. Poughkeepsie was known as the rowing capital of the world. Spectators watched from the hills and bluffs overlooking the river and from chartered boats and trains that followed the races along the entire length of the course; which were longer than present-day races, with varsity eights rowing a 4-mile (6.4 km) race. When the IRA moved the regatta to other venues, the Mid-Hudson Rowing Association was formed to preserve rowing in the area. It successfully lobbied to preserve the regatta's facilities for use by area high schools and club rowing programs. As part of the 400th anniversary celebration of Henry Hudson's trip up the Hudson River a recreation of the regatta was held with Marist College Crew as its host. The events included a fireworks display, a large dinner, and the unveiling of the restored historic Cornell Boathouse, now property of Marist Crew. Historically accurate, the four mile long course started off Rogers Point in Hyde Park and ended about a mile south of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. Competitors included Marist, Vassar, Army, Penn, Navy, Syracuse, Columbia and Cornell. Notably this was the first time women's crew teams were allowed to participate in the historic IRA Poughkeepsie Regatta.

Established British racing team Carlin Motorsport have chosen Poughkeepsie as their U.S. base whilst racing in Indy Lights.

Arts and entertainment

Poughkeepsie has a number of notable institutions for arts and entertainment. The Bardavon 1869 Opera House, located on Market Street just below Main Street, is a theater which has an array of music, drama, dance and film events and is the home of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic.

The Mid-Hudson Civic Center, located down the street from the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, hosts concerts, professional wrestling and trade shows and has an ice rink next door for ice hockey. From July 1984 to August 5, 1986, the Civic Center was the location for filming WWF Championship Wrestling.

The Chance, located at 6 Crannell Street in downtown Poughkeepsie, hosts live rock concerts with local as well as major artists.

The collections of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College chart the history of art from antiquity to the present and comprise over 15,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs.

The Barrett Art Center at 55 Noxon Street offers exhibits, classed and .lectures on the visual arts.

Locust Grove, the home of Samuel Morse and a National Historic Landmark. It features paintings by Morse, as well as historically important examples of telegraph technology.

For shopping and movie theater entertainment, the Poughkeepsie Galleria is located in the town of Poughkeepsie. The mall, which opened in 1987, consists of two floors with 250 shops and restaurants. The Regal Cinemas theater has 16 screens. Current anchor stores within the mall include Macy's, J. C. Penney, Target, Best Buy, H&M, and Sears.

The Mid-Hudson Children's Museum is located at 75 North Water Street.

The Cunneen-Hackett Arts Center at 9 and 12 Vassar Street provides venues for music, dance and the visual arts.

Bananas Comedy Club is a comedy club that presents comedians such as Jim Norton, Rich Vos, Patrice O'Neal, and Nick DiPaolo. Jimmy Fallon started his career performing at the club.

Joseph Bertolozzi's Bridge Music is a sound-art installation on the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

The Chance Theater and Mid-Hudson Civic Center ranked #4 and 5, respectively, on a list of Poughkeepsie's most Instagrammed locations in 2016.


SmithBrothers 04
Smith Brothers
SmithBrothers 02
Smith Brothers menthol, introduced in 1922

As of 2020, the dominant industries in Poughkeepsie are healthcare, retail, education, science and technology, finance, and manufacturing. Cricket Wireless, Stop & Shop, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Rite Aid, Dunkin', Marshalls, Boost Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Verizon Communications, M&T Bank, Chase Bank, Big Lots, ShopRite, and Charter Communications are companies with a significant presence in the city and surrounding area.

IBM has a large campus in the adjacent town of Poughkeepsie. It was once referred to as IBM's "Main Plant", although much of the workforce has been moved elsewhere in the company (2008). The site once built the IBM 700/7000 series of computers as well as the IBM 7030 Stretch computer and later, together with the Endicott site, IBM mainframes. The RS/6000 SP2 family of computers, which came to fame after one of them won a chess match against world chess master Garry Kasparov, were also manufactured by IBM Poughkeepsie. In October 2008, IBM's Poughkeepsie facility was named "Assembly Plant of the Year 2008" by the editors of Assembly Magazine. Poughkeepsie remains IBM's primary design and manufacturing center for its newest mainframes and high-end Power Systems servers, and it is also one of IBM's major software development centers for z/OS and for other products.

Until 1972, Poughkeepsie was home to the Smith Brothers cough drop factory. The Smith Brothers' gravesite is in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.


Main Building at OFS
Oakwood Friends School

The Poughkeepsie City School District is the public K–12 school system, serving approximately 5,000 students.

The Oakwood Friends School is a co-ed boarding and day school serving approximately 170 students, grades 5–12. Located about 75 miles (121 km) north of New York City, it is the oldest college preparatory school in New York State, founded in 1796. Oakwood was founded on the Quaker principles of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship. The school's vibrant community nurtures the spirit, scholar, artist, and athlete in each student. Poughkeepsie Day School, also outside the city, is a progressive co-ed pre-K-through-12 day school serving approximately 140 students, founded in 1934 by local families and members of the Vassar College faculty. Other private schools in the area include Tabernacle Christian Academy and Our Lady of Lourdes High School.

Spackenkill Union Free School District, comprising generally the southern part of the town of Poughkeepsie, consists of Hagan Elementary School, Nassau Elementary School, Orville A. Todd Middle School, and Spackenkill High School.

Colleges and universities

Two institutions of higher learning operate campuses within the city: Adelphi University's Hudson Valley Center and the Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute.

The Culinary Institute of America's main campus is located in the suburb of Hyde Park, north of the city of Poughkeepsie. Dutchess Community College, Marist College, and Vassar College are all located in the surrounding Town of Poughkeepsie.

Notable people

  • George Appo, pickpocket and con artist: operated in a green goods scam in Poughkeepsie for a short period in the 19th century
  • George G. Barnard, state judge impeached by the Court for the Trial of Impeachments for events during the Erie War
  • Chris Bell, film director and producer
  • Joseph Bertolozzi, composer, musician, and creator of Bridge Music and Tower Music projects
  • Josh Billings, pen name of Henry Wheeler Shaw, humorist of mid-to-late 19th century
  • Jane Bolin, the first black woman to serve as a judge in the United States
  • Rob Chianelli, drummer for We Are the In Crowd
  • Shawn Christensen, Oscar-winning screenwriter, film director, singer-songwriter, actor and painter
  • Richard Connell, author
  • Philip Schuyler Crooke (1810–1881), was a U.S. Representative
  • Andrew Jackson Davis (1826–1920), known variously as the "Poughkeepsie Seer" or "The Seer of Poughkeepsie"
  • Cathy Davis, boxer
  • Amanda Minnie Douglas (1831–1916), writer
  • Bill Duke, actor and film director
  • Chris Dyson, racecar driver
  • Martin Faust, actor
  • Carolyn Garcia, a/k/a "Mountain Girl," Merry Prankster, wife of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia
  • Benjamin A. Gilman, former U.S. congressman
  • Alex Goot, YouTube musician
  • Against The Current (band), pop/rock musicians with Chrissy Costanza as their lead singer
  • Mela Hudson, actress, producer
  • Jonathan Idema, self-proclaimed counter-terrorism expert and covert operations specialist, partially served sentence in Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Afghanistan before being pardoned by Hamid Karzai
  • Tibor Kalman, graphic designer, emigrated from Hungary to Poughkeepsie as a child
  • Hevad Khan, poker player
  • Terry Lickona, founder of PBS show Austin City Limits
  • G. Gordon Liddy, key figure in Watergate scandal
  • Keith Lockhart, conductor of Boston Pops Orchestra
  • Bartlett Marshall Low, Minnesota state legislator and businessman
  • Terry MacAlmon, Christian musician
  • Jocko Maggiacomo, race car driver
  • Joe McPhee, jazz multi-instrumentalist
  • Johnny Miller, pioneering aviator, brother of Lee Miller
  • Lee Miller, fashion model, photographer and World War II correspondent, sister of Johnny Miller
  • Alison Mountz, political geographer
  • Sergio Rossetti Morosini, artist, conservator
  • Sterling Morrison, guitarist for the 1960s rock band The Velvet Underground
  • Anna Morton, Second Lady of the United States from 1889 to 1893
  • Billy Name, photographer, filmmaker, artist and Andy Warhol collaborator
  • Homer Augustus Nelson, lawyer, Representative, Secretary of State of New York and colonel in Union Army
  • Michelle Nijhuis, science journalist
  • Mark Parker, president and CEO of Nike, Inc.
  • Edmund Platt, former U.S. Representative
  • Dave Price, WNBC-TV Weatherman
  • William Radford (1814–1870), former U.S. Representative
  • Barbara Rhoades, film and television actress
  • Richard Rinaldi, NBA guard
  • Robert Sheckley, author, nominated for Hugo and Nebula awards
  • Charles Spencer, professional football offensive tackle
  • Monty Stickles, AFL and NFL football player
  • Debi Thomas, figure skater, 1986 world champion and 1988 Olympic bronze medalist
  • Matthew Vassar, founded Vassar College in 1861
  • Riley Weston, screenwriter best known for her work on Felicity
  • Andre Williams, NFL running back, 2013 Heisman Trophy finalist
  • Ed Wood, film director

Scientists and inventors

Major League Baseball players

  • Frank Bahret
  • Bill Daley
  • Buttons Briggs
  • Elmer Steele
  • Mickey McDermott
  • Fred Lasher
  • Tommy Boggs
  • Ricky Horton
  • Frank Cimorelli
  • Jeff Pierce


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