Located in Westchester County, the village of Croton-on-Hudson is 33 miles north of New York City. It’s convenient to parkways, bus service, the county airport, and the Croton-Harmon Railroad Station. Residents who work in Manhattan appreciate the express commuter trains to the city. The school district’s 15,000 residents live in the five-square-mile village as well as in parts of the towns of Cortlandt and Yorktown. Croton also houses the second-largest hand-hewn stone structure in the world (the pyramids are first); the New Croton Dam.
It’s also home to a diverse community of artists, railroad workers, intellectuals, professionals, commuters, and local merchants. The modern dancer Isadora Duncan once had a studio in town, and the sculptor Alexander Calder as well as the writer Edna St. Vincent Millay called Croton home. Historic buildings, including the 300-year-old Van Cortlandt Manor, dot the Croton Landscape. Housing ranges from apartments and modest village homes to modern or turn-of-the-century country homes on large parcels of land.
The hilly landscape contains more than 600 acres of parkland, including the county Croton Point Park, with its boat-launch area, beach, camping facilities, playground, and hiking trails. Smaller parks feature outdoor concerts, movies and plays, tennis courts, playgrounds, and ball fields. There are also 186 acres of nature preserves in the village.
Since it’s located on the Hudson and Croton rivers, boating and fishing are important to the residents; a sailing school, public boat basins, private marinas, and beaches provide easy access.
The community continues to develop its waterfront, which includes parks, picnic areas, and a pedestrian bridge.
Other recreational opportunities include a summer teen theater; staged readings of new plays in the library; exhibits of local artists’ work; a foreign film festival; trips and parties for senior citizens; a strong recreation program for children of all ages; exercise and dance classes at the municipal Building; and an annual Croton Art-fest with theater, music, and art components.
Croton has combined with 11 other Hudson River towns to form a consortium known as Historic River Towns of Westchester, which promotes tourism and hosts special events.
A rich history provides the backdrop for the community of Croton Harmon. Henry Hudson anchored the Half Moon off Croton Point. Dutch settlers purchased the land from the Kitchawan Indians in the late 1600s, reportedly for a barrel of rum and 12 blankets. And during the Revolutionary war, mills located at Van Cortlandt Manor were used to grind wheat into flour to feed hungry American patriots. The same spirit of care and concern for others continues: The Croton Caring Committee provides food, clothing, and personal outreach to community members in need of support.
In 1677 Stephanus Van Cortlandt, son of a wealthy Dutch merchant and the first native-born mayor of New York, bought land in Croton to build a manor. As Lord of the Manor, he brought in settlers, providing each with an area of land to farm, a team of oxen, two mares, and two cows. He built gristmills and sawmills and provided a clergyman, schoolteacher, and doctor for the settlement. More than 300 years later, Croton remains a thriving community with a strong community spirit.
One of the wonderful things about living in Croton is its proximity to a wide range of interesting things to do and places to explore – and in only a short drive. Whether you want the sophistication of Manhattan, its theatres, restaurants and museums, or fun and educational things for children.
New York City – visit some of the world’s best museums (Natural History, Metropolitan, MoMA, and hundreds of others), Central Park, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Radio City, Times Square, Broadway shows, Carnegie Hall, the Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Chinatown, Little Italy … you get the idea, the list goes on and on.