Population: 16,481 people. This is an un-crowded section of the Bronx, with a population density of 22,240 people per square mile. (The Bronx average is 31,709 and the city wide average is 26,798.)
Adjacent Neighborhoods: Spuyten Duyvil, Kingsbridge, Fieldston, Westchester County, Van Cortlandt Park
Public Transit: Riverdale has its own train stop on Metro North’s Hudson Line, which will take you into Manhattan in less than half an hour. The 1 train terminates at Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street, on Riverdale’s far eastern edge. For those with a car, the Henry Hudson Parkway provides easy access to Manhattan via the Westside Highway.
What’s Here?: In many ways, Riverdale has more in common with its neighbor to the north, Westchester County, than with the rest of the Bronx. Much of the neighborhood feels downright idyllic, with winding roads threading through wooded terrain and stately homes dotting the landscape. Riverdale is also the Bronx’s safest and most affluent neighborhood, and families flock here for the quiet, the natural beauty, and the high-quality housing stock. Next door, Van Cortlandt Park is a 1,000-acre treasure: enjoy playing fields, the historic Van Cortlandt House, the city’s largest lake, and bike trails that will take you deep into Westchester County. Two of the city’s most prestigious private schools, Horace Mann and Fieldston, have sprawling campuses here.
Flat or Tall?: While Riverdale is best known for its elegant homes on large plots of land, the neighborhood also has a sizable number of mid- and high-rise brick apartment buildings, particularly along broader thoroughfares such as Independence Avenue.
History: Originally inhabited by the Lenape tribe, Riverdale’s first wave of development came after the Civil War, when industry tycoons built mansions and began summering here. Today, the Riverdale Historic District along Sycamore Avenue provides a glimpse into the past–many of the street’s beautiful homes started out as carriage houses. Riverdale counts many prominent figures amongst its former residents: JFK and Bobby Kennedy spent part of their childhood here, and New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia died here, in his mansion on Goodridge Avenue.
Activities: Historic homes, parks, and gardens.
Check it out: Pack a picnic and head to Wave Hill, a 28-acre public garden with magnificent Hudson River views. Or visit Pure Love Organic Farms, the Bronx’s first organic farm. Van Cortlandt Park is the epicenter of New York’s cricket scene; visit on a Sunday to see bowlers and batsmen in action.