Were it not for the spectacular view of the George Washington Bridge spanning the Hudson River with the Manhattan skyline backdrop, one would find it hard to believe that the charming village of Hastings-on-Hudson was a mere half hour train ride to Grand Central Station.
The Village has a fascinating history with many distinguished artists, performers, writers and scholars who contributed to its cultural past and present. Among its many resident artists was famed Hudson River School of Painting artist Jasper Cropsey. The Village is home to a museum dedicated to Cropsey located in his former residence and studio. Also on the Newington Cropsey Foundation grounds is the Cropsey Gallery of Art behind the James Harmon Community Center.
Main Street illustrates harmonious blending of old and new which may be one reason Westchester Magazine honored Hastings-on-Hudson with its 2008 Best Main Street award. Several circa 1900 structures coexist well there with the James Harmon Community Center, a beautifully reconstructed building that opened in 2007 and the 25-unit Riverton Lofts condominiums, a state-of-the-art “green” building that opened in 2008.
The Museum in the Streets is a self-guided walking tour of 32 historic sites with attractive signs describing each of them, two centrally located maps, and brochures with the map available in many shops to lead visitors along the route. The Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway that meanders through Hastings offers a serene place to hike and take in the scenery. Picnic at MacEachron Waterfront Park or launch a kayak from adjacent Kinnally Cove and enjoy the magnificent views of the Palisades, the Hudson River, the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges and the Manhattan skyline. The Hastings-on-Hudson Chamber of Commerce Web site,www.hohchamber.com, has a complete list of businesses and attractions, some of which are described below. Also see www.hastingsgov.org
Jasper F. Cropsey Home and Studio: Ever Rest, the former home and studio of Hudson River School artist Jasper Cropsey. Features an art collection from the Hudson River School of painting. Closed in December, January and August. Open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. weekdays (by appointment only). 49 Washington Avenue. (914) 478-1372. Newington Cropsey Foundation's Gallery of Art, 25 Cropsey Lane, the gallery is open by appointment. Call (914) 478-7990. The guided tour takes approximately 45 minutes. Group tours for no more than 15 persons can be arranged. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed. The Gallery is open for appointments Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m and must be arranged by telephone at least a week in advance, longer for large groups. The Gallery is closed during January and August. Passive (unguided) viewing of the grounds and architecture is allowed from 1-5 p.m. weekdays without an appointment.
The Museum in the Streets: The Hastings-on-Hudson Historical Society initiated The Museum of the Streets, a walking tour of the village that opened in Hastings-on-Hudson in 2005. The self-guided tour begins in downtown Boulanger Plaza. At 34 locations throughout the village, large 20-by-20-inch handsome historical signs feature at least one historical photo of the site from by-gone days plus a brief explanation of its history in English and in Spanish. The route is displayed on a 48-by-59-inch sign posted at the starting location and a brochure is available at local public buildings and businesses and at www.hastingshistorical.org . The concept for "The Museum of the Streets" was first pioneered in 15 towns in France and then in Maine by museum consultant and Maine resident Patrick Cardon. Cardon's company, The Museum in the Streets, designed and manufactured the signs and it is the first display of its kind in New York State.
MacEachron Waterfront Park and Kinnally Cove offer spectacular views of the Hudson River, the Palisades, the George Washington and Tappan Zee Bridges, and the Manhattan skyline. MacEachron Park’s picnic and playground facilities and a brand new (2008) informal kayak launch, beach and boardwalk at Kinnally Cove make for a full day of recreation and relaxing enjoyment of the Hudson River vistas. (914) 478-2380.
Old Croton Aqueduct Trailway - The trailway meanders through Hastings-on-Hudson and spectacular views of the Hudson River and Palisades can be seen through this stretch. Owned and managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the trailway offers a scenic walk between northern Westchester County and New York City, following the path of the aqueduct that was once used to bring fresh water from the Croton River to New York City. The trail traverses most of the Westchester river towns and no motorized vehicles are permitted anywhere along the trailway. Many points of access make it easy to walk sections of the trail. Train stations and bus stops are within walking distance, or a quick taxi ride, from almost any place along the path. The trail begins on the south side of the Croton Dam, farthest away from the spillway. Along the way walkers will see old ventilator shafts as well as a weir chamber, used to spill off waste water during floods.
The Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct published an award-winning map detailing the route of the trail and attractions along the way which is available at the Hastings-on-Hudson Municipal Building. The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson has numerous other trails and produced a trailway map that is available at the Municipal Building, the James Harmon Community Center, and several Village shops.