To know what it’s like to live in Hastings, stand at the corner of Warburton Avenue and Main Street, which many consider the heart of the village. Chelsea Dry Goods, a large gift shop fashioned like a general store for the cool and hip, is stocked with stylish home goods, chunky jewelry and old-timey toys. Farther along Warburton Avenue is Juniper, a farm-to-table cafe favored by many young families, and a charming French (gluten-free) bakery with its menu written in script on mirrors. Then there’s a sagging dry cleaner, a barber that looks like its been there for decades, and a few empty storefronts.
Hastings is a study in contrasts. Unlike Scarsdale and Chappaqua‘s manicured, coiffed villages, Hastings’s vibe is more industrial chic. You can stare at stunning vistas of the Hudson River and the Palisades, but there will be abandoned warehouses and Hastings’s landmark rusted water tower in the foreground. “Hastings was different than any other Westchester town I had seen,” says Angie, a mom who moved here with her husband and daughter several years ago. “I liked that it had a mixture of upper, middle, and working class people, which is what I was exposed to growing up and feel strongly that my child needs exposure to.”
Hastings is just gritty enough to attract indie types and just polished enough to satiate their more sophisticated tastes — one reason why so many lawyers and artists, writers and graphic designers call Hastings home. It’s decidedly un-Westchester. And with so many Brooklyn transplants beginning to buy houses in the town, the New York Times recently nicknamed it “Hipsturbia.” “The people I meet in Hastings are a varied group,” says Naomi, a mom who moved to Hastings in 2002. “It’s people with kids who moved up from NYC, retirees whose kids are grown, people from all over the world, like England, France, Japan and Taiwan.”
Homes twist up the banks of the Hudson River, some perched on cliffs and offering panoramic views of the Palisades. The steep drive through Riverview Manor, the neighborhood that tends to have the largest homes, many of them craftsman in style, can feel more like Marin County than Westchester. Homes in the lovely Rosedale section of Hastings mimic many of the smaller colonial, dutch colonial and farmhouse styles seen throughout the county.
Parents cite the town’s location on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail a perk, and some families use the trail to walk into the village or mosey along on a Sunday morning. “We don’t have a car, so we moved here, in part, because we could walk everywhere,” says one parent who moved here in 2007. The train into Grand Central Station takes 38 minutes.
While the town can feel quiet on weekdays, it comes alive on Saturdays when the Hastings Farmers Market sets up in the library parking lot (Did we mention that the library has great views of the river?). At the Market, there’s live music, activities for kids, and a real sense of community. The parents interviewed for the story were happy with the schools; some families choose Hastings specifically because the schools push the arts more than some other Westchester districts.
There are two main parks in town. My favorite is lovely MacEachron Park, which has a riverfront playground. With wide open vistas from the jungle gym, you can enjoy your Saturday morning as much as your kids.
While the village is small, “there’s a lot of great places to eat in town,” says one mom. Rainwater Grill has lots of outdoor seating along Main Street, Taiim Falafel has great hummus, and parents seem to like Maud’s Grill. Sadly, the longstanding Buffet de la Gare is closing.
Biggest downside of Hastings? It seems at least one mom is getting tired of waiting on waterfront development. Says one mom: “The riverfront has so much potential for development and yet nothing has taken shape there. We have lived here awhile and continue to stare at abandoned warehouses.”
In other words, if you’re going to move to Hastings, love it as it is, or you may get frustrated waiting for it to change.
Did you consider living in Hastings? Why or why not?