PEEKSKILL ARTS COUNCIL
  

Peekskill

Peekskill, New York is a distinct scenic community along the left bank of the Hudson River, located in an area where the river winds through the Bear Mountain highlands. It was an early American industrial center primarily for its iron plow and stove products. Its manufacturing base operated well into the late 1900s with the Fleischmann Company making yeast by-products under the Standard Brands corporate name. The population is 22,441 according to the year 2000 census.

Peekskill train station provides commuter service to New York City, 41 miles (66 Km) away via Metro-North Railroad. The Bear Mountain Bridge, five miles to the northwest, gives road access to Bear Mountain State Park across the Hudson River, and to the United States Military Academy at West Point via US 6 and US 202. The Croton Expressway portion of US 9 ends here. NY 9A and NY 35 also run through the city.

Peekskill is located at 41°17′20″N, 73°55′12″W (41.288903, -73.919987)GR1 in northwestern Westchester County. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.2 km² (5.5 mi²). 11.2 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 3.0 km² (1.1 mi²) of it (20.99%) is water.

Prominent Peekskill People

Peekskill is the birthplace to former New York State Governor George Pataki, serving 1994 through 2006. He was a former Peekskill mayor, State assemblyman and senator. Former Mayor Richard Jackson was the first African-American mayor in New York State. The first woman mayor of Peekskill was Frances Gibbs.

Another native, Chauncey M. Depew expanded the New York Central Railroad into Nebraska as its company president. Cornelius Pugsley was Congressman and preservationist whose name is still attached to a national preservation award for public parks. William Nelson was a colleague to Abraham Lincoln, leading to President-elect Lincoln's brief 1861 stop at the Peekskill village on his way to the Washington D.C. inauguration. Influential Civil War era minister Henry Ward Beecher's 30 year association with Peekskill started in the 1850s as a summer resident, then building his impressive family mansion on East main Street in 1878. Rev. Beecher's neighbor, Moses S. Beach was responsible for initiating the Associated Press (AP) while publisher of the New York SUN newspaper. A local shopping center bears the Beach name.

Contemporary novelist T.C. Boyle (b.1948) is a former Peekskill resident whose books draw international attention. Controversial Hollywood actors Mel Gibson and Paul Reubens were born at the local hospital and spent their younger years in this area. Actor Stanley Tucci also hails from the city. Hugely successful basketball stars Elton Brand and Hilton Armstrong are Peekskill High School graduates. Former P.H.S. graduate Hayward Burns was once editor of the Harvard Law Review and helped draft the constitution for South Africa. While working for IBM in 1957, native John Leslie conceived the idea that a computer could prepare a tax return. St. Mary's, former Peekskill private girls' school (attended by Haitian First Michèle Bennett, among others) was apparently the inspirational setting for the TV series The Facts of Life.


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