New Rochelle, perched within sight of New York City along the Sound Shore, has a rich and interesting history dating back to the early colonial era and a promising future fueled by a revitalized downtown.
The city in many ways is the archetypal suburban bedroom community, with 11,500 single-family homes clustered around a downtown area providing mass transit, shops, restaurants and other services. New Rochelle so epitomizes the post-war American suburb that the Dick Van Dyke Show was set in New Rochelle (where the show’s creator, Carl Reiner, lived).
Business Week magazine in 2008 listed New Rochelle as the best city in New York State, and one of the best places nationally, to raise children.
New Rochelle has an extremely diverse housing mix, with something for everyone. The city’s downtown area has been revitalized by new high-rise towers offering a mix of condos and rentals a short walk from the train station. The city has numerous well-established co-ops and even a small number of SoHo-style live-work lofts in converted industrial and retail buildings.
Outside the downtown area, New Rochelle is a city of neighborhoods, each with a unique character and style of housing. The result is a wide variety of single-family homes ranging from modest capes and gracious Tudors to stately Premium Point mansions overlooking the Long Island Sound.
New Rochelle was settled in 1688 by refugee Huguenots, French Protestants who were fleeing persecution in their homeland. (The city’s name is derived from La Rochelle, the French city where many of the refugees lived before coming to America.)
New Rochelle’s heyday was during the early 20th century, when grand stores lined its downtown streets and movie stars walked the sidewalks. Indeed, in the early days of moviemaking New Rochelle was the center of the American film industry.
New Rochelle has numerous neighborhood parks as well as the county-operated Glen Island Park, which provides a public beach. The city is home to three colleges: Iona College, Monroe College and the College of New Rochelle (the nation’s largest Catholic college for women).
Many famous people have resided in New Rochelle, including Willie Mays, J.C. Penney, Norman Rockwell, Branford Marsalis, W.C. Fields and Lou Gehrig.