In Riverdale, I see houses that make me think I'm in Westchester or Connecticut, not the Bronx. Definintely not the Bronx but yet, it is the Bronx! It is quiet. It is clean. It's a little bit country. It's a lot suburban. But it's definintely city. How do you reconcile all those things in one geographic area? I don't know. The Henry Hudson cuts a wide swath, creating real estate listings like "West of the Parkway", meaning it's closer to the Hudson...big selling point, of course. Riverdale is very very very very very hilly. Everywhere you go, there are steep stairs that carry you up up up, to take you into the nice part of Riverdale. Down below, it's a little too close to Kingsbridge for comfort. Down below, it's a little grittier but it's still Riverdale. Down below, there is an awesome restaurant called Riverdale Garden. It's on Manhattan College Parkway, across from Van Cortlandt Park and around the corner from the last stop on the 1 train. Their menu changes every day. It's based on the market, see. Not the financial market but the farmers' market, the agricultural deal, you dig? I like that. It makes it very expensive but also very worth it. People actually come to Riverdale for this restaurant and well they should. There are lots of rich ladies walking around shocking their friends by saying they had brunch in the Bronx, but it's really not shocking. It's not really the Bronx. It is and it isn't. The Bronx used to be all country. Riverdale is the last hold-out and just barely...Riverdale opted for suburbanization instead of ghettoization (also, Robert Moses.) I'm pretty sure it's because of Fieldston and because it's on a hill. Towns on a hill are always richer than towns in the shadow of the hill. In this case, anyway, it's true. There is a park in Riverdale. It's just called Riverdale Park and it's more like a walking trail. It follows the metronorth tracks from Spuytin Duyvil station to Riverdale station. It's about three miles. The tracks are below and come in and out of your vision as you walk along. On a sunny day, the Hudson River shimmers and shines. If it wasn't for the metronorth tracks, you could forget that you were actually in a city. One day, Hank and I took a walk on this trail. It was a cold, brisk, sunny winter day. You can see pictures here and here. He showed me onion grass, we listened to a woodpecker way high up in a tree, we sat on fallen logs and replenished our supply of Vitamin D. I think that walk is what clinched it for me. You see, my sister already lives in Riverdale with her husband and kids. My mom has been bugging me to move there, to buy a house (ok, apartment) there. I was wishy-washy about it. For one thing, my commute to work would not be so easy as it is now. I would have to take the metronorth from Riverdale or Spuytin Duyvil to 125th Street, then walk to the 6 train and go back uptown. Also, it's far from the city. There's an express bus that gets you to the Upper East Side in 45 minutes (EXPRESS?!) or you can take metronorth or you can...whatever. The point is, it's not so easy to get into "the city." That's another thing...when you move to Riverdale, everything is suddenly "the city." Like the bridge and tunnel crowd! Anyway, that walk sort of clinched it (that and the fact that my boyfriend lives there, but don't tell anyone). How nice to live in a place that's a little bit country, a little bit city. Not to mention, housing is pretty cheap, did you know? I guess no one wants to live in Riverdale or its some kind of Jewish secret. That's another thing. Riverdale is the only place left in the Bronx that's all Jewish (and maybe some Italian or Irish). Everywhere you go, there's a shul or a kosher thing or a kosher that. So, moving to Riverdale, it would be like making aliyaah without having to actually fly El Al. Har har.
I usually sum up Riverdale in one word: nice.