Yonkers, a city in the Lower Hudson Valley, has much to offer. It is bursting with culture, arts, shopping, dining, and places to live and play. The city’s location is also quite strategic, making it a great place to live, work, and visit. However, what sets Yonkers apart from other cities is its community spirit and pride.

The welcoming hometown feel of the place makes it an ideal destination for anyone who wants to experience the warmth of a small town and the excitement of a big city. Whether you call yourself a Yonkersonian, Yonkersite, or Yonk, you have plenty to be proud of.

But Yonkers’ history is just as rich as its present. The city played a significant role in making the United States an industrial powerhouse. For many years, it was known as “the home of innovators and inventors.” It was a hub of vital industries, and many groundbreaking ideas were born there. Early on, Yonkers was a natural location for mills and trading posts, set up at the juncture of the Hudson and Neperham Rivers, today’s Saw Mill River.

There are many high notes, so let’s dive in!

Yonkers founder Adrian Van der Donck was the first lawyer in New Netherlands.

Elisha Otis invented the safety elevator here in 1854 and built his first factory in Yonkers. Imagine today’s skyscraper buildings without elevators. No way!

In 1867, Charles Harvey of Yonkers built the first elevated train line on Greenwich Street in Manhattan, which paved the way for the worldwide subway system and mass transit.

In 1888, John Reid and a few friends laid out America’s first golf course, naming it St. Andrew’s after the famous course in Scotland.

Edwin Armstrong invented FM radio in 1912, building his antenna on the Palisades across the river from his home in Yonkers.

Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Yonkers resident, is known for inventing Velox photographic paper in 1893 and Bakelite, the first plastic, in 1907. Bakelite was widely used in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings, and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, children’s toys, and firearms.

Carpet manufacturing was revolutionized by the Axminster (1858) and Moquette (1877) power looms invented in Yonkers.

Alexander Smith and Sons Carpet Company, located in the Saw Mill River Valley, included 45 buildings, 800 looms, and more than 4,000 workers. It was known as one of the premier carpet-producing centers in the world.

Yonkers was the headquarters of the Waring Hat Company, the nation’s largest hat manufacturer at its opening.

The first trolley motor was developed by Osterheld & Eickemeyer.

On June 1, 1872, Governor Hoffman signed the charter establishing Yonkers as the first city in Westchester County. At that time, Yonkers had a population of 20,000.

Samuel Tilden, former Governor of New York State and resident of Yonkers, was the first Presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote in 1876.

Some Yonkers Luminaries

  • Daniel Carleton Gajdusek (1923–2008), physician and medical researcher; co-recipient of 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
  • John Howard Northrop (1891–1987), co-recipient of 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Edwin Howard Armstrong (1890–1954), electronics pioneer[4]
  • Elisha Otis, inventor of the safety elevator and Otis Elevator Company
  • Alexander Smith, founder of Alexander Smith & Sons Carpet Company
  • Jay S. Walker founder of Priceline.com
  • Amanda Ayala, singer and musician[citation needed]
  • Carlos Alazraqui (born 1962), actor, stand-up comedian and impressionist[5]
  • Joseph Alfidi (1949–2015), classical pianist[6]
  • Charlie Benante (born 1962), musician best known as the drummer for thrash metal band Anthrax, as well as crossover thrashband Stormtroopers of
  • Mary J. Blige (born 1971), R&B singer and Academy Award-nominated actress[8]
  • Sid Caesar, actor and comedian
  • Cathy DeBuono, actress, psychotherapist, radio personality
  • DMX (1970–2021), rapper, actor
  • Ella Fitzgerald, singer
  • Thomas Mikal Ford, actor
  • Frances Foster, actress
  • Michael Fox (1921–1996), character actor who played Saul Feinberg on the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful[9]
  • Joe Howard, actor
  • Immolation, Death metal band
  • Jadakiss, rapper, member of The LOX
  • Ekrem Jevrić, Montenegrin singer, rapper
  • Gene Krupa (1909–1973), drummer
  • Clayton LeBouef (born 1954), actor
  • Stagga Lee (born 1977), musician
  • W.C. Handy, composer and musician
  • Sheek Louch (born 1976), rapper, member of The LOX
  • Richard Masur (born 1948), actor
  • Outasight, singer, rapper
  • Erik Palladino, actor
  • Kevin Puts, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer
  • Will Rahmer, musician
  • Adam Rodriguez, actor
  • Robert Shayne, actor
  • Avery Storm, R&B singer
  • Styles P, Rapper, member of The LOX
  • Chip Taylor, songwriter (brother of Jon Voight)
  • Paul Teutul, Sr., founder of Orange County Choppers
  • Steven Tyler, musician, member of Aerosmith
  • Jon Voight, Oscar-winning actor
  • Antony Blinken, 71st United States Secretary of State
  • Samuel J. Tilden, former Governor of New York
  • Malcolm Wilson, former Governor of New York
  • Joe Avezzano, American football player and coach
  • Rich Bisaccia, NFL coach
  • James Blake (born 1979), tennis player
  • Billy Burch (1900–1950), professional hockey player, first American-born player to win the Hart Trophy
  • Dave Costa, NFL player, Saunders HS 1957–1959
  • Jon Dalzell (born 1960), American-Israeli basketball player
  • Doug DeWitt, professional boxer
  • Tommy Dreamer, professional wrestler
  • Ralph Goldstein (1913–1997), Olympic épée fencer
  • Nealon Greene, professional football player (CFL)
  • Sean Kilpatrick, professional basketball player
  • Eddie Kingston, professional wrestler
  • Allan Kwartler (1917–1998), sabre and foil fencer, Pan American Games and Maccabiah Games champion
  • Joe Lapchick (1900–1970), basketball coach.
  • Ryan Meara (born 1990), professional soccer player
  • Larry Mann (1930–1952), NASCAR driver
  • Joe Panik, professional baseball player
  • Floyd Patterson, champion heavyweight boxer
  • Eulace Peacock, track and field athlete who defeated Jesse Owens in sprints
  • Vincent Richards, professional tennis player
  • Steve Ridzik, professional baseball player
  • Brian Sweeney, professional baseball player
  • Salvatore Tripoli, Olympic boxer
  • Trill Williams, cornerback for the Miami Dolphins
  • George Wright, baseball pioneer
  • Norm Hutchins, professional baseball player, Drafted in 2nd round by California Angels in 1994