Rye, New York

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Rye, New York
City of Rye
The Jay Estate in Rye, NY.jpg
Jay Estate is the childhood home of American Founding Father John Jay.
Westchester County New York incorporated and unincorporated areas Rye (city) highlighted.svg
Location in Westchester County and the state of New York
Rye, New York
Interactive map of Rye
Coordinates: 40°58′52″N73°41′02″W / 40.98111°N 73.68389°W / 40.98111; -73.68389 Coordinates: 40°58′52″N73°41′02″W / 40.98111°N 73.68389°W / 40.98111; -73.68389
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of New York.svg  New York
County Westchester
Incorporated (as a village)1904 [1]
Reincorporated (as a city)1942 [1]
  Type Council-Manager
   Mayor Josh Cohn (D)
   City manager Greg Usry
   City council
Members' List
  Total20.02 sq mi (51.86 km2)
  Land5.85 sq mi (15.16 km2)
  Water14.17 sq mi (36.70 km2)
  Density2,834.79/sq mi (1,094.60/km2)
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code 914
FIPS code 36-64309
Website http://www.ryeny.gov/

Rye is a coastal city in Westchester County, New York, United States, located near New York City and within the New York metropolitan area. It is separate from the Town of Rye, which has more land area than the city. [3] The City of Rye, formerly the Village of Rye, was part of the Town until it received its charter as a city in 1942, making it the youngest city in the State of New York. Its population density for its 5.85 square miles of land is roughly 2,729.76/sq mi. [4]


Rye is notable for its waterfront which covers 60 percent of the city's six square miles and is governed by a waterfront act instituted in 1991. [5] [6] [7] [8] Located in the city are two National Historic Landmarks: the Boston Post Road Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1993; its centerpiece is the Jay Estate, the childhood home of John Jay, a Founding Father and the first Chief Justice of the United States.

Playland, a historic amusement park designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 is also located in Rye. Playland features one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the Northeast, the Dragon Coaster.


Rye Beach, early 20th century Sunday at Rye Beach by Genthe.jpg
Rye Beach, early 20th century

Rye was once a part of Fairfield County, Connecticut, belonging to the Sachem Ponus, of the Ponus Wekuwuhm, Canaan Parish, and was probably named for that chieftain, "Peningoe Neck". [9]

It was founded in 1660 by three men: Thomas Studwell, Peter Disbrow and John Coe. Later landowners included John Budd and family. [10] [11]

During the 19th and early 20th centuries it was a haven for wealthy Manhattanites who traveled by coach or boat to escape the city heat. Its location on Long Island Sound and numerous beaches also appealed to visitors with more moderate means who gravitated for short stays at cottages and waterfront hotels.

It has an extraordinary inventory of buildings with architectural distinction that help visually articulate specific neighborhoods and districts. [11]

Planning and zoning

Planning and zoning oversight is vested in several branches of the Rye government including several volunteer staffed committees like the Planning Commission, the Architectural Review Board, the Sustainability Committee, the Conservation Committee and the Landmarks Committee to name a few. [12]

Master plan (1985)

The City's current Master Plan guides the planning process. Also known as a Comprehensive plan, it was authored 37 years ago with an expectation that it would be updated again in 2000. Attempts to revise the 1985 document with community input as recommended in NY State's Statute on Comprehensive Planning [13] were made in 2016 and 2017. [14] The review, which was aimed to reflect current conditions of growth and forecast future changes, was not completed. As of 2018, [15] Rye lagged behind almost all of the 43 municipalities in Westchester County in updating this "serious document". [16]

Failure to modernize the 1985 Master Plan on that schedule has produced concerns from residents about the lack of community consensus, lack of informed and coordinated regulation of development and the subsequent impacts including increased flooding and a higher than expected volume of teardowns. Other concerns include threats to historical resources, cultural resources, natural resources, sensitive coastal and environmental areas and numerous other negative repercussions on neighborhood character. [17] [18] Previous Master Plans for Rye were created in 1929, 1945, and in 1963.

Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (1991)

Rye is a coastal community with numerous sensitive wetlands and watercourses. [19] In 1991, the City of Rye adopted a comprehensive plan to further regulate land and water usage to protect and preserve these fragile resources. [8]

Sustainability plan (2013)

In 2010, spurred by disastrous flooding events in 2007 and other environmental concerns, the Rye Sustainability Committee (RSC) was formed and tasked with creating a plan to inform best environmental and land stewardship practices for the city. A sustainability plan was formally adopted in December 2013 [20]


Many of Rye's unique neighborhoods are defined in the 1985 Master Plan. [11] Many have historic significance and their preservation was signaled as important for enhancing Rye's character. They include:

Proposed National Register District

  • Soundview Park
  • Church Row

Local or National Register Significance

  • Dogwood/Upper Dogwood Lane
  • Grace Church Street Area
  • Milton Harbor
  • Kirby Mill
  • Post Road Old Cottage District
  • Central Business District
  • Dublin (West Rye) [21]
  • Greenhaven
  • Indian Village
  • Loudon Woods [22]
  • Rye Town Park
  • Hix Park


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.0 square miles (52 km2), of which 5.9 sq mi (15 km2) is land and 14.2 sq mi (37 km2) is water. [3]

Rye is "situated in the eastern part of central Westchester County on Long Island Sound. The western border of the City generally parallels Beaver Swamp Brook, while the eastern border is formed by Milton Harbor and the Sound. Blind Brook traverses the City from the northwest corner of Rye to Milton Harbor at the southern end." [11]

Rock and wetlands

Rye High football field flooded in 2011 Rye High football field flooded in 2011.jpg
Rye High football field flooded in 2011

The geology and hydrology of Rye is characterized by a significant quantity of rock, marshes and wetlands [5] which makes the city both desirably scenic but also challenging for developers.

Rye's bedrock is predominantly constituted of Fordham gneiss and Harrison diorite also known as Byram Black granite. [23]

According to Rye's 1985 Master Plan, "Rye contains a variety of environmentally significant areas. Numerous tidal and freshwater wetlands are found near the waterfront and brooks. The Milton Harbor area (including the Marshlands Conservancy and Rye Golf Club), Disbrow Park and the Manursing area contain the most extensive wetlands in the City. In addition, substantial areas near the Sound, Milton Harbor, Blind Brook and Beaver Swamp Brook are within the 100 year flood hazard area, and thus subject to potential flooding." [5] According to the City of Rye, "Considerable acreage of these important natural resources has been lost or impaired by draining, dredging, filling, excavating, building, polluting and other acts inconsistent with the natural uses of such areas. Remaining wetlands are in jeopardy of being lost, despoiled or impaired by such acts contrary to the public safety and welfare." As a result, the City has charged itself with the responsibility of "preventing the despoilation and destruction of wetlands and watercourses while taking into account varying ecological, economic, recreational and aesthetic values. Activities that may damage wetlands or watercourses should be located on upland sites in such a manner as not to degrade these systems." [24]

In 2017, Rye resident and then New York State Senator George Latimer noted that wetlands maps for the area have not been updated in over 20 years [25]


Flooding has long been an issue in Rye as in other coastal towns with water coming in from Long Island Sound. The Blind Brook watershed is also a source of that flooding with significant deluges recorded in the neighborhood of Indian Village after four days of rain in October 1975. [26]

Three major weather events in just five years produced catastrophic damage in the town.

The City's response to these recurring hazards was to apply for funding through the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program. Rye received $3,000,000 to safeguard the city against future flooding threats, upgrade its infrastructure for resiliency, identify stormwater mitigation solutions, and protect historic buildings and natural wetlands. [31] [32]

Starting on September 1, 2021, Rye experienced another substantial flooding event. The storm lasted two days and caused significant damage to municipal facilities, businesses and residences. [33] Areas around Indian Village and other sections of the city that had previously flooded during Hurricane Irene were under 8–9 feet of water. Other areas around the town normally not affected by flooding were also affected. Prior to the flooding event, Rye had undergone approximately five inches of rainfall [34] from Hurricane Henri. [35] Two weeks later, the remnants Hurricane Ida dropped another 8–9 inches of rain in the area within a 12 hour period. [36] [37] Hurricane Ida remnants caused flooding in Rye nearly 10 years to the day from Hurricane Irene.

Archaeological significance and notable indigenous sites

As of 2010, seventy-five percent of the acreage in Rye or the equivalent of 3,954 acres had been determined to be archaeologically sensitive with many Indigenous and First Nations contact sites. [38] [39] [40] At least two villages have been determined to have existed, one on Manursing Island and the other on today's Milton Point. [41]

The presence of Indigenous people's activities has been noted in numerous locations where implements and bones were unearthed, including an "ancient Indian burial ground, site of the present Playland Casino" [42] together with discoveries of artifacts along the shoreline, [43] pottery, skeletons and relics along Milton Road, [44] [45] Disbrow Park [46] and throughout today's Boston Post Road Historic District including Marshlands Conservancy.

The presence of Indigenous people in Rye was more recently documented in a 2012 Phase IA archaeological investigation commissioned by Westchester County in connection with the construction of a bike path along the Playland Parkway in Rye. Within just one mile of the project site, the report noted a dozen archeologically sensitive areas. The publication included supporting data from files in the repositories of NYOPRHP and the NY State Museum; it further highlighted the existence of shell middens, evidence of camp sites and at least two burial grounds. One of these documented sites included the Blind Brook. [47] Additional findings have been made at the Jay Estate in archaeological digs conducted by Dr. Eugene Boesch [48] and submitted to the NY State Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS).


Historical population
1910 3,964
1920 5,30833.9%
1930 8,71264.1%
1940 9,86513.2%
1950 11,72118.8%
1960 14,22521.4%
1970 15,86911.6%
1980 15,083−5.0%
1990 14,936−1.0%
2000 14,9550.1%
2010 15,7205.1%
2020 16,5925.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [49]

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 16,592 people living in the city. This is representative of approximately 5491 households. 74.8% have a college degree. 15.5% were over the age of 65 and 51.7% were women. 88.2% identified themselves as White alone. 1.3% identified as Black or African American alone. 6.7% identified as Hispanic or Latino. 5.6% identified as Asian alone. [50]


Rye is home to:

Arts and culture

Lectures, concerts, exhibits and classes

Memorial Day Parade, Rye, NY Boys Scouts Memorial Day Parade.jpg
Memorial Day Parade, Rye, NY Boys Scouts

Largest annual community events

  • Rye Little League Parade (April)
  • American Legion Memorial Day Parade (May)
  • Rye Sidewalk Sale (July)
  • Jay Day (September)
  • Rye Harrison Football Game (October)
  • Rye Window Painting (October)
  • Rye Turkey Trot (November)
  • Mistletoe Magic (December)

Service and Volunteer Organizations

Historic sites

Of the more than 2600 National Historic Landmark (NHL) sites in the country, Rye has two: the Boston Post Road Historic District [58] and Playland Amusement Park [11]

Boston Post Road Historic District (Rye, New York) (NRHP listing 1982) (NPS designation 1994)

Historic Jay Gardens - Sensory Room and Reflecting Pool Historic Jay Gardens - Sensory Room and Reflecting Pool.jpg
Historic Jay Gardens - Sensory Room and Reflecting Pool

Includes 5 historically significant parcels; much of the land was originally the ancestral home of American Founding Father John Jay. It is where he grew up and where he is buried.

  • Jay Estate – 23 acre park with gardens operated by the Jay Heritage Center. [59] [60] Restoration of the Jay Mansion (1838) overlooking Long Island Sound was an official project of the Save America's Treasures Program. The Jay Mansion is the oldest National Historic Landmark (NHL) structure in New York State with a geothermal heating and cooling system and the first in Westchester County to have such an energy efficient system. Member site of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. [61] It is also listed on Westchester County's African American Heritage Trail. [62] Other historic buildings at the estate include a 1760s farmhouse, 1907 Zebra House and Carriage House, late 1800s Ice House and a 1917 Tennis House.
  • Lounsbury (1836–38)
  • Marshlands Conservancy (dates back to Indigenous peoples era; part of original Jay Estate – partitioned in 1966)
  • Whitby Castle (Rye Golf Club)(1852–54)
  • The Jay Cemetery (established 1805)

Rye Playland (NRHP listing 1980)(NPS designation 1987)

The wooden Dragon Coaster is a signature component of Playland Amusement Park, a National Historic Landmark that dates back to 1927. Dragoncoastertunnel.JPG
The wooden Dragon Coaster is a signature component of Playland Amusement Park, a National Historic Landmark that dates back to 1927.

This 279-acre theme park is owned and operated by Westchester County and includes rides, games, an indoor skating rink or Ice Casino, beach, a boardwalk, and concession stands. It is one of only two amusement parks in the country with National Historic Landmark status, the other one being Kennywood in Pennsylvania. It has been a popular destination since it first opened in 1928. Its wooden roller coaster, the Dragon Coaster, built in 1929, is one of the last roller coaster rides built by engineer Frederick Church that is still operating. [63] The Derby Racer, also built by Church, is one of only three rides of its kind remaining in the world. Glenn Close's and Ellen Latzen's characters ride the roller coaster in the 1980s thriller film, Fatal Attraction . Airplane Coaster, Church's most acclaimed coaster, was removed in 1957. [64] Playland is also the setting for several key scenes in the 1988 comedy film Big , starring Tom Hanks

Sites on the National Register of Historic Places

Rye Post Office dedicated to Caroline O'Day Rye Post Office.jpg
Rye Post Office dedicated to Caroline O'Day

Of the more than 88,000 sites in the country that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), Rye has 8. [11]

Local landmarks

  • Haines-Robinson House (1867), 556 Milton Road
  • Jay Estate (formerly known as the Alansten District), 210 Boston Post Road
  • Stillman Residence (1915), 235 Boston Post Road
  • Village Green, Purchase Street

Additional historic resources

Of note are two 200 plus year old milestones labeled 24 and 25 on the Boston Post Road, oldest thoroughfare in the United States.[ citation needed ] The concept of mile markers to measure the distance from New York City was originated in 1763 by Benjamin Franklin during his term as Postmaster General. These sandstone markers likely date from 1802 when the Westchester Turnpike was configured.

Rye is also home to a rare 1938 WPA mural by realist Guy Pene du Bois which is located within the city's Post Office lobby and titled John Jay at His Home. [67]

Rye is home to two of the 16 sites on the African American Heritage Trail of Westchester County- The Rye African-American Cemetery and the Jay Estate. [68]

Cemeteries and burial grounds

  • Greenwood Union Cemetery – originally known as Union Cemetery; founded in 1837
  • Guion Cemetery
  • Milton Cemetery – oldest recorded burial is 1708
  • Rye African-American Cemetery – established in 1860 [69]
  • St. Mary's Cemetery – earliest burial 1854
  • Playland Ice Casino – site of Native American burying ground [70] [71] [72]
  • Unnamed African American Cemetery between Apawamis and Grace Church Street with burials prior to 1860 [69]
  • Unnamed African American Cemetery near Old Boston Post Road and Playland Parkway with burials prior to 1860 [69]

Churches and synagogues

Christ's Church clock tower Rye Christ's Church clock tower Rye.jpg
Christ's Church clock tower Rye

Parks and recreation

Jay Meadow, Rye, NY Jay Meadow.jpg
Jay Meadow, Rye, NY

Parks and nature reserves

Rye has over 454 acres of green open space with multiple types of usage from active to passive recreation including walking, hiking, bird-watching and dog walking. [11] It is also a significant coastal community. In 1991, the City of Rye authored a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) to provide clear guidance for addressing future water conservation and preservation issues [5]

Private and public clubs

Rye has numerous private country clubs, many of which were formed in the late 19th and early 20th century. The combined acreage of these clubs affords members and guests over 993 acres of recreation. [79]

Recreation facilities

Access to recreation in Rye is plentiful with numerous public, private and shared sports facilities from tennis, to ice hockey to boating.

Rye recreation facilities (79 acres total) (city owned and operated)

  • Damiano Recreation Center (1.5 acres)
  • Disbrow Park (51 acres) – 4 tennis courts, baseball – 12 acres dedicated as a park in 1930 with acreage added in 1931 by Mayor John Motley Morehead [81] [82] Includes a former city landfill.
  • Gagliardo Park (2.5 acres)
  • Rye Nursery Park – (6.74 acres) natural grass soccer and lacrosse fields
  • Rye Recreation Park (17 acres) – tennis courts, soccer fields

Other recreation facilities owned by city

  • Rye Boat Basin/Marina – boating
  • Rye Golf Club (126 acres) – golf, swimming; course designed by Devereux Emmet in 1921 [83]
  • Rye High School – football, tennis, track; the Rye High School sports teams are named the Garnets.
  • Osborn School
  • Midland School
  • Milton School

Recreation facilities not owned by city

  • Playland Ice Casino – skating, hockey
  • Row America Rye – rowing
  • Rye Country Day School – skating, hockey; the Rye Country Day teams are named the Wildcats.
  • Rye YMCA – swimming, fitness
  • School of the Holy Child (18 acres)
  • Tide Mill Yacht Basin


Nursery school programs

Public schools

Most of the city is in the Rye City School District. [84] Rye is served by three public elementary schools: Osborn, Milton, and Midland.

Rye Middle School and Rye High School are part of the same campus, and the two buildings connect.

The Greenhaven and The Preserve at Rye neighborhoods of the City of Rye[ citation needed ] are served by the Rye Neck School District. [84] Rye Neck High School and Middle School are on one campus also located partially in the City of Rye.

Rye High School has been named a Gold Medal school and the 61st-best high school in the U.S., ninth-best in New York state, and best in New York state if test-in schools are disregarded, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2013 "Best High Schools". The annual Rye-Harrison football game has been played for more than 80 years and is a top high school football rivalry in Westchester County.

Rye schools were recently ranked #18 in New York State with "A" ratings in all aspects except diversity. [85]

Private schools



Newspapers and print

Website only and blogs



The Rye train station provides commuter rail service to Grand Central Terminal in New York City or Stamford and New Haven-Union Station via the Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line. The Bee-Line Bus System provides bus service to Rye on routes 13 and 61 with additional seasonal service to Rye Playland on routes 75 and 91.

Rye Fire House on Locust (1907) Rye Fire House (1907).jpg
Rye Fire House on Locust (1907)

Police department

The City of Rye police department has 36 sworn-in officers police officers and about six auxiliary police officers. They operate a fleet of Ford Crown Victorias, Chevrolet Tahoes, and one military-surplus truck used for emergency services. There is also one Toyota Prius for parking enforcement. The Rye Auxiliary Police is an all-volunteer force that provides assistance when needed. The Westchester County Police also patrols several areas of Rye, such as Playland Park, and The Marshlands. New York State Police patrols Interstate 95 and 287 while the MTA Police patrols the Rye Train station and property within the Metro North right-of-way.

Fire department

The City of Rye Fire Department is a combination department consisting of 100 volunteer firefighters (only 20 active) and 21 career firefighters of which 4–5 are on duty at all times. The department has two fire stations and man three engines, two ladders, two utility units, and two command vehicles. The Rye Fire Department responds to approximately 1,000 emergency calls annually and does not respond to medical calls.

Emergency medical services

Emergency medical service is provided by Port Chester-Rye-Rye Brook EMS at the Advanced Life Support Level (ALS). They are a combination agency with 50 members (30 paid EMTs, 15 paramedics and five volunteers). They operate up to five ALS ambulances and three paramedic flycars from their station in Port Chester and responds to over 5,000 calls a year between Port Chester, Rye and Rye Brook.

Notable people

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The Blind Brook watershed is a significant, natural drainage basin and environmental resource located in Westchester County, New York. It occupies approximately 10.91 square miles or 6,980 acres falling largely within the Town of Rye. It spans the borders of New York and Connecticut.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rye Golf Club (Rye, New York)</span> United States historic place

The Rye Golf Club is a semi-private, municipally-owned country club in Rye, New York, and one of five constituent properties of the National Historic Landmark Boston Post Road Historic District. The centerpiece of the parcel is an 1854 Gothic Revival stone home known as Whitby Castle which was designed by American architect Alexander Jackson Davis. The club has an 18-hole golf course designed by Devereux Emmet and 2 swimming pools.


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